Bill Cutshall’s Weblog

December 5, 2008

Formula What?

Filed under: Things I am too Lazy to Categorize — billcutshall @ 10:50 am

And now, a random rant about the current state of something I care deeply about, Formula 1.

What.  The.  Hell?

Formula 1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsports.  It’s in the name.  It isn’t Formula Average, Formula Middle-of-the-pack, or Formula Beige.  It’s Formula 1.  I can understand trying to keep it relevant but really, look at the state of it.  For the 2009 season Super Aguri and Honda are both gone, Cosworth will be the exclusive supplier of standardized F1 engines and transmissions, and the cars are all hybrids. I can understand the desire to reduce the cost of running a Formula 1 season but at this point, with a standardized engine, ECU, transmission, aero package, and tires it might as well be NASCAR.

Manufacturers like Ferrari, BMW, Renault, Toyota, and McLaren Mercedes don’t participate in F1 for the love of racing.  They participate because it is a constructors series allowing them to develop and test new technology.  Sure, the adoration of fans also helps sell cars but the real draw is the opportunity for these companies to earn money on their R&D programs.  The 2009 formula has eliminated virtually every area of potential engineering for the manufacturers to pursue.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ferrari pull out rather than race a car with someone elses engine making the horse prance.

You know how to cut costs in F1? Remove the limitations on development. Let the manufacturers spend $1000 figuring out how to fit both a turbo-charger and a supercharger on a V12 instead of $1,000,000 removing a fraction of an ounce from the exhaust headers by switching to a slightly different formulation of Inconel.  Free them up to chase the cheap speed instead of tying their hands and forcing them to throw money at obscure advantages. I mean, seriously… Ferrari runs CO2 in their tires. CO2. Somebody was looking for tenths of a second under some pretty tiny rocks to come up with that. Let them look under bigger rocks.

Sigh. I wonder if I can get a trucker hat with a prancing horse on it.

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