Bob McMurray: Video vision of the future for F1
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The Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix is like no other.
The combination of running late in the day — with lights glinting off the cars as they wend their way over bridges and around the normally bustling streets — against the spectacular skyline is unique.
Singapore also comes at a time in the Grand Prix calendar, with just the end of season “flyaway” races to be completed, when deals and announcements are made about the future of the drivers and the sport.
This season is more complicated than most: some very good young drivers may be ejected from the paddock through no fault of their own. A clearly frustrated and angry Mercedes boss Toto Wolff described the situation concerning Mercedes-contracted protege Sebastian Ocon and his dealings with other team principals: “There was so much politics in the background, hidden agendas, lies.”
Why Wolff and Mercedes think it is almost their right to have their own way with driver placement could also be a point of discussion.
The feeling in the paddock is one of frustration; backroom deals and power battles as the bottom and middle teams in the pit lane try to extract the best deal they can to suit their own ends.
Business as usual, I guess.
At a press conference chaired by Ross Brawn, F1’s managing director of motorsport, he discussed his vision for the future look of Grand Prix racing, starting in 2021.
“I see no reason why we cannot have exciting looking cars. It frustrates me when a car in a video game looks better than the car that we are racing out on track.”
It’s certainly the right attitude, and the concept car that was shown looked exactly like, well, a car from a video game.
Sleek, purposeful, seemingly lacking in much of the hated “aero” packages on the front wings and with the currently ugly afterthought of a halo looking much more a part of the car instead of being plonked on the cockpit.
It is very much a concept and the real thing will look nothing like it, but it indicates the direction the masters of the sport want to take. Predictably, the concept design as shown did not meet with unanimous rapture, with Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene describing it as “underwhelming” and others calling it a well-rendered version of a child’s imaginary race car.
Brawn says all 10 teams in the pit lane are involved in the process and working on the concept design to look at ways of making it, or something similar, a reality.
That sounds great — but when have the 10 teams, or even half of them, ever come up with any design for any part of a car that would not have been examined closely to see just where they can gain a singular advantage?
Ideas and improvements for the concept must be taken into account, but it is the FIA, together with Brawn’s men, who have to come up with the final rules and regulations governing the car to ensure the final result of this concept becomes a racing reality.
The Singapore Grand Prix weekend lived up to its reputation, with politics, driver movements and at a spectacular venue.
It was a great weekend for Lewis Hamilton, not so great for Sebastian Vettel, who is now in danger of losing touch in the points race, and a very “bumpy” one for Sergio Perez, who livened up an otherwise slightly processional affair.
The self styled Home Of Formula 1 Night Racing is an event that remains a must-see.
● Bob McMurray travelled to the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix with Fortis Events, Auckland.
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