November 5, 2010

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Interlagos track facts:

Lap time: around 1'12"
Time on brakes: :9.2 Seconds
Number of brake zones: 7
Gearshifts per lap : 37
Time spent at full throttle" 68%
Fuel consumption: 2.9 Liters per lap

That great old 1970s footage reminded me that F1 back then was more fun to watchmostly because you could actually see things happening. Current cars are so quick that as a spectator you have no chance to physically see anything but what looks like a blur on rails. So it's useful to see the bad to appreciate the good.

Have a look at how quickly Vitaly Petrov's car snaps from under him. Braking events average about 1 second, is it any wonder there is no passing? What is surprising is that there are not more errors with such a small window to hit lap after lap.

After the jump, compare Bruno Senna fighting the HRT all around the track compared to Alonso's totally smooth experience. Even given the different tires and unknown fuel loads, you have to feel for Bruno, check out how much time he has to spend on partial throttle compared to the Ferrari.

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  1. I'm jealous of the other media markets in the world aside from the US. We have such piss poor coverage of F1 events here. I think being such a technological sport now, the European's get a little more of that "fun to watch" back with how much better the coverage options are there with the race-long in-car footage of any car they want and access to swapping camera angles or staying with a driver they enjoy more. Granted they have to pay a subscription for it, but I don't even have that option.

    Honestly F1 is a little embarrassing in that account, it took them how long to start broadcasting in HD? For the most "technologically advanced sport in the world"? We should be able to subscribe to little "Alonso hat cams" throughout the race weekend and such by this point. They have worse coverage then World of Outlaws at this point :\.

    I just don't understand why they don't mandate all the cars having 2, 3, maybe 5 or more cameras built into the design. The only reason they get as much money as they do is because of the people who watch it -- they should be pandering a lot more to us spectators then they are.

    That was a completely off-subject tangent... sorry about that. But you are correct, things are quite a bit more boring to watch now compared to back then. I just think they need to use technology to supplement that so we can get a little more excitement again.

  2. Yes, more boring to watch, but most of these guys are monsters of drivers / athletes. The required reaction times in modern F1 cars are a lot faster than in the past. Yes, back in the day you could consider the drivers more like heroes bc they always risked their lives and nowadays is a lot more safer, but contrary to all the ranting you see about the easiness of driving "modern electronic" F1 cars, as with all the other sports, today's F1 athletes are several notches above those of 3-4 decades back (faster = more difficult... always...)

  3. Tekniq makes some very excellent points about the broadcasting. I'd also like to add what's with their absolute fear of the internet? "Lesser" racing series such as IndyCar and V8 Supercars stream each race live online. It helps their series reach more fans in more places, and more fans means more money. Why can't F1 see that? Maybe it's team someone booked Bernie into a computers for seniors course so he can understand what this internet thing is.

  4. @CG what really blows me away is the braking events. Thinks about it 9 seconds total on the lap of Interlagos which includes that monster deceleration for the Senna esses. That means that the other six braking zones are well under a second of brake application. As I said, is it any wonder passing is hard?

  5. CG (which is a driver i think right?) nailed it:

    "faster = more difficult... always.."

    Law of physics are the same for everybody, i always laugh when someone says "pah, those F1 cars are like rollercoasters, too easy to drive!"
    usually followed by "too much downforce!"

    take a shifter kart with Vega H tires on feels on rails, turns when you ask it to downforce here; is there somebody that would dare to say it is easier to drive than a rotax or an X-30???

    To me past driving was about car control, now it is about pilotage competition; i think this is trulli who said it one time a thing like "either you fight the car, or the track, neither both at the same time".

    I think the problem with the show in F1 is that people are looking at spectacle were obviously progress has drawn it but fail to look at where the same progress has increased it.

  6. I think it is (or was... did that fail already?) the A1GP that mandated TONS of cameras on ALL cars and the ability to watch any of them online during the races. Granted the spec series that was A1GP was kind of fail, but as far as broadcasting and trying to include the fans/spectators they were LIGHTYEARS ahead of Formula 1.

    Honestly I think Bernie needs to hire someone 1/3 his age to progress the spectator part of his sport, because as a previous poster said -- he's old and probably doesn't know how this internet thing works, or that probably 40% of his viewer base downloads the races online because they can't get coverage for it.

    With how much money F1 makes, it amazes me that even NASCAR's race coverage absolutely blows away F1 in every single aspect, bar-none. We American's are generally regarded as the ones who kill off racing series. But it's looking more and more like the Europeans want to one-up us on making all their prized racing series worthless before we can beat them to it.

  7. Lots of good points regarding the spectacle side of it. But nobody that understands what it takes to drive a car fast cant say, after watching Brazil's Qualifying, that it was easy and unexciting!!! ALL those drivers are awesome!!

    The problem is that if you dumb it down for it to be a spectacle for the masses (which 99.9% dont know what it takes to drive a car at the limit) then you end up with something like NASCAR...
    Which you rather have...

    I like F1 the way it is but if you change those things from open wheels to enclosed bodywork cars it will definitively help the drivers take more passing risk for the sake of the spectacle...


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