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#1 tkulla

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 15:06

The smallest (and slowest) teams on the grid struggle along valiantly each year, hoping for the rare high-attrition race that might allow them to score a point or two. It made me think, however, that perhaps another strategy would be better. Why don't they design their car to fit a specific track - specifically Monaco. A shorter wheelbase with aero and suspension optimized for that track alone. Devote all their testing to optimizing their package for that one race.

So why don't they do it? A team like Force India has enough resources that they might be able to make a splash (not in the harbor, but in the race) and potentially score points.

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#2 FonzCam

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 15:16

Originally posted by tkulla
The smallest (and slowest) teams on the grid struggle along valiantly each year, hoping for the rare high-attrition race that might allow them to score a point or two. It made me think, however, that perhaps another strategy would be better. Why don't they design their car to fit a specific track - specifically Monaco. A shorter wheelbase with aero and suspension optimized for that track alone. Devote all their testing to optimizing their package for that one race.

So why don't they do it? A team like Force India has enough resources that they might be able to make a splash (not in harbor, but in the race) and potentially score points.


My guess is that if there was that much advantage to be had then the top teams would have a Monaco car that they would wheel out each year, they already do this to some extent and turn up with a Monza package or a Monaco package but within the current regulations I don't think there is enough room to move to build a car with significantly different structure that would gain that much of an advantage.

Also just think what would happen to Force India if they were at the back of the grid all season, come to Monaco with a fast car have one driver bin it in the wall on the first lap and the other have a mechanical problem. The choice is 18 gambles a year with a payout of 1 or 2 points or 1 gamble every six months with a payout of 6-10.

#3 noikeee

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 15:34

Well for a start, even if they have little resources, when they build a car they do the best they can, they don't automatically think it's going to be shit.

Second, making a car that performs only good in slow circuits makes no sense long-term. The goal of all teams is to get a great car in a couple years even if the current one sucks. They can learn a lot more about making a car that fits all circuits... if they try to make a car that fits all circuits.

#4 tkulla

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 16:06

But since they know they have NO CHANCE of besting all the manufacturer teams, why not become specialists? Sure, they all dream of having a Jordan 99 season, but realistically I don't think that's possible anymore. There are simply too many teams that have almost unlimited resources.

#5 Chiara

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 16:30

Originally posted by tkulla
But since they know they have NO CHANCE of besting all the manufacturer teams, why not become specialists? Sure, they all dream of having a Jordan 99 season, but realistically I don't think that's possible anymore. There are simply too many teams that have almost unlimited resources.


statistically it would be too risky, just think for example what happens if the very weekend they have prepared their car for has bad weather and numerous safety car periods? or a driver gets a grid slot penalty for impeding in qualifying?

#6 Dudley

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 16:30

Originally posted by tkulla
But since they know they have NO CHANCE of besting all the manufacturer teams, why not become specialists? Sure, they all dream of having a Jordan 99 season, but realistically I don't think that's possible anymore. There are simply too many teams that have almost unlimited resources.


Because building a specialist car might get them 15th in the race instead of 18th (and maybe a 1 in 20 chance a crazy race gives them 5th). However, every team thinks they can beat at least one other team, and that gives them 17 chances of a crazy race giving them 7th or 8th. See Australia, see Lux 99, hell, see what being slightly quicker than Minardi gave Jordan in 2005. If they'd designed a Monaco car that year they'd have got nothing there and been behind Minardi at Indy.

#7 FA and RK fan

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 18:18

A while a go i was thinking exactly the same thing as thread starter. i think every desiner/ designing team has in mind some specific isues to address when they are builing the car.

Last year we could see how different McLaren and Ferrari were but at the end of the year they came out almost tied on points. (if we dont look at McLaren's penalty)

Also i've got a believe that Williams is suited to specific tracks, although Rosberg was saying something about bad setup for Malaysia.

Also one thing is, the engine power. In the past there was a lot more difference in engine power and that gave some teams an advantage or disadvantege at some circuits. Now, there is not so much difference in engine power and teams don't design there cars around there engine specifications. Well atleast not as much as they used to.

@ Dudley

There is not just one circuit that would stand out, Monaco and Hungury are not very different, also you have some stop and go tracks like Melbourne, Montreal, Monza, there was Imola etc. And if you have a car built for that kind of track, then you have quite a big chance that you succeed.

#8 giacomo

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 20:01

I don't think that smaller teams should build a specs car of one certain circuit.

I think such teams should rethink the basics of their design philosophy: They should not develop a car for clean air in wind tunnel but a car that works best when in dirty air .


Just give this idea a chance to sink in: 22 cars on the grid are designed and optimized for being in the lead, but only one of them is really in this position.
All the others are in trouble because they are in a situation they were not built for.

#9 tkulla

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 20:10

That's an interesting idea. I seem to recall some talk about one of the teams taking that into account with this year's car. I can't recall which one though. I'd be suprised if most of the big teams don't do at least some wind tunnell work with another car "dirty-ing" the air.

#10 giacomo

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 20:13

I never heard about suchlike windtunnel tests. But of course I might be wrong.

#11 Risil

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 21:03

Originally posted by giacomo
I don't think that smaller teams should build a specs car of one certain circuit.

I think such teams should rethink the basics of their design philosophy: They should not develop a car for clean air in wind tunnel but a car that works best when in dirty air .


I'm not an expert on aerodynamics at all, but I thought the problem was caused by the wake from the car in front? Are 'cleaner' looking cars any more efficient in others' turbulence, or do they just make it easier for those behind to pick up significantly more downforce?

It's definitely a cool idea, although one suspects its effect would be similar to purposely limiting one's engine to 14,000 revs, so as to allow a 5000 rev boost for overtaking. :stoned: :kiss:

#12 F1Johnny

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 21:10

In 1990 the Tyrell driven by Jean Alesi and Stefano Modena was sort of a street circuit car. Alesi raced Senna hard and led in Phoenix and Modena put the Tyrell on the front row (IIRC) in Monaco.

#13 rolf123

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 21:23

I think it would be worth it. Remember when everything came together for Hill @ Hungaroring? And it wasn't just the Michelins.

#14 Lontano

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 21:51

Arrows in 2000 had a car that was awesome in low downforce circuits (Monza, the old Hockenheim, Canada) but was a brick on slow ones (Hungaroring, Monaco). It worked pretty well for them back then, but i guess things aren's that "easy" anymore...

#15 wingwalker

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 22:15

Originally posted by giacomo
I don't think that smaller teams should build a specs car of one certain circuit.

I think such teams should rethink the basics of their design philosophy: They should not develop a car for clean air in wind tunnel but a car that works best when in dirty air .


Just give this idea a chance to sink in: 22 cars on the grid are designed and optimized for being in the lead, but only one of them is really in this position.
All the others are in trouble because they are in a situation they were not built for.



Uhm.. but to follow a car closely, you have to be, at very minimum, as fast as the car in front. A dirty-air spec car would be simply a lot slower than all the other cars.

#16 Andrew Ford &F1

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 23:53

Originally posted by rolf123
I think it would be worth it. Remember when everything came together for Hill @ Hungaroring? And it wasn't just the Michelins.


In 1997 Michelin was not even in F1. The thing that you're referring to, my friend, is Bridgestone.

#17 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 00:22

Unfortunately McLaren etc. can build specialist car, spend millions on shaker testing and customised suspension tweaks for every circuit!

Of course being FI being fast at Monaco is worth more publicity than lowly Hungaroring, so it's best to be quick at the biggest most important race, yet they could still have suspension failure.... :|

#18 Imperial

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 08:41

This is the reason why not:

A small team builds a specialist car for one track. They still have a shit engine in the back of the car. They still have shit drivers. The benefits, if any, would be minimal.

Meanwhile the likes of Mclaren, Ferrari, BMW build cars that are awesome at every track on the calendar. The small team still have to pray for divine intervention to have all those cars break down and get them somewhere near the points.

Thus it would be a futile exercise.

Also, does the 107% rule not still apply in qualifying? If they build a car that's good at one track but shit everywhere else won't they keep DNQ'ing every weekend excluding their specialist track?

#19 Buttoneer

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 10:21

Originally posted by Imperial
They still have a shit engine in the back of the car.

There's a lot of shit cars out there with race winning Ferrari engines in the back.

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#20 giacomo

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 11:30

Originally posted by wingwalker
Uhm.. but to follow a car closely, you have to be, at very minimum, as fast as the car in front. A dirty-air spec car would be simply a lot slower than all the other cars.

No idea why a car optimized for dirty air must be slower than all other cars...

Some law of nature?

#21 howardt

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 11:58

There's less difference between the circuits now.
The calendar used to have (old) Hockenheim, which was all about top speed, Imola which was all about kerbs, A1-ring which was all about elevation changes, Monaco which is all about low-speed corners, Spa which is all about high-speed corners, Interlagos which is all about bumps.
Without criticising the new circuits, they are built without any such defining characteristics of being the longest / shortest / fastest etc - all 'moderate' and all with a 1.25.00 laptime.
So there is more advantage now to build a car which suits the median, rather than any one exception.

#22 Buttoneer

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 12:13

Originally posted by giacomo
No idea why a car optimized for dirty air must be slower than all other cars...

Some law of nature?

These F1 engineers are smart cookies. If you could optimise a car for dirty air without affecting performance in clean air, I feel sure they would have done it. The moving front wing proposed for the future is (I think) an indication that there are different needs for different situations, such that a car cannot be optimal for all circumstances.

I agree that for those teams which do not expect to be at the front it might be sensible for them to look at compromised aero, but even they will be running in clear air occasionally.

#23 Dudley

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 13:19

Originally posted by F1Johnny
In 1990 the Tyrell driven by Jean Alesi and Stefano Modena was sort of a street circuit car. Alesi raced Senna hard and led in Phoenix and Modena put the Tyrell on the front row (IIRC) in Monaco.


Different years. Modena raced a Honda powered Tyrrell in 1991, Alesi was 1990 and a Ford DFR version. Also his car in Phoenix was the 1989 car, the 1990 one came later. It wasn't designed to be a street car it just had a huge advantage that the V8 Ford was very light and easy to package, Minardi qualified a car on the front row in Phoenix with the same engine. He did of course get murdered at Hockenheim but no more than any other DFR.

#24 Imperial

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 13:53

Originally posted by Buttoneer
There's a lot of shit cars out there with race winning Ferrari engines in the back.


Indeed there are, and I think some of them develop problems from time to time.

#25 Risil

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 15:45

Originally posted by Dudley


Different years. Modena raced a Honda powered Tyrrell in 1991, Alesi was 1990 and a Ford DFR version. Also his car in Phoenix was the 1989 car, the 1990 one came later. It wasn't designed to be a street car it just had a huge advantage that the V8 Ford was very light and easy to package, Minardi qualified a car on the front row in Phoenix with the same engine. He did of course get murdered at Hockenheim but no more than any other DFR.


The Cosworth-powered Tyrrells were awesome around the tighter street circuits in the early '80s. Alboreto won at Vegas in '82 and Detroit at '83, and Brundle was a lap away from repeating that a year later. Plus Bellof's 4th place in 1985, although the turbo disadvantage was significantly lessened by then.

#26 F1Johnny

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 16:37

Originally posted by Dudley


Different years. Modena raced a Honda powered Tyrrell in 1991, Alesi was 1990 and a Ford DFR version. Also his car in Phoenix was the 1989 car, the 1990 one came later. It wasn't designed to be a street car it just had a huge advantage that the V8 Ford was very light and easy to package, Minardi qualified a car on the front row in Phoenix with the same engine. He did of course get murdered at Hockenheim but no more than any other DFR.


Your version of Modena on the front row sounds right. Thanks :up:

#27 giacomo

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 16:51

Originally posted by Dudley


Different years. Modena raced a Honda powered Tyrrell in 1991, Alesi was 1990 and a Ford DFR version. Also his car in Phoenix was the 1989 car, the 1990 one came later. It wasn't designed to be a street car it just had a huge advantage that the V8 Ford was very light and easy to package, Minardi qualified a car on the front row in Phoenix with the same engine. He did of course get murdered at Hockenheim but no more than any other DFR.

IIRC Phoenix 1990 was an unusual Pirelli rubber quali, thats why the McLaren drivers Berger and Senna were the only Goodyear drivers in the top five.

The others were Martini/Minardi, de Cesaris/Dallara, Alesi/Tyrrell, all on Pirellis.