Leclerc: One-handed 130R video doesn’t show F1 has become too easy

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In the round-up: Charles Leclerc denies a video of him driving one-handed through 130R shows Formula 1 has become too easy.

What they say

Leclerc, who took one hand off his steering wheel while taking 130R to hold his broken wing mirror in place, was asked whether the fact he was able to do that showed F1 cars are not challenging enough to drive.

I don’t share this point of view. I think cars are getting quicker and quicker. The limitation will be different than the past.

So it might be that a corner like 130R might not be as difficult for us as it was 10 years ago. But there are a lot more corners that are a lot more difficult now that are a lot quicker.

So of course now 130R is not as much of a challenge as it was before. But I think there are many other corners that are a lot quicker than before that are more of a challenge than [they were] before.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

John tips McLaren to shine at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Keep an eye out for McLarens this weekend.

Red Bull’s success at this track in recent years has been largely thanks to Renault’s turbocharger, which is believed to be the best among F1’s current engines. The turbocharger has a much more profound effect on performance in the thin air of high altitude Mexico City. While the Renault works team has been struggling, McLaren seem to have a more consistent car. They could be much closer to the front-runners than usual.

It will also be intriguing to see how does Honda compare to Renault based on Red Bull’s performance this weekend. This might tell us a lot about the next season as well.

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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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19 comments on “Leclerc: One-handed 130R video doesn’t show F1 has become too easy”

  1. I think the Miami race will be even greater than the New Jersey one. <>

  2. COTD; Twisted logic, Renault may do well because their turbo boost may be the reason they seem to have a wider torque band, but that advantage seems limited to lower revs not the top end of the rev band, which at lower elevations is crucial for race winning performance, better at Mexico does not mean best overall.

    1. COTD: An important point is missing. Renault updated their engine heavily for this year. It got much closer to the rest, as McLaren can confirm.

      The sound of their Turbo/MGU-H combo changed considerably. It has a higher pitch, similar to others.

      Maybe they switched to a more efficient, lighter turbine.

      1. That’s correct. Renault switched to a smaller turbine, which has helped them to increase the overall performance of their PU this season.
        The bigger turbine has helped them in Mexico the last couple of years, because they were able to direct more air to the compressor, while having the same RPM, than their competitors. Thus they lost less performance compared to the Mercedes- and Ferrari-powered cars.

        I wonder how this will affect Renault and McLaren this weekend.

  3. Leclerc agreeing that the 130R is too easy now compared to a decade ago – then mentions other corners are much harder, without stating which ones. My guess is any slow chicane or hairpin, because these long heavy beasts looks so awkward trying to negotiate any low speed turn.

    1. All I can imagine is that leclerc means that when you add more downforce you change some corners from almost flatouts to be easy flatout but some corners which were not even close to being flatout can now be flatout or almost flatout. In the end the more downforce the cars have the more of the corners become flatout corners which effectively reduces the amount of corners a race track has. Is eau rouge or raidillion even a corner anymore if it is easy flatout all the way through the race in every car for example? It is just a kink with some elevation. 130R has not really been a challenge after it was changed in early 2000s I think.

      I also think the modern cars are the easiest cars ever to drive in the slower speed corners. The huge weight makes the cars react slower and calms them down while sacrificing the agility and making them less nervous. These modern cars have huge tires which give lots of mechanical grip at lower speeds. The computer doesn’t give the drivers 100% power unless there is enough traction for it which also makes the cars easier to drive. Nobody spins out on power anymore. Not to mention there is no turbo lag and the torque curves are perfectly smooth. Compare that to the v10 era cars which ran on narrow grooved slicks and the engines gave 900hp every time you asked for 100% power. Much lighter weight which made the cars more nervous and more agile. Sure the cars had traction control but those cars were beasts compared to these modern toys.

      1. @socksolid

        Nobody spins out on power anymore.

        Seb seems to. I thougt because he’s being too eager on the throttle but i could be wrong. Apart from him I generally agree with your points.

        1. @nasiboring Is there a specific reason why vettel always spins when opponent tries to overtake?

          Is it because of his poor control of the car, that he can’t make ‘nonsystematic’ moves (unlike the corner turns which is very systematic on repetitive laps)?

          1. I don’t know @dmitri-czubak You’re right, that he’s loosing the rear in situations where he is engaged in close battle. Disagree with the ‘nonsystematic’ moves though, more like he isn’t anticipating his loss of downforce correctly.

        2. @nasiboring
          That’s evident without saying. My question is that, considering that he’s not acclimatized to those defensive moves, whether he is unable to control the trajectory as much as other racers do. Anyone on the grid can have a cleaner turn with massive downforce if they have already went past the same turn for 100th time. It’s the ability of the likes of Hamilton, and Leclerc to play with the car while still being well aligned to the line, is what separates them from the rest. It’s how they extract the potential of the car. It’s not speculative to say that Leclerc and Hamilton with the red bull car vettel had, will have smashed much more world records and would’ve been thoroughly dominant. For reference, Daniel Riccardo.

    2. @jimmi-cynic leclerc’s logic is kind of correct in that different corners present the greater challenge than they used to. look at spa – eau rouge used to be daunting, now it’s easy flat, but now pouhon is daunting and only flat for the best car/driver in quali. but it doesn’t take away from the fact that 130R is now easy flat, one handed, when it used to be more like pouhon is today. to extend this argument, consider what pouhon was like in, for example, 1998 (when, to illustrate the point, eau rouge in qualifying was flat for schumacher but not for irvine, in the ferrari): it was still a great and challenging corner, but almost certainly required more than a big lift, and probably changing down a gear or two in some cars. that is still a challenging corner, if not the bravery-testing challenge it is today. to extend the point further, eau rouge was still a great corner in the 1960s, but the cars were braking for it back then.

      so I think leclerc is right in one sense, but wrong in another. different corners have morphed into the scary/on-the-edge-of-flat-out challenge that 130R used to be (turn 1 at suzuka is absurdly fast these days; ditto some corners at silverstone that used to require braking!), but that also means the old ‘favourites’ have just become slightly bendy straights now, in which case it’s really just a test of power unit and neck muscle (and trusting your suspension doesn’t fail at 190mph). if the cars get more grip, as seems inevitable for 2020 at least, then more corners on the calendar will be flat out and in some senses, a little bit less interesting.

      1. @frood19: Good points. Eau rouge is still a great corner…but an easy flat in this current gen kind of hurts. Maybe this is Liberty’s master plan – make all the great daring corners stale and boring. Make us ready to embrace the sheer faux excitement of 90 degree turns on a dozen street circuits a year. ;-)

        1. Eau rouge has been flat from about 2001 or so. I remember Ralf Schumacher being asked how it was going through the mythic corner and he shrugged and said it was easy. A little part of me died that day.

  4. These same residents that live in the dump that is Miami Gardens will be waiting with their hands out for their cut of stadium revenue from the Super Bowl, etc. I guarantee that if Ross told each resident within a two mile radius of the event that he would give them a thousand dollars they would suddenly be in favor of the race.

  5. Regarding the Miami Herald-article: How surprising
    Regarding the COTD: Could be
    One-handed driving through 130R: Nothing wrong with that in my view

  6. Hakk the Rack
    25th October 2019, 10:16

    I think we’re overreacting a bit. There’s plenty of exaltation in the glorification of this corner. This is an ex 130, butchered in 2000s. This is not a challenge any more.

  7. There’s no way Charles can make that argument. He’s only driven cars of this generation which are tanks compared to even a decade ago. They are heavy, they have massive downforce, they have massive mechanical grip and are loooooong

  8. 130R lost it’s challenge & became pretty easy flat when they modified it in 2003.

    This image shows a comparison between the pre/post 2002 versions of it:

    Maybe even the old version would be flat with modern cars but I don’t think it would be quite as easy, Especially on older tyres & early in races with full tanks.

  9. I get his point. 130R is easier now but the esses, dunlop and spoon are taken much faster now. Speed differential on getting into and out of spoon is now so high that spoon is now a regular overtaking spot in races. So just because 130R is easier doesn’t mean the Suzuka circuit is easier. Other corners are now more difficult.

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