F1 could use F2 to test “different grid formations”

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In the round-up: Formula One sporting director Ross Brawn says Formula Two could be used as a laboratory to test possible future changes for Formula One such as new grid arrangements.

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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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61 comments on “F1 could use F2 to test “different grid formations””

  1. they are not thinking about ditching the DRS


    1. @gunusugeh it is sad indeed.

      i was at spa sitting on the bank down the kemmel straight & in the pre drs days we used to see tons of good slipstreaming action and side by side racing down to les combes. since 2011 however its been mostly uncontested push of a button (highway passes i think ive seen people call them) that are over well before the braking points & its just not been that fun to watch.

      its actually a bit embarrassing trying to explain to the friend who went with me last year that the cars ahead had not simply pulled over to let the car behind past as it often looked & that it was instead because of this flappy wing that was making the defending car a sitting duck & there attempted defence pointless.

      1. I put it in the same category as climate change denial and flat earthers nowadays. Actually it’s probably worse.

        There is no logic behind the fact seemingly intelligent people within F1 still pursue this DRS thing. It’s almost proof there must be a god messing with things top-down, because it simply makes no sense whatsoever anymore. I am at a total loss.

        1. I think you’re going a tiny bit too far, comparing it to flat-earthers…

          Of course there’s logic behind it – without it, overtaking would be pretty much impossible where two cars had similar levels of performance and tyre quality. ‘Battles’ for position would not be battles, they’d be simple processions with no possibility of any position change, and lots of people find that sort of ‘racing’ to be incredibly dull. I’d go so far as to say it’s not even racing, it’s convoying.

          I hate DRS, but I still see it as a necessary evil. So maybe it’s some guy messing with my head from down below, rather than up above…

    2. @gunusugeh @RogerRichards DRS has to stay at least as long as the way the cars are designed aerodynamically makes following another car closely very difficult. Fix that problem first, and then we can talk about getting rid of it entirely.

      1. The problem is that DRS ‘solves’ it on the straight, whereas the problem you describe exists in the turns.
        Maybe oblige the leading car using DRS in the turns ;)

      2. @jerejj : DRS works only for the 2nd car …. if there were four cars cruising under a second, the 3rd & 4th car wont get any advantage from it, DRS-ing the DRS-ed car … LOL

    3. Ross Brawn has said he wanted it gone for 2021.

    4. @gunusugeh Just because the removal of DRS was not mentioned in the cited quotes from the article above, does not mean DRS is not on the way out. You should take encouragement that they will be removing it but will be doing it in a way that will allow all the teams, including the lesser ones, to adapt. They first need to get the cars less negatively affected when in another’s dirt air.

      1. To be honest, apart from the top 6, the other drivers don’t seem to defend position at all. So DRS looks easy, nobody fighting into the braking zone. Or coming up with tactics like Hamilton on the spa restart…

  2. I don’t see how, generally speaking, F2 solutions can be transfered to F1. It’s a different thing altogether…

    1. Animal testing that’s what it is.

    2. I don’t see how, generally speaking, F2 solutions can be transfered to F1. It’s a different thing altogether…


      Agree. Just look at Honda’s power unit :P

  3. I’ve got the best ever idea for a grid format….. You have them line-up & start in the order that the qualified.

    No silly gimmicks, The Fastest starts on pole & the slowest in last.

    1. That could work…

    2. I’ve had a thought on qualifying…. They want the grid to be shuffled up to make racing more interesting as overtakes happen when a faster car is behind a slower car, but fans don’t like artificial stuff and reverse grids etc because that is stupid and unfair, so here is my way of making it a fair but potentially shaken up grid:

      Have a driver qualifying session at each track – where each driver gets time in equal cars to do their best qualifying lap. The time for this can be added to the ‘team qualifying session’ which is a normal qualifying session in their F1 cars.

      This way, we still get to see the F1 cars going as fast as possible in qualifying but we also get to see who the best drivers are which may vary from track to track and it will not artificially change the starting order but change it based on talent and merit. It may even ensure F1 really has the best drivers as teams will want the best drivers as drivers may be able to make up the cars difference and a few starting positions and we all know how much track position can mean (except if you have DRS and a Honda engine of course!).

      The drivers qualifying trophy can be based purely on the drivers qualifying session and may make it more prestigious and be higher regarded (possibly even driver points towards the championship??).

      I was thinking at different tracks, different manufacturers could bring 20 of their sports cars to promote how good their brand is (incentive for the manufactures to do this) and we can see the best drivers going flat out in some different sports/hyper cars. The cars would be given numbers which were drawn out of a hat by the drivers so the manufactures couldn’t tinker beforehand and make one car better and ensure they supply as equal as possible cars. Set up and tire pressures etc would be set up before drivers choice and not be able to changed so there is no car based advantage.

      A few things need to be decided on like when and how long they get etc and if they should get points or just the qualifier trophy, and which cars to use if manufacturers don’t want to supply them (just 20 (or however many drivers) of the same regardless of make or model would be good enough) but other than that I think it is a simple way to get what people want… please let me know if you can see any flaws in my plan though!

    3. I agree – though if you put the fastest at the front and the slowest at the back, you probably shouldn’t act surprised when you don’t see any overtaking and they finish in broadly the same order as they started.

    4. That works and if we didn’t have the parc ferme rules we might see some better racing action. As the cars are lined up fastest to slowest and the cars can’t be changed after qualifying, what then makes the FIA think that there will be overtaking?

  4. the issue with having f2/young drivers take part in practice is that no disrespect to them but there not who i’m paying to watch.

    i remember back when you had the 3rd cars on friday in 2003-2006 you were sitting in the stands with the drivers you had paid to watch sitting in the garages not doing many laps as teams had the 3rd drivers do most of the running. when you have paid to go see alonso, raikkonen, schumacher etc…. it was frustrating to see them doing hardly any laps.
    its the same with the system since 2007 where a 3rd driver replaces one of the 2 race drivers, its frustrating if your in the stands to watch your favourite driver not doing any laps as somebody else is in his car.

    if there going to give the young drivers f1 track time they need to do it in a way that doesn’t take time away from the race drivers that people have gone to the track to actually watch.

    i don’t mean to disrespect the young drivers but when i go to an f1 track during an f1 weekend i have done so to watch my favourite f1 drivers driving in f1 cars.

    1. This is an excellent point.

      1. A valid point and one that I can see Brawn addressing.

    2. Just another knock-on effect of the cost cutting measures. In the “old days” the young drivers got seat time by being a test driver and many were able to prove their worth and ultimately get seats by their performance in testing. Cost cutting measures eliminated testing and pretty much made the reserve driver role ceremonial. Now there are very few opportunities for young drivers to get F1 seat time let alone considerable time in the cars.
      I don’t think there has been one cost cutting measure that has been good for F1 and in my opinion they all need to go.

    3. I paid to watch/listen to the cars. There could have been anyone under the helmets… Knowing who was driving added a certain something..

  5. Having F2 to test possible changes to F1 is a huge advantage that I think was missing in the Bernie era.

    Despite the fact that we all knew it was going to fail, if the staggered elimination qualifying had been tried in a junior series first, it would have been obviously terrible and never tried in F1. But because it wasn’t tried elsewhere, we had to endure that travesty at the pinnacle of motorsport (even if only for two races).

    Having a feeder series under your control allows you to try things in a controlled setting rather than throwing stuff around and seeing what sticks.

    1. Imagine paying millions of euros to race in F2 and to be a guinea pig for trying out ideas in F1. Is F2 supposed to be a proving ground for young drivers or

      1. Imagine paying millions of euros to race in F2 for a chance to race in F1, with actual practice sessions in F1 to help that transition.

      2. @georgeod
        It’s precisely because F2 is nothing but a proving ground for F1 that these changes should be tested there. It’s not like it hasn’t already been ruined as a pure sporting series by DRS, rubbish tyres, junior teams etc. Leave F3 to show pure talent.

    2. for two races

      Wiow, it actually survived two races

  6. https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/131722/sainz-renault-deal-sets-up-mclaren-changes

    So it looks like Mclaren have paid out Sainz’s contract?

    This is a good deal for all involved. Mclaren get a “sorta” better engine that doesnt break at every chicane, STR becomes a works team, hence Red Bull dont have to foot too much of a bill, Sainz breaks free of Marko’s clutches, Pierre Gasly gets a drive, and sadly, Honda will remain in F1.

    It would be funny if Honda turn up with a top motor at Barcelona in winter though…

    1. It would be funny if Honda turn up with a top motor at Barcelona in winter though…

      @jaymenon10 – that might just be RBR hedging their bets – they know they’re locked out of the top 2 engines, and now they’ve got a foothold with each of the other 2 manufacturers. Depending on who develops better, that might open up options.

      1. @phylyp Agreed.

        RB are playing the options game here, and they have very little to lose. I’m sure they have considered the risk of being beaten by Mclaren, but perhaps this is something they can live with for the short term.

        As you say, if (a big IF) the Honda engine proves competitive next year, you can be sure that RBR will be running them in 19. If it works out, RB will have options come 2021, especially if Porsche come into the picture.

        1. I don’t think Red Bull need to be worried about being beaten by Mclaren. Their chassis is good, no one doubts that. It is Mclaren who need to worry about that. After 3 years, they are finally in a situation where the engine they have is also in the back of some other car and a direct chassis comparison is possible. The last time that happened – 2014 – Mclaren didn’t fare well.

    2. STR becomes a works team

      I’d love to see Red Bull owning teams each with TAG and TAG Heuer engines.

  7. Honda might have put Fernando in some awkward situtations over the last two or three years, but I’ve never seen him look as embarrassed as he does there. Dear, oh dear. :)

    Next caption comp., surely?

    1. It probably runs more reliably than his current ride…

      1. Just what I was thinking….

      2. @jaymenon10 – damn, you beat me it! :-)

    2. The best thing is, on the top right corner the sentence “perdiendo el norte” literally translated to English is “losing the north”, but it is a popular catchphrase for “losing your bearings”

  8. I think the starting grid with the same distance apart between the rows needs to change. We see lots of crashes at the rear of the grid which suggests to me the space between the rows is too close together at the rear of the grid. Would it be possible and practical to gradually increased the spacing between the rows as you move from the front to the rear so that by the time you got to the last few cars the distances between the rows is, say, twice what it is at the front of the grid?

    1. @drycrust – while I would like to see fewer incidents at the start, I believe more of them happen at turn 1 when cars often end up three-abreast, than when launching off the grid.

      To me, increasing the spacing as one moves further back the grid is just penalizing those who’ve qualified poorly. And those who qualify poorly tend to often be poorly funded teams.

      Furthermore, if you think that crashes at starts has to stop, then maybe a rolling start might be the better way to go, rather than a standing start.

      That said, a standing start does have the potential to mix things up – think of how Alonso often makes up places at the start due to his skills. Those sort of things would also be nullified by taming down the start.

    2. I think your solution there is going to create even more issues @drycrust. The reason we have many more accidents at the back of the field at the start is not that they are too close together for their skill or something. It is because they are further back on a straight, so the further back they start, the more speed they gain before the first corner. And the more likely they are to get tangled up in the bottleneck of that first corner when they have to brake harder than those ahead of them.

      I think that @phylyp might be right about rolling starts helping to solve that issue, as all the cars are going at a more even speed. But I agree that it would take a lot of the excitement out of starts to do so.

      1. It’s not the distance between the cars at the start, but the miscalculated breaking point (cooler tyres/brakes, slower speeds in those corners than later in the race, etc), and the lesser experience that causes those incidents.

        Don’t expect Kvyat to miss more cars if he were to have more space at the starting line ;)

    3. @drycrust
      Nah. That’d be unfair.

      What would be an improvement would be to use an interwoven grid. It is one where rows are interchangeably pushed to the side, e.g. the odd rows are pushed to the left and the even rows to the right.
      This way no-one’s directly behing the car in front of them, but in-between.
      They use this kind of grid in MotoGP, although with the rows of 3:

  9. “Sauber planning to hire 100 new staff”

    No word yet on how many of them will be pay-drivers.

    1. Three at least, I imagine.

    2. Shaun Robinson (@)
      11th September 2017, 12:46

      The salaries at Sauber are amazing. 6 digits for an engineer role there.

      1. So that is 100×100000 and x2 for tax, roughly 20 milions of your favoured currency. And that is back of the grid team.

        If they need 400 people just to improve from the back, how many do McLaren need to improve from midfield.

  10. F1 could use F2 to test “different grid formations

    There has been 100 years of racing to test grid formations and start procedures. Unless they are going to use railgun technology to launch them I can’t see much changing.

  11. Hi Keith – Slightly off piste this question – in the photo at the top of this article what is the guy halfway down the left hand side of the grid doing exactly? He appears to be facing the wrong way and dressed as a band leader….also I assume the first guy on the right hand side in shorts is a tv cameraman

    1. and what happened to the orange pants of the woman checking position 2 ;)

  12. Before everyone gets angry about the grid formations and safety car restarts being ‘gimmicky’, we don’t actually know what he has in mind just yet. Bear in mind, we used to have 3 cars abreast on the grid, could just be something as simple as that?

  13. Asked for his thoughts on other ways that F2 drivers might be able to participate in Friday F1 practice sessions, Ross Brawn said: “we might consider reducing the fee F2 drivers must pay for these practice sessions from $100,000 to around $75,000”

  14. Why not create a ‘F1-lights’ category. A Championship where the cars are build following the F1-regulations but only with a standard aero-package (no development costs), same (standard-specification) engines as F1 (development cost for manufactures more spread out = cheaper engines), same tires, same raceformat, …
    This way young drivers can show their talent in ‘fairly-equal’-cars and get experience with the forces of a F1-car.
    At the same time teams willing to step up to F1 can use this category to built up experience in a more payable way before stepping up to the big guys, making the step up to F1 smaller.
    F1-teams can run their junior program in this class making sure their reserve-drivers gain experience and are fitt and capable of stepping in if necessary.

    1. just like F2?!

  15. Pete Baldwin’s caption was the best I’ve seen in any of the competitions.

  16. There was a time when both F1 and F2 raced together, how about that for a way to liven things up. The better developed F2 cars could be fighting for points.

  17. @keithcollantine Regarding your Sauber recruitment story, would I be alone in curiosity about the workings of an F1 team, specifically what will 400 people actually be doing? I would imagine the top race teams employ even more and it’s a huge wage bill, but are they all strictly necessary? Is there scope for “the anatomy of a race team’ kind of article here Keith?

  18. Was told earlier today that McLaren have agreed a 3 year customer engine deal with Renault.

    Honda have agreed a deal to supply STR for 2018…. However I gather that agreement has been done with Red Bull rather than STR with STR given no say in there engine or driver line-up for 2018.

    STR wanted to keep there current line-up as they love Carlos & are happy with Kvyat, They feel its a great partnership that works well for the team.
    There going to end up with Gasly who many within not just STR but also Red Bull as a whole aren’t convinced about. They don’t believe he’s as good as some of the more recent Red Bull junior F1 graduates & believe there are others in the junior program that would be better.

    Also seems there’s a chance they could end up been forced to take Honda junior driver Nobuharu Matsushita as part of a sweetener to Honda who were/still are desperate to stay with McLaren & really don’t want to move to STR.

    As to why the Honda deal was done with Red Bull rather than STR. It gives Red Bull a chance to evaluate Honda & give them the option of a full factory engine supply should Honda start making progress.

    Despite suggestions a few days back that McLaren would retain an option on Honda, It seems thats over & they want a full separation.

    1. Thanks for the great incite as usual @gt-racer For now I suppose it’s safe to say FA will stay at Mac. Should be exciting to see him in that car with presumably at least a half decent PU…hopefully an improved one over this year’s for Mac and RBR both (Renault themselves too of course).

  19. What a great Idea if not new.

    Testing new formats in F2, and having F2 drivers do Friday practices. I would make it mandatory FP1 atleast 1 F2 driver per team. Alternating regular drivers.

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