Ron Dennis, McLaren, 2012

Ron Dennis pays tribute to Neil Armstrong

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Ron Dennis, McLaren, 2012In the round-up: Ron Dennis talks about how Neil Armstrong, who died on Saturday, inspired him.

Ron Dennis on Neil Armstrong

McLaren group executive chairman Ron Dennis had this to say about the late Neil Armstrong yesterday:

I was saddened to hear of the death of Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon.

The achievement of Armstrong and his colleagues remains perhaps the single most iconic triumph of scientific ambition, against all odds, that the world has seen. It was, and is still, truly inspiring.

It certainly inspired me. In 1969, when Armstrong took that famous ‘one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’, I was a 22-year-old motor racing technician. But Armstrong showed me, and many others like me, that in our own small way we could also dare to try – and ‘dare to try’ remains a McLaren mantra to this day.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Third marriage for Ecclestone (Crash)

“F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone has married for the third time, committing in secret to Brazilian fiancee Fabiana Flosi at a ceremony in Switzerland.”

A sneak preview of the F1 2012 game (James Allen on F1)

Codemasters creative director: “Sometimes I think the hardcore community think we are trying to dumb down the game or turn it into an arcade game, but the commentators on TV are always explaining these things and that?s what we are trying to do. It?s more of an accessible game.”

The number 1 track in the world (F1elvis)

“The punishment which hurt most and to be honest, still hurts now, was being excluded from the world constructors’ championship of 2007. Many within the team, myself included, felt incredibly angry that in a year where we had a real chance of winning the ??team? championship, something we hadn?t done for almost ten years, the stupid actions of one or two individuals had taken it away from us all through no fault of our own.”


Comment of the day

Are tickets sales for the Belgian Grand Prix really that poor? @Spawinte has this to say:

I don?t believe those poor tickets sales stories either. I was there in 2010 and the place was rammed come race day.

If they are true it?s because general admission prices are very bad value for money. Views of the track are blocked by trees in many of the most spectacular places or just limited viewing space. They?ve got so much open ground at the track that they?re not making use of.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Vettelfan, Pemsell and Monosodico!

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

Jack Brabham won the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport 45 years ago today in tricky wet conditions, followed by his team mate Denny Hulme.

As was so often the case in 1967, Jim Clark led to begin with but his Lotus suffered a technical problem – this time it was electrical in nature.

Here’s footage from the race:

Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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  • 62 comments on “Ron Dennis pays tribute to Neil Armstrong”

    1. I’ve not played any of the new Codemasters game, and I understand a racing simulator doesn’t sell well, compared to arcade games like Need for Speed and all those, but…

      for a game that’s designed for F1 fans FIRST, and then the casual gamer, it really doesn’t do justice to make it more arcade-ish to simplify things. They should have both ends: the arcade and the hardcore simulator, not something in the middle.

      Everytime I watch a youtube clip of the game, there’s something that itches me. It’s just not right.

      1. Money talks I guess, and Codemasters will say they have the core crowd in mind but will try to expand the appeal of the game as far as possible, regardless of the effect it will have on the F1 fans. I have F1 2010 and having played 2011 a bit I didn’t think there was much point buying it. 2012 looks like more of the same, so any time I get the itch I’ll just boot up 2010!

        1. I think 2011 was a big improvement. Having said that, might be a different ball game for PC.

        2. I thought 2011 was a far better game than 2010.

          However it does now seem that Codemasters are going down the arcade route a little too far. Dirt 3s rally stages were absolutely brilliant but I have no idea what the point of the Gymkhana stages were for, i know they do appear on some real world events but I don’t buy rally games to **** around in a car park! Then to make things worse the following version of dirt is practically Dirt3s Gymkhana levels only!

          I also hate codemasters stupid load screens, it just takes agens to get through the menus as they load the game as you go through the menu system, it may be clever on a technical level but it is annoying as a gamer, I would rather fly through the menus and then wait for the game to load.

      2. There were previous Codies games that had both styles of driving for example Toca race driver 2 & 3, and other motor-racing franchises like MotoGP08 which had a fun simulator mode. Codemasters are just making excuses, tweaking the driving is one the last things on driving games development, all the force feedback options etc but it isn’t always straight forward, it’s a try and error process, and i think they just can’t afford to lose time with supplying a simulation style of driving because that would be very hard to combine with the already very complex AI.

      3. I think the real thing that has been missing, is some kind of “tutorial mode/ engineer help” where the gamer can get advice on how to get more out of the car. So be shown how to get the most out of their tyres (how to save them but still drive fast, maintaining temperature). or if they’re slower in sector 2 then be given suggestions of set-up changes that might help, this way they can get more of an understanding of car set up which when you do progress to the harder difficulties (especially with a steering wheel), becomes a big part of the game

      4. Codemasters have removed cockpit view from Grid (because “only 5% of users want it”). I wonder how long before they decide to do the same in F1 games.

        The fall off in overall quality between 2010 and 2011 was palpable both visually and in terms of those things that a real fan would want. I only see this going downhill over time.

        1. @scratt

          The fall off in overall quality between 2010 and 2011 was palpable both visually and in terms of those things that a real fan would want

          I consider myself to be a “real fan” of Formula 1. However, I was dumbstruck by the sheer-sided learning curve of F1 2011. It is one of the most singularly-difficult video games I have ever played, and I found the game incredibly difficult to get into – harder, even, than Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty with its convoluted storyline and notorious mid-game protagonist switch. Ultimately, I was forced to return F1 2011 to the store I bought it from because my system was unable to handle the graphics, though even if it had, I probably would have returned it anyway because of the extreme difficulty.

          As a “real fan” of the sport, I can safely say that I approve of Codemasters’ newfound approach that emphasises accessibility over raw simulation. I want to share my sport with the world. I want people to see and experience Formula 1 the way I do, and I think that video games are one of the most-perfect mediums to do just that. But making the games ultra-realistic simulations will only alienate newcomers to the sport, and it feels selfish to boot. People won’t appreciate a difficult game just because it is an accurate reflection of reality. You can hardly expect them to, either.

          But what would I know? I’m just a “real fan” of the sport.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys Do you play on a PC? I have never thought that racing games did well on PC. They are the better platform for shooters and strategy games, but racers are definitley more natural to play with a pad.

            I have a racing wheel myself, it makes the F1 games far easier. I actually thought the difficulty on F1 2010 was harder. I beat both games to 1000G(xbox) but I really didnt like 2011, it was such a step backwards.

            Codemasters said in an interview on youtube (can’t remember who it was with) that they would never make the proper hardcore sim game that the core fans want, and for that reason I’m not buying any more of there F1 games. It seems clear enough that they are more interested in selling to ‘anyone’ rather than the real race fans. That might fly for the first couple of years, but like with 2012, in my instance, I will not be a repeat buyer. What reason is there for the casual gamer to buy the next in the series? The games are more or less the same afterall. It’s the CORE fan, the ones who want the hardcore sim that would repeat buy time after time, but Codemasters has iscolated them out saying they wont make the game they all want! :(

            1. By the way, when I say ‘real race fans’ I mean racing game and simulator fans, not ‘real’ fans of Formula 1.

            2. @nick-uk – Yes, I played on a PC. But I also had a USB controller made by Microsoft that was basically a 360 controller for the PC.

          2. @prisoner-monkeys from what I’ve been hearing, the difficulty of the f1 games seems to vary between platforms and what type of controller is used. I’ve had some people complain that the game is really easy, whereas I personally feel that it’s really challenging with AI on legend and driver aids turned off

            1. That’s with Logitech steering wheel on ps3

        2. I love cockpit view! Makes me feel like proper racer and gives a far better perception of speed. Getting sick of the number of gamers complaining that the game’s too easy but are too lazy to race with “driver’s-eye-view”

      1. Hell, I’d marry the man if he asked.

        1. I’d be happy if I was alive at 81!

      2. She’s not a gold digger! She doesn’t work at all.

        1. If she saw him on the street wearing a worn trench coat and holding a brown paper bag with a Whisky bottle in it, she’d probably still be right in there ;-)

    2. 81yr old billionaire marries 35yr old brazilian woman? Now there’s true love

      1. COTD material for sure :P

      2. So what? Firstly, why are people suddenly obsessed with “true love” and why does that concern you? Second, you are jealous of his money.

        1. I dunno… Something about marriage being about love or something…

          As opposed to long term prostitution…. which it effectively is in this case.

          1. Are you the arbiter of who should and shouldn’t marry? And what makes you think this is a case of prostitution? Many girls and women (35 is after all a grownup) enjoy the company of older, wiser men.

            1. His previous wives obviously weren’t so keen.

            2. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
              27th August 2012, 14:52

              He’s so old he can use his knee caps and testicles as a newton cradle.

      3. One of those relationships based on fear. He’s afraid of loneliness and she’s afraid of poverty…

        1. to the point, sounds like a solid reason to get married to me.

      4. I can’t doubt if its love or not, but she must have one eye on the sand clock.

    3. I’m sure @Vettelfan would be pleased to know that he shares his birthday with Mark Webber today :p

    4. ““Sometimes I think the hardcore community think we are trying to dumb down the game or turn it into an arcade game,”

      only sometimes?

      “but the commentators on TV are always explaining these things and that’s what we are trying to do. It’s more of an accessible game.”

      repeating a mistake doesn’t make it right. any more excuses?

      just come out and say it: you would not be happy with the financial results from a sim game or anything not directly ported from your primary platform (xbox) and that’s why your games are the way they are. i would respect your decision. what gets no respect is claiming to be something it’s clearly not, and doing a crappy job at that. i am done with your products.

      1. just come out and say it: you would not be happy with the financial results from a sim game

        There is no market for realistic simulators these days. I don’t know why people seem to think there is. Sure, hardcore fans might like it, but those hardcore fans seems to be under the impression that if you make the game a dedicated sim, audiences will flock to it. The biggest fans of the series like it, so that must mean everyone will, which is just patently wrong.

        1. No market? Then how SMS can bulit one using fans money? Codemasters made mistake by taking console crowd as a target for their games, they should take F1 crowd as a target. :)

        2. I think you are wrong here @prisoner-monkeys. You just need to scale back a bit and be more efficient with the resources. They have made two highligh successful games, they have the tracks made, the visulas and weather sorted. All the have to do is redo the physics, a very challenging job I don’t doubt but so much of the game is already made that the costs of making a sim can’t be that substantial. If a tiny independant studio can make a game like The Witcher 2, one of the most in depth and complicated RPG games out there, and sell it very well on a small budget. Then a big company like Codemasters can do the same. I don’t think the Sim fans want a game out year on year, just one that they can play to death.

        3. To be quite frank, I was appaulled by F1 2011 and Codemasts clear lack of effort. Tyre degradation for example was based on a timer, not how you drove the car. Once the race started you could just sit on the line and your tyres would slowly go orange. It was a pathetic effort! Especially when tyre degradation has been the core element of the Pirelli tyres. If Turn 10 can do real time degradation then there is no excuse, it’s not something that can’t be done.

          1. @nick-uk I didn’t know that about the tyres, oh dear :/

          2. Once the race started you could just sit on the line and your tyres would slowly go orange

            Wow if that’s true then I’m shocked! I’ve spent so much time trying to alter my driving so that i can be quick but try to preserve my tyres, then wonder why I suffer so much more with tyre wear than the AI drivers, to find that I may as well not have bothered and gone out all guns blazing. Stunned

    5. Bernie needs to take some advice from Kanye West (there’s a first for everything…) “now i aint sayin’ she a gold digger”…

      1. It makes a change from Bernie being the one trying to take everyone elses money.

    6. Re COTD:

      I was also there in 2010 and I was also surprised by the fact that attendance was lower than needed to break even (something like 55.000 people in attendance versus 70.000 required). We entered the circuit at 8:05 (official opening time 8:00) and our plan was to watch the race from Kemmel. Unfortunately, even from the entry at La Source we could see the Ridge of the grass bank Kemmel was fully occupied. Sure enough, when we arrived at Kemmel after a 15-minute walk, a neat row of seats stretching the entire length of the straight reserved all the best locations, and we were forced to dig our fold-up seats into the slippery slope (it had been raining that weekend, of course) of the grass bank.

      I don’t agree with the opinion that general admission is poor (value for money) at Spa. Especially on Friday and Saturday it’s great to be able to walk around the track and being able to watch the action from about every corner on the track. On Sunday it may be best to watch the race from a grandstand position, but there are still plenty of good GA-positions, although you may have to be at the circuit early to get the best view.

      I haven’t been to any other Grand Prix (since Nurburgring 1985 anyway) so I don’t know what GA is like at other tracks, but I did read that Canada hardly had any good spots, and I’m sure there are plenty of other tracks where you are forced to buy a more expensive grandstand ticket.

      1. I was another person there in 2010, and it was my first GP since Silverstone ’99. Having since been to Monza and Montreal in the past to years I have to say that the general admission at Spa is the best I’ve experienced of those circuits I’ve been to. There was even less available at Monza and the best bits were heavily defended by the Tifosi. General admission seemed almost non-existent at Montreal, but thankfully we’d done our research and made the effort to get grandstand seats.

        I think that whilst perhaps Spa does well for overall numbers of attendance they may struggle to bring in as much revenue by simply having not as many grandstand seats they can sell at a higher price than other circuits do. Although I think they’ve recognised this and charge more than other tracks for their general admission tickets they must still be losing out there I reckon.

    7. It looks like even Ecclestone got bored of the summer break!!

    8. Love F1Elvis! It’s something I would love to read from each team. I also like the Horse Whisperer but that’s something else.

    9. I just heard a very interesting – and, I stress, unverified – report that in the past few weeks, Robert Kubica carried out a secret test at a circuit in France with (drumroll, please) … the Ford World Rally Team.

      I’m trying to track down a fuller account of this, but it is proving very difficult because my Polish is non-existant. I do, however, know that Ford were testing in France prior to the Rally of Germany because it is the first true tarmac event of the season – the Rally Monte Carlo is a mixed tarmac and snow event – so a lot of teams tend to hold a test before the event.

      1. Found it!

        And it’s not just rumour, hearsay or supposition, either – this comes from the team’s technical director:

        “Solberg, Latvalla and mysterious driver, who doesn`t want to give more publicity to his collaboration, drove on Circuit des Ecuyers. This driver has some experience on asphalt – he came at his own expense and worked great. During our first contact he told me that he is not sure if he will be physically able to drive but he did good job” – said Ford technical director, Christian Loriaux.

        I found it at Robert’s Comeback blog.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys Wow, that would be one hell of a story!

      2. Do you have a polish link for it too @prisoner-monkeys? Not that I am perfect at Polish, but its not hat different from Czech, so I manage to get most of it with a little help.

        I saw Joe Saward also put that story on his blog now, making it several sources who cited this now. I guess with him living in France, he got to the story from his sources there.

        1. Do you have a polish link for it too @prisoner-monkeys? Not that I am perfect at Polish, but its not hat different from Czech, so I manage to get most of it with a little help.

          I’m afraid not. I heard it from someone in Poland, but they seem to be going off reports from France, so we’ve sort of gone full circle.

          1. Yeah, found one from Poland now as well, although he did not have a direct confirmation from Ford about Kubica being there yet, pointing to mainly French sources and a couple of hints from Germany.
            Saward seems to have Kubica confirmed from someone (he would be stating that differently if not). Interesting none the less, and makes me hopeful we might really see Kubica returning to racing.

            1. I have to wonder whether Kubica isn’t considering rallying full-time, or at least part-time. I don’t think he’s going to come back to Formula 1, but rallying is feasible because his arms won’t be restricted by the cockpit the way they would be in a Formula 1 car.

              If he did switch to rallying, I have no idea who he would drive for. Ott Tanak and Evgeny Novikov haven’t really lived up to expectations at M-Sport this year, but they do show flashes of potential, and when Tanak in particular can keep it on the road, he’s on fire. Perhaps M-Sport could run a third car for Kubica next year, as they have done for Ricardo Trivino and will do for Matthew Wilson this year. Or he could get a seat with Adapta WRT if Mads Ostberg gets promoted.

      3. The rumor supposedly came from the French, (original source)
        and then was forwarded by French Eurosport

        Polish info is derived from the above.

        1. Thanks for giving the links to the French sources @cyclops_pl, that second one offers exactly what would be the original for the Ford quotations mentioned above.

      4. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        27th August 2012, 15:03

        that is great news what ever happens next.

    10. Glad to see Ron Dennis get Neil`s first words right, In an age of pointless celebrity the passing of a true legend is always a sad day, and dont forget NASA gave us the flame proof suit that drivers wear to this day.

    11. Great blast from the past. McLaren, Amon and Hulme… probably only a few countries can say they have had 3 drivers of that quality represent them in a single F1 race (Britain at many points obviously including the aforementioned race, Germany now, Italy in the 50s, maybe France in the late 70s). It’s sad then that New Zealand hasn’t had a driver in the top flight in my lifetime.

    12. Nice tribute to Neil Armstrong. I think a lot of the scientific community (and F1 of course!) have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to innovation and daring.

    13. I went to see my first proffesional race event at the weekend. Round 7 of the BTCC at Knockhill. The racing was as expected from touring cars, pretty close and physical – so very entertaining. So I’ll focus on what really made BTCC a great weekend for me, getting to be in the paddock!

      There is so much going on in the paddock that you don’t know where to look, seeing a Ginetta car or a shiny chrome Porsche Cup car in it’s garage for the first time is exciting! As is dodging a quad bike pulling a train of tyre-trailers, seeing the pit babes, watching a smashed up Porsche getting taken off the rescue truck and placed outside it’s garage. The smell of rubber from Dunlop’s tyre centre, the strong Champagne smell that lingered after the podium ceremonies. Mechanics swearing when they worked on the cars, and seeing ITV4’s versions of Lee McKenzie and Ted Kravitz running about the BTCC garages interviewing he drivers all added to the atmosphere of the paddock.

      It really added a whole dimension to my enjoyment of motorsport, it was great to see all the stuff going on in the background that doesn’t always get picked up on TV, and the racing wasn’t bad either – I’d really recommend a BTCC event as a cheap way to get to see what goes on in a proffesional race event.

    14. Seems Candian website got a bit of real journalistic work in between many reposting of old news from others – might not completely new either, but here is Penske Engineer Nigel Beresford on that one test Senna did with them.

    15. Imagine her surprise when she finds out he’s wealthy, too!

    16. I come to this website for the cars, not to hear about Gollum’s marriage.

    17. How sad…

      Looking at the responses to the three main subjects on this column made me realize how sad it is to see how important video games have become in our lives. Potentially the most famous human in history as an explorer , certainly more so than Christopher Columbus, is pretty much ignored by F1 fans who find codemasters games more important than the passing of the first man on the Moon.

      I find it disturbing how self centered this generation has become.

      Remember Neil Armstrong represents what humans can do when in the pursuit of knowledge and the curiosity of the human kind can accomplish. Instead of feeding money into a war machine that does little to alter the destiny of all of us, men chose to seek a path that enrichens all of us and shows that when the people of Earth pursue these endevours we are all richer in spirit for their efforts.

      One small step for codemasters, one giant leap for F1 fans… pathetic

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