Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2019

Austrian government gives green light to F1’s double header race plan

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: The 2020 F1 season has moved a step closer to resuming in July after the Austrian government approved plans for races at the Red Bull Ring.

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Comment of the day

Mark’s view on the plight of Williams:

So sad to see Williams in this position but it’s been coming for a while now hasn’t it? You could tell the end was going to arrive by how the team kept ignoring the new reality in the sport.

Adaptability is the new reality when you don’t have tons of cash to burn through like a manufacturer. Haas started it and received massive criticism for their business model. I believe that Racing Point is leading the way now for others to follow it they want to make it.

Is it ideal? Of course not. I think all of us would like to see independent manufacturers winning once in a while. With the new rules in place maybe that can happen. Williams just didn’t change their ways in order to survive.
Mark in Florida

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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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28 comments on “Austrian government gives green light to F1’s double header race plan”

  1. I think it’s time we got the whole “ independent teams having the occasional win” into perspective.

    The reason that this used to happen in past years wasn’t because of budgets or because somehow things were “fairer” in commercial terms. The main reasons were:-

    Reliability – teams, especially the bigger ones used to push the envelope on performance for motors, gearboxes and the like and had a tendency to get it wrong pretty often. How many times were 20 car fields shrunk by a multitude of mechanical failures.
    Driver error resulting in damage or beaching of their cars before run offs were extended the way they are now.

    These days with rules forcing cars to be bullet proof, we see far less, particularly in the top big budget teams, mechanical failures – you can pretty much guarantee that at least 4 of the 6 cars will finish.
    In the case of driver error, we probably see way more but the complete lack of consequence on most track means that we don’t see the level of attrition we used to.

    We can dream all we want, but given the above, I really believe we’ll not return to a scenario where we see an independent team register a win any time in the next few years unless all manufacturer teams withdraw. They will simply retain the best engineers, teams, drivers and facilities to produce the best results.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      31st May 2020, 6:56

      Unless of course all teams start spending similar amounts.

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        31st May 2020, 9:46

        But as far as i know salaries are not included, so the team with the biggest amount of cash can still hire the best people. But it should at least get a bit closer

        1. Only the salaries of the drivers and the top two honchos is excluded, @passingisoverrated.

          1. @coldfly Top three.

          2. thank you, @jerejj.

    2. Not just reliability, early 2012 and 2013 prove that. Luck and strategy used to be a factor as well but no refuelling and forced pit stops means nobody can luck in not even on a wet race.

      1. @peartree Refuelling was detrimental to on-track overtaking and limited strategy-options more than pit stops solely for changing tyres.

        1. @jerejj

          Refuelling was detrimental to on-track overtaking and limited strategy-options more than pit stops solely for changing tyres.

          How come? we see the same under or over cutting strategy from mandatory tyre stops. @stefmeister but we don’t see someone betting on rain by starting heavy (on a wet monaco you used to be able to not stop) or someone betting on high deg therefore starting on low fuel. If a team got their fuel strategy wrong there was no track position that could save them, maybe the SC could, cheating on the SC is the only positive I take from no refuelling. Stef, tyres should indeed be free.

          1. @peartree With in-race refuelling, there isn’t as much flexibility in choosing the lap when to pit as there is with tyres. With tyres, it’s more flexible to try and stretch a stint by more than a handful of laps through the scheduled pit stop lap, but with fuel, it’s only really the lap until which there’s enough fuel, not beyond that. If there’s enough fuel for 20 laps from the start, then lap 20 is when the stop has to be made, or maybe a lap or two later at max through fuel-saving measures, but not any later than that.
            @stefmeister – I agree with you. Especially on the part about freeing up the tyre choices.

      2. @peartree You used to see more varied, Unpredictable strategies in the pre-refueling days, Especially when pit stops were optional & teams more free to run whatever tyres they wished (Even been allowed to mix compounds).

        What refueling did was actually make strategy more predictable & less diverse while also putting a far greater emphasis on it to the detriment of the actual on track racing.

        1. I agree. They should open up tyre choises. You want to run the ultra-softs while others choose the softs, fine, go ahead. You want to go for hards and don’t make a pitstop, fine, go ahead. Strategies could vary again.

        2. @jerejj yes, though today that flexibility is gone to waste as every team pits once and around the same lap. Everyone knows what is ideal and covers itself so in todays f1, there is no strategy, unless you are ferrari and like to make up stuff

    3. Spot on comment.

  2. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    31st May 2020, 6:55

    Totally out of context, but @dieterrencken, been a while since a ‘My F1 cars’ column was published. Any more in the pipeline?

  3. The problem for Williams has never been their business model because manufacturing as much as you can yourself is the only way you can win in Formula One, as demonstrated by the facts that only the biggest three teams have been able to win races in the V6 turbo hybrid formula era and that Williams have been the only team to actually get in amongst them during this period. They are very correct to go racing the way they choose to because they aim to win, their problems are caused by their last couple of cars being stinkers combined with their sponsor supposedly having failed to pay up ultimately reducing their income, along with the coronavirus attacking humanity.

    And another thing, people talk about Racing Point, about how well they do and how they are an example of how to run a team in modern Formula One but this team was basically dead and buried just two years ago despite their model of buying kit from Mercedes and their success relative to the mid-grid teams so actually no, they aren’t a good example of how to run a team. Also, they will never win races under their current model against the big three teams, likewise Haas, they are essentially grid fillers and nothing more than that.

    1. +1

      If they would have been performing on the same level since, say, 2014, and yet would’ve been leapfrogged by the “B-teams” (Haas, Toro Rosso, Alfa Romeo, Racing Point), then COTD would’ve made sense. However, they are not. The gap to Mercedes increased steadily between 2014 to 2017. Sure, they have much less of a budget than the likes of Mercedes, but surely being behind and thus further away from the limits of the regulation should make it easier to find larger chunks of lap time than for the leades. So realisticly they should have been able to maintain the gap if they got it right, even with their critisised business model.

      Then came Paddy Lowe to put the team back in contention and pushed through with a different design concept. It failed miserably, and the disaster of 2018 was followed up by an even worse 2019 where they started out by missing the first days of winter testing. Again, clearly this shows that something else has been wrong with the team, that isn’t related to their business model.

      McLaren is the other team with this business model, and they also struggled badly for a long period of time. Sure, they have far greater resources than Williams, but all the same, the reason for their struggles was not the business model but something being off inside the team. In their case, the Honda engine’s poor performance masked the poor performance of the chassi, and it was only in 2018 they realised how far off they really are.

      In the end of the day, if you don’t exist to win, then what is the point of going racing in Formula 1?

      1. You have neatly demonstrated the problem at Williams: it’s poor management and poor leadership. Unlike McLaren all decision-making, and strategic planning, has been concentrated in the hands of one family.

        When we talk about the Williams business model it is a desire to be independent, except for the engine close, which has been taken to an absurd degree by the familial mindset which has become increasingly outdated.

        If William had had all the money in the world the handicap of their mode of operation would’ve made it impossible to emulate the success of the current top teams.

        1. I wonder how much of William’s net loss for the year was caused by paying off Paddy Lowe?

    2. Very nice rebuttal, rob91.

    3. You do make some very good points, Rob91. Maybe it is just poor management and bad decision making that’s led to their problems. Their major sponsor not paying up has really not helped.

  4. The Singapore GP is on thin ice and already was before the point about being unwilling towards a spectator-less race came out. Most realistically, every single race potentially taking place this year is going to have to happen without spectators in attendance, so not much choice.

  5. Surely the desire to build your own chassis is actually the key to becoming a winning team as opposed to just a good midfield runner. You could hardly snap together bits from other suppliers and achieve championship winning success. If anything, I think its less about the business model and more about the poor decision making that started with Frank himself and just continued with Claire. After all, where would Williams have been if Frank had agreed to give Adrian Newey shares instead of a flat ‘no’.

    Franks self importance and belief that the only indispensable person at Williams was himself is more to blame for the steady decades long decline if you ask me.

  6. On a different note: I got to watching the Race of the Legends (rFactor All-Star Series) on Saturday. I loved Brabham BT 44B ever since I made a paper model of it as a kid, and it is nice to see cars sliding around, twitching and being beasts in general, handled by competent drivers. The latest rounds are not crashfests either as they got used to their handling, and it is nice to see people like Fittipaldi and Andretti keeping up with guys several generations younger. It was also interesting to see Alonso coming in and within two rounds demolish everyone. The guy is a beast. In short, I will definitely stay with the new “season” next week.
    It got me thinking that it might be a nice idea to stage a legends carting race before each Grand Prix. Nothing against F2 or F3 supporting races, these should go as usual, but adding this could (perhaps just in Europe to save on travel) be way more fun and a nice way to connect F1 with its (not so distant) past.

  7. With regards to the races in Austria, it seems that Liberty Media might be applying the old adage that you should never waste a crisis – because they seem to be intent on using the second race as a means of introducing their idea for reverse grids.

    Once again, it sounds like it’s not a hugely popular move (neither with the teams nor most of the fan base) – but it looks like Liberty might be hoping that the idea of holding a second race in Austria gives them an excuse to introduce that mechanism.

    1. When they were talking about it last year it was also stated that none of the drivers were in favor of it either.

    2. Sounds like they won’t have unanimity anyway, but I don’t mind that Liberty at least wants to experiment with this. Imho it is not that Liberty or Brawn are ultra eager to have these reverse grids, but they do seem eager to at least try it and then rule them out after a true test of them.

      For me though, it is more of a trick that would have helped (assuming enough people were for it) to make up for processions and the locked in order of things in the hybrid era, and largely because of dirty air. Redesign the cars as they will be doing to get away from clean air dependence, take a little advantage away from the big teams and bolster the lesser teams, and I no longer see the need for talks of a concept such as reverse grids.

  8. One problem for Williams has been time. It takes an age between deciding on a manufacturing/business strategy, and actually seeing results on track – several years at least. The rot set in while Williams was still at the front. The BMW divorce hurt them badly because they didn’t have an alternative. Once they realized things were going wrong it was too late to get the big players back on board. They’ve been hoping for a miracle ever since.

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