Motorsport: Keep it simple
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I’m a simple soul; at least I think I am.
Simplicity, in all its forms, tends to attract me more than over complicated and fussy, convoluted or byzantine ideas or solutions.
I like it when people with more neurons in their little toe than I possess in my entire body are upstaged by simple yet obvious solutions to seemingly complex problems.
I should point out here that this skill is apparently possessed by my wife who, when I am struggling with some mechanical, electrical or building problem, often comes out with “why don’t you just…”
There has been many an example over the millennia of seemingly simple resolutions to mind numbing issues.
Perhaps one of the earliest is the invention of a sharp stick with which to kill live food instead of a blunt rock.
Perhaps the problem then became just how to get that now dead food back to the hut or cave and that problem seems to have remained until one bright spark (probably a woman I am advised by my wife) from the Neolithic age apparently adapted a potters wheel for the purpose.
Brilliant and revolutionary certainly but simple in the extreme,
Whizz up to the modern age and that multi billion-dollar contraption endlessly orbiting the earth that goes by the name of the ‘International Space Station’.
The thing is a triumph of man’s ingenuity with fifty two computers controlling the systems and according to the official ISS website ‘has 3.3 million lines of software code on the ground support 1.8 million lines of flight software code. Eight miles of wire connects the electrical power system. In the International Space Station’s U.S. segment alone, 1.5 million lines of flight software code run on 44 computers communicating via 100 data networks transferring 400,000 signals (e.g. pressure or temperature measurements, valve positions, etc.).
Incredible don’t you think?
But all of that was put in jeopardy in 2012 when one of the power distribution units encountered a ‘malfunction’.
A space walk was ordered to fix the problem and two astronauts, armed with an arsenal of highly technical ‘space tools’ popped outside to fix the problem.
As another of the units shut down and then another, things were looking a bit bleak, especially as the tools they had couldn’t fix the problem due to metal shavings being in the way.
Another space walk was ordered but this time with a special tool made up by the astronauts themselves.
A toothbrush. A real ordinary toothbrush.
So, the story goes, the $100 billion space station was saved from disaster by a $3 toothbrush.
A simple solution.
The problem with Formula 1 over the last few years, decades perhaps, has been highlighted time and again as a lack of overtaking.
Countless fan surveys, driver surveys, broadcaster surveys and survey people surveys have all come up with the same results.
Improve the overtaking and therefore the racing will also improve.
The opportunities for change have been there time and again and another opportunity to do something has just passed by at a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group and the F1 Commission which was recently held in Geneva, with "a number of constructive proposals" coming out of it.
A new qualifying format was proposed and by all accounts accepted.
I am not sure how the new system, with it’s introduction now being delayed until later in the 2016 season, will materially affect the racing but those in power assure us fans that it will result in mixed up grids.
I don’t think so.
A ‘Driver of the Day’ award will be introduced.
Boy, that will make a difference to the racing won’t it?
New bodywork regulations have been adopted to create more exciting cars, delivering additional downforce to increase speeds and lower lap times.
Err, what’s that again? MORE downforce? MORE aerodynamics?
The aerodynamics on cars now restricts the close racing and overtaking so why the heck add more of it?
Even a quick look at the images from the pre-season F1 testing just completed at the Barcelona track shows ever more complicated and ridiculous front and rear wing designs to improve the aedrodynamics, all produced at eye watering cost in terms of research and all designed to improve the ‘flow’ of the air.
With the teams bleating about the costs of going racing and the rest of the world complaining about the lack of overtaking, wouldn’t it be better if the regulations forced the designers to make smaller, simpler, less effective wings then, hey presto, the simple solution would take effect and not only would it be less costly for the teams, it may just be possible for cars to actually overtake one another.
A simple solution I think and I like simple solutions.
Why doesn’t Formula 1?