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Why were these cars were complete jokes?!


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#1 Megatron

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Posted 20 December 1999 - 22:08

If anyone can explain to me why the following cars I am about to mention were so bad, despite sounding good on paper, it would be greatly appericated.

1980 Ferrari - 6 points? After the double?

1979 Lotus - See above, also, who was the sponsor on the 1979 Lotus? JPS is synonamous with Lotus, but all the pictures I see have Martini on the car.

1988 Lotus - Best engine in F1, with Piquet, so why did they do nothing compared to McLaren?

1979 Brabham - Murry desigined great cars, so was this the sole fault of the Alfa Romeo engine?

Any info is appericated.

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#2 John B

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Posted 21 December 1999 - 00:49

The Lotus 1988 fiasco as I remember was in large part due to a lack of motivation on Piquet's behalf, especially in the face of Prost/Senna presence at McLaren. It probably didn't help that Honda wanted Nakajima in car #2. Piquet had just come off winning the WDC in the fastest car (1987 Williams).

Two of the other teams - Ferrari 80, Lotus 79 - were also in 'post-title' phase, and in an era where there were many competitive teams at the front of the grid. From what I remember, Lotus failed to keep up with skirt development, which rendered its 1977-78 advantage obselete.

Ferrari 1991 is a possible team for this list as well. I thought of Renault 1984, but that explanation was because they were hurt by the downsized fuel tank/no refueling regulations.



#3 John B

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Posted 21 December 1999 - 01:54

Some teams in 1979-80 - notably Williams, Ligier, and Brabham - also did a good job developing the underbody and strengthening their suspensions, which helped them develop the ground effect pioneered by Lotus to best effect. As I mentioned above, Lotus kind of got lost after everybody copied their ground effect car.

I'm guessing that Ferrari in 1980 might have focused a considerable amount of effort on developing the turbo/supercharged V6 engine? They debuted it at Monza 1980 briefly, and it was ready to go for the start of 1981.

One more team that lost the pace suddenly: Ligier after 1981/mid 82. I remember they tried a very long car which proved to be a handful.

#4 Duane

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Posted 21 December 1999 - 02:44

The problems of the 79 Brabham and the 80 Ferrari were linked to the engines.

The 79 Ferrari was a compromise wing car, as the flat 12 boxer config of the engine did not allow for a true venturi tunnel beneath the sidepods. The engine actually was too wide. Advancements made by other teams in 79-80 made the compromise arrangement of Ferrari uncompetitive, and the elected to work on the v6 turbo rather than design a v12 for 80.
Brabham on the other hand, requested Alfa to design a V12 for 79, rather than use the Alfa boxer. Brabham went for a full wing car design, and even tried to run the car without front or rear wings. The car was probably a quick machine, especially when one considers the speed of the Brabham-Cosworth fielded late in the season, however the car was let down by the inconsistent quality, power and unreliability of the new Alfa v12s which were designed quickly and perhaps prematurly rushed into service.


#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 December 1999 - 03:46

Reports of the time always mention that the Alfa V12 was very thirsty and the fuel load being a big handicap.

#6 Indian Chief

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Posted 22 December 1999 - 10:23

I read in a coulumn by Nigel Roebuck (who was a good friend of Gilles Villeneuve) that the 1980 Ferrari 312T5 had, literally, a quarter of the downforce of other F1 cars.
Which makes hte fact that they scored points on street circuits even more amazing.

#7 Uncle Davy

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Posted 25 December 1999 - 12:26

Ferrari had committed itself to a flat-12 engine before the development of ground effects; the narrow bottom of the Cosworth lent itself to imaginative underbody design, and Ferrari was left trying to play horsepower vs. grip.

#8 Megatron

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Posted 27 December 1999 - 06:40

Thanks for the info guys, but can anyone tell me about the Lotus sponsorship stituation in 1979 and 1980? I know they ran a '79 car with British Racing Green and Martini as the sponsor, and I have seen a rather pale looking car with blue and grey for 1980, with JPS on the car on the car in 1981. What was the deal here? Why did JPS dump Lotus, then come back?

Anybody know?

#9 Gregor Marshall

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 15:13

I wonder if Ferrari or McLaren will be added to this thread after this season??

#10 Stephen W

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 16:09

1979 Lotus - See above, also, who was the sponsor on the 1979 Lotus? JPS is synonamous with Lotus, but all the pictures I see have Martini on the car.


The reason for the Martini adverts was that the Team was entered as "Martini Lotus" for 1979. In 1980 the Team was entered as ESSEX Lotus (i.e. the petrol company rather than the county); in 1981 they entered as Lotus Essex JPS and in 1982 reverting to Lotus JPS.

:wave:

#11 JtP1

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 16:24

If anyone can explain to me why the following cars I am about to mention were so bad, despite sounding good on paper, it would be greatly appericated.

1980 Ferrari - 6 points? After the double?

1979 Lotus - See above, also, who was the sponsor on the 1979 Lotus? JPS is synonamous with Lotus, but all the pictures I see have Martini on the car.

1988 Lotus - Best engine in F1, with Piquet, so why did they do nothing compared to McLaren?

1979 Brabham - Murry desigined great cars, so was this the sole fault of the Alfa Romeo engine?

Any info is appericated.


Ferrari is extremely well dealt with in another post.

Lotus in 79, Chapman trying to be too clever and penny pinching. He never let anyone person in Lotus work solely on one bit of the car, so they couldn't leave with its secrets. Unfortunately much of the team did leave and took their knowledge with them, Chapman didn't fully understand the car either. Much of the mechanical preparation team also left as well with their knowledge and skills. I was observing the Lotus team preparing Andretti's car the Saturday evening at Brands and watching some of the mechanics balancing beer cans on the car while preparing it for a GP leaves one in some doubt as to its performance on the Sunday. None of that in the Williams pit.

Lotus in 88. Decarouge was asked to design a F1 car. Unfortunately it seemed he misheard and thought he was told to design something to carry a F1 car, because it was big enough to hold a MaClaren inside it with room to spare.

#12 David Beard

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 21:20

Lotus in 79, Chapman trying to be too clever and penny pinching. He never let anyone person in Lotus work solely on one bit of the car, so they couldn't leave with its secrets. Unfortunately much of the team did leave and took their knowledge with them, Chapman didn't fully understand the car either..


How do you know this, Jim?


#13 COUGAR508

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 22:39

Lotus in 88. Decarouge was asked to design a F1 car. Unfortunately it seemed he misheard and thought he was told to design something to carry a F1 car, because it was big enough to hold a MaClaren inside it with room to spare.


Yes, it was a very ungainly car, and was it also too heavy?

#14 brabhamBT19

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 22:43

If anyone can explain to me why the following cars I am about to mention were so bad, despite sounding good on paper, it would be greatly appericated.

1980 Ferrari - 6 points? After the double?

1979 Lotus - See above, also, who was the sponsor on the 1979 Lotus? JPS is synonamous with Lotus, but all the pictures I see have Martini on the car.

1988 Lotus - Best engine in F1, with Piquet, so why did they do nothing compared to McLaren?

1979 Brabham - Murry desigined great cars, so was this the sole fault of the Alfa Romeo engine?

Any info is appericated.


four separate threads would be more appropriate, because first they do not share the same problem, second they are four complex stories for themselves



#15 Buford

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 22:49

Wow another 1999 thread!

#16 Roger Clark

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 06:25

How do you know this, Jim?

Which bit are you questionning?

#17 Gregor Marshall

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 07:28

Wow another 1999 thread!


I was feeling all nostalgic!!

#18 kayemod

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 09:59

Lotus in 79, Chapman trying to be too clever and penny pinching. He never let anyone person in Lotus work solely on one bit of the car, so they couldn't leave with its secrets. Unfortunately much of the team did leave and took their knowledge with them, Chapman didn't fully understand the car either. Much of the mechanical preparation team also left as well with their knowledge and skills.


While there may be odd grains of truth in parts of this, I don't recognise this Colin Chapman at all. The bit about not allowing people to work on an entire project so they couldn't leave with secrets is completely wrong. Colin was actually proud of the number of ex-Lotus employees who had left and made good elsewhere, he often mentioned the fact in conversation, being one such on a fairly modest scale, I should know. Being one move ahead of the opposition was always enough for him. I worked on innovative production processes that were some way ahead of anyone else's. On leaving I got a warm handshake from Tony Rudd, Chapman's number two in an engineering sense, and a fairly strongly worded letter warning me that I had to keep much of what I'd learned at Lotus to myself. Lotus were good to me, and that letter was entirely fair, so I did what they asked. The only thing I would agree with slightly, is the part about Chapman not understanding the cars, and as far as the finer aspects of ground effects was concerned, I wouldn't entirely disagree with that. Some of The Man's thinking was along the lines of "If some is good, more will be better, and too much should be just enough". That just doesn't work where aerodynamics are concerned.


#19 Roger Clark

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 15:17

Chapman had foreseen a braindrain and had compartmentalized his team to prevent individuals copying Lotus practive too quickly. In effect, Bellamy, Southgate and Wright were each reckoned to know about 30 per cent of the 78's ingredients...

D Nye, Theme Lotus

There is not necessarily a contradiction between restricting people's knowledge and being proud of their achievements after leaving the company.

Edited by Roger Clark, 16 May 2009 - 15:19.


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#20 kayemod

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 16:02

D Nye, Theme Lotus

There is not necessarily a contradiction between restricting people's knowledge and being proud of their achievements after leaving the company.


You have a point, but this doesn't really relate to the period under discussion, does it? Also, there may have been some sense in the theory you quoted from Doug's book, but how could it ever work in practice? Surely no-one would posit that Bellamy, Southgate and Wright were too thick to work out most of the remaining 70% for themselves, and there would have to be very considerable overlaps in their knowledge if there was any chance that they could come up with a car that worked. Two of the three were car designers with lesser knowledge of aerodynamics, and Peter Wright was an aerodynamicist with little experience of car design, though I'm sure they all widened their areas of expertise greatly through working together. I was no longer at Lotus in the 78 & 79 years, so have no first hand knowledge, but my understanding of the ground effects work at Lotus is that most of the credit for the concept should go to Chapman, while making his ideas work in practice was largely Peter Wright's job. That's why I said in my earlier post, that Chapman's grasp of some details of aerodynamic principles was almost certainly less than complete, and surely the cars that followed the Mk 1 Lotus 79 were proof of that. Very few were able to argue successfully with The Man to dislodge the bees that occasionally buzzed in his bonnet, he was undeniable brilliant more often than not, but he travelled along a few blind alleys, and he had to convince himself that an idea was wrong before he dropped it.


#21 JtP1

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 21:30

How do you know this, Jim?


Hello Dave, can you create some space in your PM box. JtP


#22 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 21:19

If anyone can explain to me why the following cars I am about to mention were so bad, despite sounding good on paper, it would be greatly appericated.
....
1979 Brabham - Murry desigined great cars, so was this the sole fault of the Alfa Romeo engine?


It did win though!