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Bend It Like Horner


A gracefully arcing shot, swinging relentlessly towards the back of the net was a sight to behold, and the call to a loud chorus for supporting fans, and groans from the soon to be defeated. David Beckham inspired a generation of creative footballers to, well, be creative in their shot taking.

Now to ease slightly to starboard, and in the direction F1 is sailing, bending it like Beckham is a creative step too far. This from an FIA claiming to foster innovation, most especially to pass along to road cars. Horner and Co. get creative, bend it a tad in the name of art and performance and... bingo! Faster than you can say "the Stewards are blind!" we have another complaint about the creative art of going fast enough to win.

I'm sure Tennis could give the other players a chance of getting into the last four if they banned Federer, Nadal, and Jockovic from practice. They could then make them play with smaller rackets, just for the sport of it. Or make them hang weight belts around their middles. Or play in stilettos. Or a mind-blowing combination of all those impediments. How about stilettos combined with rubber chickens rather than rackets? Would you pay to see that, so Chip Long-Lob of Soberton Heath has a small chance of reaching the quarters?

Surely such madness would curse Tennis, not save it from itself? So why, dear reader, does F1 feel the need to hobble the genius and cuss at the gifted by limiting practice, and killing ideas that actually deliver on-track racing?

We all know the big teams simply spent the real world testing budget on super computers for CFD analysis, and stunning simulators. It just changed the dynamic of how they created a winning advantage over the little guys. So now, within the current rules, it would appear Horner and Co. have found a way to regain some speed and give V. Max a chance to catch Lewis, thus gifting us all the delights of an on-track battle for the championship!

What right thinking ruling organisation wouldn't want to destroy that delightful situation? Change the rules! It looks like V. Max might give Sir Lewis a Battle Royale!

Thankfully, dear reader, the FIA exists to ensure horrid dangers such as that of two F1 cars being side-by-side approaching a corner, with no one able to predict who will exit said corner in front, do not befall us! They know after the last three seasons of relaxing circular motion, that such excitement will have the fan-base dropping like flies as heart failures ripple around the world in an uncontrolled Tsunami of shock. Lewis, and Max need to be saved from themselves, and we need to be saved from our manic lust for unpredictable sporting excitement!

I mean. Just look how the racing became safer, and our blood pressures all lowered back into the green zone once the Ferrari engine was nobbled by the FIA! Who was not relieved at seeing Vettel saved from himself with all those risky moves because he felt he had a chance to be on the podium, or win the race? Far safer to orbit at a relaxed pace back in 15th, with lots of clear air, at least several seconds worth, buffering him from the car in front, and behind. The FIA only has all our tender, easy to bruise hearts, well, at heart. Safety. Safety. More safety, and a heavy prescription of do it my way.

Can you imagine a better way to generate sporting spectacle? Of course not. Heavily prescriptive rules, crushing cost caps, minute amounts of testing, and coming down like the sword of an avenging angel on the neck of anyone who has a bright idea. And that's even before the stewards get going on track limits, and demanding drivers only listening to the Spice Girls over their headsets during the formation lap!

It's starting to make Federer, and Nadal playing in stilettos and using rubber chickens as rackets look like a sensible, sport-enhancing, concept!

Why then, even your humble scribe, and esteemed editor Balfe might make the final four at Roland Garros! Who wouldn't pay big dollars to see that...?

So Horner and the gang had another idea that is probably on the absolute wobbling knife edge of the rules... which is precisely what they should be doing to take the fight to Mercedes! We the fans have revelled too expansively in the first races of the season, where we actually did have a race at each round, on track! What sensible governing body in this RU-OK?, COVID, Mental-health pandemic, caused by a pandemic moment would not seek to return sanity and relaxation by ensuring Lewis has at least 35 seconds over every non-works Mercedes by the end of the second lap?

Readers might remember the PR fail that was Airbus showing how safely over-engineered the A380 was by exerting additional pressure on the wings of a prototype that was way and beyond that required by aviation authorities, and their calculations of the "worst possible inflight event". Well the wings bent, and stayed bent. Whoops. All things will bend if enough pressure is applied. Wings, Donald Trump's quiff, IKEA furniture, your own trusty 2HB pencil from way back... All have an elastic limit to which they will cheerfully bend, and return to their start state... Each then has an in-elastic limit, which once reached, like the wings of a stressed A380 prototype, will not return to their start state.

Back in pre-COVID times when all who fancied could partake of air travel, the wings of your aircraft would bend significantly when they shouldered the load of you, your fellow passengers, crate loads of red wine, and all the monkeys with typewriters locked in the hold - where do you think all those surreal inflight magazine articles, or travel diaries in Vogue came from? - that Miss Physics made their aerodynamic problem the moment the aircraft "rotated", which is to say, the wheels left the ground. Aerodynamics, and bending go together even more naturally than gin and tonic. More so than a warm pot and fresh dark leaf tea. Far more so than even Frodo, and the ring. So one applies aerodynamic load to the wings of a Red Bull, and Miss Physics assures all with their head in the real world that they, will, must, and surely, do bend.

So the FIA will get, once more, all prescriptive on our butts, and demand that Miss Physics has her aerodynamic, and bending physical object buddies do so only, and specifically to the amount they, the Masters of the Universe FIA, will allow.

Otherwise V. Max and H. Lewis might actually race on track, arriving at corner after corner side-by-side thanks to Horner! And who in their right mind wants such unpredictable madness!?

Lord above! Someone soak the rubber chickens, and stilettos in sanitiser then give the FIA Federer's number! Tennis needs to be saved from itself before it is too late! Any more bending it like Horner, and none us will know what will transpire at the next corner!

Max Noble

Learn more about Max and check out his previous features, here



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1. Posted by airman1, 12/06/2021 10:19

"Once you let that kind of mentality, that one can endlessly, and for the most part needlessly change the rules, at a drop of a hat, then there is no end to where this madness will go....F1 is, or has been for years, in a dire need of a serious re-think of what it wants to be. A sports competition, both human and technical, or just a mindless show and entratainment. And in the interest of honesty, it needs to decide just that. Having your cake and still being able to eat it is an exercise in futility that brought down bigger things in life, and it will surely bring down the F1. This happens when a "business" mentality takes over the essence of any sport. Footbal was fairly decent in preserving its essence, even if it became stupidly expensive, but it is, at its core a same game that it was a 100 years a go. F1 is, sadly, not anymore."

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2. Posted by Ted Baker, 02/06/2021 21:59

"Max another great article and believe that the FIA should only change the rules at the end of each year unless there has been blatant cheating which would give a team a completely unfair advantage. The whole point of F1 is developing a car within the rules given and where teams can find ways on bending them slightly should be overlooked and allowed to be carried on in the next season where other teams if they wish could adopt the same technicalities. This would get the greatest minds at work in finding more ingenious ways of creating extra performance within the budget cap.
Christian and Adrian's team have always been innovators in the past but the current state of affairs is liable to be stifled by these mid season changes.
I know fans would like to see all 20 teams qualifying within half a second and giving them all a certain amount of flexibility within the rules we could try and get to this situation.
The budget cap must ensure major changes are not viable but these imaginative tweaks like bendy wings, F-ducts, should be left to stay."

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3. Posted by Max Noble, 01/06/2021 11:43

"@ancient70! - in other articles I’ve highlighted that boxing and the 100M sprint are the most pure forms of sport. The FIA, long may their blazers be dry cleaned, and others complicate the picture. Enjoy the sport… embrace the rules… and know it is all a sweet, sweet fiction… ( refer movie “Yesterday”…)"

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4. Posted by ancient70!, 01/06/2021 11:37

"Amen! great article Max. I do however come to the conclusion that in F1 world this great evil of innovation must be utterly wiped out. I sometimes wonder why they don’t just get on with it and make it-a spec series. That will reduce the technical rulebook to a single page, “you will build what you are told to, and you may not fiddle with it,” So, a couple of thousand trees saved as well as gigabytes of document storage. Simple? If you look at todays complex aero designs, they are simply mind boggling and not cheap! Someone in the distant past once commented that the cheapest/easiest? (cant remember which) way to add performance is via aerodynamics. That definitely is no longer true, due to all the restrictions millions of man hours and dollars are spent chasing maybe a 1% increase in aero performance. Would it not be brilliant if someone took a small motor (two-strokes are not green) stuck a fan on it and put it in the back of the car. Thus creating abundant and consistent with downforce at minimal cost! And no, it does not throw rocks at the following car."

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5. Posted by Max Noble, 01/06/2021 11:27

"@aroutis - refer other threads on blazers and you have your answer…"

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6. Posted by aroutis, 01/06/2021 8:18

"Double standard refer to the way FIA acts.
In short it has to do with how FIA changes things. You want to change the way the wing flex? No problem, do it, find the "right" tests, but enforce the change starting the next year.
Just like you did with DAS.
You cannot force change with flex wing mid season, whereas with DAS, you let it go on for the full season, -then- ban it. "

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7. Posted by Max Noble, 01/06/2021 4:53

"@Aroutis - “Double Standard”…? Teams get grumpy, protest a great idea they didn’t think of… and bingo rule change. The Mazda Rotory engine was banned within moments of winning Le Mans to ensure “normal service” was resumed the following year.

Nothing new, and no double standard. Just schedule, and complexity of rule change varies depending on the intellect of the FIA folk getting hoodwinked on that specific occasion…"

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8. Posted by aroutis, 31/05/2021 13:19

The thing is,DAS was and I quote "within the rules, until it was not".
And it was banned. The year after.

I would expect the same to happen with the flexi wings,especially with the cost cap.
Otherwise it would be interesting for someone to explain why the double standards. "

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9. Posted by Max Noble, 31/05/2021 9:50

"@editor and @kenji…. Well I can see a full feature article coming… “A brief history of Motor Racing Blazers, 1889 to the present day.” For my mind it would be a close run thing between Colin Chapman, Enzo Ferrari, and possibly Mike Hawthorn trying to sneak a win with a run down the rail…"

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10. Posted by Max Noble, 31/05/2021 9:47

"@jrbbacct50 - well yes and no…. Can you imagine in Soccer… “While we might not be able to detect if a player is off side, if he looks like the type that *might* be off side now and again… we will call it off side..”

Or from engineering “To control something you must first be able to measure it.”

If it cannot, or currently is not, measured, how can one insist on controlling it?

Ergo…. If it passes the current tests it is by definition legal…

They make a new test (nothing like rule making on the fly mid-season to keep costs down…) and then if it measures a different aspect of performance, and you fail the measure… well now you are failing the new rule.

Why not back-date the current crash test requirements to 1970 and disqualify all the cars…? Pointless. At the time they were within the rules… if not possibly the spirit of the rules… which is a different question."

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11. Posted by kenji, 31/05/2021 1:58

"@ Ed....Confession time...Back in the day I owned and wore occasionally what was known as a 'reefer' jacket [ with embossed metal buttons of a nautical nature ] acquired in LA from a reputable tailor on Wiltshire. It was very well cut and considered to be quite stylish. I wore it when attending social events at my yacht club, the RPAYC. It languished in my wardrobe for many years after selling my yacht and leaving the locale. It eventually found its way into a charity op shop I believe and someone would have got some great wear for free. "

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12. Posted by Editor, 30/05/2021 11:54

"@ Kenji

Well that's not going to happen... and as for buttons, yes they were specially embossed"

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13. Posted by kenji, 30/05/2021 6:00

"The rules allow for a degree if deflection and the current test is there to ratify that if the wing meets the test standard then the wing would be by definition legal. If the test doesn't meet the deflection parameters then obviously the test is deficient.

@ Max...If blazers are to be sacrificed upon the equivalent altar of sartorial 'climate change', especially those with embossed metal buttons, then the Ed's admission of past blazer indiscretions is one of supreme courage which only a public mea culpa can extinguish. Even then it begs the question...what monogram? Gucci, Hermes, Armani, Polo Ralph Lauren or the Yacht Club de Monaco..? Only after. admission will full absolution be granted and the guilt erased forever."

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14. Posted by jrbbacct50, 28/05/2021 14:45

"Are you sure the current RB rear wing is within the current rules or does it violate the rule but is not detected by the current method used to test. Those are different things."

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15. Posted by Max Noble, 25/05/2021 10:25

"@SexyLadyRacer - if you work your way through the PitPass back catalogue (which will require much Milo, several stiff drinks, and possibly therapy…) you’ll see we have many articles around freedom of engineering. DAS was within the rules… until it was not. Now rear wings that meet the current rules, meet those rules right now, until the rules are updated making the current legal rear wings illegal… PitPass is uniform in seeing the FIA as the high executioner of creative thinking.

I’m not going to speak for esteemed editor Balfe, but you’ve possibly missed the point on the evil of Blazers…"

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