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Old 10-07-2002, 11:54 PM   #1
gtguy
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Default I know F1 doesn't care if people like me stop watching, but...

http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines02/10/s10804.html

Obviously, we can presume that the weight penalty suggestion won't come to fruition, but even the fact that it was proposed is scary. Why penalize excellence?

As I said before, the cost cutting measures are a good step, but without making sure that lesser teams have access to the same testing and development programmes as the big boys, it's all going to go for naught.

The off-season should be interesting.

Kevin
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Old 10-08-2002, 02:47 PM   #2
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That's a little too much IMO. Limit the budgets or do something similar to baseball where there's a luxury tax. But taking averages of qualifying sessions and little to no practice? What is this NASCAR!?!?

Ferrari's budget is just huge, get that in check and let F1 be what is always has been: the bleeding edge of open wheel racing.
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Old 10-08-2002, 07:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: I know F1 doesn't care if people like me stop watching, but...

Quote:
Originally posted by gtguy
The off-season should be interesting.
Indeed it shall. Certainly there are changes that could be made to F1 to make it more even between the teams, interesting to watch and allow more passing (better-designed circuits, lose the tire grooves, etc.), but success ballast has all the flavor of a B-rated spec series. The BTCC started with success ballast (and may still use it) in the late '90s when the series was spiralling downhill. Sadly F1 has been following similar steps lately. Let's hope about the baby and the bath water and all that.

I'm curious about a time in F1 I've only heard about: What was it like in the dominating McLaren years of Senna and Prost (?) when the two of them took 15 or 16 races? (Was that '89?) .. Were people complaining about how boring F1 was back then? After seeing how Senna is revered in my four years of F1 fandom, I doubt it.

OT: And may I take a bow as the title winner of this year's i-Club fantasy F1 on ESPN. Yes, thank you, thank you. No, Mr. Ecclestone, I'm not available for a tour of your yacht.

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Old 10-08-2002, 07:52 PM   #4
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The weight penalty has been used to good effect here in the British Touring Car Championship. This isn't the first time it has been suggested for F1 and I think that now is the time to use it. It does not totally level the playing field, but it does make the running a lot closer and forces the team bosses work a lot harder on their strategies.

The difference in budgets between Ferrari and the rest is huge. It is getting worse now as sponsors pull out because they can't see a return on their investment in the 'also ran' teams. F1 comes down to money, pure and simple hard cash.

I have some inside knowledge of one of the middle ranked F1 teams and I can assure you they are more than capable of running in the top 3 if they had budgets similar to those of Ferrari. Technical innovation, aero packages, tire development, etc. all cost huge sums of money and anyone other than the top 3 just can't afford it, period.

Even the Italian Grand Prix had 4,000 grandstand seats unsold, and this is the home of Ferrari for goodness sake. Unless ruthless action is taken soon then the F1 grids will end up with a dozen cars as teams go bust due to lack of revenue (and that is closer for some than you may think).

It must be getting bad when a lot of my colleagues in the paddock say they prefer to watch CART!

Ken
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Old 10-08-2002, 08:16 PM   #5
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Thumbs down

I have one thing to say about weight penalties in F1.

NO
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Old 10-08-2002, 09:56 PM   #6
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How come there is not as much belly aching in WRC with the way that Peugot has dominated in a very Ferrari like manner this year?
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Old 10-08-2002, 11:00 PM   #7
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But given the price of the tickets for Monza, could that have had a contributing factor to the unsold grandstand seats?

Here's another question:

Not to call anyone a xenophobe, but would there be as much howling if the dominant driver were Brazilian, French or Italian? It wasn't all that exciting watching Senna lap the field in the late-80s early 90s with his McLaren, but F1 never considered something as silly as the (still not, and probably would NEVER be passed) weight penalties.

But, one engine (fine), less downforce (fine), no driver aids (well...I dunno...how can you police it?) are all fine, I say. But what they are going to find, is that the same driver, M. Schumacher will kick everybody's butts, only by a greater margin than he is right now.

Just some stuff to think about.

Hey, johnfelstead. I watch that damned lap of yours and get SO jealous!

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Old 10-08-2002, 11:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
What was it like in the dominating McLaren years of Senna and Prost (?) when the two of them took 15 or 16 races? (Was that '89?)
You put your finger right on the answer: Senna won 8, Prost won 7 in 88. F1 was Senna vs. Prost in that time, they were team mates in 88 & 89 (it was 6 to 4 in 89) Mclaren dominated but there was the clash of the titans at the front.

In 92 Mansell dominated with the Williams "robo-car" and won 9 races that year, and Williams dominace led to the banning of active suspension, auto shifting, traction control and launch control, which all (bar the trick suspension) are back thanks to the FIA's inability to police the technology.

People have always said that F1 is "boring" and generally complain when one team dominates. The teams (except for Jordan) realize they they need to step up their efforts rather than try and handicap Ferrari.

Put it this way from 86 to 95 Ferrari won 14 races, and 5 of those were in 90 when Prost was driving and his fight with Senna came down to the last race (where Senna deliberately took Prost out to win the Championship)

Things will change and people will worry whether McLaren or Williams or Toyota or... is ruining the sport. What F1 really needs is another rivalry like Senna & Prost.
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Old 10-09-2002, 10:03 AM   #9
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agree forza.

what is ruining the SPORT is Ferrari's insistence on running a number1, number2 and having team orders for the season until the championship is decided (and even then having friggin team orders where they cant race head to head after the final pitstop)

Ferrari have prostituted the SPORT for their own gains, they cant see the big picture, that they are ruining the SPORT.

Williams, McLaren and in the past many other teams have allowed their drivers to race each other until one has won the tittle, then they have gone into self preservation mode to get the team tittle wrapped up. Once wrapped up they were allowed to race again.

Ferrari are the issue here, they wouldnt know the meaning of SPORT if it bit them in the ass. And this from a team manager that presided over Peugeot's championships in the WRC during GroupB who complained about Lancia doing the same thing.

Pathetic.
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Old 10-09-2002, 10:31 AM   #10
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Default A piece from the Guardian...

An interesting tidbit that my wife passed on to me...

Kevin

Hammer blow for formula one as Ecclestone looks for reverse
Richard Williams
Wednesday October 9, 2002
The Guardian

Against all the odds I nearly fell back in love with formula one this week. Not because I liked the sound of Bernie Ecclestone's plans to run grand prix races as handicaps. Far from it. Even though anyone with half a brain knows that Bernie is only up to his usual trick of establishing a position from which to negotiate, it seemed a dismal way to end a highly unsatisfactory season.

No, what almost sucked me back in was something far more basic. To the non- enthusiast, it would be mystifying. But it summed up the real meaning of formula one, and the quality that makes it unique. It was the sight of a man wielding a hammer.

The man is called Steve Berry. He works at Williams Grand Prix Engineering and for the last 15 years he has been using his hammer - a variety of small hammers, actually, plus a device that looks like a high-tech welding torch- to make exhaust pipes.

These are not just any exhaust pipes. They are pieces of art sculpted from sheets of a nickel-chromium alloy apparently created for the use of the aerospace industry. It accepts temperatures of up to 1,000C (1832F), at which point it glows a fetching shade of pink. In purely aesthetic terms the curves of the pipes are at least as beautiful as that huge thing Anish Kapoor unveiled in the turbine hall at Tate Modern yesterday. And each set costs about 12,000, which is more than I've ever paid for a whole motor car.

And therein lies the absurdity and the beauty of formula one. In terms of stop- at-nothing competition there is no sport to touch it. Which is why attempts to tamper with it by making the winning cars carry ballast, or by putting the fastest drivers at the back of the grid, would finally extinguish its flame.

I saw Berry and his hammer on the first part of a TV series called The Secret Life of Formula One, which continues over the next two Sunday nights on the Discovery Channel. Based on a study of the Williams-BMW team, it draws an interesting parallel between grand prix cars and modern jet planes. Something like the Eurofighter, for instance, has computers which do most of the thinking for the pilots, who are left free to get on with the flying and the fighting. Cars are going the same way, with engineers now able to change settings on the car during a race using radio telemetry.

The analogy is flawed, however. The drivers are trying to win a race while the pilots are trying to deliver lethal weapons. One is a spectator sport and the other is warfare.

But the programmes provide an interesting perspective and all of a sudden I found myself getting interested in data acquisition and aerodynamic theory.

My colleague Alan Henry and I were among the people they chose to interview but I was in a rather cynical mood when the interviewer and the crew arrived. Having watched most of the season's racing on television, who would not be?

The problem is not that Michael Schumacher's Ferrari is so much faster than everything else. The problem is that formula one has behaved with such arrogance and pomposity over the last few years that, when it hits a sticky patch, there is no sympathy for it - rather the reverse, in fact.

Who can resist taking a sneaking delight in the bleats of a millionaire like Eddie Jordan terrified by the prospect of losing his sponsors?

Under Ecclestone formula one built chain-link fences to keep the hoi-polloi at arm's length and put up screens to stop people looking at the cars. It can hardly be surprised to find that the fans have responded by turning their backs.

So now Ecclestone is going back on virtually every decision of the last 10 years in an effort to save the sport. Having legitimised driver aids like traction control and automatic gearboxes, he wants to ban them. Having starved terrestrial television of decent images in order to create a demand for his digital service, he is now giving the digital pictures to terrestrial channels in order to try to win the audience back. Having spent years trying to help Ferrari win the championship, now he is trying to penalise them.

Someone should tell him that grand prix cars don't have reverse gears.


Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002
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Old 10-09-2002, 05:35 PM   #11
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One thing I do have to say and I am probably alone in this:

I enjoy seeing the domination of Ferrari, I am not particularly a Ferrari fan either. There is just something about watching a team or individual that is at the absolute peak of their sport. It reminds me of watching the 85 Chicago Bears or Carl Lewis when he couldn't lose. It may not be the most exciting thing but it is definetly interesting. Ferrari may be ruining the sport but you cant fault them for just having everything fall in to place for them. There are things you can fault them for but dominance is not one of them. We hate it now but in 20 years we will be watching Legends of Motorsports on Speed and they will be talking about "the magical season Ferrari had in F1" this year.

Just my .02
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Old 10-09-2002, 07:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Someone should tell him that grand prix cars don't have reverse gears.
Someone should tell Mr. Williams that GP cars DO have a reverse gear! I saw Schumacher back up when he overshot his grid position at the USGP with my own eyes!

I agree with Lou, we are seeing history being made this season (like it or not) If only Ferrari would let Schumacher & Barichello really race each other, but on the other hand there is nothing more pathetic than team-mates taking each other out of a race.
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Old 10-10-2002, 09:59 AM   #13
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Agreed, there's no reason why two teamates should crash into each other and ruin a race. They're just really organized, and they've found some magic in thier engine that makes it not only more powerful, but totaly reliable. I was at the Gran Prix du Montreal, and I watched as Montoya got out of his car at the end of the front straight. He was desperately trying to catch the Ferraris, and his engine finally gave up. Montoya (as well as others) probably have to late shift just to not lose time to the Red Barons, and this makes it even harder to make an engine reliable. Also, this really isn't the only magical season really. It's actually been the last two as well. We will be old gesers talking about how way back when Ferrari dominated the most competitive motor sport in the world.
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Old 10-10-2002, 11:18 AM   #14
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Just watched the '96 Estoril GP last night (well, some, before I fell asleep...), when the title was decided between Damon Hill and Jacques V. Schumacher was just coming off having won two races in a row with an absolute pig of a Ferrari, but you could see signs. Alesi got into second place, but wasn't as fast as Hill, who was driving off into the distance as my eyelids were falling.

Schumacher and Ferrari EARNED this dominance with hard work, and paying dues. It isn't like the car just dropped onto the planet, fully-formed and rocket fast. It's been years in development. That race last night, and watching some past races, put it all into perspective. Even the '97 Ferrari, which wasn't the equal of the Williams, but Schu managed to make it competitive with Jacques in the Williams, wasn't that great of a car.

There's an arc of performance that Ferrari is following, as other dominant teams have. Williams, McLaren have all had their years in the sun, and the wane of that star. I imagine that Ferrari will have that same decline, as the others catch up.

But to institute a series of idiotic rules, designed to help other teams catch up to the best, is tantamount to making Michael Johnson run with lead soles on his running shoes, because he's too fast. Ridiculous, and if it were suggested for track and field, people would laugh the person who proposed it off of the planet. Yet, F1 is suggesting it, and who knows how seriously they're taking it, but just the fact that it's been suggested rankles me.

If people don't like Ferrari's dominance, too bad. Work harder and develop your car. They spend $300 million per year. So legislate a budget cap, or subsidize the smaller teams so that they can develop a competitive package.

People carp about the Ferrari/Bridgestone relationship, but hey, everybody jumped to Michelin, leaving Ferrari as the only main line team running Bridgestone. Heck yeah, Bridgestone is going to tailor the tire for their car, because Bridgestone wants to be on the podium, seeing Schumacher sporting that Bridgestone cap. It staggers me that Williams and McLaren would dare grouse about Ferrari having, in effect, their "own tire manufacturer." That's some of the problem with F1. People are too willing to whine, rather than working harder. The two teams deciding to share tire testing data is a good step in that direction, toward adulthood.

Sorry about the rant, but watching the older races has really put it all in perspective for me. I just think that everyone is forgetting how hard Ferrari has worked, and how far they have come. It seems like nobody gives them credit for that. This has been a magical season, even more than last year, which Ross Brawn, in an interview, said he thought the team would never be able to top. I'm thrilled that I was able to watch it.

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Old 10-10-2002, 12:18 PM   #15
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GTGuy,

People won't stop watching Micheal Johnson because he is crushing the competition.

People are already turning off F1 because of the domination.

It's all about the Benjamins.

It doesn't matter that Ferrari earned it. Doesn't matter that history is repeating itself with respect to McLaren and Williams. What does matter is that ratings are dropping because it is not the show that people want to see. Which means there is less money to be made.

We all know they can't let THAT happen. Whew, I feel lightheaded just talking about it...

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Old 10-10-2002, 12:59 PM   #16
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Default My 2 cents...

I don't see where anybody has mentioned what I consider to be the obvious. Give them more mechanical grip and take away aerodynamic grip. This will provide for closer racing which, IMHO, is what fans want to see. Right now the cars are relying so much on aerodynamics, they can't run close to each other on the track or they will go off at the next corner.

Back when Senna and Prost were fighting it out, they were able to because the cars could run side by side or nose to tail anywhere on the track. If you were to put the two of them in today's cars, the race would be determined by who made it to turn one first. It would then be a parade to the end while waiting to see who's engine lasts longer.

As far as driver aids are concerned, the only one that ever made sense to me was the semi-automaic transmission because it keeps both hands on the wheel and reduces the chance of blowing the engine on a missed shift. On the other hand, it takes real skill to work a manual box and not do stupid things like miss a shift.

I understand that the purpose of F1 was to ride the cutting edge of technology, but I yearn for the days when the cars were real beasts and the drivers' were actually in control (or trying to be). I guess that is why I also miss the fire-breathing 500cc GP bikes that could toss you down the road if you looked at them funny...

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Old 10-10-2002, 01:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by GarySheehan
GTGuy,

People won't stop watching Micheal Johnson because he is crushing the competition.

People are already turning off F1 because of the domination.

It's all about the Benjamins.

It doesn't matter that Ferrari earned it. Doesn't matter that history is repeating itself with respect to McLaren and Williams. What does matter is that ratings are dropping because it is not the show that people want to see. Which means there is less money to be made.

We all know they can't let THAT happen. Whew, I feel lightheaded just talking about it...

Gary
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I know Gary, I know. And the problem is, as someone else pointed out, Senna and Prost were allowed to race each other even as McLaren was so dominant. But even IF Schumacher and Barrichello were allowed to race each other flat-out, I doubt that Rubens would have four wins this season.

I think the mechanical grip/downforce thing is good, but you can take away all the downforce in the world, and a Minardi will still be a Minardi. There are very real disparities in the total packages that need more than grip and downforce to rectify, though those are certainly a good start.

What's even funnier is, no matter what you do, the sum total is that M. Schumacher still kicks everyone's butts. Give the drivers more control? He's the best driver. Take away downforce? He likes a twitchy car, anyhow. I still wonder how grumbly everyone would be if Barrichello were the dominant driver, referencing a fascinating piece that I read a while back in Le Monde, about how anti-German sentiment was still the only acceptable form of racism. I was talking to a shopkeeper in the town I was staying in while on vacation, about watching the race. He screwed up his face and said "Aaaah, Schumarer, Schumarer, Schumarer. Tout le temps (all the time) Schumarer." (I don't know why the French don't pronounce the "ch" sound when saying MS's name...)

I also think that it's a course thing. The Hungaroring is boring, yet Monaco is exciting. Both are twisty courses that are narrow and impossible to pass on. What's the difference? Speed and danger. No matter what you do to Monza, that will be an interesting course.

I wonder, ultimately, if fans aren't watching because they simply have other stuff to do. As world sport proliferates, time demands upon viewers increase, and they have to make choices. Just something else to think about.

Kevin
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Old 10-10-2002, 04:22 PM   #18
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All i know is that it's really hard to deal with all of the Ferrari Crazed fans at the races themselves. They are rowdy, bullyish people who spend literally thousands of dollars on Ferrari clothes. I swear I saw a group of like twenty guys in Montreal on race day that all had:

Ferrari Hat
Ferrari Team Uniform (this is like over $750)
Ferrari Racing Shoes (again, expensive)
Ferrari Flags of all sorts
Some I swear had Ferrari underwear on.

These guys taunt the Williams and McLaren tents and the people trying to buy thier Montoya Hat. It's a real bother. I also got a chance to run up reasonably close to the Williams pit after the race and when two Ferrari team members (actual members, not the tools that spend $1,000 to look like one) walked by, the whole crowd just booed, and wistled. At first a couple of the Williams guys freaked out until they saw the streak of red and realized it wasn't at them, then they laughed and continued to work on the car. Hilarious. . . .
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Old 10-10-2002, 04:58 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by gtguy
What's even funnier is, no matter what you do, the sum total is that M. Schumacher still kicks everyone's butts. Give the drivers more control? He's the best driver. Take away downforce? He likes a twitchy car, anyhow.
Without a doubt, Schumacher is the best driver out there...I distinctly remember a race years ago when he was with Benneton where the trans got stuck in something like fifth gear while he was leading the race. He managed to change his lines to carry even more corner speed and still finished on the podium after two pit stops. I really wish I could remember what year and track that was...

Larry
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Old 10-11-2002, 12:05 AM   #20
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Default Red Herrings, the Red Baron, and Red Cars

There is a very real problem... F1 will have less money next season... They lost both Prost and Arrows this season, and nearly lost Minardi. So F1 can reduce costs, or increase their income (make a better show for more viewers), or both. With that in mind, I've got four comments:

1) In that article referenced originally, I believe Max is offering straw men, and Red Herrings to the F1 paddocks. He does this because his real agenda will be more practical, but hard nonetheless for some teams to swallow. In comparison to the stupid ideas given in the article, it may be easier for teams to agree to allowing less wing, or only one motor per weekend.

2) I think racial prejudice against Schumacher is more rampant in Europe than here in North America. Most of Europe have historical reasons to not care for Germans. But North America has not been bombed, or over-run by Germans, as has some of Europe. So I don't think it to be much of an issue on this side of the pond.

The real problem is team orders.
After the French GP, where Michael won the drivers championship, Ferrari continued to race under team orders.
Then, after Hungary, where Ferrari clinched the Constructor's Championship (which is of secondary importance at Ferrari), Ferrari continued to race under team orders.

What is most distasteful is to recall Ferrari's slight of hand tactics at Monza and Indy. Rubens victory at Monza was a gift from Michael. As Rubens came out of the pits from his 2nd pit stop, he came out just ahead of Michael, and therefore won the race. But when browsing the the lap and time charts aftwards, I saw that Rubens came out ahead because Michael slowed his pace down by ~2 seconds on that particular lap. I double checked the video, and Michael was running that lap by himself in clear air, w/out having to lap anyone.

I remember some people crying and pleading for this type of racing after Austria, but it is still the same result, only w/the slight of hand illusion in mid race. I find it more distasteful than running balls out, and then implementing team orders at the end of the race as Rubens did at A1. At least we got to see them race balls out...

At Indy, the race pace itself was a team strategy. Though they walked away from the rest of the field, the two red cars were not at full pace. Michael confessed this aftewards. So, while some fans were surprised and dissapointed w/Michael's attempt at the classic Le Mans/Daytona side by side photo finish, I was wondering why Todt does not let these two great drivers go at it with hammer and tongs out there?

3) Larryg is correct in pointing out that changes to the cars to allow them to run closer together through medium and high speed corners will greatly improve the show. For most of this season, behind the Ferrari's the rest of the teams run pretty tight. Minardi may bring up the rear, but they are not often lonely. Mark Weber has been in some excellent dog fights w/Jaguars, Toyotas, and other cars w/poor race day set-ups. And in the middle of the pack, there have been some excellent battles for the last point or two at almost every race.

When one can watch those battles, the problem is apparent at many of the tracks where straights are preceded by medium or fast corners. F1 cars are losing too much downforce when running under the rear wing of a competitor. So they are not able to get a run out the last corner going on to the straight, and beat the opponent into the turn at the end of that straight...

Perhaps taking away some wing, and giving back some mechanical grip with slicks would help. I don't know, but whatever it takes to allow F1 cars to run nose to tail in medium speed corners would be worth considering.

4) Finally, I've seen the idea kicked around of removing tire manufacturer competition from F1. After this season, I would have to agree. Every racer knows that the tire is most critical part of the car... It is more admireable to watch a victor who was won with the same tire as his competitor, than it is is to root for Michelin or Bridgestone to bring a better compound than the other to the track for the weekend. I would not miss tire wars if they should go away...

Last edited by OnTheGas; 10-11-2002 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 10-11-2002, 01:31 PM   #21
alfaguy
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FIAT, Ferraris parent company is currently in serious financial peril. This week, they laid off over 20% of their domestic workforce!

Even thought the Ferrari/Maserati division is an autonomous unit and not part of FIAT Auto itself, I can't help but think this may reduce the Ferrari budget in the future.

Money may end up being the great equalizer in F1 after all.

But, since F1 is a matter of national pride in Italy in a way us North American's can't really comprehend, I can also see FIAT supporting F1 even as they go down the tubes.
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Old 10-13-2002, 04:37 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by alfaguy
FIAT, Ferraris parent company is currently in serious financial peril. This week, they laid off over 20% of their domestic workforce!

Even thought the Ferrari/Maserati division is an autonomous unit and not part of FIAT Auto itself, I can't help but think this may reduce the Ferrari budget in the future.

Money may end up being the great equalizer in F1 after all.

But, since F1 is a matter of national pride in Italy in a way us North American's can't really comprehend, I can also see FIAT supporting F1 even as they go down the tubes.
I had friends contracting with Ferrari on a project in Italy, from what they gleaned (this is a year ago) Ferrari was financially solvent, and was taking no funds from Fiat.
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Old 10-13-2002, 04:49 AM   #23
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ooh! we can all vote now on how we feel about different changes to F1: http://www.formula1.com/vote/improve/vote.html
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Old 10-13-2002, 10:45 AM   #24
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When FIAT goes belly-up and is bought out by GM (God help them) or VW, Ferrari has the right, per their agreement when "amalgamating" with FIAT, to become a separate identity not to be included in any take-over/merger. They could, if they wish, sell themselves to Toyota or Fuji Heavy Industries

Ahh...the new boxer 12 WRX.

Last edited by HoRo1; 10-13-2002 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 10-26-2002, 10:55 PM   #25
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It's a good step in my opinion. Like what a lot of people said, winning in F1 comes down to spending cash. More money means more engineering time which leads to a better car.

If F1 takes serious steps to balance out the playing field, it can make the sport much more interesting to watch. NASCAR thrives on very balanced vehicles that are heavily regulated and you still have dominant drivers (Jeff Gordon).


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