Tag Archives: Red Bull F1

The sound of Formula One…

Back in September 2001, just 2 weeks after 9/11, I went to Indianapolis to see my first F1 race live. It was an amazing experience in so many ways. I had grown up watching F1 and being there amongst the action was a great moment. The biggest lasting memory I took away from that weekends racing was the immense and utterly deafening sound that came from the V10 engines. I’d seen lots of Motorsport over the years, but F1 was unique and I’d got the bug for it.

Over the years I’ve travelled to numerous F1 races including Monza in Italy, Silverstone and Spa in Belgium. The latter I’ve been to several times and would highly recommend for a long weekend.

This weekend I’ve watched the opening race action from Melbourne in Australia, that’s another circuit I’ve visited, but sadly not for a race on that occasion. The 2014 regulation changes are pretty big. So much so that, during pre-season testing, they appear to have flummoxed the previously unstoppable Red Bull team. This is of course good, especially for ‘Team GB’. For the most part I think the cars look good this year, accepting some unusual nose jobs!

mclaren mp4-29However what is not good is the sound emitted from the new, much smaller, V6 engines now being employed. F1 cars now sound like many other race cars, even some high end road cars?! This is a massive disappointment and I’m sure much criticism will emerge on this subject.

One of the most important and defining elements of F1 has been lost in my view.

This season will be interesting, despite being quiet! Who will win the title? My hope, as ever, is for Lewis or Jenson to find form and pick it up again. I’m disappointed that Scotsman Paul Di Resta hasn’t got a seat this year, I hope he’ll be back. My money is on Mercedes doing something special again in 2014.

In 2001 Michael Schumacher just lost out to Mika Häkkinen’s last ever F1 win in the USA. However Schumi took the title. Time will tell this year where his life will go from here.

The F1 Pirelli Tyre shambles!

I’m an F1 fan, I have been since I was a child. The sport has changed quite a lot over the years, but recently the world of F1 seems to be more consumed in technical/ political controversy, rather than actual racing!

The latest hype is surrounding the dramatic failure of the tyres, made by global brand Pirelli. At the recent British GP a number of drivers were seriously compromised as their tyres spectacularly blew up.

Lewis-Hamilton-with-a-burst-tyreIn recent days, the whole sport has been pointing fingers it would seem. The drivers and teams are blaming Pirelli and calling on the FIA to take action. Pirelli, having undertaken a ‘forensic review’, have now blamed the teams for not following their guidance. Also under fire are the FIA for not having tighter regulations on tyre use. Finally, the Silverstone circuit has been blamed for not maintaining its corner kerbs to a high enough standard. The whole thing is a shambles!

The FIA it seems are the Architects of this situation as the root cause, as they wanted Pirelli to develop tyres which would degrade heavily. This is to help balance the racing field out more and to reduce the dominance of the leading players who continue to plow huge funds and technical solutions into winning races.

F1 racing is not so much ‘racing’ these days. The races and championships are lost and won through the teams strategists who continually seek an edge on every aspect of the race planning and technical development of the cars. The FIA have an ever increasing rule book of technical guidance designed to indirectly balance the field out. This isn’t working.

I think there is a simple solution to stop all this strategic and technical racing. Maintain the technical rules, provide tyres which are fit for purpose (!) and don’t compromise the racing or safety of the drivers, and introduce a Success Ballast requirement. Drivers leading the field, are required to carry success ballast, on a sliding scale in terms of weight vrs position. I have no doubt that the drivers/ teams would still try and act strategically if this were to be imposed, but its an entity which in theory cannot be manipulated and tweaked in any way to gain technical advantage again.

The FIA did consider this option around ten years ago, but it was felt that this would be too much of a direct influence on the racing. I think direct action, in a simple and hopefully effective way, would be better than the current situation. The sport is once again compromised, as I’m sure Pirelli are too! All this global coverage of their tyres blowing up cant be good for their brand and sales!

The British Touring Car Championship have been using success ballast for a while now click here to see how it works.

As a lifelong supporter of F1, my main interest is in seeing on-track racing action to determine who the best and fastest driver is. I’m not interested in pit-lane/ back-room strategy racing which is led by the biggest budgets and technical design solutions designed to push the limits (and beyond) of the regulations.

If teams budgets can’t be capped and the cars cant be identical, then success ballast surely seems a pragmatic way to encourage better on-track racing action?