Monday, 2 January 2012

Splash & Dash: What would you change in F1?

Imagine for a moment that you had the combined influence of the FIA, FOM, FOTA, GPDA and Mr E. What would you change in F1?

All comments are invited but in the meantime here are some of my thoughts:

Scrap DRS... the moveable rear wing that is designed to be an overtaking device is a gimmick. Formula 1 is a sport and does not need gimmicks. Racing in 2011 was sufficiently enhanced by the new Pirelli compounds and the reintroduction of KERS. There was no need to add the free pass that is the DRS. The concept of having variable downforce is not offensive in itself, but limiting the use of the system to following cars only distorts the racing to the point of being farcical. Adding a second DRS zone only makes the joke complete by allowing the pass made in the first DRS zone to be undone by a subsequent pass in the second DRS zone. The solution is to either free up the use of DRS by allowing all drivers to use it equally or scrap it altogether.

Focus on fuel efficiency by adopting the suggestions below. Increased fuel efficiency is critical to the future relevance of F1 and is directly relevant to road car technology. Increasing fuel efficiency for F1 cars means that the cars need to carry less fuel at the start of the race and this has flow-on benefits to acceleration, braking distances, cornering speeds and tyre wear. All this adds up to faster lap times.

1. Reduce the total weight of car back to 600kg rather than continuing to allow the car to blow out like a 1st year uni student to 640kg from 2012. This makes fuel weight a higher proportion of the weight of a fully fuelled car thereby creating greater balance, handling, tyre life and weight advantages to the most fuel efficient car and engine combinations.

2. Free up engine development to allow the engine manufacturers to improve weight, economy and performance but continue to limit the number of engines for each car over the course of the season.

3. Free up use of Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) with unlimited amounts of energy harvesting and energy release. By not limiting the use of these technologies, the development of various ERS technologies is bound to ensue. These technologies are road relevant and smart teams can capitalise on their IP in the same way that McLaren Electronics and Williams Hybrid Power have used their technologies for commercial success. The key restriction on the use of ERS should be that the car has no stored charge while the car is in the pits. This would ensure that the focus is on energy recovery rather than on energy storage sourced from the local electricity grid. Also if the car has no stored charge while it is in the pits, there is a much reduced chance of members of the pit crew being shocked or electrocuted.

Your thoughts?

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