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How does Standard ECU benefit McLaren?


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#1 metz

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 14:27

Seems that Ferrari has now come out with this.
http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/64545
An ECU is not like experience with tyres.
I fail to see how any team will have an advantage by adopting the same technology.
It does not do anything different for one car as it does for another.
The important part is the software and it's all Microsoft.
I fail to see any advantage.
Is this just JT being JT?

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#2 Beamer

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 14:31

That's a typical ferrari response...
Todt setting us up for yet another dirty war against McL

(And I'm not even a McL fan...)

#3 Jacquesback

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 14:31

Ferrari sound scared. :rotfl:

#4 Chiara

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 14:35

Originally posted by metz

Is this just JT being JT?


Yes, probably :p any excuse for a good old dig!

#5 howardt

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 14:36

Yes I agree with Jaquesback. Ferrari are getting their excuses in early this year. They must be disappointed with testing.

#6 Orin

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 14:37

JT being an arsehole as usual. Ferrari's tyre advantage in 2007 far outstripped anything McLaren might gain from familiarity with the ECU (indeed didn't Gilles Simon say they'd already resolved most of the issues with the device?). The guy's capacity for self-pity seems bottomless.

#7 pluto

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 14:39

Todt wasn't that desperate when Bridgestone was sole tyre supplier in 2007...

#8 noikeee

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 14:40

All teams had their "hardware" optimized for their software. Now one team remains with their software, and all others will have to adapt.

That sounds like an advantage to me, even if it might not really be a direct advantage in terms of performance, but rather of making all the other teams waste time in adapting themselves while McLaren won't need to do so.

But then again the FIA nicely balanced this advantage by imposing a bunch of time-wasting "verifications" on McLaren (which eventually did seem to find something), so I don't really know if it's going to make any difference.

#9 Chiara

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 14:41

Originally posted by Orin
JT being an arsehole as usual. Ferrari's tyre advantage in 2007 far outstripped anything McLaren might gain from familiarity with the ECU (indeed didn't Gilles Simon say they'd already resolved most of the issues with the device?). The guy's capacity for self-pity seems bottomless.


I think they have resolved the safety issues, but are still not 100% sure about reliability.

Changes in regulations always favour someone slightly more than someone else, really IMO Jean should be quiet and let the team do the talking on track.

#10 noikeee

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 14:42

Originally posted by Orin
JT being an arsehole as usual. Ferrari's tyre advantage in 2007 far outstripped anything McLaren might gain from familiarity with the ECU (indeed didn't Gilles Simon say they'd already resolved most of the issues with the device?). The guy's capacity for self-pity seems bottomless.


I do have to agree with that, Ferrari people (specially Todt and Montezemelo) seem very "happy" to moan to the press for everything, a bit more than the other teams do. I just don't think he's necessarily wrong in this matter.

#11 metz

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:00

Originally posted by paranoik0
All teams had their "hardware" optimized for their software. Now one team remains with their software, and all others will have to adapt.

That sounds like an advantage to me,.

I'm not sure that is correct.
The function of the ECU was explained to me as like a router on a network.
It doesn't actualy DO anything other than channel data from various sources.
It processes all the data from all sources. All teams have this kind of device now.
By standardizing on the same software (Microsoft) it allows the FIA to look at the data to see if it conforms to the regs. Team software outside of the ECU should be almost unchanged.
Any team that tracks more data than the ECU provides needs to do this outside the system. (maybe that's the issue)
Any team that tracks less data than the ECU provides might get an advantage.
Can someone technical explaint to us how this could possibly be an advantage to McLaren?

#12 Ricardo F1

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:06

Well the one thing it has been is built for McLaren's chassis. I believe part of the 2008 Ferrari Whineathon that's been rather incessant of late has been the need to alter some of their underbody parts to accommodate it. But hell, if Luca and Todt are going to Whine to this extent (and I see Baldessari is now joining in - with some "head games") couldn't they at least do it for charity?

#13 noikeee

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:08

Originally posted by metz

I'm not sure that is correct.
The function of the ECU was explained to me as like a router on a network.
It doesn't actualy DO anything other than channel data from various sources.
It processes all the data from all sources. All teams have this kind of device now.
By standardizing on the same software (Microsoft) it allows the FIA to look at the data to see if it conforms to the regs. Team software outside of the ECU should be almost unchanged.
Any team that tracks more data than the ECU provides needs to do this outside the system.
Any team that tracks less data than the ECU provides might get an advantage.
Can someone technical explaint to us how this could possibly be an advantage to McLaren?


The way I read it, the main function of the ECU is to limit all the inputs from the car to a standard list, which is the same for all the teams (hence forbidding inputs such as the needed for implementing traction control). All teams that used the inputs in a different way, or used to read more inputs from the car, will then have to adapt their systems. Plus the obvious need to re-write the software for the new location and names of the variables (although this might be a quick job, depending on how they write the software), and all the hardware work in having the ECU fit the car physically (remember that the design of F1 cars is optimized in the tiniest details due to aerodynamics, weight distribution, etc).

I just can't quantify exactly how much will this hurt the teams. Maybe it's a minor issue, maybe it forced them to move considerable resources from other areas into the problem of fitting the ECU. But no doubt they had to spend some time on it.

#14 Certified Half-Wit

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:16

I would be interested to see what the other teams say. On a technical level I have no clue as to whether Jean Todt is right or wrong with his assertion, as I am sure is the case with many others here...but, hey, let's shoot JT down anyway :rolleyes:

One can only guess at the accusations of (yawn) FIAt, Ferrari International Assitance etc. if it had been Ferrari (or Magneti Marelli) winning the ECU contract rather than Mac.

Ferrari were bound to whinge with Mac winning the contract - and I have no doubt that Mac would be whinging if Ferrari had won it, so any claims of moral superiority here by Ferrari detractors about their whining are entirely without merit. IMHO.

That said, whilst it obviously required the input of F1 teams to develop the ECU, it does surprise me that the FIA did not go to an (entirely) external company to make the ECU, and contractually obliging them to work with at least (X) number of teams in its development. Again, I presume there is a good reason for this, but it does seem baffling. What next - all teams running Toyota gearboxes or BMW airboxes?

#15 peroa

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:22

That is why FIA should have chosen a company like motec, so there would be no BS about that ...

#16 Lifew12

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:24

Originally posted by paranoik0
All teams had their "hardware" optimized for their software. Now one team remains with their software, and all others will have to adapt.


I hate to point out to you that all teams have to adapt. The standard ECU is not the one run by McLaren last season, and is new to them, too.

If anything, it goes against McLaren. Should they beat Ferrari a few times, and the boys in Red whinge on about an ECU advantage, the FIA will launch an investigation and find them guilty. Of something.

#17 Clatter

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:29

Originally posted by peroa
That is why FIA should have chosen a company like motec, so there would be no BS about that ...


Did they respond to the tender?

Its no good saying the FIA should have chosen a different company, if that company didnt submit a tender.

#18 Certified Half-Wit

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:30

Originally posted by Lifew12


Should they beat Ferrari a few times, and the boys in Red whinge on about an ECU advantage, the FIA will launch an investigation and find them guilty. Of something.

Where is the precedent for this? I am not aware of McLaren being found guilty of something when they have been innocent...could you possibly provide more details on this?

#19 Lifew12

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:34

Originally posted by Certified Half-Wit

Where is the precedent for this? I am not aware of McLaren being found guilty of something when they have been innocent...could you possibly provide more details on this?


Could you provide details on where, in that post, I mentioned McLaren being innocent?

It was a joke.

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#20 undersquare

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:34

Originally posted by peroa
That is why FIA should have chosen a company like motec, so there would be no BS about that ...


Ross Brawn was asked about this in 06 when he was at Ferrari, he said it was a temporary advantage like the Bridgestones, and better than using a supplier not familiar with F1.

Just propaganda from Todt.

#21 Chiara

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:34

Originally posted by Lifew12


I hate to point out to you that all teams have to adapt. The standard ECU is not the one run by McLaren last season, and is new to them, too.

If anything, it goes against McLaren. Should they beat Ferrari a few times, and the boys in Red whinge on about an ECU advantage, the FIA will launch an investigation and find them guilty. Of something.


I sincerely doubt that the FIA would investigate something they have already agreed the tender for in the first place.

McLaren may well have an advantage since they will be used to these systems more so than teams who have never used them, they will have less work to incorporate the ECU and its systems than say Ferrari or BMW-Sauber or Renault. So they will have more resources available to work in other areas.

But in F1 its all swings and roundabouts, changes in regulations favour some teams more than others, it happens. The others just have to bite the bullet, work hard and catch up. That's the nature of the beast.

To my mind Jean is probably just using this as a stick to continue to thrash McLaren with.

#22 jb_128

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:38

As I currently understand it the standard ECU is less about standard engine management than it is about standard data recording. Since all ECUs record the same data it is easy for the FIA to run TC detection test software on the data. The data inputs of the ECU are certainly enough to be useful for TC. What I don't know is what the limitations of programming the ECU by the teams is.

Wouldn't hurt if the FIA put a bit more effort into giving their audience a chance to actually understand what's going on.

#23 Lifew12

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:42

Originally posted by Chiara


I sincerely doubt that the FIA would investigate something they have already agreed the tender for in the first place.



You doubt that, should the ECU provide a clear advantage to McLaren, the FIA will investigate it? My original comment was a joke, but I find this a very odd line of thought - i would expect the governing body to have a major re-think should this be the case. Indeed, should another team complain, surely they are obliged to?

#24 noikeee

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:43

Originally posted by Lifew12


I hate to point out to you that all teams have to adapt. The standard ECU is not the one run by McLaren last season, and is new to them, too.


I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that at least the shape is the same that McLaren's ECU used to have. As for the system inside itself, I assumed it would be similar or based on McLaren's former system but to be honest I have no idea.

As jb_128 said above, a bit more information on this would be nice.

#25 vitivati

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:49

Without knowing much at all about the ECU, here's my take:

It is a small advantage of course, but not for long.
Definitely not as big as last years tire advantage Ferrari enjoyed.(of course this advantage was quickly nullified by McLaren and it's spies)

Other teams have to direct resources in understanding the ECU, Mclaren too, but probably not that much.

So small advantage for Mclaren IMHO, but nothing extraordinary.

#26 Scudetto

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:53

Originally posted by Lifew12
You doubt that, should the ECU provide a clear advantage to McLaren, the FIA will investigate it? My original comment was a joke, but I find this a very odd line of thought - i would expect the governing body to have a major re-think should this be the case. Indeed, should another team complain, surely they are obliged to?


They probably would in light of events last season. But frankly, short of any tampering with devices sent to other teams, what basis would the FIA have to rethink the McLaren ECU?

Surely the fact that McLaren, being the primary developer of the system, would or could have a more intimate knowledge of the system's workings when first deployed must have crossed someone's mind? If this was a legitimate concern, then why open the tender to active teams or their subsidiaries? Further, if this was a concern by other teams, was there no avenue of protest or contest once the FIA awarded the tender to McLaren?

Honestly, I think concerns are overblown. Unless....

#27 Lifew12

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 15:58

Originally posted by Scudetto


They probably would in light of events last season. But frankly, short of any tampering with devices sent to other teams, what basis would the FIA have to rethink the McLaren ECU?



A complaint from another team that it gave McLaren an advantage would surely be basis enough?

Surely the fact that McLaren, being the primary developer of the system, would or could have a more intimate knowledge of the system's workings when first deployed must have crossed someone's mind? If this was a legitimate concern, then why open the tender to active teams or their subsidiaries?



But we are aware of the FIA's lack of application when it comes to looking ahead; they granted Prodrive a slot on the basis of it being a customer car effort, while knowing full well the legality of such was not guaranteed.

Further, if this was a concern by other teams, was there no avenue of protest or contest once the FIA awarded the tender to McLaren?



Looks like there was not.

Honestly, I think concerns are overblown. Unless....


So do I. with an unless.

#28 carbonfibre

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:01

Haha i love the first couple of reactions about Ferrari being scared and searching for excuses early on already.

Im a lot more excited actually for the new season. Does anybody actually know which compagny's did apply as well? Im sure MagnettiMarelli applied for the standard ECU as well didnt they?

And besides that please read this article as well from a couple of months ago as well: http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/61758

It's not only Ferrari.

#29 Jones Foyer

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:05

Well of course they have an advantage, albeit probably small. But why did it take so long for him to complain about it? The rule was announced a long time ago and I'm sure all the teams had to agree to it. IT'S TOO LATE, JEAN.

#30 glorius&victorius

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:09

Is there any statement from the FIA or Max in reaction on JT's latest comment?

I bet that if there is a reaction it will only be an official one coming from the FIA.

Max Mosley for sure will never never never say in sunday newspapers that McLaren cannot be suspected of having an advantage. Not in a million years will those words come from his lips. On the contrary: commenting on the spy-case, he'd be the first one to give his personal opinion on how Ron is a liar etc.

#31 Scudetto

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:11

Originally posted by glorius&victorius
Max Mosley for sure will never never never say in sunday newspapers that McLaren cannot be suspected of having an advantage. Contrary to commenting on the spy-case, he was the first one to give his personal opinion on how Ron is a liar etc.


Contrarily, to state that McLaren does has an advantage would be to admit that the FIA handed it to them on a silver platter.

#32 vitivati

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:12

http://formula-1.upd...blems/view.html

It contains some criticism towards the SECU.

#33 glorius&victorius

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:17

Originally posted by Scudetto


Contrarily, to state that McLaren does has an advantage would be to admit that the FIA handed it to them on a silver platter.


yes, but do you see max coming into the news saying: trust mclaren? The same max who called steward a c.h.w. and the same max who questioned Dennis' passion for F1? Max in person? I dont think so.


To save his ego he has FIA official press releases.

#34 POLAR

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:20

Mclaren would hide some easter eggs inside de new unit. Dont trust them...

#35 glorius&victorius

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:28

Originally posted by POLAR
Mclaren would hide some easter eggs inside de new unit. Dont trust them...


:p thats an interesting one... easter eggs that only the mclaren drivers would know of.

#36 carbonfibre

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:33

Besides that it was the same complaining by other teams when they choose Bridgestone for the single tyre supplier.

Ferrari had a small advantage then, now it's McLaren.

#37 femi

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:35

Originally posted by POLAR
Mclaren would hide some easter eggs inside de new unit. Dont trust them...


Most people love easter eggs...that's why they are so popular and if Mclaren did indeed hid some in the ECU, the benefiting team should be grateful. Don't you think?

#38 PassWind

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:37

An Electronic Contol Unit simply recieves information usually in the form of a voltage input, which is then converted or read as a thing. It then may be passed onto another component to alter its performance in order to coordinate an array of electronically controlled Engine, Gearbox subsytems that must work together in order to get the maxium or at least the prescribed dialed vehicle performance that is wanted.

For example .1 Mvolt on input A might mean a water temp of 210F if that is the calibrated reading that the ECU expects to see.

There is a huge amount of adjustments to make if the ECU is expecting certain readings, just in the terms of potentiometers, that they ouput properly to correctly calibrate with the software. If the Calibration is corrected via software that the software is able to not only correct itself but then remain true linear to the expected inputs pr of performing algorithms that they are correct through the range of input. All modern cars have them and its pretty difficult to fit a Mercedes ECU to a BMW I can tell you that for free.

Testing is another issue ensuring that exactly what is being recorded is exactly what is happening so the equipment needs to be indepentantly proofed, if the teams don't do this effectively they may be getting contrary information from inputs they think they are applying to the vehicle. That can be detrimental for a season if this happens. Its like reinventing the wheel but a neccessary evil to provide the basis of diagnostics physical when issues with electronic monitoring fail to get results.


McLaren made a tender, would one not think that while making this tender all of this work was looked into by McLaren itself, that designs were optioned for, that requires knowledge and also understanding of the problem, there would be an advantage.

The software may have FIA mandated design but intergration of the physical links the loom required the calibration of the source sensors and that they even work with the new harware would be a bit of a headache and something that McLaren would have an advantage on.

#39 howardt

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:37

My understanding (but not based on any detailed or inside info) is that only 2 tenders were considered- those of Mclaren/Microsoft and Magnetti Marelli.
So if there *is* any "home advantage", then I'm not surprised at JT saying that he'd have preferred that another supplier was chosen. And if that had happened then it'd be Ron complaining about an unfair advantage and every single opinion from every poster in this thread would be reversed.

:)

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#40 Scudetto

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:38

Originally posted by glorius&victorius
:p thats an interesting one... easter eggs that only the mclaren drivers would know of.


:lol: With Microsoft involved, ain't it almost a certainty? Like the early days of Windows computing, when Microsoft was trying to establish a foothold in the spreadsheet market with Excel: "Windows ain't done 'til Lotus won't run." Come to think of it, I didn't see Ctrl, Alt, Delete keys on the Ferrari wheel. They're screwed.

#41 Homer.J

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 16:44

I get the impression that some people don't understand how journalism sometimes works. JT is criticized here for "moaning" about the ECU. However, what I think happened is, that probably at some press conference some journalist asked JT if he thought whether the standard ECU would be an advantage to McLaren. And he just answered the question, giving his opinion. And I think he's right. I think it's pretty obvious that it will be an advantage to McLaren, just like the Bridgestone tires were an advantage for Ferrari. You can argue how big the advantage really is.
But it's not like JT picked up the phone by himself to call some newspapers to complain about it, or compain to the FIA.

#42 Buttoneer

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 17:00

When the FIA released their tender documents they would have been asking for a pretty specific device. Or at east, it would have been pretty specific requirements. The teams may still have to adapt somewhat but it's clear that the sophisticated ECU's from yesteryear would require a major change no matter what the team for this.

I'm quite certain though that Microsoft will have ensured McLaren got the best possible support on the product, which means sending the whole team on a course to become a Microsoft Certificated Desktop Support Monkey. "Have you tried turning off and on again?" In fact, I heard that's how come Kroll didn't find anything first time round. They were bribed my Microsoft. It's true.

#43 Clatter

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 17:07

Originally posted by PassWind
An Electronic Contol Unit simply recieves information usually in the form of a voltage input, which is then converted or read as a thing. It then may be passed onto another component to alter its performance in order to coordinate an array of electronically controlled Engine, Gearbox subsytems that must work together in order to get the maxium or at least the prescribed dialed vehicle performance that is wanted.

For example .1 Mvolt on input A might mean a water temp of 210F if that is the calibrated reading that the ECU expects to see.

There is a huge amount of adjustments to make if the ECU is expecting certain readings, just in the terms of potentiometers, that they ouput properly to correctly calibrate with the software. If the Calibration is corrected via software that the software is able to not only correct itself but then remain true linear to the expected inputs pr of performing algorithms that they are correct through the range of input. All modern cars have them and its pretty difficult to fit a Mercedes ECU to a BMW I can tell you that for free.

Testing is another issue ensuring that exactly what is being recorded is exactly what is happening so the equipment needs to be indepentantly proofed, if the teams don't do this effectively they may be getting contrary information from inputs they think they are applying to the vehicle. That can be detrimental for a season if this happens. Its like reinventing the wheel but a neccessary evil to provide the basis of diagnostics physical when issues with electronic monitoring fail to get results.


McLaren made a tender, would one not think that while making this tender all of this work was looked into by McLaren itself, that designs were optioned for, that requires knowledge and also understanding of the problem, there would be an advantage.

The software may have FIA mandated design but intergration of the physical links the loom required the calibration of the source sensors and that they even work with the new harware would be a bit of a headache and something that McLaren would have an advantage on.


All teams were testing with the new ECU within weeks of the last race. Whilst there is integration work to be done, I can't help but think the problems are being exaggerated.

#44 glorius&victorius

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 17:09

Originally posted by Homer.J
I get the impression that some people don't understand how journalism sometimes works. JT is criticized here for "moaning" about the ECU. However, what I think happened is, that probably at some press conference some journalist asked JT if he thought whether the standard ECU would be an advantage to McLaren. And he just answered the question, giving his opinion. And I think he's right. I think it's pretty obvious that it will be an advantage to McLaren, just like the Bridgestone tires were an advantage for Ferrari. You can argue how big the advantage really is.
But it's not like JT picked up the phone by himself to call some newspapers to complain about it, or compain to the FIA.


I am sure that JT also knows how journalism works... he don't look stupid to me

#45 undersquare

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 17:17

Originally posted by paranoik0


I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that at least the shape is the same that McLaren's ECU used to have. As for the system inside itself, I assumed it would be similar or based on McLaren's former system but to be honest I have no idea.

As jb_128 said above, a bit more information on this would be nice.


The shape is just a box with a bit cut off two of the corners. It doesn't have to fit inside anything and it's half the volume of the outgoing Marelli one so in fact it's easier to package.

There is a lot of work that teams had to do to revise their infrastructure etc, and Macca has had less of this to do, but apparently it was either Marelli or MES. Ferrari had the Bridgestone advantage so they could not in all fairness have had the ECU advantage as well.

#46 SlateGray

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 17:31

Todt crying in the press, what a surprise, he has never done that before has he?

#47 Chiara

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 17:32

Originally posted by undersquare


The shape is just a box with a bit cut off two of the corners. It doesn't have to fit inside anything and it's half the volume of the outgoing Marelli one so in fact it's easier to package.

There is a lot of work that teams had to do to revise their infrastructure etc, and Macca has had less of this to do, but apparently it was either Marelli or MES. Ferrari had the Bridgestone advantage so they could not in all fairness have had the ECU advantage as well.


I think it was more of a case that MES put in the cheaper bid compared to Magneti Marelli. But since MM are a subsidiary of FIAT, if they tender had gone to them there would cries of advantage from the other side.

#48 eoin

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 17:37

Originally posted by Homer.J
I get the impression that some people don't understand how journalism sometimes works. JT is criticized here for "moaning" about the ECU. However, what I think happened is, that probably at some press conference some journalist asked JT if he thought whether the standard ECU would be an advantage to McLaren. And he just answered the question, giving his opinion. And I think he's right. I think it's pretty obvious that it will be an advantage to McLaren, just like the Bridgestone tires were an advantage for Ferrari. You can argue how big the advantage really is.
But it's not like JT picked up the phone by himself to call some newspapers to complain about it, or compain to the FIA.


Wasting your time. People here don't have the grey matter to understand how the media works.

#49 undersquare

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 17:46

Originally posted by Chiara


I think it was more of a case that MES put in the cheaper bid compared to Magneti Marelli. But since MM are a subsidiary of FIAT, if they tender had gone to them there would cries of advantage from the other side.


I have never seen any numbers for the bids, but I would be surprised if money was the decisive factor. This is F1 after all. And for the same defined technology, how big could the difference have been? I think you are absolutely right, if Marelli/Fiat/Montezemolo had got the contract there would have been uproar.

#50 Clatter

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 18:46

Originally posted by undersquare


I have never seen any numbers for the bids, but I would be surprised if money was the decisive factor. This is F1 after all. And for the same defined technology, how big could the difference have been? I think you are absolutely right, if Marelli/Fiat/Montezemolo had got the contract there would have been uproar.


If bids all meet the requirements then of course the cost will be a decisive factor. MM is always harping on about reducing the costs, so why would he go against that?