F1’s tallest driver pleased with weight rule change for 2019

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In the round-up: Esteban Ocon is pleased with a rule change for the 2019 F1 season.

What they say

A new rule for 2019 will establish a minimum weight for drivers, which is good news for Ocon:

Q: Do you like the driver weight rule change for 2019?

That’s good. I’m the tallest [driver]. I’m not the heaviest. I have margin on that. It’s going to be good to build up much more.

Has that been a problem throughout your career?

[Being] tall? Yes. I’ve never been heavy. I’ve always been on the light side. But [being] tall has been an issue in Formula Renault, GP2. That’s also a reason why I went to DTM, because the car was quite small and I was not fitting well.

Is it true you had a problem fitting in the Mercedes simulator?

Yes. The Mercedes car too, to be honest. It was not very comfortable but we managed to find a way at the end. The simulator, we managed to improve that, but it’s always harder in the real car to find space.

It’s more the legs, I have long legs, that’s more the issue.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas was in Italy to receive the Trofeo Bandini last weekend.

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Comment of the day

Are Toyota’s team orders bad news for the World Endurance Championship?

It seemed obvious to me just watching the race that there was some sort of team order thing going on. I’m more disappointed that the commentators chose not to discuss (or realise?) it.

From my view Toyota might get the benefit of the doubt of this for the opening race of the season when you’re not sure how you stack up against the opposition, and also the Le Mans 24 Hours given their travails in that in previous years, but given they have no real competition in LMP1 if their two cars aren’t generally fully racing each other the rest of the super-season then I’ll probably give WEC a miss.
Robert McKay

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On this day in F1

  • 40 years ago today Patrick Depailler claimed his first grand prix victory for Tyrrell at Monaco

Author information

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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29 comments on “F1’s tallest driver pleased with weight rule change for 2019”

  1. Good on Alonso admitting that the other car was told to hold off, although everyone figured it out. He could’ve just kept quiet about it.

    I like Bottas, but what exactly was he awarded the Bandini trophy for? 2017 was an above-average season in a cat that he was unfamiliar with, but isn’t the trophy supposed to be for excellence? Its like when Ferrari won it for 2016, or Piero Ferrari receiving it for… reasons.

    1. @sundark It’s about “breakthrough performance”. Guess he was counted as a rookie for this award to apply.

  2. Team orders/Tactics have always tended to be more prevalent in sportscar racing so I have no issue at all with any team in the WEC using them. It is just a part of the sport, Always has been & always will be & if you don’t like it then maybe just don’t watch it because it’s pretty clear you don’t fully understand it.

    You should learn the ways of the sport, The sport should not change it’s ways because new ‘fans’ don’t understand or like an aspect of it thats been an integral part of it since the sport began.

    1. Or maybe the sport change, because no one these days wants to waste time seeing predetermined outcomes — that’s not sport. Or is this one of those “it’s the DNA” arguements?

      1. Many people forgot that the competitor for the sport is not the drivers but the teams. Prize money is determined by team’s standings not driver’s. So it’s natural for team to implement team order even some takes it to extreme level *cough Ferrari cough*. Is it predetermined? Not really unless you only care for drivers from same team.

      2. It’s not like they disallowed racing completely. Just that the team wanted them to bring it home after the last stop.

  3. Regarding Ocon and the rule changes to neutralize weight discrepancies… I am delighted with this. F1 drivers shouldn’t have to look like jockeys.

    Regarding Bottas, I am puzzled once again by the Bandini Trophy people. Was Bottas really the most outstanding performance in 2017? I think Force India was more deserving, maybe Ocon. Bottas year was good, nowhere near spectacular. He would be the first to admit it.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      7th May 2018, 19:01

      Well I don’t think it was that outstanding. But It wasn’t all down to luck that he was closer to Hamilton in championship points than Rosberg was in 2014 or 2015. And Bottas’s first season with them was also the first since 2014 where Mercedes were not clearly dominant over all the other teams virtually every race which sorts of makes it even more impressive.

  4. “Now that they’re throwing in this new aero regulation for 2019, we maybe need to change our plan. Those decisions will be made in the next week.”
    – I wouldn’t really call them ‘new aero regs’ more like small-ish revisions.

    1. Maintenance yeah, fixing glaring issues.

      1. @jerejj @jureo It’s not a 2017-style overhaul but the changes to the front wing will have knock-on effects for the rest of the car and those could be more significant for some teams compared to others.

    2. Really?

      Can I suggest you have a look at the amount of budget being spent on front wings alone.

      These days the front wings, barge boards and in fact the whole of a car’s aero are interdependent on each other – several teams have mentioned that when testing a new aero part, it’s been an “all or nothing” process – if it worked, all the aero parts were kept. If it didn’t, then a heap of updated items had to be removed.

      There is nothing minor about the change to the regulations and the teams hit hardest will be all of the lower budget independent teams. They not only won
      T be able to re-use a lot of their 2018 development, they have to start a lot of their aero design from scratch again.

      1. I agree completely, but I suspect if a team were told the same amount of cash would gain them half of a second they would happily throw it at the car. I think the same should go for the well-being of the sport to protect their livelihoods in the long run.

    3. @jerejj I suspect the change to the front wings is a major one though. After all it is where the famous Y250 is being generated, I’m surprised they came to an agreement so quickly.

      1. The way I look at these changes is that F1 wouldn’t have instigated them if it was going to be too harmful to too many teams. Rather, the teams were going to spend money developing their aero further anyway, so now they have a new direction they have to go with the ends of the wings not outwashing. Sure there is a knock on effect down the rest of the car, but so would any change they would have made to their front wing anyway. Does anyone think they were all going to be keeping their 2018 wings for 2019 even without reg changes?

        And let’s keep the end goal in mind and even the teams that may be the most concerned about adapting to these changes will benefit from being in less dirty air from the car ahead.

        I agree with @vikaz1984 completely.

        1. @robbie, there is a major difference between a fairly minor refinement and a complete redesign of the entire concept behind the wings, which would explain why a majority of the teams were reportedly against the proposal. I am not necessarily sure I agree with the idea that they wouldn’t have instigated them if they were going to be too harmful – they might aspire to that goal, but we have seen many times in the past how well intentioned proposals had unintended adverse consequences.

          As for your comment about “Does anyone think they were all going to be keeping their 2018 wings for 2019 even without reg changes?” – actually, yes, I do think it is possible that some teams could use the same design. The number of changes in the front wings between seasons is often not that big, and in the case of Force India we have actually seen them start this season with the same front wing that they were using in 2017 (Perez has confirmed that the current VJM11 is using a large amount of bodywork that is the same as the VJM10’s bodywork).

          1. @anon I think the reality likely lies somewhere between what I would call fairly inexpensive tweeks for the good of the sport, and what you would call a complete redesign of the entire concept behind the wings, which I think is what we will see for 2021, but which is not what this is for 2019.

            And citing one team that might keep a previous year’s wing, albeit I would suggest a wing that got evolved throughout the previous year, is no proof that the teams for the most part weren’t going to spend any money tweaking their wings anyway.

            Also, that several teams voted against the proposals does not speak to whether they did so because they were ‘horrified’ at the damage this would do to the sport, or just because they were selfishly miffed at seeing their advantage potentially eroded, and would rather just keep creating a big wake for the cars they are usually ahead of on the track.

    4. Basically Haas will have to do some work themselves for next year. As they won’t have a Ferrari to copy.

      I called it that their 2017 car would be weaker than their 2016 car for this reason and I was correct. I also called that their 2018 car would again be back on form and I was correct. So 2019 will be a dud for them and 2020 they’ll be back on track, barring another revision.

  5. I wasn’t aware they started awarding the Bandini trophy to teams. In light of that though, and in the spirit of what this award has stood for, surely the better recipient for last year would be Force India for securing 4th in the championship for the third straight year. I think that is truly commendable.

  6. “40 years ago today Patrick Depailler claimed his first grand prix victory for Tyrrell at Monaco”.

    And it didn’t clash with the Indy 500.
    If only that were true in the modern day.

    1. @eurobrun, isn’t that kind of a rare event though, and more often than not races would usually clash with either the main race or the qualifying sessions for the Indy 500? Even by the late 1950’s the Indy 500 clashed with some F1 events, and that was at a time when the Indy 500 still counted towards the World Drivers Championship. Another famous example of a clash was in 1965 where, because there was more money in it for them to compete at the Indy 500, Clark and Gurney both skipped the Monaco GP to race in the Indy 500 instead.

      1. You’re right that there’s not been too many occasions without a clash, but it would be nice if F1 could be less belligerent about the modern date clash. Monaco has shifted about enough over the years, Indy 500 is pretty much a national day in the USA.

        I guess its Indy qualifying that throws the spanners in the works. You could leave a weekend free, but two consecutive weekends is pushing it a bit.

        It would be nice if the international motorsport community could guarantee certain events clash free. Indy 500, Le Mans, Macau, Bathurst (possibly others) that are almost bigger than their related championships and could attract one off entrants.

    2. @eurobrun Yeah, but at least they don’t directly clash with each other due to the time difference, and never have for that reason.

      1. I’m sure Alonso will be thrilled that he can watch the Indy 500 on a TV in the Monaco paddock.

  7. Will other sports now move the barriers stopping short or small people from competing?
    Lower hoops in Basketball?

    1. The ball is too big for people with small hands too!

  8. F1 isn’t basketball Joe- learn some rules about minimum weight. Tall and/or heavy drivers have a struggle to keep weight down. Basketball has a ball and two rings……………

    1. @garns

      So what’s your point? Motor racing traditionally attracted more shorter people by design and is one of the few sports that they would thrive in. F1 cars used to have no weight limits and have become heavier and heavier. Now they cater for taller heavier drivers, why not widen the cockpits and let body builders drive?

      The height of Basketball hoops came about from baskets being placed on balconies which meant taller people soon thrived in the sport like short people thrived in F1. So why not lower them to allow short people to take some of the riches from that sport?

  9. F1 driver minimum weight with carbon fibre seat 80KG

    Light Heavy Weight boxer 79KG – https://imgur.com/a/Z4FJmiP

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