Friday 29 July 2011

Millions of UK F1 fans will lose the opportunity to watch all races live from next season under a revised deal which Will be shared with Sky. A sad day for F1.

Sunday 24 July 2011

F1 Technical Update: July 2011

Picture (c)

Whilst the teams get to grips with the latest news on the rear diffuser rules the FIA have been testing cockpit canopies from fast jets by firing F1 wheels at them. Whilst on the face of it the test seems rather strange the aim is to study the feasibility of designing a canopy or a windshield for F1 cars that keeps the driver safe from flying debris. Massa was hit by a fist sized spring in 2009, receiving brain damage and is lucky to be a live let alone racing, an sadly the son of racing legend John Surtees was killed in the A1 series in the same year after being hit by wheel. It is likely to be some time before we see these changes translate to changes to the cockpit designs. And so we edge ever closer to Adrain Newey’s concept car the Red Bull X2010 (link to Wikipedia Picture). (link to Wikipidia Red Bull X2010 page)

Blown Defusers. FIA Press Release following the British Grand Prix
On 14 July the FIA issued the following Qusestion and Answer release about blown defusers:

Press Release
Blown Diffusers Q&A 14/07/2011
This issue arose shortly before the Spanish Grand Prix. Was it initiated by the FIA or did it come from an F1 team?

The matter was initiated by the FIA when facts concerning some quite extreme, and hitherto unseen, engine mapping began to emerge. We were concerned that exhaust tailpipes were being positioned and engine maps created with the primary objective of improving in the aerodynamic performance of the car. Prior to that it had been assumed that any aerodynamic benefits were incidental to the primary purpose of the engine and its exhausts, i.e. that of generating torque.

Why did you decide to act?

We decided to act as, not only did we consider such extreme mapping to be arguably illegal, but also if such freedom was left unchecked it would result in the teams incurring significant further development costs during the season.

Is the off-throttle blown diffuser illegal under the 2011 technical regulations?

We certainly consider them to be questionable, however, the key is whether or not we consider any particular engine map to have been created for any other reason than the generation of engine torque.

Is its illegality an unforeseen side-effect of the rule to ban F-Ducts?

No, the two are unconnected.

Why was it not possible to simple introduce blanket limits on hot and cold-blowing and apply them equally to every car?

This is precisely what we attempted to do in the first communication to the teams on 12 May. However, it soon became apparent that the matter was more complex than initially thought. The main problem was the difficulty of ensuring that teams were not prevented from using existing legitimate strategies whilst ensuring that the extreme mapping was no longer possible. This is why we postponed the introduction of the measures until the British Grand Prix.

There are also a number of other mechanical factors to take into account such as the architecture of the engine throttles themselves (butterfly or barrel operation).

What were the measures that were introduced for the European Grand Prix in Valencia?

Whilst examining the engine maps from several teams it became clear that extreme solutions were being used for short times in qualifying and then being changed for more durable solutions for the race. The felt that this was certainly against the spirit of the parc ferme regulations but, more importantly, the relevant regulations simply do not allow changes to be made whilst the cars were being held under parc ferme conditions, connections to the car may be made and electronic units freely accessed, however, no changes to the set-up of the car can be made.

We therefore informed the teams on 14 June that we would take these measures in Valencia, this was done and cars run accordingly with very few difficulties.

Why was the matter still being discussed over the weekend of the British Grand Prix, and why did the clarification change from Friday to Saturday?

The matter was still being discussed because one engine manufacturer (Renault Sport) was reluctant to run with the settings we had imposed and continued to try and convince us that they would require alternative settings in order to maintain their perfect reliability record. At the last minute additional information was provided to us which we felt would be hard to refuse having already made a small concession to another manufacturer (Mercedes Benz HPE).

However, further discussions on Friday evening and Saturday morning resulted in us deciding that we had conceded too much and, to be fair to the manufacturers who had presented cars in what we considered the correct configuration, we should revert to the specification we had specified in our note to the teams on 20 June. This is how all teams then ran on Saturday and Sunday in Silverstone.

What was the purpose of holding two Technical Working Group meetings in Silverstone?

Following the events of Friday the FIA President felt that it would be useful to have an open discussion in order to see if consensus could be reached. Following these two meetings there was unanimous agreement among the teams to revert to the engine mapping regime used in Valencia, i.e. freedom on settings but no changes to the maps between qualifying and race.

This was felt to be the most sensible solution to a very complicated matter as the possibility of finding an alternative solution, which would be fair to all engine manufacturers, was becoming increasingly unlikely.

If the FIA had not acted, would there have been a protest?

As all the teams had reached consensus there would have been no point in doing so.

Has the matter now been settled?

Yes, and all cars will run under 'Valencia' conditions for the remainder of the season.

Are there likely to be any protests now that this matter seems to have been settled?

We are optimistic that there will be no protests over any engine mapping and exhaust tailpipe issues this season. In addition to the main part of the agreement reached in the TWG meetings it was also agreed that no team would raise a protest against another on these matters for the rest of the season.

What will happen in 2012 and beyond?

The teams have already agreed to strict constraints on exhaust tailpipe position which will result in them exiting the bodywork much higher up and no longer in the vicinity of the diffuser. Therefore, any aerodynamic benefit from exhaust gas flow over bodywork will be kept to an absolute minimum.

Engine mapping will remain free (within the existing constraints of the FIA SECU) as, with the exhaust tailpipes in this new position, it is felt that any aerodynamic benefit will now be incidental to their primary purpose.

Lewis Wins in Germany

Lewis Hamilton beat off strong performances by Alonso and Webber in the German Grand Prix. It was all about these three drivers whilst Vettel struggled at his home GP only managing fourth which for Vettel was a very poor finish. Webber and Alonso both had a good race, but Hamilton caught both napping at various stages of the race. In these cooler conditions the Mclaren really was the car to be in.
1st Hamilton
2nd Alonso
3rd Webber

Sunday 10 July 2011

The Prancing Horse Beats Red Bulls

Heavy showers before the start of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone caused confusion as half the track was dry and the remaining portion was very wet with surface water. All cars started on intermediates which by lap ten were looking very much the wrong tyre to be on.

Lewis Hamilton made the most of the wet laps, pulling off some spectacular passes to get to third later in the race only to have to give up the place cheaply to Mark Webber after having been told to save fuel. Meanwhile Button was conserving fuel and tyres and would have been looking at a good points finish had it not been for a wheel nut failing to locate and putting him out of the race at the end of the pit lane.

Red Bull maintained a strong showing, but Ferrari’s Alonso had by far the best car for the conditions as he pulled out a strong lead ahead of Vettel. Massa’s race seemed compromised by a late last stop but still finished fifth.

The last two laps of the race saw more drama as Webber was closing fast on second place Vettel . A sensible pill was dished out by team boss Christian Horner on the last lap ensuring that Vettel stayed second rather than in a tyre wall. Meanwhile Massa was also looking to pass Hamilton, but there was contact on the lasts corner as Hamilton blasted out of the bend to maintain fourth.

All in all another classic British Grand Prix and a big thumbs up to the new layout and facilities.

Webber on Pole for the British Grand Prix

Showers during the qualification session added to the frustration of many of the drivers as they sought to deal with the U turn by the FIA over the rules concerning rear defusers.
Red Bull had appealed to the sports governing body over the planned changes which outlawed the piece of kit which is fundamental to the Adrian Newey designed Red Bull.
After much talking and changing of position the FIA agreed to revert the rules back to the position two weeks ago which placed many other teams in a disadvantage as they ham made the upgrade.

Needless to say the Red Bulls looked strong and Webber is on pole.