Thursday Thoughts – What Is This- “Back To The Future IV ?”

Greetings Young Apprentices!

Here we see my own answer to ultimately both my own question and Lukeh’s question of last week, the difference being filling in Bernie’s shoes as the guy who makes the contracts need to get F1 running smoothly, and Jean Todt, the man ultimately responsible for everything in the FIA.  In this article, we look at how the cars are defined, the start procedures, and the circuits themselves.

1.0)  Cars:

The first really thing to do is to redesign the current cars.  As radical as these ideas are, they are actually a though back to the way things used to be in F1.

1.1)   The cars must not only be street legal but either a:) but must be readily available to the general public. b)  Be prototypes of  future street legal cars to be sold to the general public. c) The interior must be accessible to at the open air at all times.  (This is open cockpit racing, not ISMA)

1.2)  Constructors can either build their own cars or purchase a car or parts thereof.

1.3)  Engines are unrestricted in terms of  displacement, but are limited to a maximum number of 96 valves and 24 cylinders, per car.     Multiple engine blocks, and drive shafts are allowed .

1.4) Gearboxes are limited to no more than seven speed manual transmissions, plus reverse gear.

1.5)  No wings.  all aerodynamic devices must be incorporated into the bodywork of the actual car.  Spoiler type devices, such as those used on road legal cars are permissible.  Ground effect systems under the car, go wild. (take a look under the chassis of a Ferrari Enzo, and you will see this is consistent with other policies stated here.)

1.6)  Addition of a FIA approved roll bar is required for both driver and passenger’s seat.  Yup.  The passenger’s seat is to be included in the race car. 

1.7) Gearboxes are made to a standard specification,which can be made by any of the marquee teams, as both customer and works parts.


The idea is your are supposed to be able to sell the car after the race if desired.  Remember the motto, “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday ?”  Well, the my design specifications are such that the ultimate crazy idea of four-wheel independent drive, an independent engine is connected to each wheel is legal provided if each engine has a maximum of 6 cylinders and 24 valves or lower.


Mr. C decides to get a life:  Mr. C decides to stretch my example of a car by purchasing a Chevrolet SSR and two McLaren F1’s, he strips the engines from all three cars, inserts a fuel cell to the front of the SSR and mates the two 5=6.1 litre V-12’s from the Maccas to make a 96 valve,  12.2 litre, W-24 engine giving 1014 kW of power with two driveshafts, using the bed to store the engine.  If he does well his car is declared illegal as it is not a convertible.  Either way, the gauntlet has been dropped.

Christine completes a life goal:  She wins a lottery and enters this race the laziest way possible by purchasing the one of the five Bugatti Veyron Super Sport edition rated to do 431 km/h.  The engine has 64 valves and is of a W-16 cylinder design and is rated at 1,001 hp or 736 kW of power.  Seems her intention is to lap the field a few times at Monza…..If she gets the T (Targa)-top, model, we are all in trouble.  (T-Tops) could almost be called open-cockpit…..

Steven drives a Roadster: My plan is to find an old-fashioned roadster or racer (1953 Ferrari would be about perfect)  which used to carry the engine at the front of the car.  You   see, I am thinking of dropping an 1800 kW Napier Sabre VA  H-24 engine into it and then find out Steven’s next of kin.  I need this particular type of car as the engine has a displacement of 37 litres!  Never heard of a Sabre engine?  well, they have been around since 1938…okay the experts among you are wondering where do I pick up the Hawker Typhoon aircraft  for the engine – my guess would be somewhere in Holland.  Swampy ground should preserve slightly used aircraft….

The name is Lukeh, James Lukeh…:  Realizing that he is a little outmatched in the top speed department, Lukeh decides to have a shot of winning the circuits that have portions of the track beside water as by entering a Lotus Espirit. Not just any Lotus Espirit, but the submarine-car version used by James Bond in “The Spy Who Loved Me”.  Now Lukeh can cut the Monaco circuit and go directly from Portier to La Rascasse!  When pointed out that the Espirit is not an open cockpit,  Lukeh picks up a Rinspeed SQuba, which is an open-cockpit car. No details are know if it comes with a blonde Russian Spy as standard.  But perhaps I have blown Lou’s cover?   “Nyet, Nyet, Nyet….” She says….. 

2.0)  Start procedure:

Traditionally, the cars used to form up in a line-abreast formation with every odd-numbered row having three cars and every even row having two cars except the final row which might have one or two cars.  The two cars were positioned to be  in the space between the three cars in front of them so that the first five cars all shared a clear view directly in front of their drivers.

Currently, there are two columns of cars which are staggered so that the odd-numbered position is about half the distance ahead of the even number positioned car, which is further disadvantaged by being on the dirty side of the track. 

My solution is to combined the two starting procedures so that there  are a total of  five columns of cars that are staggered towards the dirtiest side of the circuit.  It would look like this:  The numbers are the grid positions.



(3)        (4)

      (5)         (6)

(7)      (8)          (9)

      (10)      (11)

(12)      (13)        (14)

      (15)       (16)

(17)     (18)       (19)

     (20)         (21)

(22)      (23)         (24)

      (25)       (26)

Assuming that the clear line of the circuit is on the left hand side.  As you can see, the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th and 9th placed cars all have a relativity clear track  in front of them at the start of the race. It also reduces the length of the grid by about a half, which should lead to tighter racing into the first corner, as there is not a massive spread between pole and last places.

2.1)  The traditional parade lap will also stand in effect, with the maximun distance between the cars to be 10 meters.

2.2)  The traditional standing start, with five red red lights going out to start the race, will remain in effect.

2.3)  Cars that did not survive pre-qualifying are allowed to enter if the race has been red flagged.

3.0) Circuits:

I would start with a throwback to the more traditional circuits in F1.  As much as I will endeavour to make the circuits safe, I realize that tikle-dromes are not the way to go.  I view deaths at a race track as a risk that has to be taken, not as something to be completely removed.  Tikle has even failed this aspect at his tracks.  More people have died from boredom watching F1 at Tilkedromes than have driven in F1 from 1950 to today….

3.1)  I am afraid that most of the European circuits will have to be reprofiled to the point I would like them to be.   There would be a total of 21 circuits available for use in Formula 1.  Ideally, a 20 year cycle is used so that the reserve track can be modernized to being it up to current F1 standards.

3.2)  All pit lanes are to be widened to be able to handle more than three cars abreast for safety reasons.  The pit lanes must be widened during the year off if not already done so.

3.3)  Tilke-dromes are to be replaced by order tracks as their contacts expire.  As cars have made themselves safer, the requirements for safety will be lessened with regards to asphalt run-off areas, gravel traps and other methods that allow the cars to re-enter the track with very little penalty. 

3.4)  Bahrain’s 3.5 km11-turn “Outer Cicruit” is to be used to create overtaking opportunies.


Thursday Thoughts – Star Wars F1 ?

Last week Lukeh asked what you would do to Formula 1 if you where in Bernie’s shoes.  I replied not much as to me, Bernie’s job is really to create the contracts needed to make F1 run smoothly.  We all know that he is part of the Concorde Argeements: of how the prize money is divided by the teams; of which teams; which drivers; and most importantly to us fans; which circuits can enter F1.  Clearly a major player, but in terms of the Star Wars Universe, a Jabba the Hutt character.  Very Powerful, no Jedi Mind Trick will work on him, he’s informed of whatever goes on in his domain, although not quite with it outside of his domain, but all-powerful ? No, as the Jedi Mastersaid before dying, “There is another Sky—–”

So who do you turn to if you think that your opponents floorboard flexes under the car? Want to make sure your double diffuser is legal? Wondering why only the rear brake ducts are glowing on a competitors car? Questions about your F-duct? It is not Bernie you run too….

So who is powerful enough to have even Jabba the Hutt or Darth Vader quaking in their boots?  Why the Emperor Jean Todt!  Okay he just rubbers stamps Bernie’s deals but in all other aspects of F1 Todt’s the boss.  As President of the FIA, everything else – safety, technical aspects of cars, number of teams, number of cars, planned operating budgets, kinds and number of tyres are drivers allowed to enter F1? Hiring of the race stewards, start procedures eventually, ultimate responsibility falls on Todt’s shoulders.

So my question is “What would you do to Formula 1 if, Like Jean Todt –  purple lighting bolts could fly out of your hands? as part of your powers as President of the FIA?

Thursday Thoughts – And You Thought Bernie Was Bad……

Well it is Thursday again so another Thursday Thought comes our way from Sidepodcast’s famous picture editor Lukeh.  Hopefully Lukeh is just thinking about his dream job here when he asks this question to the subject for today:

If you succeeded Bernie Ecclestone with controlling and owning Formula 1, how would you change the public perception of F1?

Well, as Bernie’s successor I really do not think I can do much to change the public’s perception of F1, and I really do not want to.  And really why should I?  If anything I would further enhance the public perception of F1, good, bad or ugly. F1 is supposed to be the elite of motorsport, and that sort of implies having more than your average drivers in the cars.  Also in Bernie’s position I have a duty first and foremost to the principal shareholders, the FIA, the media, and finally the teams.  Please notice what is missing.  There is a feeder system in place to ensure that decent drivers are at least seen to be good enough to enter F1.

In the matters of personal safety I think I would move my office from London, England to a place that is safer, like San Paulo, Brazil.  You can go on about very high chance off getting mugged in San Paulo, but my predecessor was certainly mugged in like the most fashionable part of London! And the British Grand prix needs to be shut down as well.  If the British police services cannot protect a VIP in the most fashionable part of England, how can they protect the general public?  We can use the race slot that is opened up for a race in India.  If England truly wants to host an F1 race, then why not subsidise it to the tune of the budget of the NHS per year?

As we are also not making enough money from the Belgium GP and German Grand Prix they are obvious candidates to be replaced with the well financed USA and Russian GP’s.  And with the possibly of a South African Grand prix, I can get rid of Catalunya and transfer the name of the Spanish grand prix to Valencia.  The next big goal will be to land a contract for a race in Indonesia.

To repair our current hopeless economic model the ban enforcing tobacco sponsorship would be lifted and the cars allow to renew any old traditional colour schemes associated with big tobacco companies.  Where counties that have anti-smoking laws in place they will have their grand prix removed.  Good bye Canada, hello Mexico.

The trend to move races outside of Europe for the search of better markets will continue.  This is so that the remaining few races left in Europe will ensure high demand for those races.  I really do not care that the circuit owners raise their ticket prices, but frankly by artificially increasing the demand for seats it is basic economics that the price has to go up.

Finally a word about the teams. I am prepared to increase the field to 16 teams of 32 cars, with Friday pre-qualifying.  Just to add more competition in F1 and also to further increase revenues to the FIA.  In this situation I do not care how many teams are named Lotus, and on the basis that any publicity is good publicity I strongly urge the formation of Lotus Renault, Team Lotus-Renault, Hewt Pink Lotus-Cosworth, Louts Pokus Cosworth, Gold Leaf Lotus Cosworth and some team named John Player Special to apply for entry.

I would also encourage some marquee teams to find respectable talent with a subsidy in place from the FIA in preference to hiring pay drivers if it would benefit the sport in general but not necessary the team in question.  F1 could use an American driver once again, and for the publicity factor you still cannot beat Danica in a Williams, or better still a McLaren.  A Chinese driver would be excellent for F1 to market, given the importance of the Far East to the global ecomony and to stir up Nationalistic factions amongst f1 fans or the citizens of the various countries there.   

So would the racing be better if I was in Bernie’s shoes.  No.  But that is really not Bernie’s department.  Bernie’s job is to make the most amount of money to the FIA, and I daresay that this little formula will give Bernie a run for his money.  If anything the fans will probably want to hang me.  I will be found at my safe secure bunker in San Paulo, the one with the helipad on the roof.  If you want to complain to me personally, be my guest, if you can get though the army of muggers outside the bunker that is…..

F1’s Back to the Future or Thank You, Gianni Morbidelli!

Lovely post, Leigh. (Kiss With a Fist: Bertrand Gachot)

I have been thinking about F1’s biggest “what if?” about Gachot not spraying that taxi driver in London with CS gas and how it affects Michael Schumacher’s career. For the year 1991, I have three different viewpoints, two of which are based on facts and one of which is a rumour which was made by a team to cover its tracks. First to simply things, let us say that we only have the ability to make the one small chance to F1 history in 1991, and that done, things like the order that the cars finished a race stays the same after qualifying for the Belgium Grand Prix for every race. (Basically I am saying that Michael Schumacher drives no better than Roberto Moreno did at Benetton, and looking at their results at Benetton, it was a safe assumption….) Furthermore, I see that this one slight change directly affects the outcome of Alex Zanardi, as Gachot’s replacement at Jordan, and for this we have know way of guessing what the immediate future will hold of him.

At the end of the 1991 to the start of 1992 season, we also have no idea of the effect of our one slight change has beyond some idea of who’s contract is still valid for which team. However, with Benetton being able to get Schumacher from Jordan in real history, it surely seems more than possible that Benetton will have Schumacher in 1992, and thus the line-up of 1992 in our alternate history looks like it has no surprises from the actual 1992 line up, but that is another story. The more we project our slight little change into the future, the more uncertain and more difficult it is for us to return to actual present. Therefore this “What If” will only concentrate on the events of the 1991 season until its conclusion.

So grab a bowler and an umbrella. Let us set our Wayback time machine (cleverly disguised as a red British Public Telephone Booth) to 1991 and use the cutest girl we have to hail the Taxi Cab that was meant for Gachot to take us to Heathrow Airport (Do not worry, we can take the tube back to London…). Gachot takes the next cab, and not needing to use his CS canister against this new taxi cab driver Gachot gets to race in the ’91 Belgium Grand Prix for Jordan after all. Sadly, due to our inability to control further events from the time of catching Gachot’s cab our “European driver from parts unsure” retires on the first lap due to clutch problems! Looking at how his replacements did historically, and Gachot being roughly equal in capability to them all it is not too hard to see Gachot still getting just a couple of ninth place finishes, a tenth place finish and bunch of retirements. Either way, shall history be changed by saying Mauricio Gugelmin will be replacing Gachot for the 1992 season instead of Stefano Modena? Six of one and half a dozen of the other to me…

Now what happens to Schumacher?

  • Based on historical facts as to the order of precedence that Mercedes wanted their Sportcars drivers to enter F1, namely Schumacher, Wendlinger, and Frentzen:
  1. The result was that Schumacher got a deal with Jordan after Gachot sprayed the taxi driver. Wendlinger gets a two race deal with Leyton House, replacing Ivan Capelli. And Frenzten has to drive sportcars for Mercedes.
  2. So with Capelli leaving Leyton House and Gachot getting a tenth and nineth place finishes (actual result for Moreno and Zanardi) Schumacher is the first driver available at Mercedes to enter F1 è With Leyton House! The real funny thing is, just looking at the actual results of the last two races in the 1991, it would have turned out better for Michael, getting a 20th place in Australia as opposed to the double retirements in the Benetton….
  • There is a possibility that is based on the rumour that Roberto Moreno was too in awe of his teammate Nelson Piquet. This seems silly to me, as Benetton’s results overall where reasonably close, with Piquet being a former world champion after all. On the flip side of the coin Piquet was the one who had the higher positions, especially on the few times they both finished the race. But it was Benetton who dumped Moreno to get Schumacher from Jordan so I will pretend for this theory that Benetton was looking for the right driver to sack Moreno with and we have Schumacher joining Benetton sometime after the Belgium Grand Prix…Boy what Mystic abilities are displayed here…….But the important difference here is that Schumacher has joined Benetton directly from the Mercedes Sportscar program! The more I think about this possibility the more I doubt that Benetton would take a risk on a rookie German driver…maybe one on that has a few races under his belt at Leyton House, although….
  • My last idea has Alain Prost complaining that his Ferrari is a truck too drive one too many times and well, it is Gianni Morbidelli, (who ?), Dario Benuzzi (wha ?) Andrea Montermini (Ferrari had a female test driver ???) or “German rookie” to the rescue….filling in for the fired Frenchman.

If you are having as much a tough time trying to remember who these people are as well as I am (Andrea could be both a guy and gal’s name in Italian after all), then can you really blame Ferrari for punting a “German rookie” on the last race of the F1 season so that your “nobody” test drivers can continue work on the 1992 car? (No hindsight here, but the 1992 Ferrari needed a lot more work to be done to it at the end of 1992 season to make it into a racing car) ….but well, let us face it, Ferrari went after and still does go after “veteran” F1 drivers and there was better odds of finding a snowball in Hell than a rookie at Ferrari, right?

So as we return to our time machine and realized that we were too clever with camouflaging our time machine in plain sight as there a little girl using it to call someone. If we reflect back, under the theory that Schumacher was the most available driver at Mercedes, we would have find Schumacher driving for Leyton House as a worst case situation for the final two races of the 1991 season. Unless Benetton was ready to sack Moreno to the point of hiring a rookie driver, which face it, was not that unlikely. Either way we have Schumacher in 1992 with March (previously known as Leyton House, under the same terms as the historical Windlinger deal) or more likely Benetton. (Either by getting him from direct from Mercedes to replace Moreno or more likely getting him from Leyton House before they become March)

Anyway, with the lass gone we can now dial up our co-ordinates to get back home (yes, it’s a rotary dial, it is 1991, after all), and drop 2 000 pounds for the long distance fee (2 000 pounds is way more than a ton of money….) into the slot, ‘cause I do not think we can reverse the charges…..

“Out of Service! Crap! Even in the future, nothing works!” Stupid British Telecom….