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Team orders and F1's radical plan to improve racing

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Andrew Benson | 13:08 UK time, Friday, 10 December 2010

Formula 1 will be changed for ever by the new rules announced by Formula 1's governing body at its world council meeting on Friday.

The decision to switch to vastly different, far more efficient engines from 2013 and the introduction of movable rear wings for next season will change both the way the sport is viewed by the wider world and the action on the track.

The new engine regulations - the adoption of 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo engines with energy recovery and fuel restrictions - mirror the way the car industry is going and are aimed at boosting F1's public image, helping it to survive into the future by opening up new avenues for sponsorship and - most importantly - speeding up the adoption of more sustainable engines in road cars over the next few years, thus dramatically reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

More immediately, the controversial adoption of movable rear wings in 2011 will make overtaking easier. At least that's the hope.

The issue of overtaking is a perennial problem in F1. All stakeholders agree it has been too hard to do in recent years. Races can be processional, or turn on pit stops.

The problem for F1's bosses, who want racing rather than tactics to decide outcomes, is aerodynamics.

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Watch highlights of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Cars are created with quite incredible capabilities but significant limitations when it comes to racing. Cornering forces often reach 5G. To see an F1 car in the flesh as it negotiates a fast corner like Silverstone's Becketts complex is both to doubt your eyes and to marvel at the way it uses physics to test the limits of the possible.

But aerodynamics work most effectively when a car is running on its own. Give it some turbulent air - such as that created by another car directly in front of it - and its ability to produce downforce - and therefore grip - is dramatically reduced. So drivers find it difficult to get close enough to a car in front to try to pass it, even if they are in a faster car.

A number of attempts to change this have been made in recent years, most recently major new rules in 2009 with significant changes to the way cars produced their downforce and the reintroduction of slick tyres. None of them have worked.

So F1's brains have come up with the movable rear wing.

The idea is that drivers will, when on a straight and trying to pass another car, press a button in their cockpit which will move a part of the rear wing.

This will reduce its effectiveness, thereby cutting drag and increasing straightline speed, allowing the driver to get a run on his rival into the next corner. The driver in the car in front who is defending his position will not be able to use his wing at the same time.

The plan is controversial because it appears to be adding a degree of artifice into the situation - and critics are worried it will make a joke of overtaking by making it too easy, particularly when used in conjunction with the Kers energy recovery and power-boost systems that are returning to F1 in 2011 after a year on the sidelines.

The sport's bosses are aware of the concerns. One insider who has been instrumental in writing the rule says: "The idea is to make it work, but not work too well."

The way it will work is as follows:

The FIA will define a time gap between the two cars at which point the driver behind will be able to use the system. Initially, it is likely the driver in the trailing car will need to be within a second as he enters the corner before a straight where it is possible to overtake.

The driver will then get an indication - either via a light on his dashboard or audibly - that he can operate his wing. He will then press the button when he is on the straight, giving him more speed than his rival and thus the potential to pass him.

The problem is that no-one is sure whether the system will work or achieve its objectives until it is used in a race - and the first opportunity will be on 13 March, when Bahrain hosts the first grand prix of the 2011 season.

The bottom line is that F1's bosses want to make overtaking easier but not so easy that it requires little skill.

Had the movable rear wings been in place in 2010, I am told Ferrari's Fernando Alonso would have been able to overtake the Renault of Vitaly Petrov in the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and thus keep alive his chances of winning the title.

Instead, the Spaniard was unable to pass Petrov's slower car, which had a prodigious straight-line speed, and therefore unable to chase down his rivals as he went in search of a third drivers' crown.

That would have freed Alonso up to try to catch the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, who was in the fourth place the Ferrari driver needed to prevent Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel snatching the title from under his nose.

Rosberg was quicker than Petrov but probably marginally slower than Alonso. But because the performance differential between the Mercedes and the Ferrari was much less, getting past Rosberg would not have been a given - even under the new rules.

So rather than watching a race in which overtaking was practically impossible, the audience would have known it was possible, but not inevitable, that Alonso would get by - and would have been on tenterhooks as they watched him try.

Such a scenario would have made the title-deciding race much more exciting.

Put like that, as long as F1 finds a way to make it obvious to the audience when a driver is using his movable rear wing, the introduction of such a device has at the very least got to be worth a try.


The FIA's decision to remove the rule banning team orders will doubtless offend those who did not like Ferrari's application of them in this year's German Grand Prix and who objected to the Italian team "getting away" with "only" a $100,000 fine for doing so.

But the move - telegraphed when the FIA said it would look into the rule after deciding against giving Ferrari further punishment - is the only practical solution open to F1.

However offensive some find team orders, there is simply no way of effectively policing a rule banning them. There are any number of ways a team could employ them without anyone finding out.

Ferrari might have got caught out because of the unsubtle way in which Felipe Massa was asked to let team-mate Fernando Alonso through in Hockenheim but other leading teams also employed what could be termed team orders in 2010 and no one complained about them - or, in some cases, even noticed.

It is about reality not idealism, logic not emotion.

If you cannot police a rule, what's the point of having it? And surely it's better to have it out in the open than to force teams to go through the ridiculous charades some - not just Ferrari - did last season.

The lifting of the ban does not mean all teams will act in the same way as Ferrari, who now don't need to be quite so secretive about Alonso being their number one driver.
It simply means that when teams choose to use them they don't have to cover it up.

In every other way, nothing will change.


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  • Comment number 1.

    What a load of rubbish!

    The solution is simple...

    1. Get rid of the (mostly) awful Tilke designed tracks
    2. Limit defuser design so cars can follow each other closely out of corners
    3. Increase breaking distances to something sensible so drivers have a chance to pull off a move rather than almost every overtake being a 'do or die' attempt, or from the guy in front making a mistake.

    Movable rear wings is ridiculous and artificial. I want to see drivers overtaking because of skill, not because of a number of engineer defined criteria that they have to meet before the wing will move!

  • Comment number 2.

    It's too artificial. There are better ways to make overtaking easier. Downforce could be drastically reduced by imposing a 100mm minimum static ride height at start of race (on full fuel load), with active monitoring by telemetry during the race. To keep a 100mm gap at 200mph would require either a much higher static ride height, or much lower downforce.

    You could also extend the racing line in corners by graduating grip levels, ie making the tarmac progressively grippier off-line to make alternate entries possible. Drivers would be able to use more of the road to out-brake and overtake, and that would have the added benefit of dispersing the marbles off-line. (That's effectively what happens on banked tracks, where different lines are possible and overtaking is therefore frequent).

    Higher ride heights would also make wet racing much safer and more entertaining.

  • Comment number 3.

    Revolutionary innovations have entered Formula One for decades - four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, side-skirts, fans, turbo-chargers; the list seems endless - and, every time, the rules have been changed to outlaw them. In response, these supremely clever engineers have found cunning ways around the new regulations. Latterly, the increasingly silly and artificial impediments to racing risk making what is always touted as the pinnacle of motorsport a joke. It may just be that Formula One has reached the end of the road. Maybe there is now nowhere left to go when teams and drivers do what they must to be the best and the governing body slaps them down again. That F1 is never going to be environmentally friendly is a fact that no amount of spin and greenwash can hide. Far better for the sport and, ultimately, for those of us who love the game, simply apply a radical fuel limit and give the engineers carte blanche to build a car, within sensible parameters, that will finish the kind of race which is still a proper sporting contest. Then, take that hard-won technology and apply it to road cars.

  • Comment number 4.

    I cannot stand the idea of artificial measures to help overtaking. Love F1, but why cannot people see that at the best circuits overtaking is possible, and really exciting so why does everyone look to slowing the cars down and artificial aids to help???

    The majority of the latest breeds of circuits simply dont cut it, and this i feel is mainly down to how drivers get punished for mistakes, in that quite simply they dont. Look at canada or melbourne, simply brilliant races where if a driver makes a small mistake he needs to 'get out of it' in order to avoid going off and either crashing or losing a lot of time, therefore the cars behind are able to punish them. In Bahrain / Abu dhabi drivers are not nervous of slight mistakes as they can continue flat out off the circuit in many areas full of artificial turf instead of gravel traps.

    Take out the bad tracks, and look at last season, it was quality.

    The problem with limiting the areodynamics, is that the fantastic engineers will replace that downforce within a year anyway, as they keep doing to every effort at this so far.

  • Comment number 5.

    It doesn't strike me as a good idea. It will increase overtaking but the part they are missing is that it needs to be exciting. Might as well sit by a motorway all day if you want to see cars passing each other. I hope I'm wrong but after one of the best seasons ever this sounds quite dull.

  • Comment number 6.

    Dont worry about the rear wing producing artifical racing the teeam orders rule is being dropped so it will be fake anyway! I really think the people in F1 do not have a clue what sport and race mean?

  • Comment number 7.

    The only decent Tilke circuit is the one no one goes to watch in Turkey.
    Bahrain,China and Abu Dhabi are awful. Malaysia is passable...but they just don't compare to Spa,Silverstone,Canada or Monza...
    In terms of the changes with F1, how soon will the drivers be driving reasonably priced cars on Top Gear - one car; one track...oh Lord...

  • Comment number 8.

    Formula One may be the only sport in the world where the rules have to be changed every season to 'make it more exciting'

    In the past, the rules changed for genuine reasons. Those old enough to remember will recall the rule modifications relating to turbo-charged engines and traction control in the late 80's and 90's. Those changes were with purpose.

    The more recent alterationss to qualifying, refuelling, tyres changes and most recently the points system are entirely different. Nothing more than marketing men tinkering to make the 'product' more interesting.
    To the detriment of the sport as a whole.

    But CVC Capital Partners , owners of the Formula One Group need not worry. Plenty of mugs to prop up the sport. None more so than the BBC.

    The BBC's 5 year deal for F1 in 2009 may go down as the worst sports rights deal in history at a hefty £200 million.

    A bold statement you may suggest. But consider this: the BBC promotes F1 to the British public, by TV, Radio and Online channels. The mere fact that BBC broadcast it means it carries a higher profile in the sports and news agenda than it otherwise would.

    No other media group in Britain can provide the exposure that F1 receives from the BBC.

    Consider what would happen if F1 went to Channel 5. Viewing figures would plummet, with no BBC online and tv promotion. The decrease would substantially hurt sponsorship.

    Would Jenson Button's attempted carjack incident been top news on the sport AND news section of BBC online without BBC broadcasting? Not a chance.

    It doesn't take an accountant to work out that F1 needs the BBC a whole lot more than the BBC needs F1.

    Mr Benson, I know you have to tow the official line on this and proclaim
    wonders of the product. I have no qualms with that.

    I would really like to hear Dominic Coles, BBC Sport’s Director of Sport Rights reasons as to why he signed such an awful deal. Surely his £257,500 a year salary could produce better.

  • Comment number 9.

    So, designers will now have to spend more time and more money to design the most effective moveable rear wing design ?

    Why not just ditch wings altogether (along with all the other aerodynamic widgets that now adorn the cars), make tyres thinner and re-introduce suspension movement and mechanical grip ?

    Wouldn't that be cheaper, less artificial and more closely related to real-world applications in road car design ?

    I have no problem with kers and new engines - just the aerodynamics which have blighted F1 now since the ground-effect era.

  • Comment number 10.

    There are two main things I am personally worried about:

    1. Overtaking could become too much of a commonality. I for one think it would be quite dull for overtaking becoming a guarantee for the following car. It would make a mockery of the current great overtakers. Kobayashi certainly has had no problem overtaking this year.

    2. The need for F1 to try and please everyone. I think it would be bad for the F1 image to open up to appeal to everyone. Appealing to too many people could put off many, especially when we could see things like "Tesco F1"

  • Comment number 11.

    So, I understand how the movable rear-wing system works, but... what happens when there is a long straight, followed by a sharp corner, followed by a long straight? The car behind gets the extra power boost coming onto the first straight, allowing it to overtake. Then the power boost gets taken away, so the second car moves up behind the first car since it has a higher top speed now, and is within a second going into the corner. So... the second car should then be eligible for the movable rear-wing button, right? Which would mean it would just overtake the first car again on the second straight.

    Alonso couldn't overtake Petrov becuase Petrov's car was genuinely faster than his on the straights. Why should a car that simply doesn't have the speed to get past another car be given an extra boost?

    Or maybe it's just me...

  • Comment number 12.

    In the last sentence of your article you mention the audience. I imagine you're referring to the TV audience, but what about the people watching at the track who have paid ludicrous amounts to be there? How will they be informed of something which could be missed with a blink of the eye if I've got the jist of this gimmick?

  • Comment number 13.

    Rubbish regs. Slick tyres, no refuelling, moving front wings and double diffusers made no difference this year. What difference will moving rear wings make next year, especially as their real purpose is to replace the so-called f-ducts with something that doesn't leave drivers with one hand on the wheel (or neither, if they're changing the wing flaps or brake bias at the same time!).

    1600cc? That's not even family saloon size.
    KERS? Isn't that like Mario Kart?
    Moving wings? More computer game style junk.

    What the cars need is silly power levels, little aero grip and fat sticky tyres. When they rely on the tyres and not the bodywork to grip the track, then you'll get overtaking again. Not silly moving parts and rechargable batteries!

  • Comment number 14.

    I think as artificial as these measures are, it'll make it more exciting with everyone duelling it out. KERS vs Movable wing sounds exciting enough to me when you have drivers like Koba"bash"y, Hamilton, Kubica and who knows who else might (re)discover the art of overtaking (hopefully schuey)up against the current crop of tactical drivers who dont go into a corner guns blazing everytime.

    The problem with boring tracks is mainly related to tracks like Valencia and in the Middle east which are good to look at ...but boring races ('Bore'Hrain and "A'Bore" Dhabi), there are many other tracks too, but then the weather makes things interesting as usual

  • Comment number 15.

    They should buy a model of Mansell's 1992 'Red 5' Williams and tell all the teams their cars need to look like that! Great racing in those days and before. Today F1 is to much areo grip and that is the problem.

    The other problem is the performance is at least 70% car and 30% driver. Although you have still got to be great to drive these top cars I think the skill needs to go back to the driver not the engineers.

    No team orders rule = just scrap the drivers title then and then it will be ok for the teams to what they want but while there is a DRIVERS title then the team should not be allowed to get involved with this.

  • Comment number 16.

    What happens when there's three or more cars running nose to tail? Car 2 in the line can press the button to overtake car 1, but that means defending from car 3 etc...

    As a simple downforce reducing method, simply restrict them to a single element at the front and two elements at the back, and no fiddly sticky up bits (that were banned a couple of years back and started sprouting from wings again...)

    Hearing a grid of V10 F1 cars screaming up to les Coombes at Spa is one of those memories, but will a bunch of 4 pot's sound as good? It's bad enough when the current safety car makes a better noise than the race cars, just think what 2013 will be like. I just hope we get to see the Williams flywheel make it to the racetrack (quite possibly with an engine from the VW group)

    It says a lot when Lewis and Fernando agree on something - the circuits are too forgiving - acres of termac where there used to be gravel just means that the challenge of getting as close to the limit as you can without going over it has gone, as a trip through the run off can be quicker than bothering with the track itself! Abu Dhabi has a fancily lit hotel, that's the good side, but to turn the final race of probably the best season ever into such a non-event says it all about Tilke's designs (I do hope his kids have a train set as the scalextric would be very dull!) Long straight, fiddly bit corner long straight - does he not know when to stop? Intrlagos and Spa don't have many corners and produce good racing. Hmm, maybe he's paid by the corner! With all the simulators etc, surely Bernie can hold a design a circuit contest, drivers, teams etc can select a shortlist and then put them on the simulators to find which one(s) work best.

    The other factor that is very much an unknown is the tyres - 2010 showed that when there was degradation and good differences between the condition of the tyres on different cars, the opportunity to overtake was there - Kamui in Valencia, Kubica in Singapore, if the Pirelli's actually wear (rather than Bridgestone's endurance race tyres) then we'll have an extra element to help overtaking. Soft tyres than can do a race distance is ridiculous - they should last at most 15-20 laps, and therefore make tyre choice in quali more relevant, if starting on the soft will add a risk to racing it should liven it up and ensure drivers have to overtake.

    At the end of the day, I want to watch a great race, great races don't need overtaking every second corner, just the prospect of it. There have been races where after a few laps you can go away, knowing in 45 mins the cars will almost certainly be in the same order, unless they break down...

  • Comment number 17.

    This would be the ideal for F1 in terms of overtaking:

    - have Kers
    - limitless in diffuser design (whether blown, double, or even triple)
    - have F-Duct
    - Movable rear wings.
    - of course, with the already existing movable front wings..

    that would be awesome.. not less the turbo & boost engines that will be available from 2013..


  • Comment number 18.

    Car A heads car B.

    Car B applies moveable wing and passes car A.

    Car B resets wing, car A applies moveable wing and retakes position...

    ...and so on ad nauseum.

    It will prevent the fast guys being held up in the mid field but otherwise...

    It ain't gonna work.

  • Comment number 19.

    The pit wall has too much control over racing - the way the regulations are heading it will soon make driving an F1 car more suited to an automaton. I'm as much concerned about about the role of the driver as I am about turning F1 into an economy run. No wonder the F1 Forum on BBC has become required viewing ... it's so that the Team Principles and Engineers can explain what happened in a race to use mere mortals who were weaned on real toe to toe racing.

    I still think that allowing sponsorship of individual cars would stop a lot of team politics and petty arguing so all drivers and their crews duke it out with the others.

  • Comment number 20.

    Why can't the people running the sport see that the latest circuits are the root cause of the lack of 'racing'.

    Last year was competitive (points wise) until the last race, yet the race was the worst (Bahrain aside) all season.

    Why? Because the circuit is utterly boring, unimaginative and 'stop start'.

    The same goes for Valencia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, and nowadays Spain since they destroyed the final turn.

    Moveable wings and KERS also seem a bit desperate and 'false'. I want to see cars battling it out and overtaking each other because of a daring move, or because the driver has forced his rival into an error.

    Kobayashi seems capable of doing it!!!

    The pinnacle of motorsport is losing it's way.

  • Comment number 21.

    Pinnacle of motor sport, How long before my 1.9tdi will be faster?

    Bring back gravel traps and rather than imposing strict rules allow designers to make different cars with strengths in different areas. They can't overtake now because the FIA rules have made ALL THE CARS THE SAME!
    give them a 4x2x2m etc. metre box and an engine and let them do what they want, then we'll have completely varied cars, and entertainment.

  • Comment number 22.

    In the end, Alonso lost the title BECAUSE of team orders, not despite them. Massa became demotivated and hence did not take points off rivals. Whereas RB allowed their drivers to race to the end and reaped the benefit.

    I wonder if FA and Ferrari will understand this in 2011.

    Also, bringing the sport into disrepute is still banned. What Ferrari did in Hockenheim did that. I would hope if they did it again, they would be punished for it.

  • Comment number 23.

    The most effective change that could be made to encourage overtaking is to rescind the ban on refuelling and limitations on tyre use. At the moment, the lack of overtaking isn't because of the natural difficulties (which have always been there) but because drivers can't drive to the full extent of their ability for fear of running out of fuel or killing the tyres.

  • Comment number 24.

    The FIA should:
    Where possible replace chicanes with wide hairpins so there is room for drivers to try and overtake.
    Increase downforce so that cars can follow each other more quickly through fast corners, this would help at places like les combes after eau rouge in Spa.
    Fast corners before long but not too long (Abu Dhabi, Korea, China) straights

  • Comment number 25.

    I really don't like the idea of movable rear wings, it makes the sport look like Mario Kart rather than anything else. Overtaking is meant to be a challenge, it's meant to be rare, it's like scoring a goal in football; make it too easy and all the excitement of it is lost. Look at the Indy 500- loads of overtaking but an exceptionally dull race.

    As for ways to improve overtaking, I'd scrap the stupid idea of making drivers use both sets of tyres, and I'd make Pirelli make really rubbish tyres. Make them produce tyres that won't last and you'll see plenty of exciting racing. The best dry race last year was Montreal, and that was mostly down to the fact that the tyres couldn't cope with what was asked of them. It becomes a challenge for the drivers again.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'd also ban the teams from running different fuel mixes during the race, they have to stick with one. If the drivers want to conserve fuel, they can do it the old-fashioned way, like they had to (and often didn't manage) in the 1980s.

  • Comment number 27.

    Benson is in mourning about Alonso's lost title. Alonso might have overtaken Petrov with a movable rear wing at AbuDhabi, but Alonso would have been overtaken by Webber had he had the same gadget.

    Same story in Monza, Vettel would have overtaken Alonso with a movable rear wing.

  • Comment number 28.

    This is my first ever comment. I still mourn the loss of the big V10 engines.
    Surely a better idea would be to get the boffins to research and develop Hydrogen fuel cell cars, this, after all is they way all motoring will go one day.
    My other question is;
    What happens if you get a train of cars behind a slower one? Presumably cars 2,3,4,5 etc will all be able to use the moveable wing at the same time as they can argue they are attacking the car in front and not defending from the car behind? This surely would negate the moveable wing as everyone will be using it at the same time?
    The only loss would be to the car in front, who on certain Herman Tilke tracks that have a straight then hair pin then straight, will be able to attack the person who just over took and then you get a status quo.

    More thought has to go into these rules in my opinion. Why not make standardised front and rear wings that are designed specifically to not be interfered with by "dirty air" from the car in front?


  • Comment number 29.

    So this is supposed to increase the overtaking opportunities? The way that I see it the following happens:

    Car A pursues Car B within a second and rear wing drops to provide boost
    Car B at this point presses the button and uses his KERS boost and prevents Car A from overtaking...
    Repeat till end - or am I just being cynical?
    Tilke tracks are over rated - Montreal, Spa and even the old Magny Cour, far superior...

  • Comment number 30.

    The lifting of the ban does not mean all teams will act in the same way as Ferrari, who now don't need to be quite so secretive about Alonso being their number one driver.
    It simply means that when teams choose to use them they don't have to cover it up.

    In every other way, nothing will change.


    I don't agree, Ferrari will be ordering Massa to move over for Alonso from the start, if the other teams don't pick a 'number one' and let them fished ahead in every race then they won't have a hope against Ferrari... it will be just like the old shumi days again. ... not impressed.

  • Comment number 31.

    Can't say I'm happy at "Green" cars coming in for the 2013 season. This is F1. We want the fastest cars out there, not the most reliable or fuel efficient. Save that for cars used for shopping!

  • Comment number 32.

    In Mariokart you can also get a boost if you powerslide through a corner, that may work....?!! I don't however recommend the drivers start eating mushrooms ;)

  • Comment number 33.

    I love F1 but I think the FIA are making a mistake with these new rules. I agree with many of the comments here, especially about the tracks. Bernie always slates the tracks that provide the best racing, Silverstone, Spa etc. Problem is Bernie is not really interested in what we see on TV and as paying (through the nose) punters at the track. He is only interested in getting richer and making friends with the countries that will throw the most money at him.

    For real overtaking surely we just need better designed tracks, monster horse power and less grip/downforce. I think the FIA could look to NASCAR a little. I know the races can be a bit boring, mainly because they are so long. BUT it is very impressive to see a 800+bhp car sideways at 150mph. These cars have too much power relative to grip, very little down force and they can over take.

    Let's not forget that back in the 80's engines were around 1.5 litres and they produced massive power, 1000+bhp in qually trim. Would we see this now? No, because it would probably be deemed too dangerous and not 'green' enough, which is a shame. Will the FIA still be aiming for 750bhp in 2013?

    F1 cars need to be loud, in your face, mindblowingly fast and the most spectacular form of motor sport. I fear this could all be lost in a couple of years. Oh well, NASCAR is it then...

  • Comment number 34.

    Movable wings is a neat idea but will be confusing to viewer and drivers. An F1 Car will not neatly get to within a second then stay that close mid field scraps will be circular affairs with players taking turns at the front. Messy and a bit pointless

    I would prefer longer brake distances simple to implement and would allow skill and bravery to be the main contribution. Look what happens when braking distances go up now (wet races) The part of the race where spray is gone, take Spa Kimi v Lewis. Or Spa again this year.

  • Comment number 35.

    @28 Ian

    You've echoed some of my sentiments… I loved the V10 screamers and lamented the day they were replaced with V8s, then even those had their revs restricted. I would imagine that the hydrogen route has been overlooked due to massive development costs, although my knowledge isn't enough to confirm that.

    The thinking behind the moveable rear wings is slightly woolly and very artificial, and as you pointed out, could get rather complicated… which brings me to the most overlooked problem… the circuits.

    One cannot un-invent the wheel and engineers will find ways of surmounting restricted aerodynamics on cars – but one can alter circuits to allow cars to overtake more easily. There are solutions staring us in all the face… why is it that some circuits provide overtaking opportunities and others don't? Take those elements that allow it and add them to circuits that don't. Hermann Tilke has got away with far too much for far too long in my opinion.

    Added to the alterations to better racing – and in deference to the fans – why not at least increase the spectacle on the more recent, boring tracks by turning them into street circuits and lining them with walls in strategic places, rather than having grandstands half a mile away in huge expanses of desert or scrubland?

    Finally on team orders, Ferrari may well have abused the rule last year and got away with it but it's better for the sport to have transparency and it should be the decision of each team whether or ot to implement team orders… after all, it was the fact that Ferrari had two Red Bulls to worry about in the final race which brought about its, some would say deserved, undoing.

  • Comment number 36.


    I find the excuse for the new engine regulations silly in the extreme.
    Several times during the year a fleet of 747 freighters are plying the air routes of the world transporting F1 cars to a 2 hour race.
    How on earth is that "green"?
    Why not revert to the programme we had in the 1960s, a European grand prix season, the F1 circus then ups camp and flies to a Antipodes for our Winter.
    It worked back in the '60s why not now, it would prevent large quantities of CO2 being deposited in the atmosphere.
    Lorries could be used to transport the teams around Europe, 747s being used only for the trip to OZ and NZ.

  • Comment number 37.

    well first off the new regs, i aint judging until i seen it in action but an instinct is telling me its gonna be false and too much control seems to be going away from the driver, which is the wrong way.

    Next how to improve overtaking, take away downforce, take away what is causing the 'dirty air' that prevents a car within a second of it to really get any closer. I thought it was agreed by the teams to reduce down force at the end of last season but that seemed to dissappear.

    Also on team orders they r enforcable, and its quite simple. Keep it in the paddock if anything is agreed it must be done so b4 they cross the start line, after that its fair game.

  • Comment number 38.

    Puzzling to read the comments about the BBC's rights deal at #8. The exact figure paid has not been released, but let's be clear-given the brodcast hours involved this is a good deal-given that Formula 1 has consistently good ratings only regularly beaten by football. The coverage has obviously been good for F1, but also for F1 fans and people like me who had previously lost interest. The BBC's coverage is excellent. If the BBC had not done the deal when ITV dropped out, the rights would have been offered to Sky. So let's have none of these fantasies about Channel Five, or about Bernie needing the BBC.

  • Comment number 39.

    I feel I have to come to the defence of Mr. Tilke a little. Has anyone here looked at the design parameters put on new F1 tracks? He has his hands pretty much tied by those. Here's just some as an example;

    "When planning new permanent circuits, the track width foreseen should be at least 12 m. Where the track width changes, the transition should be made as gradually as possible, at a rate not greater than 1 m in 20 m total width. The width of the starting grid should be at least 15 m; this width must be maintained through to the exit of the first corner (as indicated by the racing line).Existing circuits requesting international recognition but which are narrower, may be approved if national events have regularly been organised on them."

    "Any change in gradient should be effected using a minimum vertical radius calculated by the formula :
    R = V²/K
    Where R is the radius in metres, V is the speed in kph and K is a constant equal to 20 in the case of a concave profi le or to 15 in the case of a convex profi le. The value of R should be adequately increased along approach, release, braking and curved sections. Wherever possible, changes in gradient should be avoided altogether in these sections. The gradient of the start/finish straight should not exceed 2 %"

    and so on and so forth.

  • Comment number 40.

    Absolutely delighted that team orders are being's a team sport and it was ridiculous that teams were forbidden from making important strategic decisions about their team.

    Will watch the rule changes with interest.....I accept that it could be farcical. I agree that Petrov would probably have retaken Alonso making that argument redundant.

    Much of the excitement this year came from the points change and Red Bull´s inability to press home their technical advantage.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm reserving judgement on the technical regulations until we see the cars in action, but clearly some action was needed so hopefully it can bring about an improvement. All I would say on the team orders point that Andrew mentions is that the rule was quite enforceable - the DTM excluded 4 cars under a similar regulation at Zandvoort a few years ago - and it would be quite straightforward to require separate pit crews as per MotoGP and design a sliding scale of penalties (disqualification and fine, one race ban, three race ban, exclusion from CC, season ban etc.). The reality is no one within Formula One has the will to do so because of self-interest, and that is quite sad.

  • Comment number 42.

    Very interesting new F1 rules for next season and in the future season

    There will be some F1 drivers that agree and disagree with these new rules

    Lets see what happens next season

  • Comment number 43.

    This is totally ridiculous. First, they add another electronic device, which contradicts their previous rule against moveable aerodynamic devices, and will probably be as popular as KERS (are they going to have KERS as well ?) - then they remove the long standing rule against team orders, which means that we could have (as in rallying) one driver parking his car by the side of the road until his team mate comes past. Time for the BBC to save some money by dropping F1 from their schedule. The FIA tried to make overtaking easier by having ridiculously ugly wide front wings and high and narrow rear wings. Now this proves that they have no idea.

  • Comment number 44.

    SO ITS 1600CC 4 CYL 1200 RPM ?


  • Comment number 45.

    I'm not overly pleased with these rule changes. When I think of F1 I think of screaming engines with numbers that simply bend the mind.

    I was sad like a few people on here when the V10s were dropped, and then when it went V8s vs limited V10s it was horrible. The V8s last season were fairly good, but everyone loves the wail of the V10.

    I personally think the problem with F1 is that there are too many rule changes every season. Cut costs? Stop changing the rules. People will continue to develop their cars to make them more competitive rather than canning a project midway through the season. I'm not suggesting stop changing them altogether, perhaps maybe a bi-seasonal change so the regulations can be exploited to the limit. Or at least that is the logic in my mind.

    I do also agree with people about the way to cut some other costs is to go almost left to right on the globe, start in Australia and finish in Brazil.

    Finally, bring back refuelling.....all the talk of tyres at the end of a race ruins the experience, I feel watching it that DC, EJ and MB get bored about it all coming down to the tyre. Also some of the drivers seem to get bored with it, some drivers it does come down to tyres like JB if the tyres are working along with the car he is excellent. Perhaps it might just be me reading too much into it all though.

  • Comment number 46.

    I mean right to left on the globe^

  • Comment number 47.

    Re: Alonso being able to overtake Petrov if he had the movable rear wing. Rubbish.
    Considering Alonsos Ferrari was bouncing off the limiter thanks to the tow he was getting from Petrov, even if they removed the rear wing Alonso couldn't have gone any faster in a straight line.

    The only way the movable wing is going to increase overtaking is if the teams deliberately compromise gear ratios. Setting the gearing to enable the cars to get extra speed to overtake when using the wing means the acceleration and therefore lap times will be compromised for 99% of the race. I can't see any team compromising their qualifying and race performance just in case they have to overtake someone in the race.

  • Comment number 48.

    Having watched the "Classic Grand Prix" feature each race, a common theme is that cars could come into the pits for new tyres and then make up a 20 second gap to someone with older tyres in just a few laps. The reason they could do this is that there was no speed limit in the pit lane, therefore it was worth the gamble as they only lost 6 or 7 seconds while slowing down, stopping, and speeding up again. Nowadays, the pit stop speed limit causes drivers to lose too much time, so they all just stay out on old tyres and that adds to the difficulty in following someone closely enough to overtake. We saw in Valencia what can happen when you have a driver on new tyres and the rest on old tyres, and it was pretty exciting.

    The pit lane speed limits were put in place when refuelling was allowed, for obvious reasons. Now that refuelling is banned, the pit lane is not quite as dangerous so surely the speed can be increased from say 100kph to 150kph. I know there is an obvious safety concern but pit stops should not penalise the drivers as much as they do.

    As for the new rules, I'm quite happy for them to try new things to make racing more exciting. It at least brings a bit of excitement about what might happen at the start of the season, and then we'll probably find that as usual they're still following each other around Bahrain's dull track. I'm all for increasing engine efficiency too, as they've already said that the amount of power produced by these new engines will be the same as they produce now, so the cars will still be able to race at the same speed. In fact with less fuel on board at the start of the races, the cars could even be faster.

  • Comment number 49.

    I love playing Daytona USA on my Dreamcast. Old school I know. It has this feature called slow car boost, where the player that's lagging goes faster. It makes for really fun games. Great fun to play. Dull as hell to watch. I don't like 'realistic' racing games. Dull as hell to play. Realistic racing is great to watch. Games companies stopped making fun racers about 10 years back. Now it looks like the FIA are about to stop 'making' fun to watch F1 (or start 'making' not fun to watch F1 - probably more logically correct!)

  • Comment number 50.


    I thought the Pit Lane speed limit was put in place after a tyre came flying off at high speed and did some serious damage? I could be wrong though.... just my recollection.

  • Comment number 51.

    I think comment #3 sums it up very well.

    If it is true that the automotive industry is really leading technical developments in F1 then it is a shame. It used to be the other way round.

    And if they want to pander to the greenwash lobby then they could simply make the races much shorter so they use less fuel that way. The BBC could then replay them in slow motion so as to appear of the same duration. The only people who not notice are the people who are not idiots.

  • Comment number 52.

    ...which makes me an idiot for not checking my last sentence in (#51) before posting it...

  • Comment number 53.

    "Rosberg was quicker than Petrov but probably marginally slower than Alonso."

    Marginally? Try 'massively'! Did you actually watch any race of the 2010 season?

  • Comment number 54.

    A lot of negativity from most comments here, especially against the moveable rear wing. maybe more than the introduction of KERS which I thought worked well in it's debut season. As well as reducing the downforce on the straights I'm sure they'll be using this to Increase downforce in corners? Creating more opportunities to pass out of corners only to be countered halfway down the straight again... I wonder if breaking zones will be shortened if used as an airbrake of sorts. Either way they'll be swarming like flies! Changing the aero disrupts handling so if anything hasn't the skill bar been raised slightly here? It may well be considered artificial but another streak of possibilities have been opened too. I'm intrigued to see it and anymore immenent aero wizardry in action before I cast judgement either way.

    It strikes me though what the drivers think of this? They are the only people who'll be directly affected afterall and it all seems quite dangerous? Unless my memory deceives me haven't they already expressed distaste for the idea when it was penciled in halfway through the season? System failure into a high speed corner = ouchy or worse...

  • Comment number 55.

    Adjustable rear wings while stopped are fine, but movable ones while driving aren't. The solution to team orders is actually really simple; no multi-car teams or affiliations, meaning the production and subsequent selling of parts to opposing teams.

  • Comment number 56.

    The meddling at the top goes continues in oblivion yet to the fans it is startingly obvious and mostly unananimous.

    The older tracks are mostly superb for overtaking the newer ones glossy but totally flawed for racing.
    This is an sport not a blueprint for the environment and can be forgiven for not being that green. Give the designers carte blanche, let them refuel and change tyres whenever they want, let them run smaller turbos or give them normally aspirated. That will bring back the fantastic racing of the 60's, 70's & 80's and most of the 90's.
    The fans come to delight in the noise & smell of racing engines that scream at exotically high revs. It nearly always produces an involuntary smile in most people.

    I fear the worst for f1 if these plans go ahead, it will be like playing a football match where defenders have to stand still for several seconds while the other team attacks, completely ridiculous.

  • Comment number 57.

    Kers magic wings f ducts Booooring!
    What was the matter with last season? Nothing! It was the most exciting for years!
    I agree the tracks are the worst thing about f1 now, too sterile no challenge.
    What is going to really knock this sport stone dead is this relentless green agenda which seems to infest every single facet of my daily life. Enough already.
    If I ever see a tesco f1 team I will be sick on myself and stop watching f1 again just like I did through the dark years of ITV coverage.
    Marketing people leave it alone please; leave f1 to the purists.

  • Comment number 58.

    The fact that F1 needs to change its regulations every year can only be indicative of some justified insecurity the powers-that-be feel about the quality of their product. These skinny, tall cars with their sculpted surfaces don't really, in my opinion, even look like real racing cars any more.

    Look at the cars from, say, the 1986 season in comparison and tell me which looks more like most people's vision of a Formula One car.

    As I've argued before, F1 needs to go back to basics: greed and 'business' have ruined the sport to some extent. It has gone from being a product for enthusiasts into some sort of worldwide competition to see who can build the flashiest hotel (by the way, at some point some cars will drive round in circles for the TV cameras, won't take a moment).

    I hate football, but if you'll excuse the references, it's like the Man Utd fans who hate the bloated ownership of their club so much that they set up their own outfit to counter it.

    F1 strikes me as being like a 70s prog rock band who ditch what they are good at and begin writing love songs in order to sell out Wembley stadium. No thanks. These latest rule changes are just pieces of Sellotape over a gaping crack.

  • Comment number 59.

    Why re-introduce team orders it would be taking the mick of a team used team-orders in the final lap of a race.

    Hopefully KERS and radical front-wings can help the sport with more overtaking but this season was exciting apart from Bahrain and Ahu Dhabi why people thought that Ahu Dhabi could be as exciting as Spa, it is not it's s*** really, one of the most boring circuits ever. Don't really want to see ITV regain the right to broadcast F1 as BBC is the best, but think surely you could replace Legard. I have to say Petrov would be very lucky to stay at Lotus-Renault.
    NASCAR Racing 3 is a great game still works on the PC, 11 years after it was released at least that has overtaking. Like @49@ said one of the fun racing games.

  • Comment number 60.

    They need to restrict messages about car's performance to the drivers on the radios, for me it seems like a lot of the time the engineers back at the factory are telling the driver how to drive, rather than the pilot making his own decisions by feel and instinct.

  • Comment number 61.

    Hi Andrew

    I read you articles everytime they come on to the BBC website and you always give a clear indication as to what is being changed and also how it works.

    The movable rear wing and re-addition of Kers is going to make racing far more interesting, although I don't think anybody would complain about the season just passed as we had more than enough talking points!!

    My question is, do you feel that this will even things up between Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari? Could you see another team developing the technology to be on par with these teams? It would be nice to see the Mercedes of Rosberg and Schuei really pushing the front runners, as they failed to do last year!

    My other question is slightly different, what is your opinion of Mark Webber keeping his team in the dark regarding his shoulder injury? Do you think he should have informed Christian Horner at least? Finally, do you think thats the reason he lost the championship?

    Thanks for the great blogging and can't wait for your coverage of the 2011 season!!

  • Comment number 62.


    To an extent, I agree with you - it would be very interesting if pit-stops took a lot less time. Not sure about raising pit-lane speed limits, because they're already pretty high in any context other than an F1 race: 60 MPH is quite fast to be driving past mechanics a few feet away.

    What is worthy of consideration is changing the exit location of pit lanes so there is no time penalty for simply driving through - by making the pit lane a short-cut, taken at slower speed - although then you have to worry about drivers using it every lap because it'll save wear and tear on the car. Perhaps just limit use of the pit-lane speed limiter to a handful of uses per race, and then let any driver who trusts himself to stick to the limit do what he wants :)

    Personally, though, the change I'd like to see is in corner designs. It is not impossible to design a complex of corners with two different, equally good, racing lines through it if you try. That's all that's needed to let people pass each other whatever the cars are like.

  • Comment number 63.

    I can't be bothered with Formula One any more. The regulations get more and more ridiculous every year; everyone knows how to improve overtaking ie. lengthen braking distances, reduce diffuser efficiency and generally reduce aerodynamic efficiency, but the FIA and teams seem to want to try every other idea under the sun before doing the obvious.

    Movable rear wings will make it like some Playstation game where you can push a button and power past someone, where's the driver skill in that?

  • Comment number 64.

    Every year, they tinker with the cars. Its no good. Its the circuits that need changing. Look how many passes Hamilton & Button could do when they were on a decent circuit. Unfortunately, there are only about four left. All these tracks out in the middle east etc, are rubbish. I think Bernie's to blame. He has too much power, and getting too much money from these countries. A bit like Seb Blatter. Funny how Russia are getting a Grand Prix isnt it!

  • Comment number 65.

    Wouldn't it be much easier to take the radios out of the cars? That way the driver would be entirely on his own and having to make his own race decisions. With the limited rear views the cars have, they would have to make some difficult choices particularly regarding defending race positions and imagine the excitement if they had to come in to the pits without radioing ahead!

  • Comment number 66.

    @ 39 Shane Matthews

    Whilst I agree that the parameters appear, at face value, to remove any challenge from modern motor racing circuits, one only needs to look at Istanbul Park to see that a fairly interesting track with overtaking opportunities is still possible. So I still blame Tilke for the dullness of Bahrain, Korea and Abu Dhabi.

    Obviously, with such restrictive design parameters we're never going to see the likes of circuits with yumps (for instance) such as the old 'Ring and Montjuic Park again.

  • Comment number 67.

    Am I the only person who thinks that the glamour is being lost from the sport?
    Whilst I appreciate that money saving aspects are laudible, I don't understand the need for this whole 'road car' ethos which is filtering in.
    I thought the idea of Formula 1 was to promote the distance between what they can do when designing cars/engines etc and what us mere mortals can pootle around the ring roads in. That the essence of the sport was about pushing the envelope within the rules, rather than the rules being used to radically alter the entire way the sport is designed to be.
    It seems to me that it's heading towards what will be a one make formula, with rules so tight on what can and can't be done there are no second or third tier teams.... Just one overall specification which factors costs so much that there are no surprises left.
    Not that I want to be nostalgic, but citing 5 drivers challenging for the championship is not the same as technology/design skill forcing the progression of the cars.

  • Comment number 68.

    As for overtaking...... I agree with most of the other people posting on here. Track design is mainly to blame, based on the way the cars use aerodynamics as their primary source of grip. How can any car overtake if there's not enough length on a straight to slipstream, or utilise the more powerful engines some teams possess?
    Ultimately, as we've seen in 2010, the frustration caused by processional driving can lead to some nasty 'accidents' as drivers look for ways past in places they simply can't.
    There are only 2 solutions:
    Either redesign all tracks to have long enough straights, or corners which allow for different driving lines to give drivers the opportunity to attack the driver in front, with allowances for defensive driving too.
    Or reduce the cars' reliance on total aerodynamic grip, to place the emphasis on driving skill and car control... Especially under braking and acceleration. Hopefully this would enable faster cars/more skilful drivers to utilise their advantage without the need to 'be' in the 'clean air'.

  • Comment number 69.

    Several good comments above. Some I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about, way too technical for me.
    One statement, agreeing with most of what has been said.
    Tilke tracks are, for the most part, the reason F1 is losing popularity with the non technically minded. Boring and affected too much by the dirty air syndrome.
    One question that no-one else seems to have asked (my apologies if they have).
    There's quite a lot of betting nowadays on the results of the GPs. How would you, or the bookies, feel if the result was "engineered" by team orders? Personally I'm in favour of dropping them as they were never enforceable anyway. Who gets to be the Number 1 driver as against the Number 2? That should be interesting in a couple of teams and perhaps lead to some contract re-negotiations but.... Would you only be able to bet on which team wins the GP (or similar)? Just think, Jensen leading into the last lap of the British GP and being told to pull over to let Lewis go by. Seriously unhappy bunny I suspect. As for those who had bet on Jensen....
    Ho hum. Bring back Magny Cours and let Bernie live in the real world where not every one grovels before him.

  • Comment number 70.

    well, well, well,seems the f.i.a. for got this one,for the cars to get better overtaking on the straights,because they are to short.after the horrific 1994 incidents in imola,the F1 establishment went in to shock and o.d the safty factor.chicaines should be removed from the straights to allow the f.1 car and driver to do what it does best, perform at the highest level...cmon this is what f.1 was all about. Not having a nanny f.i.a. slamming f.1 with dictatorship.the technology has changed and is much better now, It was all very well having max mosely as f.i.a. president, remember before 1994 they did to little to late, after too much. I am pleased the jean totd is the new president, he brings a breadth of fresh air for 2009 but 2010 i dont know? 2011 hmmm i would have thought the tracks are no good. Herman tilk did a very good job but i feel that f.1 must move on to survive the next phase.Im sorry but this is a gut feeling that i get is that the aero packages these f1 cars like xmas trees, the 1980's cars elegant smooth and could overtake. This is what the real issues are in F1 and they need to get that right, the formula was meddled with for too long...long live F1 i hope..........

  • Comment number 71.


    Is it April 1st by any chance, I have never read such rubbish, the only way to generate good racing is to remove the aerodynamic devices.
    I am old enough to have witnessed Moss and Fangio live at Aintree, there were no aero devices then or for many years after yet the racing was terrific.
    The FIA is making F1 into a joke, if they have to go to these lengths to make F1 interesting it is a blatant admission on their behalf they have got it wrong and have done for many years past.

  • Comment number 72.

    It really is a simple thing to fix.

    Rule 1: Anything that resembles a circuit, computer, or other technological gubbins is to be removed from the car.

    Simples! No traction control, no abs, no radios, no telemetry, no computer repairs, no remote tinkering, no mappings, just a group of skilful drivers going around a circuit, relying on their own ability, not the team with laptops back in the pit lane.

    You implement rule 1, and I guarantee a return to the glory days of racing with overtaking, tension, and drama in every minute of every race.

  • Comment number 73.

    One rule change that is going to be introduced next year so I'm told is the re-introduction of the 107% rule in the qualifying session.

    However how are they going to do this without going back to how qualifying was prior to 2002

    I would be in favour of this anyway as qualifying since 2003 has been a joke. We get situations where the slowest cars in qualifying are in the MIDDLE of the grid, and like Monaco this year for instance where one driver doesn't take part in qualifying at all, but does take part in the race!

    All this dicking about with qualifying was to 'improve the show'. But I thought of three methods that were much better.

    1) Increase the number of laps a driver is allowed from 12-18
    2) Decrease the time of qualifying to 45 mins from 1hr
    3) Do both

    As regards the lack of overtaking particularly in the last round, was this is case of Alonso COULDN'T do it or was it a case of him not wanting to RISK it.

  • Comment number 74.

    Agree with the comments re the Tilke tracks entirely, however, that is not to say there has been significantly much better overtaking at the "traditional" tracks either.

    The suggestion, espaecially at the new Tilke tracks where alterations would be simpler because of their newness and less sensitivity of their surroundings is to inject a bit of the old into them, i.e. long wide banked sections, where passing both sides and the inclusion of driver ingenuity would be possible. Cut out the boring techy bits. The drivers hate them and so do the fans. That and maybe cars that look less like christmas trees, all very pretty with too many bits that stick out, less car more driver. Simples!

  • Comment number 75.

    I agree with foojamme the tracks are part of the problems as well as the cars to much technology not anough driver imput, remember how much they are paid.

  • Comment number 76.

    Personally I find the easiest solution to the overtaking issue would be to bring back ground effect, as then the majority of the downforce is generated by airflow under the car, which is much less likely to get affected by following another car, this also would mean that the top of the cars would lose all of the fiddly little winglets and intricate, puncture inducing front wing endplates. Especially as all the new systems feel like the video game 'speed boost' powerups you get, and seem artificially induced and remove the ability for drivers to defend against quicker cars. One example would be Petrov against Alonso in Abu Dhabi, a display which may have saved Petrov's F1 career, Alonso might not have liked it, but slower cars aren't obliged to jump out of faster cars way if they are racing for position after all.

    Regarding the comments about the Tilke tracks, I can understand the complaints, they can be a bit generic and often I find that too many corners are mid-to-high speed corners which, as impressing as it is to see a car take them flat out, just spread the cars out a bit too much due to lack of downforce in turbulent air. The other Tilke trademark I've found is big straights followed by silly little chicanes/another corner immediately (last section at Turkey, turns 1 & 2 at Bahrain and Malaysia to name a few examples), so that if one car overtakes then they are immediately off-line for the next corner, forcing them to lose out. The best overtaking spots are long straights into fairly low speed corners with another straight afterwards, places such as the last corner at Malaysia or the hairpins at Hockenheim or Canada. It might be worthwhile if circuits had at least one obvious overtaking spot, because Valencia and Singapore just lack that. Or hope that all the new drivers will try and overtake everywhere like Hamilton does.

  • Comment number 77.

    now theres a thought ground effect, i totally agree with you henry ashman now were talking real racing for the big boys.....

  • Comment number 78.

    The ONLY driver equipment should be pedals to go faster/slower, a steering wheel to choose direction of travel.

    And that's it!

    No pit-to-car radio, no adjustable settings.

    In advance of race-day, the meaningful input should be constructor-led; on race-day, driver skill should determine the winner.

  • Comment number 79.

    i hope bernie or any one from the FIA read this blog so they know how much they are ruining it for every one.
    I have a friend who works for virgin f1 team in the aero department and he said that f1 is going to the dogs as he put it.
    they should stop changing the rules every god damn year,it just makes it more confusing and less entertaning.
    if they start bringing in elecrtical moving parts thay might aswell have a computer drive the car cause the skill of the human driver will be pointless.The FIA need to stop the rules so that F1 leads the way in every day cars for people,we dont need it car companys are all ready doing things fine by themselves. so F1 should bring back the v10 try and make them more economical to keep tree huggers happy and just make the cars as fast as possible and let the F1 drivers do their thing,by driving like their asses are on fire and not letting them worry about tyers or fuel. take the likes of hamilton just watch him if he is in 6th place you will get overtaking for sure. f1 cars are getting slower every year i mean your getting the buggati veyron ss thats a road car and nearly as quick as an f1 car, come the time of the new turbo engines which will only have 6oohp road going supercars will accelerate faster so whats the point of the f1 cars. there is so much more i could say but im not going to just now. i hope people will agree with me.

  • Comment number 80.

    Has anyone had the thought about using biofuels to power F1 cars? - still relevant to modern day cars and huge business in places like Brazil + the advantage of F1 becoming a "carbon neutral" sport due to the properties of biofuels. Therefore we could still have screaming V10's but releasing no net CO2.

    Also agree on the Tilke-designed circuits - more fast frightening corners followed by straights (Eau Rouge, Turn 9 Turkey, Becketts & Maggots, etc) not car park-style 90 degree turns (Abu Dhabi, Singapore, etc).

    Movable rear wings - good idea to have less donforce on wings but far too over-complicated.

  • Comment number 81.

    The wings idea is good, but so artificial. The car behind will overtake, then the overtaken car will overtake, and so on.

    They should re-think the circuits though. Imola, A1 ring etc. Monaco is cool, the race is boring. You only watch it to see a car crash, i.e. the only way you can overtake is if the car in front gets too close to the barrier.
    But its nice to see the whole spectacle of formula 1 in the classic streets. Why do the same thing at valencia, and singapore?

    Valencia needs to be axed. Its giving Spain a bad name. Both spanish circuits are really boring. Circuit de Catalunya is a nice layout but impossible to overtake now the final corner is a chicane.

    Isn't it the tracks that need changing, not the cars? We've seen on some tracks that overtaking can be quite simple. But I'm sure Bernie is contracted in to these new circuits bringing money etc etc that old established circuits don't.

    I for one, can't stand any of the Asian races except Japan. They are all tedious, and as said before, 'stop-start'. Whats the point of building a circuit in the desert, the flat desert? They should consider why Spa is so amazing, going off into the up/down Arden forest. Adding to the spectacle, but its the track altitude changes that makes it pretty amazing.

    If Bernie wants to keep introducing new tracks, then they might aswell get rid of Monza, Silverstone, Monaco.

    They also need to sort out this fuel saving. Maybe FiA allocated amounts? Sort out tyre changes aswell. Maybe set the lap they will change on, on the saturday. Otherwise the car in front just races away until he has a 20 second lead, waits for the tyres to drop off and changes.

    Rear-wing mumbo jumbo will sort out overtaking but at what cost?

  • Comment number 82.

    I must hand it to you Andrew Benson. Your obsession of Alonso always manages to find a way into your blogs. The wings weren't introduced in 2010 and he didnt even try to pass Petrov anyway in Abu Dhabi. But except you failed to mention how he would have fared against Kubica.

    Benson, to me, you really are becoming a bore rambling on about Alonso all the time. If they want overtaking in F1 then there should be a rule saying that "if you fail to overtake 5 different cars for position on track, your race position will be deleted from the final classification." That to me is overtaking induced to F1 again.

  • Comment number 83.

    Post #1 sums it up for me really. How is it possible that Tilke is mandated
    to design mediocre track after mediocre track the result of which sees the FIA having to introduce artificial elements to facilitate overtaking in order to compensate for the shortcomings of the track design.

    Who are these people who think it's somehow coincidental that some races are packed with overtakes and others are dull and processionary?

    It is also well understood that the rear diffuser plays a crucial role in generating turbulent air for the car that follows. Double and triple diffusers clearly make this problem worse so why not significantly curtail or limit the way in which diffusers are designed/used.

    The stupidity of some of the things that they are coming up with to "enhance" the racing almost defies belief. But, then again, we all know that F1 is business first and sport second so we can't be completely be surprised by some of these things....

  • Comment number 84.

    Also with these new rules coming into F1 I hope your golden boy Alonso gets lost in traffic in an even worse procession of a race in Bahrain than we did this year. You praised him after Hockenheim when you know full well he didnt deserve praise for his "efforts". Only airheads do that sort of thing or unless of course you are a glory supporter perhaps?

    I hope the new technical rules and new Pirelli tyres fail to work on Alonso's methods so he can make himself look an even bigger villain than in 2010.

    Call yourself an expert Andrew? You're nothing but a fan FACT!

  • Comment number 85.

    Slight change of subject, but has the FIA and FOTA just missed a golden opportunity about the proposed engine changes for 2013?

    I have had two 3-series BMW's in the last year - a 27 mpg 325 CI and a new 60+ mpg 320 D ES, with more power and massively more torque (i.e. acceleration and overtaking capability). OK, so diesel's do make a bit of particulate pollution, but from overall efficiency, power, torque and CO2 points of view, there is just no comparison.

    Having watched the 'Whispering Ghost' LMP1 Audi's trundle round Le Mans last year, yes we would lose the noise (a shame, I'll admit), but given the huge investments that have gone into European refineries over the last 10+ years in re-configuring the oil pool to massively increase (more efficient) diesel production, mirroring Euro legislation and road car demographics, surely F1 needed to go diesel?

    And no - we are not going to talk about Mr. Clarkson's views!

  • Comment number 86.

    I wish Tilke didnt have the restrictions on tracks but he did a fantasy track for F1 Racing where we had Eau Rouge and Turn 8 In Turkey and Becketts.
    Of course, you can't beat Eau Rouge or even recreate it, its so unique and I bet Tilke would want to make a unique corner but restricts by silly rules.

    But on the new rules, again F1 is becoming a joke.
    The Guys on ITV and BBC having to tell us what happened, what changes were made and sometimes I wonder if James Allen, Louise Goodman, Ted Kravitz and Lee McKenzie knew what was going on when rambling on about the new regualtions on the voiceovers for the various seasons gone by on each TV Station.
    Or even the main Guys such as Jake and Jim and Steve for that matter to pundits ala Tony,Mark, EJ and DC most recently.
    Plus can Mr Benson stop bleating on abotu Alonso, Mr Benson, you shamed yourself patting Ferrari on the back obver team orders, which I cant believe are back....F1 died when Austria 2002 happened and yet Mr Benson, you appauld it back and said it couldnt be policed...It was so how can the FIA really suggest us fans want to see it.
    If I see what happened this season with Ferrari, I will switch off the TV and listen via Radio....then agaoin hearing Legatrd's dullect Tones and needless shouting is enough to put me off niw.
    Get rid of him and get a proper F1 TV Commentator, there are 2 out there who can do the Job, James Allen (meaning the Classic GP's cant be wrecked by Legard 'reporting'???) or Ben Edwards - F1 Commentator on Eurosport during the Old BBC F1.

  • Comment number 87.

    The problem with constantly changing regulations around what kind of car you can build is that it always favours the bigger teams as they have far larger resources to develop and exploit the new regs to their advantage.

    When you hear drivers say "its impossible to overtake at this circuit" you have to wonder why the hell is formula one reacing here then? Obvious execptions aside like Monaco, these circuits produce dull races, will adding kers and movable wings make them better? The powers that be need to realise that exciting races will generate more revenue than the money that is paid to race at dull venues.

    Drop dull circuits or have them altered. Keep regs stable so small teams can produce competitive cars, this will massively increase overtaking. Of course bigger teams will have an advantage but one of the great pleasures I derive from Formula 1 is a great driver getting a great result from a decent car, not one of the top four. Years ago this seemed to be something that happened several times a season, nowadays it seems a much rarer occurence. Fisi getting second at Spa in the Force India being a fairly recent example

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    This is a joke right?

    If a driver is within one second of the car in front, someone/something will tell the driver to press a button to make his car go faster? How stupid and artificial. What happened to the days when skilled drivers drove big fast cars and the most skilled driver in the fastest car won?

    I have a suggestion if this is the way that F1 is going… Let’s get one representative from each team sitting round a table during the race. When one of their drivers goes round a corner, they roll a dice. If they get a 6 they can draw a card from a pack and do the instructions on it. We could call the pack of cards the “Community Chest” or “Chance”. You know – “you have won first prize in a beauty competition, overtake the driver in front”.

    F1 Pah! This is F97 and falling.

  • Comment number 90.

    78. At 6:23pm on 11 Dec 2010, Michty Me wrote:

    The ONLY driver equipment should be pedals to go faster/slower, a steering wheel to choose direction of travel.

    Couldn't agree more Michty - the only thing I would add is a little stick in the cockpit to change gear and a third pedal to allow them to use the little stick.

  • Comment number 91.

    The new engine regulations - the adoption of 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbo engines with energy recovery and fuel restrictions - mirror the way the car industry is going...

    Great - so now an F1 car will have electrically cooled picnic boxes and 14 beverage cup holders?

  • Comment number 92.

    Talking of bio fuels, why not enhance the full use of hydrogen. Make it safe, you'll have superior power, better economy and you've sorted the problem of the obsessive co2. Enhancing new technology...

  • Comment number 93.

    The best all round improvement will be when a certain Mr Egglestone finally admits that he is just too old,so out of touch and retires. After that major modifications to most of the tracks designed by Mr Tilke must be implemented a.s.a.p.

  • Comment number 94.

    Has anyone else noticed, how even the drivers appear to be bored of f1 and what it has become. I know the drivers tese days are a lot more physically fit but the don't even look to have broken a sweat when they get out of the car. When they win the race they almost look like they are faking it when they do their now obligatory 'shumacher' jump.
    I have friends in the army who are risking their lives every single day for less money per year than these guys earn in about 10 minutes. It's time to make the drivers earn their corn again instead of just being media puppets designed to sell aftershave. I remember when the drivers were so exhausted at the end of race they had to be lifted from inside the cockpit. This is a dangerous and exciting sport, or at least I used to be. But then of course the sponsors don't want to see their brand name associated with anything too unpalatable do they. Like the comment about Russia getting a grand prix. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out who and what is making F1 tick these days, it isn't the fans the drivers or the racing anymore.

  • Comment number 95.

    Well, quite! What a lot of rubbish. The sport - in reality, it has seized to be an enjoyable sport for some years now - seems to be run by dim-headed people who are totally lost and are digging their own graveyard. If F1 still attracts sponsors and viewers, it is just because of its glamour aspect having overtaken its sporting meaning. Go back to the good old days. No electronics, no communications, back to manual gearboxes, no silly wings. The driver should have total control once in the cockpit, including tyre change, filling up and so on.

  • Comment number 96.

    The rule about the following car, the time difference, and all that, who is or isn't allowed to use this surge ...... I can't help thinking tht there are gaps in the reasoning behind some of this, or how it's being explained, or both.

    Let's just start with the simple principle that variable aerodynamics could help - what would you do?

    Well, the whinge at the moment is that following is less efficient, so it's hard to catch and overtake.

    But this is odd, as anyone who has slipstreamed a lorry on a motorway might have realised their fuel consumption improved. But in F1 there's more turbulence. So let's make the car more efficient while following as well as when it's at the front.

    But the car in front isn't allowed to use this drag-cutting while they are being followed, the rule says. So that's the first bit I find daft, that the description seems to say that the car is going to be designed not to be at its most efficient some of the time.

    If we're going to design a car without the silly overtaking rules, we want 3 or 4 aerodynamic cases - best in clear air on the straights, best while following, and best in the corners, following or not.

    What have we seen the last few years? They designed overtaking right out of the picture, it was avoided, it was done by stealth in timing the pit stops and moving the car into empty patches of track. Whingeing about not enough overtaking seems a bit daft after all that.

    Last year, no refuelling, and we've seen them working out strategies for underfuelling to have a weight advantage, and pick up the range of the full race by economy measures, not going flat out all of the time.

    I think some of those strategies will continue, and now that team orders are allowed, and variable aerodynamics, I think there will be some races in the calendar that have less actual racing.

    Is this impossible - the designer produces a car that adjusts to work much better while following. But contrary to expectations, the car doesn't overtake. The long strategy on fuel consumption is even more finessed than now. With team orders, we could go back to the era of Andretti and Petersen going round nose to tail. But with a difference. The acknowledged number 2 driver is in front, and the number 1 follows, saving fuel, biding time ...

  • Comment number 97.

    Oh no the FIA are doing it again, making the wrong changes! Why do we have to witness such poor decisions time and time again! Forget moveable rear wings it's so fake, it makes me feel sick! The answer in my opinion is to reduce the rear wing downforce by 75%, reduce front wing by 20%, introduce ground effects again to produce 60% of the car's total downforce (non aero). The brakes should be steel discs again to make the braking distances twice as long and possibly reintroduce cross-ply tyres to allow a bit of power sliding like the big fat cross-ply slick tyres used in the 1970's! None of this will be introduced because the FIA are proud of the sport being on the cutting edge of technology and fear they would loose the manufacturers if the technology wasn't so innovative. I say who cares about the manufacturers, F1 survived perfectly well without them in the 1970's, in fact it'd probably be a good idea to get rid of them anyway! Bernie won't get rid of them though, he likes his money too much, like most negative things in life, it all boils down to greed.....

  • Comment number 98.

    Whats the point of having a driver in the cockpit? This movable wing thing is going to have a negative impact on overtaking which must be purely driving skills. We want driver skills.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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