Lando Norris, McLaren, Silverstone, 2021

Norris “not in perfect condition” but glad to be back in F1 paddock

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In the round-up: Lando Norris says returning to the F1 paddock is a welcome distraction after being mugged last weekend.

In brief

Norris glad to put Wembley incident behind him

After being mugged following the Euro 2020 final at Wembley, Lando Norris said that although the incident had affected him, being back at F1 was a welcome distraction.

“I’m alright, maybe not in perfect condition, but getting there. I think one of the best things really is being able to come to Silverstone, get my mind off of it and and focus on a different job.

“So just excited to be here, getting there and I’m sure I’ll be all right tomorrow.”

Ricciardo had “pinch yourself” moment driving Senna’s McLaren

Ricciardo got to drive an MP4/5B last weekend
Daniel Ricciardo said that driving Ayrton Senna’s 1990 McLaren at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend had been a childhood dream realised.

“It was pretty awesome. It was, I don’t know, one of those just crazy, a little bit ‘pinch yourself’ moments or experiences.

“I found myself cleaning the car at one point because I as a kid I would have loved to have just been anywhere close to that car, let alone like, touch it, clean it, sit in it, whatever. I was there and certainly enjoyed just being a part of it and getting [to be] able to drive it.

“[It was] just surreal like we do get so caught up sometimes in like the competition of the sport. One day when we finish, we’ll look back on it with fond memories. But it was definitely hard to not be in the moment and appreciate that for what it was.”

Alonso used weekend off for eight-hour kart race

After three races in a row many people in F1 used the following weekend for some downtime but Fernando Alonso chose to participate in an endurance karting race at his own karting track, where he reunited with a former F1 rival.

Alonso said the event meant the British Grand Prix is his fifth consecutive race weekend but that he had enjoyed it. “We [did the race] in my place, in my circuit, a couple of endurance races with a four-stroke kart and my team was Pedro de la Rosa and another two friends from Spain.

“We spent the day with friends and it’s not an ultra-competitive race, but we still have fun. It’s a nice way to spend weekends, behind a steering wheel.”

Veloce appoint Mariella Bailey as W Series team principal

After W Series announced its new teams structure, Veloce have appointed Mariella Bailey to lead their single seater programme. Bailey has previously worked in an operations role for Veloce’s Extreme E and esports programmes and played an early role in Dare To Be Different, the grassroots campaign to get more girls and women involved in motorsport.

Bailey is the daughter of former F1 driver Julian Bailey, who drove for Tyrrell in 1988 and Lotus in 1991, scoring a single point-placing finish at the 1991 San Marino Grand Prix.

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Comment of the day

After F1 unveiled a 2022 concept car demonstrating regulations intended to improve cars’ ability to follow each other, GT Racer explained some of the issues with dirty air and why the problem lies with the car behind more than the car ahead of it.

It’s less about the speed and more about how you produce it.

You could probably have cars that offered identical peak performance and lap times to what we have now but which were better in terms of racing if the way they were achieving that performance was been generated in a different way.

It’s the same misconception people have with dirty or turbulent air. A car that produces less or even no downforce at all will still produce a lot of dirty air because anything travelling through the air at 200mph is going to create a ton of turbulence.

The problem therefore isn’t that the cars are producing so much turbulent air but more how sensitive the aerodynamics are in terms of been affected by it.

You could put a car from say the seventies behind a car from 2021 and it could run close to it because a car from the 70’s isn’t as aerodynamically sensitive to that turbulent air. And on the flip side you could put a car from 2021 behind a car from the seventies and it would still struggle to run as close to it.

If you look at IndyCar for example. On ovals they still struggle to follow closely despite having way less aero in the low drag setup and relying more on the underwing and ground effects because at 220mph-plus the cars are still very sensitive to the turbulent air.

And that is why you still see cars just understeer straight into the wall if a car ahead moves up the track and takes all the air off the front end of the car behind. In that situation you can even sometimes see the car behind just swap ends due to the sudden shift in aero balance.

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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14 comments on “Norris “not in perfect condition” but glad to be back in F1 paddock”

  1. COTD is spot on…. but it begs the question as to why teams have continued to develop cars that only work perfectly in ideal conditions which is being is clear air on a windless day. Shouldn’t every midfield team design a car that is not so aero sensitive?

    1. @x1znet the simple answer is they could but it wouldn’t be as quick. The reward for being less aero sensitive is not big enough.

      Therefore, the sport should be writing regulations that encourage aero efficiency. They could do this by mandating a maximum level of downforce (one that delivers F1 levels of performance but which is achievable by all teams). The onus would then be on designers to create the most low drag car possible, which would naturally produce a less turbulent wake.

    2. @x1znet @frood19 The primary reason is that teams design the cars looking at pure performance because that is what gets you points, poles, wins & championships.

      An additional reason is one that F1 has talked about which is that it’s expensive & in the case of many teams not even possible to get multiple cars in the wind tunnel lined up in order to look at how following cars are effected. And even if you could do something like that it would be taking time away from the search for pure performance so it’s not something they ever want to do. CFD has made that less of an issue obviously but it’s expensive & time consuming to render the data so again not something they wanted to spend time on as it’s time away from developing things aimed at performance.

  2. I think with less downforce the car will slide more and those Pirelli tires will be eaten up even faster.

    1. That’s unlikely @dutchtreat.

      Sliding is not the quickest way around a race track and all teams will try to dial out any imbalance as much as possible.

      Less downforce will typically mean less energy going into the tires and in theory, this should help them hold up better. But with the change to 18 inch rims who knows, there aren’t many fans left who have faith in Pirelli tires !

  3. I already replied (sort of) to COTD yesterday, but spot on.

  4. They spend so much time trying to think their way out of the problem of dirty air that I think they honestly miss the real issue

    Even with zero aero dependence, zero tyre degradation from following, and absolute parity in car performance, overtaking wouldn’t happen by magic at so many of the circuits

    I know myself from karting that just being a bit faster doesn’t gift you overtaking, it’s really hard to combine braking later, taking a sub optimal line around a corner, and still exiting quick enough to get ahead

    What really stands in the way of overtaking are the circuit layouts. We have certain corners at some circuits which are great for overtaking even with the current tyres and dirty air issues, she then we have other circuits where nothing at all can happen even with big performance differentials. What they need to focus on is track profiles designed to allow multiple lines and make defending harder

    1. @philipgb this is a very good point. but I would say overtaking should not be made too easy (DRS is hugely deficient in this regard and it make my heart sink when it’s used) – if it’s too easy, the fast guys will just cruise through the field and we’ll be left with the finishing order after a handful of laps. this will utterly kill the sport.

      defensive driving was the key component in many legendary drives and the sport seems determined to kill it off as a skill.

  5. RandomMallard (@)
    16th July 2021, 10:14

    Congrats @gt-racer on COTD. I couldn’t agree more. I’m also glad to see I’m not the only person who ended up writing an essay on this subject ;-)

  6. Re Norris: Basically unacceptable what happened.
    Re Ricciardo: There’s also a dark story behind the MP4/5B…
    Re W Series: A nice appointment.
    Re AM tweet: First Bayern Munich, then Aston Martin…
    Re Vips: Baku broke his curse and now he’s 15 points behind the championship leader.
    Re IndyCar game: Now THIS is something!

    1. Care to elaborate on the MP4/5B?

      1. It’s not the car itself, it’s the 1990 title decider in which some act of revenge was done.

  7. Aston Martin really do need to sort out the colour of their car.

    Whenever I see it my brain registers it as a Mercedes.

  8. Jesus Christ, the guy got mugged, and that’s pretty much that.
    The way they keep talking about how the incident “affected” him, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was a victim in a particularly brutal case of domestic violence or something worse.

    I got mugged back in my high school days, and it took me a whole few hours to get over it. Had to go back to school the next day, and had to keep living my life, walking the same street I’ve been mugged at.

    Also, I’m pretty sure, the pocket change they took off me, hit me harder financially, than losing a $40k watch hit Norris.

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