Guest Blog – top F1 engineer lifts the veil on new cars ahead of 2017 season
2017 F1 tyres Ferrari
Posted By: Editor   |  30 Jan 2017   |  8:02 pm GMT  |  269 comments

In just a few weeks the Formula 1 teams will reveal their cars for the 2017 season, which have been built to new regulations that were designed to produce more aggressive-looking machines that also lower lap times.

Launch season is an intriguing time of year, and that is especially the case ahead of a major rules revamp. The established pecking order could be shaken up or the front runners could extended their advantages – no one will know for sure until the cars hit the track for the two pre-season test sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Phil Charles

For this guestblog, JA on F1 spoke to Phil Charles, who has been the chief race engineer at the Toro Rosso team for the last three seasons. He started his career at Renault and had spells as a designer, research and development engineer, seven-post rig and simulation engineer and as a vehicle dynamicist at the Enstone-based squad. During his time with Renault F1 team he was also credited (along with the now-retired Dave Hamer) with the idea to put the tuned mass damper in the nose of the 2005 R25 Renault car.

Charles resigned from Toro Rosso midway through last season citing the difficulties of a work base in Italy and having a young family in the UK. He is well placed to give us the inside view on the big changes coming ahead of the 2017 season and the impact they may have on the racing.

Phil Charles writes: New year, new rules
Every so often in F1 we have a big set of regulation changes added into the mix and things get even more complicated. This does give you the opportunity to advance if you react to the new rules well or commit early in the previous years, with Brawn GP being the obvious example in the 2009 regulation changes. The team spotted a grey area in the rules and asked the FIA the right question in the right way to validate their interpretation. This means that big rules changes give a good chance that the grid can shaken up.

However, there is a bit of a caveat here: the Brawn example is an extreme case. The double diffuser was a masterstroke that gave a massive offset in performance, but despite this, the big teams with the big resources quickly reacted and chased them down with relentless development.

Brawn GP

This meant that the Brawn advantage had all but disappeared by the end of the year. This is actually the point – the big teams are more likely to have the extra resources to commit to development on the new regulations early. They can also quickly implement their own versions of everyone else’s clever bits as all of the cars are first seen rolling out of the garages at the first test. Overall the big teams are more likely to prosper unless the small teams have spotted something significant or their homework is difficult to copy quickly.

In terms of the specifics of this year’s big rule changes, unfortunately when I resigned mid last year I was cut out of the 2017 car’s development so I haven’t seen an example of a 2017 car and don’t know what the new Toro Rosso will look like. That being said I have studied the rule changes and do have some opinions.

Aesthetically the cars will look much better. The wider and lower rear wing and more scope for big bargeboards ahead of sweptback sidepods will look racier. The front wings are also swept back in plan view starting from a point 1200mm ahead of the front axle and this looks more aggressive.

Fernando Alonso 2006 Renault
Physical challenges for the drivers
Although I am not sure how important it is to the fans watching at home, another aspect I am personally excited about is the fact that the cars will be more physical to drive,as they will be cornering faster.

One of my recollections as a test engineer in the mid 2000’s is of several young test drivers confidently telling me how fit they were before calling me over to the car after a handful of laps requesting to fit the pad on the headrest they had rejected the day before to support their necks – and this was a common thing.

It will make for an extra dimension to the race weekends this year as the stronger and fitter drivers will come to the fore at some of the more physical tracks.

Communication with the teams over the radio will also be a bit more breathless and interesting. It still surprises me now how some of the current drivers sound like they are taking a walk in a park – Daniel Ricciardo in particular sounds like he is sat at home watching the TV when he is often in high speed battle.

Overtaking spectacle
In terms of the effect on overtaking, I have been thinking back to my own kart racing in the 1990s (I am actually a failed racing driver in a previous life). I remember making a step from the very popular economy class [TKM] to the top class in the UK at the time [Formula A] and this change came with a marked step in tyre grip moving from a very hard and durable tyre to a much softer one.


Overtaking was much more difficult in the Formula A kart as the braking distances were much shorter. I likened it at the time to having a smaller target to aim at and that target disappeared more quickly. With a similar change coming in F1 in 2017, this could mean we see fewer overtakes but the chance for a overtaking manoeuvre going wrong could be higher. This could be good for the show and will promote the more skilled drivers who can overtake well.

Having said all of this we need to consider that the DRS effect has a big impact in overtaking in the F1 of today so the ‘power’ of the 2017 DRS systems (i.e. the speed delta between a DRS active and no DRS car) will be important.

The cars will also be slower on the straights as the drag of the wider cars and tyres is much higher. This will mean cars with more efficient downforce packages or more powerful power units will be at a further advantage for both lap time and overtaking in 2017. These are the respective strengths of the Redbull and Mercedes teams in recent time and so it will be interesting to see if others can jump into the mix with these two teams.

Tyre talk

Pirelli have been tasked not only with increasing grip levels but also in making the tyres more resilient to not lose peformance once they have been over a certain sliding level or temperature range. This trend has been a ‘bug bear’ for the drivers in recent years. If Pirelli have achieved their targets the drivers will be happy as they will be able to push more freely.

2017 F1 tyres Mercedes

From the engineering point of view I can argue for and against this; the tyres have been generally difficult to get and keep ‘in the window’. However, that has also been a very big and interesting engineering challenge and when you really did a good job in helping your driver get it right – by helping him understand how to look after the tyre – there was a pretty good reward avaialable. Where something is on a knife edge like this it also gives the smaller teams a chance to do a better job on the day when it is really difficult.

When everything is easy the cars tend to finish in their performance order – so I like it when it is not easy on the drivers!

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Three - Day 2 -  Barcelona, Spain

My final thought is for the mechanics. The teams all monitor the pitstop performance of their competitors very closely and the ‘virtual pitstop championship’ is hotly contested.

Consider that in 2017 the front tyre is 60mm wider at the tread and it weighs 0.8kg more than last year, while the rear is 80mm wider and just shy of 2kg heavier. This means they will be quite a bit more awkward to move around and so those mechanics that will soon be tired of working big hours to get their new car on track [which we will cover in a second guestblog closer to winter testing] will also have to be doing lots of pitstop practice to recover the time lost fitting and removing the 2017-spec wheels.

Kevin Magnussen

Debate – which drivers do you think will adapt best to the 2017 cars?
In his article, Charles’ mentions that the rules behind the designs of the new cars may make overtaking more difficult, but equally they could also reward those drivers who are better at making a move stick.

Haas F1’s new recruit Kevin Magnussen recently explained that the previous generation of cars punished racers who were “overdriving”. The 24-year-old Danish driver, who competed for McLaren in 2014 and Renault last season, now hopes that that will be less of an issue with the new cars and their higher levels of downforce.

He said: “These new cars will probably suit that better than [the cars that had] less downforce. I’m looking forward to it – it’s going to be fun to try. If our expectations are true, then they’re going to be the fastest Formula 1 cars ever, probably, so that would be exciting.”

So who do you expect to cope best with the new cars? Is there a driver that you think will be able to pull off stunning passes or reach new heights with greater downforce and wider tyres? Leave your thoughts on this and Charles’ post in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook pagefor more discussion.

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All I know is the the rule changes for 2017 are going to great, really great. Baron – my youngest son has a really thick neck -really really thick, beleive me – I now about thick. His neck is sooo thick. I’m thinking Baron will be driving for RedBull next year – believe me he will, once I get the wall sorted then that will be my next project.

Note to white house advisors: Remember to ask if F1 is within my jurisdtiction – maybe don’t ask – just get Baron in the car and sort it out later.

2017 new rules will make F1 great again!


James (if I may) could you answer one big question for the 2017 F1 cars: With 1000hp engines, wider tires and no refueling will the teams be able to go all out full racing or will they have to conserve fuel thereby ruining the whole point of the upgrades. Do they have gas tanks bigger? Please- what are your thoughts on this?


Good question

Need to check, but I believe they have a small amount more fuel as a max. Fuel flow rate is the same


Thank you James. I await further information.


Max Verstappen will definitely be the one who will ‘
exploit ‘ the newer regulated cars to their limit!


@ Mark…and your reasoning for stating this ‘fact’ ?


I am no Max supporter. However, when I re-consider his driving skills, capability and the way he exploited unexpected conditions within particular race events and the fact that he is so young yet so determined, he makes me absolutely confident that he will ‘ shine ‘ in 2017.
For me being a ‘ tifoso’ does not spell happiness but reality is reality and that is why and how this sport is exciting to say the least, unless politics ruin the pot!


@ Mark…yes, we all have our opinions and as i have said on numerous occasions verstappen is fast, and very competitive. He will push ricciardo and ricciardo will push verstappen. Who finally comes out in front is anyones guess ATM. I am hoping that it will be ricciardo but if not then i’m sure that he’ll have done all he could. Similar in the reverse situation. The verstappen supporters are quite rabid in their dissing on ricciardo and if verstappen doesn’t produce the goods then i’m sure that there’ll be blood on the floor….in a manner of speaking. I am not a full supporter of ferrari but i do hope that they are right up at the sharp end as it’s been a long time since we’ve seen any real racing. Vettel will have his elbows out and kimi will be fighting for a contract renewal. All good.


Yes Ken, it’s all correct what you just said. I pointed my finger at Verstappen because I noticed in amazement, how agile he is to exploit an instant unforeseen development on the track and I am sure he, being the young lad he is, has maturity in his future and by that time he should give us some surprises. Pity for me though because the drivers of my team do not have that ability. Redbull’s progress has been astonishing considering the lower output engine that they had in 2016. Well, with the new regs in force, surprises will be common, I think, so let’s see.


I don’t care who can pass the best, what concerns me is the fact that with wider cars there’ll be less room in the corners for the 3 and 4 cars we’ve seen recently going side by side sometimes. So we’ll now see 2 cars going side by side into the first corner and a 3rd being pushed off into the boondocks and that means that by the end of the first lap we’ll have a bloody great long line of cars spread out, assuming enough cars made it around the first few corners to complete the first lap! And they all better have a halo or some such device to stop drivers heads being hit by those big heavy flying wheel/tyres, because we’ll see more wheel-to-wheel contacts now! And as for passing, we probably won’t see as much as we’ve seen in recent years because cars won’t be able to follow through the corners as closely due to the bigger wake/turbulence of the new cars!
Personally, I think someones made the wrong decisions with these new rules!
Fond regards,


James, quick question for you? What do you think the real increase in average lap time will be in 2017. The objective of the new rules was reducing lap times by 5 seconds from the times in 2015. Development in 2016 resulted in lap time being 2-3 seconds faster than 2015. The increased weight of the cars announced yesterday will result in an INCREASE in laptimes by 1 second over last year. So if we take this into account, cars will be barely 1-2 seconds faster than in 2016??


No, more than that, more like 4 secs


@ James…Taken by itself 4 secs is a humongous leap! My question is, is that figure expected relative to all teams? If so then i fail to see how the status quo will alter greatly. If it is only the top two or three then the racing will be even more lopsided vis a vis the separation from the entire field.


I’m looking forward to the new season, it will be refreshing to see drivers being able to push the cars for more of the time. The only thing I would like to see, are more gravel traps. I want to see a driver’s skill but with an element of risk. Far to often drivers take risks knowing that if they make a mistake they can live to fight on.


The driver fitness is an interesting point. I read an article the other day about road cyclists (Le Tour etc), being able to maintain a resting heart rate of 38bpm whilst pedaling a bike at 20km/h.
Anyone have any data on resting and peak heart rates for an F1 driver? If Danny Ric sounds like he’s on the couch when talking on race radio, i’m imagining that the cardio vascular health is pretty good!


I read somewhere that Max’s heartbeat went up to about 90 when he he almost binned the car at Interlagos, so I guess the normal heartbeat rate is about 60/70 under those conditions.


@bs63…..() BPM is nothing at all. F1 drivers heartrates have been known to regularly hit 170 BPM when they are under high levels of competitive race stress. I do recall seeing on screen graphs, many many years ago, of heart rates at the start of a grand prix hitting 200BPM . Those numbers almost mimic “atrial fibulation numbers’ , take it from one who has first hand experience!!!


What a load of nonsense, just a load of regurgitated waffle from someone that has no idea of what to expect having had no involvement in the process of the 2017 car


Always nice to hear from a real expert, so it would be great if you could share some details about the 2017 car you helped design and never mind this Phil fellow 🙂

Chief race engineer for three seasons – Pfft, what would he know…


@ random…I happen to share ‘F1 Experts’ view point somewhat. Re read the article and it is quite ‘lite’ and not really anything more than generalisations and speculation. Yes he has some cred due to his previous employment but i really learnt nothing new or informative at all.


You may agree with him (and fair enough, it’s not like Phil provided specs down to the millimetre or anything), but while your view might be the same your manner is very, very different.


I fear there will be even more struggles for drivers to overtake without DRS because of increased turbulence as a consequence I fear the FIA will make the DRS effect more powerful and profound with longer zones at some circuits and 2 zones at others.I’m hope i’m wrong . By the way that picture of Schumacher and Hakkinen is fantastic. Is that from 2000?


Yes – at Spa.


This is a great article – very insightful.
WRT overtaking, we all know the biggest factor by far is are the circuits, not braking distances or the effectiveness of DRS. We all know that it is impossible to pass on a handful of circuits, and very difficult at several others, yet far too easy on several others, all depending on how closely you are able to follow off the corner preceeding the main straight.
I really expect all the drivers to cope very well with the extra physicality – they are all serious athletes and will know what is required, and will do the training required to handle the extra G forces. Part of success in F1 is handling the known knowns as well as possible, and this is definitely a known known.


Great insight from an expert. But I think I’ll wait until the Aussie GP to see how things are, instead of speculating. And I can’t wait!!. It’s nearly impossible to see how things are gonna turn out. I mean, did anyone see Mercs total domination come? So I think I’ll just wait with excitement for the new season to start🤔🍻


I do think its quite funny how fans opinions change (myself included), in the 00s we were treated to spectacular cars but the racing was dull as it was very hard to overtake and one guy won all the time. Along came the silly tyres and DRS, we loved the amount of overtaking but now we have decided its too fake and the cars are too slow and we wan’t to go back to what we had before.

I think it needs a more fundamental re-think though. The problem is and always has been that the cars cannot follow each other through high speed corners. Until something is done so that the cars produce less, and are less sensitive to “dirty air” there will always be this problem. Remedies such as the lower wider wings, bigger tyres, DRS etc are treating the effects not the cause.


One solution would be to eliminate high speed corners 🙂


Exactly true.


Everything points to the drivers needing to be a lot fitter and physically much stronger than last year.

With someone like Max Verstappen, being the youngest driver on the grid, his body is likely still developing and so his musculature is not yet fully formed. Will this have an affect on his ability to drive the car because his muscles cannot cope when compared to an older driver whose muscles are fully developed?


Given the fact he has a father who knows what forces he has to prepare for, i don’t think it is going to be a problem. I would not be surprised if he is one of the most well-prepared drivers for this season.


I very much doubt whether verstappen’s age will have any bearing. He will be race fit of that i’m sure. So will ricci. Red Bull will have all the very best available. They are confident of making inroads on mercedes and they will be sure that their drivers are fully fit and able. These are big stakes.


how do you get to know all this?


Trust the youngster, his grit is legend.


No one knows, but it will be fascinating to see how it all plays out.


“How am I doing?” 😐
“Only a few cars in front of you now Max, keep pushing…” 🙂

*lap 3*

“Owwww my not yet fully formed musculature!” :O


I can’t wait to see the new cars! The 1.8m cars always looked wrong, the proportions just didn’t work. Much more mechanical grip and more downforce generated by the diffuser should mean it will be easier for the drivers to follow each other through corners, and hallelujah, an end to comedy tyres!
The rules need to be left as they are now, the cars will look good, so just let the teams converge over time and the moaners will have nothing to moan about!


moaners will have nothing to moan about!…

Good luck with that Tim – I swear some people enjoy moaning more than they do the racing 🙂 And if Merc/Ham are dominant again some people will lose their minds 😎


No no C63, you are wrong, all complaints will cease, the comments section of this site will exist purely for people to wax lyrical about how wonderful the sport is, and to congratulate Lewis on his fully deserved 4th championship. It will be an F1 utopia…..


hmmm – let’s see…


TimW, the 2017 manor f1 wind tunnel model has been revealed, and it looks absolutely stunning. And it even features a little shark fin, which I always loved. In fact, I think these new cars will quite possibly be the sexiest F1 cars ever!

I think we have the beginning of F1 getting back on the right track and I agree that they should now leave the rules alone and allow the performance convergence to occur organically.


Luke, it looks great, if I’m being super picky I would say the front wing looks a little fussy, but I’m sure we are going to have a grid full of beauties next year, please leave them to it now FIA!


Great insight thank you. Although I’m not his number 1 fan I couldn’t help but see Alonso on some podiums the further I read into the article.


Looking at Alonso purely as a driver? Agree 100% 🙂

Looking at Alonso as a driver driving a McHonda? Agree something less than 100% 😐


Alonso has always been in top form but with the cars getting closer in performance to the 2000’s cars he might get happier and hence better. Also, Max will probably manage to get on top of the new cars quickly


We may be loving DRS because it sounds like it will otherwise be very difficult to pull off a pass now.


I reckon those who drove the old cars like “Alonso” “Lewis” ( he had the most testing in a Mclaren of any F1 driver in his ‘pre rookie’ test driver seasons) “Kimi” ,”Massa” , “Vettel” (maybe) will know how these cars react and feel and would have the endurance to drive them.
The one I think may be up their with the above names is Max V.


Interesting article 👏👍


Hamilton and Ricciardo for sure but even Alonso might have some fun this year

Fernando 150% alonso

I hope so 😉


A very interesting and well reasoned blog, many thanks.

I would love to ask Phil to offer some thoughts on the relative pace and racecraft of Sainz vs Verstappen. Having been in a fairly central role at Torro Rosso in recent years I would imagine that he would be well positioned to give a balanced and informed opinion on these two future stars of the sport…


Are all the 2017 cars going to have that ferrari rear wing that is skinnier at the bottom and fatter at the top?


Gord; the 2017 manor wind tunnel model has that feature, but I don’t know whether it’s prescribed by the regulations, or whether there is some aero advantage to be gained by making the bottom part of the end plates taper towards the centre line.


We are getting closer now to getting some real action. To date, the jury hasn’t even sat down together… There are quite a few conflicting performance theories and that surprises me a little knowing just how sophisticated the test sims are.
Some people are saying that the cars will be more aggressive looking? What do they mean by that? Menacing/fearsome etc etc etc. Hopefully we may see some variation but lets face it, given the prescriptive rules i very much doubt it. Last years crop were almost identical and it was only the livery that distinguished them and then only helmet and camcolour separated drivers. Couldn’t we please revert to decent sized number rondels? I am not yet convinced that we will see the any change in the pecking order which will be a shame if mercedes once again get to totally dominate!


well, Daniel Ricciardo is the best overtaker by mile. And more important, not only overtake as such – He somehow makes them spectacular/beautiful as well. With new cars ? Who knows. But the best i suppose are going to remain the best anyway


Ricciardo at times looks as if he is over lunging for an overtake that isn’t there. He at times looks like a hyperactive pup aimlessly chasing a paper bag.
On occasions he has ended up involved in taking of bits off carbon fibre. His overtakes are not as amazing as Max or Alonso or Hamiltons. With Stoffel in play I hope they run rings around Ricci aka Driver No.2 at Red Bull. Perhaps his unspectacular wet racing and musical rapping will be the obvious negatives and the Young Max will shine.


@ FF…Is that why James Allen nominated ricciardo as the No.1 driver of 2016 and the fact that he has actually won more GP than any other driver outside Mercedes for the past three years! Obviously you have a great dislike of ricciardo. You wouldn’t be dutch by any stretch of the imagination would you?


Kenneth if and when that happens you come out swinging your Hand Bag 👜 . Joshing aside😊 neither of us actually know 100% what the season brings. Maybe Ricci will have a better helmet that is less prone to mist.


Better than verstappen??


Max is way ahead of Ricciardo by the truck load 🚚🚛🚙


Brasil 2016 proves you wrong doesn’t it?


ChrisV: What it shows or demonstrates is that Verstappen had an exceptional race. But one sequence of overtaking (as good as it was) doesn’t make a career. Verstappen also overtook Vettel in Brazil so by your logic does that make Verstappen a better overtaker than a four time WDC? Think about it.


Not at all. If ricci couldn’t see out of his visor how do you drive like a demon? That is not to take anything away from verstappen at all. Just not comparable.


With all respect, Hamilton had the same problem, but changed his helmet during the red flag period if I remember rightly. Why didn’t Danni do the same. I’m not saying DR was faking it or lying, but there was a chance to rectify the problem. Unless it first became a problem towards the end of the race.


Unless it first became a problem…

It became a problem just about the time he couldn’t keep with Max 😎


@ James K…. I wasn’t aware that hamilton had the same problem. If so then that does in some way validate the issue that ricciardo had as well insofar as it wasn’t a totally isolated problem. Of course that won’t be enough for the verstappen and some noted english supporters who insist on implying that ricciardo was lying. Only DR could answer why he didn’t change helmets…. Maybe, as you say, it didn’t get too bad until the final stages although he said he tried opening the visor at times! Who knows….


yes, that was a convenient excuse.


Well said bs63


And that was an expected response. Are you saying that Ricci lied? Let’s not get facts mixed up with opinions.


The only fact i know is that he was never heard complaining about his visor during the race in the available radio broadcasts. That became only a matter after the race.

I would not call it lying, however. I bet every race driver would have had an excuse after being blown away by such a performance from his teammate, and that includes Max.

I think Daniel is a very, very good racing driver but he still has something to learn about wet weather racing and how to get/keep his tires warm under such conditions.


Well MV clearly needs to learn how to get/keep his tyres warm under such conditions around Monaco.


Yep, that was a terrible weekend for Max. His father didn’t speak to him for a week. Problem was not that he could not keep his tyres warm, the problem was that the wall was suddenly moving into his path 😉 Untill that moment, he was the fastest on track.


bs63: So you think Ricciardo lacks skill in wet weather driving? How would you then rate his skill in wet weather driving at Monaco last year?


@ bs63…’.He was never heard complaining about his visor during the race.’ You do know that only a fraction of the dialogue between driver and the pit wall are published? Your attempt to discredit ricciardo in order to big up verstappen is pointless. Your suggestion that he still has a lot to learn about wet weather driving is ridiculous. He can drive in all conditions and drive very well. To think that you are in a position to criticise him is a joke. Under damp and wet conditions at the most exacting race of the season, monaco, he put 12 secs on hamilton. Yes he’s got a lot to learn …….. I have already acknowledged verstappen’s superb drive in the wet at the brazil race but that isn’t good enough for you. Ricciardo said he has visor/vision problems during the race. I happen to believe him.


don’t bite my head off…

I am not criticising or discrediting anyone. It is just a perfectly understandable reaction when confronted with a teammate who is faster under certain conditions. Max would probably have done the same or anyone else on the grid, for that matter.

They are human and no gods.

So lets agree to disagree.


A bit of unfair criticism of your favourite driver Kenneth? How awful for you….


apparently the dog ate his homework as well 🙂 It does sound a tad convenient – just after he was blown away by his teammate he found there was a problem with his vision!


@ C63…once again you are putting a negative viewpoint and insinuating that ricciardo is lying without a shred of evidence to support that theory. If ricciardo says he had visor problems then i will believe him considering that there is zip evidence to prove otherwise. Conversely if you can present any ‘facts’ to support your insinuation then i will gladly retract my opinion.


@ C63…if you have any evidence to support your theory then i’d love to see it. ATM if ricciardo says he had a problem then that’s good enough for me. Obviously you and your shadow are looking for anything you can find to rubbish ricci so if that’s what turns you on then have a nice day. We don’t all share that bitterness you are nurturing. I guess that you’re still smarting over the ’16 result. Never mind, Your man will have it in the bag now that the 2016 WDC has retired unbeaten.


How is Rosberg unbeaten??
He hasn’t given anybody the chance to beat him… as WDC that is.


That’s the point isn’t it? He retired unbeaten…that’s how he achieved his WDC and hamilton failed.


lol – I’m not nurturing any bitterness towards Ricci (or anyone else for that matter) in fact I quite like him. I just don’t believe his story about how his visor was misted up and in my opinion (see that, it’s just an opinion) him claiming that it was, is just an excuse – for goodness sake, race drivers do that sort of thing all the time, you’re acting like they wouldn’t even dream of such a thing. You sure like to dish it out don’t you kenneth. In fact when the boot is on the other foot you lay it on with a trowel, letting the first coat dry and then you lay on another coat , but you soon start crying when you get some back.
Tims example below is absolutely perfect – you accused Hamilton of lying without a shred of evidence to support your theory and you also accused him of lacking skill – which is self evidently not true. That’s fine (I don’t care what you think about Ham) but it’s a bit rich when I make a similar comment and you go and get all grumpy. It seems to me that you want it both ways and I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news – but it don’t work like that.


I was about to respond along the lines of TimW (below) but he saved me the job. However, even if DR is telling the truth, then at the very least he is guilty of either lack of preparation or not being able to operate his equipment as skilfully as the other drivers (who didn’t mist up). Besides I’m almost certain I read somewhere something about the visors being ‘double skinned’ or even heated to avoid this problem (which no other driver complained of) so, for me , I still think it was an excuse in an attempt to explain away the absolute thrashing he received from young Max.


Hamilton had the same problem with his visor. But he changed his helmet during the red flag period. It was the sennaesque one that gave him problems I believe.


I thought Hamilton’s issue was lightly different – didn’t he say something about water getting inside the visor and onto his face – but he had the foresight to do something about it and changed his helmet when an opportunity presented (besides, it wasn’t exactly holding him back prior to the red flag period). Ric,on the other hand, has either made it up as an excuse for why Max blew him away or he has failed to prepare/operate his equipment properly. Personally I think it was an excuse – no racing driver likes being beaten so comprehensively by their team mate and they say this sort of thing all the time, e.g. tyres wouldn’t warm up, brakes were cold, dog ate my homework etc .


With Lewis It was small tyre flecks that got into his helmet. The lock mechanism didn’t function correctly and left enough of a gap for some debris to get in and go into his eye. He was practically driving with one eye shut. Which is pretty amazing and crazy at that speed.
Ricci allegedly was moisture blurring his visor.
Wasn’t there another driver who ended up with a fly/wasp or insect buzzing in his helmet? Or was that the seagull head butting “Maniac” (his own chosen nickname) in Moto GP. Lorenzo also had moisture blurring his visor and dropped one helmet manufacturer for its rival as payback. Which is understandable.


I think it was tyre flecks at Monaco and then water at Brazil for Ham, whilst Ricci complained that his visor was misted up after Brazil – shortly after explaining he was late for the post race interview as his watch had stopped and the dog had ate his homework 🙂
I don’t know about a fly or anything inside a helmet, but I’ve certainly read about some drivers who require corrective eye ware but won’t wear contacts to drive in as (anyone who wears contacts will attest to to this) when a speck of dirt gets under the contact it’s really painful and you can’t easily blink it out. They often choose glasses to avoid that potential pitfall.


@ C63…ESPN published a report which had horner discussing the problem that ricci supposedly had. Was oit ever publicly acknowledged as being 100% kosher, i cannot say but neither can you. The difference between that and the hamilton incident was that i never saw any confirmation from medical personnel etc validating hiamilton’s claim. Besides, if i had to choose who to believe in an ‘incident’ such as this then i would opt for ricciardo. He’s never, to my knowledge, lied to the stewards on any occasion. He’s, never to my knowledge, claimed that the very team he drives for has sabotaged his car?. Anyway, lets move on to this season in which your man will take the title with consumate ease. He’s got it in the bag, based on “14 and ’15. ’16 was a season to forget [ hahaha] as if. ’17 and with zero competition he’ll take the title, odds on.


Gosh your love in for Ricci is bordering on obsession Kenneth.
Now you are pontificating on why Ricci walks on water. Let me guess he also turns water into wine. The sun never sets and he casts no shadow. They call him honest Ricci the bad rapper from Monaco another tax exile. Wonder if he pays his taxes or hides his funds in the outback near a billabong ?
Can’t wait for 2017 season to begin and see Stoffel Max and Sainz run rings around Ricci.


@ FF was that your best shot? A cliche filled statement consisting mainly of tosh. If it was an attempt at levity…gross fail. From my perspective, which i have reiterated many times in the past, is that there will be very little between verstappen and ricciardo and trying to pick who will finish ahead is anyones guess. However let’s just concentrate on what you’ve said. No matter in what order the finishing results are that of the four drivers you have nominated, three of them being sainz,vandoorne and verstappen will all be in front of ricciardo. I do hope that you’ve rehearsed your climb down when this doesn’t occur each and every race. I will be watching and believe me if those results are not as you forecast i will be on your case ‘post haste’.


@ Adrian….You make some good points re ricciardo. To be clear on this, i didn’t bring the issue up as another poster tried to insinuate that ricci was using this as an excuse for verstappen passing him! No doubt a verstappen supporter. According to ricci the rain was so bad that he didn’t even know that verstappen was behind him! Yes, the verstappen supporters are as entitled as we/i are/am to opinions. I agree on that 100%

What i don’t agree with is the hamilton comments where he said ‘someone doesn’t want me to win’. That was an extremely pointed reference and if i recall correctly it was the mercedes PR machine that hastily cobbled together this ‘man upstairs’ spin on his comment to try and diffuse the issue. I may well be wrong but that was how i interpreted it. Water under the bridge now….hahaha, or under my visor! The hamilton supporters are still smarting after rosberg walked with the WDC tucked under his arm, unbeaten. To cap that off JA on F1 put ricciardo as the number one driver of the 2016 season further annoying ‘the little ballet dancers’ [ sir jackie’s comments, not mine] followers. C’est la vie, mon ami

Roll on the new season.


Kenneth you still haven’t explained why you have one subjective reason to explain Hamiltons helmet crisis.
While you deeply believe your fellow countryman is a good egg and would never use an excuse to explain his mediocre performance against the young buck Max.
Double standards perhaps?
TimW having researched your previous answer, has a great case for your wishy washy delay tactics or are you avoiding the whole matter. Looking the other way and whistling hoping the matter is forgotten asap. 👤😄


Mediocre performance….Is that why JA on F1 gave ricci number one rating for 2016? AS for C63’s shadow/alter ego…i do not respond to his posts. As for hamilton’s ‘eye debris’ could you please post a link to the factual reports?


lol – you just don’t like the Team Principals rankings because they put Ham top and Max ahead of Ric.


Precisely C63. Team Principals are the ones in the know 😊👍
Everyone’s entitled to any opinion.
But I go with the Team Principals.


Ps unbeaten isn’t exactly golden.
Lewis has been beating Rosberg throughout his career. So one championship won on an engine failure and failures will be throughout time a least memorable one. Give it a few years when Sky get F1. I think globally not many will be into F1 either. So memories will fade as the next generation end up enjoying the World Gaming Olympics. As sad as this sounds you know this will be bigger than any live sport in a decade or so.
I thought this was turning into a civilised chat until the Ricci card was placed on the table. All of a sudden the animosity towards Lewis is Spinal Tapped to 11. Let’s wait for the season to start and chill .


Biffa, the continuing redefinition of the word “unbeaten” is very amusing to watch on this site. In my opinion it means someone who has never been beaten, so for Nico to have earned the unbeaten tag with regards to world titles, he would have had to have won the championship every year since 2006. If people just mean unbeaten by a team mate, then that doesn’t work either does it? Nico got beat by Webber in his first year, and then again by Lewis in 2013, 2014 and 2015….


Think you will find that the F1 team leaders put Lewis as their driver of the season. Their expertise and data goes further than anything.
So I go with them.
As for Jackie Stewart his on going spat with Lewis is well documented from the day Lewis signed for Mclaren. Jackie wanted to coach Lewis. Lewis declined and ever since that Jackie has often come out with negative remarks.
Auto Sport even had an article in last week’s issue stating that Lewis is the greatest Rookie in F1. So it’s all swings and roundabouts. No doubt Max V will have the hearts of Red Bull management. So the likely hood is that Ricci will indeed fit into the Webber role.


Kenneth: After Brazil Ricciardo did raise the issue of water getting under his visor and how baffling it was because it had never occurred to him before. Horner also referred to it as did JA on his Forum. However, neither Danny nor Horner mentioned it in the context of it being an excuse for what was a poor race by his standards. Personally, I don’t think Danny is the sort of person to go looking for excuses. What I do find amusing is that the Verstappen FC continually use this this issue including Verstappen’s excellent wet weather drive to make a case that he is a far superior driver to Dan. Well as I’ve said previously one excellent race doesn’t make a career. I guess they are entitled to their opinions as we are ours.

While we’re probably in agreement over the above I do find your insinuation that Hamilton claimed that his team “sabotaged” his car after Malaysia false. He never claimed any such thing. What he did say in frustration are words to the effect that ‘Someone doesn’t want me to win this year’. This was nothing more than a throw away reference to the ‘man upstairs’. In fact in the days following the GP he made some extremely positive statements about the team…..thanking them for the two WDC he won with Mercedes and that ‘we live and die as a team’.

If anything Hamilton had every reason to be angry because the team failed to provide him with reliable machinery. The team promised that he and Rosberg that neither would be favored, that there would be no number 1 and 2 driver but in reality for whatever reason Mercedes did not provide both their drivers with a level playing field on which to compete. And rightfully Hamilton had reason to be aggrieved by this.


@C63 et votre ombre….For someone who doesn’t give a hoot you sure spend a lot of time denying it!! You and your ‘ombre’ certainly have spent time digging deep hahaha What a pair. Hamilton’s ‘eye speck’ was in situ for how many laps ? was it still there when the race finished? Was riccis visor fogged up…well he said it was and horner appeared to accept that and said so. Did ricci diss on his team in the same manner as hamilton did on mercedes? No. Ricci was pissed in barcelona as the team made an operational/strategy change with pit stops! In monaco red bull made a serious operational error on the fly. At no time did ricci state that there was a conspiracy like hamilton did. Different scenarios and you well know it. Can i cop criticism of ricci! Are you joking? Of course i can and if he messes up and makes mistakes whatever then so be it. As for verstappen, i have always maintained that he was both fast and a tough competitor. To say otherwise would be dumb. If ricci can beat him then that would be great but if ricci gets beaten then that is that. He’s been beaten. The real basis for your baiting is that you’d really love to see ricci get beaten so that you could lord it up over ricci and his followers. It may happen and then it may not. No one knows. I suggest that we leave this on ice till the racing starts and then we can get the elbows out.


Kenneth, Dan’s alleged and convenient visor problem in Brazil reminded me of the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix when Lewis had something in his eye in the latter stages of the race, meaning he was unable to challenge Nico who was leading after his ‘exceptional’ qualifying performance. Some people claimed that Lewis’ eye problem was simply an excuse for his inability to pass Nico, despite the fact that they had zip evidence to prove otherwise. Having read your response to the similar allegations made about Dan’s visor problem I went back and had a look at the comments section from the Monaco 14 race report on this site, I was very surprised to see that you had written this:
“His eye problem was also a confection i think. a convenient excuse to cover his lack of talent!”
Sometimes Kenneth it is almost as if you have two different sets of rules….


@tim w
Great stuff Tim! Says it all really. But I don’t think it’s just Lewis, I think Kenneth has it in for the English to be honest.
I’m sure I’m gonna get” I’ve got lots of English friends” now. But that’s the impression I get with him.
But hey ho, such is life😉 We soldier on😊


@ P kara….Obviously you are misinformed, whether on purpose or just naturally so. I do not respond to Tim W and haven’t done for a very long time. Why he continues to post to me is of no importance, a bit like talking to the mirror. However i do respond to his shadow at times and once again, if you’d actually read what i have posted you wouldn’t be posting silly things like your last effort in an attempt to ride on the coat tails of another poster.


Top catch TimW. It’s all gone quiet from the Antipodean bread bin (London street slang for Brethren)


@ Hugo weaving…i forgot to ask….how well do you know australia and australians? Have you ever visited, worked and or mingled with any aussies? Or do you just sit and type silly things?


@hugo weaving…. if you care to look at the post time you will see that my last post preceded yours by quite a few hours making your strained attempt at levity all rather meaningless don’t you think?


Kenneth the times vary. Sometimes you may see an updated page while the rest see an older page.
The times mean nothing. I posted something and then time was an ahead. Previous to that it didn’t show for most of the day. So times on here are irrelevant.


Whatever you say.


@ James K…Why would i have it in for the english? I have lived and worked in the UK and even sailed under the British MN insignia which was awarded by King George V in 1922 for sharing the dangers with the RN during the ’14/’18 war. No, you are trying for a cheap shot. We Australians don’t really appreciate the John Bull narrative…it is in our genes and we, like most others, tend to support our sporting countrymen. Nothing strange about that. However i suggest you re read Gazboys posts and then you will really see what i am alluding to here when i refer to sending a couple of ‘warships up the Yantze
to quell those pesky asians….


Kenneth: What you should have added is that on the sporting field Aussies don’t go looking for petty excuses to justify their subpar performances. Similarly with Ricciardo it was mentioned post race that he had a problem (and lets face it very little is hidden from the press) with his visor as apparently some other drivers had similar problems. But neither he nor Horner used this as an excuse per se. As a problem yes, but as an excuse no. And yet some in the Verstappen FC have seized on this to falsely claim that Ricciardo was so embarrassed that he had to conjure up an excuse. Any reasonable person should be able to differentiate between what is a ‘problem’ and what is an ‘excuse’. With the exception of those who are just pushing an agenda.


Any reasonable person…

Has the irony of discussing reasonableness with kenneth escaped you?
Oh, and for the record I am certainly not a member of the MV fan club. However, one thing is beyond dispute – of the two Red Bull drivers (in Brazil 2016) one of them coped with the conditions markedly better than the other and that includes managing to keep their visor free from mist, fairies, pixie dust or whatever else might have obscured his vision that afternoon.



You raise the issue of “reasonableness”.

In your earlier posts you referred to Hamilton experiencing water getting under his visor. No ifs or buts it happened….period. However when its reported that Ricciardo experienced exactly the same problem what is your reaction? To quote you: “Ric, on the other hand, has either made it up as an excuse for why Max blew him away” and “even if DR is telling the truth” and “so for me, I still think it was an excuse in an attempt to explain away the absolute thrashing he received from young Max” and “I just don’t believe his story about how his visor was misted up.” So you accept without question that Hamilton had a problem with his visor but with Ricciardo you insinuate without any evidence that he’s either lying or just so embarrassed that he conjured up an excuse as to why “Max blew him away”. Is this a reasonable position to hold or is it a clear double standard? You proclaim that you’re not a member of the Verstappen FC but your anti Ricciardo rhetoric is certainly on display here.

That Verstappen had an unbelievable drive under very difficult conditions in Brazil and passed a bunch of drivers including a four time world champion is truly amazing for one so young but unfortunately you’ve saddled yourself (perhaps unwittingly so) with the Verstappen crowd in singling out Ricciardo being beaten by Verstappen because it sits with their anti Ricciardo narrative.

Whether or not Ricciardo was late for the post-race interviews because his watch had stopped or his dog ate his homework is irrelevant to this issue.


My intention was to raise the matter of irony, apologies if that was unclear.
The problem which Ham reported was not (as I understand it) the same as Ricci but that isn’t really the issue. The issue is surely one of context. Why would Ham being making it up? He didn’t put a foot wrong all afternoon, he pulled out a gap after every re-start and had everything well under control for the entire race. Additionally he swapped his helmet during a red flag period in order to alleviate his problem.Having had a dominant race which he won comfortably I can see no reason for Ham to go looking for an excuse. Ricci on the other hand received a pretty severe ‘stuffing’ from his team mate and was faced with the dilemma of either admitting that he just couldn’t keep up or finding a plausable excuse for his comparatively poor performance. In my opinion, bearing in mind the context, it seems more likely that Ham was telling the truth and that Ricci wasn’t.

I may be wrong, but from your ‘Stars’ it would appear that you are relatively new around here. Of course, you may have been a long time reader (without commenting) or perhaps the website ‘stole’ your stars (like it did to me) and you have had to start again. But let’s assume you are new. That being the case you will be unaware of kenneth’s very looooooong history of double standards. Tim has highlighted one below, but there have been many many others over the years. So, when the opportunity presents (like it did here) I like to raise the matter with kenneth and we spend a bit of time batting it back and forth, and from my point of view it’s just fun. I think he feels the same as he always enters the discussion voluntarily (no one forces him).

Finally, please let me clear up one last point for you – there was absolutely nothing unwitting about my comments on this issue (see my previous paragraph).
cheers 🙂



The issue is indeed one of context that being whether or not Ricciardo’s visor problem was real or invented. How Hamilton dealt with his problem has no bearing on Ricciardo and your statement that “Ricci on the other hand received a pretty severe ‘stuffing’ from his team mate and was faced with the dilemma of either admitting that he just couldn’t keep up or finding a plausible excuse for his comparatively poor performance” is a ‘straw man’ argument. I put it to you that unless you know Ricciardo personally or have had dealings with him you are in no position to cast dispersions upon his character to the extent that you believe that he lied about his vision being impaired and this was the reason why he couldn’t compete with his team mate. You seem like a reasonable poster but I’m surprised that you would come to the conclusion that Ricciardo lied based upon mere opinion or the ‘straw man’ that you have set up for yourself. And because you believe that he lied there is no point in you asking why he didn’t remedy the situation when the race was Red Flagged.

Let me repeat again I saw the Sky interview where Christian Horner discussed the visor issue and read where Ricciardo mentioned it as something that he had never experienced previously but there was absolutely no hint of it being an excuse for what was for him a poor performance. To what extent his vision was impaired I have no idea but I am inclined to believe that he did experience a problem because there is no evidence to the contrary.

As to your last paragraph fair enough.


To be honest with you Adrian I’m not entirely sure that you understand the meaning of context or straw man, but it doesn’t really matter, as I’m not going to change my mind and it makes no difference to me whether you agree with me or not. So let’s agree to disagree – you can believe everything everyone says unless there is cast iron evidence to disprove what is being claimed and I will continue to apply a measure of reason and common sense before I make my mind up.
How does that sound 🙂



With respect you’ve come onto JA’s Forum and stated that Ricciardo was lying so therefore, in the spirit of a healthy debate, the onus of proof is on you. And by the way as Horner came out publicly and stated that Riccardo had a problem by extension you would have to say that Red Bull’s Team Principal was also lying or at least perpetuating a falsehood. Perhaps you hadn’t thought of that. So what is your proof or “measure of reason and common sense” that so convinces you that Riccardo is lying? Put simply it’s based on your belief or invention that he was so embarrassed by his teammate that he concocted a story about his visor to save face. For all you know in the post-race meeting Riccardo may have congratulated Verstappen on an excellent drive. And trying to link Hamilton’s visor problem to bolster your case against Riccardo…..well really? What you have offered as proof is mere speculation or opinion which you are certainly entitled to do but it’s not proof.

As to your comment that I “can believe everything everyone says” well I’ll believe Riccardo and the Team Principal because I have no reason to doubt them and even if did I’m in no position, as you are in no position, to prove otherwise.

In answer to a query of yours about myself I have been reading posts on JA’s Forum for quite some time and am certainly aware of the fault lines of belief that exist between some posters and the argy bargy that goes on which at times is quite amusing. I’m all for healthy debate about issues concerning track and mechanical matters (etc.) but when discussion crosses over into attacking the character of drivers that’s where I have a problem.

As to my understanding of ‘Straw Man’ here’s a definition for you:

“A Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.”

I’ll let you mull over whether or not it applies to your position with respect to Ricciardo.



Adrian, I shall try to answer your points in the order you have raised them.
There is no onus of proof – it’s just my opinion, based on the context in which the claim was made and personal observation of race drivers over many decades – generally they try to cast themselves in a positive light and do not easily accept or admit they fell short (particularly in comparison to a teammate).
As for Horner backing him up – really? Are you seriously suggesting that Horner has never embellished the truth or told a little white lie? Or great fat whoppers for that matter?
I didn’t try to link Hamiltons problem to Ricci – you did. You said that as I believed Hamilton I should also believe Ricci.
As for whether or not you understand the meaning of straw man or context – if you are happy that you do, that’s fine by me. Honestly i’m not worried whether you agree with me or not. It’s just my opinion – we are not in a court of law and absolute proof is not required for this.
If you believe Ricci has told the truth then be happy with your own opinion, but please don’t keep trying to change mine.



Just a couple of things mate:

1. You would have noticed that TimW posts copiously in defence of biased, untrue and ridiculous claims made about Hamilton and I totally agree with him doing this because Hamilton is a driver he respects and supports. I’m doing no more or no less with respect to Ricciardo and I venture to say that if you accused Hamilton of lying or making excuses Tim would be all over you like a rash. In fact in relation to Hamilton in my opinion he’s currently the most talented driver on the grid and doesn’t deserve the stuff that’s dished up to him as Ricciardo doesn’t deserve to be labelled a liar.

Your generalised (or ‘context’ argument) comment that most F1 drivers make excuses (or lie) to save face and Ricciardo is no different because of Brazil really doesn’t wash. If he had a history of making excuses or glossing over poor performance then you might have a valid argument but there’s nothing you can point to that would indicate this.

2. Your comment that “I didn’t try to link Hamilton’s problem to Ricci – you did” is false. Please let me remind you that it was actually you who stated “Why would Ham [be] making it up? I can see no reason for Ham to go looking for an excuse. Ricci on the other hand……” Prior to this I had never mentioned Hamilton although I certainly queried why you believed him and not Ricciardo.

3. Thank you for the lengthy education on the history and nature of Kenneth’s posts on JA’s Forum. No need really because I’m quite capable of working these types of issues out for myself. Do you intend doing this with every new poster that interacts with Kenneth or was it just me because I agreed with him (and him me) on the Ricciardo issue?

4. Finally, to your comment that: “please don’t keep trying to change [my mind]” well isn’t that exactly what you’ve been trying to do to me? Remember you first posted me not me you.

Your most welcome to respond and I will certainly digest it but I really have nothing further to add. Perhaps as you say let’s agree to disagree and move on.


I really have nothing further to add

Thank goodness! I bet the MODS are relieved 🙂


C63: I hope I get a third star out of this and you go to the max of five. I think we deserve it….what do ya recon? Enjoy your weekend wherever you are. In the UK? Perhaps I’ll get my relies there to invite you over for dinner or something……just kidding.


@ Adrian…well put. I agree with you. All is cool.


Maybe it was a bit of a cheap shot as you call it. But I can recall a very cheap and cliche shot from you about the English not to long ago.
The “john bull” narrative only seems to irritate you (and yes, I find some of it cringeworthy aswell) so much that you feel you have to reply. You seem to post to every comment that is anti-Lewis, which seems like you just like to provoke a certain crowd. And that’s fine if that’s what you like. I would rather ignore some posts if I think they are way over the top, but that’s me.
It’s great you stick up for DR. I think he’s a great driver aswell with loads of talent. And I think the same of Lewis, so I follow him because he’s English.
Saying that you’ve lived and worked in England certainly doesn’t mean you like the English. I know there can be a little animosity and banter between the Poms and the Aussies, on sporting occasions anyway, I feel that sometimes you go a little to far. I’ve enjoyed some of your posts, some interesting stuff. But as soon as Lewis is mentioned, or cussed, you seem to be there straight away. Now the boot seems to be on the other foot, your sticking up for “the Aussie” just like some of the “john bulls” stick up for Lewis.
I don’t wish to offend anyone. I knew a lot of Australians when I lived in London. You can not, not have Aussie friends when you live in London. Great people. But as I said before, that’s just me. 🍻


Now now James k the Australians always like to remind us of our failings. As if we don’t do enough of that ourselves. Think Kenneth just likes to tweak the cheeks while he bows to a centrefold of DR 😉
No doubt there be a lot more of that throughout the season. Especially with the Max fans joining in.


@ James K…obviously when a pommie poster goes the ‘full fig’ [ Gazboy is a prime example] i feel obliged, because of my nation’s ancestory, to reply in kind. Besides, it is every ausssies raison d’etre to oppose the ‘Barmy F1 army’ at all times!!! As for the hamilton bizness i am on record as saying that he is a very fast and a very successful driver. To deny that would be dumb.. What i refuse to do is recognise him as ‘the greatest’ like some on here. There are quite a few drivers on the grid that are at least ,IMO, his equal. I do have fond memories of my life in london when i lived there and later on when my business career meant that london was almost a second home for 15 years. Many of my english colleagues were like family and still are. Regards ricci, i do think that he is an excellent driver but what i like most is his attitude. He’s not buttoned up and regardless of whether he ever wins a WDC i will always remember his driving which has given me great pleasure. I’m sure others feel the same.


Well researched and K has one rule for his chosen driver and another for the rest.


Excellent research TimW .


Fantastic report

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