Australian GP should have been cancelled a week before race – Richards

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In the round-up: Motorsport UK and Prodrive chairman David Richards tells RaceFans Formula 1 acted too slowly to call off the Australian Grand Prix last month.

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What they say

RaceFans asked Richards how well F1 handled the cancellation of the season-opening race in Melbourne:

To be honest I was surprised that they didn’t take an earlier decision about Australia. I think personally, it’s always easy to look from the outside and look in hindsight as well, but it did appear fairly obvious a week before Australia that the event was probably inappropriate and it would have been better for everyone if they had taken the initiative and cancelled it on the front foot rather than being almost forced into it at the last minute.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Portugal’s Algarve track wouldn’t make a good venue for F1, reckons Witan:

Having attended events there several times and driven round the track I think its a terrible F1 venue. Too much altitude variation, one good straight but overtaking would be very difficult in a real race scenario.

Unless additional facilities have been added in the last two years the fan facilities are poor, traffic flow difficult.

It is in the middle of nowhere and the nearest real airport is in Faro 100 kilometres away and except for one on site hotel, the nearest good and plentiful ones are in and around Portimao and the road to that town is often in a poor state and low capacity.

Forget it for F1 but good for some lower level racing and some bike racing (but not my field, that, it’s what friends who are bikers have told me).

Not happy to say this as this area was my home for quite a while and its fantastic. But this was built at the height of the borrowing boom (followed by the bust we all remember) and the commercial planning was based on optimism not hard headed calculation.
Witan

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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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  • 15 comments on “Australian GP should have been cancelled a week before race – Richards”

    1. So how is Richards relevant?

    2. I quite agree with COTD about the layout of Algarve. Yes, the track is great to drive (see onboard laps or drive it in any simulator), but once you look at the length of the track and combine that with the layout, it is no different to, say, Barcelona, or even Hungaroring (and looks a bit like the old Estoril): long corners leading to short straights. No chance of overtaking there with the current F1 cars due to aero disturbance.

      1. Don’t you dare compare it to estoril! Looks a bit like it…
        Some of the craziest shots I have ever seen have been taken there on wsbk weekends, kind of a turkey on that regard. Turkey had 2 good corners for overtake this track has none. Lmp2 have raced 6 hour races there, it was a longish lap for them but it should be a low 1 min for f1.

    3. I think the other part of Richards’ answer should have made the round-up headline:
      it’s always easy to look from the outside and look in hindsight

      What is the name again for those catchy headlines urging you to you open a link only to find out that there sits no interesting content behind it?

      1. @coldfly, Agreed, a week before the AGP coronavirus was something that happened in China and cruise ships, not in Australia, how fast things changed.

      2. Who the hell is Richard, and why does he get to play Monday morning quarterback? At least when it’s Bernie second guessing liberty, it’s relevant. Who the hell is this guy again?

        As said above, corona virus wasn’t a global pandemic at that point. It’s disengenuinous to try and pretend anyone knew anything at that point. Of course it would be an easy decision for him, nobody knows who the he’ll he is. F1 is huge.

        1. He knows as much as anyone else about all forms of motorsport and how it’s run in Australia. Even without the benefit of hindsight it wasn’t hard to see that they should have done something about it that week – electing to run the race on a closed track by Wednesday or Thursday would have seen a chequered flag on Sunday.

        2. Xcm David Richards is (among other things) the current chairman of Motorsport UK (The Royal Automobile Club Motor Sports Association), which has the go/no-go decision on the British Grand Prix. In that capacity, I would expect him to know something of how venues should react to a crisis potentially affecting their races. Note that Silverstone is wanting to decide the fate of its July race in late April.

          In essence, this is one promoter criticising the decision process of another.

        3. A week before the AGP Melbourne hosted the Women’s T20 World Cup Final at the MCG – almost 90,000 people packed in.
          No, it wasn’t obvious a week previously, Captain Hindsight.

    4. What is it with the recent “oh the cars are heavy, no downforce is going to solve that” push recently?
      To me it feels like the “these engines are bad, they make no sound” and the “we need faster cars” push that were ultimately a push by some to reach a goal that was clearly not what the sport needed.

      Sure, weight is to the detriment of racing. I applaud sensible proposals to cut out weight too, to make the cars more nible.
      But what options are there?
      – take weight out of the safety structures? a clear no go. But they are clearly a part of what was added in recent years
      – allow lighter materials for engine, gearbox, suspension, wheels etc? Probably not too hard to do, it’s been done in the past. But it is probably something only the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes would like, because the reason why these materials are not allowed is the cost of many of these materials.
      – allow lighter construction of parts for the drive train & wheels? This is both a cost factor (more complicated manufacturing), part reliability (less material often means lower margins for error) but also a safety factor.
      – Make the wheels smaller? Would that really be a step forward? Not sure
      – Cut the tank capacity, shorten wheelbases etc? – That would require greater efficiency, much as was planned by the FIA. Probably doable. But after all the nagging about “saving fuel” radio it is not very likely to happen. That round was won by the opponents of efficient engines like Bernie and Red Bull (partly Montezemelo).

      One way would be to cut out on suspension parts, for example. Go active suspension and you need less mechanical stuff to do the job. Is this a path F1 would go though? Should it?

    5. I always thought having a minimum weight was implemented for cost saving reasons, stop run away budgets as the big teams throw huge amounts of money at getting the weight down a guaranteed way of improving performance. Surely now there is a cost cap this can be relaxed along with a lot of the other technical restrictions brought in for cost saving reasons.

      This has always been an argument for the cost cap I felt should be more widely championed than it has been. It should allow the technical regulations to be opened up much wider as the cost saving argument becomes irrelevant. You can’t say a new idea would lead to run away costs as that idea itself would have been implemented under the cost cap.

      1. I think that we should let the teams go at it without making that change for now @yossarian. First we need to make sure that the budget cap works to keep a check on distorting competition by outspending the competition.
        Also, part of the budget cap are standardised parts. These parts will most likely be more heavy, to allow a single supplier to make them to a certain specification and turn a profit.

        That means easing up restrictions in this area would not come before maybe 2025-27.

      2. @yossarian One of the weight raises was done to reduce the propensity of teams to use exotic materials (it didn’t work for that). Other raises have been to accommodate safety equipment, hybrid engines and larger tyres.

    6. Rubbish COTD. Not surprsing given quite a few others as bad or worse lately.

      here’s a summary of why Algarve isn’t suitable for F1 per this “marvelous” comment of the day :

      It’s got TOO MUCH elevation changes( That statement alone is worth the lunacy prize!)

      It has one good straight(evidently this guy is a huge admirer of Big Tilkedromes)

      The facilities are bad(like it’s something that cannot be improved fairly quickly if they get the contract)

      It’s a bit remote (So is Suzuka and so are many other great tracks. Paul Ricard is a nightmare to get to and the track is awful as well on the other hand now that’s a bad combination. Since when people judge the quality of the track by how close it is to major metropolitan criminal cesspool? For some, it being in a scenic countryside is actually a bonus).

    7. Those words of David Richards are from last month, though, rather than from the last few days.

    Comments are closed.