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Three important news developments in the fast moving world of F1
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Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Feb 2014   |  4:43 pm GMT  |  158 comments

Today February 28th, has been a very busy one in F1, with not only the testing going on in Bahrain, but also deadlines for new teams to enter the sport in 2015 and for engines to be homologated as well as a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group.

There are three headlines arising from the day which F1 fans need to be aware of.

Double points still in place but only for last race
The Group discussed the suggestion that the controversial idea of awarding double points at the final race should be extended to the last three races. This was not adopted. Fans’ reaction to the news that the final race will be worth more than the others has been extremely negative and while there is no doubt that team bosses and the FIA have taken note of this reaction, they feel that the end of the season needs to have a highlight, the equivalent of a “Play-off” in US sports and in other sports like rugby and football.

The level of artificiality that has been introduced by the selection of double points as a means of creating this “highlight” does not appeal to many within the sport or outside it, but having got this far, it looks like they are going to try it. But there are already many voices within the sport who concede that it is likely to only last one season.

They also agreed to give the top 10 cars an extra set of tyres for Q3 – to encourage them to go out on track – and modified the timings slightly.

No extension to the power unit homologation

We wrote yesterday about the homolgation of 2014 power units and the deadline, which was today, for all manufacturers to supply one of their power units, together with drawings and software in a sealed box to the FIA. There were reports that Renault, which is clearly in difficulty, had requested an extension to the deadline, which the company denies. In any case the F1 Strategy Group has decided that the deadline stands and all three manufacturers have sealed a unit in a box and it’s on its way to the FIA in Geneva.

All three manufacturers will take advantage of the possibility to make changes to the engines for reliability reasons, so there is no question of Renault being locked into a problem for the season. But they have to prove that these fixes are not performance enhancing.

The engines will be re-homologated at the start of 2015, at which time the manufacturers will have been allowed to make some performance updates.


No decision on awarding a franchise to a new F1 team

A panel comprising FIA figures including Charlie Whiting attended presentations from two parties interested in entering F1 in 2015 for the 12th franchise. One party, Gene Haas from the USA and another from Romania, which involves former F1 team boss Colin Kolles.

It has been decided to delay a decision on this.

FIA president Jean Todt reported that his team had felt both bids were “solid” and added that “it is important to fill that empty space, it would be good, but the priority is to keep the 11 teams we have now in business”

This will require cost control and cost capping was another item on the agenda for the F1 Strategy Group. No information has been forthcoming on this so far, but the situation going into the meeting was that the teams, including Red Bull, had agreed in principle to a cost cap at somewhere around €200 million a year, with discussions today focussed on the glide path down from there, to what level and how it would be audited.

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1

I predict that Ferrari will claw their way back up, only to have Alonso lose the WDC and Ferrari lose the WCC in the last race as double points get Vettel and Redbull over the line for a 5th title.

Alonso will then join Webber at Porshe for WEC in 2015.

2
kenneth chapman

of course it is early days but if the rate of attrition is anywhere near what we have just witnessed then the allocation of five engines per/car/driver would be appear to be quite ludicrous.

i presume that a ‘power unit’ would embrace all components not just the ICE. if so then i fail to see how any team can go for a full season without incurring some penalties. from what i have been able to ascertain the ‘power storage units’ are very susceptible to breakdown.

surely they should’ve maintained the same availability of units as the previous year. that alone would be sensible given what we have just witnessed.

3

Disagree. It’s the right level to set it and and you will see how quickly F1 teams adapt that it won’t even be an issue in 2015!

4

What are the chances of the FIA adding to the engine count to be used this year? So far reliability has really shown the fragility of the power units. is it only engines that are limited or the whole power unit? as it stands now the double points will really be a farce if we have 22 cars starting from the pit lane at the last race.

5

I can’t believe that Renault won’t alter their engine spec in the next couple of months but it will probably be hushed up – like they tried with the Mercedes tyre test. If we hear about it at all it’ll be because either one of the other teams really objects, or because the other teams would like to make mods a as well and they’re all content for it to be out in the open.

The whole world of F1 has become so artificial that I’m losing interest after following it avidly since 1958 and then increasingly less avidly for the last decade.

6

James,

My suggestion would be scrap double points as everyone hates it. In its place reschedule the race calendar so that the final 3(maybe 4) races of the season are at Suzuka(4th last race, then Monza(3rd last), Spa(2nd last) & the grand finale at Silverstone. Call those last 3 or 4 races the “Hall of Famers” Trophy that runs within the championship but is also an added prize with extra prize money for the driver and team that wins the Hall of Fame Championship. Normal points towards WCC & WDC, but a classic award for winning at the very best old school tracks.

Maybe just make it the final three, and then F1 could really market it as the “finals” for F1 held in Europe & sell great packages to fans for all 3 races, held over 3 consecutive weekends. F1 Heritage Trophy might be another name for it.

Drivers would love to win those 3 races, teams would love the extra prize money and trophy & fans would love the concept of the final three races held at classic tracks, and something they could really look forward to all year. Rather than dreading double points all year!

7

“Farcical Idiots Association” – Priceless

FOM – anyone?

8
kenneth chapman

FOOLISH OLD MAN?MEN

9

Full Of Money

10

Budget restrictions are always double edged, those with the most always find a way to spend it, the example being the money spent on CFD when wind tunnel time was reduced. But the best of F1 always pushes the world forward. How about allowing unlimited wind tunnel use if it is carried out by students in universities? At least then any overspend would in fact benefit the next generation of engineers?

11

in F1 some times all the hard work put in over a season can vanish due to a bad luck in a couple of races and the true world champion does not win the title like

eg 2012 where Alonso was tagged by raikonnen in japan and by grojeans mad start in spa

1986 Mansell , 1989 senna ,94 hill the list is endless

The double points system only magnifies the chances of a undeserving WDC being crowned and F1 becoming a theatre of the absurd. 🙂

12

Lack of common sense is something that never ceases to amaze me. Why the hell do we want a “play off” situation – its not a ball sport for f/ sake -its a global sport not a hyped up local sport !

Cost control – €200million Scoff, Scoff & triple Scoff.. Thats like saying next time Im buying the top line bentley with a titanium emblem instead of the white gold. Its all well & good for RBR to work with 200 whilst Marussia and Caterham are under 100. Then the FIA have to reconsider why new entrants may not survive in the “sport”…Ding Dong the bells are ringing is there anybody home ????

As for engine homoligation – well if we have 10 cars fail to finish in Melb and half the viewing audience just stop watching – then it all counts for naught. Even Mercedes despite their pre season consistency are not 100% sure they will finish- it could be they all do but why risk it- even if Its only Renault continuing to fail!. I do agree they must submit the plans and engines as they normally do so the FIA have something to police. But all manufactures should be allowed to re- submit after the first 3 flyaways after which we can have some certainty. If we find nobody breaks down then theres nothing to change.Those that are in front will still be in front and will not be unfairly disadvantaged – win win for teams, fans, track officials, and commercial rights holders!

Absolutely bizarre how F1 continues to be illogical and un-original in the most unique, passionate and exciting sports on earth.

13

So they’ve noted the fans feelings about double points and… Decided to keep them.

Well that makes sense.

Bangs head against wall…

14
kenneth chapman

regarding the ‘double points’ issue it has once again proved that it is totally pointless in even expressing an opinion. apart from that the only benefit is a soothing of ones ‘wa’ by having a good rant!!!

i think it would be a fair summary to say that 99% of fans/followers/pundits et al have expressed a negative acceptance. it all means zippedy doo dah. they,FIA & FOM will do whatever they want and WE can do nothing about it

15

I would like to see the top ten shootout also become a hot lap affair.

For mine, there was nothing inherently wrong with hotlap qualifying; it just took too long. But the benefit of it is in seeing every competitor’s lap whereas in the timed format you just see a train crossing the start line.

Anyone with me?

16

Playoff? Hardly. This double points idea is about as silly as counting touchdowns in the last quarter of the Superbowl as 12 points each or saying that goals in the last 10 minutes of the UEFA Champions League games count double.

17

Same as the DRS…a manufactured way to try to make excitment. It will fail just as the DRS has IMHO.

18

those budget figures of 11 teams at 200 million euro’s highlight the obscenity of f1.

the poorest 2.4 billion people on the planet live on less than that.

i think the power unit rules need to be relaxed to allow for the constant advances in battery technology.

19

Double points make perfect sense, but why stop there? Bernie’s sprinklers, coupled with packs of feral dogs wandering the circuit (recently tested in Sochi, I believe) couldn’t help but to turn F1 into the sort of spectacle that BE and his Murdochian ilk obviously covet.

20

There could be nuns, or parties of school children, crossing on pedestrian crossings at random intervals at several points round the track.

21

The problem with this whole “play off” mentality is where it’s held. Abu Dhabi could be worth a whole seasons load of points and it would still be a shit place to hold the season final (or any F1 race for that matter). Brazil offered a real event all of it’s own with a party atmosphere that you could feel even through the TV, no need for fake gimmicks like double points to cheapen the show. It really should be enshrined in the rules that Interlagos holds the season final every year.

22
Justin in Perth

Instead of double points for the last race – and if FIA wants to stick with the idea – how about a concept where every team throughout the season gets to nominate one race only where they can earn double points. Eg before qualifying, a team gets to use its ‘double points’ card just once for the season, but can use it at any race they choose. That would add a bit more to the spectacle, knowing that a team is under a bit more pressure if they choose to use their double points option.

23

One report with three major topics makes reading comments confusing. Could we have one report deal with one subject ?

Thank you James, you are a lifeline. For us here in Canada in the late 1950s we got a guy who lived in “Little Italy” in Ottawa to translate the F1 news from Gazzeta Della Sport before each car club meeting !!

24

Hi James. Any chance you or mark could run an article about the rear end of the mclaren. Would be very interesting.

Also does anyone else think that races will end up resembling the tortoise and the hare? Cars zoom off at start run low on fuel and crawl home. The tortoise drives at the same pace for every lap and wins. I hope I’m wrong.

25

Perhaps the real question around the delay in awarding the new franchise positions relates to whether Caterham and Lotus will be in F1 next year?

It already looks like Caterham will circulate by themselves at the tail of the field, with Marussia having a chance at early points in the reliability lottery in the early races, so will Caterham hang around for 2015?

Lotus couldn’t make money last year with one of the most marketable drivers in the field and while at one stage they were a championship contender.

How will they fair this year with the loss personnel, a new, interesting, driver line up, the most problematic power unit in the field, a late start and shortage of testing.

Two testing days to go and the car is still catching fire.

Their glory days may he over.

26

James, How can the FIA say that they’re trying to control costs when they’ve implemented an engine that’s drastically more expensive and the teams are spending more now than they have in the past!? Jean Todt and the FIA are contradicting themselves.

27

The set up costs are high but the engine will be around until at least 2020 and the ongoing annual costs should come down over that time

FIA asked the manufacturers to amortise the costs over time, but F1 teams are not reliable and who knows if a midfield customer team will be here in five years?

They had to go hybrid turbo to be in step with the automotive industry and to prove relevance

Otherwise you walk up one morning and realise you are a dinosaur series

28

With regard to the “play off” mentality, wouldn’t it be better to have two races back to back – double points over the weekend but two races?

29
Darrin from Canada

That’s the best compromise I’ve heard so far…

30

I for one like the double points idea. I think double points make the races closer to the end more exciting if the championship is still in contention. IMHO, the idea of “points” is arbitrary to begin with.

I know there has been a vocal uproar from the vocal minority of the fanbase, but has anyone polled the silent majority and the casual fans? I wonder what the results might show.

31

If you organise a get together, you won’t need to hire caterers..

32

Caterers . . . No.

Minders . . . Yes.

33

The key word for Bernie and Co to focus on is AUTHENTICITY. The challenge of building audience is not a short term one and F1 will only succeed long term is it is believable. The competition has to be real, so rules and points need to separate out driving and engineering brilliance from chaos and luck. If the 2014 championship is artificial in any way, expect the audience to shrink in 2015. Mr Ecclestone; are you listening???

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