Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Catalunya’s turn three could be flat-out – Vandoorne

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In the round-up: Stoffel Vandoorne tips the Circuit de Catalunya’s challenging turn three to be flat-out with the 2017 F1 cars.

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Our poll this week has been on whether F1 should embrace a more American-style championship structure to ensure the title fight goes down to the wire. Here’s two opposing views:

Before I was an F1 fan I was a NASCAR fan. I have loved NASCAR and attended eight races since 2006 and have seen its steep decline since 2012 due to its leadership making horrible changes year after year. Tracks have taken in some cases 50% of their grandstands out as crowds don’t show up anymore.

If Liberty changes the format in F1 to what NASCAR has that WILL, hurt this sport possibly kill it. NASCAR in 10 years will be irrelevant. No one will watch and crowds will be down to 35,000 at some tracks. Liberty should do research on this.

Clash of American and European sporting cultures. American sports almost always use the playoff approach to decide who the champion is. European sports tend to favour league-style sports in which you accumulate points as you go along, and whoever has the most points at the end of the season is the winner. Ever wondered why football has not made much professional headway in America, and why American football bores the rest of us to death?

If F1 is to conquer America, it has to look at playoffs, ugly as they sound to most of the rest of the world. And Liberty are calling the shots now…

Have your say on the debate and cast your vote here:

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On this day in F1

Minardi launched the M197 on this day 20 years ago. Ukyo Katayama and rookie Jarno Trulli began the year as the team’s drivers.

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  • 56 comments on “Catalunya’s turn three could be flat-out – Vandoorne”

    1. 728 kg… that’s a lot.

      1. I really do hate the road Formula One has taken. Urrgghh

      2. I guess that’s what you get when you make the cars and tyres bigger again @fer-no65. The 6 kg added is solely due to the bigger tyres.

        So that means that despite the extra width of the car body and front wing, the rest of the chassis will not change, in effect making it a lower density (weight / volume) :-)

      3. It is blowing out of proportion really. All the talk about safety and then they make the cars heavier, well, that won’t help.

        1. with that said however. For us it won’t matter really

          1. They want tyres that will last more beating, and than they deliver that beating with weight

            1. I do not belive 6Kg means much compared to the extra downforce.

        2. I think you people are confused about something. The cars aren’t that heavy. FIA wants them to be.
          The cars always use weight ballast to reach the weight the FIA wants.

    2. So now the cars are over 100kg heavier than they were just over a decade ago.

      1. Now even heavier than an Indycar.

      2. This is a good thing. It makes for longer braking distances and more opportunities for proper passing.

        1. Except that braking forces are expected to be higher this year (by around 25%) and with increased aero braking distances will shorten in 2017. http://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/analysis-teams-split-as-f1-2017-braking-forces-go-up-by-25-percent-869021/

      3. @stigsemperfi I do agree that it is time to start thinking about cutting weight (as long as it doesn’t hurt taller drivers, as we have seen in the past)

        However I don’t think it is a fair comparison with the cars that we had a decade ago, where there was no batteries putting on the weight.

        If we are to maintain the current formula, the weight cutting should come from better battery technology, smaller and more efficient devices.

        looking through the years, I think the lighter the cars have ever been was in 87, at 500kg, in 88 they increased the minimum weight to 540kg. If we jump to 2004 the minimum car weight had increased to 605kg (123 kg difference from today, without any sort of heavy batteries). In 2010 the cars minimum weight goes up to 620 (albeit to accommodate the kers system even though FOTA agreed not to use it). In 2011 it increases to 625kg, due to the mandatory use of the kers. Couple of years later and the minimum weight increases to 642kg (due to tyre specifications). In 2014 originally the minimum weight was 691 kg, but it was increased to 702 kg (introduction of the hybrid PUs), which for the taller drivers created a challenge to meet a target weight. Now it is increased to 728kg, because the cars and tyres are bigger (we should have however a better weight distribution).

        Throughout this years we had re-fuelling periods as well, but I don’t think that matters, the minimum weight is just calculated by adding the car + driver. Or at least it is how they do it this days.

        1. @johnmilk thanks for posting. i seem to remember reading that they even had a maximum weight limit in the very early days (i.e. in the 1930’s).

          as for the minimum limit, i think they should work it out based on power to weight ratio. mid-2000s they had around 800hp and a weight of 600kg so the power/weight ratio was ~1300hp-per-tonne. the mid-1980s turbos on full boost probably had over 2000/tonne. now, depending on the engine, it’s around 1000/tonne. that’s a significant difference in terms of how hard a car is to handle.

          i realise torque comes into it (as well as aerodynamics and tyres and myriad other factors). but power-to-weight has always seemed like a good marker of performance, a good top trumps category, if you will.

          1. Ultimatley lap time is the performance measure and 2016 cars would lap an 80’s turbo car with the so called mega power to weight ratio a few times a race. 2016 cars were a lot faster than 90’s 600kg cars. 2017 cars will be heavier again but lap times maybe the fastest ever. If weight is cut tall drivers will suffer. Today they have all the batteries but who cares if they are a net benefit to laptime, thats the whole point of F1, being the fastest.

        2. welcome @frood19

          to correct my previous comment, I said the re-fuelling era wouldn’t make a difference, but it does, without refuelling you need a bigger tank a longer cars, so that will have some effect in the weight.

          The only problem that I see with heavier cars, and the tendency to increase even further their weight it is not related to performance, as you say a better indicative would be the power to weight ratio. We could have a potential problem however with safety, if you have a car at 728kg aqua-planning at 100km/h, the energy involved in a impact would be quite higher compared to a car that weights 625kg (and this was in 2011, not so long ago) at the same speed. This comes from a sport that is constantly trying to improve safety, making the all thing a bit contradictory. From now on they should start pursuing ways of decreasing the weight.

        3. Car weight up to mid 90s was without driver. After that they started to count the driver weight in as well.
          Car weight in 2011 was 640 kg. 642 in 2013.

          1. thanks @juzh that explains the jump to 2004

            and thanks for the correction, I might have read that one wrong

    3. In regards to the cotd. Josh has really hit the nail on the head.

      As someone that was heavily into Nascar and just following F1, the playoff system that Nascar has implemented has ruined the series as far as Im concerned. Due to this I have now flip flopped from just following F1 to being invested more seriously into it, while my time spent watching Nascar has gone to almost zero. In racing there are too many variables to have a play off system and have it work properly. If you have one small mistake at the right time and your entire season could be ruined, where as during a season long championship this small mistake can be overcome.

      Now if F1 could get some of the parity among teams that Nascar has they would really have something going.

      1. I’ve never considered playoffs fair…

        A driver who has been consistent throughout the season and leads a championship by the end of it is the winner, full stops!

        To put a play off situation at the end of it all which may allow a driver who has not driven consistently through out the season a chance to win, just doesnt seem right. In a team game, maybe things are slightly different, an injury doesn’t necessarily bring an instant loss, which a simple puncture could mean for a championship leader. Also add into the factor of different circuits offering different passing opportunities (Monaco against Silverstone), whereas at least NASCAR mostly runs ovals.

        To bring a comparison, you only need to look at last season.

        Rosberg scored consistent points through out the season and won the championship. Hamilton won the most races, but, due to inconsistent points and a mechanical failure, failed. Had the last 4 races of the season become the ‘play off’ series Rosberg’s consistency would have meant nothing.

    4. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      3rd February 2017, 1:36

      I’m sick of F1 pandering to the USA. We should have a complete and total shutdown of all future USA GPS. Let’s ban them. We will build a wall around the F1 world to stop USA and do you know who’s going to pay for it, they are.

      1. Having a bit of a problem today? I dont see whats wrong with trying to grow the sport in a big market like that. If it can help the sport over all i dont see why anyone can see a problem with it. Some of us Americans on the left or right coast of the country would love to be able to one day see a race and leave the magic of F1 that many other places around the world know alot. Politics should not find their way into this and as an American its really offensive. We dont complain that half the races are in Europe with in all is about the size of the United States. Maybe you are trying to be funny but you failed to me. I just have been seeing alot of anti American stuff on this board lately. We dont do the same stuff back to you guys.

        1. Maybe you are trying to be funny

          I think it’s pretty clear he was joking. No need to take offence.

        2. Some really good points there Rick, especially ” We dont complain that half the races are in Europe with in all is about the size of the United States.” Now, I’m a Canadian, and I think that we should have way more races here, because we are so much bigger, and bigger is better, and biggest is best, just like the dinosaurs… ;)
          I thought that any one from a country that just voted in Trump would have a better sense of humour.

          1. Bad analogy man. The dinosaurs failed to survive exactly because they were big.

      2. A beautiful wall ?

      3. Make F1 Great Again

      4. spafrancorchamps
        3rd February 2017, 11:03

        COTD lol!

      5. I knew we weren’t truely rid of Bernie…..

      6. Great Trump-Speak,
        Yeah, Let’s build a wall, the biggest of walls, Something to put the the Chinese wall to shame. And from now on it’s F1Fanatic First. The bestest of F1-infotainment.
        I’ll Be back, my a## :)

        1. And Commander in Keith uses the BEST words. In all the words of F1.

    5. Michael Brown (@)
      3rd February 2017, 3:53

      If they keep this up F1 cars will be heavier than the LMP1 grid put together

      1. Does it matter when this years f1 cars may be 10 seconds a lap or more faster than LMP1?

    6. With a Honda engine you’d be flatout.

      1. Hahaha, absolute gem.

      2. Dammit! You beat me to it!

    7. I’m still not a fan of head protection and Halo’s and screens. F1 should be open cockpit. Always. It feels like a slippery slope to a canopy. F1 is incredibly safe now but there is always going to be an element of danger. You have to understand that. It goes against the very fabric of single seater racing. F1 should always be open wheel and open cockpit

      1. This isn’t an attack, but could you explain to me what the problem with f1 having closed cockpits is? Heaps of racing cars have closed cockpits and it seems fine. It’s not like you can see the drivers face anyway, just barely a top of their helmet and tips of their fingers. Seems to me that it wouldn’t be that big a difference compared to what we have now, certainly not as big as hybrid engines anyhow. As a viewer since 1997 I’ve seen many changes to F1, this would be just another one.

        1. I think what he is trying to say is that the open cockpit in F1 is a traditional thing, like it or not, and should remain so. You’ve been watching F1 10 years longer than I, so I assume you know more about the sport but in my humbled opinion, a halo or aero screen wouldn’t suit a Formula 1 car.

    8. About the head protection – halo and the screen.
      I’m no engineer but it seems very obvious to me to me the rear of the drivers head is above both structures – this will in no way protect from an impact from above and might even guide what ever they hit – upside down fence, flying car, flying tyre straight to the back of the head. The structure surely needs to rise to the air intake/Roll over hoop then removing any chance of contact by a flying car or the like…..

      1. It would need to do that. Hopefully a Halo 3 which addresses this is developed in advance of any non-test implementation (even voluntary).

        Of course, a raised Halo 3 would allow more frontal debris in, and could channel mid-size items into the face, so it’s a difficult balancing act.

    9. Not at all impressed by the weight increase but i guess light and nimble has no place when you power your way through with downforce. Flat out slotcar races and when someone finally lose grip it will be straight into a wall like Romain Grosjean in Sotji.

    10. Wasn’t it flat for many years now? I remember taking it flat in 2013 simulator.

      1. Not since 2010.

    11. Not only turn three but turn nine as well as Silverstone’s Copse should be flat out again this year. AFAIK only Red Bull has managed to run the latter two at full throttle, and RB6 is the only F1 car that’s enabled it so far.

      1. Turn 9 won’t be flat. You’d need something like extra 60 kmh corner speed compared to 2016 to go full throttle there and that’s not happening.

        1. @juzh Well, according to Nico Hulkenberg it will be.

          1. He did, but we’ll see how correct he was. In that interview he also said red bull and mercedes were flat trough turn 9, when in fact last time and only time anyone was flat trough turn 9 was RB6 back in 2010.

            1. @juzh
              I think the sole reason why that might not work is the excess speed carried through 7 & 8. That might prove just a tad too much.

    12. Playoffs work in league such as the NBA because they’re a straight knockout tournament only involving the teams that have qualified, the teams out of contention play no role in the post-season and therefore cannot influence the outcome of the championship.

      Whilst it would be nice to see F1 succeed in the United States, the sport shouldn’t have to bend over backwards for the market. Another reason that leagues such as NASCAR, NBA, NFL etc. are successful is because almost all of their events take place in the US. F1 will never compete with those leagues without overhauling the calendar to primarily include races in the US, which would pretty much be the death of the sport in every other continent.

      I also wish to point out that parity is another thing important to American sporting culture. American sports leagues utilise drafts which are fixed to allow the worst teams to pick up the most promising young talent, they also use salary caps to prevent richer teams from buying all the best players available. These all prevent the same teams from dominating their sports for decades likes we see in football, which means we’d likely have to allow for regulations which artificially mix up the field in order to further appeal to the US market.

      1. (Tongue in cheek) I imagine for a moment the team that finishes last get first choice of any driver (they might complain a little about this system) for the following season. You would have to think Manor would have looked a much more appealing prospect with Hamilton and Vestappen behind the wheel…. Next up Sauber with maybe Alonso, Riccardo…. Renualt with Vettel, Hulk? Haas, Torro Rosso, McLaren…. Would make for interesting choices especially near the end…..

    13. People seem to forget that liberty only own the branding and distribution rights. The SPORT is still controlled by the FIA and they will determine the format of racing.

    14. Watched the race from turn 3 in ’13 and ’14. ’13 was a lot better could tell they were slower in ’14. And it obviously sounded a lot better:p

    15. RE. the Nuerburgring comeback idea, I guess is not about the track per se or the country for that matter.
      F1 needs to up the game for the fans who go to the whole weekend event.
      Turn the event into a sound economical advantage for any circuit and you will fill the stands, regardless of the track or the country (well, except those few excemptions which bring their own money into the equation…).

      1. *exceptions

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