Podcast #432

Join Paul, Dave and me as we talk sense about F1. We reckon the summer break was a good time for a special podcast to unpack the sport and discuss the elephant in the room. Formula 1 is currently considering what changes, if any, need to take place for 2016 and beyond in order to keep itself relevant to its constituents and we’re keen to talk about the current state of F1 and share our thoughts on the topics.

We cover Sporting and Technical regulations as well as the race weekend and share some thoughts we have on such matters as penalties, track limits, engines, customer cars, stewarding, Friday practice and much more. A lot more. It’s a long cast but there’s a lot to discuss. We hope you enjoy our mid-season discussion.

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Guys, the Stewards do not initiate the review of incidents. Each and every decision starts with “The Stewards, having received a report from the Race Director….” So it is not a case of some new Steward playing tough guy. As I am sure you know, the FIA publishes all decisions on their web site. Here is the link for Hungary: As to the issue of 4 tires off the track, I think Montreal had a simple and elegant solution at the final chicane. There was a prescribed way-out lane that had to be used. The lane was setup in… Read more »


What about this idea for track limits.

Make the first 5-10 feet after the kurb/white line be grass or gravel. It will force the driver to lift, negating any advantage that could be gained if they exceed track limits.

There will still be acres of paved run off space on the other side to allow a driver to gain control if a big mistake is made.


A complication is that many of the F1 tracks have to work for bikes as well as cars. While I think your idea may be workable for cars, it would be lethal for bikes.
I like the ‘self policing’ concepts, and think that a detection system that disables the KERS system (charging and discharging) for a fixed period if the car exceeds the track limits would ensure that there was no advantage to running wide….

peter riva

Sitting in the pool, sipping a cocktail (sidecar) listening…

Paul KieferJr

1. Exactly what type of Elephat is in that room? 2. Well, the drives screwed up, and they knew what would happen tif they screwed up, and whining about it doesn’t help. If you don’t want penalties, don’t screw up. That’s all it should be. 3. Okay, admittedly, the regs do need to be simple enough that someone will want to comply, and it shouldn’t be too onerous that nobody will want to comply. However, while they are there, and until they get changed, a person is obligated legally to comply. 5. Really, if you’re going to make any sort… Read more »


Todd, about those who say the pods are too long, I think they can stop listening at any point during the episode. I find myself wanting additional episodes, and listening to each one at least twice. Keep ’em coming.


A simple solution to the pit to driver communications about the car settings, the solution is already there. The data system can record anything they want, but the telemetry can be only limited to car safety issues only. After the race they can look at what ever they want. That way the pit wall can’t see what the tire temps are until the end of the race or until they come off at the pit stop. The FIA can develop a list of items that can be transmitted live, and the rest can only be logged.


I’d go in a totally different direction on the driver communication and car adjustment. F1 is a team sport, if the strategists and engineers can provide input that gets more performance out of the car, and the driver has the driver has the mental capacity to assimilate that and skill to execute – go for it!
To stop the complaints about driver coaching from fans, just stop broadcasting the comms (except the snarkie ones from Kimi, and Alonso, and the whiny ones from Hamilton), simple!


I’m only half way through the podcast, do you get to the F1 finances? If the team budgets were more even and somehow capped, the racing would automatically become closer

Negative Camber

I’m not sure that is the grand equalizer many are making it out to be. If everyone had $100 million to use, Mercedes would still be stronger than Marussia. The resources they have outside the F1 team could easily be used to develop and this would be off the balance sheet.


I’d like to see it tried for a while, so we can find out if it would lead to more competitive racing. It would have to cover more than just budget, access to resources would need to be constrained – measures like the limitations on wind tunnel time and cfd data processing. While that might not put Marussia on par with Mercedes immediately, I think over time it would as the bigger teams couldn’t just buy up all the talent, the smart engineers and talented drivers should be more widely spread about, and that should lead to fewer instances of… Read more »


When the US was considering an income tax, one opponent worried about our moral well being. He said ‘ask people to report their income and you’ll just create a nation of liars’ I like cost control, it’s the obvious solution, in principle. In practice, it would just spawn fraud. I can’t think it could ever be enforced.


228 (you don’t mind if I call you 228 do you?), If enforcing income tax is a suitable model, put the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department in charge and enforcement will be guaranteed – those guys are rottweilers :-) More seriously, F1 has managed to effectively enforce technical constraints on aerodynamic and power unit development, and Benneton Renault and McLaren were all massively penalised when they were caught out breaking F1 rules, so not quite the same thing but it shows there are examples of effective enforcement of rules in F1 – but it will require a set of measurable… Read more »

Paul KieferJr

To add further: After you create those things, you have to bring in the people to enforce the rules (usually through spot checks or “audits”) and create the culture where cheating is not acceptable and there will be negative, painful consequences that discourages such things (your “Internal Revenue Department”, the USA’s “Internal Revenue Service”, etc.).

Paul KieferJr

Anything you do spawns something illegal. That’s the way mankind is: For every good person, there is someone that is evil, and you can never eliminate that. That is the nature of the human race. You can never let that fact create the fear of taking some sort of action. Fear will control your life if you give in to it.


That’s very general. My point is that some solutions are relatively easy to enforce, others create an even bigger problem than the original you were trying to solve. I would put spending caps in the 2nd category. When I was racing motorcycles we had a morass of rules with losers enforcing ‘teardowns’ on winners engines, hundreds of pages of rules and subrules in response to tricks to dodge the rules. Then they went to power and weight. Right after the race, top five bikes on the dyno and scale. How you got to your power and weight numbers (the complicated… Read more »


Well, if Dave doesn’t like penalties beyond ‘back of the grid’ I want to express my sincere sympathy, can’t imagine his thoughts on McLaren’s 55 place flogging. Personally, I agree with him and think in fact that there is NO need to address the possibility a team like Manor would happily accept penalties which mean nothing under Dave’s scenario. If a team is already at the back of the grid, wouldn’t a meaningless technology penalty only serve to allow them to progress off the back of the grid? It’s like a passive feature of the system, if you’re already in… Read more »


Honda’s approach in trying to Circumvent future penalties by fitting two new power units this weekend may be what causes the FIA to reinstate in race time penalties.


To add to the discussion of driver standards, in addition to all the factors mentioned must be the safety of racing, no? There was a time when the driver would not have survived the bashing we see week in and week out, and even an aggressive young driver would tend to want to live. I’m not saying that was better, I’m just saying temerity thrives in the absence of danger.