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Friday, April 15, 2011

di Montezemolo throws down the Gauntlet

Luca has had a go at the increasing level of artificiality in F1.  Tyres that have been designed to degrade, the DRS, and KERS.

In an interview with Auto Bild he said that the sport was too artificial, with steering wheels which are like computers with too many buttons and devices which take away from the racing of cars.

Earlier in the year Ferrari made the point that they don't do 1.6L engines - which are coming in 2013.

It looks as if there might be a major retirement from the F1 scene come the end of the Concorde Agreement.

The President of Ferrari is quoted as saying:

"Ferrari will continue to be there, so long as the sport gives us back something for the development of technology of our production cars. Otherwise not.".

On the face of it I'd agree with him about KERS and DRS taking away from the question of who can design and build the best racing car.  I'm not a fan of these systems which seem to be in place simply to create artificial overtaking opportunities and they haven't endeared themselves to me over the course of the last two races.

The issue of tyres is, I think, one which will resolve itself over time and adds to the interest from the perspective of strategy, but this too may be considered to represent an artificial response to the ban on refuelling.

If the sport is going to bring new devices into play simply to try to address problems which have arisen resulting from previous rule changes, then we have to question the wisdom of those rule changes in the first place and revisit the reasons why they were implemented in the first place.

I understand the thinking behind KERS in that it lends a modicum of a green credential to a sport which will always struggle to be green but does it improve the racing? I don't think it does.  It may improve the technology but F1 is primarily about the racing and technology is only introduced onto a car where the designer/team feel that it gives them an advantage over other teams.  If all teams have it then it negates the purpose of the technology.

Brawn Racing won the championship because they saw a way to design the underside of the car which remained within the spirit of the rules.  RBR's double diffuser was a design solution which gave them a significant advantage.  Gizmo's and Gadgets, ugly wing elements and degrading tyres should only be brought in where a team sees that they are within the rules and that that team can gain an advantage from them.

When all teams have them it's time to ban them.  For overtaking aides see the F1 archive page 1986 Spa interview with Mansell where he says that if the car behind (Senna) was within "a couple of seconds" he'd get the tow all the way down the straight.  Overtaking? It might be easier than it sounds!

That's my two cents worth on this topic.