F1 new season

Here's a topical subject with the first F1 GP this weekend in Melbourne.

What does anyone think of the new rules. I think the one lap shoot out for pole will be great but Max's rule of no refuelling before the race is dumb. OK it's good for the amateur armchair strategist but it'll so confusing for most of us. It's a geeks nirvana to calculate the last 0.001 sec disadvantage of running extra fuel in qualifying against later pit stops, but lets have some real racing - next they will have a minimum mpg to meet!!

What's your opinion.

David Morton

Lifetime Supporter
The Jury is out. Its potentially a wet weekend down under so we may see the new rules being 'exercised' in anger, and Malaysia may also be similarly affected. If I were a team manager I think I would run about 50kg (12 to 14 laps on race day)
to get a potential mid field grid position, and then not worry either way so I could knock off early on Saturday evening and go out on the ----.
OK, the race is over and the rules used in anger. My opinion? A resounding success.

Purely from a track-side spectators point of view, the one-lap qualifyer replaced all the confusion of "whose out when" and "are they on a hot lap" and "what happened to driver X" with an exciting and rivetting fully contained event in its own right.

As for the new fuel rules, the jury was still out in my mind until somebody pointed out that this is F1, and as such should be a level above any other motorsport in complexity in ALL fields. As well as this, it enphasised the TEAM sport aspect which has always been the mainstay of Formula 1 (ie, Ferrari vs Williams vs McLaren - NOT Schumacher vs Montoya vs Coultard).

Bring on Malaysia! Hope its as exciting as Melbourne

[ March 12, 2003: Message edited by: Chris L ]

Bill Hara

Old Hand
GT40s Supporter
I agree Chris

It was a great spectacle over the 4 days. The new rules certainly had everyone talking about testing, qualifying and the actual race with a lot more enthusiasm. The one hot lap qualifying especially was very exciting to watch trackside!
The interesting thing about the Melbourne race was that the weakest teams exploited the rules to their advantage whilst the leading teams faced a more level playing field.

Great weekend of racing, excellent looking GT40 doing demo laps, congratulations Norman (and Robert) on an awesome looking car!

Too many rules...They're "dumbing down" the series. Until they go back to slicks and turbos it won't be considered the premier series! Say what you want about american auto racing guys, but we run slicks, and have rules that actually PROMOTE passing. (I'm just tired of the only passing being done in the pits!) I say get rid of the rules, get back to simplicity, "run-what-you-brung", and if the competion can't keep up, then I guess they just have to work that much harder. Bernie and Max are trying to make this into a big $$ circus show, and boys, that ain't racing!
Yes, I've heard the comments that the new rules are dumming down the sport, but I've yet to hear any explanation. In my opinion, it takes just as much smarts (if not more smarts) to build the best engine in the world that will run forever, as opposed to the best engine in the world that will run for one race. The emphasis on one technology over another will simply shift.

Now grooved tyers are just a clever way of effectively having narrower slicks for the purpose of reducing grip - and make no mistake, they are slicks.

As for overtaking being a problem, this is something that we will agree on. However, the answer as I see it, is to reduce (if not eliminate) the reliance on ground effects. However, unlike American racing, F1 is (thankfully) not just another parity formula, so you will never get as much overtaking.

Personally, I think that the parity solution (which unfortunately seems to be infiltrating most forms of motorsport) is against the fundamentals of the sport. You will always get more interest when you have, say, a Ford And a Chev racing eachother. Bring in parity and the argument about which car is better becomes a farce.
I agree... I just thought things were better in the "old" days...But i do beleive they should allow at least modest wings. All I know about the grooved tires, is that Villeneuve said that he liked the "slicks" better because of his driving style. P.S. I hope villeneuve dosen't retire after this year!
I totally agree on that cammer. F1 is a victim of its own success. Technology has plateaued at such a high level, that you could almost pluck a requirement out of the air and build a car to that spec... hence the need for some dumb rules. In the "old" days it was almost open slather, and the advancements were directly relevant to the road car.

My comment about ground-effects was, I admit, just a bit wishful. The reality is that you cannot divorce aerodynamics from motorsport, especially when the racecars travel at 300+kmh. But if they could somehow minimize it, you would then have a situation whereby overtaking was easier. And because the technology emphasis would be transferred to mechanical grip, there would be a greater affinity with road cars - as per days gone past.
You might call it technically dumbing down but we don't want to end up with Schumacher and Montoya sitting on the pit wall with a joystick each and the cars being totally automatic - this would be the ultimate safety for drivers and the greatest 'slot car' racing but hardly F1 as we like it! I think the key thing is to have the drivers make more difference and the engineers/software designers less.

We want interesting racing, which does not necessarily easy passing, though more than now would be good - getting the balance right is difficult. It was better when you got slipstreaming so there was some potential for a slower car with better handling could pass a car with more grunt.

Having watched F1 since Stirling Moss used to race (mostly on the TV when it was broadcast, I have to say) unfortunately as the amount of money increased in advertising the professionalism increased and less cock-ups can often mean more predictable racing.

Max's ideas are a brave attempt to spice things up but we won't know for a few races yet whether they make any real consistent difference. I was a great advocate of single lap qualifying but on the TV it was a bit boring (sorry!) maybe the commentators were not concentrating enough but there was not much action. I actually missed 10 drivers on track in the last 3 minutes setting faster times one after the other. I realise its different as a track side spectator as its more difficult to understand whats happening (at least I found it so).

Anyway lets just hope we get some more racing as we did in Melbourne (especially Kimi dicing with Schumi). Villeneuve (Giles)vs Arnoux was the best ever dice over about two laps - more please!
I had the pleasure of flying across for the race and it was great!! I had no appreication of how fast and how loud these cars are. If you have never been to a Grand Prix, I 'd highly recommend it. I'm definately going next year again.

I would also have to commend the the organisers for the 4 days. It was awesume

Later in the year they will be losing launch and traction control. This will make it a little more about the driver rather then technology.

2003 Formula 1 Rule Changes


* Pit-to-car telemetry is OUT, so the engineers can’t make changes to the cars during the race (up to driver to figure out his car’s behaviour!)
* Car-to-pit telemetry remains – but is OUT from 2004
* Radio communication between team and driver ALLOWED but…
the system must be stand-alone (i.e. not used to carry other signals) and the communication must be open and accessible to broadcasters and the FIA (i.e. they can’t give clandestine team orders!).

Spare cars

* To be used ONLY if a race car is damaged beyond repair. Spare cars would start from pit lane.

Work on cars

* To be severely restricted between end of qualifying and start of race. Cars to held under parc fermé conditions; work beyond a short list will require special permission.

Driver aids

* Traction control and automatic gearboxes OUT from this year’s British Grand Prix.
* Launch control OUT at the same time provided teams can arrange manual operation of exisiting clutches.

Friday testing

Three teams – Minardi, Jordan, Renault – have signed up for Friday morning testing at each Grand Prix. In return, they agree not to do more than 10 days’ testing elsewhere through the season.

* This means fans will see F1 cars on track for an extra two hours first thing on Friday morning.
* Teams can use a combination of their current drivers plus local or other invited drivers for those test sessions.


* Will revert to one hour on each of Friday and Saturday afternoons.
* Will see each driver allowed only one flying lap in each session.
* Friday they will run in World Championship order, with World Champion Michael Schumacher first on track here in Melbourne.
* Saturday, the slowest man from Friday goes out first, the fastest man goes out last.
* Only Saturday times count towards grid position

World Championship Points

* Instead of the existing system of 10 points for a win then 6-4-3-2-1 for the top six, the new system awards points for the first eight places.
* The new scale is 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1.
After watching the second race in Malaysia I am beginning to see the point of the no-refuelling rule after qualifying. It certainly mixes up the grid more as we saw Renault as 1 and 2, compared to last year its like getting a jump start if you choose a lower fuel load.

Not quite as much fun as Melbourne but still a major improvement, shame DC (my initial pal) had electrical trouble so early, even so its nice to see McLaren top of the manufacturer's table.

And wow, I never thought Renault would last the pace but Alonso seems a man of the future, its hard to believe he's the first Spaniard to get on the podium let alone win a race.

Roll on Brazil!

Jim Rosenthal

I will bet you a Bernie (that's a one million pound sterling banknote) that the new rules will make things more interesting. I hope so. I have gotten tired of the Red Parade to the finish line.

David Morton

Lifetime Supporter
The new red cars (2003ga) were not, it seemed, able to leave the grid standing and it was some what gratifying to find a Renault that was able to split the ferraris on the podium. Admitted Alonso was driving in front of his home crowd which can be deemed as an increase in performance, but I personally think the writing may be on the wall for ferrari (and McLaren and Williams) when Renault finally get the increase in power they need. Their chassis is equal or better than the 03ga and the new 'Mac' and Williams are relying on BMW to disguise their problem child. The 'ifs'in Spain - if Trulli had not been punted off - ferrari no 2 might not have been on the podium.
"Can you hear the bells, Alonso" (Modena, Abba?)
Dave M
Don'tcha just love it? Who said F1 was boring. Its great to have at least one series where you know that the hirarchy is determined by technical excelence... and not some stupid parity rule. Bring on the technology wars!!!!

David Morton

Lifetime Supporter
The upcoming race in Austria will be the last at the A1 ring for the forseeable future.
Lets hope we do not have a repeat of the debacle in 2002 which left the Austrian crowd jeering the Modena team. Some people that I know (who bet on the results) lost a whole pile of cash as a result.
In many ways the A1 ring is a power circuit so the weather may be one of the biggest factors in keeping the race interesting.
Any side bets?
Dave M
No way am I betting on you with regard to the weather!!

I hope though that the grid continues to mix up - I am getting a liking for Alonso, maybe someone has to beat arrived the RainMeister.

[ May 12, 2003: Message edited by: Dave Champ ]