Join Grace and me as we discuss the 2015 Formula 1 changes including standing starts and teraflops. We chat about the Silly Season rumors and how Austria should be a lesson to all promoters. We even mention things like Sutil’s regret…or lack of and who is really to blame for Caterham’s current situation.


Fashion award winner here.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • eram

    How long does it take to get a reply from Podcast Quality Control @Paul Charsley? I hope he is running at slightly more than 2 teraflops today.

    • LOL…Paul always seems to be running at two terflops but in reality, the guy is really running at 30 teraflops or what we like to call, ten tenths. :)

    • the drivers seat

      I can run as high as 60 tear flops, but if I stay at that rate for more than 4 hour si have to call a doctor

  • Kevin

    where can I find MIE’s breakdown of how many powerunit parts each driver has used?

  • jcm

    “can’t wait to see if they make one for fish someday”…(or words to that effect).

    my new ringtone.

    • Ah yes…the FitBit for fish, that’s when they’ll impress me.

  • Rapierman

    1. I’ll stick to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and 3 Musketeers.

    2. We’re already have enough problems with five items. What makes them think that we’re actually going to keep it at four?

    3. “You don’t know what it was”? That sounds more like they don’t know their butt from a hole in the ground.

    4. Correction: …and hope you don’t get hit by Maldo.

    5. I don’t have any of those. How ’bout from a couch that doubles as a Murphy Bed?

    6. I don’t if anyone knows outside of the number of hours.

    7. Wind-what?

    8. I don’t think the IRS knows what “wind-on” is.

    9. A million people flopping on the ground? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

    10. “Floating Point” is a number carried out to decimal digits.

    11. Don’tcha just hate micro-managing?

    12. I guess that’s why Gene Haas is going to have to go to the UK for testing.

    13. Are those tire blankets made of wool, cotton or micro-fiber?

    14. Great. We’re back to “lights-out” at 10 PM, and Reveille at Oh-Dark-Thirty. :-P

    15. So, we’re now going to have wrecks in the back of the grid and pray that the front end escapes.

    16. Hey, if I wanted fire from the brakes, I’d hire an arsonist.

    17. Not only have we jumped the shark, we’ve jumped enough sharks to fill a river.

    18. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.

    19. Yanno, I hear that airplanes don’t like the idea of flying wheels.

    20. If you’re trying to get some excitement out of F1, I’d have to tell you that you failed your humor saving throw and the natives were getting restless.

    21. “TMZ” is great if I want to see paint dry.

    22. You can call me anything you like, as long as you don’t call me late for dinner.

    23. Hamilton’s kinda happy with Merc, although annoyed at times (and Rosberg winning does qualify as an annoyance).

    24. Might be interesting if McLaren brings in Alonso. You think that this would be the time that they jettison Button?

    25. I don’t think Alonso’s gonna stay at Ferrari, though. If not McLaren, where does he go? I can’t see anything else.

    26. Well, when you’re stuck with bad, worse, awful and “team from hell”, what choice do you have? I don’t think Alonso’s gonna stay with Ferrari, so you gonna have to choose something worse, possibly even a team that you hate. Welcome to Life (TM).

    27. ….and was sold after this broadcast.

    28. ….and then we learn that Tony Fernandez showed signs of ADHD.

    29. The RB Ring needs more distance and an few additional curves.

    30. It’s Texas. We’re built based on our perceived right to own and drive a car….anywhere we want.

    31. Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo. First Out is Maldonado

  • Andreas

    As far as I understand FLOPS (and that isn’t very far, mind you), the term is either used as a speed indicator (x number of Floating Point operations/second), or as a quantifier (x number of Floating Point operations [making the “s” in “flops” the plural]). A Floating Point Operation is – put very simply – the most basic of computer calculations. “Tera” is a multiplier (10 to the power of 12, IIRC). So, going from 30 to 25 teraflops is a 17% reduction in the amount of CFD work the teams can do (either by reducing the computer processing speed or the actual amount of computer operations). But what does that mean in real world terms, when applied to lap times or team budgets? I have no idea… :-)

    The standing restarts still seems like a monumentally bad idea, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it only survives a couple of races. We will see cars overheating, stalling from suffering clutches/gearboxes, and of course half the field being severely handicapped by having to start in a sea of marbles. Will this mean the drivers will prefer to stay in odd numbered positions until the last couple of laps? Will we see the P2 and P3 car “racing” for the lower of the two positions, just in case the safety car comes out? And just to conclude the inconsistency, while safety car periods will end up with a standing start, the restart after a red flag will still be behind the safety car…

    The “brake discs must rotate at the same speed as the wheel” rule is interesting indeed. Has one of the teams found a loop-hole for running some sort of crude “mechanical slip” type of ABS, and this rule is intended to nip that in the bud? I can’t see any point at which a normally functioning brake disc would not rotate at the same speed as the wheel it is braking, so why is this rule even needed? Someone needs to look into this, methinks…

    The “Lewis to McLaren” rumour is probably just a rumour. However, the general idea of him leaving for another team may not be as far fetched. Yes, he is in arguably the fastest car, and yes, he got more personal freedom by moving teams. But does he have the freedom to race? Mercedes insists the two drivers are free to race, and yet they make both drivers run the same strategy settings. If he were to move teams, the motivation could be to end up somewhere he would be the undisputed #1 with strategy priority at all times. Personally, I suspect he’ll stay due to Merc having the fastest car. In the end, that tends to be a quite important deciding factor for race car drivers… :-)

    Re the fashion award: I think Fernando perfected the “just out of bed” hairstyle, complimented perfectly by the “someone tossed me this jacket” look :-)

    • MIE

      A minor correction.
      Floating point operations are actually more complicated than fixed point operations, which are more complicated than integer operations. To add two integers together takes just one clock cycle, to add to floating point number together takes a clock cycle for each shift of the binary point until the two binary points are aligned (as the numbers are floating point, this figure can vary for each operation) and then one clock cycle to add the numbers together.
      As adding integers very quickly doesn’t really help in solving real world aerodynamic problems, floating point operations is a more useful measure of a computers speed.

      I am also interested to find out what is behind the introduction of the rule ‘brake discs to rotate at the same speed as the wheel’.

      • Andreas

        I’ll take that correction every day – I tried to lightly read up on FLOPS, and even after reading I wouldn’t claim to actually know the least bit about the subject… :-)

      • Wow, coming back from an F1 info blackout, and see an F1 podcast discussing Real numbers and other computer/mathmatics computational nerdism? Right on! :D. Interested to hear how the conversation veered in that direction.

        No discussion yet on the same-speed disc-wheel rule? I recall an aero amateur mentioned high-speed disk rotation and it’s manipulation of airflow around the front tires, the goal being more flow velocity around the side pods for diffusor sealing. I’ll try to find the location and link it.

        Anecdotally, I think it’ll have something to do with thermal and momentum-based boundary layers. If one could somehow create a pressure differential, say a low pressure area between the air going around the wishbones and that around the tires, one could conceivably “suck” that high velocity air it does most good (after further bodywork shaping, of course.) How the aerodynamicists predicts/manipulates disc/wheel flow, or how it reattaches to the bodywork… I guess that’s why they get paid the big bucks.

        I wonder if they’re talking about the rear discs rather than the front; thoughts?

    • Chuck C

      RE: the CFD reduction

      first, a few definitions:
      FLOPS = FLoating point OPerations per Second
      FLOP = FLoating point OPeration (the plural of FLOP = FLOPs)

      for any processor, FLOPS = cores x clock speed x FLOPs/cycle (the full formula involves chassis and nodes as well, but for the purposes here, that’s irrelevant). Most any modern computer can do 4 FLOPs/cycle, so the computer that I am typing this on is capable of 4 cores x 3.8GHZ x 4 FLOPs/cycle = 61 GFLOPS (.061 TFLOPS). So, they’re obviously using some pretty studly computers for these calculations, as you certainly knew.

      That having been said, I don’t really see what the savings will be. It’s not like they were using Cray mainframes to begin with (hell, a PS4 can do nearly 2 TFLOPS), so the power consumption difference will be negligible (certainly when compared to the overall budget).

      • rambaldi

        I always read the regs as FLOPs with a little s indicating plural rather than big s. This would mean that over a week you could only do a certain amount of computation and would have to decide if you wanted a smaller more accurate mesh or a larger more general mesh. The smaller mesh would allow more detail etc. but maybe you couldn’t simulate air flow for the whole vehicle then.

  • *New Regs and Racing/Audience Impact:

    Explanation on wind tunnel or curfews, and much of the technical going’s on, is where expanded content and new media can help F1. Expecting commentators to understand the strategy or tech, then explain it to masses, is unrealistic during an event, but pre/post race a la Ted’s Notebook (flawed but entertaining,) and better through the Scarbs-types of social media, user-selectable UK Red Button, or (nonexistent) interactive Q and A’s would greatly invest fans. (Aside: I agree Todd, wind tunnel/curfew limitations are questionable cost savers; another discussion.)

    I’ve argued before, having an Official site/channel acting as a hub for all this expanded content is critical; how does a fan otherwise discover and vet the countless reputable and less-so content providers? Have a free lounge area where new and curious potential fans are seduced, then an ascending-scale pay wall for those of us hooked and looking for specific content. Have exclusive driver/team interviews, post-race analysis, and upcoming event calendars and venue breakdowns (shout out to F1B’s Lauren) be free, as those likely appeal to the most. They act as loss leaders for the pay content. I could care less about multi-angle pit stop cams, but would happily pay for expert unpacking of aero hoodoo; have both behind paywalls.

    Grace again makes a good point; F1 should concentrate on bringing “the show,” in whatever its form, to eyeballs, educate and seduce the audience with the product. Some plank sparks, refueling, loud engines, even naked women/men, won’t bring audiences in if said audience is otherwise occupied w/ sexy Mad Men ads, Red Bull girls at the bar, T-shirt cannons at ballgames, and 4-7 happy hour signs. Promote the damned sport in its current form, smartly catering to whatever demo F1 cares attract, rather than shift the sport mid-stream.

    The argument rings true whether one likes/dislikes the current “show.” Any sport or rule-set will have its fans/detractors; the governing body (ies?) must decide what the sport is and trump whatever its values to an over-stimulated public. Improving the racing, whatever that means, might appeal to the already-invested, but also might alienate (see: Standing starts), whilst the gen pop could care less, as F1 is just cars going around in circles.


    RBR apparently put on a fantastic show; do you guys think its willing to subsidize costs long-term?

    *Venue proximity: Onsite v. Remote

    We were just at our Austin home, off S. Congress, and was thinking how F1 could better-integrate the event w/ the population and fans for long-term success. I think you guys are right in that access is important; Texas, in my limited time there, is a land of drivers, and as such the public trans is seriously-deficient. This likely hurts long-term weekend turnout.

    However, if there’s sufficient promotion pre-event, awareness of the race, I’d like to think potential attendees will work around logistical snafu’s to be part of a party. It works for Silverstone, although admittedly the UK public seems much more aware of the sport.

    I wonder Paul’s thoughts on this; none of my social/professional circle cares about NHRA nor NASCAR, yet Sears Point seems to bring huge crowds to its events, despite the Hwy 37 snafus, remote location, and apparent lack of promotion. Is it the event/sport promoters creating a rabid fan base in the locale, or through national efforts, or some other reason? Is there more promotion in Sonoma County opposed to North Bay/City/Valley? The last speaks to demographics.

    *Honda competitiveness and PU development restrictions:

    As mentioned, it’s doubtful Merc engineers are allowing Honda anywhere near it’s power train. As I understand it, Mclaren-sighted Merc engineers monitor PU parameters such as CC chamber pressure or EGT’s and relay info to Mclaren; that’s undoubtedly useful for Honda. However, extrapolating hardware design from metrics, as Honda must do, is a monumental task.

    Take note, too, that the PU architecture will indeed shift next year, and example being variable length intake trumpets. Take that simple data-less variable, attempt forecasting its effect on unknown induction/exhaust cross sections and lengths, basically airflow in and out of the PU, and there’s no guarantee Honda will be competitive. Some data is better than none, but they don’t have access to Merc details, and all that about devils…

  • FYI Todd and those worried we face a spec powerplant future: PU manufacturers have more time and leeway than 18 months and a single PU update to make mass changes. My interpretation: FIA’s schedule intends wholesale architectural changes be made during the first 4 years of the formula, ultimate refinement in 2018, then an effective freeze 2019-20, before a new formula’s imposed. Each year, FIA increases frozen items in a natural mechanical progression,such as block, then valve train, then induction, to coincide with total modifiable item and token value reduction..

    Below is FIA’s annual power unit homologation schedule, based upon individually-weighted PU components receiving a token value, summing a 66-token complete Power Unit:

    -Total weighted modifiable items: 61 (of 66)
    -Modifiable item token value allowed: 32 (of 66)
    -% of PU being frozen: 8%

    -Total weighted modifiable items: 51 (of 66)
    -Modifiable item token value allowed: 25 (of 66)
    -% of PU being frozen: 23%

    -Total weighted modifiable items: 43 (of 66)
    -Modifiable item token value allowed: 20 (of 66)
    -% of PU being frozen: 23%

    -Total weighted modifiable items: 3 (of 66)
    -Modifiable item token value allowed: 15 (of 66)
    -% of PU being frozen: 35%

    2019 and -20
    -Total weighted modifiable items: 3 (of 66)
    -Modifiable item token value allowed: 3 (of 66)
    -% of PU being frozen: 95%

  • CRAP. “Total weighted modifiable items” for 2017 is 51, 43 for 2018. For clarity, this is the summed value of the items manufacturers could POTENTIALLY change, not the token allocation. Sorry for the typos.

  • MIE

    I wonder if it is an attempt to ban the brake shrouds that teams currently use (so the brake disks are once again visible through the wheels). We can the be excited by the sight of glowing brake disks?

    • MIE

      Sorry, this was supposed to be a reply to Jeff’s post on brake disks rotating at the same speed as the wheel.

    • Andreas

      The regulations specifically speak about the brake discs. I don’t see how the shroud could be deemed to be part of the disc – if so, it would probably be mentioned, wouldn’t it?

      Here’s the full text regarding brake discs:
      11.3 Brake discs and pads :
      11.3.1 No more than one brake disc is permitted on each wheel which must have the same rotational
      velocity as the wheel it is connected to.
      11.3.2 All discs must have a maximum thickness of 28mm and a maximum outside diameter of
      11.3.3 No more than two brake pads are permitted on each wheel.

      And here’s the regulation concerning ABS:
      11.5.1 No braking system may be designed to prevent wheels from locking when the driver applies
      pressure to the brake pedal.

      So, that rules out my wild guess that someone is experimenting with allowing the brake disc to rotate slower than the wheel if the braking pressure overcomes the tyre’s grip. That would already be illegal, due to 11.5.1, and no further clarification (as has been made to 11.3.1) would be needed for that reason.

      This is a mystery indeed… :-)

      • Like Andreas, I believe FIA would simply ban the cake tins if that was the goal. I don’t see a safety-related issue, so must assume its performance-related, and as the shrouds are essential to the cooling strategy, thus requiring new brake design, I doubt (hope) FIA isn’t that stupid.

        Andreas, RPM differential between disc and wheel could affect braking, although I agree TR11.5.1 limits ABS exploration. Rather than slow down rotation, teams *could* conceivably increase braking performance with Faster rotation. Increasing disc speed linearly would reduce torque requirements for a static pressure (braking demand).

        Perhaps a geared hub? Somewhat analogous to the planetary gearset in a differential increasing effective wheel torque, but with the operation flipped; instead of slowing engine speed to usable tire RPM, they’d be increasing disc speed to lower effective brake torque ie; pressure requirements on the disc. The payoff is either smaller discs for equivalent braking power, or increased braking potential for the same size/weight.

        If my thinking’s sound, the teams could find further benefit by creating variable ratio sets left and right, enacting an effective open differential’d braking system with constantly-variable rotational control. Very cool stuff, a potential solution for F/R or L/R braking imbalance. I think it could be done w/ e.g. sun gear aligning w/ the driveshaft, planet gear sets clutched to the hub.

        I don’t see the teams using this method; there’d be a detrimental unsprung weight penalty with planetary or bevel gearsets between driveshaft and wheels, and additional driveline stress (although at the rear, MGU-K already imposes added stress). Seems simpler, safer, to increase cooling ducts and suffer the drag penalty, and further refine software for braking improvement, than risk fragility with the above. It doesn’t contravene prior rules, but I haven’t seen any pictoral evidence of such a system.

        It’s why I’d guess it’s more an aero thing.

        • Andreas
          • Figures; what I think pretty sharp thinking on my part already discussed at length somewhere else… :D

            I don’t frequent f1technical due to typical flame throwing stuff, but it also means I miss some very smart people making astute observations/hypotheses; thanks for the link.

            Within that thread, Autogyro’s post holds intriguing possibilities; multi set, multi purpose clutched planetaries with a free wheeling annulus, anchored by the sun… Theoretical benefits are there, but schematically I don’t understand how he’s locking one set to the sun and clutching the other. Sounds more like a quasi multi barreled transmission architecture rather than differential. What is his ESRU?

            Matt21’s notion of track-specific rotational mapping and Tommy Cooker relating high rpm rear axle with increased -K harvesting also bear more thought, although the latter speed sensor I’d assume is from wheel, not brake, hence differing engine maps compensating for tire compound circumference.