By on July 30, 2006

sixwheel.jpgEvery race day, over a billion people watch Formula One on live TV.  No wonder Mercedes Benz, Honda, Toyota, Renault and Fiat spend hundreds of millions of dollars to race their hi-tech cars at circuits all over the world.  No wonder we’re witnessing a fight for the future direction of F1. In one corner, wearing red, silver, blue and white, are the teams, led by the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association.  In the other corner, wearing dark blue blazers, is the sport’s governing body, the FIA.  The battle comes down to two issues: technology and (surprise) money.  

Once again, the FIA wants to change the sport’s technical regulations to slow the machines down.  In 2004, the governing body mandated that from 2005, all F1 engines must last two races.  The theory behind the rule was simple enough: manufacturers would reduce engine power to increase engine life.  Less engine power would mean slower cars, and slower cars would be safer cars. To the same end, the FIA also introduced a number of aerodynamic regulations to lower the amount of pavement-sucking downforce.  The net effect?  By the end of the ’05 racing calendar, F1 cars were about one second per lap slower than before. In the ’05 Chinese GP, Schumaker’s Ferrari’s fastest lap was 1:32.238.  In the ’06 Chinese GP, Raikkonen’s McLaren-Mercedes’ fastest lap clocked-in at 1:33.242.

In late 2004, the sport’s governing body amended the rules again.  For the ’06 race season, manufacturers were forced to reduce their cars’ engine size from 3.0 liters to 2.4 liters, and switch from V10’s to V8’s.  Once again, the FIA reduced the maximum allowable amount of aerodynamic downforce.  The end result?  Another second added.  In the ‘05 British GP, Raikkonen’s McLaren-Mercedes scored the fastest lap time at 1:20.502.  In the ’06 British GP, Alonso’s Renault won the same honor with a time of 1:21.599.  Clearly, car designers and engine builders are managing to minimize the impact of FIA’s restrictive rules. 

Judging by the past development cycle, it’s only a matter of time before the 2.4-liter V8’s are faster than the previous unrestricted 3.0 liter V10’s.  And now, in the name of “safety,” the FIA has responded to F1 teams’ ingenuity by calling a near-complete halt to the automotive arms race.  They’ve introduced new rules mandating that all engine specs will remain as raced in June 2006.  They also want to freeze any further engine development, install a standard electronic control unit (supplied by Microsoft) into all cars, control tire choice and restrict aerodynamics yet further.

The teams– who provide the entertainment upon which the entire F1 circus is based– are fighting this proposal tooth and nail.  They’re angry that the FIA is disregarding its own procedures in the drafting and adoption of the technical and sporting regulations.  As far as they’re concerned, FIA is invoking the safety clause as an end run around the builders, to sanitize the sport, to increase "competitiveness" (by decreasing innovation), to make the races more "exciting" for TV, to maximize revenue.  An unnamed team manager was recently overheard comparing the FIA to “a heavy handed pimp.”  

The teams are right to revolt.  F1 has been, and always should be, the most innovative of all racing series.  Who can forget the Tyrell P-34 six wheel car of 1976, or the Brabham BT-46 “fan car”?  Where would F1 history be without the Tyrell 019 (first car with a raised nose) of 1990?  Today’s paddle shift sports cars owe a debt of gratitude to the Ferrari type 640 (first paddle shift) of 1989.  The innovative aerodynamic appendages tried by Sauber-BMW during the French Grand Prix are just another example of racing improving the breed.  

These are the ideas that make F1 racing different and (dare I say it) better than other series.  The FIA’s rules have clipped the designers’ wings and draining the life essence from the sport. Before the Sauber-BMW aerodynamic addenda, what was the last memorable F1 design that stood out from the crowd? The Sauber twin keel of 2001? The McLaren “Viking wings” of 2005? Those cars did not offer what I would call major technological innovations.  

I want to see cars with huge differences in their designs. I want unmistakably unique cars. The FIA rules will prevent that. Enthusiasts can remember when they could tell the cars apart by their exhaust note (Ferrari V12, Honda V10 or Ford V8). With each restrictive rule change, the FIA brings F1 closer to NASCAR. While a true F1 fan can tell the difference between a Renault and a Toro Rosso, how many causal fans can spot the differences between a McLaren and a Midland?

Let’s hope that a compromise is reached whereby F1 will retain its traditional role as the most technologically free and advanced form of motor sport. Where a small team can design a car in a unique way and take the fight to the larger teams.  If we lose, it won’t be long until we have the Euro IRL. And that won’t make anyone happy.

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27 Comments on “The Trouble With F1: “Safety” vs. Innovation...”


  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    This is why some open-wheel racers are jumping the F1 ship to test the waters in NASCAR. If you have to deal with petty, arbitrary, and heavy-handed governing bodies, you might as well go where the money is.

  • avatar
    augury

    The reason for the mandate that the engine last longer was to reduce the required investment by the teams, since now they needed much fewer engines than before.

  • avatar
    JSForbes

    The usual complaint by the SPEED announcers is that the cars are too fast for many of the tracks or that such and such track does not allow much passing. The obvious answer to me is that teams should be allowed to run free, but the tracks need to meet the ability of the cars and allow competitive moves.

  • avatar

    Funny, I could never get interested in watching F-1 racing on TV. Maybe being there is better. Hard to relate to vehicles that are like science fiction creations going around and around. Maybe better to just put a cap on dollars spent, and see what comes out.

  • avatar
    Transylvanian

    Whoa, did somebody just compare Nascar to F1 ? :)) There is no comparison. F-1 is a sport that is watched by royalty, heads of states and extremely famous/rich people (just think about the Monaco GP), a sport that has the best car technology and is the undisputed queen of all motorsports. Innovation is key and is crucial and the pace of innovation is so staggering that the teams that don’t press on with full speed (like Renault right now) find themselves in an immediate disadvantage. The fact that they can get 800+ hp out of a non-turbocharged 2.4L engine after only one year of development (and that their engines run above 16,000 rpm) tells volumes about the cutting edge technology that they have, I do not know the exact numbers in Nascar (I’ll just put a quote here from howstuffworks, if somebody knows better please correct me “The displacement is large — 358 cubic inches (5.87 liters). Not many cars have engines this big, but the ones that do usually generate well over 300 horsepower”) Are we really comparing 51 hp/liter with 333 hp/liter here ??? F-1 is the best car technology there is, and the toughest competition there is for drivers, you can be a champion in any other motor sport if you come over to F-1 you’re not guaranteed success (like Montoya, who was very good before coming to F-1 and in F-1 he just could not prove himself and was not the best – this is why he switched to Nascar – and he is the only one so far to do that so let’s not talk about a ‘trend’ please ! losers quitting is not a trend). About the competitiveness: just look at one pitstop in Nascar and in F-1. If the mechanics would be running for tools when the car comes in or take minutes to change tires they would be immediately fired in F-1. Changing all tires in an F-1 pitstop takes 3 seconds. Refilling the car with gasoline takes 8 seconds (and this is only due to the fact that the speed at which they can pump the gasoline is limited so that the fuel would not self-ignite).

    The writer of the article is looking for staggering changes in F-1. Well, the pace of develompent is truly staggering (maybe less evindent for someone who would confuse a Minardi with a McLaren-Mercedes :)) ) but I would expect from a column writer at this webpage to know that when you’re as developed and maximized for efficiency as F-1 you’re very close to perfection already (because pushing hard in the last 50 years took you there) and you can’t expect dramatically visible improvements like those coming from your neighbor’s garage. This is not that game. Here an engine costs over a million, a chassis over a million, and the set of tires for the season are in that ballpark as well (quarter of a million).

    Talking about the money, to suggest that Nascar is the place where the money is, compared to F-1 – that’s just ridiculous. Just look at the annual salary of the top drivers (tens of millions of dollars) or at the annual income of Michael Schumacher (over a 100 million dollars a year).

    Toyota and Honda are both pouring hundreds of millions of dollars (Toyota spends more than 450 million a year) into their F-1 effort because they know that if you are to be a serious carmaker, this is the place to prove yourself. No other motorsport comes close (well, maybe a convincing LeMans victory like the recent win of Audi makes some heads turn, especially when it is done by diesel engines) but really, F-1 is the true gauge of a carmaker. Both Toyota and Honda, the strongest car companies in America know that. So does BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, and of course Renault. I dare say, all technologially innovative companies in car business today know that they have to be there.

    And why does this motorsport need restrictions ? Because the technology is so staggering that if there would be no restrictions then drivers would die. One second may not sound much for someone used to Nascar, but it is a very long time in an F-1 race lap. Most of the regulations are there to either protect the racers or to steer development towards more usable technology (a 2.4L 800+ hp engine is a good basis for a top street sportscar, unlike the 3.0L 1000+ hp engines that they had before that were just too much to handle, although Renault and maybe a few others made street car prototypes based on their F-1 engines). Those carmakers know that in spite of all the wasted money they do get a huge return, first of all the pride of being competitive on the top of motor racing and second, having a team of people with absolutely cutting edge technology in their hands – some of which will show up later in their street cars.

    “I want to see cars with huge differences in their designs. I want unmistakably unique cars.” They are there right in front of you on the racetrack, Matt. You just need the eyes to see them. And don’t worry, there is just no amount of rules that could turn F-1 into Nascar.

  • avatar

    Whoa, Trans. That’s a lot to bite off.

    But, speaking of heavy-handed regulations, NASCAR has its problems too — yes, that’s where the money is, so it’s pressures are increasingly coming from those who want a share of the pie.

    Take for example the KY Speedway lawsuit against NASCAR. The owner of the track is even a NASCAR sponsor. If the lawsuit wins, KY will steal a Nextel series race from another track. Haven’t we lost enough historical tracks?

    I’m torn. I’ve always been a fan of NASCAR, but I’m afraid it won’t be the same thing in a couple of years.

  • avatar
    tom

    F1 is the best racing series in the world, no doubt about it, but the FIA is just a bunch of crooks. To freeze engine development is stupid and unfair for those teams that are slightly behind and now have no chance to fight back.

    Innovation is everything and shouldn’t be restricted.

    Then again, there have been major developments in recent years, most of them are invisable though. But still I think it’s easy to see the development on the cars. This years cars are much more organic looking than ever before and there are major differences between the cars. Especially the nose, but also the air intakes are quite distinctive.

  • avatar
    9000RPMan

    Transylvanian,
    I am specifically NOT looking for changes in F1. What I want is what F1 is, and always used to be, technological freedom. The gist of my article is that the FIA is placing too many restrictions on the teams. If they continue, the rules will become so strict that the cars will be essentially the same, i.e. Indy car and NASCAR. All the FIA is doing is to force the teams into ever more expensive aerodynamic tweaking into more obscure areas. If I had my way, I would ban wings, allow for any engine size or configuration, any tire size or number and let the engineers do their thing. You will never be able to control the money. Perhaps just give a specified fuel composition and amount that must be used for the race with a minimum weight for the car/driver. Who cars if you have 5,000 horespower? With no, or very little, downforce, the tires could not transmit that kind of power.

    Matthew (9000RPMan) Potena

  • avatar
    James2

    It is a damn shame that the GPMA, who wanted to breakaway from the duopoly of Max Mosley/Bernie Ecclestone, caved in at the end. I think the sport would have definitely been improved, if not outright saved from mediocrity.

    Neither Mosley nor Ecclestone have F-1’s best interests at heart. Mosley’s been anal about controlling costs — yet every “cost-saving” mandate he’s introduced (2-race engines, 1-race tires, V8s instead of V10s) has only introduced more cost.

    He’s finally realized that engineers will always be a step ahead of him, thus the freeze on engine development. Michelin, it’s been nice knowing you. Don’t let the door hit your white fanny on the way out. Next… spec chassis, anyone? (I’m surprised this wasn’t first on the “cost-saving” agenda.)

    As for Ecclestone, if he didn’t suck up most of the money in the sport, maybe there would be more for the teams, especially those at the rear of the pack.

    Maybe you can’t turn F-1 into NASCRAP, but Mosley & Co. seem intent on trying. I hope that Ferrari sees the light and bails out, seeking a form of motorsport that still appreciates excellence, hard work and technical innovation. When the sport’s glamour team is gone, Mosley will (finally) recognize that he turned F-1 into a mediocrity.

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    Well despite the fact that someone has taken issue with comparing F1 (auto racing) to NACAR, allow me to make another comparison, vis-a-vis this discussion and Matthew Potena’s thought-provoking and well written article. The issue of safety in F1 is akin to the discussion of safety in unlimited hydroplane racing.
    It took the passings of both Bill Muncey and Dean Chenoweth (1981 and ’82, respectively) for the sanctioning body of unlimited hydros to go forward; and make all the boats have a canopy. That indeed has saved lives. Chip Hanauer would probably back me up on that.
    But now that the big boats are running with turbine engines, the restrictions on air inlets, etc. etc. are perhaps taking some of the interest out of the sport. (Although here in Seattle, the appearance of the Blue Angels flight team, is a factor that also seems to diminish whatever interest is left.)
    The need to keep the fans entertained, for better or worse, requires not only speed, but some level of technical innovation they can relate to. The re-appearance of the vaunted Chrysler hemi-spherical (cylinder) head engine, and its being in the winning circle again, may not only help the Chrysler division of DaimlerChrysler, but also NASCAR.
    People used to care about the hydroplanes because they were powered by the same airplane engines that were in ‘planes that had saved some of those people – the veterans – on the beachs are Normandy and other fields of combat. The helicopter turbines in today’s hydros don’t mean much save to Vietnam veterans; and their recollections might not be good ones, since those engines were in Medivac helicopters – probably the same for veterans of both incursions into Iraq.
    But survivability is the key thing. Most of us don’t want to see another passing such as Senna’s in 1994.
    Still the myth of the dance with death persists. At the recent Pacific Northwest Historics, Brian Redman (one time F1 driver and three times series champion in the defunct F5000 series) was the featured celebrity. (The race is a vintage road race that benefits Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. Brian was there to sign autographs and drive someone’s vintage F5000 Lola.)
    When Brian was asked what might have caused the accident which took Jim Clark (a hero of Brian’s, he said) the response was, “Equipment failure – all mine were. Lotus built the lightest cars and sometimes they broke; but they won races, and so, everybody wanted to drive for them.
    “Safety is paramount (today). Now if you crash, you live. In the days when I was racing, when you said good-bye to your wife and children, you knew and they knew, you might not return. The fact that there’s less danger, reduces the stature of the drivers, somewhat.”
    There was oftentimes a price for all that technical innovation which was once part of F1 racing. Peter Revson, paid that price in a testing accident for Shadow Racing at Kyalami circuit in South Africa, back in 1974.
    Since the drivers are the ones who have to drive these machines of which dreams are made, they are the ones who ultimately should decide what goes, what stays.

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    Correction to last post, due to typo: the acronymn is NASCAR, for what is generally called “stock-car racing” not “NACAR” as I wrote. I forget what it stands for; so it becomes easy to hit the wrong keys. I was just a child – really – the last time the Hudsons ran. Many times, when I read about the late Marshall Teague’s dominance of NASCAR in the early Fifties, I wish I’d been born a decade sooner; or at least had a father who’d been a NASCAR fan. Was NASCAR even on television, way back then?
    To my mind, it hasn’t been “stock car racing” since about 1980 (or so). But then, admittedly, there’s a big hole in my education, when it comes to stockers.

  • avatar
    Transylvanian

    Matthew,

    I see your point that a freeze on engine development will be catastrophic but I don’t think it will happen, nor will the uniform chassis be something to be introduced. There have been occasions when tire manufacturers retired from F-1, such as Goodyear who supplied tires for winners such as Keke Rosberg, and the sport survived that. Lately there has been an interesting rivalry between Michelin and Bridgestone, and that is ending now and indeed everybody will have the same Bridgestone tires next year. However I think that there will be other tire manufacturers who will try and enter the F-1, maybe Goodyear will do it again in the future, it’s just too big of a spotlight to miss. This rivalry ceartainly helped to push the tire development a lot (maybe too much, after all racing has to be a balance and should not be mostly about tires) and maybe a little time of a single manufacturer will not be that bad, but I do not expect that to last too long.

    This regulation is done to cut costs but Mosley will have to realize that the factory teams that spend close to half billion $ want to showcase their ability of pushing the limits of what is technologically possible. They are not there just to have their names on the cars, they are there to show that they are among the best and that they can beat the even the best. Ecclestone could cut a deal with the manufacturers because a well estabilished sport is not replaced easily by a new series. He made the sport popular outside Europe, Japan and South America, having Narain Karthikeyan for a short period sparkled interest in India there were rumors of constructing perhaps even a circuit there. Recent additions, such as the circuits in Shanghai (with a maglev train built from the city to the circuit), Kuala Lumpur and Baharin sparkled great interest in their countries. Alonso gets the whole Spain to watch F-1. Now with Formula-1 being recognized all over the world, it is harder for the manufacturers to leave it. But nonetheless that damocletian sword is always hanging there, and FIA and even Mosley will have to make compromises to the big factory teams. Why is that ? Because in recent years the sport started to move away from small, individual teams and move towards the big factory teams. If you followed F-1, this trend is clear, when I was very young we would talk about McLaren, Williams and Ferrari as the big teams, not paying that much attention to the fact that they were powered by Honda, Renault and Ferrari engines, respectively. This picture has changed a lot recently: Bennetton was bought up by Renault, BAR by Honda, Toyota (in their characteristic way) made a team from scratch, BMW divorced from Williams to buy Sauber which is now basically the BMW factory team. Ford was pushing for a while by investing heavily in the Jaguar team. There are exceptions to the rule such as the Red Bull who now owns two teams (Ferrari – Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso) but even those teams somehow connect to the big manufacturers.

    So, to cut it short – this regulation fight is mostly a fight for power within the inner circles of F-1, between the governing body and the manufacturers. I don’t think it’s going to lead to a duller or less innovative series as that is really not in the interest of any of the parties involved. I don’t see the sport going in that direction, and just some reasons for that: even Mosley wants to keep the series interesting and exquisite, Toyota and BMW have a point to prove (Honda to prove it again, as an independent factory team). Formula one has been known to excel by improving the car within the framework of the regulations and so far the engineers have always beaten the rules (that is why the sport has new rules all the time). With so much at stake for so many players, I think the future of this sport look anything but dull.

  • avatar
    levi

    I like what Roger Penske said a few years back when he was feuding with Tony George about the direction of the Indy 500/IRL: Just tell me what the rules are and what time the race starts.

    You can’t legislate parity, safety, or anything else. You can try, but money and technology will prevail, eventually.

    How about a race or series that only specifies the course(s)? No holds barred regarding equipment, engines, chassis, technology, etc.

    You make contact with another car – regardless of why – you’re out of the race. Period. You contact the wall – game over. Period. You run over someone in the pits or you have a car or parts of your car go into the grandstands – disqualified immediately. Any injury on any team member or spectator – you’re outa here! Zero points, no finnish – just as if you never entered the race.

    Penalties increase as the infractions increase. Manufacturers/individuals could potentially get barred from racing – forever – in this kind of series – due to car/wall/person contact.

    Don’t kid yourself. Its all about speed. F1, IRL, NASCAR, Champ Cars, go-karts. Its all about speed. And whatever it takes to achieve it.

  • avatar
    BMan1113VR

    Your right on (although you left out a couple of things that the FIA has done to slow things down)! I thought F1 was supose to be the pinnacle of motorsports.

    Also. . .saftey. . .come on. Have you seen the crashes this season and last. . .they have been brutal looking and yet the drivers all walk away. For crying out loud, no one even broke a bone racing last year, yet JPM breaks something playing tennis. Where is the danger that the FIA is trying to curb. Although this may sound extreme: when was the last time someone died in an F1 race? 12 years ago, when the cars looked more like formula mazdas than they do F1 (or even GP2 for that matter). Saftey has come as far, if not surpassed the speed. Mosely and Ecclstone need to back off!

  • avatar
    vallux06

    I had the pleasure of watching several GP’s live in the eighties, among them the famed GP of Monaco as well as Hockenheim in Germany, Magny-cours in France and Silverstone in England.

    Working at the time for BMW in international marketing under Reinhardt Rehwald and Wolfgang Reitzle in production, I had the opportunity to invite corporate clients to the pit lane as well talk to the then director of BMW Motor sport, Paul Roche (Nocken Paule). One of the greatest engineers ever.

    I even met Nelson Piquet 1983 World champion and the father of Nelson junior a promising driver now in the footsteps of his father!

    The experience was simply AMAZING, for a gearhead nothing quite like it. People who call me hard of hearing think it is because of too many hard rock concerts in my youth. The truth is being around turbo charged race cars that reved up to 19,000 rpm, on the weekends, is as much to blame as my proclivity for “Scorpion” and “Steppenwolf” concerts!!

    For some american race fans that cannot really “get into” Formula One here in the US, i can say, I fully understand.

    It is simply DIFFERENT in Europe then here. The whole circus and fan base is of a different cloth!! Mostly I take issue with Silverstone and the organizers who cannot really capture the ESSENCE of a F1 race.

    SPEED too, is to blame with its coverage that resembles too much an Indy car reportage, with emphasis on the “pace car” (who cares??) yellow flags, tires, why there’s no female driver in F1, etc.
    Bob Varsha and his crew for all the good coverage they give from other venues seem to fall in a “American Indy coverage mode” as soon as they breathe the rarified air of Indianapolis!!

    If you can, as a died in the wool race fan, go to the Villeneuve in Montreal or even better, Silverstone and you too will return a convert!! Lol.

    You will “sit through” the US coverage like the rest of us, thinking what it would be if they were racing in Watkins Glen!!

  • avatar
    dgduris

    I was gonna get in on this conversation but it is too much work.

    Just suffice to say that if you want technology combined with your autosport, F1 is – and should remain the pinnacle (Max is going senile, green and gay at the same time – not that there’s anything wrong with that)

    If, OTOH, old technology, big displacement and tradin’ paint is your thing, well watch Montoya et. al next year. Heck’ them boys are talkin’ now about how important camber is to makin’ the car turn good (ex – f’ing – citing). NASCAR IS A GREAT SHOW. It is NOT the pinnacle of motor racing, but it IS what Max (Mosely) wants to turn F1 into…Someone should tell him that you need fenders and to remember F5000.

  • avatar
    Matthew Potena

    vallux06
    I agree with you wholeheartedly. I went to the 1998 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The fans were much more into the race than even the fans in Montreal. With every sector time that was put up on the screens, the fans would cheer if Michael would close up a bit on Mika and if he would drop back there was an audible groan. In Europe, F1 is a family sport, with all members enjoying it. How else can you explain the 80 year old woman who sat in front of me (who also gesticulated at each McLaren that passed by!)

  • avatar
    nino

    I’m intrigued by the proposal of a “salary cap” in regards to car development in F1.

    Let’s say that each team is only allowed to spend $100 million in developing each car. Theorhetically, even cars from the same team could be radically different depending on how those development dollars were spent on each car.

    Imagine the controversy when Michael Schumacher would drive the aerodynamically efficient but crappy engined Ferrari at one race and drive the excellently engined, but crappy aerodynamic Ferrari at the next race. I can hear the howls of IrvineBarichelloMassa from here!

    Go even further and include driver salary as part of the deal.

    If Michael wants $100 million in salary, he would have no car to drive!

    If only there were a way to enforce it.

  • avatar
    vallux06

    Matthew,

    M & M, Monza and Monaco!! They are out of this World!!!
    I Still have my “Foster’s” flag, that somehow fell in my lap (cough) and a palm sized piece of carbon fibre that escaped the thorough Monaco sweepers.
    Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeooowwwwwwwww!!! Lol!

  • avatar
    ctowne

    IMSA GTP was unlimited tech. Can-AM anyone? Look where they ended up.
    Also, you can unrestrict aero and chasis all you want. You’re not going to see anything of the stripe like the 6 wheeled Tyrells ever again. You’ll see a bunch of lemming designs with minor variations (like what is running now), because the costs to develop are too high, the failure rate is too high, and the consequences are too high to break the mold.

    And you’ll have hoovered up all the dollars (or euros:)) the also-ran’s had to fill out the grid. Leaving you with a grid of 6 cars. And that would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?

  • avatar
    a_d_y_a

    Moto GP anybody? Does anyone have an insight on the Moto Gp circuit as regards t safety vs innovation.

  • avatar

    I’m highly dissatisfied with F1 right now. I’ve only been following it for 2 years now and its gotten worse every race further. I’ve been downloading decade old races and am liking them better. Why doesn’t the FIA listen to its fans?

  • avatar
    nweaver

    Go watch MotoGP instead. The technical rules are FAR more flexible: there is a weight/cylinder and a new displacement limit for 2007 (it was 990cc for 2001-2006, being reduced to 800cc for 2007).

    The bikes are beasts, the riders are fantastic, they sound like nothing else (the Ducati V4 sounds sooo sexy, the Kawasaki close, and the Yamaha growler and Honda V5 have very unique noise), and the racing is fantastic.

  • avatar
    rtz

    Bring back the turbo powered 1400+hp cars!

  • avatar
    MX5bob

    NSP wrote: Take for example the KY Speedway lawsuit against NASCAR. The owner of the track is even a NASCAR sponsor.

    The owner of KY Spdway is International Speedway Corp., which is run by another branch of the France family. Not so small as a sponsoring relationship.
    As for rules changes to cut costs, that's a fallacy, as someone else pointed out.
    The engine freeze is a lot closer to happening than not. Mosley is looking for any way he can circumvent the current agreement and the power of the teams to vote technical regulations up or down.

  • avatar
    MX5bob

    A couple of notes about Mr. Potena's editorial.
    "In one corner, wearing red, silver, blue and white, are the teams, led by the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association."
    Whose wearing red in the GPMA? Not Ferrari. They've sided with Bernie and Max.
    " In the ’06 Chinese GP, Raikkonen’s McLaren-Mercedes’ fastest lap clocked-in at 1:33.242." 
    The 2006 Chinese Grand Prix doesn't happen for another 2 months.  

  • avatar
    KMJ

    “Changing all tires in an F-1 pitstop takes 3 seconds.”

    When you’re allowed two dozen mechanics to participate in a pitstop (fully half of them dedicated only to changing the tires) and you don’t need to keep track of 5 lugnuts on each wheel – you darn well better be able to change the tires in 3 seconds!

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