Changes to ‘Wall of Champions’ for 2017 Canadian GP

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will feature safety revisions for 2017 including a reprofiling of the famed ‘Wall of Champions’.

Billy Monger

Billy Monger, the 17-year-old Formula Four racer who suffered a serious crash at Donington Park on Sunday, remains in intensive care. According to his team JHR Monger has undergone “amputations to both legs”.

A Trust is being set up to support him and donations can be made here. The donation target was hit within a few hours of it being opened but many people are continuing to give:

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Comment of the day

Renault RS 2027 vision F1 car concept pictures
John is a big fan of Renault’s vision for the future of Formula One:

Renault have produced a terrific design which addresses a wide range of issues, particularly the need to make drivers less anonymous and literally more visible to the spectators and the TV audience. The Lexan cockpit canopy is a far better solution than the abysmally ugly ‘Halo’ which is likely to be imposed on the Formula from next year, and there are a number of technical solutions available for the visibility issues.

But perhaps most significantly, when placed next to an image of a typical ‘bitty’ 2017 car, the new Renault design looks composed, stylish and elegant, befitting the cost and knowledge levels of this elite level of motorsport. Design of this quality could certainly be developed and produced in time for the scheduled major regulation changes expected in 2020.

As a manufacturer team, the benefits to Renault could be tangible if marketed correctly, represented by increased sales of their affordable road vehicles worldwide. Few of us can splurge on a road-going Ferrari, McLaren or even a Mercedes-Benz, but Renault is in a fine position to convert sporting achievement into sales.

And with Fernando Alonso back in the (visible) driving seat, world championships beckon once again…
John Stedman

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On this day in F1

Phil Hill was born on this day in 1927.

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Keith Collantine
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62 comments on “Changes to ‘Wall of Champions’ for 2017 Canadian GP”

  1. Personally I dislike Renault’s design. As with most manufacture concepts, it’s too alien, so to speak. Too smooth and almost clinical in its aerodynamics. I much prefer a down to earth, functional look of something, than an artificial sleek futuristic look. From a purely aesthetic design viewpoint, I think the angles and the curves don’t mix well, and the distribution of parts is too uneven, with some parts of the car looking completely bare while others take a bulk of the weight, which was a big issue in recent years. Sadly I think headlights on an F1 car are very much out of place.

    It was only a matter of time before changes were made to the famous wall of champions, although thankfully there is a limit to what can be done without putting a structure over the water behind. It’s a shame to see them continue to water down great corners, especially those which have never been regarded as too dangerous (or they wouldn’t have raced like that up until now). The wall of champions is called so because it is in fact, a wall of champions. A corner so challenging that even the very best have had moments leaving them looking like a rookie. I hope the changes are limited to changing the trajectory of the cars hitting it, rather than preventing it altogether.

    The use of tecpro barriers is a good change, as it does not alter the character of the track but it does stop cars bouncing back onto the track, by denting the barrier absorbing the impact, rather than loading a tyre barrier like a spring. This is especially important on a track with little run-off. The increased use of tarmac instead of gravel does disappointment me because it reduces the challenge, although hopefully they won’t be getting rid of the grass strips which border the corners.

    1. @strontium
      Hopefuly the changes to the wall will be minor, certainly agree that it’s good to see the Tecpro snd SAFER barriers being introduced in key areas. I’m always split over the change to tarmac run-off instead of grass, obviously it’s easier to stop on run-off so they’re less likely to crash, but it does tend to encourage drivers to push the track limits more and takes away some of the challenge. It’s a tough call, I like there to be an element of risk when they run wide, but only in so much as losing time, a few spots (such as the Wall of Champions) where they know a mistake is going to put them out are good, but I’d rather have them lose some time but stay in the race due to minor mistakes in other spots.

      Agree about the Renault, it looks like an poor attempt at a GT Vision car rather than a real racing concept, and it’s really, really ugly, especially the front wing.

    2. @strontium, I think that they have been looking at trying to do something to the “Wall of Champions” for a number of years now, particularly since 2010 when Kobayashi hit the wall there.

      In general, there has been the concern that cars which hit the wall there tend to rebound back onto the track, creating the risk that they might be struck by another car if they were being closely followed at the time. In Kobayashi’s case specifically, as he went in at an unusual angle, he effectively partially blocked the track in such a way that, if he’d not been able to drive away, they’d probably have had to stop the race to recover his car.

      I believe that part of the plan is therefore to try and angle the wall so any cars which hit it are more likely to go down the track rather than rebound back into it, making it easier to recover the cars and less likely that they could could be hit by another driver.

      1. @anon Was thinking the same. I think you’ve likely nailed it.

  2. That poor kid in the Formula 4 crash has had both legs amputated…….very sad.

    1. @mach1 Heartbreaking shocking situation.

    2. What an absolutely horrible situation, I feel so sorry for everyone involved.

      1. Really bad scene, poor kid.

    3. Horrible to hear

  3. Michael Brown (@)
    20th April 2017, 0:25

    Nothing specific has been said about the Wall of Champions other than the “angle change.” I hope it’s not drastic.

    By this logic, I expect a complete overhaul of the Monaco Grand Prix

    1. Canada made changes to the wall of champions?
      Don’t they want Stroll to crash into the “Wall of Champions”?

      1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        20th April 2017, 2:56

        @peartree he was F4 and F3 champion, so I hope FIA let him crash there.

        1. “It was my wall!”

      2. He will, they just want to make it a bit harder for him.

        1. Isnt it hard enough for him to get by turn 1?

          1. There’s always time to do the crash in qualifying…

    2. Perhaps Nico Rosberg will miss not having crashed into Wall of the Champions – he does not stand a chance now. :)

      1. Ah that is why some say he is not a worthy champion.

  4. Neil (@neilosjames)
    20th April 2017, 0:41

    I really don’t think Alonso has been ‘advised badly, or made mistakes’ in his team choices. It’s more a combination of bad luck and his own personality making him incompatible with certain other drivers.

    Going to McLaren in 2007 was a good move at the time, but all the stuff that happened meant he couldn’t realistically remain there (I’ll concede that bad decisions happened during the season). Hopping back to Renault was entirely reasonable, given the lack of decent alternatives at the time. Going to Ferrari in 2010 made perfect sense, because at the time they were without doubt one of the most likely teams to build awesome cars in the next few years.

    Leaving Ferrari at the end of 2014 was also a perfectly understandable decision because they’d consistently failed to make a top car and any trust that once existed had gone. And returning to McLaren was the best option available, even if it was likely to be tough at first. I can’t imagine he, or anyone else, really expected Honda to still be screwing up so monumentally in the third year of his deal.

    I expected them to be front-runners by now… in the same way I expected Ferrari to crack out a few championships from 2010 onwards.

    It’s easy to look back and say ‘ah, he made bad decisions and was badly advised’ but his career moves have largely made sense. Even the return to McLaren… of course it was a gamble, but it was the only gamble in town. Without the benefit of a crystal ball, I would probably have made exactly the same moves he did.

    1. @neilosjames hindsight is a beautiful thing. Mark Webber chose Williams over Renault in 2005 and we all know what happened then. He went to Red Bull after that and it also looked like a step backwards and look what happened 2 years later: they were championship winners.

      As you say, you have to analyse actions at the time they were decided!

    2. I agree, Alonso is at some degree a toxic person and he can’t accept others have great talent, the man complained about and criticized Ferrari, now is doing the same with McLaren and worse with his check payers: Honda, he was unable to accept a rookie Lewis Hamilton was better than him in 2007, the man has great skills no doubt, but no better than Hamilton or Vettel and not near Senna or Schumacher, great skills, but his personality is something team bosses prefer to see from distance.
      The worse thing: he is teaching those manners to Carlos Sainz, hope Carlos goes in a different direction.

      1. Well, Button says he is a tougher opponent than Hamilton and many of his peers, past and present, rate him the best in the paddock.
        I take their word for it instead of us armchair racers who are many times biased against him and won’t admit the obvious.
        The idea that he is toxic is BS. Would Hamilton or Vettel as champions be as patient as him for all he has gone through with McLaren? I think not.

        1. Of course they wouldn’t be patient. But Mclaren the first time around, and Ferrari were regular race winners. Still ended both relationships on negative terms.

          1. Yes, Ferrari were race winners. Sometimes. But Alonso didn’t go to Ferrari to only win races.

          2. @telvee32 – “Only win races”. He had the privilege of getting to fight for two more titles as well.

          3. He left McLaren after being paired with a highly competitive teammate, with accusations of favouritism towards the other driver, and he was fired from Ferrari after a change in management.

            Fernando Alonso or Alain Prost?

        2. When Button said that, he was still his teammate, honestly think he would’ve said otherwise?

          Button also said Lewis was making s mistake joining Mercedes and if he wanted to win, McLaren was the right place for it.

          1. As I alluded too, I take the word of his peers over your opinion.

          2. Most people are still of the opinion to this day that FA is the best on the grid, so it is insignificant that Button said it when he and FA were teammates. More people also thought it was a mistake for LH to leave Mac for Merc (I didn’t at the time-I thought it was the right move for LH) so Button didn’t have a monopoly on that opinion either.

      2. @juanmelendezr1 It does look like Alonso is rubbing off on Sainz jr but I’m sure Alonso is innocent on that part. Sainz’s jr character is in the blood, he’s just like his father.

      3. Neil (@neilosjames)
        20th April 2017, 6:13

        I don’t think Alonso is any different to any other top driver… they all acknowledge that other drivers are also good, they just don’t want someone on their level competing for space in their teams (regardless of what they may say in public).

        And while I agree that Alonso can come off as a bit unpleasant when the cards aren’t falling his way, that’s also something that can be said for every top driver for at least the past 30 years.

        1. Bingo Neil, that’s +1

          1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
            23rd April 2017, 15:34

            Spot on! Hamilton and Rosberg are the latest of many examples of this, and unlikely to be the last. For all people say about the latter, he surely has etched himself into history.

    3. @neilosjames

      Leaving Ferrari at the end of 2014 was also a perfectly understandable decision

      With Montezemelo being moved out and new Ferrari management coming in – I was always under the impression that Ferrari didnt show much love for Fernando and didnt want to retain him. Management was turning a new lead, and they’d already decided to get Vettel, with a view to emulating Schumacher.

      It was as much about Ferrari not wanting Alonso, as it was him choosing to leave – he always spun it like he chose to leave the Ferrari to go to the “better” opportunity at McLaren.

      1. “It was as much about Ferrari not wanting Alonso, as it was him choosing to leave – he always spun it like he chose to leave the Ferrari to go to the “better” opportunity at McLaren.”

        I’ve said it on here many times, that Alonso was effectively fired at the end of 2014. Some argue that he volunteered to leave, which isn’t true at all. The entire 2014 campaign he was badmouthing the team, whenever they had a good result, it was all him how brilliant he was, but when he didn’t, it was the team’s fault.

        The one team he has worked with whereby he was allowed to do whatever he wanted, was Renault during his championship years. And that was only because Flávio allowed it.

        Alonso is a great driver, top 3 on the grid, but the idea that he’s the greatest driver of his generation, is something I’m not buying into, especially after 2007, which was the start of the downward spiral in his career.

        1. Agree with this one too.

        2. Even in his Championship years (2006?) at Renault he was complaining that he wasn’t getting the support from the team!

          He does seem to be a toxic driver who, instead of galvanising a team around him, seems to be a demotivating force for the teams he drives for. Even Pat Symonds said on the F1 report last night that he was a ‘difficult character’.

          Don’t get me wrong, I think that he is a great driver, certainly one of the best on the current grid but he does seem to have burnt a lot of bridges throughout his career.

        3. Alonso is self entitled with a god complex who have been over indulged by too many,In many ways his lack of success is directly result of it.The guy was the top guy at Ferrari and acted like they were giving him a wheel barrow to drive and the successes was only attributed to his efforts,sounds familiar to his attitude at Mclaren now..when Ferrari stop endulging him,he acted like he was irreplaceable,so they signed Vettell and left him hanging…
          Fortunately there was Mclaren and Ron desperate to be relevant,and cover up their failure….so …they gave him every thing he wanted..which is to be in a prima donna position as savior of Mclaren….

        4. ‘whenever they had a good result, it was all him how good he was’

          but it was though wasn’t it?

          where the hell was raikkonen for the whole season?

          I said it before and i’ll say it again, Alonso made Ferrari look better than they were throughout the time he was there. massa was nowhere bar a couple of good races, and same for raikkonen, nowhere. i’ll give credit to Ferrari for providing a reliable car though, but in no way was it the fastest in any of the years he was there. it was 2nd or 3rd fastest and at the beginning of 2012 and end of 2013 it was 4th fastest.

          I remember that race in Valencia in 2012, yes he got lucky with retirements and botched pitstops and his car was half decent, but he lapped his own teammate on his way to victory for God’s sake.

          The best measurement of a driver is his teammate. in 2007 I would say Alonso and Hamilton were pretty close. some races Alonso would be better and some Hamilton. after that Hamilton has been faster than his teammates convincingly and so has alonso

        5. “whenever they had a good result, it was all him how brilliant he was, but when he didn’t, it was the team’s fault”….but enough about LH and his fans.

    4. @neilosjames – very well said. I still remember in 2014 how people were saying that Honda’s delayed entry meant that they’d actually get a leg-up on engine design by learning from the other manufacturers. And we all saw how that really played out.

      Bear in mind that it is Horner making these statements. And as Bernie’s protégé, Horner too makes statements that are calculated to provoke or incite action.

      1. I think we only need to look at who is Alonso’s manager.

    5. It’s more a combination of bad luck and his own personality making him incompatible with certain other drivers.

      Yeah, with certain drivers, with drivers who can compete with him..

      1. I think something about FA in his earlier years in F1 needs to be pointed out. FA has raced against MS/Ferrari who had more advantages than any driver in he history of F1 before or since. His boss was Briatore who was also MS/Benetton in the early 90’s so very much of the concept of a designated 1 and 2 from race one of each season. When it came to competing against MS/Ferrari the tact at FA/Renault would have been that the only way to compete against the MS/Ferrari elephant in the room of completely putting all the eggs in the number 1’s basket was to try to do the same.

        Just saying some of FA’s ‘image’, some of the opinions formed of him, may be coming from a different era of F1, an unfortunate era that saw this massive skewing not just by Ferrari but by F1 itself to favour one driver on the grid immensely. By the time FA got to Mac vs LH he had been engrained in the concept of teams’ ability to favour one driver, although at Mac he only plead for equal treatment, not favouritism. I think a little attitude or even paranoia was understandable at the time. Let’s face it even on a team like Merc 2016 who time and time again spoke of and proved they favoured neither driver, LH still turned it into them favouring Nico.

        All this to say the harsher criticisms of FA are, I think, unwarranted and I’m glad many still tout him as the best on the grid. LH couldn’t handle last year where he had a car that won him multiple races and nearly the WDC. Why shouldn’t FA be cut some slack given his current situation?

        1. + 1

          I think Alonso might have been a little immature and slightly petulant in 2007 but he found himself in an unexpected situation, which he did not deal with in the best way.

          I also don’t think Ferrari sacked him in effect at the end of 2014. I think if he had been more enthusiastic about staying then he could have. However, Vettel was itching to leave RBR as he was being out driven by Ricciardo. I have no doubt he was chomping at the bit to go to Ferrari so they went with him bearing in mind Alonso’s luke warm enthusiasm.

  5. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    20th April 2017, 3:05

    Sad to know about this kid Billy Monger. I saw the onboard and there was no way any driver, as skilled as it could be, could have avoided that parked car appearing suddenlyin front of him.
    About the Renault concept, I like 2 things and I dislike 1.
    I like how they propose transparent solutions so we can see the drivers’ faces and especially their reactions. I also like the idea of movable wings (a la Bugatti Veyron), but it should be something all drivers are allowed to use, and not only the chasing one. I hope DRS is already a memory by 2027. If this wings were movable and ready for every driver, we could see their skill in seeing who goes closer to the limits.
    Finally, what I don’t like is the tight cockpit. If it’s closed, it should include something that protects the driver head in case that canopy gets shattered. I mean, the glass idea is good, but it would still need a strong head cone or support that avoids the possibility of the car going upside down, the canopu shattering and the driver’s head making direct contact with the track at high speed.

    1. Very sad indeed. I hope there will be an investigation, I don’t know if there were any yellow flags being waved to warn for the other car? I hope they’ll also look into improving the safety of the F4 cars, because such a heavy crash can happen again whether it’s with another car or a wall.

      1. From what I can make out, the car he hit had just left the track, spun and ended back in the track, immediately prior to being hit. If this is the case then it would just be one of those very bad racing incidents where nothing could be done.

  6. Saward’s article is interesting. Very interesting…

  7. Also today, Robert Kubica drove an open wheeler for the first time since his accident, at a track with enough twisty stuff in a gp3 car and reported all positives. I think him cancelling the WEC drive and recently saying he wants to test an f1 car again, along with Toto Wolff saying the offer is still there to give him a test is leading up to something in open wheelers, might be nothing in terms of any possible f1 race drive. a gp3 car can do about 2.5g, so I guess build into it before an f1 test. at the Lemans prologue test a few weeks ago in Monza, Kubica was showing a reporter the steering wheel, he was turning it and pressing the gear changes with right hand, and at that moment it looked like he is capable, there is still just the matter of arm rotation in a confined cockpit, but it must have really got much better in 6 years that he is feeling confident now to try again. still 32 years old. id like to see him in Formula E actually and teamup with his old buddy Alonso at Lemans one day.

  8. Overall I like some of the key ideas behind the Renault concept. But while the almost flat cockpit looks nice, it is simply not true that ,

    and there are a number of technical solutions available for the visibility issues.

    It wouldn’t open with a car overturned, it would have trouble opening when partially covered, the way this one looks it would distort view to an incredible extent and we still have to find better nano-films to actually make water run off it without leaving spots. Fogging up will also be pretty bad unless they install some form of AC for that.

    But I don’t really think these details are what matters with the concept. The important things are with the vision behind it: giving more room to show the fans what is going on (telemetry, the led lights to give info etc), what technical stuff is on the car and reinforce that the driver should be visible from the outside. And the move towards a small but powerfull engine that uses a lot of hybrid components.

  9. According to his team JHR Monger has undergone “amputations to both legs”.

    Oh no. I thought it looked horrible, but I mostly just thought it involved a broken leg or something like that… But this is terrible :(

    Get well soon!

  10. Such a terrible twist of fate for Billy Monger.

    Here’s hoping the despair he will experience can turn to hope for this young lad.

    Let’s hope they can get some dialog with the inspirational Alex Zanardi!

    1. Yeah I wouldn’t be surprised if Alex is on his way. Super inspirational and positive guy.

  11. Your heart has to go out to Billy Monger and his family, this is such a cruel sport at times. I hope he can find some solace in the fact that the great Alex Zanardi has gone on to do amazing things in motorsport and at the Paralympics despite his accident.

    1. Good to read that Lewis and Jenson have reached out to support the poor lad. I too hope Billy sees Alex as an inspiration not just for life but a possible return to racing/competition.

  12. Renaults concept still has open wheels … yawn

  13. Evil Homer (@)
    20th April 2017, 14:25

    All thoughts and best wishes to young Billy Monger.

    I first saw that footage not long ago and its simply horrible. All positive thoughts with you Billy! 🏎

  14. I really wish that darn media would stop pushing politics into sport. I mean, you know, can’t a guy who only ever imprisons people who criticize him have a nice meeting over tea and biscuits with F1 execs and then publish pics to show what a swell guy he is without somebody connecting the dots already?

  15. Michael Brown (@)
    20th April 2017, 18:33

    I bet by “changing the angle,” the wall will no longer be straight. Think of the walls in Singapore, how some walls are curved in a way to give cars more space.

    I really really don’t want another neutering of another track’s famous corner.

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