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Featured Debate: Is Formula One Heading in the Right Direction?

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Chris Stacey, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. Chris Stacey

    Chris Stacey
    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Premium Member

    mercedes-amg-at-the-2015-formula-one-spanish-grand-prix_100510130_h.jpg With a largely mediocre Formula One season in the bag, questions are being raised by media pundits, key team personnel and by the drivers themselves as to whether or not Formula One is heading for glorious return to form by stamping it's authority as the unequivocal pinnacle of motorsport, or if it is destined for failure.

    With Mercedes yet again proving that few others can do as they do in 2015, they will remain as favourites for the two titles again in 2016. However, due to the regulations remaining largely unchanged and the law of diminishing returns, the 2016 season should, in theory, be more tightly contested between Mercedes, Ferrari and possibly even Red Bull. The lack of changes to the regulations will allow the chasing pack to draw ever closer to the front as they redesign and/or optimise their power unit and aerodynamic packages.

    However the issues of following closely behind the car ahead will likely remain as big of an issue as it has been this past season, if not worse, due to the aerodynamic evolution of the cars from 2015 to 2016. The cars will undoubtedly be producing the most downforce seen by the V6 Turbo-Hybrid era as aerodynamicists will spend countless hours in the factories coming up with more effective and intelligent solutions to add downforce to the cars, thus producing an even greater 'dirty air' effect for the car behind. However, with a seemingly rejuvenated Rosberg and a coming-on-song Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton looks like he'll have his work cut out for him in order to Three-peat his title success.

    The tyre rules will also receive somewhat of a shake-up for 2016 as Pirelli will nominate three compounds prior to the race weekend. One of those compounds will be mandatory for the teams to use, while the teams will be allowed to choose one of the other two compounds of the nominated three. This choice is per-driver, so you may see drivers running a totally different strategy if they opt for a different tyre to their team mate. 2016 will also see the introduction of a new "Ultra Soft" compound which will be denoted by purple sidewall markings.

    Track limits will also be more strictly enforced in 2016 and beyond according to Charlie Whiting and the FIA, as the rule enforcers look to crack down on drivers abusing the track limits and about time too.

    The 2017 season is shaping up to be the largest change to the rule book in Formula One since, well... 2014 really. The cars are going to be wider and more powerful along with producing more aerodynamic downforce and having fatter tyres bolted to them. The end result is projected to be cars that are 5-7 seconds per lap faster than they currently are now (and they will get to that mark because the engineers working on them are incredibly clever). To put that into perspective, the current cars are nearly on par, in terms of laptime, with the cars seen in 2013, which is an amazing feat considering the raft of aerodynamic restrictions and exhaust blowing techniques being banned. This means that the cars of 2017 could well be the fastest F1 cars in the sports history.

    Formula One cars are set to look drastically different in 2017.

    However it would seem that the Strategy Group have rather missed the mark as many of these changes will likely result in even worse racing than has been seen in the last few years in a bid to make the cars seem more impressive. It's all well and good to make the fans mightily impressed by the sheer speed of a Formula One car (I was utterly blown away by the speed and the noise when I saw them in the flesh at Albert Park in 2011), however it doesn't mean much if the racing itself is dead boring.

    Many of the drivers are now aware of the plans for 2017 and have questioned the intellect of the rule makers. More aerodynamic complexities and greater speeds will only serve to increase the turbulent air given off by the cars in substantially greater quantities.

    As many of the drivers and media pundits are saying, the solution is rather simple: reduce the dependence on bodywork aerodynamics such as front wings and trailing edges, as these are the parts of the cars that are most affected by turbulent air. One solution to reduce said dependence is the exploration of more effective ground effects in order to gain downforce whilst not producing such a prolific amount of turbulent air for the car behind. Additionally, efforts should be made to simplify the front wing design. Currently they look like something that could easily be the headline piece in a modern art gallery, they truly are an engineering masterpiece, however because of their complexity, they rely too heavily on receiving 'clean' airflow over their surfaces to work at 100% of their potential.

    They may be works of art, but they are also hurting the quality of the racing.

    On top of the on-track problems that Formula One faces, it faces arguably even more crippling problems off the track: manufacturers having too great of an influence on the direction of the sport in order to suit their preferences, An unfair, unsporting and anti-competitive prize money distribution mechanism resulting in many teams being on the brink of bankruptcy if not already there, and diminishing TV audiences worldwide as FOM looks to exploit subscription services in order to squeeze as much profit out of Formula One instead of offering every race to the much larger audience of Free-to-air viewers.

    Can Formula One dig itself out of this hole and come back with a bang in 2017? Or are we resigned to another 3-5 years of half-baked racing and tiny grids?
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
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  2. The numbers dont lie, not just the empty grand stands.
    I watched F1 since 1990, and until 2014 almost never missed a qualifying or a race.
    This year ive watched 3 qualifying sessions, and 4 races out of 19. I skipped the last race.

    I feel being misled by the FIA and enginemanufacturers, and their 'green tech' 'road relevant' talk. These engines need so much nurturing drivers get instructions almost every turn. That is aside the fact they dont sound appealing. Or the fact the result of the first GP, is almost the same as the last GP. In season development is gone.

    Before, with the V8s, I could live with the dead soul tracks, the ridiculous coloured stewarding, and the hugely boring staged 123 qualifying system. Now, with these engines, and the lift and coast style of racing - Hamilton was almost 10 sec a lap slower in the race than in qualifying, the many complaints of the drivers that the cars are way too easy to drive, I feel my time has come to say goodbye to F1. Its just a whole bunch of things together, and we as fans will propably never agree what exactly is wrong, but its a sum total of everything together.

    This is no competition anymore. Its a very expensive marketing tool for Mercedes, and it will continue to be so.

    So no, I dont see any improvement in 2017 unless they open up testing, and unfreeze the engines combined with much more dramatic noise.
    • Agree Agree x 14
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  3. Enzo Fazzi

    Enzo Fazzi
    Always sideways Premium Member

    Here's why we don't want ground effect back. indycar-indy-500-auto-racing.jpg
    • Agree Agree x 9
  4. Ricoow

    420 Premium Member

    One of the missed points in this article is that Engine Noise will somewhat return in 2016 with the new exhaust regulations.
    Its still probably not going to be old school V8 but at least the whistling hybrid sound will be reduced.
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  5. boring as hell, no wheel to wheel action...no tactics nor strategy help shuffle the field anymore, since they have ***** ***** the F1 regulations! yes surely to make it safer! (but there can be and have to be ways to keep F1 exciting!) lower costs so small teams can compete for points and titles realistically, not just drive at the end of the pack...budgets compared within teams are a joke! $40/50mill. to $300-400mill. where is the balance????? not sure but I watched only 2x races of the 2015 season, Monaco and Abu Dhabi...and sadly I think Mercedes will be the force in 2016 again IMO, since thruthfully nothing has changed, yes Ferrari is catching up, but not enough to take fight to Mercedes, for ***** ***** Ferrari was 0.2-1.0secs behind Mercedes, rest of the field 1.5-5secs behind those top teams...
    • Agree Agree x 3
  6. Qazdar Karim

    Qazdar Karim
    Premium Member

    No one knows what is the right direction, yet everyone is talking about heading in the right direction :D
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  7. What I want in Formula 1 is really simple to understand, but probably very difficult to do. I just want the cars to sound and look like monsters with highest priority the speed. I think F1 should just be about being the fastest. ofcourse safety is important but it shouldn't limit the cars like they are now. F1 is supposed to be dangerous and the 20(or how many there will be) drivers should be about the only ones capable of driving these cars. That is what will bring the wow factor back in F1, since visitors will see them driving and think "how on earth are they even keeping that car on track". It's how I look at Ayrton Senna, he was able to drive these cars like nobody else was. That creates respect for a driver.
    • Agree Agree x 8
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  8. Bert Austen

    Bert Austen
    Pedal tho the metal Men Premium Member

    Boring and soporific soap, My countryman Max Verstappen can better go to the WEC Series.
    F1 is Death Approaches:cry:
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  9. I still prefer F1 over WEC. I've never watched WEC and I don't think I will even if Max will go there, even though I'm dutch too. It just isn't the same
  10. Emerson Meyer

    Emerson Meyer
    Keep Fighting Premium Member

    Ohh yeah, the track limits... this is the real problem with F1. Pffffffffffffff
    Done and done.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  11. Kjell Eilertsen

    Kjell Eilertsen
    Premium Member

    I disagree with this very much, to me it was one of the best, if not THE best season since I started watching the series in 2000. Ofc I can't speak about how the racing was prior to that but it's still 15 years of racing with the last one being one of the best imo.
    F1 is by no means perfect, there's a fair share of things I would change, like having tires and fuel regulations allow the drivers to push for more of the race rather than having to enter tire/fuel-saving mode for huge chunks of the race. I'd like to see DRS removed, but only after they have redesigned the cars to allow following cars to get close enough for passing without loosing all downforce.
    As far as sound goes, F1 has not sounded better in my ears during the last 15 years than it does now, I was never a fan of the pigsqueal noise of the older generations of F1, I like low end growl so to me the only cars on the grid that truly sounds good the last 15 years has been the pacecar and medics car.
    I'd also want to see less restrictions on development, to allow other teams to catch up, but this is a difficult subject because if there's no cap on it you will just end up with the exact same situation but with more money having been spent and the smaller teams suffering even more.
    Fixing F1 ain't easy, and I sure don't have the answers, but I suspect my opinions differ from the vast majority here.
    Also, personally I don't care if viewer numbers are down, I could not care less if half the fanbase who where there in the first place because of the noise rather than actually seeing good racing on track. There's always NASCAR if you want extreme sounds and lots of crashing...
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. SK

    Prince with a thousand enemies. Premium Member

    There are essentially two core problems with F1 today and both are made worse by 2017 regulations... Tyres and Aero philosophy.

    Doesnt matter how fast they make the cars in 2017... as others have touched on, if the overall tyre mentality of intentional fragility continues they will just drive slow anyway. As @jacktorrance mentioned, Hamilton was 10s slower than his qualifying time. Teams will always pick the fastest strategy. If that means driving 10s off the pace they will do it. It's ridiculous that F1 has more endurance style racing than WEC does currently and its pretty much all down to the tyre philosophy. The fact is we pretty much shoe horned ourselves into this corner RE tyres when we ditched re-fueling, which I think most people agree was a necessary change. In a perfect word we'd have a tyre with similar life to the current Pirelli but only function at qualifying pace. Either that or return to 2010 Bridgestone model of infinite life and grip at the cost of one dimensional pit strategies.

    Aero wise... where do I even begin. This right here just goes to show how out of touch and how backwards the management of the sport actually is. Pay Symmonds himself admitted in an article last week that the regulations are going against all the work of the overtaking working group. There's about 1000 Fluid Dynamics experts in this sport and they cant seem to be able to fix the problems of dirty air since the mid 90's. Every pundit on the planet knew the solution...

    1. Reduce dependancy on front wing.
    2. Increase underbody ground effect.
    3. Thus reduce turbulence and loss of downforce on following cars.
    BONUS. Removes the need for DRS since cars can follow each other closer out of corners.
    4. Increase mechanical grip (somewhat solved in 2009 and improved in 2017 with bigger tyres)

    People see "ground effect" and misinterpret the idea as turning the cars into the spastic Brabham fan car. Wrong. Simply bringing underbody downforce just above 2010/11 levels would probably be enough and give some more room for improvement.

    Bottom line is... F1 cannot survive another 3-5 years of the current "metagame" if you like. It's no coincidence that WEC and other categories are having such an upsurge in popularity. People are sick of backwards way F1 is operating at the moment.
    • Agree Agree x 9
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  13. Timmieturner12

    Premium Member

    I don't have the F1 knowledge to write such a large opinion though what I do know is that I really can't wait untill 2017
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Craig Stevenson

    Craig Stevenson
    Premium Member

    F1 has been heading in the wrong direction for years, I have not watched F1 since it went to Sky and have no intention of watching again till it returns to FTA TV where it belongs. FOM and the FIA need to stop dicking around with the rules and regs every year, sometimes even during the Season, they need to get rid of the shitty engines that sound like lawnmowers, get rid of the Aero & DRS crap, bring back tyre manufacturers (if any want to play), full Pit Stops for Fuel and Tyres, the Driver has to decide when to come in for the stop, basically get back to basics of CAR & DRIVER.
    • Agree Agree x 7
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  15. Car construction is actually no matter for the sports survival itself. It must absolutely soon change it's whole economy first, then an overhaul of sporting regulations and finally the cars themselves.

    The FIA proclaims their "great changes" for 2017, that are actually no more like another transition like 2008/9 or 1997/8.
    Important is to change everything now, since the constant half-hearted tweaking of rules piled up a mess that can't be done with a bit of work.

    I accept the fact that I can be wrong, but here is what I have come to in my yet young age:

    The most important aspect is to get F1 away from it's dependence on TV revenues and the money of big companies. Also customer cars could be allowed to a limited amount.
    Currently every team can homologate one car for two drivers, here it should already be optional for teams to run just one car.
    How about introducing some kind of "F1 market" that allows every car part company to sell their parts to the teams to a price they wish, everytime a new part is offered, a company can let it homologate for a certain amount of money. This could even be a chassis (using that would count you as a customer team, taking away the right to earn points, but still giving you the full price money).
    Of course teams still have to let the FIA check their cars. This wouldn't change much, only that every company on earth could somehow and freely let itself get into F1.

    Also the way teams enter should be more freely, I yet not figured a good way for this though.

    Sporting Regulations
    There is not much to say, get rid of all these useless punishments to allow actually more racing.
    It is quite awkward that the way a driver changes his racing line in defense is regulated, I think, rules should be more pragmatic: No damage, no punishment.
    Carrying over a penailty from one race to the other was also a stupid idea, although I guess they crossed out that line from the book...
    Also get rid of DRS, this forces drivers to actually fight for their place.
    Finally they should reintroduce the point system used between 2003-2009, as it gives the other places behind the 1st a rather linear amount of points, helping to keep up the championship longer. (For example, two wins make currently 50p, while two 2nd places just give you 36p. Previously two 1st places gave you 20p and two 2nd positions 16p.)

    Car Construction
    A complete overhaul of the aerodynamic rules is most important here, this way everyone needs to start from scratch.
    Cars need to be constructed in a box of 2,20m*4,50m*1m (w*l*h) and are restricted to up to four tyres and need an open cockpit (here keeping the current dimensions of the cockpit opening).
    Front wings are limited to 1,80m in width and are not allowed to pass behind the tyres, maximum height of the whole construction is 30cm and has to be mounted between 1cm and 8cm of the ground. (While keeping open the construction itself, so no neutral areas like right now)
    The maximum height of the nose is 20cm, the wing must be mounted under it.
    Rear wings are limited to 1m in height, or not higher than any other point of the car (eg. airbox), maximum width is 1,60m with a maximum amount of 3 horizontal and two vertical elements. The rear wing mustn't be mounted with these two elements though. Furthermore, no part of the rearwing is allowed to be infront of the rear axle.
    The diffusor can have a maximum height of 15cm and a minimum ankle of 20°.
    The floor of the car has to be completely flat, the only exception are titanium plates for it's protection when the car is fully fueled.
    The number of exhausts is limited to two, but their location is free to choose (but have to be behind the cockpit, before anyone ever tries something different than that....).

    Here could also be rules specifying a further use of little wings on the car...
    But anyway, your thoughts about that?

    Engine development must be free for everyone, in fact, they should be a part of the F1 Market.
    For the rules:
    Maximum displacement is up to 3.0l for NA engines, 1.5l for charged units. One hybrid system can be equipped.
    The engine must run on a 4-stroke-princip, but isn't limited to pistons, or even petrol engines (So also Rotaries or Diesels). They must run on Ethanol only (except engines classed as Diesel).

    I guess removing the actual rules for reliability could help lowering costs, as engines could be produced as mass articles with a construction for the highest power possible.

    I still got more in my mind, but first I want to know what others think about this.
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  16. 5-7 seconds faster is a lot. dear god. dunno if it's heading in the right direction, but I'm more excited about the 2017 season than 2016.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Dux

    The 1st MK Formula 1 rFactor Sim-Racing Champion Premium Member

    It depends. More downforce, no. Less downforce more power, yes.
  18. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
    The self-proclaimed "BADASS" driver of RD. Staff

    Question: Is Formula One Heading in the Right Direction?

    Straight simple answer:

    Brought you by Yeezus Yeezy Kanyeeezy Westeezy
    • Agree Agree x 3
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  19. Craig Stevenson

    Craig Stevenson
    Premium Member

    That is another major bone of contention of mine, punishing the Teams for changing parts, this is motor racing ffs, if the FIA want reliability let them go and Regulate a Toyota Aygo factory, if an engine or gearbox fails on a RACING CAR the team should be allowed to replace ANY parts that are needed WITHOUT penalty.

    "Sporting" Regulation stopping a driver defending his position needs to go, the move once rule always has been garbage and went a long way to kill "racing".
    • Agree Agree x 3
  20. Benutzername

    Online Martini Racing - Founder and driver

    I dont like DRS because i want to see real overtaking.
    I dont like the tyres. They should drive as fast as they can and not trying to not ruin the tyres.
    I dont like the fuel regulation. They should drive as fast as they can and not trying to save fuel.
    I dont like the many regulations. There are punishments for rearwings that are a few millimetres to wide or something (Sauber in Melbourne 2014 or something?). I mean, what the hell?! Why not just give them free space, resulting in many different concepts. The cars are so look-alike these days. Remember the 6-wheeled Tyrrell?
    Different engine concepts. We had times were there were V12, V8, Turbos or whatever. They had to be planned, either having a heavier car but a stronger engine or a whole different concept. In these days one could also bring electronic engines into it, let them decide how they use taht technology, mabe they use a strong version of KERS, but their car is heavier. Or they have Hybrid engines, too, or or or.
    I dont like the high costs. Limit their budgets per season. Giving it a more free competition and one has to be clever in development. A big plus is that they save costs, too :p ;)

    I am not an expert, but stuff like that is not impossible to do and i think it would change some thigns already to the positive....

    Edit: Also remove the complicated steering wheels, give them manual geering, not many buttons and no communication to the box (only when there is danger etc, but nothign else)

    Edit 2:
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