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Old 05-05-2004, 10:21 AM   #1
cvalle-sd
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Thumbs down F1: The end of an era - Teams fall in line with new rules for '06!

From Autosport, naturally - I started a new thread because it's essentially a done deal now, the only question is how badly the technology of the sport will be gutted.


Formula 1's team principals have fallen into line over Max Mosley's proposals for a revolution in the sport at a summit called by the FIA in Monaco today.

The rules aimed at reducing costs and making the sport more entertaining have been met with widespread acceptance by the teams and 95 percent of them are expected to be ratified in time for 2006, two years earlier than expected.

However Formula 1's engine manufacturers must attend further meetings starting with one at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend in order to thrash out a definitive set of technical regulations.

At present the choice is between a long-life six-race 3.0-litre engine based on current specifications or an all-new 2.4-litre V8. Either way they have tasked to reduce costs by 50 percent. They also have to decide whether they will resist the introduction of standard ECUs until 2008, automatically banning traction control, or whether this will become part of the 2006 regulations to be ratified at the World Council meeting on June 30.

In summary the meeting decided:

ENGINES

Discussions to take place over size of engines, with change expected to take place from 2006

Standard ECUs will be mandatory from 2008 and discussions are now taking place about whether these can be introduced for 2006

TRANSMISSION, BRAKING AND STEERING

Agreement that the ‘least expensive solutions' to be implemented as soon as possible for braking, steering and transmission

The return of manual gearboxes has been rejected because the current semi-automatic units are more economical

Standard brake discs, pads and callipers will be introduced as soon as possible

CHASSIS

The weight limit reduction could be greater than the proposed 50kg because of the increased weight loss caused by the loss of heavy electronic systems

Discussions have taken place about reducing the number of electronic sensors on the cars and the possibility of introducing a standard data logger

SPORTING

No spare car as it is currently known will be allowed – only a spare monocoque in a pre-packed box

Cars will be held overnight in parc ferme and teams will be allowed to adjust the car but not rebuild it

The creation of new championships, like engine manufacturer or constructors with more teams is open for discussion

A ban on tyre changes in races could happen by 2005

A dramatic reduction in testing will be imposed – to the extent that teams will no longer need to run second test teams alongside their race outfits

The FIA has instructed the teams and Bernie Ecclestone to come up with a better qualifying system to replace the current format

Tender to go out to tyre manufacturers for a single tyre supplier by 2006. The tyre width will be reduced at the front and increased at the rear – with slicks most likely returning

GENERAL

The teams are open to the idea of no restriction on the sale, loan or exchange of chassis and components between teams or new entrants, but require certain guarantees about not devaluing Formula 1 or their own teams' financial situation

Unanimous voting on short term technical rule changes to be replaced by majority voting

There will be no new Concorde Agreement to replace the current one, which runs out at the end of 2007

For the full story on F1's rule revolution read this week's Autosport magazine on sale Thursday.

I guess if it helps make the sport more viable AND more competitive, I'd be optimistic...but none of the other major changes they've made recently have done what they were supposed to. Certainly it will cost less to run teams. My cynical 2/3rds say that the timing is also intended to spare Schuey from having to lower himself to the new spec. Surely he'll be out of the cockpit by '06.
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Last edited by cvalle-sd; 05-05-2004 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:09 AM   #2
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I know they have to control the spending, but I hate to see this. I understand that if things continue the way they are there would soon only be 3 or 4 teams. But at the same time I don't wanna see spec racing. To me, seeing the top drivers in the world lapping the most advanced racing machines on the planet is the allure. I don't care if there's only 2 lead changes and they both happen in the pits. It's worth it to see those guys driving those cars at the speed that they do. And the technology is part of that. I want to see them lapping at speeds that look like they should fly off the track but don't. Not crawling around like Champ Cars.

My $.02
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Old 05-05-2004, 11:54 AM   #3
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What they don't seem to get is that the budgets of the big teams will not change. They'll just find other ways to spend the money. So, you reduce the cost of the cars by $200, bringing then down to the $1.3 mil each range and cut some of the tech staff that no longer have positions because they are no longer needed because of the standard parts and reduction of testing (teams will still find a way to do on track testing, even if it's not on tracks that are on the F1 calendar). For private testing, the teams can still run all the sophisticated data analysis and data gathering electronics even if they're not allowed on race weekends (Common practice in NASCAR), so no money is saved there, and the list goes on. Not being able to change tires is a safety issue, and I don't see that happening.

The net result of these changes is that it allows the teams with bigger budgets an edge because they have the resources to adapt to the new rules packages quicker. If you look at the results of the championships after major technical changes over the last 20 years or so, McLaren, has won every champoinship that I can think of.
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Old 05-05-2004, 12:05 PM   #4
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They need to mandate dumber engineers, maybe.
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Old 05-05-2004, 12:09 PM   #5
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Testing is going to be something they'll talk about in the future...they're going to put limits on it so teams like Ferrari can't have 4 drivers testing their cars at the same time.

Reducing the costs will bring more teams in, which is a good thing. Having privateer teams with nothing to lose (ala arrows) will help the sport. The top teams will still spend a lot of money, but not as much as they are now. The one engine a weekend rule has meant that people engine manufactuers have saved a ton of money in just the material costs.

And I don't understand why people keep on thinking that these are the most advanced cars in the world. They aren't. The F1 cars from 93 where, with active suspension, abs, etc.

Also, with the decreased weight, I think speeds will stay where they are. Taking 50kg out of a 600 kg car is huge, losing more will help things along much better.
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Old 05-05-2004, 12:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by kfoote
What they don't seem to get is that the budgets of the big teams will not change.

I agree completely. The money will still be spent. Just elsewhere.

Quote:
Originally posted by StuBeck
And I don't understand why people keep on thinking that these are the most advanced cars in the world. They aren't. The F1 cars from 93 where, with active suspension, abs, etc.
Yes they were more advanced in those aspects. Because it was allowed. If it were allowed today they would be amplified that much more. Those cars were no where near as aerodynamically efficient as the modern machines. But it makes the same point, taking away technology. I'll revise my statement to: most advanced racing machines currently in action on the planet.

I don't think changing the machinery will change who is at the front, or the level of competitiveness in the smaller teams. Not in the slightest.

Last edited by donjuan; 05-05-2004 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 05-05-2004, 12:22 PM   #7
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...especially when 50kg is seen as the "lower end" of what the weight reduction could be. If they really do go to the 2.4L engines, it could be quite a bit more.
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Old 05-05-2004, 12:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by kfoote
What they don't seem to get is that the budgets of the big teams will not change. They'll just find other ways to spend the money. So, you reduce the cost of the cars by $200, bringing then down to the $1.3 mil each range and cut some of the tech staff that no longer have positions because they are no longer needed because of the standard parts and reduction of testing (teams will still find a way to do on track testing, even if it's not on tracks that are on the F1 calendar). For private testing, the teams can still run all the sophisticated data analysis and data gathering electronics even if they're not allowed on race weekends (Common practice in NASCAR), so no money is saved there, and the list goes on. Not being able to change tires is a safety issue, and I don't see that happening.

The net result of these changes is that it allows the teams with bigger budgets an edge because they have the resources to adapt to the new rules packages quicker. If you look at the results of the championships after major technical changes over the last 20 years or so, McLaren, has won every champoinship that I can think of.
I wonder, however, if there is going to be some mechanism in place, like the salary cap in other sports, that fixes total per team cost at a set amount. There will also a testing reduction agreement in the new setup.

Oh, and in 1994, a major technical change ("stripper" F1 cars) saw the ascendancy of one Michael Schumacher in a Benetton, who ruled the roost for two years.

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Old 05-05-2004, 12:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by gtguy
I wonder, however, if there is going to be some mechanism in place, like the salary cap in other sports, that fixes total per team cost at a set amount.

Good in theory, but not remotely possible.
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Old 05-05-2004, 12:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by gtguy
Oh, and in 1994, a major technical change ("stripper" F1 cars) saw the ascendancy of one Michael Schumacher in a Benetton, who ruled the roost for two years
There was one other event early in the 94 season that contributed to that immensely...
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Old 05-05-2004, 12:56 PM   #11
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Change is good. Things will shake up for at least a little while. I think it's bold and exciting that F1 is willing to change up the rules every so often, unlike another roundy-round series that has been using the same formula for 30+ years.
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Old 05-05-2004, 01:00 PM   #12
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Well, I'm glad I'm going to Montreal this year to see the cars at their peak. End of an era...
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Old 05-05-2004, 01:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by StuBeck
Testing is going to be something they'll talk about in the future...they're going to put limits on it so teams like Ferrari can't have 4 drivers testing their cars at the same time.
The problem is that there is no way to logistically do this. FIA can put limits on the number of test days on F1 tracks, but there is no way to stop testing on non-FIA tracks, especially at somewhere like Fiorano or Mugello, both of are owned by Ferrari

Quote:
Reducing the costs will bring more teams in, which is a good thing. Having privateer teams with nothing to lose (ala arrows) will help the sport. The top teams will still spend a lot of money, but not as much as they are now. The one engine a weekend rule has meant that people engine manufactuers have saved a ton of money in just the material costs.
The issue is that it doesn't reduce the total amount of money spent. You will still need a $100 million+ budget to be anywhere near competitive.

Quote:
And I don't understand why people keep on thinking that these are the most advanced cars in the world. They aren't. The F1 cars from 93 where, with active suspension, abs, etc.
I'll agree to a point. there were more gadgets on the 1993 cars, but for perspective the pole lap time at the last race at Imola was faster than the '93 cars ran without two of the chicaines. And this is lap time, not speed. The track is longer now, too. The big improvements have come in aerodynamics, as mentioned earlier, tires, brakes, and transmission.

Quote:
Also, with the decreased weight, I think speeds will stay where they are. Taking 50kg out of a 600 kg car is huge, losing more will help things along much better.
Personally, the weight reduction is a rule change I don't get. If they want to slow the cars down, they should make the cars heavier, not lighter. The cars will always have ballast in them, because the engineers design the cars to be as light as possible so they can use the ballast to lower the center of gravity of the car, and have it as another handling adjustment if necessarry.

I'm all for change every once in a while, but change to reduce costs simply doesn't work.
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Old 05-05-2004, 01:10 PM   #14
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Good points already in this thread.

On a lighter note, this thread makes me think about what the F1 teams could produce if they just let them go wild. Slicks, abs, active aero and suspension, all the traction gadgetry. It would be impressive. Of course you'd have to have g-suits on the drivers
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Old 05-05-2004, 01:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by donjuan
There was one other event early in the 94 season that contributed to that immensely...
I'm as much of a Senna fan as anyone, but straight up, Schumacher beat him every race that season, until Imola. It was mostly to correct the McLaren wins after every major technical change statement.

Your salary cap thing is a good point. Hell, they can't even police in sports that play along. This is why I hope they don't start outlawing exotic materials for engine construction, etc.

Kevin
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Old 05-05-2004, 01:26 PM   #16
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Oh, I think what people mean with F1 cars being so technologically advanced these days is that even though they don't have all the active suspension, etc, that they had in 1993, they are revving higher, shifting faster and making more power per liter (normally aspirated) than at any other time in the sport's history. Braking is more impressive, as are aerodynamics and ultimate speeds.

Kevin
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Old 05-05-2004, 01:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by gtguy
I'm as much of a Senna fan as anyone, but straight up, Schumacher beat him every race that season, until Imola. It was mostly to correct the McLaren wins after every major technical change statement.
Yes he did, and obviously it would have been a great battle. I just meant that had Senna been there, one or both of those championships could have been different. But you could argue that forever and there's no point

Agreed about McLaren.
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Old 05-05-2004, 02:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by ShockWave
Change is good. Things will shake up for at least a little while. I think it's bold and exciting that F1 is willing to change up the rules every so often, unlike another roundy-round series that has been using the same formula for 30+ years.

...
change is only sometimes good
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Old 05-05-2004, 02:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by kfoote
The problem is that there is no way to logistically do this. FIA can put limits on the number of test days on F1 tracks, but there is no way to stop testing on non-FIA tracks, especially at somewhere like Fiorano or Mugello, both of are owned by Ferrari
That is why the FIA is going to have mandated ECU's, you can only run your car at certain times, otherwise it won't work.
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Old 05-05-2004, 03:03 PM   #20
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I posted the spirit of my thoughts in the other thread.

Maybe I'm being dumb about it, but I still don't see how you can possibly have a "standard" or "universal" ECU for a series that has a dozen different motors in it, with a dozen different designs.

Are we going to get spec motors too?

Boy won't that be fun.

Why bother having F1 be separate from F3000. Looks like these cars will have spec tires (close enough), spec motors (close enough), no high-tech materials in the important places (bakes).

About the only place allowed innovation is aero, and if the cars keep getting faster that'll be sabotaged too (more than already).

Seriously, why not take an F3000 car, give it twice the HP, and paint it different color for each team. If you really want to save costs, that's the only way to do it. It will be lame and weak, but at least honest.
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Old 05-05-2004, 03:15 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by StuBeck
That is why the FIA is going to have mandated ECU's, you can only run your car at certain times, otherwise it won't work.
If Max Mosley personally came and took the ECU out of the cars after the race...it would not in the slightest stop Ferrari from having their car on track at Mugello or Fiorano on Monday.
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Old 05-05-2004, 03:25 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by StuBeck
That is why the FIA is going to have mandated ECU's, you can only run your car at certain times, otherwise it won't work.
That doesn't mean that you can't run the car without an FIA approved ecu though...

Most of these changes are a joke, IMO. Glad I'll be at the USGP the next 2 years to see them in all their (current) glory before the series becomes spec, like F3000...
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Old 05-05-2004, 04:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Arioch
That doesn't mean that you can't run the car without an FIA approved ecu though...

Most of these changes are a joke, IMO...
Chances are if some of us on a Subaru message board have come up with ways around the potential rules changes, you can bet that at least one of the 100+ each employees at McLaren, Ferrari, Reanult, BAR, Toyota and Williams have come up with similar ideas. In theory, it's a great idea, but it's impossible to police. Say that the FIA states that you can't test an F1 car anywhere and they have the means to police it (very bigh theoretical jump), you may suddenly find these top teams building SCCA Regional unlimited formula cars that resemble their F1 cars remarkably closely. They probably will never make it to sale because they still won't have worked all the bugs out and want to make sure it's perfect for sale in the US, but they will keep developing them until they get them right.
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Old 05-05-2004, 04:37 PM   #24
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every time you get a major technical change you get statements like "glad i can go see them in all their glory this year". I remember saying the same myself when Ferrari ran a V12 for the last time. Dont worry, the sight and sound of an F1 car is going to blow you away despite all these changes, they always have and they always will. The only certainty right now is things have to change, otherwise there will be no F1 in a few years.

The reduction in weight is being made for safety reasons, because there is a lot of concern right now about what happens to the balast during a crash. Most balast is placed in the floor plank that is bolted to the bottom of the tub, so there is big potential for injury, especially in the spectator areas with this quantity of heavy material bolted into place in that plank.

Semi auto box retention was always going to be the case, because manual shifter boxes cost more to maintain and reduce reliability. A computer doesnt round off dogs or miss gears that could potentially blow the engines.

Standard brakes doesnt mean they get steel brakes, it just means they all get the same kit from either AP or Brembo, who are the only two suppliers. The fact that AP and Brembo are now owned by the same company means its no loss to marketing for this company should a spec brake become part of the rules. Carbon brakes are safer, especially in failure situations, so i expect carbon carbon will be retained.

Spec Tyres are the big contentious issue here IMHO, because tyre companies dont want a spec tyre series. The only time tyres get mentioned in a spec tyre series is when they fail, bridgestone and michellin have nothing to gain from a contract to supply F1, they both may pull out.

Engines wise, i can see them retaining the V10 as its the most reliable config, going to a V8 introduces poor harmonics, plus all the current R&D on the V10's would be wasted. It's not a case of just chop 2 cylinders off the V10 to get a good V8, which is where the FIA's 2.4 V8 comes from. We already have a ban on advanced materials in the engines, Ilmores (Mclaren Mercedes) loss of performance can be pretty much atributed to this because they were the most advanced users of berillium alloys in their engines, which was banned a couple of seasons ago because it's carcernagenic when in dust form, which it turns to when an engine expires or whilst machining.

Spec ECU's is a piece of cake to introduce, all they have to do is ask the engine manufacturers what input and output requirements they have and produce the hardware and software around that.

Testing bans are a piece of cake to police, all you need is a tracker system asigned to each chasis, and each chassis produced has to be FIA inspected. It's harder than you think trying to hide an F1 car, cheating on the testing ban should recieve a 2 season ban, that will stop it dead in its tracks.

If they do ban tyre changes, i am sure they will write into the regs an allowance for changes in certain circumstances such as blow outs. The tyres being run will have to be fairly hard anyway to last a race distance and with a spec tyre they could make it twice as strong as is needed, performance drops down the priority list, which again is why a spec tyre series isnt what the tyre manufacturers want.

I wouldnt be all doom and gloom, F1 is still going to be awesome to watch and certainly wont be anything like a spec series in the same way NASCAR and CART virtually is.

For me it's all pants anyway after CanAm died a death, now they were proper race cars with proper engines.
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Old 05-05-2004, 04:59 PM   #25
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How are you guys seeing this as a spec series?!

Everyone will be designing and building their own engines. Whether V8 or V10, the engineers will still be working on the same things; power, weight, longevity and profile.

Spec ECU's is hardly an issue. Lot's of us have been complaining about traction control and launch control. Standard ECU's are the only way to ensure you get rid of these two things. These ECU's will be configurable to support any engine design, just like off the shelf stand-alone ECU's like Motec do today. What's the issue here?

Aerodynamics are still open. Huge R&D is involved here and it will become even more important as power drops.

Decreasing front tire width and going back to slicks is fantastic. A smaller front tire contact patch will increase braking distances, allowing more passing. Hey, what a novel idea!

No tire changes during a race means harder compounds means less grip. Combined with no traction control, lighter weight and less downforce, we might be able to see these guys fling their cars around the racetrack again!

Most of what has been accepted will be good for the sport. This is nothing like a spec series proposal. I'm looking forward to the changes.

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