Tunisian F1 track plan

Plan for F1-standard track in Tunisia revealed

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Plans have been revealed for a potential F1-grade circuit in Tunisia.

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Last weekend’s Caption Competition was won by @Philipgb:

Sergey Sirotkin, Alex Lynn, Spa-Francorchamps, GP2, 2016

Teams seek clarification on the new rule to separate car and driver weight.
Philip (@Philipgb)

Among the hundreds of entries we had several really great ones so thanks to everyone who joined in, especially Zac, John H, Mog, Pat Ruadh, Phylyp and FJBH10 for their excellent suggestions.

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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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44 comments on “Plan for F1-standard track in Tunisia revealed”

  1. That Tunisia thing looks extremely weird and very pie in the sky. I have no interest in cryptocurrency so… could someone who knows about bitcoin and stuff like that explain what an ICO is? Are they trying to build the whole thing with ‘bitcoin crowdfunding’, or something…?

    1. The premise is simple, @neilosjames – you just slap the word bitcoin or blockchain onto anything today. Investors then literally wet themselves with excitement and throw money at you. Sort of like the dotcom bubble 20 years ago.

      You think this is hyperbole? Check out this story: “A small U.S. beverage company’s share price has increased by more than 400% in a single day after rebranding to include the word ‘blockchain’ in its name. The company, formerly known as Long Island Iced Tea Corp, is now called Long Blockchain Corporation.

      Maybe once the bubble bursts and the dust settles, a better picture will emerge, with some meaningful use for bitcoin (and definitely for its underlying blockchain technology).

      In this case, it does appear to be an idea conceptualized by a group seeking investors. And following the flavour du jour, they’re hopping on the bitcoin/cryptocurrency bandwagon.

    2. An ICO is a bit like a share offering, but easier you generally trade Bitcoin for the coins, rather than have a broker buy the shares for you. Most ICO’s are garbage or ponzi’s, but there are some that are great, like Raiblocks, which is instant free electronic funds transfers….

  2. Why have they designed the Tunisia track to look like a rectal passage?!

    1. Compared to recent Tilkedromes (Copenhagen), at least this doesn’t look an eyesore…

    2. It looks like ET calling home to me.

      1. @thecollaroyboys After seeing your comment I looked at the layout again, and I have to agree with you on that, LOL.

      2. Wow, that cannot be unseen 😆 @thecollaroyboys

    3. I can see a sort of wonky (side-on) Starship Enterprise.

    4. @markopoloman
      That would seem to fit well with that hotel at Abu Dhabi (I only see a massive male member when I look at it!)…

    5. As long as it’s not another street circuit i’m happy.

  3. My caption Sirotkin – “Still faster than a Stroll not good he.

    1. Tunisia track layout is somewhat different but also an f1 train design, it has a long long India style corner and a bit of the same chicanes that don’t work.

      Haas didn’t just switch car focus too early, they signed both drivers too early. The poll suggests most people believe Haas is the 3rd worst line up, in my view 2nd worst.

    2. Yeh there’s a reason you didn’t win the caption competition dude.

  4. The Tunisia track seems similar to the Indian track, which did not provide the best racing. Too many long corners which will spread it out the cars on lap 1 itself.
    Not too excited by this one.

  5. With regards to the calls for the weight equalisation, whilst some have predictably pointed towards Hulkenberg as a beneficiary, I wonder how many will be quite so happy with the idea when it is pointed out that Lance Stroll will probably be one of the largest beneficiaries. Stroll is the joint second tallest driver, and he is towards the heavier end of the spectrum when it comes to driver weight – he’s tied with Sirotkin for height, and as Sirotkin is fractionally heavier than Stroll to boot, he too is also likely to gain from such a move to raise and equalise driver weights.

    Mind you, it does seem that people only like to use the argument that a driver is losing out because of his height and weight when it comes to popular drivers. I mean, we’ve seen a few posters here invoke that argument for Ocon and Perez for a small weight difference there (4kg, I believe, was the figure being discussed), and it is an argument sometimes invoked in Hulkenberg’s defence too (though that argument quietly disappeared when Palmer was there, given he was about 4kg heavier than Hulkenberg).

    When it came to Stroll and Massa, the difference there was about 11kg – it was, I believe, the greatest difference in driver weight by some margin on the grid. Funnily, though, it seems nobody was that interested in trying to calculate what sort of advantage Massa might have had from being that much lighter than Stroll.

    1. Williams never reported any issues with their car weight though so there isn’t any reason to believe the matter wasn’t balanced via ballast.

      Considering how strongly Williams liked to defend their cash cow I find it inconceivable they wouldn’t have pointed the finger at weight if that had been an option.

    2. Lennard Mascini (@)
      22nd January 2018, 9:15

      I looked into it and yes, Stroll lost quite a bit of time to Massa through weight, but was still over 4 tenths behind in quali on average last year. (And keep in mind Massa was also lighter than Bottas, who was faster than him)

    3. @ anon

      When it came to Stroll and Massa, the difference there was about 11kg – it was, I believe, the greatest difference in driver weight by some margin on the grid. Funnily, though, it seems nobody was that interested in trying to calculate what sort of advantage Massa might have had from being that much lighter than Stroll.

      There’s a simple reason for that: As long as the chassis isn’t too close to the minimum weight (and, as @philipgb rightly says, this sort of problem was never reported for Williams), any differences between the drivers’ weight are compensated with ballast. This doesn’t result in perfectly equal opportunities, as a higher proportion of squishy human inevitably leads to a slightly higher centre of gravity compared to well-placed tungsten alloys.
      But that advantage is a lot smaller than the advantage of having a lighter car. The lap time advantage per 10 kilos is expressed in tenths of a second per lap, typically around 3 tenths.
      By contrast, the lap time advantage of having a lighter driver and a lower centre of gravity is in the range of a few hundredth of a second, if it can be quantified at all. The difference might be unnoticeable over a single lap, and thus be better accounted for as a small factor in the car’s balance and tyre wear, leading to small setup differences.

      And, as @leonardodicappucino calculated: Even if we were to naïvely assume that Felipe Massa, being 11 kilos lighter, drove the entire season with a car that was 11 kilos lighter than Stroll’s, that difference still doesn’t even remotely account for their gap.

      As for Hülkenberg and his team mates:

      I mean, we’ve seen a few posters here invoke that argument for Ocon and Perez for a small weight difference there (4kg, I believe, was the figure being discussed), and it is an argument sometimes invoked in Hulkenberg’s defence too (though that argument quietly disappeared when Palmer was there, given he was about 4kg heavier than Hulkenberg).

      – the gap between Pérez and Hülkenberg was almost inexistant (0.017 in Hülkenberg’s favour in the average qualifying in 2016), and therefore small enough to be affected by minor factors such as weight distribution
      – Force India, contrary to Williams, does have a history of overweight cars, so that even a small difference in the drivers’ weight could’ve caused noticeable lap time differences (around 1/10 per lap, if we assume the 4 kilos figure to be true; however according to this source the difference was 11 kilos in 2015)
      – Hülkenberg was almost 8 tenths quicker than Palmer on average. In terms of commensurability, that’s about 8 times as much as the gap that would’ve resulted from a lasting weight difference due to an overweight car (for which there is, again, no evidence). In other words: If that argument has disappeared, that’s because it’s completely irrelevant in that case. Not that I had ever heard that argument before, but that’s another matter.

      One final question: Are you the same “anon” who wrote that post?

      1. nase, I suppose that I should admit that I was being deliberately facetious with that post to mock the way in which the argument is usually invoked only in favour of popular drivers.

        In particular, I wanted to joke about the fact that people have tended to frequently invoke that argument when referring to Hulkenberg, and not just when he was driving at Force India either. I have seen it being invoked as a reason for McLaren turning him down, and then for Ferrari also turning him down in later years, not to mention people wanting to use it as a reason for Perez beating him – if Sainz Jr is close to or manages to beat Hulkenberg at any point next season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see somebody invoking that argument again in 2018.

  6. Damn that Tunisia promo video is awful. I mean it’s funny bad for a while, but then I just had to stop. It’s like someone was playing SimCity. “Oh yeah, and there is a Golf Course. Erm, what else? Tennis courts. Nightclub, check.” All they are missing is a hospital.

    Either way, track looks awful. (Even without the bizarre mix of Codemasters F1 2012 and Grand Prix 1994 footage)

    1. @eurobrun I must admit halfway into it I was beginning to wonder how long it was going to go on for.

  7. The Tunisia circuit doesn’t look too bad. Still, though, as always I’m cautious in regards to how good a chance I see for a circuit to join F1. I’m not too optimistic about the prospects of the Kuwait circuit joining F1, and I’m not too confident about this one either.

  8. To play devils advocate it’s interesting looking at the driver weight issue as one of merit. I mean there are no aids or handicaps in say rugby or athletics for competitor weight. Why should a driver who has a natural advantage of being lighter be saddled with a handicap?

    I know we can argue that we want skill to be the real test, but F1 still has a physicality aspect to it, it’s interesting that in F1 unlike almost any other sport we handicap drivers who have a naturally better-suited body mass.

    1. @philipgb That is probably due to the best-suited body-mass in rugby and athletics being a relatively healthy one, whereas an “as-light-as-possible”-ideal that leaves just enough strength to do the task at hand just isn’t particularly healthy for the drivers. You do not want a driver passing out at the wheel, and you probably do not want to push the boundaries towards that.

      1. @crammond

        The lengths athletes go to in many disciplines is far from healthy. Footballers wreck their knees, gymnasts can wreck their shoulders, strong men severely compromise their health to have enough mass, female athletes mess up their hormones.

        Again I’m playing devil’s advocate, I don’t really want any athletes or competitor to damage themselves. But it’s interesting how a competitive element is taken away from drivers.

    2. I’m with you; but we’re in the minority.
      As long as the NBA doesn’t need a handicap system, then F1 shouldn’t worry about it either.

    3. Lennard Mascini (@)
      22nd January 2018, 9:56

      Yes, but I don’t think there is a single sport (apart from maybe basketball) where there is usefullness in multiple heights. In football, for example, tall guys are great as targetmen, goalkeepers, or centre-backs, while a smaller but therefore more agile player can be useful as a winger. Furthermore, in athletics, which you mentioned, I’m not sure there really is a penalty for height alone. A taller person may have a longer stride and more overall power, while a shorter person has a better power-to-weight ratio and has a smaller aerodynamic impact. The point in F1 is that the power is not created by the driver, meaning taller drivers, who are more powerful, have no real advantage to counter that of lighter weight. All F1 drivers need to be a certain (and very high) level of fitness, which means a taller person will invariably be heavier, while no performance gain is to be found from greater strength than a certain level (which all F1 drivers have).

    4. As you almost certainly know, in Boxing and sports like Judo etc, weight is also an issue, solved by having weight categories (although the effect is opposite – higher weights generally being the more powerfull sporters) @philipgb

      I am pretty sure the issue has come up more or less exaclty like it has in F1 in sports like Ski jumping (after too many athletes started having health issues from anorexia etc.), and I am pretty sure also in hore racing, where being light is of a clear advantage @philipgb. We’ve all seen how skeleton like tall drivers started to look the last time teams were struggling to meet the minimum weight, as well as having them drive a race like Malaysia or Singapore without a water bottle to save weight. It is a safety measure to protect drivers’ health.

      1. Well said @bascb, and indeed there is a minimum riding weight for Flat racing at least which was raised for much the same reason as we are talking about here.

  9. Not the worst of designs, but the fact that it is perfectly flat makes me hate it right away.

    1. @damon my first thought was perfectly flat too, which makes me hate it. However I think the rest of the design is also terrible. It’s another typical modern circuit which has too many corners (seriously it is nothing but corners) and is unnecessarily long. I am guessing it will have hectares of tarmac runoff too

  10. Tunesia, another great new emerging market for formula one with a big fanbase in a stable run democracy in the desert.

    Too much sarcasm? :)

    1. @maxv
      It’s Tunisia not Tunesia. Tunisia is indeed an Arabic country but don’t you think that it belong to the same pot as the gulf countries. It’s the total opposite. Tunisia is living now a democratic transition after the revolution but its democratic tradition dates back to the ages of Carthage where the first ever constitution was written. As for the human rights, Tunisia is the only Arabic/Muslim country that have equality between man and women. There is a reason why Michael Moore has chosen Tunisia in his documentary Where to invade next when he was searching for countries whose citizens have more social privileges than US citizens.
      However I agree that the F1 circuit ideas is a bit silly

  11. Maybe.. but if the placing/location of the ballast is free (as it is with current regulations) there is still a big advantage!

  12. Lybia, Iraq and Afghanistan are the next venues…
    The end of the race will be marked by spectacular terrorist fireshow on the stands!

    1. That was unnecessary.

  13. Tunisia would be an interesting destination. Close to Europe, good weather and cheap hotels. It would also fit perfectly in the European F1 calendar. And for those who don’t know, Tunisia has also a bit history in Motorsport (look for “Tunis Grand Prix 1928”).

    I am from Tunis, so I am a bit biased. I would love to see an FIA approved F1 circuit in Tunisia. But I think the track in the presentation looks flat and uninteresting. And as many of you have pointed out, this model failed to provide good racing in the past. So I wonder why they keep trying a formula that doesn’t work.

    While the location seems attractive, I know the country well enough to say that are more interesting mountainous regions with good hotel infrastructure that could provide a better circuit. But I think the beach location would offer F1 owners the type of venues they are looking for. In other words, it’s good for off track spectacle, not so good for racing. Which is the case of most of F1’s newest circuits.

    I also agree that presentation video is lame.

    1. I think Tunisia and tunisians have a lot more issues at the moment to solve, especially after the 2018 financial law that caused a violent vibe of protestations than to build a F1 circuit. Don’t forget that the country is still economically unstable and the emergency state is still active. While I agree with you on the touristic nature of the country.

      1. You seem well informed. You’re right, there are bigger problems right now. But I still think an F1-Standard even if not for hosting a Gran Prix, would provide a small economic boost. And it could host races for other FIA disciplines like WEC or WTCC for example. I still think the circuit looks flat and boring though…

  14. A SHELL HOTELL? And a completely FLAT TRACK? No, thanks. Most F1 drivers like elevation, climbs and slopes, variation and landscape like in SPA. Above all they like atmosphere, culture, sounds and smells like most human beings. And like most human beings they hate sterile, non descriptive places like hospitals, airfields and computer bunkers in “this could be anywhere” places. Places that leave no impression apart from being desinged from the food on your plate to the smallest grass leave on the lawn.

  15. Another new track in a country where it is unlikely to have any local interest. We know of course that Liberty, apart from Sean Bratches, have any interest in ‘bums on seats’, as long as the Government stumps up the hosting fee for a vanity project. Just what is the average wage in Tunisia? Can they afford the tickets? Does that matter to anyone at Liberty?

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