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Thread: Thoughts from Webbo

  1. #1
    Parts Guy tigeraid's Avatar
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    Thoughts from Webbo

    Pretty interesting read with Webbo in Motorsport. He was talking about the crazy pass on Alonso at Eu Rouge in 2011:

    "Of course, it was all for nothing, because on the next lap Fernando steamed past me up the hill to Les Combes -- bloody DRS! That's why now we don't do that kind of move as often as we did. Look at Interlagos: to pass into Turn 1 used to be a really nice signature move. But now why would you do that, when you've got DRS on the next straight?"
    Makes you wonder, if there are other places at other tracks where passing, with a lot of effort, was worthwhile and exciting, and is now pointless because they'll pass you back with DRS right after it? The hairpin at Montreal is the big one that comes to mind for me.


    Also another interesting point. Can't help but agree with him:

    Stirling Moss once described Le Mans as a "pretty good dead loss of a motor race" because in his time it was a huge challenge to keep the car together for 24 hours, and circulating endlessly at a prescribed "safe" speed was not his idea of racing.

    It isn't like that anymore, of course. The great irony of motor racing in this era is that nowadays, any World Championship sports car race is a flat-out thrash, whereas, thanks to the introduction of showbiz tires, a Grand Prix - once considered a sprint - is now anything but."

    This is one aspect of his career change that Webber especially reslishes. "When I drove the Porsche the other day," he said, "I was coming around every lap within a tenth, and I thought, "How good is this!"

    "I won twice at Monaco, and I'm proud of that -- but the difference between those two races was extreme. In 2010, when we were all on Bridgestones, I led from the start and was in... I wouldn't presume to call it "Senna mode," but that it was that sort of subconscious state when you're on the limit and everything's perfect. It was hugely satisfying, but in 2012 we were all on Pirellis -- again, I led all the way but I started looking after the tires at Casino on Lap One..."

    A particularly striking example of tire conservation was to be seen in the first part of last year's Monaco Grand Prix, when Nico Rosberg, leading and under no threat, was lapping at GP2 speeds. "Yes," Webber nodded, "I know. Valentino Rossi was there, watching, and afterwards he told me he felt embarrassed for us."

    "I used to love it when you needed to deal with pressure: 30 laps to go and you've got Fernando or someone right behind you, and you've got to find something extra -- except now you can't, because if you do your tires are fucked in five laps."
    Last edited by tigeraid; April 5th, 2014 at 11:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Director Freude am Fahren's Avatar
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    Love it. Though in some cases the DRS thing works the other way. The challenging pass must be made going into the turn before the DRS zone because the detection zone is an extra corner in front. So taking Brazil into account (I think it was like this at least one year), you make that daring pass going into turn one, but since you were behind going into the turn, you get to use DRS and pull away after the pass.

  3. #3
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    I think the DRS rules could be improved by needing two consecutive zones before it's enabled.
    Would make a big difference on an overtake that the "passed" car doesn't get till a 2nd zone.

    might need to clarify if there are 3 cars or more.

  4. #4
    Director Freude am Fahren's Avatar
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    Also, you shouldn't be able to use the DRS because you're about to pass a backmarker as you reach the detection zone.

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    Probably not, as long as someone about to go down a lap respects the blue flag.

  6. #6
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    I've always respected Webber's opinions, thanks for posting.

    The Monaco example is interesting. Personally, I think that a Bridgestone-era Monaco race was about the most boring thing ever. Nothing changed, the cars just circulated around and around in line astern for two hours. You were almost hoping for a smash to spice things up - and I hate that.

    What I think is interesting is that what was, no doubt, an absolutely amazing experience for Mark as a driver, on the limit, in the groove, hitting every blind apex around the Monaco circuit, was utterly boring to watch; while the Pirelli races, gambling on tyre life, were more fun.


    It's a bit similar on DRS; I hate it too, however as long as the following car has an aero disadvantage in corners, you need something to make it possible for cars to pass. I remember pre-DRS, a safety car near the end at Suzuka, bunching the field up - yet there were no changes of position after the restart, as the long fast corners made following impossible.

    DRS and chocolate tyres are hacks - workarounds to compensate for the fundamental problem of cars leaving a disturbed wake and reducing the downforce of the car behind.


    In the old days, when cars could get close, they were less aero-dependent. Nowadays aero is so fundamental that Adrian Newey, wanting to get into F1, chose to study aeronautics at university, because that was the most relevant to the sport.

    So, my preferred solution would be to regulate the total amount of downforce. Stick each car in a wind tunnel, if total downforce is more than 100kg at 100mph, then it's illegal and has to be reduced. You could then allow more freedom of how the downforce is produced, so teams would go back to under-body downforce which is less draggy. This both disturbs the air less, and is less affected by disturbed air. (As a bonus, it also improves fuel efficiency). The end result would be to get back to something like the olden days, where cars could follow one another closely.

    As a second side-effect, the big teams would get less benefit from spending lots of money (most of it goes on aero), so the field would be closer, again leading to more exciting races. The small and midfield teams would be more financially viable, not needing to spend so much to be competitive.

    Basically the whole sport would be a lot healthier, I think. Yes, speeds would be lower, but driver skill would be more important.

    You'd probably need a mobile wind-tunnel to take to each race to check that the teams aren't dialling in another degree of rake and getting an illegal amount of downforce, but I think it would be at least as enforceable as the current setup, with illegal barge-boards, planks, flexible wings, double diffusers, etc etc - it would be a simpler system.

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