They're leaving because they're not successful and they're dumping a bunch of money in the sport.
Edit: I made a mistake they've recommitted to supplying engines under the new hybrid rules that indycar is adopting in 2023.
"European pessimism" is this weird common knowledge about the decline of Europe. It's been written about in I, Robot. There is population decline but their GDP numbers look on-par with the United States.
It's the major/minor events rather than numbers that seem to push this mindset of inevitable decline.
Is it bad government policy? Or culture?
To extrapolate that to a decline of Europe in terms of "European pessimism" is... Quite a leap.
Even more as there is no definition of what "decline" you are meaning here, if it's for green technology I can definitely tell there isn't a decline in Europe, if it's cultural that is a much bigger topic (and much fuzzier) to talk about.
When I lived in America, Honda was much more of a trusted brand there. Detroit went after them hard via the Takata defect, so I’m not sure about now.
Some degree of protectionism is expected, of course. I mean, you won't find anyone driving a Ford or Chevy in Japan except as a novelty. But there is a line which, when crossed, gives the impression of desperate anti-competitive measures. Everyone has to decide where they draw that line, I guess.
Honda leaving Formula 1 will have zero effects on the amount of investments in Europe, not to mention it won't have any significance regarding companies reducing investment in Europe.
Honda has been a supplier for engines in Indycar for decades
That said, Honda is a big conglomerate and it looks like this was the decision of one division and not the whole parent company. So I don't think they actually were being disingenuous in practice.
This is not something unique to Honda right now either: Nissan America also looks like an entirely different company to the rest of the Nissan Group. At one point Ghosn was trying to rebrand Nissan America as Datsun (again) and jettison the whole thing from the Nissan Group as a ticking time bomb of backwards detritus (deeply focused on a lucrative past of large energy inefficient vehicles with little brand recognition for energy efficiency). Obviously, that plan probably went out the window with Ghosn's whole weird situation, but Ghosn probably wasn't wrong in that Honda America and Nissan America at this point are liabilities/anchors weighing down their parent companies and where their parent companies now see the future of the industry. Unfortunately, Honda America and Nissan America currently still are profitable enough that they can afford to continue to ignore their parent companies and not start turning the ship in the right direction.
I would assume that's why Honda/Nissan groups continue to hedge their bets and leave profitable American divisions doing profitable (but I'd say dumb long term) American things. I admitted that I think as much that that's why those anchors are still allowed to "weigh them down"; they are still profitable for the moment. (I also think Ghosn's attempt to jettison Nissan America was a small part of his overall weird ouster; it's actually the easiest part of the whole craziness to understand. Investors rarely want long term plans "sabotaging" currently [short term] profitable sub-units, and scrutiny of that plan lead to scrutiny of other plans and personal matters.)
> Most of the tech that Nissan and Honda of Japan developed for energy efficiency wasn't engineered for powering the types of vehicles that Americans want to buy.
The Nissan Leaf is basically the same size category as Toyota's hybrids. It's lack of success in America seems largely a marketing failure of Nissan America than anything. Especially when you compare Tesla in the same time periods.
The argument is that good marketing tells consumers what they want to buy, rarely vice-versa. The inability to sell sedans/compacts/sub-compacts in today's America may be as much a failure of imagination, and marketing than one of Americans being such a unique exception to world car trends. The marketing of trucks, SUVs, cross-overs, and other very heavy vehicles as the "one true American way" has been extraordinarily persuasive, but it's not the only possible narrative, and it is easy to accuse Honda of America and Nissan America of being marketing trend followers with no spine to push new trends. Which I do; but I also recognize its hard to blame them because those trends they've been following have been successful (or at least profitable).
Americans who drop $40,000+ (in 2020 dollars) aren't the kind of buyers who are willing to drive a vehicle that looks, feels, and performs like a sub $15,000 car, and is less practical than one. You don't need an SUV to be successful either, look at the Model 3, S, Prius, etc.
Americans are perfectly willing to buy economical cars... at an economical price. But if you ask big bucks, it better be something Americans can show off.
"Looks" and "feels" can be addressed by marketing narratives. (And some of the differences between "economy" and "luxury" in cars are marketing more than cost basis. If the American version of the Leaf wasn't tweaked for some of those "luxuries", that can also be a failure of marketing imagination.)
As for performance, I'm assuming you've either never driven a Leaf nor owned a sub-$15,000 ICE car? No EV "performs like a sub $15,000 car", in terms of torque/pickup/handling. That that isn't more well known is itself a particularly larger American industry marketing failure that's left the average American consumer behind the world market.
> No EV "performs like a sub $15,000 car", in terms of torque/pickup/handling
Torque != power. Low-horsepower EVs like the Leaf feel great in a city where you get the benefit of that torque from 0-30 mph, but that benefit quickly tapers off as speed rises. (aerodynamically, 2x speed requires 4x power) The 2012 Leaf launched with a high-9 second 0-60. The 2012 Prius has a number in the low-10s and the 2012 Yaris has 0-60 times in the low-9s. These are all very comparable vehicles in a highway merge situation. You won't impress your passenger with the performance of any of them on a high-speed American highway. They're fun as heck around a dense city, but most Americans dropping $40,000 on a new car are merging on to divided highways in the burbs.
Thanks for pointing it out, I'm not an indycar fan and I just saw the announcement that they were building a new hybrid. The point still stands, Honda isn't leaving F1 to focus on green tech, it's leaving because they're burning money and not seeing any return.
Really, both are technically true. But you'd be a pretty bad PR representative if you phrased your announcement to emphasize the latter.
I think it's worth pointing out that Honda staying this long was a surprise in itself because, to be blunt, they were absolutely awful in their first years and no better than their rivals now.
Also, the issue for a battery powered racing series isn't really efficiency at the moment but actually just being able to actually do the race distance at an acceptable speed. If they could make Formula E cars go fast enough they'd have already switched, or at least put pen to paper.
Honda pulling out is completely understandable, and I think F1 should sit up and listen. The dynamic simply won't work with three engine manufacturer teams and the rest being customer teams - especially when Red Bull is a customer team.
It might be radical, but I'd prefer to see F1 return to a simpler naturally aspirated V10 ICE only power unit, perhaps with a completely separate (and simplified) system for brake energy harvesting and short-term energy deployment (exiting corners).
We have formula-e let's make F1 more accessible to niche manufacturers.
If F1 is serious about reducing costs, they have to at least standardize PU, like they did to ECU.
It takes more than just throwing money at the problem to win. Otherwise, Red Bull (paying for two teams in full) and Ferrari would be doing a lot better right now.
Ferrari's last driver's championship win was 2007, and last constructors championship win was 2008. If simply outspending their competitors by 5% would make all the difference, I think they would have tried it by now (and infact, if you look at previous years, they have, and failed)
The team might spent untold hundreds of millions (of money they have earned) but the parent Mercedes company spend thirty million a year.
For Mercedes this is excellent value for money, equivalent to a billion or so in paid advertising time on television.
Contrast this situation with teams at the back of the grid: no revenue from supplying engines, expenses for getting engines, poor sponsorship money, no income from a parent manufacturer. Oh, and little in the way of prize money. They do get some sponsorship money from their drivers though, either because they are in a Mercedes/Ferrari/Red Bull 'academy' or because the pay driver comes with sponsorship from his wealthy father or country.
But I know, watching a slow race is a big ask.
The problem? The lack of straight line speed means you have to build smaller tracks and a lot of the drama of Formula 1 is missing. You don't feel like you're watching the fastest cars in the world and it feels like a major compromise. If you put those cars on a track built for current Formula 1 cars it's going to be a complete snooze-fest.
What makes racing so attractive to fans is the perception (hopefully not that reality) that these drivers are defying death and/or major injury in pursuit of victory. Even if they're relatively safe, the speed itself triggers the lizard brain inside all of us that keeps most of us from attempting to travel at 200+ MPH.
I don't think anyone wants to watch a slow race. Hyper-miler distance races sounds like an oxymoron as hypermiling usually involves ridiculous theatrics of going 30-40mph on the freeway to maximize efficiency. It wouldn't even be racing in the traditional sense - it would be akin to a time trial but distance based. There'd be almost no need to overtake, would there?
I'm not a big fan of F1 as it stands (it's rather uneventful at times) but using EVs in this way would kill it completely as far as I can tell.
in 2005 Tour De France was completed in 86 hours and 15 minutes at the average speed of ~42km/h
that's very fast for bikes (and probably more dangerous than driving f1 cars, that's what makes it fascinating for cycling fans).
Above non-ridiculously low speed wouldn't the relative speed among cars be more important for entertainment?
Fuel chemistry, aerodynamics, functional simulation, driver ergonomics, safety dynamics, tire chemistry, metallurgy, analytics, data recording, composites, suspension, real-time telemetry and communication, digital systems management.. the list goes on forever.
If the device/technique/procedure wasn't invented by F1, it was made better by it, and tons of it have trickled down to consumer products in the past 70+ years.
The teams bring enormous amounts of equipment to each race. Obviously a lot of that equipment is wrenches, screwdrivers, and related machinery. But every team is bringing essentially a portable datacenter to each race:
The car has around 300 sensors and the SECU monitors over 4,000 parameters. During the course of a typical race the car will transmit around 3 GB of telemetry data as well as around 4 GB of logging, however this is just the seed for computation. When processed and combined with other sources such as audio and video analysis it can mean a team leaves a typical race weekend with over a terabyte of valuable data — data that is drawn on again and again before and during future events and seasons.
To those not familiar, Adrian Newey, currently at Red Bull Racing, is the most successful race car designer by almost any metric. His first championship winning cars were designed in the 1980s (for American racing series), and he's built championship winning cars for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull.
Very interesting read, especially about the dynamics. Winning teams have a focus, they don’t run well by committees (look at Ferrari) the difference between a championship and average season is often in the margins and the spaces between the “rules.”
I might be all wrong with this, but it's the impression I got from his book.
You could stick a commodity pushrod V8 in there and make 1000hp easy with a bolt on turbo and run the same laptimes.
Nothing else on earth is close to the aero.
Here's the issue: the engine manufacturers are also one of the most important financial sponsors of the sport. You'd need to convince Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault to build obsolete engines and put down a big bag of money.
And besides, you won't be able to fit a big V8 engine under the bodywork of a current-gen F1 car with the narrow coke bottle shape at the rear.
The engines are also pretty damn impressive, running at 50%+ thermal efficiency. Ye olde pushrod V8 would run out of fuel at half race distance with current fuel regulations.
70 years of iteration on a basic design goes a long way.
The engine would have to put out about 7 mpg at 110 mph average speed, with lots of braking and acceleration and top speeds north of 200 mph.
It would need a turbo and significant amount of boost to put out a comparable 850 hp. And not exceed 100kg/hour fuel flow rate.
And it's still about 60kg heavier at about 150kg vs. 210kg.
All of this is kinda a silly comparison, because an LS engine won't fit in an F1 car and afaik can't be used as a stressed structural member.
But in all honesty, you have to hand it to the old American V8, it is at a hell of a local maxima.
Formula E's definitely made progress: e.g. they no longer have to run two separate cars just to finish the race, and they are decently quick. But they're still pretty far away in other aspects: 45 minute race, on temporary circuits purposefully designed with many tight turns to allow for braking regen. Battery technology has to improve quite a bit if you want to see electric cars turning laps at Spa at standard race distances.
I'm bullish on FE, especially when they can run on "proper" circuits at a consistently decent pace (that being said, smaller city-centre tracks might very well be the future of the sport in any case).
You're not likely to see an electric WRC car either.
Real racing isn't going fast in a straight line. It's decided in the turns.
The current V6 Turbo engines with advanced Energy Recovery Systems were introduced with two major ideas in mind; 1. It would make Formula 1 engines relevant for road cars. 2. It would attract new manufacturers to the sport.
1. Failed miserably; there is 0 road relevance for F1 engines.
2. Failed miserably; only Honda entered the sport and they are pulling the plug now. Juicy detail; they extended their IndyCar contract and IndyCar is switching to V6 Turbo Hybrid engines in a few years.... So the "carbon free tech" reason they gave to pull out of F1 isn't entirely true.
What F1 should do is one of two things;
1. Find a way to become road relevant again. I'd say the only way to do this is to skip Electric as Formula E is doing this already and go for hydrogen fuel.
2. Screw road relevance, and focus on entertainment. This means abandoning the insanely complex/expensive engines and go for simple, powerful, and most of all cheap engines.
There are almost fewer cars running on hydrogen on the road right now than there are F1 cars on the grid (only half joking), and while many mainstream manufacturers have made prototypes and concept cars even before they did anything pure electric, pretty much all of them have real full-electric products in their lineup, or at leat in the pipeline. There are some hydrogen pilot projects, sure, but I can't go to a dealer right now and order one. So going for hydrogen would be a really bad move, also because its energy density is inferior. The current ICE units in F1 are already at the upper-limit of possible efficiency, so replacing it with a fuel with a lower energy-density will be a step back in performance, with little or no future path to real improvements they don't have right now.
I'm an F1 fan, but I see that it is on a dead-end, one-way street. It'll take a while to reach the end, and as long as there's not a superior technology which can beat it on it's own grounds, it's not going away.
The "only" thing standing in the way of electric race-cars beating them is energy storage, which I expect to be improved at a break-neck speed in the coming years. FE has the advantage that this is the exact same problem affecting road-cars, which is why you see quite a few mainstream brands being attracted to it right now. But the energy density of oil-based fuels will be hard to beat, it will take a while before an FE car can beat an F1 car in every situation. But I'm excited for when this happens, since right now, FE fails to capture my interest for multiple reasons. There is no track-overview, all look pretty much the same to me, there are no iconic locations. Next year they'll finally be using the full Monaco circuit, which is a good start, and currently one of the very few viable F1 tracks for FE, but they have a long way to go.
F1 cars have more in common with jets than road cars and hydrogen is a dead end technology.
Could be because Honda already has a V6 Turbo Hybrid but don't want to invest more money and resources to develop the next iteration of F1 engine?
Well, that didn’t play out the way they hoped so either they commit to F1 spending billions ( I wouldn’t ) or get out.
And if battery technology is ever good enough to last a full F1 race without adding tonnes of extra weight, I'm sure they will switch over to electric. Powertrain isn't the main focus of F1, teams are quite limited in what they can do there.
That being said, the booz fueled americana tailgate party weekend that is the indy 500 is pretty high up there in great times. But the actual racing was waaaaaay super less entertaining.
Seeing the musical demos the Renault team used to do was always interesting too - if you haven't heard an F1 car play God Save The Queen  it's a great watch (and a reminder about how controllable they are).
edit: regardless, Dorna has done a great job making MotoGP competitive and MotoGP has to be at or very near the top of the list for the best racing on the planet.
That said, I always enjoyed watching MotoGP... Maybe should start following it again :P
There’s far more to the sport than a grand R&D experiment (the value of just being “in it” within the grapevine of other top end machines, the marketing, the fun and prestige. Prestige is massive in F1). Especially considering how slow and incremental the new tech addition rules are added to the vehicles and how much the rules neuter the cars on purpose.
This is probably just down to the team/human capital not being super interested in investing the time and energy to play in the top league.
Honda still has a very large presence in the Indy series which arguably offers plenty of the more consumer oriented R&D bits in the short term.
Additionally the non committal F1E stuff makes the consumer R&D argument less persuasive.
I strongly doubt that Formula E will be a drop-in replacement for Formula 1. It's a completely different (and unfortunately so far very boring) replacement for Formula 1. If anything my guess is that once they figured out the battery problem so they can go on bigger courses, they will introduce electric vehicles in the Formula 1 and start phasing out Formula E.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Formula E has an exclusive contract with the FIA to be the only series that uses fully electric vehicles until 2039. Formula 1 could only switch to electric vehicles with permission from Formula E, or through some kind of merger. If anything it seems more likely that Formula 1 is the one that gets phased out.
In the end their type of arrogance didn’t play well with F1 arrogance.
1. The sport. Fans, parties, passion, excitement for race results.
2. Advertising showcase of engineering prowess for companies selling cars or car-related parts.
3. A testing ground for future production car technology, send your best engineers to learn under the pressure of F1.
With commoditized electric cars taking over the road car market, this no longer works because the interests have diverged. By trying to continue to do all three, F1 is just imploding.
Personally I wish F1 would focus on #1 and let Formula E be the proving ground for street car tech.
I think whether the engines are ICE, hybrid, or electric is not key. More technology can actually make it more boring and the number of restrictions has increased through the years because of that.
If they needed anything, it's a change from pistons to turbines running a generator. This is also an area where those millions could actually translate into use in normal vehicles.
Edit: you did it at least three times in this thread (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24683823 and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24683862) are also not cool. Would you mind reviewing https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and taking the intended spirit of this site more to heart? Your contributions and your knowledge are welcome, but everyone posting here needs also to take care of the shared environment (which is all too fragile).
All F1 teams have signed the Concorde Agreement until 2025 - which means they're "committed" in one sense or another. I don't think FE will be in a position to attract Mercedes and Renault fully by 2025 (the two mass-market manufacturers who'll be most heavily influenced by the move to fully electric, with toes already in the waters in FE).
The late 2020s will be a lot of political posturing, and should FE look to be attracting F1 backmarkers with promises of cheaper overheads, more future-relevant tech and decent audiences in addition to manufacturers, 2030-2039 will be interesting as heck.
Not in the slightest. Unless things like 12,000 rpm engines with exotic valvetrain materials, while banning driver assists or dynamic suspension which has not been uncommon for decades counts as industry relevant.
A Minardi won a race this year (They're called Alpha Tauri now)
Don't look back with rose tinted spectacles.
Its still a great way to spend a couple of hours on a lazy Saturday afternoon though. In the UK at least, TV coverage of F1 benefitted from having possibly the best theme tune (the outro from The Chain by Fleetwood Mac), and one of the all-time greatest commentators (Murray Walker). Paired with the colour, travel, celebrity and danger of the sport, it made a really compelling TV package.
Ideally you want rules that allow smaller teams to come up with mad ideas and not big teams but it's not feasible for the sport. This is why they have finally managed to bring in the cost cap.
Cars still visibly improve each season, as demonstrated by the fact track records continue to fall each year.
Drivers are still international celebrities, and it's still a very dangerous sport (the fact there are far fewer deaths is a triumph, but it still occurs - Jules Bianchi died from a crash in 2014 and last year in F2 Anthoine Hubert succumb to a hideous incident). If your issue is that too few drivers are dying, then I really don't know what to say because mitigating that risk is a hugely positive thing.
Fans still fill the track grandstands (with the exception of some of the newest venues which may not sell out as easily). Just look at Monza 2019, with the sea of Tifosi under the podium. That passion is still there for a big number of fans, and as the sport is evolving (and more interesting young drivers come through) the fanbase is changing and growing more diverse.
Budget caps introduced this year will hopefully start to level the playing field once the 2022 regs kick in.
This has been true since the 1970s.
The problem is there’s only so many manufacturers that have the desire to spend that much money. Especially on what is obviously dead-end technology wise, so it’s nothing more than a marketing spend that requires them to actually have a chance at winning to be worth it.
Honestly I’d buy the rumors that Mercedes was debating pulling out of F1 if the new cost caps didn’t mean the team will run at a profit instead of a ~$30m expense after sponsorships and prize money are taken into account. Hell, they just won the Formula E championship the first year they were a manufacturer branded team, and they know electric vehicles are the way forward.
But you’re right that it has gotten far safer. Drivers walk away from horrific crashes at insane speeds.
And modern cars despite being less powerful post lap times that boggle the mind. The aero is bonkers. Drivers regularly pull 5G laterally in corners. If it weren’t for rules, I bet we’d see cornering blackouts like fighter pilots get.
To understand why F1 is attractive, watch this speed comparison video, it’s 9 years old so more powerful engines, but slower lap times: https://youtu.be/K2cNqaPSHv0
As for rich people ... you can say the same about any sport. Why watch basketball? It’s just a bunch of millionaires running around in shorts
Edit: here’s another good comparison, motogp vs f1 on the same track this year https://youtu.be/NIIJNSdJoNQ
Cornering G is lateral.
That doesn't pull blood from the brain. Not to say it's exactly FUN, but it won't cause you to black out.
All breaking force has to be generated by the driver as per regulations, and the pedal requires over 100kg for maximum breaking, all while modulating the force precisely to extract the maximum without locking up.
So they rely on the breaking G forces making their legs heavy.
I caught the start of F1 Mugello this year and I turned off after 7 laps of safety car. (Was the first real lap 11?) It's embarrassing. The amazing additional crash under safety car wasn't the kind of entertainment I was seeking.
And what are the rules for track limits in F1? I understand that braking when running wide - if not an outright incident - is safer with a "normal" grippy surface, but now it appears that both sides of the ripple strip are in bounds!? I think many people agree, independent of alternate formulas/vehicles, that the last 10+ years of F1 is questionable progress and the races are too often outright boring.
Tho that's not really a new thing, it's been more of a "rich people" sport for a while, at least for watching live, as races often happen in rather "exclusive" and expensive locations like Monte Carlo.
That's why the people watching F1 live, shown during broadcasts, usually look nothing like football fans but rather like rich people on an expensive vacation, at least that's what stuck most with me from watching a bit of F1 in the 90s.
So, they run?
I'm sure ICE racing will continue in one form or another, but Formula 1 is enormously expensive; manufacturers justify it in terms of the prestige it brings them and the R&D work that can trickle-down into road cars. If the engine technology is completely different then both of those benefits become a lot more questionable.
Formula 1 chasses are way different to standard car chasses so presumably yes, but it really seems like an assumption to be careful about.
F1 chassis/aero/suspension innovations are more or less completely irrelevant outside F1. Switching from ICE's to EV's wouldn't change that.
Nah. Open-wheel racing has not been about actual research, already, for more than 20 years. The standard-bearer itself, Ferrari, was a racing team first and a manufacturer later; even today they are not in F1 for research but for marketing purposes (merchandising is basically their prime source of revenue). Open-wheel is largely a show, and it will continue to run as long as the show gets viewers, one way or the other.
The big one is that all drivers drive the same chassis and battery, and with strict regulations regarding the engine. Pilots may as well all drive the same car. They also added Mario Kart style boosts. This is a game, mostly intended to provide entertainment and show off the pilot skills.
F1 was as much about constructors as it was about pilots, and in fact, being a pilot was as much about tuning and working with engineers as it was about driving. Technical advances driven by competition between constructors made the sport.
To replicate that with Formula E, constructors should be able to make everything from aerodynamics to the batteries. Have regulations that allows for technical breakthroughs to happen, with the minimum amount of limitations to ensure the competition still looks like car racing and to allow pilots to get old.
They have continued to open up the car each season, and there are real differences between them.
The "Mario Kart" style boosts serve a functional strategic purpose that is similar to the strategic elements involved in pitting in F1.
FE is the racing series driving things forward technologically now. This is why F1 can't attract new manufacturers to the series, and why FE has attracted several. There is a serious interest in EV tech now and the EV tech lives in Formula E.
Also the racing is just flat out better in FE. The last 5 years of F1 have been largely a parade. This year has been more interesting to be fair, but still, the racing just isn't as good.
Except for Fan Boost, every FE fan agrees that shit needs to go.
Well, exactly the same can be said about F1. It's certainly not the tiniest bit like how it used to be.
Yeah I'd much rather watch some sort of AI or RC game with random challenges like oil spills and bombs. Driving is boring.
Will be interesting to see what happens to F1 as a result, Indycar as well. Petrolheads can whine about electric racing all they want, but engine suppliers are losing interest in making gas engines when the consumer market is in a shift away from them. Even Ferrari will have to adapt to the times at some point.
Or E1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTRAU-zRd8k
Or World Rallycross Projekt E: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUwRnBhtevE
Why not have a maximum size or something like that and let people innovate within that to do whatever they want? Why the 'formula'?
I'd love to see a motorsport where there was maybe one rule where you have a budget within $X amount of dollars, but other than that, go nuts, come up with innovative new technologies and racing methods and see what happens.
The challenge is to keep that perfect balance between enjoyable races and keeping the drivers safe.
It was so fierce that Senna decided to hit his rival in the first corner of a race, taking out both, solidifying Senna's championship.
It was exciting too. Since drivers need to take risks with 750+ HP beasts, Senna battling Schumacher, Villneuve battling Coulthard was fun.
Pit-stop tactics was the cherry on top, not the secret sauce. Engines and drive trains were not regulated. After some deaths, non rational gains (Mercedes 7G-tronic was so quick when paired with their engine. It just accelerated uninterrupted so it got banned. Renault's Open Injection engine was so powerful so it got banned a year later) and hey, it's getting too expensive cries (and Ferrari-Gate), it lost its luster for the audience.
Now the war is behind the scenes. Homologated parts, limited testing and simulation (they have yearly CPU instruction limits!) and some good people rule the sport.
It's no longer about the drivers. It's about the car you drive and the people behind it. If you have the season's best engine and Adrian Newey in your car design team, you can just win.
So it feels like the movie "Death Race" if you have a good car, you have advantage and if it doesn't break down, you win. That's it.
I left watching it the day Ferrari admitted that they're basically financed by FIA (by getting 23% more advertisement revenue cut at the end, every year).
Some more points: Standardized ECU just killed a lot of excitement by limiting remote engine tuning. Ferrari's domination slowly eroded excitement for most people. Drivers being immature and getting away with it eroded its prestige for me. I still miss Jaguar's green/gold cars. Boy, they were handsome.
So its golden era is long gone. No wonder Honda is leaving.
This sounded too ridiculous to me, so I started digging. Lo and behold, . Appendix 8, sections 2 and 3.
The entire thing is a fun read, with pearls such as:
in the case of an Intel CPU with either the Sandybridge or Ivybridge
chipset where the competitor chooses not to exploit the AVX feature; the
competitor must explicitly declare and be able to demonstrate that they are
not using the AVX feature in the CFD solve process. If the non‐usage of the
AVX feature is proven to the auditor, the Intel Sandybridge and Ivybridge
chipset cores can be rated as 4 FLOP/cycle/core rather than as 8
I have connected to supercomputers and ran expensive experiments (not for F1 :)) from all kinds of devices, from phones to borrowed crappy netbooks, and from all kinds of places, like bars, the beach, etc... so I don't understand how that kind of regulations could be enforced unless they physically lock the engineers up for the season.
They even have an equation governing the supply of car power units.
See Appendix 9, section b.
The details still aren't out yet but Ferrari literally managed to cheat the fuel flow sensor last year - this is probably the most important rule in the sport, for the cars at least.
Of course, the people who made that rule probably just looked at the cost of a GPU vs the cost of a CPU without realizing that per operation GPUs are much cheaper to run.
EDIT: I originally heard this on Reddit and after looking I can't find any real sources, so this could be inaccurate.
The rules seem mostly focused on computations rather than hardware.
I'm not that familiar with the hardware-level stuff they're talking about, but it seems likely that there are situations where a CPU is preferable to a GPU under these rules.
There have always been engine regulations. The drivers are fighting as hard as ever against each other when they get a chance.
Pit stop tactics are not a secret sauce. You can predict the pit stop strategy pretty well before the race even starts.
It has always been as much about cars as drivers. E.g. McLaren won 4 years in the row 1988-1991 and then Williams won 3 years in the row. Ferrari won 6 years in the row from 1999 to 2004.
I really don't think remote engine tuning added any excitement.
There have been proposals such as reverse-grid races or qualifications that would have added a lot of excitement but traditionalists are against them. Maybe having a couple restarts would also help. The cars are now much more reliable than in the past so there is less random chance.
An Adrian Newey designed car hasn't won the championship since 2013.
I do agree rules have killed some of the fun, it seems to be the reliance on aerodynamics as a means to gain an advantage after the limits on engine power and lifetime (top teams having a "qualifying engine" that was destroyed after one qually session, and race engines designed to last one race was crazy though).
Aero being so important means following other cars for an overtake puts the car behind at a real disadvantage, hence the "DRS" hack.
The trouble with F1 is that the "anything goes" environment they had until the 80s/90s will always be more exciting than the rules they have now to stop drivers killing themselves. They did seem to choose rules that disproportionately worked against creating fun races though.
I don't know anything about this sport, but does this mean that you can't buy an off-the-shelf product?
The Netflix series covering F1 is fun to watch.
People find competitive races more exciting than individual time trials. I don't think that's really unfathomable is it?
Generally I think people find racing more exciting.
So the driver wins on the track, and not the pit crew in the pits.
What I mean is, passing usually requires some sort of screwup or random external force (race start mosh pit, engine failure, flat tires, etc.) and rarely does it happen because one driver out maneuvered another.
Races can be exciting, but if the end of the race has basically the same order as the qualifying time trials, then it really doesn't matter. Might as well say the qualifiers is the race.
The cars can store and deploy energy. Often times the optimal strategy is to alternate storing and deploying energy on consecutive laps. So there is a ton of skill involved in staying as close to the driver in front while on a "harvest" lap so that they can pass the driver on the next "deploy" lap.
This is just one of the many, many ways that skill comes into play.
For more detail, I suggest watching the "track guide" videos by former Champion Nico Rosberg. He basically does sim laps while commentating the details that separate a pole position run from a 4th place run.
F1 is more of an engineering competition than a driver competition, but both are extremely important. There are very few similar motorsport series. Le Mans used to be that way (and died a slow death due to rising costs), Dakar is like that, rally? I believe is like that, but really don't know any others.
I am an F1 fan and I really like the engineering aspect of it.
I expect the answer to that involves how well (or how poorly) rallying is televised.
You are top designer at an F1 team. You've got an idea that will (maybe) make the car go faster. Say it is a different profile rear wing. So you get the lads to build one up (you have your own carbon fibre maufacturing facility on site) and you mount it on the current car and then arrange for the team to rent (say) Brands Hatch for the day, run the new wing, compare sector times, get feedback from the driver, etc - something any technical person would expect to do.
Problem: this is completely against the rules. Can't just take the car out to the track and run it between races when you want. That's why these insane chassis dynos exist, everything is a simulation now, even wind tunnel time and the number of CPUs in your CFD cluster are being regulated. This is all in the name of reducing expenses of course, but it has the opposite effect.
I saw my first F1 race in 1979, it was really something. The sport I see now has almost nothing to do with those times - in some good ways (safety!) but mostly bad (see above).
When the sport was awash with tobacco money about 15 years ago, the big teams all had an entire testing team, completely divorced from their race team, which would spend most days of the year simply hammering around the racetracks of Europe, at astronomical expense. Such things are illegal now because if they were not the sport would be dead within five years.
There's a small number of teams that keep winning and have most of the fans. Having the fastest car this year gives you a leg up next year, having the fastest car attracts the fastest drivers, and having the most fans gives you negotiating leverage over the governing body.
For example, Ferrari have so many fans and so much negotiating leverage they get given $100 million every year - a "heritage bonus"
Uncapped spending would mean all the other teams would either go bankrupt, or be completely uncompetitive.
did it kill the tennis sport and/or is it killing the sport? you could argue that way given that it is always the same folks winning the big tournaments
physios (and all other folks) that fly with you. first class and private flights (hilarious that the top players are flown on the tournament dime to the tournaments), perfect nutrition (potentially with personal chefs), nutritionists, drugs or drug therapies, surgeries, preventative medicine etc. staying in a topnotch hotel for two or three weeks prior to a grandslam tournament to get accustomed to the location and time zone.... the list goes on and on.
federer can spend 5 million on it per year without notiicing it. the world number 100? probably 20k.
Sport should be more about individual qualities of the sports-man/woman than about money buying them some more advanced technology.
The costs to have a F1 is incomparable. Any single part alone is astronomical and many have to be changed between races. Having a car at all for training is a miracle!
the racket and shoes don't matter in terms of expenses, at all. RF's cost is in the millions and you are comming up with rackets... he is drawing a completely unfair advantage that only maybe 3 or 4 other tennis players can afford.
thats like saying the F1 team only needs to purchase tyres.
F1 is almost purely play-to-win, to use a modern coinage. The aerodynamics involved have been so insanely optimized that teams spend millions per year to employ some of the best aerodynamicists in the world to eke out another 0.005 secs/lap over the competition.
The performance gap between the top and the rest is fairly proportional to the spending gaps. In recent years it's been Mercedes winning every championship, with Ferrari winning a share of races and Red Bull stealing one or two. Those top 6 cars are often a full minute ahead of the pack after just a dozen laps or so. The rest of the cars have no chance at all. This year it's even worse as Ferrari got caught doing something illegal so their engine has been nerfed. Mercedes just drive away at the start and are almost never remotely challenged. Now in this environment, how many sponsors/car companies want to spend hundreds of millions per year just to tool around multiple minutes behind the Mercedes cars? It's just not a good investment.
And many good ideas to counteract this (reverse-grid sprint races on Saturday to decide starting order on Sunday, as opposed to traditional qualy, at select tracks) are lampooned by the fanbase for being untraditional. Unfortunately if the sport continues like this there won't be any traditions left to uphold at all; I understand their complaints but it's a delicate balance.
The latest attempt to restore some modicum of balance is spending caps. The only chance F1 has to survive long term is to encourage new teams to the sport and discourage current ones from leaving, and that means (a) limiting spending across the grid, and (b) not allowing the top engine manufacturers free reign over the formula. Unrestricted research/testing would hasten its demise because it's just another opportunity for the rich teams to spend more. And point (b) above is what killed the LMP1 class; engine manufacturers exercise political sway to make it harder for other manufacturers to enter/win/compete, but then the grid starts dying and those manufacturers pull out, leaving a set of ossified regulations that make it almost impossible for new engine manufacturers to enter.
Maybe you meant "pay-to-win".
I absolutely do not discount driver skill. It's still there. But it's primarily a money game.
That's the thing I always wondered. How much skill vs car there is in modern F1. ATM I'm on the side of car being the biggest factor (subpar F1 driver will win in the best car).
I agree, Bottas is a living example. But I think any of the current drivers on the F1 grid will start to win races in the Mercedes car. Beating Hamilton is another thing however.
just a clarification, Ferrari has not been caught doing something illegal, they signed an agreement on how to handle the engine in exchange of some kind of assurance by FIA that won't happen again.
The story says someone inside Ferrari told FIA that the Ferrari engine might not be 100% legal, FIA started an illegal investigation that also involved spies inside Ferrari's factory and industrial espionage, but nothing illegal has been officially found, it would have meant for FIA to admit they ran an illegal operation.
That's how the new Ferrari/FIA deal was born.
Problem is every team is doing something the regulation does not permit, FIA has not enough people to check everything and probably not even the know how to understand exactly what's going on, cars have become too complex, but if you go slow nobody cares. See Racing Point breaking system affair. It's illegal for sure, but no fine has been issued because they need racing point to be there and fill up the grid.
On the other side, everybody knows that the "over 1 thousand" horsepower Mercedes engine is doing something not completely legal, the new regulation for this year were made explicitly to avoid having engines too powerful and 1 thousand horsepower was considered an hard limit, impossible to surpass, by FIA engineers, yet Mercedes it's around 1,020 .
But admitting that the multi championships winner is cheating, after an investigation that without informants with very specific insider information could take years, would mean casting a very bad shadow on the entire F1 circus.
You mean aside from the €400k fine...? (along with the deduction of 15 points in the constructor's championship)
- Mercedes is the real offender here. They knew very well that the brake ducts of RP were illegal, but said nothing.
- it's peanuts, and only because Ferrari kept appealing against legality of RP brake ducts, the only team left taking actions after even Renault, who made the original protest, dropped it. Coincidentally after dropping the protest Renault have started flying
I used the word "fine" but I should have used penalty, RP should not be allowed on tracks for using illegal parts.
Ferrari is not allowed to run with their original engine - even though officially nothing wrong has been found - and it's probably the only "clean" (as not illegal) engine this year.
But in racing, so much spending is “off the field”. Seems tough to audit and easy to cheat.
Things, that were only in racing cars years ago, appear now in production cars. Basically, Mercedes can afford to try new things in racing, because it will bring them money in the long run, by selling those new features in their "normal" (road) sports cars. Even if we limit the research costs, some other Mercedes team will work with (eg.) engine optimizations for their production sports cars, and those findings will also find their way to racing.
Even with mainstream car makers (which most of the companies there are), it's easier to develop racing stuff, if you then sell a bunch of very expensive, very fast street-legal cars, than if you sell mostly "normal, working people cars".
Look at how it is now: Mercedes has one official team, one unofficial (racing point) and a third "hidden" team, the former Williams. Where is Toto Wolff going after the announcement that he will leave Mercedes? and why you say Williams? (Wolff has bought shares of both Aston Martin - former Racing Point - and Williams)
That's 6 Mercedes cars, but only 2 allowed to go fast and win.
Ferrari-Alfa Romeo are in a similar situation.
I say let them race and see what happens.
Put the human factor back by having less cars, but with similar performances.
Honda had a works team and pulled out at the end of 2008. They sold the team to Brawn which won the 2009 title with a low budget by exploiting a loophole in the rules. The other teams couldn't catch up soon enough. Brawn had no money left and sold to Mercedes. Red Bull won the next four titles and Mercedes all the other titles up to now.
Williams and Toyota started with a double diffuser as well. Also to be clear Honda had planned for double diffuser on the 2009 car before being bought by Brawn.
So, we just need companies with a lot of money that are interested in technical advances and advertising and don’t care about RoI like banks might? What about Google, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, ... any takers?
It's already dead. Might as well have the testing.
It's not been interesting for a while. There may be > 10 cars, but there's very few that actually make it to a win, and there's been only one that's mattered each year for almost a decade.
Little out of the box innovations that are pretty cool and then banned. The mass dampener in the video is really what gets to me. FIA just loves to ban random things. Like, I get some forced regulations according to safety. The Halos, for example, I get that they must be to a specific standard. But a simple mechanical device that helps keep the car stable, gripping the road? Ban that? We're not talking about group B rally level of innovation.
Kind of feels like the FIA adopted the principle, "If it's fun and/or interesting, ban it."
Fresh blood is needed too.
Having said that, I think skirts were forbidden more because they make driving a car through corners too easy and races too dull than out of safety concerns.
So if a team develops something, they can run it for one year after which it's banned from the sport.
All of this is to cut cost for the smaller teams; take the DAS system of Mercedes (Double Axis Steering). If the FIA doesn't ban it all teams need to be running it next year, or they fall behind. However its a complex system and the small teams (Haas, Williams, Alfa Romeo for example) might not have the money to research and build it.
Or in some rare cases, it becomes compulsory instead...
I always thought it was more like, Ferrari will always spend gobs of money and a small player can only spend a tenth as much- the amount of money spent will not change- but how can we narrow the gap between the high budget & low budget teams, such that a really awesome low budget team has a chance of catching a high budget team napping.
Ferrari and Merc spend $500m approx. Budget cap is $175m with exceptions like driver salary, top leaders salary, PU.
New wind tunnels, new factories, expensive software projects. All ploughed ahead this year so they don't have to go on the books after 2022.
The engineers on the payroll at the FIA don't have the time/resources/knowledge to judge the legality of these insanely complex powertrains.
All manufacturers were forced earlier this year to provide detailed info about their Energy Recovery Systems, rumors are that Ferrari suspects the Mercedes ERS to make use of loopholes so Ferrari lends their engineers to the FIA to research the data provided on all engines.
Close some of those loopholes with a Technical Directive (Basically a clarification of the rules, which takes immediate effect) and you can slow down your opponents with immediately.
And DAS is made illegal from next year.
Are you saying Ferrari worked with FIA for their sensor cheat last year as well? BTW, none of us on the outside even know what they even cheated on and what the agreement is etc. The theory is that FIA knows there was cheating with the sensors but doesn't have the necessary evidence to prove it.
In F1 you are always left guessing which hidden aspect of the engineering is affecting the outcome of the race.
Making everything open source wouldn’t change anything, but at least from a fan perspective you could really delve into those cool engineering bits. Right now we are left guessing at what the Ferrari engine was doing and how it worked.
The things that are actually resulting in the wins/losses are not even not visible, they are secret! What other sport is like that?
The whole thing came to this end because RedBull guessed what Ferrari were doing.
Perhaps that is why I love F1 over any other sport. I love the technical aspects, the need to push into gray area etc.
Or do you want to remove the regulations and have only 4 or 6 cars (Mercedes, Ferrari and possible McLaren) racing for 21 races instead of 20 to 22 cars for the same amount of races every season?
Engineering out the last infinitesimal bit of rain out of something is expensive.
F1 was much more interesting when things like the Tyrell P34 were allowed to exist
Yes, and when they were pushing for absolute speed. With a similar 1.6L engine being used in 2022, I could only hope there are areas left for more innovation in the Engine.
RedBull, Ferrari and Mercedes have different philosophies in their aero, car length, front wing etc.
The cars are far from cookie cutter, and 2022 regs already show different ways people could design the car. That's before we see how the teams do it. It's exciting times ahead for F1 in the shirt term. The 2026 engine reg is what matters.
sounds like you're looking for some unregulated junkyard challenge, where everybody shows up with something they welded together in their garage.
and when there are no regulations, somebody shows up with astronomical amounts of money, they start winning every time, the sport becomes boring, people stop losing interest, sponsors pull out, sport dies down.
You might not like it, but it certainly does reduce expenses.
Yes, this has completely ruined the sport. My life used to revolved around F1 starting from the late 80s (did not miss a single race in 25 years), but two years ago I gave up and have not watched the past two seasons.
With rules preventing engine and car development once Mercedes locked in the advantage, it's game over. Sure F1 has had plenty of dominant teams for short time windows but it was engineering-driven and could (and was) overcome by better engineering by other teams. Now that the advantage is locked in by the rules, there is no hope.
To me there's no entertainment value whatsoever in watching Mercedes lap a second faster than everyone year after year. Let's watch some paint dry instead.