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Senna's Ghost

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About Senna's Ghost

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    Rookie Driver

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    On a cloud looking down, watching... always watching.
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    F1, F1, F1 and motor racing

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  1. I knew I'd get a reaction with that. I don't like the rules of driving being written down in a book and imposed on a driver. They are all big boys playing a big boys sport. Self policing is what is needed, not someone detached from the situation saying that move was within the rules or that move wasn't within the rules. Drivers self policing the sport worked from the inception of motor racing up until the last 10 years or so. Another reason why F1 is losing its appeal to the public. When F1 promotes itself it uses race footage from the past such as Villeneuve v Arnoux at Dijon when they were bashing wheels, exceeding the track limits, blocking one another, or many Mansell v Piquet at Silverstone in 1987 with the dummy move in Stowe to take the lead. Both of these would be punished in this day and age. The drivers knew how to look after themselves on and off the track back then.
  2. F1 is so complex on every level that it would be impossible to address the many issues that are seriously damaging the sport. But on the back of a fag packet I've scribbled down a few thoughts. The people who own F1 don't know what they have got. Primarily do they see F1 as a business, or entertainment, or as a sport? From their actions and dealings in F1 I think they see it as a business first, followed by TV entertainment show second and lastly as a sport. This is wrong. It is a sport first, second and third. Whatever plays out because of the sport is simply a by-product. Why do we go to countries with no history of motor racing, let alone F1. The crowds are pathetic, empty grandstand, there's no atmosphere and no sense of occasion. Contrast China or Abu Dhabi with Silverstone or Mexico or Italy. Traditional GP's with history fall from the calendar so we can go to Azerbaijan, or South Korea or India or Turkey. All because the owners make more money from doing deals with these countries as the costs of staging a GP is so prohibitive. Short-termism. These races are on the calendar for 3 years and then disappear when they can't afford to renew, unless you're China or one of the Gulf states. The TV feed shows the cars going around a circuit and nobody in the grandstands and no atmosphere and people turn off they TVs because even in motor racing you can sense the crowd through the TV when you're watching unlike Silverstone, Mexico, Monza, Germany, but the traditional races are constantly under threat. Rules, rules, rules. Too many of them. What you see on a Sunday might not be the result because the stewards have to intervene and get the rule book out and start applying penalties for transgressions. Go over the track limits more than 3 times (only on certain corners) in a race, penalty. Talking to your race engineer about anything other than the weather, penalty. Defensive driving, penalty. Ignoring 3 blue flags, penalty. Changing a gearbox, penalty. Let them race for God's sake. Who makes the technical rules? Is it the teams? Is it the FIA? Is it the owners of F1? No it's all of them and because of that it's a mess. Why have we got hybrid engines now? Because Renault said that if F1 didn't go down this route they would pull out. So we went hybrid with all of the costs that entailed. Why are the teams restricted in terms of testing and changing components on the car? Because the FIA wants to control costs of the teams. But hang on they're paying a fortune for the hybrid technology in the first place, it doesn't make sense. No new drivers coming through. Teams are inclined to be conservative in their driver selection as they believe that experience is important. It is to a certain extent but I would rather have a young up and coming charger rather than a 250+ GP veteran known quantity. In the past when you got to 175-200 GP that was your career over. Now we've got drivers with 300+ GP's and they are doing the same job as they've always done (Massa, Button, Raikonen). Teams need to be braver in driver selection, get rid of the old wood, let them go off and do Le Mans. Bring in the younger drivers who are keen and have recently won something in the lower formulas. Stir the pot. Too much technology in the pits and too many engineers. Teams have so much information available to them there's very variety in their tactics or strategy. They know before they arrive at the circuit of the best, optimal result they can achieve given a variety of circumstances. I like the thought of the "... lets chuck it on and see if it works" approach in certain situations. Just a few thoughts, I got a load more but time is pressing.
  3. I had high expectations for this race but it didn't really get started. After the first pit-stops I think everyone went into tyre management mode. The tyres at the beginning of the race held on for longer than the team or Pirelli predicted then after the first stop the Mercedes duo, and particularly Hamilton, drove well within the performance of the tyre so as to avoid an unnecessary stop later. Ricciardo closed up to the Mercedes quickly but it was never really a threat as I felt they had a performance advantage and could have increased their pace if they had to. I don't like this way of driving within the performance level of the tyre, or rather I don't like the artificial behaviour of the tyre if you do exceed its performance levels and it suddenly drops off the cliff. Only real excitement was Max & Kimi. I don't think Max's defence of his position was overly aggressive. Indeed from where I was sitting it looked like another indication that Kimi is losing his race-craft. Just ask Bottas about that. Yellow flags in qualifying: No problem there, you win some, you lose some. If Hamilton was in Rosberg's position he would have kept his foot in it to the end of the lap and argued about it later. That's what you do as a racing driver. Rosberg should have pointed that out to him when Hamilton brought it up. I didn't like that fact that the stewards took so long to investigate the incident; very poor, they should be reprimanded.
  4. Yes we don't have ad breaks on the live races that they televise but I think the product as a whole has to be improved by cutting back on some of the features that they think are adding value.
  5. This is something that's been bugging me for a while now. It's the television coverage of a race and particularly the director of the coverage. I don't know who that is, I know in the old days, before Bernie hermogenised everything to do with the circus, the TV coverage was left in the hands of the host country and so you would get different directors and production values. Now, under FOM they provide the TV coverage and I don't think they have national directors, I don't know but I think it is the same director for all races. My point is that I sometimes wonder if the director has ever seen a motor race! How many times do we see cuts away to things that don't matter when we should be watching action on the track. I think the director has too many cameras to choose from and he/she seems to think that it is best if he shows us his full range of shots that are available to him. We see a track shot quickly followed by some in car footage, followed by a kerb shot, followed by a shot of the pit wall, followed by a shot of the garage showing us mechanics staring at monitors showing shots of themselves, followed by shots of celebrities on a jolly, followed by a shot of a helicopter in the sky, followed by a on board shot of a wheel and suspension arms!! Do you get my drift. Completely unnecessary, doesn't help showing us the race and understanding what is going on, or who is battling with who because the cuts and the jumps from one thing to another makes it difficult to concentrate on what the hell is going on. I know what Christian Horner, Totto Wolf, Niki Lauda, Paddy Lowe look like and there might be people out there who can't get enough of them but I prefer watching cars race on a track. Another thing that bothers me is the graphic information saturation we are exposed to. We have the drivers position ribbon at the bottom of the screen (and anytime you look at that to see the gap between a couple of drivers you're interested in it's never on them, so you have to wait and your eyes dance between on race and the ribbon until the information you want appears. Keep doing that long enough and you'll end up looking like Marty Feldman). We might also have on screen at the same time a DRS gap bar chart showing the last few laps gap between two cars, or a pit stop stopwatch for a pit stop your not seeing at the time, or available tyre information for a couple of drivers, or side to side telemetry traces of two cars battling. All of this whilst the image is still flicking from one thing to another. In the old days (1980's) you would have the circuit covered by a number of static camera positions, maybe 10 to 12. And these cameras would be able to follow the action all around the circuit, one shot leading onto the next. And the director would follow the race leaders normally throughout the afternoon. If the lead wasn't battling with anyone we would drop down the field until we found a battle that was interesting and that would be followed for a number of laps. Every 10 or so laps we would get the Olivetti timing screen showing the top 6 and their gaps. When a fastest lap was set that information would pop up so you would see that and take it in and absorb the info. You might be lucky enough to have a car with a camera on it and you would get some footage of that before it inevitably crashed or had a reliability issue. The thing that really got me was when watching qualifying at the weekend. In Q2 we saw Hamilton's first flying lap, we then saw Rosberg exit the last corner and cross the line. The rest of the session was watching them on their in laps, the McLaren mechanics standing around doing nothing, Jean Alesi walking in the paddock area with girlfriend/wife and shots of the pit wall. All this whilst there's action happening on the track. Bit of a rant but it does boil my p**s. Less is more particularly with cameras covering F1 and the on screen graphics.
  6. I fully agree with all the comments regarding the start behind the safety car. It is getting ridiculous that they do this as standard procedure the minute there is any rain before the start. Bring back the traditional view on wet weather driving - simply get on with it. Are we going to see more accidents - yes, but that's part of it. We look back at drivers in the past and comment that they were wet weather specialists (Senna, Schumacher, Alesi). I don't think we can do that with this generation of drivers as we'll never see them race in wet conditions. It will always be intermediate tyre conditions at worst. Frustrates the hell out of me.
  7. It's all tightened up nicely at the front of the championship now. A month ago Rosberg was looking imperious and people were already talking of him winning the championship. Three races later and all the comments about him not wanting it as much as Hamilton or not being a "street fighter" suddenly surface. Looking forward to the rest of the season. Was Ricciardo's DRS working before his first pit-stop? I noticed that when he was behind his team mate in the early part of the race he wasn't opening his DRS. He may just have been outside the 1 sec window, but it didn't look like it at first glance. After his stop, his DRS was open when expected it to be. I haven't read or heard any comment from him about his race yet. If any of you have got any news on this please share. Williams and Bottas were the obvious stars of the race, don't know how it happened, I'll have to re-watch the race to find out. That car is quick in a straight line, they must be looking forward to Monza already. Has anyone past comment on Sir Martin Sorrell's thoughts on F1 made before the GP? If not I'll have to prepare something and post it sometime soon. Overall, not a bad race, it's helped close the championship up and taken away Rosberg's points cushion that he could have used more shrewdly throughout the rest of the year in his battle with Hamilton. Now it's game on.
  8. We all know a reckless overtaking move when we see one and it is those moves that should be punished and taken out of the sport. I would not describe Hamilton's move against Rosberg as reckless and the end result is that Hamilton is the biggest loser by not scoring in the race. I don't like it when the rule book comes out on these matters as often the rules appear to be written by people who have no concept of what racing entails. I'm all for the drivers to sort it out themselves on the race track rather than people looking at endless slow-mo replays of an incident and then decreeing that driver A did not comply with rule paragraph B sub-section (ii). I think now that there exists a professional standard amongst the drivers not seen since the 1970's maybe. They appear to obey the "natural rules" of racing (as I would describe them) quite well, for example we don't see weaving very much. I have a great respect for Jackie Stewart and his driving standards and achievements, but I disagree with his conclusion that Hamilton was to blame. Once Hamilton saw that like flash on Rosberg's car I am sure he determined he was going to get an opportunity to overtake and he was going to take it, it's his natural response. If Stewart had been in that situation I am sure he would have tried himself and then maybe pulled out of it, if he could because the gap was closing quickly, as that would be his natural response. Two drivers, two different mentalities. Both are right. And one approach should not be used against the other and say this is right, that is wrong. What I'm saying is let the drivers race and lets not have people sitting in front of monitors or lawyers determine race results and the championship.
  9. Let's rejoice that we had a good GP this weekend. It was close all the way to the end and although we didn't have much in the way of overtaking at the front it still gripped the attention. You see we don't need meaningless overtaking moves happening every lap because of using DRS, or having a faster, grippier tyre than your rival, to make an exciting GP. What you do need is close racing and the possibility of overtaking. Overtaking should be like a goal in football and not like a basket in basketball.
  10. Racing incident. Blame on both sides. Stewards got it right. Rosberg the happier with events, gap remains the same and one race less. Bring on Monaco. Rosberg will be going for 4 wins on the bounce at Monaco, same number of wins as Prost. Only Schumacher, Hill and Senna have more. Monaco hasn't been Hamilton's lucky circuit in recent years. Any more clashes this season between the two of them and you'll have to wonder if changes will be made to the driver line up next year, even if they have contracts beyond. Interesting times.
  11. Jean Alesi had the one thing that's lacking in current F1 driver pool - character/personality. He could be blindingly fast on his day, however, he has prone to make silly mistakes both on and off the race track. His first years in F1 were a joy to watch in the Tyrrell. The way he would attack every lap - great fun. Going to Ferrari in 1991 was a huge mistake and one I don't think his F1 career recovered from. If Prost had of stayed for another year that may off helped, but Alesi found himself team leader before the end of the 1991 season when Prost was sacked before the Japanese GP. Ferrari at that time was turning on itself and the knives were out, not a good environment. The 1992 car was not competitive, Capelli was not at the same level as Alesi and it all was too much. If he had gone to Williams I think he would of thrived, certainly he would have won races sooner than he did and I think the team would of helped in his development as a driver on the mental and emotional side of things, which was his big weakness.
  12. Can't say I get excited about car launches these days. The cars are usually evolutions of the previous years car and any surface detail that grabs the attention is usually unimportant, it's what's underneath the surface that matters. So few driver changes this year as well. Looking forward to see the Haas effort. Wonder how similar it will be to last years Ferrari?
  13. Thanks for acknowledging my arguments. I tried my best. With regards to the tyres and cars of yesteryear and modern tyres and cars it's virtually impossible to compare the two. The downforce created by the cars today, and the way that the power is delivered is so different. The old turbo cars had no power, no power, no power then lots of power in a small rev range. Today's cars have loads of power and loads of torque at anytime the driver demands it. The tyres that were supplied by Goodyear, Michelin and Pirelli in the 80s only had to conform to the size restrictions set out in the rulebook of the time. Today's tyres also have certain performance criteria to meet. Who's in the best position to write the rules - drivers? Engineers? The teams? The governing body? The fans? All of the above? I don't know myself. I am sick of hearing the drivers bitch about the tyres. I hope this gets resolved.
  14. The thing is with fuel stops in F1 is that it sounds like a good idea, Team A might employ a different strategy from Team B and through clever thinking and fantastic driving triumph at the end of the day. Formula One is then exciting to the viewer and the sponsor because the racing is varied and interesting. Everyone’s a winner. The reality is very different. Team A and Team B employ the same fuel stop strategy because they have carefully simulated the race hundreds of times using their sophisticated race simulation software and it shows that, with all variables taken into consideration, a two stop strategy is 25 seconds faster than a 1 stop strategy and 35 seconds faster than a 3 stop strategy. It’s a no-brainer, both teams go for a two stop strategy, along with the rest of the grid, including the team at the back who has no chance to score any points and therefore you think have nothing to lose, because to do anything different from the optimal is putting you at a disadvantage. So what you have is a grid of cars that have to make fuel stops all with around the same amount of fuel in the car, within about a lap or two. The reason we got rid of refuelling was for several reasons; It didn’t add anything to the racing It made racing more difficult to understand for the casual viewer The transportation costs of the rigs was expensive, this was during a time when F1 was trying to cut costs The safety risks within the pit lane were increased I don’t think Bernie had any ulterior motive, indeed I’m not sure how much he was involved in the decision as I think I’m right in saying it was the teams that decided to get rid of refuelling. With regards to the handling characteristics of the modern F1 car I think this can be laid clearly at the door of Pirelli. However Pirelli are not to blame for this. Pirelli are supplying a tyre they have been asked to supply by the FIA/FOM. The cars have now got 900bhp, we haven’t been in this ballpark for a number of years. 900bhp along with very sophisticated aerodynamics and electronics. I’m not a tyre specialist so I don’t know what tyres you could supply that could cope with that power and provide more grip than they do and of course last a reasonable distance without disintegrating. I prepared to cut Pirelli a lot of slack, they come in for a lot of stick and I don’t see how it’s their fault. They don’t seem to get much good press out of their involvement in F1.
  15. Spain 1996 was one of Schumacher's greatest victories. He made the entire field look 2nd rate that day. You're right about Villeneuve in the wet and also around Monaco he was never much cop. I don't think there was much finesse or adaptability in his driving style. Sure he'd keep the foot in and brave it out with anyone on the brakes, no question. But you need more than that particularly in the wet and on street circuits and that is when he was found wanting.
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