Author Archives: F1 Americana

Another Fine Mess

The Buxton Blog

laurel-and-hardy

The Formula One Strategy Group was faced with a choice yesterday: confront the issues facing our sport, or stare meekly at their combined navel and plough forward on a road to ruin. It has been said by many, myself included, that the anti-democratic think tank is a scourge on this sport, its ranks filled overwhelmingly by the self-interested. Competing entities, it has been argued, will never vote for the greater good. There’s too much for them to lose. Turkeys, it has oft been said, don’t vote for Christmas.

They just have.

With an opportunity to debate meaningful steps and solutions to the cost of the sport and measures to attempt to ward off the financial failure of any more teams, it appears that the only meaningful agreement taken yesterday at Biggin Hill was to “improve the show” by actually raising costs via the reintroduction of refuelling.

Forget, for a moment…

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Red Bull wants to quit? Let it…

The Buxton Blog

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Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an organic acid widely distributed in animal tissues. It is a major constituent of bile and can be found in the large intestine.

It is also one of the main ingredients of Red Bull.

It might come as little shock to motorsport fans that the energy drink and bile should have such a chief component in common, so forthcoming has the bitterness spewed from the once all-conquering Formula 1 team been in the aftermath of the Australian Grand Prix. Down on power and down on luck, the target men of the opening half of the decade were lapped in the opening race of the 2015 season and could barely put up a fight to a team which had failed to score a single point the season before.

But the concept that anyone is to blame for the situation Red Bull finds itself in other than…

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Revamped Formula 1 website to launch in 2015

The F1 Broadcasting Blog

Following on from comments made by Bernie Ecclestone to Campaign Asia, which I analysed yesterday on this blog, I see that James Allen has confirmed that a revamped Formula 1 website will be launching in 2015.

Writing on his website, Allen said that, in response to falling viewing figures, Formula One Management “has now got a social media department at Ecclestone’s base in Princes Gate; it’s why they are investing in a new F1.com for 2015 and in the official F1 app, which has sold over 3 million editions. F1.com had 67 million unique users last season and that is set to rise this year. The new site is set to engage the younger audience, using all the social media tools Ecclestone refers to and will have a level of personalisation and fan engagement which is way beyond what is there today.”

> May 2013 – FOM “may…

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The Contenders – Nico Rosberg

The Buxton Blog

Rosberg leads Hamilton Brazilian Grand Prix 2014 James Moy Photography Rosberg leads Hamilton
Brazilian Grand Prix 2014
James Moy Photography

There is an element of destiny about the 2014 Formula 1 world championship and that it should have come to be decided at the final round of the season, this weekend in Abu Dhabi. Ever since that first pre-season test and we were first given concrete evidence to support the rumours of the brilliance of the W05 hybrid’s package, through the ups and downs of reliability and team politics, somehow its always seemed likely to come to this.

Forget double points. When it comes down to it, it really doesn’t matter all that much. Had the gap been 26 points or more, then yes one might have reason to argue that it was all desperately unfair. But if you think about it, double points hasn’t really done a thing… yet. The championship would always have gone to the final race…

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Building a race simulator

f1metrics

One of the most fascinating aspects of modern Formula 1 is the use of computer simulations to predict car performances and race strategies. By the early 1990s, teams like Benetton had begun to develop simple race simulators to estimate optimal strategies. Today, teams develop highly sophisticated models based on massive amounts of telemetry data.

Constructing mathematical models is one of the most satisfying aspects of my job as a scientist. Selecting the form of the model and the ingredients that should be added often involves a good deal of creativity and intuition. It is challenging to build a successful model, but a successful model is extremely valuable in making predictions and gaining understanding of the modeled system. I’m going to walk you through my own process of building a simple race simulator model.

Inputs and outputs

The first question for any modeler to consider is: which data are we feeding into…

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Before the reform frenzy starts

Thoughts on Jules Bianchi’s accident at Suzuka by a former F1 Doctor.

A Former F1 Doc Writes

We’re just over 48 hours since Jules’ accident. Still hoping and praying for a good outcome. And of course, by now, the dust is settling, and discourse becomes less emotional, less intense, and more reasoned. I thought I’d take advantage of this period of relative calm to put a few thoughts out there.

The first thing I want to point out is that the three most severe accidents we’ve had since 1994 have all occurred through mechanisms that are not easily predictable. I’ll not go so far as to use the expression “freak accidents”, but being hit in the head with an 800 gm spring, driving into the lifting tailgate of a lorry, or aquaplaning into the exact spot a recovery unit is working are not your standard scenarios.

I say this because we need to have a bit of perspective here. Virtually every weekend we see, often with a quiet “ho…

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Who was the greatest F1 driver?

The first objective driver rankings ever…

f1metrics

Arguments over whether Schumacher was greater than Fangio are not new.

I’m going to present something that is new: the results of a mathematical model designed to answer who was the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time.

You may disagree with any attempt to answer this question on principle, and that’s okay by me. I hope you will nevertheless find this to be an interesting approach.

The first attempt to rank drivers using a model was in 2009 by Eichenberger and Stadelmann (paper here and pdf here). Without giving too much away, my model agrees with theirs on several of the top ranked drivers. However, many of the previous model’s results don’t pass a sanity check. Ukyo Katayama is ranked ahead of Nigel Mansell, Erik Comas is ranked ahead of Ayrton Senna, Arturo Merzario is ranked ahead of Jack Brabham, Mark Blundell is ranked ahead of Niki Lauda…

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Porcine Maquillage

The Buxton Blog

FIA Truck © James Moy Photography FIA Truck
© James Moy Photography

The World Motor Sport Council has today agreed changes to the Formula 1 Regulations for 2015. And they’re not likely to make many fans happy. Crucially, cost capping is not happening and cost saving initiatives are nominal at best.

But let’s start with the less controversial elements. Well, I say less controversial…

Only four Power Units will be allowed per driver next season, unless there are more than 20 races in which case there will be five. The penalty for changing an entire Power Unit will be starting from the back of the grid, rather than the pitlane.

Simple enough. Only it isn’t quite related in such simple terms, as under the header “Power Units” the FIA states that: “The number of engines permitted by each driver in a season will be four.”

The FIA, then, seems somewhat confused itself. Does it mean four…

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Alonso, Vettel and the emerging driver market

The Buxton Blog

Mercedes AMG has been the dominant force of 2014 © James Moy Photography Mercedes AMG has been the dominant force of 2014
© James Moy Photography

Given the dominance of Mercedes AMG and the comparative struggles of the teams we would normally expect to be their closest rivals, it is perhaps unsurprising that as we reach the mid-point of the season we should start to see reports of driver dissatisfaction and teams actively courting some of the biggest names in Formula 1.

Mercedes are sorted. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg love the team and the team loves them. Both have long term deals. They’re not going anywhere. But what of their rivals?

The big story today is McLaren’s alleged interest in a pair of drivers with six world championships between them. Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel would create a monstrously strong pairing for the Woking team, but is there any chance that such a swoop might actually occur?

The timing of talk that…

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FIA grants entry to Romanian FRR F1 project

Adam Cooper's F1 Blog

The FIA is understood to have finally granted an entry to the Romanian-backed FRR F1 Team project, although no official announcement has been forthcoming.

The FIA’s last public reference to the bid came on April 11, when the World Motor Sport Council granted an entry to Gene Haas but said it was “in the process of conducting further investigations for Forza Rossa,” using the name that forms part of the official FRR identity.

For reasons unknown this extra vetting process dragged on for more than six weeks. However, the governing body appears to have finally acknowledged last week that the project is financially viable.

While Haas has admitted that a 2015 start is highly unlikely FRR is believed to still be aiming for next year, despite the entry delay making life a lot tougher than it would be had it been granted alongside that of Haas on April 11.

However…

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