F1 fixes “are going to take some time” – Brawn

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In the round-up: Ross Brawn says solving Formula One’s problems is going to take time as he prepares to meet with teams.

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I have to agree with this – it’s great to see F1 cars going back to their pre-1998 widths.

I love the fact that the cars are coming back to their proper width. A racing car has to be wide in order to look powerful and fast, doesn’t it?

However, what somewhat (ironically) diminishes the visual impact of the increased car width is the increased width of the front tyres. Because of this, the front forks won’t be much wider/wider, and so the car appears to be just proportionally larger, rather than wider. The most striking difference might be the driver’s helmet looking smaller.

Obviously, the tyres have not increased in diameter, so we will perceive the cars as wider after all.

What goes for the back of the car and the back view – the cars look a thousand times times better – with no asterisks.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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56 comments on “F1 fixes “are going to take some time” – Brawn”

  1. Sorry @keithcollantine, @damon, I still have reservations, the wider tyres I really really like, the more mechanical grip the better, but a wider car? if it’s needed to accommodate the wider tyres ok, but if it’s purely for appearances sake why go there because small as it might be it’s going to add difficulty to passing on narrow tracks and around the outside on long sweeping bends for reasons that should be obvious to all racing enthusiasts. And then there’s the 1st corner situation, that gap a driver suddenly has to dive for to avoid an accident will have to be quite a bit wider but will likely be quite a bit narrower.

    1. I’m very surprised to see so many people flustered by the increased width of the cars, for two reasons:

      1) How many tight tracks do we actually have now in F1? Monaco and Hungary? No matter what width, it’ll always be hard to overtake there, purely because of the circuit design.

      2) They do definitely look like ‘proper’ racing cars for it. Thin roller skates do not look racey…

      1. Fingers crossed we won’t be going there very long, but Baku springs to mind.

      2. @ecwdanselby, But why do anything to make overtaking when the lack of overtaking is well recognised as part of the problem, remember F1 is a competition where half a kilo of bodyweight or extra fuel is ruthlessly excised.

        1. Erratum;……overtaking harder.

        2. But @hohum pre-1998 the width of the cars wasn’t the issue. Most complaints about overtaking as far as I was aware were related to early to mid 2000 aero, not a combined extra 40cm in race car width.

          I still think that the angle that we see the Williams preview is deceiving, I still expect them to look drastically better when we see the cars from other angles, on tv and in the flesh

      3. Thin roller skates. Exactly the front view of post-2009 cars, lol!

      4. “Lotus 49”

        Looks pretty zippy to me. ;)

    2. Wider cars also mean more suction=higher speeds. The only reason the cars went from 2.00m wide to 1.80 in the first place was to reduce speeds.

      Tracks like Malaysia, USA, Bahrain but also Spa and Silverstone won’t really be affected by those 20mm extra. Maybe Suzuka, Canada and Brazil will be, but then again those were always hard to pass at in the dry without DRS. Bore-fest tracks like Baku, Abu Dhabi, Monaco, Hungary, Spain and probably Paul Ricard will still be borefests regardless.

      1. @jeffreyj, that is 20cm or 8 inches. per car; 40cm/16inches for 2 cars side by side. 3 cars…………

        1. ExcitedAbout17
          18th February 2017, 7:51

          All irrelevant as the rule enforcers showed in Mexico that they don’t care about track limits.

        2. 20 cm indeed. Sorry, typo

    3. I’m with hohum. There’s technical reasons against it but you guys are only taking your childhood in account. I don’t even think the cars look good. Surely better than most 2016 cars but still, I’m not for upside down aeroplanes.

      1. Upside down aeroplanes @peartree? How do you mean? What would you prefer?

        It was in 1998 that I started watching F1 regularly, yet I still think the wider, pre 1998 cars look better, so I don’t think I’m influenced by my childhood

      1. @3dom I started to watch in 1996/97, so what? I know what an exception is.

        @john-h @johnmilk @gt-racer You’re all hopeless, I’d love to see overtaking, i’d love to see an healthy grid, I’d love to see Ferrari back at the front, I think every year is the year, but if there’s no real reason for it, the rest is wishful thinking, and bias, I’m not bias, also not a pessimist.

        The cars are back to 1997 width and the tyres are wider though, so we’re going in the right direction here in terms of more mechanical grip. GT-races was almost right on the 98 issues, the reason why 98 rules would set a future of harder overtaking is down to the fact aero progressed so much and the narrowing of the car’s track means less mechanical grip, the balance of aero and mechanical went into aero’s favour. Again the problem of the 2017 rules is down to aero. @dom3 cars don’t have wings. F1 cars are getting larger and larger wings, it’s a matter of preference but also the realization that having more 30% to 50% more aero is going to overpower the 8 to 15% gain on mechanical grip. Don’t listen to me listen to this guy


        1. @peartree thanks for specifying. Yeah I agree that I’d like there to be an increase in the ratio of mechanical grip to aero. I originally just thought you were against the increase in width and I couldn’t understand why.

          I suppose we’ll have to see how things pan out with the change, and if things aren’t great, then hope that Brawn’s scientific approach bears fruit with a good solution

        2. I think I agree with you @peartree… I think.

          My mantra on this site for at least the last 5 years has been “wider tyres, less aero”. Unfortunately, they only did the first bit.

    4. @hohum wider cars also have more mechanicam grip because you are reducing the roll.

      For example in a wider car drivers should be more confident when overtaking from the outside

      Also add what @jeffreyj and you already have two good reasons to increase the with of the cars.

      It is not just to make them look good, it is also an improvement

      1. @johnmilk, When was the last time you saw an F1 car exhibiting any body-roll (I can remember a celebrated pic of John Surtees driving an F1/Formula Tasman car with both inside wheels off the ground in 196?) and all that extra grip and stability wont help because the other car will also have extra grip and stability. cc @gt-racer.

        1. @hohum Good answer. These guys must work under Christian Horner. I’d love them to be right but what inane arguments John and Gt came up with.

          1. @peartree, us alarmists. time will tell, let’s hope it all works out for the good.

          2. @hohum Yes, in the end we all want the same.

        2. @hohum just because you can see it it does not mean it isn’t there, maybe momentum would have been a better world. The forces shift direction in the corners and by having a wider car those forces are better distributed hence improving mechanical grip

          My comment was directed to your question in the first comment of this thread “…but a wider car? if it’s needed to accommodate the wider tyres ok, but if it’s purely for appearances sake why go there..”

          In no part of it I argue that it will improve the show or make race better. It will improve car performance in general the rest is another subject, which I won’t give my opinion until I see a couple of races.

          You are probably right in one thing, I probably am a hopeless romantic and there is still hope in me that racing will be better next year. Most likely will end in great disappointment, but still.

          @peartree call it whatever you like, my comment and @gt-racer ‘s is just what happens, it is physics, and once again they are not arguments to defend the rules changes or prove that racing will be better, they are only the result of them.

          1. @johnmilk, Okay, let’s wait and see, fingers crossed.

    5. @hohum Contrary to people’s belief, The wider cars won’t make overtaking any harder & may in fact help make it a bit more possible.

      For example you mention moves around the outside of long sweeping bends, Wider cars allow a more stable platform & along with the wider tyres will allow drivers to lean on the cars & throw them around a lot more which in theory should actually make attempting moves around the outside of longer corners more possible.

      One of the biggest downsides of going to the narrow cars in 1998 was that they became less stable & a lot more twitchy with them suffering more from snap oversteer rather than the sort of easy to read progressive slides that the wider cars did. This meant drivers were less able to lean on them under braking & especially when trying moves in faster corners (Especially round the outside) as they had a bit less feel & less confidence in what the cars would do.
      The narrowing of the rear tyres for the start of 1993 actually had a similar effect & I believe there was a push from drivers in 1994 to return to pre-93 tyre widths to improve safety my making the cars less snappy & more predictable if the rear stepped out (FIA refused as it would have seen a mild speed increase which was against what they wanted to do post Imola).

      Additionally as has already been said the wider cars allow a larger under-tray & wider diffuser which allows more grip to be generated from the underside of the car that is less affected by the turbulent air coming off the car in-front.

      1. @gt-racer, “less stable and a lot more twitchy” sounds like a good way to sort the men from the boys.
        It might be only small but it is undeniable that on the outside of a radius a car must travel faster just to stay alongside a car on the inside of the radius and the greater the difference in the radius the greater the speed difference has to be.
        Your point on the underside aerodynamics is a good one, and I hope it is sufficient to overcome the theoretical but real negatives of wider cars, as I said, I have reservations,but we will soon see the results and I hope the optimists are right.

        1. “less stable and a lot more twitchy” sounds like a good way to sort the men from the boys.

          @hohum Not necessarily.

          If a car is unpredictable & prone to sudden snap oversteer thats hard to read/catch then you tend to see drivers backing off & taking less risks to drive well within the cars limits.
          If a car steps out in a more predictable way thats easy to read & correct then you will always get drivers pushing harder into the cars limits & been more willing to try something outside the box.

          The new regulations have some flaws in terms of the aero reliance, But believe me the wider cars/tyres will prove to be by far the best things about the changes.

          1. @gt-racer Well said again.

            I note that Head is speaking moreso about any time they make big changes to the regs, the have teams are still the one’s going to prevail and we should never expect a big shakeup in the order of things. When they introduced the current pu’s RBR’s dominance ended and was replaced by Mercedes’. A shakeup of the order but only a slight one amongst the wealthy.

            In terms of specifically the new regs for 2017 Head is merely pointing out that more aero is not the way to go for closer racing.
            We seem to all get that now, and with Brawn saying it too, it feels like they will head that way. By that I mean…

            So many are willing to fear monger about the bigger wings without accounting for the much better tires they’ll be on. But answer this…If it is all about downforce why don’t they run Monaco setups at Monza? Just because more downforce is available, like it always has been at Monza of they would only choose to run more wing like they do at Monaco, doesn’t mean more downforce is always the answer to getting around a track quickly.

            I predict that whatever downforce they have available to them next year will rarely be used to the max, especially because they will now have reasonable tires that they can rely on for grip too. If they don’t want to be sitting ducks on straightaways they’ll run as little wing as possible knowing the tires will be there for them in the corners.

  2. Pirelli have got themselves covered nicely here. If the tyres fail they have the excuse of limited testing and a new criteria demanded of them. It might not be the best excuse, but then it falls to the teams to agree on changing the tyres, so they literally cannot blame Pirelli for not sorting it out. That’s well played by Pirelli. Hopefully, of course, it’s not going to be needed, but if past experiences are anything to go by…

    1. @strontium
      I agree completely. Pirelli doesn’t even seem to know what their tyres do. They always have an excuse, it’s been how many years now?

      They expect tyres to do one thing during a race weekend but then the tyres react differently.

      I can’t believe people still defend Pirelli. I keep saying the FIA asked for tyres that degrade but NOT tyres that have to be driven at what 70-80% of performance just to reach the desired stint length. Tyres that overheat & can’t cool back down properly into what seems be their narrow “temperature window”

      1. I guess you have no idea about how teams manage race strategy

        1. And, I guess @dimsim has no idea about how tense and exciting a race can be without the need for the teams to manage the race and have a strategy, other than get to the front and stay there.

          1. Poor assumption

          2. By both of us?

          3. please point to a race that didnt include “get to the front and stay there” as the primary strategy….

      2. So given your expertise in molecular chemistry and engineering, what do you propose Pirelli do?

      3. i am not sure what you are talking about. A stint is influenced by many things, including the car, the setup, the track, the weather, the tire pressure and the drivers. Pirelli gives an estimate, but usually the teams have data from long runs on friday . They compile all that data and calculate how to build up a stint before pitting to get the best overal result. There is no 70-80% performance. It’s a continous adapting to the conditions to get the best result. Unless you are in front in which case it’s a bit easier.

      4. Tyres need to be tested on track. Pirelli get very little testing. Getting tyres right may be harder than getting aero to work. Simulations are not really any good. Imagine having to design an F1 car with paper and pencil then only allowed to run it at the 1st race then not again until the 2nd and so on. Michelin have dodgy tyres in Moto GP not to mention their US 2005 mess up. Given testing Pirelli should be able to make great tyres as their track day road tyres are better than their rivals.

      5. Pirelli have made tyres that degrade. It is the teams who have found out that driving at 70-80% will help make the tyres last longer and that would be the most optimal way of reaching the end of the race.

        It’s analogous to how our road cars if driven at a constant speed of 55-60 kmph will give a higher mileage than racing the car at 90.

    2. Depends on how you view it, but ‘covered’ isn’t the word i’d use.

      Pirelli have a meagre amount of test days in comparison to the Bridgestone and Michelin days of yesteryear.

      I think Pirelli would be absolutely right in saying ‘we haven’t been able to test our tyres on a 2017 car for long enough’, as that’s pretty hard to dispute.

      It baffles me why the FIA haven’t paid a few clever people, and a small team to design a 2017 concept car and have it charge around a test track wearing prototype tyres. It’s absolutely something the FIA should be funding. Wouldn’t be a dent in their profits..!

      1. @ecwdanselby, as we saw with the complaints from the teams about the fact that Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull created test cars for Pirelli to use, every team is going to be suspicious about the possibility that one of their rivals could potentially benefit from the tyre tests (we saw how teams complained when, for example, Lotus donated one of their old cars to Pirelli as a test mule a few years ago). Even if the teams were just supplying engines, there probably still would be complaints from the other teams.

        I’d agree that the best solution would be an independently designed test car, provided that said independent test car could be made to be representative of the 2017 cars. However, creating an independent car that is representative of the actual cars is not entirely straightforward given that Pirelli is dependent on the teams providing enough information for them to be able to design a car that was of comparable performance – information that is not always forthcoming.

  3. I’m liking this stance by Brawn. It’s a tricky situation and he needs to be careful not to lose the confidence of either end of the grid. Promising or threatening unrealistic immediate changes would just be a let down for everyone and very dangerous for the stability of F1.

    Hopefully the “continued pressure” he mentions is with a heavier hand than it may appear from the outside.

  4. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    18th February 2017, 7:43

    I love Alonso’s line in the round up photo, using every last inch of the track and more. This picture perfectly shows just why he makes so many positions on the first lap, having fun with it and being so aggressive, great stuff. Probably the biggest difference between him and Jenson over the 2 years was how many positions Alonso was usually ahead after lap one. What a tragedy it is to see him wasting his twilight years in the midfield but at least we have got to see a more fun, likeable, laid back and humble Fernando, particularly last year. Fingers crossed he gets another opportunity to mix it at the front.

    1. Agree, great shame he is stuck where he is. Hopefully McLaren will be a lot better this year. Button did beat him on points though in their 1st year and matched up well with him. Button is the only team mate to beat Alonso over a season on points.

    2. The thing is though, if there wasn’t grass behind the curb, Fernando wouldn’t have been in the picture…

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        18th February 2017, 11:11

        Why’s that?

        1. @rdotquestionmark @dennis He’d be way outside the wide line?

          1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
            18th February 2017, 13:07

            Ah right. Not seen that on a corner entry before. Two wheels on the tarmac but using the limits, perfect.

    3. yeah I really like his driving style, super wide on entry, really tight on apex and exit, usually gets a better exit than the car in front due to this. he’s been doing it for quite some time now. I remember that wonderful overtake after the safety car at Valencia in 2012, super wide on entry to the last corner, got a real good exit and was along side even before turn 1, had to back out, daredevil move down into turn 2 round the outside… I miss Alonso at the front

    4. You guys realise they all do that right? This is most likely in the first lap, that is why the manors are in there and battling with the McL and STR. He is probably so wide in that entry because Saynz overtool him, which would also explain the position of his car. Or do you think Alonso would be on the kerb breaking for a corner?

      And @dennis is just making a joke about his completely disregard of track limits in the texas gp.

  5. All I’m curious about is whether they’ll recognise issues with DRS or not.

    1. If Brawn gets a big say and can convince Liberty I think DRS will be gone within the next 5 years, he has served as a aerodynamicist in some of the most successful teams after all. I think if Liberty listen to him he will come up with a technical solution, I think he’ll lean towards wanting F1 cars to utilize the underside of cars more to create grip which is an area he excelled in, rather than rely so heavily on down force from complicated wings which get unsettled easily.

      1. @JammyB +1

  6. The link for the motorsport article related to Pirelli didn’t work for me. But just judging by the preview, the fact that they have 2016 thermal degradation tyres ready as a backup almost ranks up there with the collapse of Manor in terms of how negative a headline it is. The thing I’m looking forward to to the most as part of the 2017 changes is not seeing the drivers have to baby their tyres for the majority of races, and not have to drop back from the car in front to save them for most of the race. I do agree that there should be some tyre management, it opens up race strategy, but of late the drivers have been limited to 2-3 laps where they can attack the car in front in a stint, otherwise their tyres wouldn’t last. I’m hoping that they can at least increase that 3-fold. If they do that, I reckon I’ll be on the edge of my seat more often, regardless of if the attack results in an overtake or not (with the calibre of drivers that we have in F1, I reckon that the top drivers will make that increased opportunity count), and that will be closer to the racing that I desire.

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