New rules play into Mercedes’ hands – Button

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In the round-up: Jenson Button doesn’t expect Mercedes to be caught in 2017.

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Does eRacing have the potential to be as popular as other eSports?

I think the main problem for eRacing is that it is not its own thing. It is a virtual alternative to the real thing.

If you look at all the other big games played in big money tournaments then none of those really have a real life alternatives. The biggest games are DOTA 2, League of Legends and first person shooters. While one could argue that first person shooters are virtual representations of something like a paintball in reality they are very different things. First person shooters can do a lot of things paintball can’t and as such the gaming alternative is much more popular. But more importantly both are their own things

Other thing is how people are not just usually just interested about the sport itself but also interested about the equipment, events and venues. Both eRacing and real racing fan share the fascination about cars and race circuits but only real racing can really show off that aspect. If a virtual race car in a game has 500hp and weights 200kg then nobody really cares. But if a real car has those specs then it is interesting. The technical fascination in eRacing is mostly in the racing equipment and little bit in the chosen simulator software. Steering wheels, pedals and so forth. And what do all the big competitions do? They get their own wheels and pedals everybody must use. So even if there is a technical fascination aspect it is not used and as such the equipment is just seen as toys by the larger audience.

Other issue is that real racing is very popular sport to watch. But realistic driving games are not very popular genre of gaming. Whereas there are maybe handful or racing games released per year there are hundreds if not thousands of first person shooters released in the same time. Real racing of course suffers from this too as not very many can afford a race car or to race.

Sadly I think that for the eRacing to be big it actually needs to become its own thing. I say sadly because this generally means it becoming less realistic, less pure racing.

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40 comments on “New rules play into Mercedes’ hands – Button”


    That’s a few year’s old now, but Formula Ford was €100,000 a year, that pretty much excludes 90% of children from rich countries, and more than 99.99% of children world wide.

    Although even the few thousand pounds you’d need to spend to get to the point where your child can enter a national karting championship is prohibitively expensive for most people. This is one of the few things I wouldn’t mind seeing State support for in motorsport, a few £million a year to support some talented but not wealthy children through karting and entry level single seater racing could help us develop some really good drivers, and open up the sport to a wider pool of talent. They’d need to attract sponsors or factory support to progress any further, but at least a few more would get the opportunity.

    1. Its not like motorsport lacks money so why would it need state support to grow some talents?

      1. +1 @rethla – how much money from F1 trickles down to support grass-roots racing?

        Although I guess our sport, and the billions of pounds a year it generates, can barely keep 11 teams going…

        1. @graham 228221 Nil. Bernie has the philosophy that every series should not only be self-sustaining, but look out for No. 1 (itself) ahead of the interests of participants or anyone else. He considers GP2 and GP3 to be good examples of the philosophy and has in the past derided other series for caring about niceties like teams and drivers.

      2. It’s not like motorsport lacks talent, either…

      3. @rethla
        I was thinking more of what we could do to benefit those children who have talent, but lack the parental wealth necessary to compete, rather than as a subsidy to motorsport.
        In an ideal world, I’d have at least 1% of the profit generated by professional racing series put back into youth development, but sadly, this isn’t an ideal world, and there’s not much chance of that happening.
        It would also be nice to see some drivers putting some of the money they’d made from racing back into youth programs, but again, there’s not many of them doing stuff like that, at least not that I’ve heard of (apologies to any drivers that are).

    2. 90%? £100,000 per year of discretionary spending on “the kid” excludes 99.9% of families. The 99th percentile of income in the U.K. is £105,000 after income taxes. There is no way you are supporting a competitive formula Ford season out of your own pocket on income less than £500,000

    3. I will also add that the cost is 5x higher than the mid-1980s (where $20,000 was a typical budget – though even then there was a joke that the then-new Formula 3000 stood for “£3000 per day”). We’re not discussing an inflation issue here…

      1. @alianora-la-canta, that sum of about $20,000 in the early to mid 1980’s would be in the order of around $55,000 today, so even then it wasn’t exactly cheap (average earning in the US being around $12,000-$15,000 per year in the early to mid 1980’s, so somebody racing then would have needed a budget that would have been getting on for around twice the gross income of the average US citizen at that time).

    4. Given that CVC and Bambino have extracted almost $9bn from F1 over the past decade I would have absolutely no sympathy for any sort of tax-payer subsidy. The financial problems that motorsport faces are entirely of its own making and stem ultimately from the machinations afoot in the FIA during the ’90s. I have no delusions about Liberty being any less rapacious in their desire to extract money from the sport (but would be delighted to be proved wrong).

      Motorsport and the FIA need to set their house in order before they come to the tax-payer with a begging bowl.

    5. In terms of return on investment I’m not sure state support is worthwhile. We’re talking huge amounts more investment than in athletics, and many people already question taking the lottery money from the poorest people to fund the hobbies of the middle class.

      I see videogames as the big equaliser. Things like Gran Turismo academy have seen actual breakthroughs into motorsport.

  2. The 2017 cars will indeed be a handful. Pat Symonds compared it to 2005 downforce levels but back then the tires were grooved. Combine slicks with 900bhp engines and you’re looking at a monster.

    1. Monsters with an even lower bhp to grip ratio which is exactly what interesting racing doesnt need. Even in 2016 the engines are far to weak for the massive grip the car provides.

      1. what do you want, the drivers to be driving around taking turns at 7g and zero overtaking?

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          22nd January 2017, 9:06

          I love the wider tyres and cars but who on earth thought it would be a good idea to increase downforce? Surely the additional mechanical grip was the perfect opportunity to take some downforce off them and reduce some of the dirty air effect? The ridiculous thing is that the regs they are replacing brought in for 09 were aimed at reducing downforce by 50%, just shows the lack of direction in F1, everything’s knee jerk. I bet you they will be slowing these cars down in a few years because with the rate of development they will be dangerously fast for many of the current circuits.

          That being said I’m looking forward to standing on the entry to Copse this year and seeing these cars thrown in.

          1. The people who thought doing otherwise would make it a Mercedes walkover (thus pinning everyone else into “second-best” status, the very problem the 2017 rules are really designed to fix), that’s who…

        2. @kpcart Its obvious rainraces is always the highest rated so why dont aim for that power to grip ratio?

          It doesnt matter if the pull 1 or 7Gs in the turns when the engine is so weak they are just going around flat out.

        3. That isn’t what I want, but you’ve described what I’m expecting very aptly.

  3. My head agrees with JB on the possible advantage MB has going into 2017, but my heart says the opposite will happen based ironically on a few of JB’s prognosis in the past that just happened to come to mind reading that article.
    He said in 2013 Hamilton will not be successful at Mercedes, the opposite has happened.
    He said Mclaren is the place to be if you want to win, the opposite happened.
    2013 McLaren was built around him under then MW’s leadership and for whatever reason depending on who you ask, McLaren did not make a single podium that year.
    And of course the various talks or hypes going into each race weekend these past few years of McLaren’s potential kept failing each time to deliver.
    Maybe, among his many gifts, I think forecasts is not one of them. So, I would keep mum until 2017’s first few races have taken place making any assessments.
    Having said that, he still remains to me, a fighter who squarely won his championship without any unwarranted activities unlike the regning “champion” who is for all intents and purpose simply a shoo-in. Among the 1 time champions, his is the most blatant lopsided show in motor racing’s recent history.
    My opinion.
    You are free to state yours if you so choose.

    1. You summed it up perfectly. Jenson should shut and go away. He lost all credibility when he said Lewis would regret his move to Mercedes. Jenson ended his career on the back of 4 wingless seasons in a row while Ham has not to looked back.

      1. I certainly don’t mind hearing what an ex F1 driver has to say, especially a former Champ. I hope JB is always around.

  4. “Mr Ecclestone has been offered the position of honorary president”. Is this finally the end?

    1. according to to few whatever role mr ecclestone will be offered might be a “dummy” role. ha ha like a honorary role maybe

      1. I assume he turned down the position of honorary grid girl already.

    2. I can see Bernie turning an honourary one into a non-honourary one and persuading people not to stop him from doing so…

    3. Bernie :”We have a contract … don’t we? Well, what does the contract say? It says I have a job for three years!”

      1. Yeah, but Bernie’s contract is with CVC– Not Liberty Media.

        1. My understanding is his contract with Liberty Media, but even if it isn’t it would have rolled over to the new owner, just like all other employees of FOM would have their contracts roll over to the new owner. Really, a 3 year contract means, amongst other things, Liberty would have to pay him 3 years salary if they want him to leave early, which would be a good early retirement package for the average person.

  5. “Lots more drag … Massive amounts of power.”

    Last year the cars aimed at maximum (reasonable) downforce at all but 3 races. With the huge increase in downforce and grip from wider tyres this year it might possibly be so at less than half the circuits. It may be that the downforce/drag ratio means that taking downforce off pays handsomely in laptime most of the time.

    Using this as a basis for comparing the teams for the coming season, I’m thinking:

    Needless to say Mercedes the team has the horsepower and the design power (read working CFD) to optimise downforce/drag and continue to lead the way at nearly all circuits.

    Red Bull has had plenty of experience in taking drag off to compensate for the lack of horsepower. They tended to lead this development with e.g. Spa-specific aero. If Renault (the powertrain) can provide more grunt then Red Bull may well take the fight to Mercedes far more often.

    Ferrari – who knows? They keep promising the world and one day they might deliver! They’re promising Mercedes-like grunt and it will make life a lot easier for the aero department if they can start with a high downforce/medium high drag package to begin with. It’s easier to take high-drag downforce off than add downforce to a low-drag design.

    Another powertrain provider promising to deliver Mercedes like grunt is Honda. McLaren have had a couple of years of compromising downforce to keep up on the straights. They should be very good at optimising this by now.

    Perhaps the most-practised team of 2016 in this regard was Toro Rosso with their 2015 Ferrari donk. Again this should be valuable experience for 2017, especially when combined with a current spec powertrain.

    By the end of 2016 Force India were the most impressive of all teams in getting the most out of their package. The nostrils were working brilliantly, but were they a low-drag item? It will be very interesting to see whether they retain them and whether any other teams copy them (or indeed whether they’re legal or practical in the new rules).

    Of the others the team I have highest hopes for in the new rules is Williams. They may once again be special at certain circuits if they can reproduce in 2017 the low-drag properties of their 2014 car – a car which has staunchly resisted all efforts to add downforce without adding considerably more drag. If recommending a low-drag design contradicts what I said about Ferrari (start with high-downforce and take drag off when you can) it’s because I think Williams can not really challenge for the WCC, so they should instead continue to aim for one-off victories at tracks that suit them and optimise for that.

    How the teams manage this will be very interesting for me, and I hope that we get some real technical insight into what the various teams are doing. It would be excellent to get an expert insider’s view on all of this. I wonder if Pat Symonds is doing interviews?

    1. Evil Homer (@)
      22nd January 2017, 13:13

      Good post!

      Personally I was very happy with Stefan Johansson’s article when he said more mechanical grip over aero. Slower in corners, faster on straights therefore difference between corner speed and straight speed is higher meaning braking and acceleration zones mean the driver has to work harder and the best will be better.

      Any thoughts?

      1. @evilhomer Thats what everyone but those that designs the cars wants.

      2. 2017 will be about an equal increase in mechanical and aero grip, and the aero grip will come at the expense of the car following.

        It’s going to be a very fast parade, except for those rare occasions when DRS can make a difference.

  6. COTD is missing FIFA game, a world phenomenon, eSoccer, more realistic every year, big success.

  7. I think racing in eSports can definitely become it’s own separate thing. A title like the relatively new Redout (F-zero and Wipeout successor) would make for a great competitive spectacle I think.

    I also think traditional racing simulations can be a viable genre going forward. While the Formula E-Prix spectacle rubbish is a good step in the right direction to generating some interest in the genre, it definitely isn’t a good example of the best racing that a simulation could provide.

    It doesn’t have to be a “only one way forward” thing, there’s potential for both style of games to succeed in their own right.

  8. With Hamilton saying racing in other formulae is better and Buttons comments regarding Mercedes having the power to run lots of down-force than other teams its looking like the move to more aero for this year was a catastrophic blunder by the FIA again.

  9. Just praying that Red Bull can match Mercedes… Would really like to see 2 constructors with pretty equal cars and some great drivers go head to head, last saw that in 07/08 with Ferrari and McLaren.
    2009 after the first 7 races was pretty good, but the teams fighting for wins (at that point, Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull as Brawn and dropped off with development) weren’t fighting for the championship.

  10. Re “With the way the regulations are now, there’s a lot more drag. So you need massive amounts of power, which Mercedes seems to have.”
    The question arises that if the worst that fans suspect will happen does happen, and Melbourne turns into 58 laps of Trulli trains with hardly any on track overtaking what is F1’s backup plan? As far as I know there isn’t one. This will be a real test for the person who is running F1.

  11. Wehrlein Massa, bad start 2017 for wehrlein:

    1. And that’s why Bottas went to Mercedes instead of Wehrlein. That was just clumsy.

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