Electric-only F1 unlikely to happen within next decade – Brawn

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Formula One managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn says he doesn’t expect Formula One to embrace Formula E-style all-electric technology within the next five to 10 years.

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Any team or driver that “brings back” something, should immediately get a 20 place grid penalty and 30 second stop-and-go penalty. Every race. Ever.

The most tiresome thing is reading “bring back” this or “bring back” that… It’s all just cheap fan-pandering and memberberries.

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On this day in F1

  • Today is the latest date on which the world championship has been won. Graham Hill clinched his first title at East London in South Africa on this day 55 years ago.

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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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95 comments on “Electric-only F1 unlikely to happen within next decade – Brawn”

  1. #MeToo

    1. What about you?

    2. not only ICE makes earth hotter… it is also us, humans, CO2 generators…… we pollute our planet, not cars

      1. and cows, mostly cows

      2. @gunusugeh If you read up on it you’d realize the entire idea that electric vehicle will solve Earths problems is simply fake. It’s the best car brands can do obviously, but politics worldwide fail to see where the real issue lies. As @johnmilk says, our food industry for example does way more to ruin this place than all cars combined, even if we’d all drive F1 cars.

        1. Removing gas cars from big cities helps with smog and the air quality where most people live and work.

          Yes we will become extinct, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make progress.

          Improvements in food production is also happening.

      3. Michael Brown (@)
        29th December 2017, 20:11

        N2O, too

  2. I’m chuckling at the top tip for COTD.

  3. To be honest, I found last season to be more exciting. A lot of this year’s drama seemed to be fuelled by the media, as if they all got together at the beginning of the season and agreed to make everything sound hyper-dramatic in order to get their viewership up. At points it was like watching a defender pass the ball forward to a midfielder while the commentator yells, ‘oh my god, we’ve never seen anything like it!!!!!’ Maybe it’s also because I watch a British feed (SkyF1), and they went completely overboard on the Hamilton god/adoration thing to make up for being flat and limp over Rosberg winning last year….

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      29th December 2017, 20:16

      The highlight (or rather, lowlight) of the drama the media fuelled was their backlash to Hamilton skipping the F1 event in London. Attendance was optional, so I don’t see what all the fuss was.

  4. Sorry to soil your hopes Lewis but F1 for the most part does not race at the most challenging circuits in the world- just the safest circuits in the world. And an F1 race at the Le Mans 24H circuit is something the ACO has explicitly said they will never allow- and the Bugatti circuit is too small and tight for an F1 race.

    1. Interesting comment, what are the most challenging circuits that F1 doesn’t race on? Bathurst is immediately the one that springs to mind, Macau maybe. Though maybe I have a skewed view of the Mountain as it’s tough for the 12h race or the 1000km, but maybe not for a 1.5h sprint though I’ve seen many crashes alike in many races. Macau speaks for itself.

      Of those on the calendar surely the three “S’es” are technically the most challenging, being Suzuka, Spa and Silverstone, in that order. Monaco of course.

      1. Any current track with proper gravel traps.

      2. @flatsix As mfreire pointed towards safety as a reason for not racing there, an obvious example of an extremely challenging track that is absolutely not safe enough would be the Nordschleife. Brands Hatch would be another example, or, if we are talking French GP, the Circuit de Charade at Clermont-Ferrand (in the old 8km layout).

        1. @crammond I don’t think the Ring would work, the to uneven surface, the many short corners, it’s a heaven for GTs but I doubt it’d be much fun in an F1 car, believe it’s more challenging in F3 of something. Same for Brands Hatch, I really don’t think it would be challenging to race there just because it has gravel traps, it’s a fairly easy track if you’ve got several tonnes of downforce. That said I’d love to see F1 there though.

          We could add the Isle of man TT track but seems pointless in an F1 car. I was more wondering where could we realistically hold an F1 race where the drivers would actually smile each lap they complete, or at least in qualy.

          1. @flatsix Well, “realistically” narrows it down very much, and I believe it excludes Bathurst.
            Suzuka and Spa are already in, and I don’t see a “realistically F1-raceable” track topping that. That said, Paul Ricard does not look too exciting for me (even though I fondly remember the ’89 and ’90 GPs). Is it possible to bring Dijon to F1 standards? Would that be much better? I don’t know.

          2. Oh- I also forgot- Portero de los Funes.

      3. @flatsix, to be honest, the Macau circuit works OK for lower powered and slower single seater cars, but when you have larger and more powerful cars, it feels like the quality of the racing tends to go down and instead it just turns into a crashfest where luck seems to play more of a part than skill.

        The GT race earlier this year in Macau saw 16 of the 20 drivers crash in the qualifying race, and only four of those cars were able to restart the race due to how badly they were damaged – crashes are virtually guaranteed in those races, and red flagged races pretty common too.

        The WTCC races have also highlighted another problem, which is that some parts of the Macau circuit are very easily blocked by debris and can only be cleared if the race is stopped by a red flag (because the only way that a stranded car can be removed in some parts of the track is by going onto the track with a crane, as it is simply not possible to put a crane behind the barriers in some areas).

        I do agree that, in some senses, Brands Hatch is a circuit where the challenges are probably not so great in a higher grip car – it also has to be said that, back in the 1980’s, the drivers then were already complaining that Brands Hatch was really not fit for F1 cars any more (particularly after Laffite had his career ended in 1986 after the leg injuries he had when he was involved in a crash at the start).

        The safety standards for the marshals is, as I understand it, only really fit for smaller events – some of the marshals posts are exposed to debris – and track security is highly questionable too, given that a few years ago a member of the public was able to drive onto the circuit and drive round whilst a touring car race was taking place, and the track officials didn’t realise it (he was caught because people in the grandstands filmed him doing it).

        @crammond, whilst I guess that anything is possible in theory, I don’t think that it would be worth the effort trying to get Dijon up to the standards of a modern circuit given that, these days, it really only seems fit for regional club events and track days – I can’t think of any major racing series that includes Dijon on their calendar these days, or has done so for decades (a few of the historic GT series did, for a while, visit Dijon, but I think that even that has dried up years ago).

        As for the old Circuit de Charade, although the roads are still there, even by the rather laxer standards of the 1970’s it was considered to be too dangerous, not just for the drivers but also for the marshals (I believe at least three marshals were killed by out of control cars in the 1980’s), and the original circuit fell out of use about 30 years ago now. There were also persistent problems with rock debris from the cliffs causing repeated problems – the 1972 race saw 10 drivers suffer punctures, whilst Marko’s eye injury was the catalyst for the sport to adopt full face helmets and bolster visor protection standards.

        mfreire, the Bugatti circuit was used for one GP back in 1967, but that race was a total failure – the drivers hated the circuit and thought that it was a joke, with most of them being more interested in an upcoming Formula 2 race in Rouen, whilst the fans also disliked it and mostly skipped the event, resulting in dismal attendance figures (even the most generous estimates put the crowd at just 20,000) and most reports from the time indicated a complete air of indifference permeating the crowd.

        It’s not just F1 that is not allowed to use the Circuit de la Sarthe though – the ACO has only ever allowed sportscars to use that circuit (for example, the MotoGP series are also only allowed to use the Bugatti circuit, and similarly I think that fans of MotoGP have tended to find the Bugatti circuit to be one of the more boring circuits used for the MotoGP series).

        1. The Charade circuit was rebuilt in 1989 and is now 2.5 miles long.

    2. In fairness – he didn’t mention the word “Challenging” at any point in the article, unless beautiful is the new challenging of course.

      1. Correct, he’s only quoted saying “beautiful” just before a reference to the next in-depth feature of that site ‘Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers’.

  5. Basically, no actually, Formula E sucks. They are about as quick as formula 4 (basically Formula Ford) and they have to change cars at half race. The ‘racing’ is awful and the city tracks are stupid. Take over from F1? In your dreams. Boring.

    1. I’ve not watched a full FE race since the very first one. I’ve seen some highlights of later races and although the racing does appear to be getting better, I still find it lacking and the circuits are pathetic, barely allowing for much decent racing action…

    2. Comments like this seem to assume that we have achieved the pinnacle of electric vehicle technology and motorsport. We have not. We have just barely begun and comments like this make the people who make them look pretty thick.

      The ICE is dead. Electric is the future. It is a more advanced, efficient tech that allows for centralized power generation ….which is not yet in place! … but will be. Millions of oil powered, inefficient, mechanical energy generators roaming the planet is not the best solution humanity can come up with.

      I’m not an environmentalist (I’ll be dead in 30 years so what do I care!) and I love the ICE and the noise and the smell of ICE powered motorsport. But its day is done. Anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together can see that.

      1. PK, I was specifically writing about Formula E, which, IMHO, sucks. The ICE us not dead yet. With gasoline energy densities about 100 times that of lithium-ion batteries it’s going to be quite a while before electricity challenges petrol; some predictions are for convergence around 2045, but predictions are just that. As others have noted, electrical vehicles are not the panacea some people think they are. The electricity has to be generated somehow, and currently fossil fueled generation is a huge proportion of that generation; 65% of electrical generation worldwide is either coal or natural gas. Yes, we are making progress with renewable resources, but if all cars were switched from gasoline to electricity we would meed to construct a lot of new generating capacity. There are some interesting studies on that topic and the ultimate efficiency of both gasoline and electric vehicles re greenhouse gases, etc.

        And no need for insults, I have more than two brain cells and rub them regularly.

        1. We’re getting there http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/uk-clean-energy-records-green-britain-2017-climate-change-global-warming-a8130151.html

          Centralised renewable power generation is certainly better than each vehicle running their own. However, power density and how that centralised power is generated is obviously important and needs to improve.

          1. Yes, we are getting there. Oddly enough one huge source of nitrogen oxides and sulfur emissions is container ships and oil tankers. They burn bunker oil, essentially the waste product of petroleum processing; bunker oil contains about 2000 times the sulfur of auto diesel. Some estimates are that a large container ship produces as much pollution as 50 million cars. Sounds wrong, and is probably exaggerated, but still the amount of pollutants generated by shipping is huge and totally unregulated. There are claims that the 15 largest container ships produce more NOx and sulfur pollution than all the cars in the world. The fuel consumption for an 8,000 container carrier is about 225 tons/day of bunker oil, about 70,000 US gallons/day. With 2000 times the sulfur content that is the sulfur equivalent of burning about 140 million gallons of automotive diesel/day. I’m not making these numbers up!

            Off topic I know, but still……….

        2. OK sorry.

          But the amount of comments you see on forums like this about the deficiences of electric and our lack of infrastructure etc. etc. etc. without any apparent awareness of where we are on this road (almost no where!) is ridiculous.

          Yes FE is boring right now. Yes we don’t have the centralzed power gen infrastructure neccessary to switch to electric tomorrow. Yes we still generate power by burning stuff. Yes batteries aren’t good enough. Yes losing ICE from motorsports sucks. But none of that matters because it is not the “final” state of the tech. 100 years from now ICE will be gone. We are watching the beginning of that process.

          1. Formula E might be boring but the drivers seem to be having a good time. The knock on effect for motorsport is that we can all get more car-time using electric motors due to the low sound levels, being simplier and being much cheaper to run.
            Several celebs have already driven Formula E cars and loved it. They wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near other race cars let alone single seaters.

          2. Yeah PK, no worries.

            Yes, the world is changing; I just suspect it won’t be as fast as you think. I remember thinking the year 2000 would have flying cars and floating cities. Part of the problem is third world countries and electrical generation; coal and gas are cheap, so building fossil fuel electrical generation is less expensive than renewable stuff. Having said that, the cost of solar is falling quickly and may become a viable alternative. The situation is sort of like the phone industry; once cellphone technology was developed it was cheaper to put in towers than it was to sting wires, allowing phone service to under-developed countries. Hopefully the same sort of situation will develop with third world (and first world) electricity.

            Still, I don’t think electric racing will be the thing for a long time. Other comments here are spot on about lower formula series; we can’t afford electric. Still, might happen.

        3. “PK, I was specifically writing about Formula E, which, IMHO, sucks. The ICE us not dead yet. ”

          Night time Motorcross night time Kart racing, yes the ICE will be dead.

          Low budget racing where you don’t need to re-build the engines every few hours? yep ICE is dead.

          For people who actually want to take part in motorsport rather than be emotionally involved via the TV, advanced electric motors open up new opportunities

      2. The ICE is still far from dead. The majority of new cars will remain ICE or hybrid for at least the next 10years according to car market analysts. Around 2025 best case ONLY around 10% of new cars (representing >1m /yr) will be full electric. Still lots of engines. The car industry is busy not trying to miss the new market + lots of political noise around, hence the awareness. Also dieselgate didnot help. The actual problem is the cost of ownership/production of the electric (battery vs. engine cost) car is still too high. Without it dropping due to a technology jump it will take the 10years to drop down by volume increase and normal development curves.

        1. @maxv

          It’s not just about the car.

          Shenzen in China has just finished replacing its buses with Electric ones. 16,000 altogther. Simply incredible number. Imagine that many buses lined up.


          1. Unfortunately China has a very big problem with coal fired power plants and pollution. I live near Seattle in the US of A and we actually got Chinese pollution from those coal power plants wafting across the Pacific Ocean last year. Look at the air pollution problems theny have in Beijing; an eye opener (or closer). Just converting to electric isn’t the solution, it’s how the electricity is produced that is critical.

  6. Got to feel a little gutted for Pascal. He was better than a few drivers who secured a seat for 2018. I don’t think it was a case of no one noticed hum, but more a case of not enough promise and financial backing to continue

    1. Other drivers being there for their backing rather than talent doesnt exactly make Pascals argument stronger. He can hardly blame the paydrivers if he himself doesnt show enough talent to stay.

  7. With F1Fanatic being my main source for F1 racing, and DSC for everything sportscars, I do like to read the occasional article on Autosport. As I clicked on the Wehrlein article I got the message I can’t read it as I’m not a subscriber. This is not new to me obviously but today though it made me wonder how many of F1Fanatics have a subscription, and is it worth it, especially considering they do the exact same thing as many other sites, you know top 10’s, regular daily news,… and what I’ve read it’s often a gathering of quotes rather than a well written article as is most of the times the case on here. Would’ve like to read the top 50 though…

    1. @flatsix Well, I had an Autosport subscription for several years and I think it was generally worth it. There were many analytical articles, which seemed to be professionally written, comprehensive and objective. I especially loved the driver ratings. Also, the statistics database was amazing. However, I decided not to renew my subscription earlier this year – partly because my interest in F1 had somewhat diminished but also because I am not really happy about the increasing domination of Motorsport Network. I believe that right now it is probably more important to support independent F1 blogs, such as F1F.

    2. I can open the article; it is footnoted “you are now enjoying a free version”.

      They might have a limit on how many ‘free versions’ you can read per month, or geographical block. But I’m sure you can easily circumvent that via anonymous browsing, VPN, or TOR.

    3. @flatsix

      I’ve had an autosport subscription for 4 years now and I’m personally very happy with it. I think the big question would be how interested are you in other forms of motorsport outside of F1 and sports cars?
      I probably read about 90% of their content, so I definitely feel that I get value for money (used to buy the magazine maybe once a month).
      I think they are pretty unbiased on the whole and have some good contributors.
      All news articles are available to all, but you’re limited to x amount of views per month. All you need to do once you reach the limit is switch to a different device.

    4. I let my subscription lapse when Motorsport Network bought Autosport. I’m sick of that particular company attempting to monopolise F1 news, so that was one reason, but the other was that all Autosport’s news articles now seem to be replicated on Motorsport.com… and that’s free, with unlimited article views. Also, I already pay enough to watch F1, so I was struggling to justify also paying to read news about it.

      I do miss the premium content like the features and analysis, but that stuff’s not worth the cost of a subscription.

      1. @neilosjames, mind you, their previous owners (Haymarket) reportedly cut a number of reporters and staff from Autosport because they were looking to boost profitability, even though they accepted it would impact on quality. It sounds like Autosport was being somewhat neglected within the Haymarket organisation, since they knew that something needed to be done but did not want to pour more money into a division with pretty marginal returns and so just kind of let it slowly decline instead.

        It also has to be said that Autosport’s revenues have been under pressure for some time now, particularly with the decline of magazine subscriptions (something that it had traditionally relied on, but their magazine subscriptions are possibly less than 20,000 a month now). Furthermore, I believe that the decision by Haymarket to restrict the number of free articles that could be viewed and to introduce paywalls on the Autosport website arguably backfired to some extent, as quite a few fans became frustrated with that system and instead drifted to other sites – and it seems that the Motorsport Network was one of those beneficiaries.

  8. “I loved it when we used to have the Grand Prix in Magny-Cours. [Paul Ricard] is in a beautiful place, but the track, when I say I don’t like it, it’s not as great as Magny-Cours.”
    – I disagree with him. I prefer Paul Ricard over Magny-Cours.

  9. I agree that 2017 was not a great season and I do not think it was an improvement over the previous one either. However, I would not blame the lack of overtaking (which is often overrated) or a predictable championship outcome. If Vettel had won at Singapore, then Hamilton would have been under more pressure after that and who knows how that would have affected the rest of the season. But it would still have been a relatively lousy year with huge gaps between individual teams, relatively clear ‘number one’ drivers at the two top teams and too few cars on the track. Neither DRS, nor ‘sexier’ cars can solve these issues. 2012 was the last F1 season that you could really call ‘thrilling’ so maybe this is one of those times when it would make more sense to simply look back instead of developing utopian concepts.

    1. I think 2017 had the potential to be a slightly better year than previous years simply because the Token System was abandoned, but this improvement was offset by aerodynamic rules that most people suspected would result in far less overtaking than we’d seen in the few years prior to it. Also most people were resigned to Mercedes dominating races in 2017, and that is exactly what happened.
      So yes, 2017 wasn’t a great season, and since there’s little to tell me otherwise, I am expecting 2018 to be about the same.

      1. @drycrust ”Also most people were resigned to Mercedes dominating races in 2017, and that is exactly what happened.” – Incorrect. Yes, they won the titles again, but this time around it didn’t happen in a dominant-manner results-wise like the three seasons before.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          29th December 2017, 11:01

          They could run their engines at lower settings and still win which equals better reliability. They won them the Championship.

          1. I do wonder if that was more the case, having the PU tuned down slightly in order to boost the reliability further and other manufacturers having theirs at maximum output…

  10. That Motorsport article and the mentioned passage is exactly why I rate other’s seasons above Hamilton’s.

  11. Re: social media

    Kimi has an instagram, impossible is nothing


    1. “Look at my team mate. Why are you wearing a princess dress, Seb? This is what you got for Christmas? BOYS DON’T WE… wait, I actually don’t give a damn.”

    2. Very surprised this didn’t make it to round-up.

      But yeah, the end of the world is near. Kimi on social media is something I thought’ll never happen.

      1. @huhhii Curious, if I was introducing someone to social media the last place I’d start is Instagram. I’ve always found it clunky, clumsy and unrewarding to use. But evidently hundreds of millions of people don’t agree with me!

        1. @keithcollantine – you just summed up twitter for me :)

        2. @keithcollantine I wouldn’t know because I don’t have an account. But Instagram seems to be one of the most used platforms right now. Hashtags work there and it’s integrated into Facebook with photo sharing abilities so I think it’s definitely part of the social media.

        3. @keithcollantine I left Facebook and joined Instagram this year. Best decision ever (or that’s what I’m saying now…).

        4. @keithcollantine I’d never use Instagram purely because it’s social media. Hate all forms of social media with a passion… I do like forums though ;)

          @girts I deleted my Facebook as well, best thing I ever did as well.

          1. @brickles At some point I realised that I hated my Facebook timeline. I didn’t care what my ex-colleagues were up to. I couldn’t be bothered to save the world as some of my FB friends seemingly wanted to. The discussions seemed pointless and ugly. As for F1, I could not find much exclusive information there. The cons very obviously outweighed the pros and realising that made the decision easy.

      2. Kimi is perfect for social media. I would much rather follow him than Lewis ‘Jet’ Hamilton.

    3. Michael Brown (@)
      30th December 2017, 1:55

      …I feel a disturbance in the Force.

  12. I would also include Interlagos on that list of challenging tracks that F1 races on. But Bathurst and Macau are 2 of the very greatest driver’s circuits in the world; maybe the very greatest with the Nordscheife. Others? Too many to name, but here’s a few: Americas: Watkins Glen, Laguna Seca, Road America, Sonoma, Virginia International Raceway, Sebring, Daytona, Mosport Park, Mont-Tremblant, Barber, Buenos Aires Europe: Charade, Imola, Mugello, Brands Hatch, Pau, Donington Park, Nurburgring (maybe), Zandvoort, Brno, Dijon, Montlhery (the road circuit) and Istanbul ParkAsia/Oceania:Autopolis, Bathurst, Macau, and Adelaide

    1. You’re just highlighting why I like IMSA so much.

    2. I do sometimes think it would be great if you could design a championship starting with the calendar first, and then create a class of car which can race competitively and safely on all of them. A calendar comprising the Nordschleife, Bathurst, Macau, La Sarthe, Brands Hatch and other venues of their stature which don’t have the top-level licences necessary to host F1 races would be terrific.

      And hugely expensive, so this is pipe dream territory.

      1. @keithcollantine 1990s DTM cars and we’re done!

        1. @flatsix Now we’re talking…

    3. Michael Brown (@)
      29th December 2017, 20:41

      I second your choice of tracks. Here’s some mentions:
      Road America & Virginia International Raceway: These two are American classics. Virginia International Raceway in particular is a very challenging track. It’s good that F1 wants more races in the US, and they don’t need to add street circuits.
      I’d also like to add Willow Springs. That’s a track made up of nothing but long and fast turns.

      In Europe, I’d like to see Brno get a GP. Long corners that follow elevation changes are a challenge.

      In Asia, I absolutely love Autopolis. It has a natural flow that follows natural evelvatipn changes, with some cambered corners. The final sector is reminiscent of the Suzuka Esses, but it is all uphill! However, Autopolis suffers from the same issue that the Korean International Circuit has, and that is that it is very far from a major city. It has trouble hosting international racing events for this reason.

      Fuji is another circuit with a challenging final sector, and its corners allow for plenty of battles. Japan deserves two Grands Prix more than any other country. They have the best fans and the best tracks.

      Another circuit I like is the Dubai Autodrome. The layout is enhanced by elevation changes which make certain corners challenging. The corner before the back straight is steeply cambered.

      1. Willow Springs! Love the place b-b-b-b-b-but……
        @That’s where Tom Cruise got to drive a F1 car..

  13. F1 should free up regulations a bit regarding powertrain electric part.

    If someone can do 300k faster with an all electric powerplant then let them.

    We are need about 10x better batteries to do it. Once we get them F1 should implement it asap.

    1. I guess they limit the powertrain regulations as a quasi budget cap.
      But I agree that when opening something it should be towards the electric part of the powertrain – more future relevant. Therefore I’d hate it if they were to get rid of the MGU-H (the ideal for me would be if there would be no lost heat/pressure/noise through the exhaust of an internal combustion engine; try to get as close as possible to 100% energy efficiency).

      1. +1

        Dumbing down the powertrain may not reduce costs – more likely to escalate a new optimization war with little gain.

  14. I’m still sceptic on the the future of the automobile if I’m honest. I don’t buy into the electric cars being the best solution, they just seem a step back. Therefore an all electric Formula 1 doesn’t feel right for me (and no, it isn’t because of the sound).

    The PSA group boss has its doubts too. And if we analyse carefully, while most brands have their plans for all-electric cars they are all concepts at the moment. Volvo for example say that from 2019 on all their cars will have electric engines, albeit they haven’t yet launched a single hybrid.

    I’m sorry but it doesn’t convince me. Of course looking at the trends, most likely, I’m wrong.

    But what annoys me the most about this subject and Formula 1, is that in the past Formula 1 used to drive innovation without trying to be road relevant, things just eventually scaled down. But now with this non-sense that it has to use technology from road cars it just follows innovation.

    Maybe if teams were allowed to properly research into the matter, we could have all electric engines out-performing combustion engines (while carrying energy is harder than carrying fuel), that would convince doubters like me, or alternative forms of fuel, like hydrogen or synthetic petrol.

    The F1 rule book made F1 enter a period similar to the dark ages, where innovation was scarce, a shame really for the pinnacle of Motorsport.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      29th December 2017, 11:06

      “But what annoys me the most about this subject and Formula 1, is that in the past Formula 1 used to drive innovation without trying to be road relevant, things just eventually scaled down. But now with this non-sense that it has to use technology from road cars it just follows innovation.”

      Very good point, @johnmilk. F1 is following rather than innovating these days.

      1. To be fair, though, with the ever-scalating R&D costs, it’s unlikely F1 could contribute greatly nowadays within any sort of reasonable budget cap. Perhaps if it followed a path few companies are following, such as the aforementioned hydrogen fuel cells – which actually have a decent energy density comparable to oil, unlike batteries and capacitors – it could have a measurable impact in innovation within a few decades, but those are really, really expensive.

        Just my two cents. As a chemical engineer I feel particularly bad not mentioning biofuels such as ethanol, which is actually what I work with, but I know those aren’t going to fly in your developed countries anyway. But it’s carbon-neutral and engines run pretty nicely solely on ethanol fuel if you are interested to know, by the way :D

        1. I’d love to see hydrogen fuel cells in F1 driving an electric motor.
          But I think F1 is too conservative, and it is more like that we’ll see FE go that direction.

          Brain-teaser and big ‘wink’:
          Aren’t fossil fuels carbon neutral as well? The only difference with biofuels is that it takes up to millions of years to be ‘neutral’ whereas biofuels are neutral in one crop season ;)

          1. ahah yes, those pesky humans always measuring the effects on earth in the time-frame that suits them

            I believe FT synthetic fuel is neutral, as the amount of CO2 needed for its production equals the amount of CO2 it releases.

            synthetic fuel powering a hybrid car could be a cool solution as well, and probably more realistic in the short-term, using hydrogen in a competitive environment, might make it even dangerous than it is atm

          2. @johnmilk, the relative “cleanliness” of Fischer–Tropsch synthetic fuels will depend very heavily on your source materials – techniques that involve the use of coal as a fuel source (such as that used by Sasol in South Africa) are certainly not carbon neutral and are pretty heavily polluting (much worse than using crude oil distillates, but popular in places which have access to large quantities of very cheap coal and where oil imports are quite expensive).

    2. @johnmilk, I’m not sure where you were getting your information from on Volvo, but it looks like you are several years out of date as Volvo have multiple hybrid cars already on sale (picking just one example, the hybrid version of the XC90 launched over two years ago).

      I’d also contest your claim that “in the past Formula 1 used to drive innovation without trying to be road relevant, things just eventually scaled down”. If anything, there have been a great number of areas where it was very much the opposite, with technology being first developed for the wider public and then being applied back to motorsport – the radial tyre is one such example (being first put on sale for the public in 1946 (before F1 even existed), with F1 not making the full switch to radial tyres until the 1980’s).

      Postreader, whilst ethanol isn’t used as a pure fuel in places such as Europe or the US, it is fairly widely used to blend with petrol (E15 mixes). Sweden does use higher ethanol blends, though it seems that they actually have to reduce the ethanol content in winter because there are problems with igniting the fuel at lower temperatures.
      As for the question of the environmental benefits and being carbon neutral, that is a contentious topic – in some nations, such as the US, the benefits of using ethanol tend to be more marginal when compared to a fossil fuel due to a range of limitations on feed stocks and on agricultural practises, so it isn’t necessarily quite as clean cut.

      1. @anon I read the news about the electric motors in their cars from 2019 allied to the delay of those hybrid models to reach the Portuguese market, that lead me to that incorrect conclusion.

        you are absolutely right.

        it doesn’t change however my overall perspective on the matter. Hybrid technology is something that I appreciate, as it can take benefits from both worlds.

        1. @johnmilk

          If you or any one else are in doubt about the future of electric motors, then try a mountain bike equiped with a gas engine versus one with a crank driven, or direct electic motor such as the Stealth bikes.
          Argument over.

    3. Volvo for example say that from 2019 on all their cars will have electric engines

      That isn’t correct. From 2019, all new models will be electrified. Existing ICE-only models will continue to be sold until whenever they are discontinued.

  15. @johnmilk

    I’m still sceptic on the the future of the automobile if I’m honest. I don’t buy into the electric cars being the best solution, they just seem a step back.

    A step back? When electric motors are a much better choice for automobiles than a ICE. The electric motor is a rather simple piece of technology and needs little maintenance. It has a much preferable power characteristic with maximum torque available at 0 rpm, which instantly removes the need for a gearbox. Even differentials can be discarded if you power wheels by individual motors. And on top of that the efficiency gain is enormous. The new Nissan Leaf will use about 15kWh/100km in practice, while frugal diesel or petrol cars of the same size need resp. 70kWh/100km or 90kWh/100km at least. And also electric motors are not too expensive, easily scalable and easily controlled by electronics. There seems little room for doubt to me.

    Now the tricky part is not the motor, but the “fuel tank”. Electricity can be stored, but it takes a lot of space and weight. And “refuelling” currently takes a lot of time. You objections to electric cars probably come from these problems, not the electric motor. Solve the storage problem though and we have a much better propulsion system for cars.

    Now with most large car manufacturer seeming to stall the large scale introduction of electric cars as much as possible (don’t ask me why), F1 could be a tech leader again if it would concentrate on (and put resources towards) this subject. The high performance environment would promote quick developments in reducing size and weight of the energy store. Maybe even give birth to revolutionary ideas. The general public however, seems to value loud noise higher.

    1. you are weighting in the benefits of an electric motor over an ICE, that’s fine, but doesn’t matter for the argument, and certainly wasn’t the issue that I raised

      If I get out of energy, I want a quick top up, if I’m worried about the environment I want to know where my energy comes from and I want to use it with responsibility (carrying energy is harder than fuel, there is therefore space for optimisation), I will also want to know what will happen to the batteries when they reach the end of their life, will they be disposed? Will they be recycle? If so, how? and what it entails? Am I really helping the environment with an electric car? And maybe the most important question, how much it will cost me to replace the batteries of my car if I don’t want to change to a new one? I still see cars on the road with 20+ years, will a battery endure that?

      as you see, my problem isn’t with the electric motor, is with the electric car. If there is a way to refuel that electric engine, instead of carrying the stored energy around, that would be a much better proposition, not these things that car companies are launching into the market

      1. @johnmilk

        “I will also want to know what will happen to the batteries when they reach the end of their life, will they be disposed? Will they be recycle? If so, how? and what it entails? Am I really helping the environment with an electric car? And maybe the most important question, how much it will cost me to replace the batteries of my car if I don’t want to change to a new one? I still see cars on the road with 20+ years, will a battery endure that?”

        Currently the EV batteries go to power stations where they have a second life. they are actually in high demand and no sign of them being recycled yet. I think Renault sell theirs to a German power company.
        Tesla’s battery tech has already improved fom the Model S to the Model 3 and they are now able to offer a few more years warranty. All this in a very short period of time with loads of developments still in the lab.

        Also regards to refueling electric cars, several companies are working on wireless charging whilst the car is moving. There wasn’t much point in them investing until a decent amount of cars were being sold. Way too early to be asking questions about stuff still in the labs.

  16. In reference to the Motorsport magazine article. I disagree with the article with regards to there notion that the faster cars & more durable tyres were a negative thing because for me the faster cars, More durable tyres & the increased spectacle they produced in terms of performance & drivers been able to push harder for longer is what made me enjoy watching 2017 far more than I did a lot of the previous seasons.

    The biggest reason I was never a fan of the high-deg tyre concept is because I found watching the drivers cruising around all race managing them to the level they were having to took away a lot of the spectacle & took away a lot of the challenge in terms of drivers been pushed physically. Yes I know management has always been a thing, But in the past I never felt that the drivers managing whatever they were managing took away from the overall spectacle of watching the cars while the 2011-2016 era of tyre management I felt did due to how specifically the thermal deg/operating windows needed to be managed.

    1. I hear you but I found the optimum operating temp window to be no better in 2017, and have been very disappointed with that. They had even implied, meaning Pirelli, that they were going to go toward tread wear deg rather than thermal deg, and that didn’t happen at all. So along with the usual if not greater excess of clean air dependency, we had drivers having to hang back a couple of seconds for way too many laps at a time to save their finicky tires.

      I remain optimistic for the future, and the tires for next year are supposed to be ‘less conservative’, but I have not heard anything that claims they will be less finicky and requiring less management. Hopefully that’s on their minds to work away at as they, Liberty and Brawn, put their twist in the plot in the near future. We’ve had good tires and bad in the past and the one lowest common denominator to harming close racing is aero dependency. But having more aero dependency than ever, on the most challenging tires than ever, is no recipe for enhancing the show. Surely Brawn knows that.

      1. We will never have a tyre with a large operating window on a car where nothing else have a large operating window. These are racing machines at the top level.

        1. @rethla Well they seemed to manage to do so in the past as over the nearly 30 years I’ve been watching F1 I don’t recall hearing drivers complain about or commentators talk about operating windows anywhere near as often as they have done since 2011. It’s something you hear brought up almost every weekend now & it was never like that before.

          On the Good Years, Bridgestone’s & Michelin’s I only recall hearing people complain about operating windows been too small or fiddly on maybe a handful of occasions & whenever it came up it was always criticized as something that needed to be fixed rather than something that was just accepted or even seen as positive as it has by some since 2011.

          Things like that are a part of why I’d like to see tyre competition again, That would force all suppliers to produce the best product possible that offer a wide performance range & as much grip as the suppliers are capable of producing.

          1. @stefmeister, the problem is that those tyre manufacturers also have a history of favouring a small clique of teams at the expense of the rest of the grid.

            I can recall a senior mechanic at Tyrrell revealed that, when he asked Goodyear for certain information on the construction of the tyres, Goodyear refused to let him have it and told him that was because they only let the top four teams in the sport (McLaren, Williams, Ferrari and Benetton) have that information. He did mention that, incidentally, when they switched to Pirelli they found that Pirelli was probably one of the few tyre manufacturers that tended to provide information to their customers on a fairly even handed basis.

            Bridgestone and Michelin, too, have also been attacked for tending to treat smaller teams quite poorly, and not just in F1 either (I can remember that there have been complaints in the WEC going back years that Michelin were pretty openly favouring the manufacturer teams over the privateers).

            If you’re a larger team that tends to get those favourable deals, you might well be happy with a tyre war – for the majority of the field though, tyre wars aren’t great as they tend to push up costs (the tyre manufacturers will tend to shift at least part of their research and development costs onto the teams) and, if you’re a smaller team, raise the risk of being treated unfavourably, further entrenching and expanding the differences between teams.

          2. Fair comment as always, but even when, as the most extreme case MS/Ferrari, had designer Bridgestones, every Bridgestone team was basically on tires meant for MS’s car, but they were still good tires for teams that weren’t Ferrari and specifically MS’s car.

            But gone are the BE days, and under the new regime there is absolutely no reason things have to be done again like they have in the past. Surely we all understand by now that the current type of finicky thermal tires have just been more bandage solution type thinking to try to spice up the show, like DRS, to try to mask their aero dependency and it’s accompanying damage to close racing.

            Poor tires in hand, we still have processions.

          3. @anon that is easily controlled now by FIA, even if F1 had more than 1 tyre supplier they would be obligated to supply FIA first and then FIA distributes for the teams according to their preference.

            If that was an issue, we could have Pirelli favouring a team over the others.

            I don’t think that is the case, at least I don’t remember them doing anything odd, like illegal tyre tests.

            Oh wait…

        2. @stefmeister They didnt manage to do so in the past, the machines just wasnt as finely tuned then as they are now so the problem wasnt as obvious.

  17. “Top tip: South Park references are an easy way to get Comment of the Day.”
    @keithcollantine you can be sure that if Kubica doesn’t get the Williams seat, I’ll be shouting “They took our jobs! Dey tookar jebz!! Dey deridurrr!!”

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