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Todt dismisses overtaking fears

NEWS STORY
28/03/2017

If ever you had any doubts as to just how out of touch the sport's powers-that-be are, comments made by the president of its governing body at the weekend should leave you in no doubt.

Speaking ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, amidst fears that the new regulations would impact overtaking, Jean Todt claimed that this was a price worth paying if fans wanted to see faster cars.

"Overtaking has always been a problem in motor racing," he said. "I remember races twenty or thirty years ago, when a car with fresh tyres that was three or four seconds quicker could not pass a car with old tyres, because overtaking was difficult.

"Clearly we can figure out that overtaking will be even more difficult this year," he admitted, "But we have tried to find ways to make overtaking easier with DRS and other technologies.

"Maybe the new regulations will make overtaking more difficult," he continued, "but maybe it was the price to pay by having wider cars with more aerodynamics."

As we have previously stated, long before the new regulations were announced, armchair experts and barstool technical directors had been warning that it is the sport's reliance on aero grip over mechanical that is compromising the racing and has done for some time.

Fans rejoiced when the new wider tyres were announced for 2017, but then the FIA had to ruin it all by announcing wider front wings and the rest.

When it was pointed out to Todt that perhaps it is the aero regulations that need addressing, the Frenchman said: "It's something that we need to address when we are going to speak about future regulations, about whether it is a good compromise."

To a man the drivers subsequently complained about the lack of overtaking opportunities on Sunday, unable to get within 2s of one another before the dirty air from the car ahead caused problems. And while it was good to see someone other than a Mercedes driver winning, there are now fears that the season will be decided by strategy. Those who grew sick and tired of Lewis Hamilton blaming reliability for last year’s title loss now facing the prospect of the Briton blaming the team’s strategists… and pit crew should they make a mistake.

For Mr Todt's benefit, the definition of the verb 'race', is to 'compete with another or others to see who is fastest at covering a set course or achieving an objective', it is not about being fast or looking spectacular.

Consequently, as we await "future regulations" to see whether the sport's powers-that-be finally get it, in terms of racing and overtaking, we shall have to settle for further artificial interference in terms of lengthening DRS zones, as proposal put forward by Charlie Whiting on Thursday.

In the meantime, with Ross Brawn having made it clear that Liberty Media will "fight" its corner to get the sport it wants - and has paid $8bn for - there is the added prospect of "success ballast", a proposal the Briton is very much in favour of and one which should fill F1 fans with dread.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by copit, 01/04/2017 1:08

"I want my money back.
I crossed the Tasman to see this race and the venue, the organisation, the transport, the food, the weather, the hordes of smiling helpful people all pointed to what should have been a memorable experience. Entertainment. Wheel-to-wheel racing. The best in the world going toe-to-toe. Yawn.
I am surprised that there has not been a bigger cacophony of comment about this race. Or more specifically, this non-race. Maybe the TV production made it look better in your living room. From the stands it was processional. I have seen more excitement at the Feilding Agricultural Machinery parade.
I went to Austin in 2014. While still not much more than a Merc benefit, the cars slid around a bit and looked like they were a challenge to drive. These new cars may be faster but it is impossible to tell. They look like they are on rails. And that is the point: you can't pass on a railway track. The cars all orbited at a separation of 200 metres, obviously unstable if the gap diminished, and impossible to overtake - even with the dreaded DRS engaged. Hrrrmmmmph!
The defining moment of the entire weekend came when Lewis was stationary and Seb wasn't. That's it folks. You can go home now. Job done. Race over. When Lewis came out behind Max his day was ruined. Couldn't pass, even though he was in the faster car. Couldn't get near the Ferrari later in the race. I'm sure he tried but we couldn't tell.
I want my money back so I can go watch Nascar. Or V8 Supercars. Or...anything that allows close racing. Not rails. Not processions.
One more thing: paint some numbers on them please. Stop pretending it is rocket science so you can squeeze another dollar out of fans by making them pay for apps to ID each car. That is BS and disrespectful to true fans. Just put a number on it. Pull your head out of the sand."

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2. Posted by GrahamG, 29/03/2017 16:32

"I think you should not be too dismissive of Jean Todt. He managed a most multinational and successful team very well for several years and before that he was an extremely successful team manager and co-driver in rallying. This suggests he's a very good manager, which is not the same as being a leader and innovator and that is probably where he falls down.. Maybe "promoted beyond the scope of his competence" is a better term, but what were the alternatives at the time?"

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3. Posted by Mauri, 29/03/2017 13:40

""Overtaking has always been a problem in motor racing," he said. "I remember races twenty or thirty years ago, when a car with fresh tyres that was three or four seconds quicker could not pass a car with old tyres, because overtaking was difficult."

oh, you mean something like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYX52OtW134 , right?
Come on, who is really asking for faster cars? I'm asking heavy cars, less braking power, and little front wings.
The result of the cure is clearly visible in the video!!!"

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4. Posted by Mugmug, 29/03/2017 12:45

"It has become clear to me that the Schumacher era with Ferrari was a great success because of Michael, Ross, the mechanics and support employees but definitely NOT that moron Todt. How could someone with the nonsensical brains such as his be the head of the FIA? He should run for public office immediately. It would be an excellent position for him along with the rest of the politicians."

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5. Posted by GrahamG, 29/03/2017 12:25

"Are we approaching a point on the G forces on drivers which becomes either dangerous or unsustainable?. Military pilots have special suits and training to combat what are in essence unidirectional G forces, F1 drivers are approaching the same forces but multidirectional and without physical support.
A driver could easily start to sustain short (incapacitating, resulting in an accident) of longer term (brain injury) problems as a result of these sort of sustained forces and reversal of forces (ie in an "S" where high G in one direction is rapidly replaced by the same in the opposite direction). Has anyone looked at the parallels with boxing or rugby injuries and the local impact induced G forces?
It's easy enough to build cars to resist these forces, but even with high levels of physical training are they sustainable for humans?
Maybe we should be looking at a different design direction which encourages closer competition and lower costs at the "cost" of less speed. "

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6. Posted by Rhaycen, 28/03/2017 18:50

"Why don't they just remove the wings from the F1 cars, while we would all need to get used to the new look of the machines. It would be a whole new aerodynamic challenge for the designers and should drastically reduce the downforce of F1 cars.

They would get faster on the straights and much slower in the corners, and thus overtaking would be much easier.

just my 2c though ..."

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7. Posted by -ape-, 28/03/2017 17:34

"""but maybe it was the price to pay by having wider cars with more aerodynamics."
Let us be honest , these things where also wanted by teambossen and tech people like Adrian N.

But the biggest laugh is that the cars must be relevant for today's road cars,..... that is why de cars have these absurd wings and carbon disc brakes . ha ha ha "

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8. Posted by Editor, 28/03/2017 17:23

"@ Sennapod

Better still as the drivers chase one another around the podium spraying Champagne, the ‘chase’ music from the end of the Benny Hill Show could be used."

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9. Posted by edllorca, 28/03/2017 16:19

""but maybe it was the price to pay by having wider cars with more aerodynamics." Who elected this moron to lead the FIA!"

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10. Posted by Mad Matt, 28/03/2017 15:53

"I'm not necessarily against success ballast (it's not too bad in BTCC) but it's not really relevant here. The problem is that faster cars can't overtake slower cars. Adding success ballast would just keep the procession a bit closer together.

It's clear the problem is down to aerodynamics but I'm not sure if it's front wing or rear wing or even under-body... probably all of it!

I also noticed that the clutch changes for this year didn't make much difference (I don't mind the changes but the hype that went with them....)"

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11. Posted by ryanhellyer, 28/03/2017 15:19

"This just another F1 farce that the rest of us saw coming from a mile off. Hopefully Ross Brawn can help implement some more logical and less haphazard rules in future and avoid this pointless bungling by the FIA and teams."

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12. Posted by Sennapod, 28/03/2017 15:13

"@Chris Balfe
"I think there are drivers, including Fernando Alonso, who would be happy to hear Benny Hill’s 'Ernie', Joe Dolce’s ‘Shaddup you face' or anything by Steps just to be up on that podium."

Taking that though a little bit further ....how about the host nation supplies the Podum music - it would be far less corporate and formulaic (excuse the pun)...in fact a bit like the Eurovision Song content on a larger scale. (On second thoughts.......)

'Ernie the fastest milkman' isn't a bad choice actually.... I'm sure our international visitors can find it on youtube."

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13. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 28/03/2017 13:47

"I just despair - and only hope that he stays as far away from the WEC as possible. Oh that he had entered the present French Presidential election contest.

As for "success" ballast - could this, plus Todt's comments come under the classification of "bringing the sport into disrepute"?"

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14. Posted by Editor, 28/03/2017 13:37

"@ Sennapod

I think there are drivers, including Fernando Alonso, who would be happy to hear Benny Hill’s 'Ernie', Joe Dolce’s ‘Shaddup you face' or anything by Steps just to be up on that podium."

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15. Posted by Sennapod, 28/03/2017 13:15

"Out of touch, out of touch.... he needs to go or drop any involvement in F1
and whilst we're talkig of needing a new broom throughout the sport - why don't they get rid of the awful music 'Bizet /Los torreadors from Carmen opera" - like Bernie i'ts had it's time. the drivers on the podium much be sick to death of hearing it"

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