Mid-season F1 Q&A: Ask James Allen your F1 related questions this week
Posted By: Editor   |  14 Aug 2017   |  3:32 pm GMT  |  147 comments

During the Formula 1 summer break, JA on F1 invites you to field your burning questions to James Allen with a selection answered every day this week, starting today.

Are you curious about performances during the season so far, who’s going where during silly season, where Liberty is taking F1, what Honda’s fate will be or anything else in the world of F1?

Write your F1 questions in the comment section below.

Bottas, Hamilton

Vettel, Raikkonen

Chase Carey Jean Todt

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With regards to the engine sound, why haven’t the FIA allowed the rev limit on the V6’s to be increased to around 18,000 like in the V8 days? Will this put too much strain on the parts and then the 4 engine limit per year wouldn’t be realistic?


There appears to be a lot of young drivers complaining about a lack of competitive cars. It is obvious that the ambition of every young driver is to become world champion but is it true that have fewer new world champions compared to the past or even less variability between already crowned champions? Looking at the statistics since 1950 I do not see any major deviations. We have always had periods of dominance (Fangio, Schumacher, Vettel) followed by periods of change (5 consecutive new champions from 1978 to 1982 and 4 from 2007 to 2010). Even in terms of teams winning the drivers title for the last 5 decades at least one new team has been able to take a driver to the title in each decade. I wonder if you have any further considerations on this topic? If either Bottas or Vettel win the title this year we are back on track with 4 different champions this decade with 2 years to go for either Ricciardo or Verstappen.


Do you think personally that F1 is perhaps losing more viewers than anyone could imagine ? (Look at the difference for the last decade)


Do you think the present crop of drivers is fairly level?

Of course there have always been bad, good and exceptional, but my perception is that unlike the “old days” most drivers are there because they are very good and have had training and knowledge past generations did not have

Taking out one or two exceptions at both ends, I think if you put PER or HUL or GRO in a winning car they will win, as BOT has, and if you put HAM or VET or ALO, at let’s say a McLaren Honda they will struggle to get points (now where did I figure that?)

My perception also is that most fans do not see it as I do, thinking PER or GRO, or…. are just also rans


Do the Race Stewards have any formal protocol on penalties to be given for various incidents on the circuit. There are two lists in the SR but no advice on this. If it is just ‘professional judgement’ or ‘custom & practice’ is there a collated document of past Stewards Decisions? I can only find previous decisions individually under each previous event. Even those usually only give incident and penalty; no explanation.
Whenever the system comes into disrepute, such as last 2 Vettel incidents, FIA always cover the root problem with comments on the decision made, not the process (or lack of one).



In regards to the halo device. Why not just lengthen and increase the height of the cockpit sides? Or make those sides out of tubes like the halo is, which would maintain some of the view of the drivers helmet. It would give head protection and maintain the open cockpit. Has this been explored at all? And if not, why?


There is continuous talk of trying to improve engine noise. Even though I like a throaty V sound just as much as the next guy, the thought of forcing this in F1 sounds rather artificial and counter to cutting edge development, as I am guessing it would reverse effeciency of the cars, increase mechanical vibration, reduce smoothness etc. Maybe F1 fans have to accept the progress and enjoy the silence. What are your thoughts?


James, how about an analysis of why Grosjean is so troubled by brake problems? We’ve been hearing about it for a year and a half, but I’ve yet to fully understand why he’s the only driver on the grid with this problem; why the team can’t seem to sort it out; and why the problems continued when they switched to Carbon Industries?

Kevin McCaughey

James, are we going to see a BIG engine simplification for the next cycle to save us from this nonsense that we have right now were only Mercedes or Ferrari can win?


Question for James: How do teams identify drivers with potential? Force India were able to test (so to speak) both Ocon and Weherlein and form an opinion, but this is a rare situation these days.

So how do they identify who is hot and who is not? Or is it all down to hunch?


Where’s Red Bull heading?? They have the resources, the budget and arguably the best driver line up, but even if Renault gets the engine right, they’re not the works team and Renault F1 will probably end up with a better package. So what’s the future because they won’t settle for being the 3rd or 4th best team, nor will their drivers? Glenn


What are the approximate weights and dimensions of the MGU-H and K units?


James, Is Carl Haas bypolar?
First he admits he is a big supporter of Bernie’s money distribution scheme saying to change it would be bad for the “sport” and now he is moaning about the huge advantage of the big budget teams and how outside the top three nobody has a chance. What gives?


Hi James, my question relates to the weight of an F1 car and how it seems to have just got fatter over the years. Are you able to advise on what weight is non discretionary ie safety monocoque ,tyres ,fuel load and basic aero weighs and where the discretionary weight is ie what does the mgu k plus batteries weigh, the mguh plus its store and maybe the combustion engine itself. I’d like to know what it would take to shave 10% weight out of the typical car or 70 kgs. Understand there would be a compromise. If they ditched the Mguh how much more fuel may you need to compensate? Just trying to get an insight into where technically this could all be heading. Cheers Tony


Hi James,
All this discussion about 2021 engines not taking a step “backward” to V8 or V10 but still becoming louder, cheaper, simpler seems a bit convoluted. Is it not possible to build a V10 twin turbo using the affordable technology identified in the current PU specifications? Surely that will create louder engines that are cheaper than the current formula?


Since Ferrari stepped in to grab back Sauber from the influence sphere of Honda, what those this say about Haas? Haas never really was a B-team of Ferrari, but has this move of Ferrari opened a pathway between Honda and Haas in the far future or will Haas get a small financial compensation by re-badging the Ferrari engine as Alfa Romeo?


Excellent initiative, James! You should do this once or twice every month as it makes the site even more fan-related. Keep up the good work 🙂


My question revolves around Williams. We saw some amazing machinery at the 40th anniversary at Silverstone and I can’t help but wonder where everything went horribly wrong (sure money has a lot to do with it, but can’t be the only major reason). You have been in the pit lane for many years and have seen them in their prime, only for them to hit their all time low in 2013. I know it’s a big question, but what do you see as the pivotal points of regression for this iconic team? And is the direction and leadership with Paddy Lowe/Clair Williams enough to take them back into the big 4 teams as it was with Sir Frank and Sir Patrick?



“Superswede: A movie about Ronnie Peterson” is opening today at cinemas in Sweden. A documentary with Emerson Fittipaldi, Niki Lauda and others who survived Formula 1 in the 70’s speaking about Ronnie.
What is your opinion about Ronnie? He seems to be a little forgotten nowadays…


We are again seeing that following in the “dirty” air of a car reduces downforce for the second car, which reduces overtaking. If they can measure how much downforce is lost, why don’t they just make a rule that says a car cannot disturb more than X% of the air in its wake? It could be tested in a windtunnel at the start of the season when they do the crash tests, and then they could leave it to the teams and clever designers to figure out what design to use. Surely that would then improve the chance of overtaking?


What’s really going on behind the boardroom doors at McLaren Honda? Will there be a customer Mercedes engine in the McLaren chassis next year and if there were to be, where would that leave Honda?

James not Allen

James, recently there seems to be renewed discussion about the lack of on-track action and the difficulty of following cars. Is there a feeling that the new owners of F1 are looking at reducing aero influence and sensitivity in future regulations? Equally, may people like Ross Brawn be looking at tracks ‘suitablity’ to promote lively racing and even encouraging corner combination modifications?
Regards, James


Hi James, I am actually starting to believe that Stoffel will soon be giving Nando a headache. It may well be that in 2018, when Mclaren Honda can fight for podiums, we could see Stoffel in a giant-killing act because it’s hard to imagine someone of his pedigree not delivering in a competitive car. Your thoughts on this and also what Boullier meant when he said Stoffel needs to change his driving style?


Hi James,

What do you feel is the biggest cause for the drop in F1 fans? and do you have a solution?



Hi James,
It’s being a while now after your last one on HONDA.
With considering all the updates, modifications and other things you know up to now (and for future) about HONDA, How competitive will they be in next half of the season & most importantly in next year when comparing other three engines ?
Hope you Golden answer.
Thank you James.

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