Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2018

Severe Red Bull Ring kerbs “divide opinion” among drivers

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In the round-up: Drivers are split over whether the Red Bull Ring kerbs, which damaged several cars during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend, are too severe.

What they say

FIA race director said an alternative to the kerbs is being considered but he is in favour of them:

There [were] a few complaints in practice. I think opinion is quite evenly divided.

A lot of drivers think it’s the right thing to do, have a stiff deterrent for going off the track. I believe it’s the right thing to do.

There may be a better solution to achieve the same objective, we’re always looking for that. But at the moment this is something that I believe works. Of course when drivers go over them, damage their car, they’re upset about it.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken


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Comment of the day

Are Formula 1’s engine rules too restrictive to attract new manufacturers such as Porsche?

At present, it’s my belief that there’s very little chance of any new engine manufacturers entering the sport, not because of the expense, but rather because it is so regulated, it stifles any chance a new manufacturer has for true innovation.

What a new manufacturer has to look at when considering entry is “will we be able to demonstrate that we’re as good as or better than the current manufacturers” (which means in reality “will we stack up against Mercedes engines”?)

If they were given a more free reign (e.g. use whatever configuration you want but your fuel allowance is ‘x’, you can have as much electrical power as you want) then surely we might see some innovators (and even perhaps more road relevance) introduced. They’d be trying to prove ‘their’ way is better rather than (as is the case at the moment) trying to prove that they can emulate what Mercedes does as well as they do.

Just seems pointless worrying about encouraging other manufacturers as I don’t really see any upside for them.
DB-C90 (@Dbradock)

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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 “Severe Red Bull Ring kerbs “divide opinion” among drivers”

  1. Excellent COTD.

    1. +1.

      Unsure how the FIA would regulate all the possible variants and all the possible ‘unfair advantages’ the variants could provide. And as soon as one power unit configuration proved the fastest, all the teams would migrate to that design. The costs to develop multi-design variants would make this turbo generation seem cheap.

      The last time F1 permitted different engine designs was in the 80s – it resulted in stricter engine design rules, to this day.

      I’d love to see F1 become the new CanAm, but Liberty just wants F1 to become the new Indy(ish)-spec World Racing Championship.

      1. @jimmi-cynic, Cost has become critical almost entirely because each team only earned itself $1. (for building and racing 2 cars) for every $10 Bernie earned for negotiating contracts, without all that cash going out of F1 it might be easier to allow variety in design. Sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to start from scratch (with a new idea) than it is to keep trying to catch up by doing the same thing over and over.

        1. @hohum, the thing is, the experience that the WEC has had over the past few years of operating a similar system to what the COTD has suggested did result in massive cost inflation.

          Speaking back in 2016, Henri Pescarolo noted that, after the ACO had changed the engine regulations to their current format – which is fairly similar to what the original commenter wants – the budgets of the manufacturer teams increased by more than a factor of six in barely four years, resulting in the manufacturers in the WEC spending a comparable amount to most F1 teams. http://www.dailysportscar.com/2016/06/11/pescarolo-private-teams-in-lmp1-are-still-completely-out-of-the-running.html

          Given that the ACO had clamped down with very aggressive restrictions on aerodynamics and in season development, pretty much the only thing that was causing that considerable cost inflation was the new engine regulations. It’s why the ACO’s planned 2020-2021 regulation package actually subtly places much tighter restrictions on engine development – they have realised that the only way of bringing costs down in the way that they want them to (by around 70%) is to tighten up the engine regulations, since most of the other areas of development, such as aerodynamics, are already tightly cost controlled.

          Complaining about Bernie just distracts from the point that prior experience has shown that what the original poster was proposing has proven to be financially unsustainable in other series that have adopted a similar approach, even where there was no equivalent to Bernie and the revenues the series generated mostly went to the teams.

          1. ANON, @jimmi-cynic, Agreed, but I can dream, can’t I ? Ah for the days of V’s 6-8-10-12, and Flat 6-8-12, not to mention the (un) glorious doubleF8.

        2. @hohum – Agree. And Bernie sold his cash-car dealership to Liberty. I’m not convinced they can keep up the payments.

          Perhaps we may see a new series rise debt-free – however – even if the new (old) teams kept 85% of the profits for themselves, it still wouldn’t be enough money to fund 10 teams with a proper billion dollar per team annual engineering/operating cost. Maybe it was only 3 teams….

    2. Can’t say I agree entirely. Oh I do get the point about innovation, and agree it’s a factor, but of course we know the other side of that coin is endless spending by those that have it to spend, which they need to get away from if they want a more balanced and closer grid.

      The up side of being in F1 is massive global marketing exposure, and so if a team can, in the example given, stack up against Mercedes, that’s a huge feat even without free rein to innovate, and will pay off bigtime.

      I like to imagine something of a zeroing of the scales. Let’s see Liberty get as many ducks in a row as possible, get a better product on the track, costs under control, etc etc, and perhaps when they have given themselves a small number of years of a new and different flavour than we have seen from the BE era, then they can consider opening things up a bit more.

      1. I am not sure if f1 is that rewarding for automakers.
        Renault is not racing mercedes, it is racing mercedes B team – force india.
        The exposure for automaker is at most as valuable as the exposure for a deodorant brand.
        Particularly I almost cannot related the f1 team to their parent companies.
        The operations, management and tech seem too fa apart.
        Pirelli tyres I see on gps may have no connection to the ones I could put on my car.
        No f1 results made me change how much i would want or trust a mercedes, a ferrari, or a renault.

        1. ColdFly (@)
          5th July 2018, 6:50

          My latest car is a Mercedes. I would never have bought one until they changed their cars and image to be more sporty.
          F1 has been a big part in changing that image.

          PS I doubt that I’ll change my deodorant.

          1. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
            5th July 2018, 8:28

            @coldfly I’m all for the Prancing Horse but man those cars are expensive. I’ll stick to my Citroen for a little more.

        2. YOU might not be sure if F1 is rewarding for AOEMs, however irrespective of your personal, and anecdotal opinion ask yourself if the companies would be involved in F1 on a whim without any demonstrable ROI?

          O.k it’s a rhetorical question! the answer is obvious. They can demonstrate value in F1 involvement, as soon as this stops or executive management changes and focus moves AOEMs will exit.

        3. I haven’t bought a Ferrari because I don’t like how they’ve treated Kimi.

        4. @mais gus – this is a huge fallacy when thinking about why big companies do marketing. the effect is subtle, subconscious and cumulative.

          as an example: since pirelli re-entered the sport i would say i have read that word hundreds or thousands of times per year, in the media mainly, but also on track side advertising hoardings and, fleetingly, on the tyre walls. now, i can say with some surety that before they re-entered the sport i read the word “pirelli” a handful of times per year (the odd tv or magazine advert, maybe in a book about F1). now what is the effect? pirelli is higher up in the hierarchy of words stored in your brain AND it is associated with motorsports, cars, and tyres (probably). I don’t own a car, and when I did i never bought big brand name tyres, but it’s easy to see that, for the kind of people who are choosy about what they put on their cars, this subconscious linguistic priming of the word/brand pirelli is extremely powerful. we can also justly infer that the kind of people who pick and choose their tyres are also more likely to be interested in F1 than people who just plump for the cheapest no-name brand. even those people might hesitate over the no-name brand and instead go for something ‘known’ – hey presto, you know about pirelli because it’s always in the media of a massive world-wide sport.

          big companies invest in marketing because it works. mass marketing campaigns (and i’m including politicians and lobbyists in this) utterly rule how we think about and interact with the world.

        5. …but is the deodorant brand getting the exposure it wants with their cars coming last in the championship?

    3. Plus, the dominant Ferrari position means that any new manufacturer would be threatened by the possiibility of being only the thrid best team – a la renault. Mercedes today has a grip onto the regulations. Unless they give up F1, they will be competitive. In the las years Ferrari seems organized enough to be in almost inevitable podia. New brands will face the spectre of a honda fiasco – expensive and brand damaging – or of a renault – expensive and subject to the whims of a sugarjuice backed team and not that rewarding in terms of victories.

  2. Re rough corrugations off the track.
    The lesson here is yes, corrugations will damage the car if you continually exceed the track limits.

    1. It is a real mistery why a contraption installled to avoid the use of a certain part of the track is punishing those who use that part of the track.

  3. These kerbs are good alternative to the barriers. If exceeding track limits, it’s safe for the driver but unmerciful to the car.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      5th July 2018, 6:55

      And I assume you can easily remove them to organise a MotoGP race.
      But I still prefer gravel and grass.

    2. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
      5th July 2018, 8:30

      Also, it’s better to have a broken wing than a suspension.

    3. I agree fully, you could even make them higher like some kind of plastic flaps. Damage the carbon fiber and no danger to the driver. And penalizing when you exceed track limits.

      1. Plastic flaps ?? nah .. lets just go straight to the ‘stinger’ road spikes :)

  4. Love Nathalie McGloin! Very nice move from David Richards! :)

    As for the kerbs, I agree with Whiting. Sure it’s not ideal to have something that breaks your car next to the track, but that’s also the job barriers do at other tracks, and people don’t go about saying “man, I hit the wall and my car broke, that’s unacceptable!”. Stop hitting them!

  5. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    5th July 2018, 2:36

    Re: HAAS Tweet… Unfortunately I’m figuring it’s a Grosjean contract announcement for 2019 & 2020.

    1. Or Leclerc to Haas?

      1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
        5th July 2018, 5:07

        @phylyp – Picture uses Grosjean/Grojean’s garage as a background. Don’t think they’d be so daft to use that if they were really announcing Grosjean’s replacement.

        Unless Leclerc is KMag’s replacement… But after this season, I can’t see him getting the boot.

        1. Good point re. the picture, that adds credence to your original comment. @braketurnaccelerate

          1. If Magnussen is so good that he is deserving of a new contract, why isn’t Grosjean? Grosjean had a solid race in Austria, to beat Magnussen. He has had a tough year with crashes but, before this year, he beat his teammate at Haas every year.
            For more perspective: from Hungary onwards in 2013, Raikkonen only had the edge on Grosjean in two of the last eight races he drove in the season.

          2. The Haas announcement was an antifreeze sponsor, phew.

            Please no renewal for Grosjean, ever.

      1. Pfffft, what a damp squib by the Haas team. Bit of a shame that Keith/team got snookered into thinking it was something worthy of being featured here.

    2. I was expecting Boullier to Haas…

  6. Alonso to Haas?

    1. ColdFly (@)
      5th July 2018, 6:57

      You’ll have to wait for Renault’s big announcement.

      1. Carlos goes to Renault? Because Daniel signs with Red Bull? I think Alonso is going to quit F1. Haas signs both drivers for next year?

        1. Currently I’m afraid I agree with you about Alonso.
          With McLaren now admitting it’ll be years before they can build a good chassis, I can’t see him sticking it out there.
          Time is no longer on his side.

  7. Make the track limits a 5cm drop to a lower level run-off area made with a slow abrasive surface where if takes time to get back on the track. You exceed the limits you pay the penalty in time and places lost, better than hitting a hard barrier and destroying your car.

    1. That doesn’t work for MotoGP tho. Austria hosts both races.

  8. I agree with Charlie on the kerbs, and the COTD has an interesting point as well.

  9. I don’t think the technological innovations of the f1 engine regulations have any bearing to whether porsches, volkswagens, peugeots and fords enter the sport or not. F1 is all about brand awareness. Formula e is attracting manufacturers because it is cheap compared to what kind of brand exposure and publicity you get out of it. It also has high value perception because the drivers are well known meaning it is a premium product. Just like f1. And it is electric.

    The problem with f1 is that it is expensive and it takes long time to become competitive. F1 tech is also pretty useless for car makers and for other racing purposes. F1 is very unique with its tech regulations so there is no carry over to any other motorsports either. Hybrid is not new tech and the future is electric anyways. What could f1 offer? Future is also self driving car and f1 is too computer controlled to be a statement for “driver’s choice or driving skill” kind of marketing push.

    What porsche is thinking now is what value could f1 add to its product? The answer is very little. But the risks are high. If porsche wins in f1 it is a boost for its racing brand but it has also already won countless lemans, sportscar and smaller championships. How much can f1 add to that? And what if it doesn’t win? The failures of honda are still present but has it put honda in poor light? Honda probably is not affected much because most of its products are grocery getters and motorbikes. As long as its name is mentioned somewhere it sells. Porsche sells its cars on the idea that they are fast, technologically advanced and the best. Doing bad in f1 will hurt it just like it has to hurt mclaren’s road car side.

    Porsche is at the same time a powerhouse of research and development. It can afford to outspend its rivals in almost anything they get themselves into. But in f1 they can’t really outspend their opposition. You have teams like mercedes, ferrari, red bull and renault putting in hundreds of millions every year, sometimes closer to billion euros just to compete. For this kind of competition to be interesting to porsche it needs tech rules that guarantee it can finish ahead (outspend) of teams like mclaren and force india. While at the same time the rules must provide enough limits so porsche does not lose the money burning competition against ferrari and mercedes. Not because porsche can not afford it but because it does not want to pay such huge sums of money. Especially because it takes long time to become competitive in f1.

    There is a possible entry available for f1 in many ways. One is as engine manufacturer. Whether that is even intersting proposition is its own topic but technically there is the red bull option. The honda deal is a “multi year deal” but one could also interpret it that red bull has put itself into good position if someone like porsche wants to come in as engine manufacturer. It takes years to start an f1 program for porsche so when porsche is ready so will be red bull.

    Another option is to buy a team. Porsche could buy force india. It is a very good option as it has proven to be competitive and has good drivers and has good facilities. It is probably no cheap enough. And it is too soon anyways. Porsche still needs couple of years to build an engine. Will force india still be available in 2 years?

    1. Buying an existing team is the logical route. Though a merger may be better… Force Porsche has a nice ring to it!

    2. Doing bad in f1 will hurt it just like it has to hurt mclaren’s road car side.

      Has performing poorly recently in Formula 1 really hurt McLarens road car division?

  10. Nice move David Richards.

  11. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I do not buy the argument that we need innovation in F1 in order that the technology will move to production cars. Manufacturers are in the business of selling cars, and they are going to invest as needed to get the innovation and sell cars/make a profit. Investing in F1 is a poor investment from that standpoint if you consider $ spent to new technology developed. What the F1 teams (mfgs really) get is EXPOSURE and PR/bragging rights. I love the technology in F1, but would be willing to forego an ongoing arms race to get a secure (if less technologically “cool”) F1 that could attract and keep a full compliment of teams, with more than 3 teams able to fight for a (if occasional) win. I’m not after a full spec formula, and would not expect that all teams could fight for wins or championships, just that we don’t have the constant battle of keeping even long term teams in the sport.

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