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Join Paul, Mark and me as we discuss the first grand prix of the season from Australia. We cover each team as they finished, talk about fuel-flow sensors, disqualifications, Red Bull, pissing the FIA off, how to be proud of McLaren again, which aftershave Ron Dennis wears, why brakes are important, why Max Chilton deserves more love regardless of what Fake Charlie Whiting says and much much more. Oh, we talk about the sound of Formula 1 too.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Manuel G

    Regarding the Sound of the V6 engine…..when testing began and heard the engine for the first time I accepted the fact that yeah it’s different and less noisy, but I kind of liked it because of the turbo sound to it. But that changed when the grand prix weeked began. One of my favorite things about a Formula 1 race is the start, the roar of 22 engines revving just before the lights go out giving you goosebumps , but this year….I had the volume level to 50 and still just heard what I can only compare to a couple of pissed off mosquitos, that was a heartbreaking moment and it ruined the start for me. I guess we’ll have to get used to it, I like to think they’ll change it back but deep inside I know they won’t

    • Nic

      Wow, that is a big reaction to the different engines. I’m not understanding the reaction at the moment. I feel so deeply interested in the changing order, how different drivers and teams are higher/lower in the pecking order so far. I’ve been so patiently waiting for the start of the season – i think I simply dont care what the car sounds like. Im too wrapped up in everything else that’s brilliant about the sport. Ron Dennis really disappointed me if what he is claimed to have said is true. Breach of contract? The noise of the cars? Is he kidding? The reaction to the very stupid idea of double points for the last race was less than this. I hope it all blows away soon.

      • Manuel G

        I guess I was also kind of dissapointed because of how the race turned out but that didn’t really had anything to do with the v6 engine entirely.

    • Nic

      Sorry – Ron Walker, not Ron Dennis.

  • ph

    fuel flow limit creates a better limit for promoting efficiency because there is no way around it for peak power. If you limit the storage capacity, then you always run the risk of running out of fuel at the end of the race, and that was bad as we saw in the 80’s.

    • I can see where the total load limit would be at risk of running out but in a way, isn’t that what we faced last year and the years before it? The mandate that there must be a liter left for FIA sampling kind of negated the issue of running out of fuel as they factored that in. I think the flow rate would have been a good concept for this format:

      As we mentioned a year or two ago, if the FIA was concerned about being more efficient, they could have mandated that the engines can run at 18,500rpm and they can carry 150kgs of fuel if they want but the flow rate would be restricted to 100kgs per hour or less. this would have really forced some innovation to figure out how to make an engine produce 850bhp at that flow rate.

  • Tom

    1) You are aware that the cockpit radio isn’t relayed to the audience in real time? In all likelihood, Lewis didn’t ignore his team but was told to stay out, only it wasn’t shown to the audience until later.

    2) James Allen had a blog post on the fuel flow issue. Apparently the intention was not just to reduce max power and to save costs, but also to encourage R&D in regards to the hybrid system. If you’d allow any fuel flow, optimizing that would hold much more promise than the hybrid system.

    • jeff

      Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but regarding Lewis, SkyF1 his engineer telling him to box, then immediately telling him to stay out and see what happens as he lapped again.

      Brundle and Croft’s commentary insinuated that it was the engineers being unsure whether or not the misfiring cylinder would magically clear itself, not Lewis ignoring orders.

      Hope that’s pertinent to your guys’ commentary.

    • Lewis said in a post-race interview that he ignored the call to come in.

      • Tom

        That is very strange indeed, as Niki Lauda said the opposite in a post-race interview. Maybe it happened all very quickly: Lewis decided to stay out and then immediately the team told him the same thing.

        Also interesting was that Niki apparently played mental coach for Lewis. He said that the first thing he did when Lewis got out of his car was to give him a hug and to tell him that it’s not that big of a deal, that his time will come, etc. They then went on and watched the remainder of the race together and by the end, Lewis was upbeat again…not too surprising I guess, given how dominant his car turned out to be.

        Also a nice anecdote from that interview: Niki apparently freaked out when during Rosberg’s second pit-stop this tiny part of the brake broke off, but this time Lewis calmed him, telling him that this won’t do any harm.

      • mini696

        I thought the radio telecast was delayed, so Lewis would have received the call to stay out prior to reaching the pit entry.

        • wchrisg

          f1fanatic has a transcript of the Radio transmissions.

          My fav:
          Lewis Hamilton to Peter Bonnington, “A switch has just come off my steering wheel… I don’t know where it is! My numbers, pit numbers and all those, just came off.”

  • TK

    My guess on the fuel flow limit is that it could have been added mainly for Qualifying sessions. The new regulation from this year is all about “greener” Formula 1. During the race you are limited by the max fuel load of 100kg, but during Q sessions without the fuel flow limit you would be able to use as much gas as you used to for more performance, which would have been fantastic in my opinion, but less greener.

  • HawkOfGP

    I’m with Paul on the sound thing. It Does Not Matter.

    I am constantly surprised by these people who have this emotional connection to F1 engine sound when it never played a role in my enjoyment of the sport since I started watching (in 1997).

    I can’t see how it’s intrinsic to the sport. To start with, sound has nothing to do with the concept of racing, and certainly, on my part, it never had anything to do with why I became a fan of Formula 1. The fact is that internal combustion engines just happen to make a sound and whatever that sound happens to be depending on engine format, becomes a part of the image of F1.

    So ok, first off, it’s hard for me to understand why exactly many people think losing volume and frequency from engine noise is a big deal, but I do have a couple of guesses. I believe these people have formed a connection between sound and the sport and that’s what Todd and Mark here seem to imply . Mark here says “But it’s not F1”. But there has never been a static concept of what F1 is. F1 is evolution. It is the forefront of what is possible with current technology. People never made engines for racing with the idea that they should sound any particular way. In reality the sound is just an after-effect. Some people just seem to form a stronger emotional connection to this auditory experience, which I don’t really get.

    Also, call me crazy, but I quite like the idea of being able to go to a live race event and being able to chat with my friend about what’s happening in the race. I saw Hungarian GP last year, and yes, the engines were very impressively loud, and I do like to tell that as an anecdote to people who don’t really know much about F1, but that’s as far as it goes. Racing is everything to me in racing. Engine sound was never really a consideration.

    I’m sure you guys already understand that from a pragmatic point of view the engine sound doesn’t really matter in racing, which is basically what I’m arguing here. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to have an emotional connection to one or another thing in a sport you follow, but I’m just saying that you should try to be aware of the origins of your biases and consider if they are worth hanging on to. I have read somewhere that the soundtrack creates 50% of the experience of a film and perhaps that’s similar to how some of you people experience motor racing. But again, one thing is a carefully constructed piece, the other just happens to be the way it is…

  • Ground Effects

    Whatever the results of the Red Bull regulation violation appeal… shouldn’t the FIA supply the teams with accurate fuel flow meters if they want the teams to use their meter?

    • Tom

      They do. The allowed tolerances are very low and if anything favor the teams. Also, so far only Red Bull has complained and they didn’t present any evidence but a hunch they had.

      There were some issues during FP1, but they had nothing to do with the accuracy of the sensors, rather with the practicality of the intervals in which measurements were taken.

      • Ground Effects

        I believe I read in several of the stories that the teams and the FIA agreed there were problems with the meters and the FIA was supplying the teams with corrective formulas to use with the actual meter readings on a regular basis. Yes the rest of the teams followed the FIA instructions with regard to the use of the FIA fuel flow meter readings… so how much did that effect the race outcome as teams were actually using higher and lower flows? It would help if the FIA would get an independent analysis of all the meters used last weekend and make the results public then we can all decide who has a point in this issue.

        • Tom

          You’ve been a victim of the misinformation that is making the rounds. Certainly not your fault, I really had to dig deep, find old articles, etc. to get this right. You’re correct about one thing though: The FIA needs to be very transparent about what is going on. So far, they have been too silent on the matter.

          Anyway, let me try to disentangle things:
          1) There were concerns before the teams arrived in Australia whether the fuel meters would be accurate and whether or not some teams might cheat (see Montezemolo’s comments).
          2) However, there are tight tolerances and while there are fuel meters that fall outside of them, they simply don’t get used. All FIA sensors used in Australia have been tested and they were all within the tolerance levels.
          2) During FP1, there were issues at several teams, having to do with the measurement interval, not the accuracy of the device. The FIA reacted by increasing the interval of measurement and thereby giving the teams more leeway. The sensor now measures the flow for durations of 0.2 seconds which is long enough to even out spikes in fuel usage.
          3) At no point were corrective formulas handed out in order to alter the FIA sensor readings. Those readings remained the same throughout the weekend and they were always within a 0.25% variation.
          4) What the FIA has been providing is a correction factor for their own injectors IF the teams were found out to be exceeding the fuel flow limit. Say the FIA measured that a team’s peaks were at 105kg/h, then they would tell them to apply a correction factor of 95.23% to their own injection system in order to remain legal.

  • Ground Effects

    Along with drag and gearing, Mercedes fuel use efficiency also a function of their efficient construction and use of the MGU-K and even MGU-H.Another piece of interesting information that the teams will likely never release but would make a good addition to the race feed graphics is how much energy from the power unit in real time is from the ICE/turbo and the MGU-K.

    • I had mentioned something similar because the lack of engine sound makes it hard for me to hear (on TV) when the drivers are giving it welly and when they are lifting etc. With so much of the power coming from ERS, it would be nice to have a graphic so we can tell when the driver is applying lot os energy to the car etc. Without the sound, we have very little reference as to when the cars are being pushed.

  • nofahz

    Regarding the matter of 2014 F1 drivers constantly fiddling with knobs and buttons, compare with my experiences of driving a low displacement commuter-econo car on a 100 mile daily commute.

    To get up hills without losing significant power i need to turn the heat/AC off. Manipulating when heat/AC is employed also greatly aids fuel economy.

    Driving with all of the windows up decreases drag and noticeably improves fuel economy.

    When my “Energy Store” is somewhat low I need to turn the radio volume down if the headlights are on or I lose considerable visibility.

    One has to cleverly modulate the “Torque Application Pedal” depending on speed and incline to get the most from the unpredictable automatic transmission. This application is especially important in “negative torque events” if one wants to get the benefit of an engine braking effect.

    These are just a few examples of the rather hands-on experiences I have while commuting that often makes me feel like I’m at the controls of a problematic prop plane. I can only laud the governing body and technical working group for bringing in these regulations. I feel I can really relate to the experiences and workload of a 2014 Formula One driver.

  • Andy

    Anyone else think the cars sound a lot like the HPD-ARX-03c that Muscle Milk Pickett Racing used in ALMS last season? Incidentally it ran a 3.4 NA Honda V8 sourced from its IndyCar program. Might be louder than the F1 V6 engine but there are similarities. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suwqO0E8v00

  • Warthog

    Regarding the fuel capacity limit and fuel flows…I don’t think there is a restriction on the amount of fuel you can carry…it’s a restriction on how much fuel you can USE from lights to flag. You can carry more then 100kg to use during the formation lap, cool down lap, and your victory donuts. But the only way I can see to measure that 100kg of fuel use during the actual race laps is with a fuel flow meter. So, even if you didn’t have an instantaneous fuel flow limit, you’d still need the problematic fuel flow meters to figure out total usage from lights to flag.

    • I think there is a 100kgs total fuel load capacity, mate. Plus, a 100kgs per hour flow rate. both are in the regulations. They used to carry about 140-150kgs in 2013 but this year has been limited. Some of that it weight related as well. the cars are much heavier now.

      • jeff

        Warthog is correct. The teams can only use 100kgs of fuel from lights out to checkered flag, but there’s no limit on what’s carried. As he stated, fuel’s needed for trundling out of the pits, formation lap (laps), in lap, and any donuts or celebrations a driver might perform… How unlikely is that this year w/ limited mileage :(

        Of course, the teams want to carry as little fuel as possible for performance, and certainly designed the tanks to be as small as possible for packaging purposes, but the point remains: Fuel-used is regulated, Fuel-carried is not.

      • MIE

        Todd, I think Warthog is correct. The 100kg is the limit from lights out until crossing the finish line, the tank capacity can be greater (for fuel to get from pitlane to grid, formation lap, return to parc ferme and post race fuel sampling). How much bigger the tank needs to be for this is up to the team.

        At least with the regulations as written there will be no repeat of the Honda fuel tank issue that Andy mentioned in the podcast last week.

      • Thanks for the correction guys, I was thinking it was a 100kgs total load but that was just me being a dork, of course they can carry more because they need the one liter for FI a sampling. I had a momentary lapse of reason there. :)

        • Warthog

          No prob Todd. But to my point, even if we did as Paul suggested, and got rid of fuel flow limits, you’d still need these standardized FIA meters to measure the fuel flow from lights to flag to police the 100kg limit. Maybe someone can correct me on this, but I don’t see any other way to measure the amount of fuel used during a particular time period.

  • jeff

    Great podcast, lots of differing views and insightful opinions. A few things for Todd/Paul/Mark:

    -Homologated engines. Is there a preference for an open regs throughout the year? I’m all for development and particularly variation, but constant engine evolution would lead to even more overspending and, more importantly to me, even more variance in the different manufacturers’ performance. In the old days, the manufacturer teams received the newest units, whilst the customers oftentimes stayed with or received an older/slower spec. While it’s true, for this year in example, Renault/Ferrari might close their power/economy/reliability gap to the Mercedes, Mercedes itself would still be developing as well; more to the point, the FI/Sauber/Williams etc. teams, who in this early stage are likely closer to par w/ the big spender/factory-backed teams, would be suffering an even larger gap that would only increase down the road.
    I don’t know where I stand on yearly homologation; both it and development have drawbacks. What say the public?

    -Paul, what do you think of Williams hitting 8th gear whilst the others stayed in 7th? You mention noticing Bottas had trouble keeping up w/ Kimi out of traction zones (great insight, thanks); why do you think Williams are potentially running shorter ratios on the gearbox?
    I’d think they’d want longer gears to soften the delivery down low, and also save top speed and acceleration for the higher-speed tracks, but maybe Bottas was really short shifting down low to compensate for crappy traction? I don’t know, and this for me is a big question I haven’t seen brought up.

    -Button’s performance. Not to slag the guy or Mclaren, but the team’s “brilliant strategy” had everything to do with luck: Button was close to the pits when the safety car deployed while competitors were already down the road; little strategy, most teams I believe would have done the same albeit credit for quick reactions.
    2nd, his lap times relative to Magnussen in the last stint were poor. Fuel-corrected, each driver’s first fast lap following the final pits show Mag w/ the edge; Jenson was in a pushing stage at this point. Throughout the race, general lap times show Magnussen faster, at comparative tire life, taking into consideration race position (needing to push or not) and fuel load.
    Don’t think it was a poor drive, but Jenson’s excuse of degrading tires, well, that’s Jenson. To me, his young teammate just drove a faster, better race.

    -Sauber. Just have to agree w/ your guys’ lament. I love Sauber, am saddened they’re experiencing such dire financial circumstances. Retched a smudge when they announced their driver lineup. From Mr. Sauber to Ms. Kaltenborn and down, they seem a dedicated, no nonsense, characterful and honorable bunch; they deserve better.

    Thanks again for a good one.

    • the drivers seat

      Well jeff, it might be just based on what the team strategy for best compromise over the next few tracks. Or perhaps a fuel conservation approach
      as to longer gears to make corner exit easier I don’t think you,d want to do that as that is what the driver needs to control, once your locked in you cannot adjust if better traction is available (new options etc).

      • jeff

        Paul, thank you. I guess as these guys are shifting >13k RPM, they have some revs to play with at the faster tracks, so getting into 8th not a huge deal for Williams.

        Good point that it’s up to the driver to modulate the power; I’d thought it’d be a disadvantage v. softening the torque blow via gearing, but you’re right, with really sticky tires and track you’d want the added punch.

        I’ll be interested in seeing how different gearing plays out as the season goes on. Some drivers seemed to downshift hard and rapid through multiple gears at the hairpin, others slower and fewer, even when pushing (i.e. not lift and coasting); in conjunction with how the various Power Units are delivering their power and how the drivers are coping with same, there are some variables in setup and style that are yet to play out in the races I think. Fun stuff.

  • jeff

    FYI for those interested in stats like fastest laps/trap speeds, FIA-to-team communications, team-legality mechanical/sporting changes, etc., FIA’s site posts up their event documents:

    http://www.fia.com/championship/fia-formula-1-world-championship/2014/australian-grand-prix-event-documents

    Likely old hat for many, but in case some want to delve deeper, the event docs have always been interesting to me.

    • Thanks for the link Jeff, the FIA do offer some good data for the more technical boffins amongst us. :)

  • Matthew Snyder

    I have to agree with Todd and Mark; the sound a racing car makes is intrinsic to my enjoyment of the sport, at lest as regards F1. The shriek, the barely-contained fury, the sense that the thing is *this* close to blowing itself to simthereens….. it stimulates the asskickital lobe of the brain.

    #pastorized

  • Rapierman

    1. I swear, qualifying was really squirrely this time.

    2. I guess Kimi was learning what happens when you drive distracted. ;-)

    3. Shouldn’t all that harvesting adjustment happen during testing?

    4. Surely a case of “information overload”.

    5. It should be to change gears, but that’s why they put those paddles on the wheel.

    6. One up, one down, decent day for Merc. Nice drive for Rosberg. He definitely stomped it all the way through.

    7. Kinda makes you wonder who’s in charge there.

    8. Also kinda makes you wonder if the new engine would stand up to all the stresses that it would endure in an F1 race (answer: not quite).

    9. Well, gee, guess I should stop watching since all I’m going to get is a repeat of one race.

    10. RBR gets a nice run. Hats off to Ricciardo. Definitely got screwed on the DQ.

    11. I’m not going to argue about the facts and the existence of the rule. The only thing I’ll argue is why the rule exists and if it’s any of the FIA’s business to even think about that which the rule covers.

    12. How ’bout I tell the FIA to “shut up and sit down”?

    13. McLaren had a great day. Rookie on a podium, Button starting a comeback. Can’t ask for better than that (except maybe a win, but that’s pushing it a little).

    14. An average day for Ferrari, and they’re not happy about it.

    15. Proof that money doesn’t equal success (especially for Ferrari).

    16. I agree, Massa got screwed on that day, and if Bottas hadn’t tagged that wall, he probably could have finished better.

    17. Okay, so if we can’t have a high nose, and we can’t have a low nose, then what’s the answer?

    18. Decent day for Hulkenberg, bad day for Perez, but that happens.

    19. I’m encouraged by the way Kvyat handled everything. Maybe we’ll see him as a competitive driver down the road.

    20. Sauber? I think they were barely mentioned. Who are they again? ;-)

    21. The last two teams….we can continue to ignore (save for Kobayashi).

    22. Chilton may be good, but look at the team he drives for. Not exactly a springboard to fame.

    23. I think the moral of this story is “if you’re going to get a pay driver, make sure he’s a damn good driver. Money doesn’t buy happiness. All it does is pay the bills.”

    24. Pass goes to Ricciardo on Hamilton as Rosberg splits them both at the start of the race.

    25. Donkey: Kobayashi’s Brakes.

    26. Drive: Ricciardo, even if he did get DQ’ed, but honorable mention goes to Magnussen.

    27. It doesn’t sound like F1 anymore, but that may be due to a generational gap.

    28. I have to admit, every time I hear ‘drive in anger”, my mind thinks “road rage” and presents the image of a driver being led off in handcuffs because he pulled a gun on someone who accidentally cut him off.

  • eggo_man

    I think someone at Williams listens to the podcast.

    https://twitter.com/tgruener/status/446659294784913408

  • cconf1

    Here’s your Bravado winner for next week:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/missing-jet/missing-mh370-families-forced-hotel-ferrari-f1-team-n58821

    (specifically, the last two paragraphs)

  • DanCooper

    I feel like this whole podcast was oriented around supporting Vettel and RedBull. A quick listen to the crowd after Q2 says these are the last three people on earth with that particular perspective.

    • Rapierman

      Given the fact that Todd is a huge Ferrari fan, you might be a bit off-base there.