Gil de Ferran, McLaren, Silverstone, 2018

New McLaren F1 director De Ferran “older and wiser” since BAR/Honda stint

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In the round-up: McLaren’s new sporting director Gil de Ferran says he’s “older and wiser” since he last held a senior position at a Formula 1 team a decade ago.

What they say

RaceFans asked de Ferran what has changed since his spell at BAR and Honda between 2005 and 2007:

I’m older and wiser. I think we had some success even back 10 years ago. We were able… particularly 2006 was a fairly competitive season, managed to win a race with Jenson [Button] in Hungary in difficult conditions where he frankly drove brilliantly.

[Now] 12 years later I feel personally more prepared. Wiser, more experienced, over the last 10 years I’ve done all sorts of different things including running my own team. I feel ready for the challenge.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

F1 and IndyCar drivers have different attitudes to bumpy tracks, says Richard:

It is interesting to note that Will Power, the current Indy 500 champion, recently said that he likes to compete on a bumpy track because the bumps are one more challenge to which the drivers must adjust with the better drivers adjusting better.

F1 drivers seem to want easy tracks with their cars pinned to the track so that the car does the bulk of the work.

This does seem to point out a major difference between the two circuits. F1 dominated and controlled by the constructors’ skill and (mostly) budget and IndyCar dominated and controlled more by the drivers’ skill and determination.

This gives the viewers a choice: car or driver.

There is no question that F1 cars are more impressive but, it seems more clear each day that the IndyCar drivers are as good or better than their F1 counterparts and the IndyCar drivers need to work harder, compete more and certainly risk more while, for the most part, getting paid less.

To paraphrase: ‘Don’t let your children grow up to be IndyCar drivers…’
Richard (@Rikdi)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 46 comments on “New McLaren F1 director De Ferran “older and wiser” since BAR/Honda stint”

    1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
      13th July 2018, 0:22

      Alborto Ascari… what a man. RIP

    2. Nicely said Richard on the (IndyCar) Comment of the day! It’s the best pure racing on earth.

    3. Comment of the day is simply wrong. F1 drivers have complained about the removal of bumps at circuits before as they like the character of the asphalt at certain, particularly historic, tracks.

      It’s actually funny how Hamiltons argument about the catalunya resurfacing was that it was a waste of money because the surface bumps were removed and reduced the character. But at Silverstone his argument is that it was a waste of money because the surface bumps were kept.

      It squarely points to a Hamilton problem of always finding something to complain about than an F1 driver vs Indy car driver problem.

      1. I agree that the QOTD is mistaken. But your comment is too.

        In Spain, Hamilton is referring to what you correctly say about the drivers not wanting a smoother track, thus putting money into that being worse than useless,because it did ease the track.

        For Silverstone, he’s referring to the job actually done of smoothing the track seemingly just not having been very effective, not about whether it should have been done.

        1. Absolutely right. There is a difference between natural bumps and a surface that rattles your fillings because its been laid badly.

    4. Lets take one quote from an Indycar driver and use that to deduce that Indycar drivers like hard tracks and F1 drivers like easy ones and therefore Indycar drivers must be better.
      F1 drivers enjoy easy tracks such as Spa, Suzuka and Monaco while Indycar drivers love the challenge of all those oval tracks. Those ovals are so difficult that those slower guys in F1 like Alonso could never go there and be competitive on their very first attempt…

      1. @f120-20 I agree, COTD is basically arriving at such a conclusion based on very minimal evidence.

      2. I don’t think Newey can design such a complex car as IndyCar.
        He has designed cars but not that they can turn LEFT only

        1. @prelvu, you might have meant the comment as a joke, but Newey has designed cars for IndyCar – back in the days when IndyCar wasn’t a spec chassis series, but did actually allow for variety in design – and his cars won the Indy 500 and the overall championship in both of the two years he worked there.

          I’d also strongly object to the following line: “IndyCar dominated and controlled more by the drivers’ skill and determination”. To be blunt, it isn’t – the same three wealthiest and best resourced teams (Penske, Ganassi and Andretti) have dominated IndyCar for decades now, and budget and resources plays a far bigger role in the competitiveness of IndyCar teams than the original posters seems willing to admit to.

          It does feel more like the original comment was made by somebody who had decided on his position first and then sought to try and make events fit his narrative.

          1. And yet it got comment of the day…seems the editors made their mind up too before.
            Since the mid 90’s in F1 there has been Williams v Benetton, Williams v Ferrari, Ferrari v McLaren, Ferrari v Williams, Ferrari v Renault, Renault v McLaren, Red Bull v McLaren, Red Bull v Ferrari and the last 2 years Merc v Ferrari and Red Bull.
            Over the same period in Indy Car the contest has been almost exclusively been between Penske v Ganassi. The Andretti Kool cars were hanging around but they were/are losing their start drivers to Penske and Ganassi.
            But Indy is all about the drivers and the teams don’t matter as much…

            1. @eoin16 Comment of the day is not chosen because the editors necessarily agree with said comment. They may or may not. It is chosen because it brings out someone’s opinion that then raises a debate and conversation around here.

            2. @robbie, ostensibly that is the case, but there are times when it feels that Keith has tended to favour those arguments that tend to tie into his particular preferences and uses it as a pretext to push his own views.

            3. @robbie I was agreeing with Anon when he said
              “It does feel more like the original comment was made by somebody who had decided on his position first and then sought to try and make events fit his narrative.”
              This is because it appears that the editors are agreeing with the comment by making it COTD. That is my opinion.
              Plus I have been and active member of this community for long enough and I am old enough to develop my own thoughts. Please remember that the next time you feel t

            4. @robbie hit send by mistake.
              Please remember that the next time you feel the need to tell me how things are “around here”.
              If you want to comment on my post, go ahead. But I definitely don’t need you thinking you can tell me how things are done!

            5. @eoin16 Fair comment. Sorry you mistook my wording for a jab, for that was unintended. I thought I was just making a benign comment, and certainly didn’t mean to sound like I was schooling you. I can see where ‘around here’ put that tone to it. The ‘hazard’ of texting without intonation.

              @anon Also fair comment, and that would be Keith’s prerogative on his site, and he doesn’t take license with it. Overall, nothing prevents anyone from disagreeing with anyone else at any point in time, such is the very nature of what Keith has put together for us to enjoy.

            6. Appreciate that @robbie
              I’ve had a Snickers since then and am a little less sensitive too! Lol

      3. Indy drivers are so successful in F1, and no evidence of the reverse. ;s

      4. Sush meerkat
        13th July 2018, 6:38

        I see different styles of racing as different disciplines and it’s difficult to ascertain talent going from one form of racing to another.

        But there is one thing F1 drivers are truly the worlds best at and that is moaning and whinging.

      5. @f120-20
        I you took over a year off since your last comment. What a way to come back, lol!

      6. @f120-20 I couldn’t agree more with you. This should be the COTD instead.

    5. Loved the minardi clip

      Wouldn’t it be great if they raced some of the classic restorations on an undercard at some F1 events. Even better if they had some retired F1 drivers driving them.

      Over to you Liberty.

      1. Good idea. However they might be concerned that at some circuits, these races might overshadow the main event 😉

        1. F2 overshadows the main event regularly so this doesn’t appear to be a concern.

          1. In what microcosmos does F2 overshadow the main event regularly? I’m heavily into astrophysics, so I’m grasping onto every single piece of evidence for the existence of a multiverse …

            1. The actual racing.

    6. I also loved the Minardi clip. Competent team, engine, and drivers. The M192 actually did finish 6th in Japan. Man was it cool to have like 10 different engine manufacturers back then.

      1. That was the M191B. It was originally designed for the Ferrari engine they ran in 1991 but they adapted it for the Lamborghini engine and used it in the first 4 races of the 1992 season.

    7. I think we are all wiser after the BAR/Honda saga.
      It proved to me that it is not how successful the team used to be, nor the amount of money you spend, nor the big name drivers you hire, but the talent of the team manager who can lead the team back to success.
      If only there was another Brawn who could bring McLaren back.

      1. To be honest, in 2004-2006 it showed me rather that politics in F1 – i.e. being Ferrari and having Mosley and Bernie backing you – can smooth your way to winning while others get obstructed @coldfly

        1. @bascb
          2004-2006 is one hell of an odd time frame to make that point (that I entirely disagree with) …

        2. I also remember that German driver who might have helped “a bit”….if I can only remember his name……

    8. Is De Ferran replacing someone? Have I missed some big news?

      1. Oh, crikey, Éric Boullier has resigned! How did I miss that! I know how: I watched Silverstone on the appalling Swiss TV coverage instead of on Sky Sports!

        That’s sad. I really grew to like Boullier. Great character.

        1. Triple headers mess with fans heads as much as teams. @shimks

          1. @phylyp Hehe, yes! :O)

    9. welcome to the present @shimks

    10. About the cotd. It is always easy to blame the drivers for smooth and non-bumpy tracks, computer controlled race cars, high tech safety measures, mile wide runoff areas, poor handling of track limits in every way and driver aids and what have you. In reality drivers have very little control over any of that except giving their opinion when asked by journalist. What choice do the drivers have? Switch to indycar series? Ask race tracks to add bumps? It is like blaming the cashier when the prices go up in your grocery store.

      When it comes to bumpy tracks the reason why f1 has smoother tracks than indycar is simply because f1 track owners have more money than indycar track owners. Road america, mid ohio, barber, indy and what have you are most relatively old tracks with much smaller facilities than any of the f1 circuits. Don’t get me wrong. I love how most american tracks are like the older tracks. Fast corners and lots of elevation changes. Nothing like the chicane filled ruler designed soulless tilkedromes. But if you are building a new track for f1 you don’t build bumpy track. Bumps are sign of the track being old or the resurfacing starting to give. Sign of age and wear. Or bad surfacing job.

      It is not about ideology or primadonna drivers complaining about having to drive over pearls in their cushioned race cars. It is about money. Indycar has to race on rough tracks because where else could they race? F1 can have more strict and higher requirements for tracks because it has the most popular product and as such it can choose to race on newest and highest standard tracks.

      And if there is anyone to blame for f1 having too strict requirements for track bumps then you need to blame charlie whiting and not the drivers. Charlie is the person who inspects the tracks, writes the regulations for tracks (bumps, corner radiuses, runoff areas, kerbs..) and oversees the process when new track is being made. Not the drivers. Or if charlie is not at fault then blame fim. F1 gets a lot of flak bout runoffs when it is the motorcycles organization that is asking for those changes. Yet people blame the f1 drivers… You could just as well blame the mechanics.

      1. @socksolid ( interesting tag lol) what a great comment!! That there should be COTD
        +1 sir!

      2. I don’t blame the drivers for how the cars and the tracks are, nor do I blame them for having an opinion, which varies from one driver to the next.

    11. I think a key difference between F1 & Indycar is that the Indycar’s are designed with super bumpy tracks in mind, They even do a lot of testing at Sebring to work on there shock packages to better handle the bumps.

      F1 cars aren’t really designed with bumps in mind because most of the tracks F1 run at now are pretty smooth.

      Additionally i’ve seen it said many times that because F1 still uses smaller 13″ rims most of the ride is dictated by the sidewall of the tyre & they actually have a very limited range of setup options from the suspension itself. Indycar uses slightly larger rims (15″) so the ride is more dictated by the suspension setup which gives them more options to dial the car into the bumps.

      I also think it’s interesting that fans complain about F1 tracks been too easy, Too smooth etc…. Yet then go on about how the drivers in Indycar are less skilled because there are too many accidents/caution periods, Many of which tend to be caused by the cars/tracks not been as easy to drive (Less runoff, more bumps, cars less stable over bumps & no power steering etc…).

      1. I think F1 has more incentive to have smoother tracks due to their addiction to downforce which works better on smoother tracks. There’s also the extensive use of the tracks for MotoGP to consider.

      2. @stefmeister, when you look at the overall dimensions of the wheels that are used in IndyCar, the relative height of the tyre side wall is pretty similar to an F1 tyre.

        The rear tyre wall is about 160mm at the rear and about 140mm at the front, whereas for an F1 car the tyre side wall is 170mm – the difference is a little more pronounced at the front, but even so the difference in terms of tyre wall height is comparatively small and the overall height of the tyre wall is still quite large when compared to the diameter of the rim itself.

        In reality, IndyCars still rely quite heavily on the tyre side wall providing most of the damping of the ride, as the suspension itself doesn’t really have that much more travel than that of an F1 car. I know that, in the past, Penske, which is a major supplier of shock absorbers for the motorsport industry, even ran the same type of shock absorber in IndyCar and F1 (I think it was called the 8780 series shocks) – the interchangeability of the two underlines that the differences between the two series is more marginal than you think.

    12. Good to see that Mercedes have confirmed that Lewis was exaggerating damage to his car.

      I knew Lewis was saying that just to force the stewards into giving a harsher penalty to Kimi, and he got his way.

      Lewis is as bad as all those footballers who cheat by rolling on the ground screaming trying to get their opponents yellow carded. Yellow card to Mr Hamilton for ‘simulation’ I say.

      1. Bernie's Miniature Grandpa
        16th July 2018, 0:37

        Strange to focus criticism on Hamilton when they all do it at every opportunity.

    13. Gil still looks like a stop-gap guy there, just like that Mattiaci guy within Ferrari, who’s stint was so short one barely remembers him.

      He’s not experienced enough to lead a team as big and as under pressure as Mclaren, but who knows. Maybe he has what they’ve been lacking with Boullier.

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