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A Postcard From Miss Physics


Miss Physics has been 'busy elsewhere' in recent F1 seasons. Rule stability leading her to rapid season-long boredom.

She knows how it works. She knows Adrian knows how it works. She knows the others nearly-know how it works. Not much to keep a lass, nearly as old as the Universe itself, interested (no one talks of those first few split-micro-seconds, bit of a messy affair by all accounts). She loves good execution within the bounds of The Laws as much as anyone, yet she has plenty of other amusements to pursue while Adrian and V. Max waltz off with the goods race after race.

Enter our night in not-so-shiny armour! Behold! From darkened halls the FIA, with all the finesse and class of third-rate wizards, emerges from weeks without sunlight, smelling of stale coffee, cheap sulphur and unwashed weasel (their familiars). Indeed, after far too long isolated, as a shambling group, they are now blinking and confused in the Spring sunlight, carrying their recycled stone tablets bearing their pronouncements! ... New Rules! Joy to the World!

So it is with keen insight, I'm sure, that, other than recommending a good grooming for the weasels and long hot baths for the wizards, Adrian is grinding his teeth over the fact that he does not think the Ivory Tower Wizards at the FIA have a clue. Do they actually understand what they've just carved into cheap stone? Or rather, while they understand the words they've written, the worry is that they do not understand the implications thereof. And therein, dear reader, lies Adrian's current frustration, and our future problem.

This stone tablet release has caused Miss Physics to cast an eye back over the F1 pond, and, fully, as she expected, her last remaining Earthly Acolyte is pulling a face and looking uneasy. Trying to formulate a rebuttal that will not cause a temper tantrum from a gaggle of grumpy wizards. Using the artistic word picture of "engines flat-out through the Lowes hairpin" Adrian is attempting to educate the weasel-smelling wizards on just one of the issues with their proposed new rules.

Enzo himself rated the engine above the car, then the car above the driver. Yet for the entire 20th century the sound of an internal combustion engine (ICE) screaming from peak power, then to drop sweetly into the growling heaven of peak torque, has been an earthly delight. At the deft cog-swapping of an intrepid pilot, a mechanical symphony created for race lovers of every nation. Miss Physics is most approving of the kinetics of this situation.

Now. Mine site haul packs, diesel-electric trains and diesel-electric submarines all share a naughty secret. The ICE has nothing to do with direct motive force. No. In each instance the diesel is used to power an electric motor. This highly efficient electric motor then provides drive, whereas our beloved ICE produces peak power at high RPM, and peak torque at a lower, but non-zero, RPM. An electric motor produces peak torque when stalled. That is, in the first instant it starts moving from a dead stop. Very handy if you're a 400 ton haul pack, or thousands of tons of train or a submarine.

First diesel electric train? General Electric, with Ingersoll-Rand and the American Locomotive Company, in 1925, 99 years ago. First diesel electric haul pack? Early 1990's.

First diesel/petrol electric submarine? The late 1890's. Yes, the 19th century.

So F1 is "leaping into the future" with ideas first used about 130 years ago.

No wonder Adrian is grinding his teeth. He's done the hard thinking, and knows running the engine at an optimal steady rate - best power output to fuel burn - to recharge high energy density batteries is the way to go. The engine will have nothing to do with the gearbox. Indeed, one can probably ditch the gearbox to save weight, as the electric motor will be single speed. Or possibly two speed if a launch gear and an in-motion gear are considered optimal. And it will be heavier.

So Adrian frowns and Miss Physics sighs.

Miss Physics recalls previous post cards from the edge of science. Electric cars in the 19th century. Splitting the atom. The delight of discovering the aerofoil. Don't get her started on those dizzy days of Archimedes or Leonardo, back when people actually read her postcards, and then did something about them. Now she turns her gaze to F1 to find the concept of liquid fuel-electric power obsessing the weasel-fragranced wizards of the F1 towers. Miss Physics sends daily reminders to all of gravity, electromagnetism and laminar flow aerodynamics. Yet so many now ignore it and ask for an opinion they prefer. The Physics of the situation, the hard science, not being to their liking.

So Miss Physics sends postcards no one reads. It is the potential recipient's loss. Miss Physics knows she already has a place to stand, and a lever with which to move the world. Adrian has read the post card, and has reflected. He feels the new engine rules are missing the point. Are the FIA going to ignore both Miss Physics and Adrian's observations, and, in the true tradition of Ivory Tower Dreamers with minimal grasp of reality, simply force through their opinions regardless? We are soon going to find out. Though they do have a rather grim track record on this one.

A constant RPM engine droning lap after lap. Manic acceleration, then battery drained before the end of longer straights. A chassis that is bigger yet again to take all the weight and torque. Potentially no gears connected to the driven wheels, as the electric motors are the only items in the drive train, and they care not for gearing. Miss Physics is weeping as she imagines what Pirelli will do to the tyres to take the torque and extra mass. The notes on the postcard are not good.

Indeed Miss Physics did not pen a postcard to the FIA Ivory Tower Wizards. No. She felt it would get better reception with the weasels. While it is from an unconfirmed source I have a red wine and coffee soaked postcard secreted to my desk by the stealthy paws of a Pitpass cat, who shall rename nameless to protect our sources. The postcard (which has a fetching picture of the Horse Head Nebula on the front) reads thus;

Dearest Weasel Familiars,

I hope the increased thermal energy of a Northern Spring brings relief as I know the Wizards fail in their grooming habits. A good moult often fixes these things...for you, not the Wizards.

Please. More haste, less speed. Beauty is in the curve, and the absence of mass. The drone of a fixed-speed engine can be considered a straight line when monitoring decibels. Not good. Ease into power, do not be hypnotised by stalled torque figures.

Energy. Why the universe is full of it, except between your Wizard's ears, whereby vacuum is the rule. While I do not detest vacuum as much as Mother Nature, it is still a bore, and to be avoided. Your energy source choices should be wider, your application of power more inventive.

Please. While I do not see all of time - I'm not God after all - I foresee poor Adrian spending a fortune on dental reconstruction if your current rules continue. Plus all this grinding is sure to give him the most horrid of migraines. The proposed rules simply have to be further revised. They are the poor result of loose thinking. I sometimes wonder if humanity remembers any of my postcards from age to age!

Finally I am a firm believer in the beauty of solutions created to be in harmony with the natural order of things. I only have to think the letters "DRS" to want to go and Quantum jump a few hard objects through a few soft minds.

So please. Unite in biting a few fingers, eating a few pages of draft rules, and, for the sake of us all, spilling as much coffee and red wine on the proposed rules as possible in the coming weeks! As weasels of the highest order, should you fail to have a mug of steaming coffee, or a '56 vintage to hand, might I press you to consider 'returning the piss' to meet our destructive needs? Wizards detest working soaked in weasel piss, so this could be our 'weapon of last resort'. I assuredly believe those troublesome Wizards have turned mixing ignorance with taking the piss into a new dark art, so the fight is fair, while the current situation does not take my fancy.

As ever, your friend in 1/r2 delight,

Miss. Q. Physics.

(Side-note. For those not steeped in either Dungeons and Dragons, or relevant folklore. A wizard's or witch's familiar is any animal with which the person has a special bond. The familiar then multiplies the respective sorcerer's powers while gaining powers of its own. One could start with newts and toads, before moving onward and upward to ravens, cats and, in rare instances, smaller dragons. Larger dragons taking a view not dissimilar to that of cats as to who owns whom, and as such are best avoided.)

Max Noble

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



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1. Posted by Tyrbiter, 01/05/2024 14:27

"My experience of weasels is that they delight in creating problems for everyone, even themselves."

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 29/04/2024 19:58

"@Max Noble
Your structures about the verywrong are well made. It exemplifies one Ms P's favourite corollaries: The Law of Diminishing Returns. The aforementioned behemoth also puts me in mind of the various efforts of those trying to remove the fly from inside the old woman. Every attempt at resolving one problem causes another.
Weasels et al take note..."

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3. Posted by Editor, 29/04/2024 19:02 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 29/04/2024 19:05)

"@ NS Biker

Miss Physics might suggest you refresh your browser, because the countdown is correct.

Any sources telling you that the race starts at "2:00 pm London time" are telling you lies, the race begins at 9:00 pm (21:00) London time."

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4. Posted by NS Biker, 29/04/2024 18:51

"Ms Physics.
While we appreciate that Time is a somewhat flexible, stretchable and always in short supply, it is never the less, a critical component in the conduct of F1 events. Some want to extend it, racers want less of it (per lap) and us minions in the trenches are trying to coordinate many activities and still find ... time, to enjoy the spectacle.
So why is it that a skill (we) learned in grade school, seems to be a bit lacking in those posting ... Time to Next Race Next Race, countdown clock.
The current PP timing screen is showing that the Miami event starts in 6 days and just under 10 hours.
If my ruminations are correct, then the race would start at 8:15 pm PST (my zone) and 12:15 am Miami time. Probably 4:15 am, London time.
Relatively speaking, something missing here.
From other sources, I believe the Sprint race starts around 10:00 am Miami time or 2:00 pm London time.
In my case, Tape Delay, I can enjoy it with breakfast after sunrise, PST.


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5. Posted by Max Noble, 29/04/2024 10:08

"@ancient70! - Nah. You got the postcard from Miss Physics. Curves, light weight good. Extra mass bad… The classic example is the spiral of madness VW went down building the initial relaunched Bugatti. “We want 1,000 HP” - ok… bigger everything… now we need more power… now we are bigger…. Now we need more power… Fascinating that sheer bloody mindedness and money got it solved in the end… Which is not to say the Veyron is a car I ever wish to own…

Miss Physics can tell you simply, “They wrong!”


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6. Posted by ancient70!, 29/04/2024 9:26

"I always thought that mass was a racing car’s biggest enemy. Now it seems that the FIA, or F1, or both, think that making a car bigger and heavier makes it more efficient? Maybe miss physics could explain that one to me."

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7. Posted by Laz, 29/04/2024 3:29

"cannot watch FE for more than a few seconds as that infernal whine is so annoying. Have to have the full vocal range of an ICE device."

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8. Posted by Max Noble, 29/04/2024 2:49

"@Tyrbiter - if we can find a safe way to transport the bile flowing from certain teams right now, I believe we can make up for the lack of output from the Weasels… Alternately if they start drinking the Vintage of ‘56 then we might suddenly have a surfeit of Weasel piss as a result. What a heart warming thought for us fans…!

@Superbird70 - Yes a strange world. I remember when I first read that Lamborghini were building special channels to tune and focus engine sounds *into* the cockpit that I felt we were on the pathway to mobile jewellery rather than pure sports cars. I’ve the honour of A Ferrari F40 blasting past me twice while out cycling some years ago (different days, different F40s). Stirred the soul… enlivened the heart. Tears in eyes… It was a spiritual moment each time. No pretend bananas. Just pure “Last of the Great Mechanicals” before software invaded everything…

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9. Posted by Superbird70, 28/04/2024 16:22

"Woried about the sound? No problem, Stellantis is adding speakers to its newest EV muscle car. At least Ferrari will have that V8 rumble."

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10. Posted by Tyrbiter, 28/04/2024 15:30

"I don't think that there is enough weasel piss in the world for Liberty and the FIA. Could some additional corrosive fluid be found?"

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