March 10, 2014

What if they gave a race and nobody finished?

With less than a week to go to the 2014 Formula One season opener in Australia,  the vast majority of opinion appears to lean towards a Mercedes  blowout,  Lewis Hamilton pretty much already making space in his trophy case for his second driver's championship hardware.

Certainly, after pre season testing,  it would be hard to disagree this that scenario.  Mercedes completed the most trouble free miles, in their own car and with Mclaren, Williams and Force India.  They were the fastest in the speed traps and had the fastest laps.

Then again, a few seasons ago, Ferrari looked like they had it in the bag after testing only to have the championship slip away.

Roberto Dalla and Remy Taffin (Sutton)
But the complications of the new power plants are such that there are those who fear all teams are so behind in development that there is the real possibility nobody will go the full distance in the first race.   Roberto Dalla, motorsport director at Magneti Marelli was interviewed by Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport:

"It's possible every car will make it to the end in Melbourne but there is the possibility none of them will because every team had issues in testing. Running up against the two hour limit might also be a problem."

To avoid reliability and fuel consumption issues, teams would turn down their engines and cruise so slowly the race would be ended by the time limit?   Wow,  that's enough to give Bernie nightmares.

But how can that be, these teams had years to prepare, didn't they?

Dalla:  "Last year the Electronic Control Unit, built by Mclaren was the brain an it alone controlled the 'nervous system' of the car.  This year the ECU will control only a part of the car,  there are 15 ECU and while in the past we worked with 15 volts, now we have up to 80."

"the basic problem is how to make the IC engine, the turbo, the kern and the two energy recovery systems in concert."  Dalla goes on to say " it will take another two or three months to find stable solutions to these issues.  To do it in only twelve days of testing was unrealistic"

What about Red Bull,  did they blow it with the RB10?  Dalla " Red Bull?  They have problems but no, they did not make an error with their project"

OK then, to me that makes for the highest possible interest in the first race, nobody knows how it will turn out so many will tune in.   Mechanical DNF's I think will be understood but cars puttering around just to get to the end,  That's not going to go over well with anyone.

1 comment:

  1. I can't see it happening. No team would really risk racing to the time limit unless, like Lotus, they really had nothing to lose by doing so. While the rest are all in similar positions with regard to their development, the embarrassment of getting that strategy wrong would be huge for team, engine suppliers and sponsors.


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