Ross Brawn, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Brawn aims to improve F1 rule change process

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Ross Brawn says he is looking to make the process of F1 regulation changes more ‘defined’ in future.

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Comment of the day

Are obstructive screens in the pit lane during testing unnecessary? ExcitedAbout17 believes so…

Those screens aren’t necessary, specially how Ferrari and RBR created an impromptu car port when welcoming their car back.
There are many opportunities to take detailed pictures: from above, from the other pit boxes when the cars ‘crawl’ past, and during the many practice starts at the end of the pit lane (a handfull of photographers there within 5m of the car). Funnily enough, Ferrari was one of the teams doing most pit drive throughs yesterday giving ample opportunity for others to fill a full photo album.

McLaren, Renault, Haas did not even bother with screens and even leisurely performed a tyre change in full view.
Screens only make sense when working on the car in the garage.

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On this day in F1

Denny Hulme won the second race of the 1972 season on this day 45 years ago. The 1967 champion took an early six-point lead in the championship having finished second in the season-opener at Kyalami.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 51 comments on “Brawn aims to improve F1 rule change process”

    1. @willwood, Hey Will, is it me or is the link to the Brawn interview faulty, I go straight to an F1F forum on Linkedin ?!

        1. ExcitedAbout17
          4th March 2017, 7:40

          That should work

          PS. thanks Will for COTD.

      1. @hohum @robbie I don’t know I managed that but it’s fixed now!

        1. Yes, thanks @willwood (as usual I didn’t notice it was you – though I don’t think I noticed when @bradley13 wrote a round-up the other day either)

          1. @davidnotcoulthard I don’t think I noticed that either!

    2. In relation to COTD…

      Seeing a moving car is one thing, seeing that car in pieces gives away secrets, such as any air channels to direct air under the engine cover as an example for cooling, or the way the car goes together which may allow for quicker access or repair work.

      The teams are entitled to protect their secrets from the prying eyes of other teams during testing, its not really a public event, they are their for track time to make sure everything is running to suitable and what can be done to improve the car…

      1. I’d argue it would be better for f1 if the teams were forced to be more open. F1 is very technological sport but teams go as far as possible to hide away any of that technology. I think it would be far more interesting for the fans if the teams couldn’t block the view like that. At least not in official fia events which is races and testing events.

        1. Why? Each team admittedly has a budget to run too, but, top teams aside, why should teams such as Sauber or Force India benefit from design concepts created by STR or McLaren (and vice versa)…

          You could theoretically go to practice with a vehicle you know is going to,sit at the back of the grid, get pictures of the other teams designs and effectively have all teams running something along the lines of a Newey design. If you want the garages open, then effectively all the teams should have the same car design, just with a different PU.

          I am pretty sure that withnthe pictures that have been taken, teams are running them through their computer simulations to see if anything visible may enhance their performance.

    3. Super cute LH interview. And I’m a slot car fanatic to this day.

      1. @robbie, makes you wonder how he can have so many detractors , doesn’t it.?

        1. @hohum Lol as an admitted detractor, my detractorship is quite specific having to do with his attitude at times, but as with all drivers, whether I’ve respected or admired them or not, I’ve acknowledged their many attributes on and off the track simultaneously. I just won’t always be trumpeting said attributes when I’m not feeling it. Far and away LH is an angel compared to the driver I have most disrespected, MS, and I was vehement about him, and still can be, specifically in his case about his behaviour on the track. Yet since his accident I’ve only got empathy for him and his family of course.

          1. @robbie, Yes, me too regarding MS but I begrudgingly accepted that he was not being paid a huge salary to be a good sport, but to win at any cost. I blame Senna for starting the trend and it is pretty much universal now.

            1. Why do you blame Senna for that?

            2. @hohum I was a huge Senna fan, and will defend him as much as possible in spite of his indiscretions. At a minimum, circumstances were different between the two drivers we’re citing. But I do recall being a bit dazed and confused at Senna’s more famous ‘events’.

              But here’s the thing…for those who think only the most negative things about Senna, that’s fine, I can appreciate why someone would think that way, however, MS literally claimed at one point ‘he learned it from Senna’ and I thought that was terrible of him. With all the advantages MS had, hand over fist greater than any driver before or since, he still couldn’t take the high road and not literally whack and otherwise move others off the track brutally throughout his whole career. I did it because he did, is poor imho.

      2. Slot cars rock! No DRS, no stupid paddle shifters and weird steering wheels. Just 300,000 rpm of Mura madness!

      3. I agree. I used to be one of his detractors but I must admit I’m starting to like him now!

    4. Neil (@neilosjames)
      4th March 2017, 0:30

      As a very successful businessman, Gene Haas must realise that those three teams never put a penny into F1 that they didn’t take back out as overall benefits to their wider businesses.

      Two of them, like his own team… Red Bull and Mercedes… are primarily marketing operations that would be gone in a flash if the balance sheet didn’t look rosy. And Ferrari, who we can’t really expect Haas to talk about in an unbiased fashion, have indeed helped F1’s image and fanbase – while also building and maintaining their own. That relationship’s always been a two-way street.

      Ferrari’s 5% and all the other bonuses are bribes F1 doesn’t need to pay. Hopefully Liberty will call a lot of bluffs.

    5. Interesting words from Haas. He’s got a point with Ferrari right? Big name, lots of fans, F1 could be in a bit of trouble if they disappeared… Red Bull on the other hand? I don’t rightly know why they deserve an extra 35 million. Just seems like an unfair advantage given to a random team. If they’re going to have extra payments they should at least make transparent rules and requirements surrounding them.

      I think he’s just playing the political game considering he gets most of his car from Ferrari, I really don’t think he wouldn’t be truly in favour of a fairer distribution otherwise.

      Looking forward to hearing Pat Symonds’ views during the broadcast, should have some wonderful insight.

      1. +1 – Gene is learning the Horner art of grand statements with nary a hint of slavish self interest.

      2. The ‘historic’ view is looking at F1 the wrong way around imho.

        Yes Ferrari get more of the F1 pie this way, but the entire sport including Ferrari would benefit from growing the pie instead of just it’s own share.

      3. Red Bull have done a lot more for F1 than fans probably realize because they focus too much on the title winning years. Red Bull promote a heck of a lot on F1 by doing far more demo runs than the other teams in different countries around the world, they’ve spent a lot upgrading and buying the A1 ring to F1 standards, they’ve actually got two teams on the grid (that’s 20% of the grid) as opposed to just the main RBR team. Bring in talent as opposed to drivers with more financial backing and they’ve been in F1 since the 90s when they sponsored Sauber. So yes Red Bull has done a lot for F1.

        While I agree to some extent about the bonus payments like Haas, I don’t think they should as high as they are. Ferrari getting $100 million just to turn up is stupid.

      4. His point is made by getting half the car from Ferrari Tristan. Abit like how STR always vote with RBR even when that clearly goes against the smaller teams’ interests

        1. STR may be a midfield team, but, they are not a small team, they are an arm of the Red Bull family so of course they will vote in support of the Red Bull team.

      5. This must be another, less obvious Ferrari benefit from the Ferrari/Haas technical deal.

        It’ll be interesting to see if Haas continue to echo Ferrari’s wishes in the future.

    6. I don’t think we need to worry about drivers reaching blackout point. Maybe it’s an invalid comparison, but if IndyCar drivers can take corners at tracks like Indianapolis and Texas at far higher speeds, surely F1 drivers can too?

      I don’t recall drivers having trouble in the early 2000s, and I’m guessing 2017 cars will have similar performance levels…

      1. Yeah, just Pirelli further showing they have no idea what they’re talking about really.

        1. Hmm…but is it not the case that the much greater banking on NA ovals reduces some of the strain on the drivers? Not to mention those are wide turns we’re talking about. F1 doesn’t have much in the way of replicating big American banked turns. Overwhelmingly flatter, tighter turns throughout the season.

          Are you sure in 2000 the cars were specifically cornering as quickly as they will be now? Especially tighter turns? They were narrower and on smaller grooved tires in spite of their downforce levels. Wouldn’t have had the diffuser work or the knowledge 17 years has brought either. Forgetting lap times I think how the cars literally perform vs 2000 will be night and day different.

          I reject that Pirelli has no idea what they’re talking about, but certainly it can be said that if they are talking this way then they must be anticipating much bigger grip than we’ve seen with this first, admittedly impotent 4 days wrt potential yet unfolded from all the cars.

          1. ExcitedAbout17
            4th March 2017, 7:59

            Banked turns create a different G force for 2 reasons:
            1) banked curves are longer, thus create less G-force at the same speed.
            2) However that G-force is more vertical (away from your head) and therefore more likely to cause a black-out (brain drain of blood). Also it tends to be longer.

            1. Exactly. A car in a banked fast corner creates g-forces like a pilot would witness in a fighter jet in a tight turn. The g-force pulling the blood straight down and away from the brain, causing tunnel vision and finally blackout. Without any banking it is impossible to have this occur. Any large amount of horizontal g-force caused by cornering or, much more likely, braking, if anything would cause red-out not blackout, the blood being forced up into the eyes and eyelids. This horizontal g-force would have to be absolutely huge to cause a fit racing driver a problem, far higher than any kind of car can produce.

              So in this case the Pirelli guy indeed doesn’t know what he is talking about.

        2. Except the quote that the article headline is taken form is:

          “Maybe some clever doctors will tell us that we’re getting close to blackout point, I don’t know what it is. But certainly when I was looking at Turn 3 it was quite impressive. I’m sure a normal human being wouldn’t be able to.”

          So it’s really Hembrey saying that the g forces are much larger than previous years, and more so than a normal driver would be able to handle. He suggest that we may be getting close to a black out point, but doesn’t suggest to know what that is, so it’s more just a reflection on how high the g-forces might be this season.

      2. Pirelli did not get to be a premier tire company by employing people who don’t know what they are talking about. Pirelli’s F1 problem is an inevitable result of FOM’S specific mandate to provide artificially degrading tires to “add interest to the show”. Only way to have the specified number of pit stops occur “naturally” in an hour-and-a-half sprint race without refueling is to have crap tires. Then they are told, “Oh, by the way, can’t test any more. Not even the wets.” What did anyone expect?

        Comparison with the early 2000s is not appropriate, as F1 is entering uncharted territory. The g loads generated by the exotic aero of the early-to-mid 2000s were neutralized by the mandate for grooved tires. When we went back to slicks, aero was in its turn neutered. Both those technical mandates were safety-minded. Due to falling spectator interest, now “excitement” has a higher priority than “safety,” so we may be looking at a perfect storm, where aero, tires, horsepower, and the relaxation of restrictions on in-season development combine to allow unprecedented cornering forces to be approached.

        G loads on the drivers could well be a problem at tracks with sustained or frequent high speed corners eg Monza, Suzuka, Silverstone, Spa. Even drivers in top condition can develop g-force induced loss of consciousness (GLOC) at sustained G loads of 4.0-4.5 g. If they are really going to be able to pull 5 g, then that will be problematic. Lewis is a physical warrior, and if he’s reporting bruising on dialed-down test days, it means they’re pulling serious loads.

        The Firehawk 600 at Texas Motor Speedway in 2001 was cancelled outright due to CART drivers reporting dizziness, vertigo, tunnel vision, and reaction time problems running 230 mph (370 kph) on a 24 degree banking. While such banking is not encountered in F1, as I recall low downforce setups did allow speeds approaching that last year at Monza and Baku. And high g loads are developed during braking as well as cornering.

        1. I forgot to mention, as @robbie astutely noted in his comment, the final factor in the potential “perfect storm”: the cars are significantly wider than the 2000s.

        2. In Indy Car, the drivers take loads of around 5.5G on the ovals, sustained for up to 5 seconds, but, due to the corner banking it would be a more vertical force rather than a sideways force.

          Drivers will adapt to the forces in time, as they will both naturally strengthen in the required areas and the drivers will know any particular areas of their bodies where the need to focus on.

      3. Indy isn’t as much of a physical challenge as say Phoenix or Iowa, where the percentage of time spent turning is far greater. You also haven’t brought up that IndyCar drivers race without power steering, and their road and street courses tend to be less smooth than F1 tracks.

        I certainly do think the physicality of these F1 cars is being over-dramatised a bit.

      4. Mark in Florida
        4th March 2017, 14:13

        I think the main difference in F1 and IndyCar is that even if the driver was experiencing a 5g load it will only last for a few seconds. The Indy drivers were experiencing a nonstop continual load when going around the turns at Texas ,very similar to being in a centrifuge. Now that’s hard on a driver. I am personally excited about the new cars. With Ross in charge of competition we will see common sense prevail for a change.

    7. Love the LH interview

    8. Better sauber and force India watch out for haas, this haas team has come into f1 with an agenda, they are siding with the big teams specially with their dad Ferrari.

    9. Hopefully Symonds will bring come class to Sky’s cringey, tabloid esque coverage – the access and features are great, but the way the presenters conduct themselves makes my skin crawl….

    10. ExcitedAbout17
      4th March 2017, 7:45

      Not happy about ‘the cheat with the necklace’ joining Sky.
      After what happened in ’09 he should not be in anything F1 related.

      1. I think you meant 08?

    11. What are the main objectives in F1? I think I have some easy answers.
      In my opinion rules should be:
      Principles F1 should follow: 1. safety 2. close racing 3. world’s fastest cars 4. efficiency 5. optimizing 1-4 points.The most fans want to see close racing among the best drivers in the fastest cars. How can we solve it? This is, decision makers and engineers should work for.

      1. +1

        I pretty much agreed with everything Ross Brawn said.

      2. Point 2 and 3 are impossible behind point 1.

    12. Not sure I agree with Brawn’s idea of removing DRS instead of maybe giving every driver a limited number of usage each race as many times as they want.

      But as long as the current implementation is gone and isn’t replaced by a worse one, I won’t mind.

      1. For me I’m thrilled that he is talking about it’s eventual removal, and the sooner the better. I think the ‘replacement’ for it only needs be the proper ratio of mechanical grip to aero. Mechanical just needs to prevail to enough of a degree over aero that the cars are not too negatively affected in dirty air. They just need to give the teams time to evolve to that point. I’d like to think that it won’t happen for 2018 but could for 2019. I’m sure for Brawn et al it starts by seeing how the product is this year and then go from there. I like everything he is saying.

        1. That will never happen. The cars just got more aero and you think mechanical grip will come back in 2019?
          We need MotoGP levels of aero if we wanna do slipstream overtakes.

          1. @rethla The cars just got more aero under BE’s watch, and now Brawn is talking a different game. Mechanical grip has just come back for 2017, and can be added to with softer compounds etc if that is appropriate going forward as they formulate plans well, that make sense, as per Brawn’s interviews.

            What I was suggesting about 2019 was that it was my hope, as Brawn talks about working toward eliminating DRS, that it could be as soon as 2019…just a number I’m throwing out there because he wants regs to change in a sensible way for all concerned, that gives teams time to adapt to said changes.

            I wasn’t suggesting slipstream overtakes as my preference…just cars able to combat in close quarters and not to have slower cars holding up faster ones unreasonably ie. processions, and I have thought all along DRS doesn’t belong in F1. Heck even if the best they could possibly do was processions or DRS (which is ridiculous) I’d take my chances with processions, that’s how much I despise DRS.

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