Robert Fernley, Jean Todt, Albert Park, 2017

Margin between teams ‘too big’ says Todt

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In the round-up: FIA President Jean Todt says he believes the gaps between the bigger and smaller teams in Formula One are ‘too big’ and should be closer.

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With the first race of F1’s new regulations now behind us and drivers reporting that it is much harder to overtake in 2017’s new cars, @robbie isn’t too concerned just yet…

I had hoped, like many, we wouldn’t be hearing what we are from the drivers, however, the fact is this is what it is for now, and I have renewed faith that the new management including Brawn can now take from this experience and progress well.

This is what we have right now and the only thing constant in F1 is change. I think different tracks will treat the cars differently. I think they are much better off on these tires. If the current format is dire they can deal with the wing regs, or floor regs etc. They still in my mind had to widen the cars and bring in these tires. If it ends up about the same in terms of passing as last year, it’s still a better product for the cars looking as they do and being more of a handful for the drivers, and now they can evolve from here. It’s race one of an entirely new chapter of cars and management.

I say let’s give them kudos for knowing they needed to move away from the product they had, and some patience under the new regime to tweak things going forward.

Bottom line for me… so far the product is better than we had with cars trundling along conserving everything to the extreme, drivers not taxing themselves.

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Will Wood
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  • 65 comments on “Margin between teams ‘too big’ says Todt”

    1. My views are very similar to that of COTD. Now they have this new basis of regulations, they can work on it until it’s right. And with the new management they can form a strategy with objectives. No need to make sudden rushes, they just need to get there steadily over the next few years.

      1. Anthony Blears
        27th March 2017, 0:37

        Yes. If this was Bernie-era F1 I’d be worried, but with Daddy Pig at the helm I’m convinced they will take a measured and strategic view of what needs to be improved, rather than the knee jerk reactive nonsense we’ve suffered in the past.

      2. Indeed. It was pretty much Exactly the same in 2010 after the dreadfull first race (THAT Bahrain track configuration :-( ). In that race we also had quite a few drivers suddenly discovering pace in the last laps. And afterwards almost everyone admitted that they had been overly worried and held back because of that.

        I think that with hindsight, most teams could have fitted SSofts at the stops, and then the differences between old and new tyres would have been a bit larger. And maybe we would have seen a tad more action. But when the teams and drives themselves start feeling “it’s no use” and “tyres going off” they are not going to even try, are they.

        The most worrying part is, that people like Todt behave as if this is not exactly what many who are able to understand the cars predicted as soon as the rules were proposed this way or at least as soon as their teams started to worry about their own team being the one in front. This was exactly what was expected to happen.

        Harder to overtake, harder to follow (although the tyres partly ofset that by not falling apart as fast), less braking (because of higher cornering), less pitstops all means it is more up to the driver to find that space. Vettel did by pushing Hamilton on at the start, making him doubt his car and tyres and stop prematurely. That is a good job done by the driver.

      3. Yes! It is spot on

        Unfortunately FIA cannot abstract itself from the impatient shown from the fans already, look at Jean Todt’s comments. It is so soon to judge where everybody is.

        I for once don’t believe that Massa for example pushed that car to the maximum, he was alone the entire race. We didn’t saw Grosjean pace. This two alone could close the gap to the top guys, who were pushing from beginning to end. FI also had an atypical weekend, and I think they are closer to Williams than it seems at the moment. STR could also close in on this guys a bit like RB could to Ferrari and Merc.

        Also everybody is still trying to understand tyres, setup, and in the case of Honda engines. Lets see how things unfold, especially when teams have more data on the compounds, I believe just like @bascb points out they were very conservative.

        I think there is a lot of reasons for optimism, but we will have to be patient.

        1. @keithcollantine I appreciate the COTD mention…thanks…as well as those seconding it.

      4. I disagree with COTD.

        The new product is fundamentally flawed. The new F1 cars cannot race each other due to the aero, and the new tires mean there’s no need for strategy. The best thing from last year (the mix of tires) is gone, because the softest compound is good enough for half a race distance. Last time we had tough as nails tires with Bridgestone at least we had refueling so the cars had to pit more and there was some strategy.

        I’m braced for the most boring races even if the championship is wide open.

        1. @Hucumber A couple of things, though. My whole point was that this is not written in stone. Let’s not base the whole season on one race, and let’s not assume the new management, including the awesome Ross Brawn, is going to leave things as is. As to the tires they had? Those were junk. If those types of tires are needed to ‘shake up the order’ then F1 truly does need different solutions, and thank goodness that ball is already rolling. There’s just too much we don’t know yet about different cars treating different tires differently at different tracks. And we’ve already had a different winner than a Merc. I do know where you are coming from, but I just think it is way too early to make the type of pronouncements you’re making.

    2. I was at the race yesterday and it was awesome! admittedly lacking overtakes but cars are beautiful… just remove the extra wings on top of the shark fins!

      Regarding the track invasion, it was a bit surprising, they had an official race control car going around with green lights, so fans started to rush the track. Problem was that this car was in front of the F1! Hopefully there was no incident and it got me great shots of Vettel celebrating by ecstatic fans!

      I was too late to be at the podium but ended up right in front of scrutineering garages with all cars parked there: it’s a fan dream coming true, we could have almost touched the cars! Again, got so many close up shots and it was quite striking to the see how intricate the Ferrari and Mercedes are. The RedBull looks pretty much “unfinished” to me a bit like past years Ferrari that were a bit too tidy to perform.

      Last but not least, it’s a very welcome sight to finally have so many colors on the grid!

      1. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    3. Love the way Lewis drives, but the chances of him having decent acting skills too…. I think not.

      1. His attacking skills are being nullified by not being able to follow closely. Drivers like him don’t lose that skill.

        1. He said acting skills…

          I agree he’d be a lousy actor but at the same time he would be the best person to play himself, he has after all had ample practice!

          1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
            27th March 2017, 12:26

            Never say never, 50 Cent pulled it off and Get Rich Or Die Trying wouldn’t have been half the movie if he hadn’t played himself.

            1. Even more so Eminem in ‘8 Mile’, @offdutyrockstar.

            2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
              27th March 2017, 13:30


            3. But it’s not as if they actually have skills in acting.

        2. Hamilton will never loose his skills. You have to have them in the first place to loose them. He has a fast car that’s pretty much it, look how Vettel pushed him so easy to loose his tyres. And thats a triple World Champion ? Sad times.

      2. He’d probably just “ham” it up.

        …I’ll see myself out.

    4. Well, glad Todt can see what everyone’s been saying for years now. Big question is whether they’ll decide on a cost capping, prize money redistribution or standardisation approach to even things up.

      Horner was adamant in the friday presser that no matter their decision the FIA and FOM need to go through existing channels of the big teams to implement anything. That makes me wonder if we’ll ever see the changes necessary.

      1. A simple, starting point would be to enforce absolute PU parity. If manufacturers had to supply complete identical PU solutions to all teams (including software), the gap between some of the midfield teams and top teams would close (dramatically in some instances). A further step could be power restriction, to close the gap across the manufacturers, which would help to close the gaps between teams. More in season testing would allow for teams to get their cars development moving quicker and allow for weaker PU issues to be identified.

        Implementing cost capping may be beneficial at some point, but, as pointed out many times, something very difficult to police and control.

        1. @maddme
          How do you get power and torque to be equal across the engine manufacturers.

          1. I think @maddmeis referring to parity between customer teams and factory teams. But it seems to me some of the current magic is in the oil & fuel and tricks associated. There was a lot of comment on the alchemic smells wafting from the red garage this weekend – after a fair bit of preseason conjecture about others deriving hp from oil.

          2. It worked fine in 2007 when engine parity was introduced. No reason it would not work today. The engines are more complex but in the end more equal engines = better racing and lower costs.

          3. Sadly it would need to be done by taking the power average of the manufacturers and using that as a starting point. There are current random weight checks carried out and adding a random power test (rolling road) could also be included.

        2. How about implementing funding parity?

          I think there should also be more freedom for power units with some sort of weight/fuel/power formula established so we don’t have everyone trying to do the exact same thing.

        3. @maddme
          1. You have no evidence there isn’t parity
          2. I do
          There is parity between the Mercedes factory team and customers as far as i know and the evidence points it out.

          from the article: Mercedes: “The power units are all the same design. We release CAD data to each customer early in the process, allowing them sufficient time to incorporate the size, shape and configuration of the power unit into their chassis development. Taking cooling installation as one of the examples you’ve mentioned, this is a chassis-side system and often requires us to use different adaptors etc. according to the team in question. But we’re talking minor adaptations, not major ones”
          “We use the same software and hardware for all teams – including the works outfit. How the engine is operated is governed by something called the ‘phase document’ which regulates how hard each specification of engine can be run”
          “As explained previously, we supply identical hardware and software to the works team and our customer teams”

          Since i know what your arguments (“*cough* phase document”) are going to be if you reply to this comment, i just made sure that i’ll give you extra information.
          When the New Williams team boss who left Mercedes at the end of last season was asked can customer teams win a championship in this era his reply was: “Yes. I mean the engines are actually all the same between the different Mercedes teams, they are supposed to be between all engine suppliers,” – Paddy Lowe

          Now my question to you is,
          Why are Renault supplying Red Bull Racing better engines than the works team?
          No doubt this question will cause a bit of mind jumbo, because many still fail to understand the chassis difference, some are massively better than others.

          1. Its good seeing that mercedes are playing a fair game, I was going by comments that had been made by teams over the last couple of years, (RBR as an example who were after a full parity PU to replace the 2015 Renault unit). I do still wonder though if it is purely chassis and design that is making some of the cars so much slower over a lap…

          2. Thank you for responding with the supporting info…

    5. The rules are too complicated. Take for example the new front wing design. It is easier and cheaper to make a straight line design, but the went for a curved design. It might look nice, but it takes more time to design and fabricate. And then, you have a thousand and one reference planes.
      Eliminate all those areas were time and money is spent, and you don’t need to cut costs.

    6. A Hamilton movie? I just puked in my mouth.

      1. Lol…”I Just Puked in My Mouth”…starring Lewis Hamilton as himself…directed by Lewis Hamilton…filmed in Selfietech on Lewis Hamilton’s iPhone by…you guessed it…Lewis Hamilton…coming to a twee-a-ter near you in your choice of 1D or 2D.

        1. @robbie Judging by the quality of FOM’s end-of-season DVD titles, “I Just Puked In My Mouth” may already be taken…

          1. How about “Still I Rise, Because I’m Blessed”
            starring: Lewis
            directed by: Lewis
            produced by: Lewis
            soundtrack by (you guessed it) Lewis

            1. @wesley I was expecting soundtrack by nicole scherzinger ;)

            2. He can do a sequel to “How to lose friends and alienate people”.

      2. I’ll settle for a live show featuring Lewis performing the music he keeps talking about.
        One thing at a time Lewis! Release your tunes first and then you can break through as a movie star. Don’t let this driving nonsense distract you!

        1. Really?!! Have you heard his ‘tunes’? “I just puked in my mouth” would also make an apt album title!

      3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        27th March 2017, 12:39

        It’s going down a storm on Broadway

      4. The Blade Runner (@)
        27th March 2017, 15:52

        Funny! :)

        I don’t know Lewis, I’m fairly sure that Sacha Baron Cohen, in Ali G guise, pretty-much has you to a tee!

    7. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      27th March 2017, 8:34

      Haha I’ve never heard anyone describe their own story as ‘inspirational’. He’s turning more and more into David Brent. Maybe that’s how they could make his film in the mockumentary Office style format where we all just cringe at Lewis’ for 1hr 30mins.

      1. What about it that could not be inspirational to some people?

        1. Primarily that some of his fans get upset at anything resembling just the faintest criticism :p

          1. As do his haters 😏

            1. dude hates himself man. It’s true. That’s why I can’t support him anymore, he’s just sad to watch, gets boned by his team over and over again, he’s nothing more than a jester/fool in Merc’s court. F1 btw, is pretty boring and predictable. It’s like MotoGP during the 2009-2014 era. Lolz.

    8. hamilton movie ? hamilton vs alonso mclaren meltdown movie… naw that will be greater than rush

    9. “Investigation underway after AGP crowd invasion”, including a guy in a red jacket who “jumped through the crowd to greet Seb in the pitlane” ;)

    10. Gp2 hardly has a spread of 0.8s for top 10 teams…

      It will never happen without single make chassis and engines.

      Right now we have Ferrari and Mercedes… Could be worse.

      But no way for midfield teams to get same results without triple budgets.

    11. Experts predicting that Hamilton will be forced into retirement by mid-season, purely because he’s unable to get a helmet that can fit over his massive head. Seriously, how self-involved do you have to be to want to make a movie about your life….starring you?

      And he really needs to stop peddling this “I’m the only one from a humble background” stuff, wasn’t Vettel’s dad a bricklayer?

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        27th March 2017, 12:47

        Carpenter. Schumi’s dad was a bricklayer.
        Judging by Sunday’s performance the comparisons don’t end there either

        1. It’s not racing if you can’t overtake! Two of the best racers, Hamilton and Verstappen both complained that the airflow is disrupted badly when a car is two seconds or less behind the car in front. This has to be fixed quickly. It doesn’t matter a monkeys what the cars look like if there is no proper racing.

      2. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
        27th March 2017, 13:24

        My sentiments exactly. Its this sort of Hamilton self entitlement and sheer arrogance that makes him so unlikeable (to me at least).

      3. @celicadion23 Careful where you go throwing around quotation marks like that. People might start to think you’re a credible source of information.


      4. Oh, please. Pack it in.

        You don’t like Lewis – great. Join the queue.

    12. I don’t understand why everyone (fans, drivers, team personnel) is complaining about lack of overtaking. The same people were complaining earlier about how easy overtaking had become, and how it was no longer spectacular, as it used to be.

      From what I understand:
      Easy overtaking = less spectacular = more overtaking per race ( because anybody can do it)

      Difficult to overtake = more spectacular = less overtaking per race ( because only a handful drivers can do it)

      Choice is yours ( but it’s hard to get both).

      1. It’s the same people who complained about the bubblegum tyres lol you’ll never please everyone.

        Sure, there’s less strategy (which i’m not exactly a fan of), but it at least means we have nicer looking cars with fat tyres again, and cars can at least attempt to follow other cars without being told off instantly.

      2. Thanks for reducing F1’s aero addiction to a simple binary problem.

        The ‘bubblegum’ tyres (and DRS) were introduced because F1 had become primarily an aero series. An aero series where the car ahead generated dirty turbulent air that reduced the following car’s down force by at least 25%.

        The designed-to-degrade tyres were unpopular especially with Merc winning the engine series – so Bernie and his team of reactionary rule tweakers decided the solution was MORE aero and wider, more durable tyres. Faster cars (in the corners) solves everything! Thanks, Bernie.

        In the recent seasons, the dirty air gap was around 1 second. From the comments of drivers this year, it has grown to about 2 seconds.

        With the drag of the wider tyres combined with the increased down force, braking distances have become shorter (less oppourtunity for overtakes). Unless the zones are tweaked even DRS will not provide many fake overtakes this season.

        Ross Brawn believes there is a solution to the aero wake wars. Without resorting to fake overtakes. I sure hope so.

        I didn’t like the racing that resulted from the degrading tyres and DRS. I don’t like the new more aero version any better. If Max and Lewis can’t even get close enough to launch an over taking move, where will the on-track battles happen? In the pits.

    13. Imo Lewis’s life is not that fascinating to be a movie.

      1. Oh in his mind it is.

      2. @marussi I’d rather say you can make a good movie from every single human life. Though, arguably when you take real persons, it’s a bit difficult to get a good crisis in there before the resolution in the final act, simply because you’ll have to decide which crisis do you choose for that, and how you depict the other involved characters, who will get the villain-resembling role, how do you avoid it appearing as cheesy self-promo or as something already known?
        Is it the single-father-lower-middle-class upbringing? Then how do you present both parents responsibly, and wouldn’t it make more sense to choose Anthony rather than Lewis as the protagonist? How do you get the resolution close and attached to the rest of the story?
        Or do you choose Nicole S. as the crisis and make it a comedy movie? Might be fun, but how do you do that without getting sued?
        The McL-late-years little slump before switching to Merc, I don’t think that’s really working…

        Maybe let’s just do a comedic take on the 2007 season from Ron Dennis’ point of view. Or, if we want to stay with Hamilton as main protagonist, do the official hearings and the staff meetings and press conferences and all that happened after the 2009 Australian GP and make it a little intimate chamber drama.

        1. a movie about spygate from the inside would be rather fun to watch or about the time Piquet jr had to choose to crash or not to crash ;)

          My life as a movie would be a drama between me and my ex that ignores our kid and it would probably be a bad chickflick :P

    14. The gap to the top three teams (Ferrari, Mercedes & Red Bull) is so large in part because the budgets of these teams is much greater compared with the other teams. The budgets of the top three teams are so much greater in part because they receive much more money from the revenues that the business of F1 generates. If a way is found to make the payments to the teams each year less skewed than is currently the case then it should help make the competition closer, which I think just about everybody can agree on is one of the things that is needed to increase the interest in F1 from the fans.

      1. Also worth noting that it’s the exact same teams that tested the Pirelli tyres privately. Not too surprising!

    15. drivers reporting that it is much harder to overtake in 2017’s new cars

      At least it wasn’t better ten or twenty years ago:
      – San Marino 2006 (1 overtake)
      – Spain 1996 (4 overtakes)

    16. Its great Lewis wants to make a film about himself. People on their high horses will get left behind in an era that is more creative and innovative.

      He clearly has enough interesting arcs in his life of growing up in the spotlight, not least his battles in f1 off the track that are hidden from public view.
      Plus hollywood has rather stagnated eith remakes on top of reboots. Could be a good thing…

    17. 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.
      The new regulations have some advantages and disadvantages:
      -Advantages: 1, Tyres are wider, more grip and more durable so drivers can go flat out more time. 2, It is more fun and phisically more harder for drivers. 3, Cars are maybe the fastest ever so they can beat absolute lap records (in qualifyng) 4, Fortunately it seems Ferrari and Mercedes (battle for win) are closer in lap times (but it is maybe early to say).
      -Disadvatages: 1, Margin between teams ‘too big’ (it is true). 2, Overtaking is much more harder because of complex aero system, and wider cars. 3, Drivers have to save fuel, so they need more fuel to go flat out more time during races. 4, Drivers are far from fastest lap during race.
      I think F1 need less differences between cars in lap time and less dirty air (but fast cars).

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