Dieter Zetsche, Gisele Zetsche, Yas Marina, 2017

Mercedes and Ferrari are “100% aligned” on F1 future – Zetsche

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Mercedes owners Daimler, says his company and Ferrari are in agreement over plans for the future of F1.

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@Spoutnik hopes last year’s tail-enders have a better season:

I’m really curious about Sauber next year. The team has struggled for so long I can’t remember their last stand-out performance. With Vasseur, Leclerc and latest engine it’s like a new team. They will probably at least exchange their last place with Torro Rosso. Can’t wait for Melbourne!
@Spoutnik

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  • 55 comments on “Mercedes and Ferrari are “100% aligned” on F1 future – Zetsche”

    1. So I am more than optimistic regarding Honda.

      It is good to hear enthusiasm when Honda’s name is mentioned. I really hope there’s rewarding dividends for Honda’s hard work.

      1. Pre season is always a high for Honda isn’t it? Everyone loves their engine packaging, their commitment, their ambitious targets… then pre season testing starts, and Honda realises that the shape of the oil tank is wrong.

        1. I guess that is why they have a batch of 2017 engines prepared too, so that they can at least fall back to the down on power but relatively reliable version they ran in the last few races with McLaren @todfod.

          Agree that it is hard to be optimistic until we see the car running some solid mileage during testing.

      2. Lol, looking forward to “best chassis” comment from STR, and “fastest around corners”.

        Maybe Honda does have a packaging advantage. But personally I would prefeer power and efficiency advantage.

        But considering McLaren/Alonso history there is a chance Honda will become good.

    2. Merc and Ferrari are using here power in numbers of engine supplies to muscle there way in regulations to ensure there superiority. If the FIA and Liberty are smart they can call there bluff present the new regs with 2 years notice and the top teams have two options they either join or leave.

      6 of the 10 teams will automatically sign up as they all exist because of f1. They have no option but to sign. Renault and Honda will sign because they have already invested. Merc and Ferrari choose to leave where do they go? Formula E. Don’t think so. Doesn’t have the exposure or platform. LMP1. No manufactures exist.

      They don’t have an option but to sign up or kill there f1 program. In Ferrari case Italians wont allow that to happen no ferrari in f1 will result in riots on the street. If merc leave good riddens thats happened before and will happen again.

      2 years gives new engine manufactures time to produce a new engine which can be simplified and cheap. The stars of the show is not the cars, because the reality is the cars quite frankly look pathetic and sound pathetic its the drivers and the racing. You could have them racing trolley carts around the track and people would still watch hamilton v alonso v verstappen v riccardo v vettell.

      Why f1 doesn’t look at nascar or v8 supercars is beyond me. The drivers are the stars and the racing is close and hard. F1 doesn’t have that anymore because it let the manufactures control it.

    3. I like to have a discussion about how relevant F1 is going to be in the near future. Is the combustion engine not on it’s way out. Is CVC smart to sell when they did.
      I have been watching F1 since 1962 but now I have my doubts.

      1. Everything about personal transportation will change in the next decade. Propulsion and energy storage is moving electric and self-driving cars are quickly becoming a reality (at least for some routes in some places). The more a car turns into a service like Uber and the less people that actually drive them, the less they own them as well. Kids born after about 2010 will _never_ get their drivers licenses. And I can’t imagine that not having a major impact on motorsport.

        1. @bl0rq I don’t see self-driving cars taking over the private car market. You wouldn’t buy a robot that plays tennis for you, why would you buy a car that drives for you? If I don’t intend to drive myself, I might as well take a bus/metro/train/plane.

          That said, electrical engines may prove the way forward. If so, then Formula E has been developed in time, and as soon as the cars have developed enough speed and range to make an F1-like race, the FiA could just merge the brands and have F1 go on with a ruleset for electrical engines.

          1. My drive to work is nothing like playing tennis. Most of us just want to get in the damn car and get to where we are going. If I could start working when I got in the car, that would be worth a good chunk of cash. Already Uber and lyft are reducing car ownership in big cities. When those services are 10% of the current cost because the expensive part gets removed (the human at the wheel), it will only accelerate. It will be considerably cheaper to just hire a car than own one. So the 2nd commuter car will be the first to go. But in 10-15 years, only rich guys will really own cars.

            1. I do already use the metro for my way to work. I’m not rich, yet if it wasn’t for the fun of driving, I wouldn’t own a car. Thing is, all sportiness in cars and the car-market, not only in full sports-cars, but already in in a normal BMW or a small beginner’s VW Up GTI, all the tuning market, that all only sells because people have fun driving. I don’t know international numbers, but a recent survey for Germany says 62% have fun driving “nearly always”, 33% “sometimes”, and only 4% answer with “(nearly) never”. Those 4%, that’s the self-driving car market for private buyers. Of course that’s a lot different for commercial buyers.

            2. @bl0rq, in the case of Uber though, the company is currently running an intentional strategy in a number of cities of deliberately underpricing their services and running at a loss to force others out of business. The increasing amount of trouble that company is also getting into – regular fights with regulators over allegations of Uber evading external inspections, disputes about the status of their employees etc – does bring into question the longer term viability of such systems.

              @crammond is also right that, although some might be keen on autonomous cars, there is also a sizeable chunk of the public right now that have made clear that they would not want an autonomous car. Security concerns were one major issue, particularly in the wake of the recent issues that have been cropping up across the wider tech sector and problems with securing systems in cars that have to, to some extent, be open to third parties in case people want to go to independent garages etc., such that your 10-15 year prediction sounds very optimistic.

          2. Great point about just as well taking public transport. And if we are realistic, that is exactly what we should expect.

            If people stop feeling the urge ot OWN a car to drive, they will also stop tolerating having to give up half of the space in a town or city to parking cars, to driving lanes etc. Instead we can have better (electrical) public transport and put more parks, bike lanes etc into our cities.

          3. You wouldn’t buy a robot that plays tennis for you

            You’ll be surprised how quickly we adapt to an easier way to get task done, even if we enjoyed it before.
            I enjoyed making mix-tapes; no longer. My mother loved to make baby clothes; no longer.

            And playing tennis is like javelin throw; it still exists even though the original purpose has been taken over by macines, industry and robots.

        2. @bl0rq I suppose that it’s in the realm of possibility that a day could come when regular private citizens are no longer issued driving licenses, but I feel pretty safe in saying that your estimate of that day being as close as 10 years from now is wildly off the mark.

          1. I would think that when driverless cars, utopian electric / magnetic dream public transport systems are all in place, the roads should be free enough for us proper ice owners to once again recapture the love of driving and here our v6’s and v8’s roar on our commute, going to work happy while the efficient miserable sods are already beavering away on there laptops at the start of their commute

        3. @bl0rq

          There is more to life than work! To even say today’s children will never learn to drive is laughable and ridiculous!

          Future cars may well have self drive abilities, but, this will not have a major impact on people’s desire to drive… The big reason car ownership in large cities is in decline is due to more and more people commuting from large distances away and travelling by train!

          1. To even say today’s children will never learn to drive is laughable and ridiculous!

            There are already many western urban yougsters in their twenties without a drivers license, but with an Uber App and fixie bike.

          2. It is easily imaginable that people will no longer learn how to drive. In fact, I think it’s inevitable. i have owned numerous cars in my life, but since moving to a city and then another city, the idea of owning one has become ridiculous. in the future self-driving cars will be more energy efficient, safer and cause less congestion in cities and on motorways. it will revolutionise the experience of travelling by car. what will be retained is the privacy of having your own vehicle, and I daresay the marketeers will ensure the car companies will continue to make money through differentiation, but the idea of people driving when they don’t need to is false.

            some people enjoy riding a horse but it’s no longer a necessity for travelling long distances. driving will be consigned to a leisure activity. this is not necessarily a bad thing: from a sporting aspect it would remove this absurd reliance F1 has on major car manufacturers. teams would return to being sports teams, pure and simple.

          3. It’s not laughable or ridiculous. It’s a real possibility for those living in cities.

            And people who commute are the ones more likely to still need a car for when not at work, so it is certainly not a reason for car ownership to decrease.

            You make the common mistake of thinking children today think the same as you did when you were young and are interested in the same kind of things. Their desire to drive a car in the future could be as low as your desire to drive a Roman chariot instead of a car.

          4. I’m not talking minority here, the majority of people will still learn to drive. You don’t have to go far out of from London, Birmingham, or Manchester to find that public transport is appalling and getting worse year on year. The use of taxi’s regardless of how they currently operate or will in the future is costly and restrictive and the pure fact of the matter is that a car gives freedom.

            I regularly drive all over the country in the summer, linked to my hobby and the majority of people I know in their 20’s also drive, teens I know are also looking forward to learning to drive (the same as I did when I was in my teens). the big reason why young people in large cities aren’t learning to drive is not down to the likes of uber, but, more down to the over inflated cost of car insurance.

            1. @maddme, the general trend across the wider UK is that, with the erosion of their earning power (those who are classified as millenials are now expected to earn less over their careers than their parents – the first time that has been observed since records began over a century ago) and increased indebtedness over their career, along with the rising costs of living, a sizeable proportion of younger individuals are not learning to drive and not purchasing cars because they are now an unaffordable luxury item.

              It is not a new phenomenon either – in fact, the DVLA has been running a series of long running surveys in the UK, and that has indicated that, since the mid 1970’s, the number of young people, and in particular young men, who have driving licences has been falling, leading to a shift in the demographic profile towards older drivers.

              Over the past decade, applications for driving licences by those under the age of 20 has fallen by 25% – across all age groups, meanwhile, the percentage of people taking driving tests has tended to fall over the past decade too (19% for men and 14% for women).

              Since 2002, those who are younger than their mid 50’s have generally tended to reduce the amount they drive, with especially large falls in those under the age of 40 (from 25% for those between 30-40 to 40% less for those under 20). However, that has been offset by the fact that the amount of miles the average pensioner drives has been steadily increasing, particularly those over 70 – that has risen by more than 10%. Much of that has come from a rising number of female pensioners who are driving significantly further than in the past – their relative mileage has increased by nearly 40% since 2002.

              It dovetails in with the trend in recent years of older individuals tending to have become, in relative terms, wealthier over the past decade – as they’ve accrued wealth, they have spent more of that wealth on increasing the amount of travel that they do, particularly the amount they drive. By comparison, those who are younger are often unable to afford to purchase cars in the first place, and even where they can, they are tending to use them less and less because of the rising costs of owning and maintaining a car.

              In your case, it seems that your experience is particular to your circumstances – whilst you might find that most younger individuals around you are driving, over the country as a whole the tend is for fewer younger people to obtain licences.

        4. while i do think it will affect popularity some, i don’t see motorsports going away because of driverless cars. Think about how many people watch horse racing 100 years after the car replaced horses as transportation. A few generations from now, people will probably think about driving the same way we think about going horseback riding. Just something to do for fun.

      2. I think the world has gone a bit mad in regards to changing all cars to electric powered ones by 2030. Has everybody forgotten where they electric comes from in the first place? 67.3% of the whole worlds electricity consumption comes from burning fossil fuels. 10% is Nuclear and the reset is solar/wind et al. So for all the worlds cars to be running on electricity will push up the demand to huge levels, meaning most countries will have to cater for this by either building many more nuclear power stations, or, the most likely, is to build more oil/gas/coal burning power stations. It is typical of human beings to just have a short term view on everything due to our pathetically short lives. What scientists and car makers the world over should be focusing on is running vehicles on water as there is an abundance of this. Once the oxygen and hydrogen can be separated safely, then the engines can run on the hydrogen and the only waste will be the stuff that we all breathe. But until this time putting all of our eggs in the ‘electric’ basket is just about the most stupid thing we are doing as a globalised world. But then the new ‘globalised’ world is run by the banks and the oil companies, so I guess it is to be expected

        1. I’m not so sure its a big issue.

          The actual changeover will be much less sudden; it may look precipitous now, but its a change in buying patterns that will occur over 12 years, with actual vehicles-on-the-road changing even more slowly (with old ICE cars being scrapped and new electric cars being bought).

          Even by 2030, electricity generation is likely to migrate away from fossil towards more modern sources. Electric cars are unlikely to spike peak demand so much; most people (encouraged by variable tarrifs) will be charging them on off-peak electricity, in turn meaning that consumption will be levelled out over the day and peak generation capacity won’t need to increase as much.

          Even if the changeover is done is the daftest way imaginable, it will be slow enough that suppliers can easily add generation capacity to cover it – worst case using the oil no longer going into cars. Bulk generation is more efficient than millions of tiny ICEs, even allowing for some grid losses, so it should be a net gain even so.

          IMO, the dependent on electricity ship has already set sail, for good or bad. Luckily, the supply companies have had a while to practice at doing it well for the masses. I’d be really surprised if optional ICE-based generator units don’t see the light of day for use cases that don’t sit well with battery too.

        2. @gubstar
          The dependence on Lithium is an issue, if battery powered vehicles do become the norm then we could end up with a supply crisis towards the end of the century (obviously not our problem, but they probably said the same thing in 1918).

          The problem is that Hydrogen production is far behind, with the only current economical industrial methods involving using fossil fuels and emitting carbon monoxide/dioxide at a rate of about 10:1 carbon gas to hydrogen. Obviously electrolysis of water is the endgame as far as Hydrogen production is concerned, but currently that accounts for only ~5% of global production and is a long way from becoming viable for large scale production.

    4. Nice to see that Merc and Ferrari are colluding to blackmail Liberty to get what they want, to the detriment of others in f1

      1. Autosport did a nice piece on this. The engine rules were changed to be more “road relevant” and Ferrari and Mercedes pumped in a billion dollars a piece to make them what they are and now Liberty has said “yeah can you now scrap them and make a different one cos the show ain’t great”. The way to bring costs down is to build more of some thing because of the scales of economy. Look at FE, the cost as come down because they only need one car not two but the battery and drive train costs have gone up. Its no wonder they are trying to stop an arms race because when you get big manufacturers involved they will spend what it takes to get the best equipment. To paraphrase Autosport, “when engines are costing $2-400m most companies need the top level board to approve it, but at $20-50m this falls into marketing budgets and more companies will want to have a chat”. What Ferrari and Mercedes are doing is sensible, neither one can afford to pay another billion just to satisfy Liberty, much better to “trim the fat” (or the expensive MGU-H) off the engine and leave the rest intact.

        1. @Ed – “Trimming the fat” is exactly what has been proposed and what Mercedes and Ferrari are complaining about. The MGU-H is where the vast majority of R&D investment has gone and is largely where the competitive advantage lies. Neither company want to get rid of it.

          1. MGU-H is the most innovative part of the PU (hence the high initial R&D investments). And that’s why it has to stay in F1 more than anything else; even if it were the only PU part in the car powered by the driver’s flatulence.

            1. The MGU-H is the more interesting part of the current engines & where some of the biggest areas of development lies.

              The MGU-H is the sort of thing that is a perfect fit for F1 in terms of technology, development & performance. Without the H we go back to what we had with the V8’s in terms of there been nothing especially interesting about the engine with far less area’s available to develop or improve.

              Yes its complex & yes it’s expensive but F1 is supposed to be complex & it will always be expensive.

    5. Should F1 and or all forms of Motorsport in general move away from using fossil fuel someday then why not replace it with natural gas, for example rather than go full-electric as has been suggested at times?

      1. Natural gas is a fossil fuel.

        There are alternative non-fossil internal combustion fuels such as ethanol and methanol which are (or have been) used in the US and Australia. The Australian V8 Supercar series produces some of the tightest and most spectacular racing around.

      2. Uh… do you realize natural gas is a fossil fuel as well?

        1. @Andy @Avro Anson @Egonovi I had thought that natural gas is a ‘non-fossil’ fuel as well. You always learn something new, LOL.

      3. Non fossil would be bio gas or bio fuel!

        Even electricity is often generated by burning fossil fuels.

    6. Lol @ Horner. Verstappen signs a deal with Red Bull with the promise that they will make him “first driver”, but Horner claims there will be no favoritism. One of these drivers is getting lied to. Or both.

      It’s like Ferrari promising to Raikkonen that they will get him the car that fits better with his driving style.

      1. I.e. an utter waste of resources?

      2. Where did they made that promise?
        You are probably pointing at the “build a team around him” remark?
        Even RIC is satisfied, so what’s the problem?

      3. Where did they promise to make him (Verstappen) ‘first driver’?

        1. @erikje Sorry, didn’t see your post when I posted mine, asking the same question. Anyway I’m with you on your remark. Horner says to Max stay with the team ‘long term’ and build the team around him…long term…and that doesn’t prevent another driver building his own side of the garage around himself too. Also DR could try to beat Max (I personally don’t think that will happen) and thus build the team around himself too. I predict Max will best DR again this season, and that DR will move away, presuming Mercedes or Ferrari want him.

    7. The progression Renault has made is absolutely class..
      From 9th in the contructors with Palmer and Magnussen behind the wheel in 2016..
      To (possibly) fight for 4th in the constructors with Force India and McLaren this year, having two high-rated, talented drivers with a great future.
      Impressive to say the least…

    8. @patrickl Horner hasn’t promised Verstappen that he’ll be first driver. That was just made up by the media..
      Daniel and Max will be given equal equipment, just like the Ferrari drivers have.. They can show who is fastest on track, just like Vettel showed Ferrari that he is faster than Kimi.. Not because he has the better equipment, but because he is faster. Kimi-fanboys need to understand this for once, instead of blaming his equipment every time Vettel is ahead of him..

      1. Is this guy serious?
        Is it possible he hasn’t seen the 2017 season?

      2. Exactly right @jesperfey13! No matter how often Vettel, Ferrari, and even Kimi himself repudiate the claim that there is a Number 1 and number 2 driver policy or that such and such a driver has an say over who is in the second seat, the British fans (and media in particular) do insist on regurgitating something that “may” have been true 20 odd years ago as if it is team policy today.

        1. And as soon as 1 of my drivers shows (s)he is faster than the other, I would grant first driver status, like 20 years ago and as being done now.

        2. @asanator It’s 100% clear that Raikkonen is #2 driver. Of course that is fair since he’s not performing, but nonetheless he always gets the #2 strategy, they don’t let him pass Vettel in Hungary, his car always has much more issues than Vettel’s (second tear mechanics) and yes they don’t give him the car that suits his particular driving style.

      3. @jesperfey13 Horner literally said that they will build the team around Verstappen.

        They will have equal equipment yes. More or less. But it will be Verstappen who gets the focus of the team for the direction the car gets developed in.

        Yes Vettel is faster, but Raikkonen is held back by his driving style not matching the car. Again, the team has literally said that they will try to give Raikkonen the car he needs to drive faster. Of course they do nothing of the sorts since they rather spend money on developing the car to suit Vettel instead.

        You can pretend these things don’t matter, but reality is that it DOES matter.

        1. Wolff literally said that they will build the team around Hamilton.

          They will have equal equipment yes. More or less. But it will be Hamilton who gets the focus of the team for the direction the car gets developed in.

          Yes Hamilton is faster, but Bottas is held back by his driving style not matching the car. Again, the team has literally said that they will try to give Bottas the car he needs to drive faster. Of course they do nothing of the sorts since they rather spend money on developing the car to suit Hamilton instead.

          You can pretend these things don’t matter, but reality is that it DOES matter.

      4. @jesperfey13
        That wasn’t the case this year, only Verstappen’s car was fitted with the RBR clever suspension system that was introduced in the Malaysian GP. I’m not saying that RBR were always favouring Verstappen but that was probably a clear message from the team that they actually can do it if he will not sign a new contract.

        1. Do you have sources for that story?

          1. @erikje
            Ricciardo himself said that Max received an update with the suspension in an interview post Mexican GP in Sky Sport Italy. Toto Wolf was asked whether Mercedes will question the legality of the system, he said in italian “stiamo guardando” (we’re looking at it) while Horner denied (not surprised by the way) that there is anything new with the suspension and the team is developing the car in all areas.

    9. I’d highly recommend reading the book that excerpt in the last link came from, it’s a great read and a fascinating insight into Gilles and his life.

      1. the excerpt is excellent, sold it for me. but i am a big fan of gilles, he has that same wonderment quality that people found in senna and clark, and very few others.

      2. It’s a great read, the best book I’ve read about Gilles. I would like to know if this new edition of the book (the hardcover edition came out in 1989) has any added content aside from a new cover photograph. The page count seems to indicate that it has less, possibly because they omitted the index and circuit maps at the back.

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