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#1 thiscocks

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 10:03

Reading Tony Dodgins article on driver rotation really bemused me. I am surprised a writer with such a knowledge of the sport would be in favour of such a ridiculous, "for the masses" kind of idea.

Needless to say I think its an idea so bad, that it should't even warrant talking about, especially if you are a fan of F1 and its morals. F1 (and any other kind of motorsport for that matter)should never be about these kind of rules where you are purpously disadvantaging, or giving advantage to a driver, car or team just to "spice up" the racing. Much like the weight balast in WTC, it is just so lame. : I feel no matter what rules you have you will always have dull races, and good races anyway; like it's always been, since F1 started.

Interested to hear others views on it though :D

Tim

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#2 Big Block 8

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 10:15

Synopsis please.

#3 StefanV

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 10:34

Mosley have suggested it a number of times. This is the first Google hit I got, but it is a forum post so I do not gurantee it is completely correct. http://www.gamespot....5&union_id=2914

Max Mosley has again floated the idea of a radical driver rotation concept for Formula 1.

Writing in his column in the latest F1 Racing magazine (on sale next week), Mosley pondered a system that would see each driver appearing for every team during the season, but admitted that it would never gain approval.

"If it were up to me as an enthusiast, I too would introduce a system you might think impractical or even fairly mad, but don't worry, I've been suggesting it without success for 20 years and it would probably not get through the FIA democratic procedures," Mosley wrote.

"Let's assume that there are 12 teams and 18 races.

"Each driver would drive each car once so that after the first 12 races all 24 drivers would have driven the cars of each team owner.

"At this point, the leading driver would nominate the six different teams for whom he would drive in the last six races.

"The driver laying second in the championship would then make his choice, and so on.

"The order in which each driver drives for each team would be decided by lot."

Mosley also explained how drivers would be recruited under his utopian system.

"Invitations would go to 24 drivers internationally and the selectors, however chosen (and possibly including the public), choose the best," he suggested.

"The 24 drivers would be paid a modest basic fee by the commercial rights holder, but would be free to have their own sponsors.

"It would be fascinating wouldn't it to see how Michael Schumacher would get on in a McLaren or STR, or Kimi Raikkonen in a Renault or Midland.

"Most importantly, no-one could ever say that a driver won the world championship because he had the best car or the car would because it had the best driver.

"A lot of illusions would be shattered."

Mosley was outlining his dream format in response to suggestions that he has an all-powerful influence over the F1 rule making process.

He gave the driver rotation system as an example of what might happen if he really could "do whatever I liked."



More quotes, here from 2002:
http://news.bbc.co.u...one/2322363.stm

2008 (Autosport)
http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/65859

Mosley also admitted he would like to see Formula One where drivers swap teams from race to race in the future.

"My dream is for a Formula One where the drivers swap cars from one race to the other, to see who really is the strongest."


I think FIA, and Max, must decide if F1 is a team sport or if it is a drivers championship.

#4 Mika Mika

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 10:53

Originally posted by StefanV
I think FIA, and Max, must decide if F1 is a team sport or if it is a drivers championship.


Well when it was originated it was called the world championship for drivers...

#5 StefanV

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 10:55

Originally posted by Mika Mika


Well when it was originated it was called the world championship for drivers...

Really? I did not know that.

#6 Mika Mika

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 11:00

Originally posted by StefanV

Really? I did not know that.


Yup, but things change...

#7 StefanV

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 11:05

I would not mind seeing some kind of verification of it. I am a curious type.

#8 kismet

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 11:20

I haven't read the article the OP refers to, but as a matter of principle, I'm saying no to anything that a) is advertised as a means to "spice up the show", or worse yet, b) has been designed with the specific intent of "spicing up the show".

No spice for me.

#9 Buttoneer

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 11:27

I think it's an interesting idea, actually. I'm not sure I can think of any really compelling reasons why not, except for 'Max thought it was a good idea' which makes me inherently want to rail against it.

Originally posted by kismet
I haven't read the article the OP refers to, but as a matter of principle, I'm saying no to anything that a) is advertised as a means to "spice up the show", or worse yet, b) has been designed with the specific intent of "spicing up the show".

No spice for me.

Don't look at it as spice then, look at it as a way of decoupling the ability of the driver from that of the engineers, so that the two championships are quite separate.

#10 StefanV

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 11:55

Originally posted by Buttoneer
I think it's an interesting idea, actually. I'm not sure I can think of any really compelling reasons why not, except for 'Max thought it was a good idea' which makes me inherently want to rail against it.


Don't look at it as spice then, look at it as a way of decoupling the ability of the driver from that of the engineers, so that the two championships are quite separate.

It is an impossible idea. First of all - how do you know that the drivers will always do their best? Who should pay the drivers? Shall FIA outbid, for instance, Indycar? Why should the team invest millions just to find out who the best driver is?

I agree it could be interesting, but it would not be Formula One. It could be called A1GP.

#11 Buttoneer

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 11:58

Originally posted by StefanV

It is an impossible idea. First of all - how do you know that the drivers will always do their best? Who should pay the drivers? Shall FIA outbid, for instance, Indycar? Why should the team invest millions just to find out who the best driver is?

I agree it could be interesting, but it would not be Formula One. It could be called A1GP.

A1 GP is about countries, not drivers and manufacturers. The drivers would be paid by their personal sponsors, they would do their best because there would be a success based prize and the teams would invest millions to prove their car is the best, not for the drivers sake but their own.

Not sure I understand your FIA/Indycar point but none of the other things you mention are insurmountable obstacles.

#12 thiscocks

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 12:23

Originally posted by StefanV



I agree it could be interesting, but it would not be Formula One. It could be called A1GP.


:up:


Here is the article (from 'dodgy business' on the Autosport articles here) :



By Tony Dodgins
autosport.com columnist



In a recent Autosport magazine column I put the case for driver rotation in F1 as a means of 'improving the show'. I wouldn't put money on it happening, but I think it should. Sure, there'd be problems instigating it, but I reckon the upsides would far outweigh those. Space constraints precluded too much of a rant in the mag, so here I go again ...

First off, certain drivers are contracted years ahead. So I guess you have to ask the CRB (Contracts Recognition Board) what the longest existing contract is, and start rotation the following year.

Why do I think it's a good idea? Because I hate injustice. I hate seeing talent squandered and at the moment in Formula 1 there are only two teams offering its drivers the opportunity to become world champion.

And to all those who say, "Well, it has ever been thus," or "But it wouldn't be F1," so what? Just because that's the way something has always been, doesn't make it right.


The 2008 drivers © LAT
In what other walk of life are the rewards of superstardom so huge, and yet the selection process so arbitrary?

Okay, I concede that good drivers tend to find their way into good cars, but are they the best drivers? And should they clog up the best seats for the next three, maybe five years? I hate a system that prevents Gilles Villeneuve becoming world champion and allows his son to, no disrespect to Jacques.

It was Lewis Hamilton last year who really brought it home. Don't get me wrong. In no way do I think Lewis is undeserving. He is quite obviously brilliant, but he did something that many people - ex-champions among them - thought couldn't be done. He came within a whisker of winning the championship in his rookie season.

Conventional wisdom said that a rookie would always make too many mistakes to do it in year one. Well Lewis did, we think (and I'm not going any further with that), but only just. But coming straight into McLaren meant that he only had three guys to beat. And that can't be right.

Lewis is actually a poor example because you get the feeling that he would rapidly earn a top car via his performance in lesser machinery if that was the direction his career had taken. But as I said, there aren't enough top cars.

Why is Felipe Massa in the best Grand Prix car in the field? He's no Muppet but is the pedigree that strong? If you were cynical, or Niki Lauda, you might suggest that it is to ensure the comfortable future of a certain Nicolas Todt and you might wonder why this is perfectly fine when insider trading is illegal.

Why is Heikki Kovalainen in a McLaren? Because he's good enough to be considered too much of a threat by Fernando Alonso to stay at Renault. What a tremendous slice of good fortune for both Heikki and McLaren.

And, of course, Flavio Briatore wants him earning decent dollar because FB is on a healthy slice of it. There is a case for Heikki being the best driver available to McLaren at the time Alonso self-destructed, but there's probably five or six guys who would disagree.

Many of these, like Jenson Button, were contracted elsewhere of course, and what better example than Jenson of the minefield you can find yourself embroiled in as you try to plot a decent career path.

Wouldn't it be lovely if all that was irrelevant? If every driver who made it to the pantheon that is Formula 1 knew that they would have an opportunity to perform? Just like any tennis player of golfer knows that if they make it as a tour pro they will get the chance to shoot at Federer and Woods.


David Coulthard (McLaren) and Fernando Alonso (Minardi) at the Nurburgring © LAT
Look at Alonso. The body language of every car he's ever driven tells you what a fantastic, committed driver he is. In time, I reckon, 109 points apiece with Lewis might actually come to underline his talent rather than denigrate it. Is it right that he's now an also-ran, fighting to be at the front of the midfield? Of course not, even if he played his own part in it.

Look at Webber. He blows away all his team-mates - including highly rated up-and-comers like Pizzonia and Wilson - and regularly plants his car much further up the grid than it deserves to be. Inevitably, he goes backwards a few times on Sunday as its inadequacies become more exposed. Oh look, people say, he's not a great racer ...

In a revealing pre-season interview with Autosport's Steve Cooper, you could sense the frustration oozing out of Mark as, perhaps, he sensed that time was marching on and that maybe the boat had left without him. When you're racing in the midfield you're on nobody's radar. How long can you keep training like he does, keep pushing and pushing, with no guarantee of any reward? That kind of thing does nobody any good.

Or Trulli. It's a long time since Jarno arrived in F1, 11 years, but he came with quite a reputation. Not only did he look a bit like Senna but those who watched him in karts reckoned he drove like him too. Within six months he led the Austrian GP in a Prost.

His next opportunity came in '04 when he was paired with Alonso at Renault. He regularly outqualified Fernando and he won the Monaco GP. Then he fell asleep on the last lap of the French GP, let Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari nick the last podium place and went on to fall out with Flavio Briatore.

He still regularly produces qualifying performances that belie a man in his 12th season of F1, he performs his sponsorship duties professionally, he poses with children and the handicapped. But will he ever have the opportunity to race for a championship? Maybe fulfillment will have to come through sun-drenched days on his vineyards.

In Malaysia, Honda's Nick Fry was good enough to give me his time and his thoughts on rotation.

"The big downside of rotating comes from a marketing perspective," he said. "Some teams and drivers put a lot more effort into the package that they offer sponsors. As an example, Jenson is personally sponsored by Seiko and the team is sponsored by Seiko. Those are different deals but Seiko specifically wanted Jenson because they feel his age and profile and his demeanour is appropriate.

"Jenson is a good example in that he has worked with Honda for a number of years and consequently he is very attuned to the Honda way of doing things. He's used in Honda advertising in some countries in the world. He was in Japan just before the Australian GP specifically to make a Honda TV advertisement.


Lewis Hamilton at a Tag Heuer function in London © LAT
"The driver and the team are one and the same from a marketing perspective and to have a prime asset rotating with a different guy, I think, would be a calamity for both sponsors and the team marketing."

These things get quite involved. 'Brand alignment' is the buzz phrase and it's why Seiko sees Honda as 'a good fit.' If it was Rolex, they'd want an involvement with Ferrari or Mercedes-Benz, presumably. At Ferrari they'd also get Kimi, of course, and some marketing whizz would have to come up with something like the fact that Rolexes are silent, and so is the world champion ...

I can see all this, of course I can. But should it be shaping the sport? No. Marketing should be incidental. If the playing field changes, sponsorship will adapt.

How much better would it be, I said to Fry perhaps a little naively, if sponsors could contract with any driver they wished, not just ones contracted to their team. Like in the old days when Ferrari drivers fought contractually for 'freedom of their overalls.'

"Sponsors don't want to use any of them, and that's the issue," Nick said. "They want to use specific drivers because they fit with their brand. If a driver is monosyllabic, which some of them are, and has got poor manners, for many of the teams he'd be a disaster area.

"Frankly I don't want a driver who is not going to behave properly at our sponsors events. We've put a lot of efforts into making sure our drivers represent the brands we represent and some have got a deal of talent at that anyway.

"Alex (Wurz) is a good example. He's someone who speaks very freely. That's unusual, most people need some formal training and we do give it to the drivers. The sponsors have made the investment in the individual and I don't want random drivers in our car or representing our brand."

Fair enough. So what you do is, you pay Wurz a handsome retainer to test your car and represent you at your sponsor functions. You still have access to genus racing driver and a personable bloke with a brain.

What's the problem if he's not the guy in your car on a Sunday afternoon? After all, Rolex is still paying Jackie Stewart 35 years after he last drove a Grand Prix. I'd even suggest that if he didn't have to concentrate on being a full-time racing driver as well, whoever your Alex Wurz was would do an even better job for you.

When we got onto the subject of purity and tradition, Fry admitted he thought that rotation would be harmful.

"I just don't agree with it. You don't change the size of tennis players' racquets or change the brand every time they play."

Perhaps you don't. But who would care if you did? Neither do you ask someone to take on Federer with a Dunlop Maxply either. Which is what it's like asking someone to race Kimi Raikkonen or Lewis Hamilton in a Super Aguri, again no disrespect.


Renault, Williams, and Ferrari mechanics at Silverstone © XPB/LAT
"Why not make it completely random and rotate the mechanics and the team management and then you can have a real circus?" Fry smiled.

Because mechanics and management are part of the the team championship, which you'd still have, except on a much fairer basis, if you had driver rotation.

"On top of the marketing I think the practical difficulties are immense," Fry went on. "You would have to standardise huge amounts. I mean, we are still working on Jenson's seating position and he's still not entirely comfortable. And that's taken all of winter and a couple of races.

"Look at the clutch controls, very sophisticated, all the different adjustments - you'd have to standardise the whole lot and then you get back to, what is F1?"

So what? Who cares about clutch adjustments? And don't all the teams test ad infinitum anyway?

"It's relatively easy to sit in a cockpit without outside pressures and go through sequences, but you try and do it on the grid when the lights are about to go green. Sometimes practiced drivers who have done it many times, have a mental block."

See above. Who cares about sequences. Simplify it. And if the dim ones stall on the grid, tough luck. Go home safe in the knowledge that they'll probably stall the Ferrari next week and get relegated from F1 at the end of the year.

"I don't like the idea of rotation," Ross Brawn added, "because I think of the driver as part of the spirit and the character of the team.

"I like developing relationships with drivers so it wouldn't get my vote. It would be a totally different philosophy and one that wouldn't be very exciting for me. I know Max liked the idea of Schumacher in a Minardi but, for me, that's not F1. The fact that sometimes drivers win championships who shouldn't doesn't matter to me."

Well it does to me. If you want to develop relationships with drivers, fine, but let it be your test driver, the bloke responsible for keeping you a step ahead of the competition and allowing you to win the teams championship.

With rotation, you'd get a proper drivers championship and a proper teams championship - they don't have to be mutually exclusive."

#13 Big Block 8

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 12:38

This is a very old idea, but I have to admit that The Old Spanker got it 100% right with this one.

Unfortunately also with the one that "it would never get through".

And just a general comment - it's uncanny how human nature resists new ideas, no matter how great they could be. If we had Mosley's system for a couple of years, nobody except a few loonies would want this old system back, which purely from a racing point of view is quite frankly sh*t.

#14 thiscocks

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 12:50

Originally posted by Big Block 8
nobody except a few loonies would want this old system back


...What system is that?

#15 Dragonfly

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 12:53

In equal or near equal cars - maybe
otherwise - BS

#16 Big Block 8

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 12:56

Originally posted by thiscocks


...What system is that?


The system we have now.

#17 Buttoneer

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 12:58

Originally posted by Dragonfly
In equal or near equal cars - maybe
otherwise - BS

It's difficult to predict the commercial impact the idea might have but one possibility is that it may serve to equalise sponsorship and budgets a little better than we have today.

#18 Big Block 8

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 13:00

Originally posted by Dragonfly
In equal or near equal cars - maybe
otherwise - BS


Why would it be needed in equal or near equal cars? The whole idea of the rotation is to level the current car inequality.

#19 thiscocks

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 13:13

Originally posted by Big Block 8


The system we have now.


Regarding what team a driver is at there isn't a "system". Every driver theoretically has a chance to be at any team, and is not forced to go anywhere they dont want to.

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#20 Big Block 8

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 14:13

Originally posted by thiscocks

Regarding what team a driver is at there isn't a "system". Every driver theoretically has a chance to be at any team, and is not forced to go anywhere they dont want to.


Sure what we have now is a "system" - determined by tradition and market forces.

But whatever, if the rotation was tried (in which every driver would be given an equal shot and most likely the best driver would have the best chance to win), very few would want this current system back (in which the drivers don't get an equal shot and nobody knows who the best driver was/is).

#21 thiscocks

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 15:02

Originally posted by Big Block 8


Sure what we have now is a "system" - determined by tradition and market forces.

But whatever, if the rotation was tried (in which every driver would be given an equal shot and most likely the best driver would have the best chance to win), very few would want this current system back (in which the drivers don't get an equal shot and nobody knows who the best driver was/is).



Fair enough, but the driver rotation thing just wouldn't make any sense. Even if you got a driver who did well in a Ferrari coming from a Super Aguri (or something slower), next season he would be denied the chance to build on that success and go back to a slower car.

Imagine:

1988,

Mclaren: Adrian Campos, Piercarlo Ghinzani.
Osella: Ayrton Senna
Zackspeed: Alain Prost, Eddie Cheever.


...yeah that would be really preferable to watching Senna and Prost battle it out...(not). Thats nothing against any of the other drivers at all (who would probably do quite well in Mclaren), but I wouldnt expect Senna or Prost (or anyother driver who has worked their ass off to get to the top) to stay in F1 given those rules...

#22 IOU 16

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 20:09

Originally posted by Mika Mika


Well when it was originated it was called the world championship for drivers...


There still is the World Drivers Championship for the drivers and the World Constructors Championship for the teams.

#23 StefanV

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 21:07

Imagine he driver swapping was on for this season already. Imagine Alonso having the McLaren next weekend. Imagine he has a mechanical failure. Imagine this BB. Imagine having a Mercedes shop in Barcelona.

#24 Hugenholtz

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 01:31

Of course, driver rotation is a ridiculous idea. Not compatible with the tradition of F1 at all, and needless to say, it will never, ever happen.

But wouldn't it be interesting? Just for one season? Hell, I'd love to watch even one single race with Massa in a Williams, Sato in a Ferrari, Hamilton in a Red Bull, Webber in a McLaren and Alonso in a BMW... It wouldn't settle the driving skill debates once and for all, but give a few good hints, I think, to have a few races like that.

Again, of course it is never going to happen. But as a fantasy, it has a certain appeal.

#25 stevewf1

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 01:42

Why stop with just the current drivers?

To add "spice" to the show (which F1 apparently needs), why not invite - at random - members from this very forum to compete?

What the heck, randomly grab some spectators out of the stands... You're a Grand Prix driver now.

The current F1 surely needs some changes. :smoking:

#26 Buttoneer

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 08:54

Originally posted by StefanV
Imagine he driver swapping was on for this season already. Imagine Alonso having the McLaren next weekend. Imagine he has a mechanical failure. Imagine this BB. Imagine having a Mercedes shop in Barcelona.

On the other hand if there had been driver swapping last year, the situation could never have occurred. It's easy to play 'what if' but not really helpful. This board would survive the situation, really.

#27 Lord Snooty

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 09:10

Originally posted by Big Block 8


Why would it be needed in equal or near equal cars? The whole idea of the rotation is to level the current car inequality.


Hmmm...

Driver rotation is a very convoluted answer to a fairly straight forward issue, which you indicate above; car inequalities. The obvious solution is to have utterly standard cars to race, presumably a 'one make' series with, perhaps, the vehicles randomly 'distributed' to the teams before each race and then 'collected' back by the FIA after each race. This would completely eliminate manufacturer / designer advantage and allow the fans to truly see the relative strengths of the drivers.

However, since this solution would totally negate any investment by a significant part of the current crop of sponsors (Ferrari, Toyota, Honda, BMW, Mercedes) who would gain no brand benefit from a one make series of identical vehicles, Max's fevered brain fixed on 'rotating' the other element in the mix, the drivers. Frankly, the net effect would be, in my view, a bland race series of much frustration to both drivers and fans. Watching, say, Trulli hold up a train of better drivers but in 'worse' cars while a lucky backmarker in this week's 'good' car romped off untroubled into the distance would not, for me, be worth watching.

So I don't think the idea of 'rotation' will gain any serious traction within the sport and we can just write it off as another one of Max's 'post spanking' ideas.

#28 Mika Mika

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 09:12

Originally posted by IOU 16


There still is the World Drivers Championship for the drivers and the World Constructors Championship for the teams.


I think the WCC came in at about 1958 where Vanwall were the first champions...

#29 Mika Mika

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 09:14

Originally posted by StefanV
I would not mind seeing some kind of verification of it. I am a curious type.


It's on the FIA website I think...
A little internet searching and youll find it...

#30 StefanV

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 09:40

Originally posted by Mika Mika


It's on the FIA website I think...
A little internet searching and youll find it...

No, I didn't.

#31 giacomo

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 19:04

Driver rotation is just a bullshit idea. If you really want to work out the best driver, make F1 an one-make specs series à la Grand Prix Masters.