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When did drivers stop "walking the track"?


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#1 Lotus23

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 01:15

Doesn't seem so many years back that drivers would walk around the track -- or at least key parts of it -- before a race.

Is this done at all any more? When did they stop? And why?

Inquiring minds would like to know...

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#2 Wolf

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 02:19

I've even heard that nowdays drivers even use computer games (I'm pretty sure they aren't using GPL, so I've dropped the word 'simulations';)) to learn key features of the track... : Besides, with all the info (as with army, I've avoided using the dreaded, other, i-word :p) teams collec (previous years telemetry &c, I think practice is completely redundant (current state of the track is usualy availabl via TV)...

But it will be interesting to hear from other, more knowledgeable, ppl out there the real answer to Your question...;)

#3 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 03:22

They still do it. At evey track they race at every weekend of every year. on Wednesdays and Thursdays you can often see Driver X and his engineering staff walking the track. At some tracks you're allowed to take a car out too

#4 Bladrian

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 03:52

They don't always WALK the track. ;)

A certain promoter assured Eddie Jordan back in '92 that his driver ( who was about to be hired for a F1 drive at Spa Francorchamps ) knew the track like the 'back of his hand'. In fact, the lad had never even seen the track ...... so, before Mr Jordan and his entourage arrived, young Michael Schumacher got on a bicycle and rode around the track in order to get to know it. The bicycling exercise worked, and Willi Weber's young protege got to know the track sufficiently well to outqualify the other, more experienced Jordan driver. .

I'd also look for quicker transport than Shank's Mare for a 14 kilometre tour, were I required to walk it. :rotfl:

#5 stuartbrs

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 06:21

Did any driver ever walk the old Nurburgring??

One of my friends asked me this exact question a few days ago! I read an article on Frentzen awhile back and he jogged around most tracks before practice started, spotting bumps and kerbs and the like.

#6 Haddock

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 15:39

I've even heard that nowdays drivers even use computer games (I'm pretty sure they aren't using GPL, so I've dropped the word 'simulations' )



I'm sure I've heard Juan Pablo Montoya say he's a big fan of Grnd Prix Legends. Whether he was learning the tracks with it in 2001 I don't know. I'm trying to remember when I first heard of a driver saying he had learned a track using a computer game...I'm sure I heard some driver say this about Spa as far back as 1994, which presumably means he must have been playing Geoff Crammond's original Grand Prix.

#7 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 16:01

Even if they learn it on a video game, they'll still walk it during th erace weekend.


And for a retro track walk...

http://www.girlsf1.com/ugh.jpg

#8 Alan Lewis

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 16:31

Jacques Villeneuve famously learnt Spa in 1996 via a game - or said he did.

There may well have been earlier examples.

APL.

#9 LittleChris

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 17:02

Originally posted by stuartbrs
Did any driver ever walk the old Nurburgring??

.


Don't know about a driver but I remember reading that one of the CSI safety reps ( Basil Tye ? ) walked it to check the safety aspects sometime in the early to mid seventies. I believe the lap took about 8 hours !

#10 baggish

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 17:14

Originally posted by Alan Lewis
Jacques Villeneuve famously learnt Spa in 1996 via a game - or said he did.

There may well have been earlier examples.

APL.


I think I remember Michael Andretti learning some European tracks using either games or on-board videos.

Jon

#11 Leif Snellman

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 19:10

Originally posted by stuartbrs
Did any driver ever walk the old Nurburgring??

YES! Howden Ganley in 1971. Time 4h 20 min ! :eek:

#12 Jordi #99

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 22:35

I'm sure Charlie Whithing does walk the track before every GP to check on the safety and check curbs and gravel traps and the like.

I remember also having seen a picture of Jacques checking meticulously the new Hockenheim in his scooter.

#13 deangelis86

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Posted 12 January 2003 - 23:33



Let's face it, todays modern day tracks pose so little challenge to the driver that it's hardly worth the walk!

You can expect a crappy chicane / slow ess bend complex every 500 metres at most circuits as a rule of the thumb.



#14 Mozart

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 20:42

This driver only ever walked one track - first race 1959 at Rufforth, Nr.York, G.B. Complete waste of time!

Ever try walking the Targa Florio, Nurburgring or even Spa & Le Mans?

Brian Redman

#15 rdrcr

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 20:51

:lol:

Well, not those circuits, but we walked the Glen every year that we were there - in the middle of the night - with a bottle of JD. By half way, it was one step sideways for every three steps forward... it was a bit of a hike :drunk:

I never saw the point of it either... though I have a new-found appreciation for virtually driving a track on a video game...

#16 petefenelon

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 20:51

Originally posted by Leif Snellman
YES! Howden Ganley in 1971. Time 4h 20 min ! :eek:


Patrese did when he was in F3 too - walked around with Paolo Pavanello I think. They only meant to walk a couple of miles, but went on... and on... and on.... until they'd passed the point of no return!

That's not a bad time from Howden!;)


pete

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 21:46

Jim Clark, I'm fairly sure, never walked the track...

This almost proved to be a problem at Warwick Farm, where he roared out of the pits and promptly almost went off at Paddock Bend because he didn't know the flag point was on the outside rather than the inside of the circuit.

At the other end of the scale, Allan Tomlinson and Clem Dwyer walked Lobethal (and drove it...) for three weeks before the Australian GP of 1939. Every morning they were out exploring its intricacies and looking for ways to go faster... and it paid off.

#18 cheesy poofs

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 22:01

Originally posted by baggish

I think I remember Michael Andretti learning some European tracks using either games or on-board videos.



That would explain a few things :p

#19 Lotus23

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 03:09

Brian, as the one who started this thread, I thank you for your reply. In matters such as these, your responses carry more weight than any of the rest of us. Even on shorter tracks which were easier to walk, I've often wondered if the walking time involved was worth it.

Sightly OT, I've always been amazed at how quickly pro drivers like yourself can learn a track they've never seen before. A few recon laps and then they start "getting down to business". Any secrets on how that's done?

All of us TNFers look forward to your ongoing participation.

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#20 john medley

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 04:01

When the 1970s Swan Series motorcycle races were The Serious Business in Australia, one very good UK rider Who Shall Remain Nameless arrived in Sydney and hotfooted it out to Oran Park where the first round was to be in 3 days time. He found his way there, first walked the circuit, then did abou t 50 laps on his race bike, totally unencumbered by any other person because not a soul was there. Happy with his performance he headed off and confidently returned for official practice on Saturday......only to discover that official race direction was the other way.

#21 maxie

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 04:27

Slightly OT ...

Is it common practice for all drivers to take a group picture on the track before each race? I know they do so before the Macau F3 race each year.

#22 david_martin

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 07:44

Originally posted by Lotus23
Doesn't seem so many years back that drivers would walk around the track -- or at least key parts of it -- before a race.

Is this done at all any more? When did they stop? And why?

Inquiring minds would like to know...


I think AtlasF1's Editor, Bira, will happily share her story of coming across Pedro de la Rosa walking the newly modified Hockenheim before last years German Grand Prix, including his meticulous study of the apexes and all the curbing around each of the corners. So the art is certainly not completely dead :)

#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 10:10

Originally posted by john medley
.....one very good UK rider Who Shall Remain Nameless arrived in Sydney and hotfooted it out to Oran Park ......only to discover that official race direction was the other way.


I'm getting this mental picture of someone boring into Robin Orlando flat out...

It just doesn't gel!

#24 FlagMan

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 11:48

This driver only ever walked one track - first race 1959 at Rufforth, Nr.York, G.B. Complete waste of time!



May be true - but IIRC in the early 70's Brian certainly walked as far as Old Hall corner at Oulton Park to ask us track marshals to sweep the dirt from the outside line round the corner because he was in the outside of the grid as was intending to make a attempt round the outside on the first lap and didn't fancy it ending up in the wall ;)

#25 carsten.meurer

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 11:54

depending on when i find the time i like to walk the track before i first drive there.
not for the basic layout, but because you feel gradients and cambers more intense and can inspect curbs sooo much better.
also by looking back from the apex you can spot the turn point so much more precise.

my friends always ask how on earth i can be on the pace on a circuit i have never been to before within 3 laps. they do not believe in the drive it on pc, read about it in circuit guide, do a couple of laps on scooter and walk it once for closer inspection theory.
it works for me and saves valuable track time...

also it is great to take your mechanics with you so they see what challenges you face on track and how close you need to work on stating a line over a curb possible or not... mine feel even more responsible to prepare the car perfect after we do it.
and it is a good chance to have a chat and a laugh on the straight bits!

:wave:

the tracks change so much less than in the old days i may walk most tracks 1 in 3-4 years...
wouldn't be so lasy if they replaced kittylitter with lampposts!

#26 dmj

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 00:55

I once walked a motocross track. These men are lunatics! It was challenging enough on my feet - I would never do it on a bike!

#27 Lutz G

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 01:37

In 1997 I walked Spa on thursday like in the old days (laptime aprox 60 minutes ;) ) - somebody called Damon Hill overtook me riding his Vespa not without waving at me :D

Lutz

#28 jdanton

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 14:14

Wouldn't bicycling be easier, faster and give you mostly the same feedback...

jd (a bicycle racer)

#29 Lutz G

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 15:27

Originally posted by jdanton
Wouldn't bicycling be easier, faster and give you mostly the same feedback...

jd (a bicycle racer)


Don't think so - If you walk you see much more details of the track. Easier up Eau Rouge for example? Don't think so....;)

Lutz

#30 Bladrian

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 19:32

Originally posted by jdanton
Wouldn't bicycling be easier, faster and give you mostly the same feedback...

jd (a bicycle racer)


Heh. I just realised - referring to Schumacher's trip around Spa on a bicycle; it sort of lends credence to an old Brit saying. Which one?

On yer bike, Mike!

:rotfl:

#31 king_crud

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Posted 18 January 2003 - 01:27

Didn't they have a bike race for the drivers at Interlagos a few years back? Not only wold you get the see the track, you would also get an idea of your opponents. I wonder if Mr Schumacher chopped across the field on his mountain bike?