Bob McMurray: Stunning in more ways than one
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Daniel Ricciardo’s weekend at Monaco was stunning; Max Verstappen’s equally so but in the opposite direction.
Brendon Hartley had a solid weekend, let down only by an average first lap in qualifying, a late yellow that ruined a much better attempt in qualifying and then, almost at the end of the race when a points finish looked possible, being savaged from the rear by brakeless Monaco local boy Charles Leclerc, putting both out of the race.
At Indianapolis, Scott Dixon had a solid race, earning valuable points for his championship while Will Power became the 72nd different winner and first Australian.
Now the F1 movers and shakers get back to work and the IndyCar teams turn their attention to this weekend’s double header at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park.
The major driving force behind that event is Indy 500 winning team owner, for the 17th time, Roger Penske.
The IndyCar Series has upgrades and engine changes coming along but, as is the way with a control-part series, those changes are accepted without the hand-wringing debate set around the new F1 “proposed” changes.
To reiterate, the mechanical changes for 2019 Formula 1 cars are
mainly to the aerodynamics, with the intention of improving the racing and overtaking. The front wing will be stripped of much of the vanes and bits of carbon fibre that channel the air , hopefully, to make it easier for a following car to follow closely.
The rear wing will lose some of its intricacies, be wider and less complicated. The DRS flap will be bigger to give even more of a potential advantage in overtaking. The “blown axle” will behistory.
The latter is simply a method of using the air entering the brake ducts to flow around the axle and, as well as cooling the brakes, the exiting stream of air can also be managed in a predictable way along the side of the car.
Clever, these engineers.
The object of this first step in rules revision is aimed at making the core product, the racing, better.
Add in an extra fuel allowance and even heavier cars and the future beckons.
As an aside, in 1988 the minimum weight for a Formula 1 car was 540kg with comparatively little aerodynamic appendage and in 2019 the minimum weight, including driver, will be 733kg.
Ayrton Senna’s stunning qualifying lap at Monaco that year was 1 min 23.988 seconds and Ricciardo’s amazing pole position lap 2018 was set at 1 min 10.810.
About 13 seconds difference.
Faster but better?
It was stunning to see the direct comparison, on the Monaco Grand Prix track, of the 1982 Williams F1 car driven by Keijo Rosberg and the Mercedes W07 driven by son Nico.
The Williams FW08 of Rosberg snr was never the prettiest of cars but with his feet perilously close to the front of the car and little or no deformable structure in front of them, it was a reminder of just how far the shape of a Formula 1 car and safety initiatives have come.
Back to the future. The main point at issue in these further discussions concerning 2021, after cost caps, revenue structures and who buys the sandwiches at the meetings has been settled, is all around the power units.
FIA president Jean Todt has said that the regulations for the current F1 power units “went a bit too far”.
Now, at huge expense to the engine manufacturers, he, the FIA and the owners of Formula 1 collectively, want to “simplify” the regulations to attract more engine manufacturers to the sport.
The engines should also be noisier, cheaper, simpler, road-car relevant, more readily available and eventually more efficient.
Sounds easy when you say it quickly.