Friday, June 28, 2013

Better Looking Cars

The FIA has announced that from 2014, the stepped-nose cars we see today will be banned.  The change is to the maximum height of the rest of the car's nose, which will now be in line with the maximum height of the rest of the nose.

I did think that the vanity panel was an improvement over last year; we'll have to see what the 2014 cars end up looking like with the new rules.

Also for 2014, engine manufacturers will have to provide the same package to their customer teams that they provide to their factory teams; and the rules surrounding blown exhaust have been tightened.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tire go-around

Personally I don't think it appropriate to change the tire compounds in mid season.  Some of the teams have come to grips with it; some of them have not. This is the nature of Formula One in all of its rules. Nor example, Ferrari has adapted to this rule set much better than McLaren has.  But that is no reason to change the rules.

These are the tires that Pirelli has produced.  I personally think the teams should be stuck with them for the season.

Pirelli really is in a difficult position with the tires.  If they are too robust and fast, nobody notices them. But since they were asked to produce tires that degrade, now everyone just complains about them even though at is what they were asked for.

I also think it unreasonable to blame the Monaco parade on the Pirelli tires.  Monaco is always a procession to a certain extent.  And the wild number of tire stops required elsewhere shows that things really can be up in the air.

I hope things can stabilize somewhat before next year.  All this complaining about tires is somewhat unseemly.  And I doubt that anyone really wants to go back to the bad old days of the tire wars.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Swing And A Miss

The facts of this dispute are fairly straight forward:

  • That Mercedes did undergo a private test during the season with a current car; and
  • That the regulations specifically prohibit testing during the season with a current car.
Frankly, anything else is muddying the waters.

Mercedes may suggest that they undertook this test at the behest of Pirelli -- the fact that a third party enticed them to break the rules does not remove the fact that the rules were broken.

Mercedes may suggest that Ferrari conducted a similar test, but with a 2011-spec car -- the rules are quite clear that once the car is two seasons past, owners can do what they want, where they want, however frequently they want, so this objection has absolutely no relevance to the dispute.

Mercedes may claim that they gained no advantage from this test.  While this may possibly be so, there is A) no reason to believe this, and B) to conduct such a test and not gain an advantage from it proposes a stunning level of incompetence on the part of team management.

That said, the penalty of being forced to miss the young drivers test at years end is not so much punishment for the team as for Formula 1 as a whole, since there will be correspondingly less seat time available to groom future talent.  It is a joke.

Pirelli's argument that there needs to be a mechanism to test tire changes is a valid one, however the whole issue of messing with tire compounds in-season is another issue.