Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Marina Bay, 2012

Lotus aim to recapture earlier form

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Marina Bay, 2012In the round-up: Lotus technical director James Allison says the team need to bounce back from their recent slump in the remaining races.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Ready for Redemption ?ǣ Japanese GP Preview with James Allison (Lotus)

“If the race was in isolation then I think we could say ??it was just a bad race, let?s put it behind us?, however it was the third in a sequence of uninspiring performances and therefore something that we need to arrest to ensure that we make the most of the six remaining races this season and give ourselves a little more of the bounce that we had earlier in the year.”

Perez-Sala open to customer cars (Autosport)

“‘From my point of view it’s a good idea if a small team manages to have at its disposal a better car than what it could build without spending more, or maybe by even saving something,’ [HRT team principal Luis Perez-Sala] told Autosprint.”

India GP targets long-term success (Reuters)

Jaypee Sports International managing director and chief executive Sameer Gaur: “The commercial proposition is such that you can’t hope to recover it in a couple of years. You have to look at it from a long-term view. Maybe five to seven years, that’s the time when one should be looking at breaking even.”

Marussia chief warns 2014 engines ‘threat to the sustainability of the F1 grid’ (James Allen on F1)

Marussia team president and sporting director Graeme Lowdon: “Uncertainty over engines for 2014 […] is potentially one of the biggest threats to the sustainability of large numbers of the teams on the grid, and that really shouldn?t be the case.”

McLaren’s 50 Greatest Drivers (McLaren)

“Born 23 years apart almost on opposite sides of the world, Bruce McLaren and Ayrton Senna made gigantic contributions to a Formula 1 team which left a dynamic mark in the sand thanks to their inspirational qualities. It may be tempting to name Ferrari as the most famous and versatile of racing companies, but McLaren?s enterprising and up-to-the-moment activities surely make it as tantalisingly varied as any other company of its type anywhere on earth.”

PW drives Toyota F1 (Peter Windsor via YouTube)

The Inside Line – on Sauber?s Kamui Kobayashi (F1)

“Q: What?s your favourite smell?
KK: The smell of women”

Ex-F1 driver takes part in Brackley Soap Derby 2012 (Bicester Advertisers & Review)

“Slim Bourgudd, who had short-lived F1 career in 1981, came from Sweden to take part in the event and won the ‘Best Prepared Soapbox’.”


Comment of the day

As drivers are now sent target lap times to slow their speeds as soon as rthe safety car is deployed, @TheJudge13 asks if the safety car is still needed:

The safety car could be abandoned for a lot of circumstances and the cars just drive to a reduced delta speed

We waste at least a couple of laps forming up behind the safety car (after cars dart into pits), now more time as the lapped cars unlap themselves “when deemed safe”.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Pankit!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

James Hunt won the 1976 Canadian Grand Prix and closed on championship leader Niki Lauda, who failed to score.

Patrick Depailler and Mario Andretti joined him on the podium as F1 raced at Mosport for the last time.

Image ?? Lotus F1 Team/LAT

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  • 62 comments on “Lotus aim to recapture earlier form”

    1. “The smell of women” Haha classic from Kamui.

      I now have this mental image of him running around the paddock yelling “WOOOMAAN!” like Animal from the Muppets!

      On a different note, there seems to be a lot more news lately on the huge amount of money teams will have to spend on the new engines in 2014. Why are the powers that be intent on cutting costs on one hand and yet believe that teams and engine manufacturers should shell out fortunes on the development of new units? If it leads to a costly, prohibitive barrier to entry for prospective engine suppliers and teams then it can only be a bad thing for the sport and diversity of engine suppliers.

      1. I don’t understand all this talk about the cost of new engines, the energy recovery systems might be an open ended spending opportunity but the actual engines can’t possibly cost the kind of money that is being talked about, your local hot-rod shop could build you one for a fraction of the prices suggested in these stories.

        Exotic materials are banned
        The format is tightly controlled
        Fuel flow is limited
        The engine control computer is standard
        Max RPM is reduced to 15,000 rpm
        Turbocharging will reduce the need for perfectly tuned intake/exhaust pulses.

        A quick look at at a 1000cc, V4, 18000rpm, Motogp engine will tell you almost everything you kneed to know
        , add 2 cylinders and a smidgin more bore, increase cooling capacity and combustion chamber size for the forced charge and you should be ready to race! OK there will be other things to strengthen due to higher internal pressures etc. but any good engine man should be able to do it, the only major custom parts would be the block, heads and crankshaft castings.

        1. I think you’re underestimating the complexities added by, in order of your post’s points:
          – the need to work with the energy recovery system;
          – designing to 3d party (ie. FIA) imposed restrictions in addition to
          – the need to design to a non-proprietary ECU;
          – harmonic reflections and their effect on power delivery and turbo performance which will make intake and exhaust tuning even more critical rather than less;
          – adding 2 cylinders. And a turbo. Which also has design limitations;
          – the need to propel an additional ~500kg of weight plus fuel over a MotoGP bike with, for all intents and purposes, comparable acceleration and far superior cornering;

          In addition to which, no road car engine is designed to actually function under the G-loads F1 cars experience. Otherwise simple things like oiling it suddenly become a problem. And the tolerance levels necessary for the performance they are squeezing out of these engines are simply prohibitively expensive to manufacture for “any good engine man” or “your local hot-rod shop”, let alone for any but the extremely wealthy to buy.

          If it was as simple and relatively cheap as you make it out to be, people would be running riot in the streets with their 1.6 liter turbo’d Civics screaming at 15k rpm.

          But don’t take my word for it. Just consider this: don’t you think all of the teams would be building their own engine if they thought they were being ripped off and could do it for (significantly) less money than they are having to buy their engines from the 3 engine manufacturers?

          1. I think you are overstating the problems, firstly;
            The restricted design format means you do not need to explore all the other possibilities, ditto the ECU. I’m sure the engine manufacturers are up to date on dry-sump lubrication and merely need to carry it over. You know as well as I do that in order to have acceptable piston speeds at 15,000 rpm. you need a very oversquare bore/stroke ratio which is what prevents 1.6L Honda road car engines from operating in double digit thousands of rpm but may I remind you that back in the eighties BMW built 1000HP+ F1 engines using the block casting from their 2l. 4 cyl road cars de-stroked to 1.5L and turbocharged, a 1.6L V6 deveoping 750-800 HP should be a doddle, @raj.

            1. @HoHum
              The problem is, they have all these restrictions and still need to hit performance targets. They’re given a 10m bit of string to tie two items together 9.5 metres apart. Easy. But then they have to tie in about 50 different items on the way with all the resulting knots and loops obviously taking away quite a bit of length. Not quite so easy any more. BMW built that engine with no such restrictions. They could tie in, or leave off, any bits they liked and use additional pieces of string if they wanted.

              Again, if as you say, the engine manufacturers are making a meal of this and it were possible to meet performance targets within the FIA constraints for significantly less money, every single one of the teams would be doing so. You are simply wrong.

        2. your local hot-rod shop could build you one for a fraction of the prices suggested in these stories

          That’s a pretty naive statement if you think that it’s so simple to build an F1 engine. These are highly optimised, high stress machines. The Maruissa story above suggests that Mercedes have poured 200 million euro into the development of new engines. Teams don’t want to spend that much developing new engines, but the expense cannot just be written off as simply as you have done.

          1. Coventry-Climax, Ilmor, Cosworth, Hart, were small engineering concerns that built F1 engines, they did not have 200m. to spend. With rpm reduced from 22000 (V10) to 15000 no research will be needed for valve construction and actuation, the fuel system will be common to all. Tomorrows 1.6 Turbo will not produce more horsepower than the 1.5 Turbo of 30 years ago, so where is the money going?
            The energy recovery systems is the answer, not the internal combustion engine.

            1. @hohum The point you just made is “F1 used to cost less”. The sport has changed so much that the comparisons from thirty years ago to now seem unfair.
              There are many avenues into which the money can be pumped, although I agree the energy recovery systems are probably quite costly. While the output may be the same as in the past there are so many other considerations (reliability, electronic complexity, fuel efficiency, durability of certain parts, weight ect.) I doubt many local hot-rod shops will be supplying teams come 2014.

            2. @colossal-squid, My point is that this engine format is “dumbed down”, the electronics are in a ready-made package, power output and rpm restricted to less than in the past so durability should not be an issue and there will be no radical design opportunities, just as it is today there will be minor differences in performance but design restrictions should ensure that no engine is vastly superior. The power recovery systems are another matter, compare the price of the Chevy Volt with the Cruze on which it is based for an example.

    2. I’m not a huge fan of the 2014 front-wing look. Reminds me of GP2/GP3 for some reason.
      I much prefer the front wing McLaren had on the car for the Canadian Gp.
      As usual with these design changes in F1, I’ve grown accustom to the ‘stepped-nose’.

      1. I’m not a huge fan of the 2014 front-wing look. Reminds me of GP2/GP3 for some reason.

        That’s just a generalised picture by Scarbs designed to highlight how the rule changes will affect the look of the cars.

        If you look carefully, he’s got a silhouette of the 2012 design superimposed over it to further highlight the differences. It is a picture he has used in the past, but you’ll notice that it has a nose step, and that the tip of the nose is actually higher than the step itself, which is something none of the teams did.

        1. you’ll notice that it has a nose step, and that the tip of the nose is actually higher than the step itself

          No it isn’t, it’s a flat plane, as led by the rules the drawing exists to illustrate.

        2. I’m also pretty sure it’s flat.

        3. but you’ll notice that it has a nose step, and that the tip of the nose is actually higher than the step itself

          – that is not true @prisoner-monkeys, the nose is completely flat on top there to comply with regulations, its an optical illusion that it seems to be pointing upward.
          But you are right that the 2014 nose is not an actual design but Scarbs adaptation of current parts to fit with the rules for 2014 to show the difference between then. I must say I like it (brings back memories of older cars for me)

    3. Great F1 news day.

      I hope Lotus can recapture their form. James Allison seems to be pushing for more wheareas it seems to me that Eric Boullier is happy with where the team are in the constructors championship.. EB doesn’t seem to want Kimi to win at all costs.

      I love Kamui’s quote, he tells it like it is!

      “Q: What’s your favourite smell?
      KK: The smell of women”

      I agree!

      1. it seems to me that Eric Boullier is happy with where the team are in the constructors championship.. EB doesn’t seem to want Kimi to win at all costs

        Boullier does want to win. He’s not deliberately tying Raikkonen’s hands. His problem, however, is that he is far too conservative in his management of the team. He knows that if one of his drivers is third on the road, then that is a realistic outcome. They could push for first or second, but they would need to do something daring with their strategy to make it happen. The downside is that it’s a big unknown, and where it could net them two extra places, it could also cost them twelve places if they get it wrong. Boullier is unwilling to take that chance. We’ve seen it all season long: of all the teams on the grid, Lotus have consistently had the most conventional, predictable strategies. That’s Boullier’s influence showing through. To him, holding onto what the team has is enough; risking what they have for the sake of more is unacceptable.

      2. EB doesn’t seem to want Kimi to win at all costs.

        He had Raikkonen’s team mate pull over for him in the last race, what more do you want?

        1. I don’t want him to act any different at all. I’m happy that Kimi’s in a competitive position and RG will move over to help him try to win the WDC.

          I was just telling it how I see it – I think James Allison is behind Kimi more than Eric. If it doesn’t negatively effect Romain or Kimi then the team are managing the drivers brilliantly.

          Like Prisoner Monkeys suggested Lotus haven’t tried any risky strategies but in their position I can understand why and it’s easy to work out the better strategy with hindsight.

        2. That was pretty obvious, unless he did not want Kimi race for him next year :)

    4. schumacherF1Team
      3rd October 2012, 0:52

      Customer cars will kill the sport, for sure. It may look all great in the beginning, as we could see the caterhams, marussias and hrts in midfield almost instantly, but it attracts the wrong kind of people to come form teams in F1 – the ones that are not passionate about racing, like frecklestone, those that are looking for a fast buck and a quick bang, like Rich’but-stingy’hard Brandson.

      Meeting half-way, a better solution would be to allow a 3rd car from the top teams, and we can then focus attention on a certain mr.Dave richards!!

      1. I disagree, if the rule stabilised a little a team could run last years McWillarri and know what lap-times their driver should be able to achieve and then work to catch up to the constructors new car, better racing lower cost.

        1. Which ignores that the sport is about constructors as well as drivers. It’s a competition to see who can build the best car, not just race one. There are plenty of other racing categories for you to watch, this is a constructors category.

          If customer cars interest you, then Indy Car might be your thing.

          1. @dvc, you misunderstand me, to have customer cars available you must have constructors, I do not mean an off-the-shelf car for everybody, merely that the top teams should be able to supply 1 other team with last years car, with or without an aero-package.

            1. Well, that’s a little better. That is what Indy Car used to be, and what F1 was in the very early days.

            2. What happens if regulations change? How do they use the previous years car then?

    5. As others, I enjoyed so much Kamui’s “The inside line” article… The other quote I laughed at was:
      Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home after a race?
      KK: I wash my clothes. I don’t have a huge selection of clothes so whenever I get home I immediately wash my clothes. Sometimes I then have nothing for the day after. (laughs)

    6. The Inside Line – on Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi (F1)

      “Q: What’s your favourite smell?
      KK: The smell of women”

      Marussia team president and sporting director Graeme Lowdon: “Uncertainty over engines for 2014 […] is potentially one of the biggest threats to the sustainability of large numbers of the teams on the grid, and that really shouldn’t be the case.”

      I really wish the engines V6 project will get dropped…
      That´s not very japanese…
      It will be a chame if Kobashi is let go at the end of the year…

      1. I really wish the engines V6 project will get dropped…

        It won’t. The teams have already agreed to the new engine formula, and the manufacturers are investing millions in them as we speak. There is absolutely no way they will be abandoned because of all the waste it would cause.

        1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 3rd October 2012, 2:52
          I really wish the engines V6 project will get dropped…

          It won’t. The teams have already agreed to the new engine formula, and the manufacturers are investing millions in them as we speak. There is absolutely no way they will be abandoned because of all the waste it would cause.

          @PM’s right. The engines are here to stay and I was chatting to one of the Renault engine guys at the hotel during Barcelona testing this year, and in his opinion the cut in revs will make a marginal difference in total noise – the sound may be fuller and less pitchy – but he said people who use ear plugs now will still need them then.

          The idea is to attract in the longer term more engine manufacturer’s as a V6 is more in line with stuff they already make – which in turn will reduce costs.

          So I think the answer is for the Todt and FIA to stick a short term green tax of 20% on the commercial right’s holders revenues next year. It is of course for the long term benefit of the sport – and these dear partners who “INVEST” in F1 would surely understand :)

      2. It would be a shame if he gets let go. He hasnt had the rub of the green this year. The fact that Perez has got twice the amount of points he’s got, doesnt make good reading either.

        If you look at the stats, Kamui and Perez have only finished 6 races together, at they have finished ahead of one another 3 times a piece. The fact that Perez made those 3 stoning drives in Sepang, Montreal and Monza…has really put Kamui in the shade.

        He seem to have changed his driving style a lot. We hardly see his “banzai” moves anymore, which is sad, because he is a natural racer, a one of the best overtakers we’ve seen in a while..what happened? It looks to me he is taking a more clinical approach to driving now, his maturity is evident.

        Kamui has put some super qualy laps, but Sauber’s race pace has been very inconsistent. However, he was deprived of a potentially great result at Spa.

        I will be surprised if Peter Sauber lets him go… Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn reckon he’s doing well.

        1. I’m pretty sure that KK is the driver who has been most affected by the 2012 spec. tyres, they just can’t take his chuck it around style of driving.

    7. jameshuntleydavidson
      3rd October 2012, 1:21

      Saw a tweet today from comment of the day author that made me chuckle. @thejudge13 Ecclestone Lawyers offer cash to settle bribery case.

      beyond irony!

      1. Offering money to settle a bribery case?

        We need to go deeper…

      2. Bribery and Germany goes hand in hand, just ask Siemens. It was a nature of doing business, until recently.

        There is nothing special in this situation, another media stunt aimed at Bernie. Grave diggers :)

        1. Yep and that’s why theirs a guy called Gribkowsky serving nearly 9 years inside for getting caught – according to the judge that sent him down it was the mercurial Mr. E on the other end of the deal.

    8. YES to the CotD!

      I’ve been saying exactly this verbatim for about 5 years now! Maybe Keith just doesn’t like the long winded way I express the idea. :( Doesn’t matter though, so long as this gets attention. The SC is anti-sport, with a full course speed limit we could maintain the gaps between drivers while debris is cleared. Double waved yellows and a local speed limit can be used around the incident (as if it is road work) if absolutely necessary, but if the track is actually blocked the race is supposed to be red flagged anyway.

      1. @dvc
        The idea of the safety car is not just reducing the speed, but to close the gaps between cars, so they occupy a shorter section of the track. This gives the marshals more safety and enough time to clear it. Without the SC the sessions would be always red flagged and I dont think it would be better.

        1. If the cars are going slow enough they can be funnelled through a 1 lane piece of track while debris is removed to the other side, then the cars don’t have to be bunched up.

          We often have a road work speed limit on the freeway where workers have a lane closed off. That’s what we’re aiming for here.

          We absolutely must eradicate the artificial bunching up of the cars. If we’re not working toward that then we’re not serious about true competition. Personally, I’d even prefer added times to the current situation.

          1. That last paragraph is nonsense. Safety cars are part of the challenge of racing, along with tyre stops and all the rest. If you want to just watch cars go flat-out with no other consideration, we already have that. It’s called drag racing.

            1. No, it’s not part of the challenge of racing. It’s artificial, and was introduced as a stop-gap. F1 was just about the last category to introduce a safety car because it was recognised that it was anti-competition.

              Why go flat out at the front to get a lead, using your fuel up faster, using your tyres up and risking damage if a SC incident can come along and wipe out your advantage handing it to someone who had driven steadily?

              And drag racing doesn’t have corners. I’m primarily interested in how car manufacturer’s can build cars that go around corners best.

      2. It’s a nice idea but overlooks the main function of the safety car, by getting all the cars nose to tail the track is clear of cars for a couple of minutes allowing the track-workers to get out there and do what needs to be done.

        1. So, what about when a few cars pit, and then drive round at the delta time catching back up to the train. How do the marshals get the job done then?

          The theory you guys are outlining is fine, but in practice you can clear the track without the gap. If the cars are going 40 km/h at the scene of the incident it doesn’t matter that they are F1 cars, work can be carried out safely.

          1. Forgetting the fact that these cars aren’t build to drive a few laps at 40km/h. Even behind the safety car they are going 5 times that speed. Cars would just overheat at that speed.

            1. That’s why they should only be doing 40 km/h at the site of the incident, and more like SC speed on the rest of the track.

      3. One of the advantages of bunching everyone up behind the safety car is that marshals working on the track get a clear road for a couple of minutes at a time. If the cars just slowed to an agreed speed limit, you would get cars streaming past the scene all the time, impeding the marshals and probably making the overall caution period last longer.

        1. Longer than letting everyone unlap themselves takes?

        2. I see the same point has already been made above, twice…refresh before posting.

      4. @DVC Don’t worry I was quite long winded when I wrote about it te day after Singapore

        The main points though are as follows:

        1) Safety was adoopted formally 1993 with 1980’s technology.
        2) We have the technology today to remote control the cars DRS systems, their top speed can be limited too.
        3) We could control the cars only for the affected portion of the track
        4) Allowing the cars to drive at full speed around sections of the track not affected by incidents would more than likely prevent certain incidents like the Schumacher Singapore crash – tyres and brakes will be kept up to temperature.
        5) Some people have become addictied to the ‘excitement’ the safety brings – and this I can understand if you started your F1 viewing during the Schumacher/Ferrari era. I prayed every race for a safety car, but these days we have DRS, KERS, tyres that don’t last a million miles (Ferrari Bridgestones) the gap reduction fuinction of the safety car is just unfair to those who may have just made their strategic pit stop. And if you truely understand the nuances of the race and strategy as it unfolds it leaves you feeling robbed – I did with Singapore. Vettel may well have struggled at the end and Button had more laps on fresher tyres – instead a procession.
        6) Pit lane crew have cars hurtling at them at 100kph (I think generally) no barriers etc,
        7) Marshalls are now working before the train is assembled (often a few laps).

        Bernd has had a good run – and Mercedes get some great kudos from their cars being the SC, but we have the technology to eliminate the SC and its time to use it.

        1. Yeah, thanks for elaborating, you’ve made some good points.

        2. When 2 cars come together, they leave carbon fiber shards spread all across the racetrack. Sure, the marshals can jump in and pick up bigger pieces at the edge of the track, but how would you propose they sweep up the tiny pieces in the middle of the racing line before all the cars get flat tires, without bunching them up? I just don’t think it’s safe to send the marshals and their brooms out there and hope the drivers miss them.

          1. Watch the next safety car incident, jumping in and picking up the larger pieces is not what the marshals do first. They attend the cars regardless of their position to assist the driver(s).

            As @DVC said, when we get to track clearance it just requires the cars to be marshaled to one side of the track whilst they clear the other, then a lap or so later, marshal the the cars to the other side if necessary and complete the job.

    9. Kobayashi is officially a legend.

    10. I think the 2014 model looks alright. Less ‘abrupt’ than the alternative.

      I can’t get behind the idea of customer cars. Why bother competing at the very top of motorsport where you are free to develop your own car to only use somebody else’s? Yes, I’m aware that it is financially much tougher to fund your own vehicle and while I do believe in looking after the little guy, we needn’t turn them into a charity case. Budget restrictions and RRA as well as reducing costs of engines are much better and competitive solutions.

    11. Another important life-event for Peter Windsor occurs at Paul Ricard.

    12. I’m thinking that with the lower noses planned for 2014.. A lot of the teams may opt for the ‘walrus’ nose that Williams had on the fw26..

      The only thing that bugs me is low noses and smaller engines.. Don’t we already have a GP2/3 category……

    13. Have to say well done to Keith with the video embedding and how it helps fans to understand what various seats will be like when deciding on going to a particular race venue.

      I’ve been to certain races 2 or 3 times before I’ve got a good idea of what the best vanatge points are. Its just another example though of F1’s lack of thinking about its fans. Why do the circuits/FOM not produce such videos on their websites – still that’s a vain hope, some of them can’t even provide decent car parking instructions, nearest train stations and other basic information – or its in a stupidly poor resolution PDF that when you expand, it becomes a blur.

      I’ll try and dig out some of my video of various views from various tracks tonight and post it to help anyone who is considering spending lots of money for a grandstand seat.

      Having said that the advent of FanVision means the race seat is not quite as important as it was and at 65 Euro’s for the 3 days, well worth it (if there’s 2 of you take a headphone slitter and spare set of headphones).

      Another Whinge and point of note – why was charging 3 days GA for Monza on its site nearly twice the price as on the gate and the gate tickets were not being sold below the printed face value.

    14. Live testing of the Bloodhound SSC!

    15. “HRT support customer cars”

      Translation: We have no idea what we’re doing.

      The new teams are such a HUGE shame for the sport. 3 years and NONE of them have scored a single point… They should never have been allowed in the first place. Damn politics…

    16. So do the fifty greats from Mclaren mean drivers no longer with them?

      1. Oh and before someone comments, yes I saw the no current driver tag…but Kimi is a current driver and is still on the list.

    Comments are closed.