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Big week ahead for F1 in Monaco
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Dec 2009   |  9:11 pm GMT  |  87 comments

The world of motorsport is gathering this week in Monaco for a series of meetings culminating in the World Motor Sport Council on Friday and the gala World Championship presentations on Friday night.

There are a number of items on the agenda at key meetings for F1 teams and stakeholders this week, the first with Jean Todt as president of the FIA.

The F1 commission is meeting for the first time in four years and although it is unlikely to agree any significant new measures for next year, because teams would have to agree unanimously, it looks like there could be some interesting refinements of how the race and qualifying will be run and there could be some votes on measures for 2011, which only require a majority. There is talk that some in season testing may be voted back in 2011, as the current situation has proved to be difficult for teams, particularly with bringing on young drivers.

With regard to what can be done about 2010, there has been a lot of dialogue recently among the stakeholders in F1 about how to improve the show and to get the most out of the new rules package. There are a number of concerns at large at the moment. First is the feeling among many in the F1 community that the racing without refuelling could be quite dull, so there are many suggestions as to how that could be rectificed. One possibility is to increase the minimum number of mandatory pit stops from one to two, which would mix things up a little more. Drivers will still have to use two types of tyre in the race, as this year, but that would tend to lead to one stop races, unless the soft tyre was very marginal.

There have been extensive discussions on how to perfect qualifying in the no refuelling era; Bernie Ecclestone proposed a lottery system, which was rejected. At present it looks like it will stay with the same three part format as last year, except that the final session will be run on low fuel, like the first two. Again, there are studies as to whether this can be fine tuned to add variety.

As it stands it will have the effect of putting the fastest car at the front and there would be no reason why that car should lose the race, barring a retirement. If one of the two tyre choices was quiet marginal on wear this would increase the importance of tyre preservation, which could spice things up a bit.

Hard on the heels of the confirmation of rescue of the British Grand Prix, in which Todt is believed to have played a significant role behind the scenes, the 2010 calendar will be confirmed. If all the venues are confirmed there will be 19 races including a new race in South Korea and a return to Montreal.

British Grand Prix organisers announced today that they had sold just under 6,500 tickets, worth more than £1.2 million pounds in less than 24 hours for the race on 11 July.

Meanwhile in Monaco for the next two days there will be the Motor Sport Business Forum which I am chairing and from which I will post with news and insights. First up tomorrow morning is Lotus boss Tony Fernandes, then it’s Gerard Lopez, one of the bidders to buy the Renault F1 team.

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1

Here’s an idea for qualifying:

Give the Q3 drivers a max number of laps based on their finishing position in Q2 – but reversed so that the fastest car in Q2 would have only one shot to be fastest in Q3.

So if Jenson finished 1st in Q2, he would get 3 laps. (out, timed, in). Lewis finished 2nd in Q2 so he gets 4 laps. And so on..

Or maybe just split it into the top 5 get 3 laps and the second 5 get 6 laps.

Or variations on that theme.

It would add a lot of interest to the qualifying as drivers would need to get through the Q2 qualifying time, but would want to be as low down the order as possible! So the risk is they’ll not make it while slower cars will be going as fast as possible just to get into Q3 (and might make it).

Then in Q3 the pressure is on to deliver in the laps you have – an off, a yellow flag, poorly warmed tyres, and you’re stuffed!

We all love the adrenaline we get while watching a couple of drivers in their last do-or-die laps in q3 – imagine that happening right the way through Q3!

I accept that it might be a little confusing for the viewer trying to keep track of who’s got how many laps left.

And you’d also need to give enough laps so that Q3 isn’t too short.

Just an idea. How does that grab you all?

R

2

Someone has to ask the question: why ban refuelling? Is it for safety? If we didn’t ban refuelling, there would be less of a need to yet again fuss about how we can artificially spice up the racing.

This year was brilliant, why change anything?

3

Nobody else on here has suggested what myself and all of my F1 friends have discussed as a good idea…….Give the Friday practise to the reserve drivers, this way they would not be such a danger to the races/drivers if they need to replace the main drivers in any unforseen circumstances!

4

I think this is a great idea. I have no idea why they don’t do this! I am relatively new to the sport- was this done in the hill/hunt days?

They should award the winner at the last race of the season, but don’t they create new championship trophies each year at the moment? I think the teams get to keep them.

5

It was fasinating, I saw the RS30 minus bodywork and met the electronics team, they even let me have a go on the simulator.

The engineers were all happy to stop and chat, and although I never been a fan of Renault, I hope they do well next season in whatever outfit.

They did still have the Singapore 2008 drivers and constructors trophy on display in reception which made me chuckle! 🙂

6

I think that the more variables in F1 the better.

I would like there to be refueling, kerds and two tyre manufactures within formula 1.

I know people might say that a new fan will not understand the format, but if its exciting due to all the different variables at least they will watch it long enough to at least have a chance to learn the rules. I also think that qual is fine the way it is, and also if they wana make racing interesting please someone sign kobayashi!!

7

I hated the single lap qualifying – too much of a gimmick decided by track conditions rather than skill, the new one is much better, the worst thing about it was the race fuel in Q3, you never knew if the pole sitter was there because of the way they drove or the amount of fuel. As there is no refuelling either low fuel or race fuel for Q3 would work.

Please don’t go down the road of adding silly gimmicks like two required pit stops and silly tyre compounds drivers are forced to use. Trying to dumb it down with things like this won’t actually attract casual viewers as intended because they just get fed up with silly little rules that make it more complicated.

Try explaining to someone who doesn’t normally watch it why they are pitting and putting on non suitable tyre compounds and see how interested they are then!

FIA should stop messing around with silly artificial ideas and Bernie should forget his lottery/medals nonsense and retire.

The best way to ‘spice’ it up is to use the old tracks, why do you think Brazil and Belgium are always exciting??

8

Absolutely 100% spot on Pete!

And stop these boring tilke designed tracks entering and classic ‘overtaking’ tracks being left off or being put in jeopardy like Spa (Awesome), Suzuka (Perfection), Silverstone, Interlagos.

9

I think the refuelling ban is good for F1, but only if they allow any number of stops during a race (i.e. 0 stop strategies to be allowed). Drop the silly 2 tyre compound per race rule. Allow the teams to bring 4 types of tyre compounds (i.e. Super Soft, Soft, Medium, Hard), then allow them to mix and match (e.g. a team could run Hard’s on the left and Medium’s on the right), hence making 0-stop strategies possible. Hmm this sounds familiar… (Berger at Mexico in 1986 springs to mind)

One of the problems with refuelling (1994-2009) was when you were stuck behind a slower/heavier car and you were nowhere near your pitstop window, you’d have to trundle around behind this slow car for lap after lap until your fuel came down and a pitstop was viable. With refuelling banned if you get caught behind a slower car, the team can pull you in at any time, get you on fresh rubber and find you some clear air to pump some decent laps in. The whole thing is more flexible because everyone is on the same fuel. Also if you’re stuck behind someone you could just choose to look after your tyres and possibly make 1 less stop then initially planned (last year this wouldn’t have been possible because of rigidity of fuel strategies). Add in cars that aren’t stopping at all and you have some interesting viewing!

10

Just go back to having freedom in tyre choice, but once a driver has picked his compound for qualifying, that’s what he has to use for the race. Then you’ll have drivers on the softer tyre having to make more pit stops & a strategy might even develop in trying to weigh up going all out to secure pole and then having to pit one more time than the cars behind him & trying to make a tyre that’s past its best last a bit longer. If you want to generate excitement for Q1 & Q2 make it that the drivers that get knocked out can choose any compound for the race and anyone that makes it to Q3 has to use that for the race.

11

I don’t think qualifying is broke, so no need to fix it. Heavy fuel loads will impose more wear on brakes, which might become more marginal towards the end of races and hence add some element of chance. Time will tell. The biggest problem is still the aero side. The aerodynamicists performed wonders within the 2009 regs, way more downforce than had been expected. The regs need to change to reduce the benefits of aero, change the bias towards mechanical grip instead of relying on downforce so that cars have a chance of actually following the car ahead through corners closely enough to pick up tow on the straight afterwards. Then you will see more overtaking.

12

everytime the same happens – the regulations relate to design restrictions and are changed in a way that they think will result in the cars having less downforce – however the actual amount of downforce is never regulated. therefore, people more clever than the FIA just manage to get the same downforce with the new regulations – all that’s happened is that they have spent a shedload more money on an artificially imposed and totally redundant to the real world problem.

with downforce, following another car becomes a problem rather than an advantage as you lose downforce in the corners, therefore it’s inherently difficult to pass someone. for overtaking, you need it to be advantageous to follow someone.

they need to do something to actually and precriptively limit the downforce. instead of wasting money on aero development that has absolutely no application outside of F1, they could be developing more powerful and efficient engines that actually allow manufacturers to look at new technology that could contribute to the wider world. it would be self regulating to an extent, as there would be no point chasing massive power if you don’t have the grip to use it, but certainly more power and less grip would be a lot more entertaining than the dull over-gripped and under-powered CFD iteration slot racers we have at the moment.

13

This refueling thing i think may end up being something they back track on, if the are worried about excitement of the races why not just leave it in? The only problem is would they not look silly saying you can’t refuel, but then make the cars stop twice as the y did anyway with the need to refuel?

What was the purpose for the refuel ban? safety?

14

For a silly but interesting qualifying…

Qualify on pole, assume that’s 10 points. Driver can sacrifice up to 10 places on the grid for up to a 5 (10/2) point bonus if you can make up the places again during the race.

So 3rd place -> up to 6 places to sacrifice.

Choose to take a 4 place hit to start from 7th, if you finish 3rd you get your 6 points plus 2 more as the sacrifice. If you managed to win you’d have 12 points.

1st place could sacrifice 10 places, if they won from 11th they’d have 15 points. If they just dropped to 5th (with confidence in their fuel strategy/tyres/pace) then they could get 12 points from a win instead of the usual 10.

Fine fine, silly idea 😉

15

I have read that the double decker diffuser compromised the cars from being able to follow more closely. If thats the case then they should ditch the DDD. We might then see some more overtaking if the cars can follow more closely.

I also like the idea of introducing a standard KERS system which offers more power, say 150bhp is a good idea, especially if they can only use it every 3 laps.

16

Maybe if they concentrated less on “The Show” and more on actual sport the rest would follow naturally? I don’t want a artificial spectacle like NASCAR.

F1 Should be about driver skill and manufacturing ingenuity in car design…

But once on the track, leave it as it is…. a race!

As previous posters have pointed out, correct the issues with track layout and get the cars following closer.

Kers, forced pit stops, lotteries, medals! I know lets just have them go round in circles and stage the finish, we could have rival story lines and intro music for each driver, autograph signings and press conferences during each of the 18 pitstops with fireworks and smoke and and

17

Wide supersoft tyres and no wings. Yeaah!

18

I just had a load of emails telling me there were replies to the comment I posted. I don’t remember ticking anything that said I would receive these emails, can they be turned off please? Thanks.

19

It’s be suggested by some that Todt worked in the background to make the British Grand Prix happen, is there ANY proof to this ❓

Remember in Mosley’s early days he just went quietly about his business, the time to judge Todt is in a few years time and not now.

It’ll be very interesting to see what happens as the end on the short concord agreement approaches and the new engine rules are brought in etc, then we may get a better view as to the new governance at the FIA, time will tell 8)

20

Why don’t they go the other way and state that each car within a team has to start the race on opposing tyre compounds, for example, if Massa started on the soft tyre Alonso would have to start on the hard tyre and vice versa.

This would soon let us know who the ‘team leaders’ were too as they would be on the best option tyre for the start of the race.

Team mates would then get their knickers in a twist about being treated equally and we’d have a season filled with in-fighting and politics – sounds just like F1 to me!

21

There are two championships the teams are fighting for and by compromising one car against the other may well affect both drivers and the team’s chance of maximising their result.

I say less interference and not more, set F1 free from the over burden of rules set by the FIA ❗

The FIA’s role should be no more than referee, that’s it. The teams should decide the rules as they and not the FIA own F1. It’s these stupid rules that have caused al the problems with what should be the greatest sport on earth. 🙂

22

In my view open a slot in b/w Friday practice 1 and 2 and run a 3rd car for young drivers. surely that wont cost much and you get young driver development and some precious track testing and development.

23

Start races in reverse WDC order, or have qualy races on Sat to sort out grid positions: WDC 11 to 20 in one race and WDC 1 to 10 in another race (with qualy races starting in reverse WDC order). Any driver failing to finish a qualy race would fall to the back of the grid.

Get rid of wings and produce cars which can overtake.

24

James dont lose all your money in one place!

25

I’ve been waiting for the fastest driver to be on pole again ever since they changed it so I will be glad if that does occur.

HOWEVER I have an interesting proposal, that of the low fuel Q1 & Q2, but in Q3 they put in the maximum fuel to last the race. That way we see the fastest drivers reach Q3 but the best at managing maximum fuel and the differing balance on pole. Also if they had to do Q3 with the tyres that they were going to start the race with as well, then that would add an increased risk factor as to whether or not the driver maybe compromises his race for pole or does he think of his first stint and preserve his tyres more than his rivals.

Just a thought but the more I think of it the more I like it! What say you James / F1 Lovers??

26

I think that would actually be worse, to be honest.

If the Grid is ordered in terms of “fastest on full tanks”, then there’s little or no reason for ther cars to change order after the start.

If the Grid is orderd in terms of “fastest on fumes”, then that order may well be different to “Fastest on full”, and order changes are more likely.

Qualifying on race fuel made a degree of sense with refuelling, as it gave teams a tradeoff to make. with no refuelling, there’s no tradeoff to be made, and really would make qually a first lap of the race that takes place the day before.

Let them qualify on fumes, and no mandatory pitstops – it worked for years, and it can work again. If bridgestone is commited to two compounds, then why not have one that will last the race and one that’s a little bit faster that won’t?

It wasn’t so much refuelling that spoiled the racing, but the fact that drivers could sit back and “wait for the stops” to make a pass. I want to see races decided on the track, not just by who can nail the in and out lap the best.

27

In a way i agree with you on reflection, but that would be the point of seeing who’s fastest in Q2 compared to who’s fastest with full fuel in Q3. Those who were at the top in Q2 may not be as fast in Q3 and would be more likely to overtake later in the race. Not too dissimilar to this years qualifying format. However it does rather assume a little too much, in so far as maybe those who are fastest with light fuel might just end up still being the fastest in Q3 with full fuel.

Totally agree with you on the drivers sitting back point. Too many good ‘drivers’ but too few ‘racers’.

And on the tyre front!! That annoys me a little. I say Bridgestone make as many compounds as they please but none are mandatory, the teams just choose whichever compound they feel suits them better; let them use their brains and data analysis.

28
johnpierrer rivera

james

did i not hear somewhere that re-fueling was brought back to spice up the racing. isn’t that what it has done in regards to different fuel strategies, some cars qualify light and get pole, some cars take on more fuel, but go a longer stint. it was always interesting to follow-up saturday qualifying with a quick check of your site, or others to see the declared fuel and then speculate on how everything would shake out for sunday. the occasional re-fueling mis-hap, every once in a while a fire, and when a team and driver work in perfect harmony to lay-down 2-3 quick laps, have an immaculate p/s and gain a spot for a podium or the lead. this combination produced many exciting and nail biting moments from the micheal and mika days to this year as well. can you make light of why the FIA behaves this way.

29

Refueling was brought back to spice up the racing, it was suggested by Bernie back in 1993 based off the Williams dominance of 1992 & 1993, However for passing it destroyed the racing.

There are some overtaking statistics I’ve seen which show that the number of on track passes went down by over 100 from 1993 to 1994 (The time refueling was brought back) & its never gone back up, its continued going down.

Prior to refueling from 1983 to 1993 the lowest number of on track overtakes in a year was 392 in 1993, From 1994 to 2009 when we had refueling the highest number of passes in a year has been 303 in 2003, The lowest has been 186 in 1996.

I was watching F1 prior to refueling & found the races to be a lot more intresting & going back & watching some older races recently has just reinforced the idea that refueling badly damaged the racing by taking things more towards strategy & less towards racing, Why try & pass a car on track when you can do it in the pits.

The intresting thing next year will be that the fastest car ON LOW FUEL will likely be on pole, However that car may not be the fastest when you add a full tank of fuel. Cars that were not as fast on low fuel may be faster early in a race on heavy fuel, This should make the racing more intresting.

On mandatory pit stops, bad idea. It hasn’t worked in DTM, & the similar pit window idea badly hurt the racing in ChampCar from 2002-2004 & they ended up getting rid of it & letting teams pit whenever & as many times as they liked which put the quality of racing back up.

Final note, someone mentioned about that an engineer (Was Sam Michael of Williams), said that it was the tracks & not the cars that made it hard to overtake, I don’t buy that.

We often see other series put on great races on circuits where F1 cars don’t. SuperLeague formula for instance put on 2 great races at Magny-Cource, a track where F1 struggled to put on a good show unless it rained. You also often see the F1 support races such as GP2, Formula BMW Etc… put on great races the same weekend that F1 is at a circuit. The GP2 races at Abu-Dhabi for instance were fantastic with lots of passing, the F1 race wasn’t as exciting.

If you find a way of making it easier for them to follow one another (Banning the double diffuser would be a start) we would see overtaking possibilities go up. Finding a way to increase braking distances (Something heavier fuel loads under the refueling ban will likely do earlier in a race) would also make overtaking via outbraking more possible.

30

Two mandatory pit stops – a terrible idea. Just as it looks as if we are getting rid of one artificial gimmick (fuel in qualifying) then something else is proposed. Keep it pure – even at the risk of more boring races.

Don’t think we would be having this debate if f1 wasn’t graviting toward a spec series. Variety is what keeps races interesting.

31

I hear that argument about qualifying a lot James, but surely conditions can change enough from day to day to mix things up? And then there’s the cars themselves – the Red Bulls were fastest over a single lap in Hungary but fell off the cliff when it came to the race.

32

You’ll also never have one car which is fastest on all tracks so whatever there will always be differences over a season.

It doesn’t need spicing up, set F1 free and it’ll provide the entertainment we all want:!:

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