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Alain Prost interview on BBC Monday 3 March 23:20


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#51 Cenotaph

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 13:59

I have lil doubt that someone like Raikkonen or Alonso would have a hard time adjusting to the car's of the 80's, but Prost and Senna would also have an hard time adjusting to cars of the 50's. And tbh, the opposite is also true. Raikkonen or Alonso are far more prepared to drive a modern car than Prost or Senna would be, i believe.

So, what's the point in comparing different times? The best of the best are still in F1 and we can still see the driver making the difference, if the car is capable of it. In some of his WDC, Prost's only competition was his teammate too, because the other cars were just not capable... Saying stuff like: "A new driver with very little experience can come in to Formula One and drive very quickly" is complete bullshit, imo. Guys like Vettel and Lewis, are very well prepared to drive a F1 car. And guys like Prost, Senna, Schumacher were also fast as soon as they stepped in a F1, they didn't need that much experience. Why? Because they are great, like Kimi, Alonso and possibly Lewis are now.

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#52 noikeee

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 14:01

Originally posted by LostProphet
The problem is that at the moment, F1 is stuck in a no-man's land.

I'd be happy to see it go either way. Either:

a) The cars stay as standardised as they are, but the aero problems are rectified to the point where the drivers can really race each other. Therefore we get a great show of driver skill

OR

b) They open up the floor to technical innovation once more and we see what StefanV talks about. The best, most innovative technical creations that they can come up with, and finding the drivers to realise that potential.


Because right now, we have cars that are partially-standardised but still technical enough that the driver can't make much of a difference (say when following another car through a corner), but not technical enough to make that side of things particularly exciting anymore either.


True, but they're trying to go a). Just wait for 2009 - I have faith it'll work. :)

#53 StefanV

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 14:07

Originally posted by DMJC

Well F1 was a formula containing Ferrari, Matra-Simca,BRM and le garagistes...March, Lotus,Brabham,Shadow,Mclaren, etc etc. Anyone could buy a car, and a Cosworth and go racing...and see if they were good enough? So F1 has been a formula for drivers in the recent past, as recent as the 80's, so to make it relevant to enthusiasts rather than anoraks, it should revert to how it was, one should be able to buy car/engine and create a team to run for world championship points. As it is at present, and even Max & Bernie know this, it is a playground for Manufacturer's Engineers and Media Persons turned Manufacturer's Team Principals a la Norbert Haug.As to fastest cars winning, it's very arguable that Ferrari had the quickest car in the last half of 1970, but a Lotus won. In 73, it's most likely that Peterson in the Lotus 72, was faster than Stewart in the Tyrrell 006, but JYS won.And there are other examples. In those days a fast driver could make more difference. Broadcasters showed some races then, and were not bothered that the cars were not technological masterpieces.....it's not the cars nor the teams that people come to watch, or that people want to see...it's the drivers....always has been, always will be. In the end, the manufacturers will walk away without a care or look backwards, if their Boards say so.....to be in hoc to the likes of Renault, Mercedes, Toyota etc, is very shortsighted indeed! [/B]

"Anyone could buy a car, and a Cosworth and go racing..."
You are right that there was a time when you could put a Cosworth into second hand chassi and almost be competitive. It was possible for some years, but still a short time in GP history. How many drivers put together a team for himself? How many team owners put a team together for a certain driver? Was Colin Chapman or Ronnie Peterson the #1 guy at Lotus? Did Ferrari exist only to give Gilles a chance to become a WDC? Did Eddie Jordan start his team only to give Michael Schumacher an entry to fame? I also think you are wrong that the cars where not technological masterpieces. They where. When you consider the technology at the that time. You give some examples of when the fastest car did not win. But I never disputed that, it has always happened and will always happen. In fact, many claims that the last 3 Championships was not won by the fastest car. But the general rule have always been: If you want to win, you need a car that is capable of winning. Of course, if you have a car that is capable of winning, you also need a driver that is capable of winning. But it has never been a formula designed for the drivers. One brief look at this list confirms that beyond any doubt.

#54 Big Block 8

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 14:11

I think the general idea of F1 is good, although it is true that the car makes most of the results instead of the driver. The other aspect (to see who actually IS the best driver) could be improved by frequently changing driver pairings, or better yet - providing identical cars for entire field for a few races during the season. It would be great, I just can't understand why Bernie doesn't promote the idea further. F1 as series just wouldn't have any peers then, it would have everything.

#55 Frank Booth

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 14:18

Originally posted by Timstr11
Motor racing and F1 especially is inherently a science project.

Prost is talking BS.

The man has failed at running his own team as he obviously discovered that more then anything to compete at a decent level in F1, you need a well resourced technical base.

Yes, it is a science project and I love it for that!
If I hated the technology I'd be watching Formula Renault.

I suggest all who think differently quit F1 and watch a low tech spec series. There are plenty around.


:up:

It's truly an engineering competition and I hope it remains that way. I hope in the future there is more carryover from F1 to passenger cars so there can be a legitimate reason for doing it.

#56 StefanV

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 14:22

Originally posted by Big Block 8
I think the general idea of F1 is good, although it is true that the car makes most of the results instead of the driver. The other aspect (to see who actually IS the best driver) could be improved by frequently changing driver pairings, or better yet - providing identical cars for entire field for a few races during the season. It would be great, I just can't understand why Bernie doesn't promote the idea further. F1 as series just wouldn't have any peers then, it would have everything.

Why should the teams agree to such a thing? They are NOT in F1 to find out who is the fastest driver. Even if the drivers would jump into a GP2 car now and then it would cost money. Who should pay? Would Ferrari pay to prove that Kimi is faster than Lewis? What if Lewis wins the F1 races - then Ferrari has payed to prove that McLaren is a much better car than the Ferrari. I am not sure what the sponsors would think of that.

I think the A1GP is a great idea and could have been what so many of us long for - the best drivers in equal cars. Kimi & Heikki would drive for Finland, Ralf for Germany, Kubica for Poland, Ekström for Sweden, Webber for Australia. And so on. Why is it not like that? I think we all know the answer.

#57 Modern Lover

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 16:20

Originally posted by StefanV

Why should the teams agree to such a thing? They are NOT in F1 to find out who is the fastest driver. Even if the drivers would jump into a GP2 car now and then it would cost money. Who should pay? Would Ferrari pay to prove that Kimi is faster than Lewis? What if Lewis wins the F1 races - then Ferrari has payed to prove that McLaren is a much better car than the Ferrari. I am not sure what the sponsors would think of that.

I think the A1GP is a great idea and could have been what so many of us long for - the best drivers in equal cars. Kimi & Heikki would drive for Finland, Ralf for Germany, Kubica for Poland, Ekström for Sweden, Webber for Australia. And so on. Why is it not like that? I think we all know the answer.


Spot on!

#58 LostProphet

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 16:24

Originally posted by paranoik0


True, but they're trying to go a). Just wait for 2009 - I have faith it'll work. :)


I hope so!!
I'm a bit of a James Bond (gadget freak ;)) and would love to see weird and wonderful technical innovations (I personally love the new BMW, because it looks quite different), but on the whole, I do agree with Mosely that bringing costs down and improving the show would be better in the long run.

My hope is tempered a little by the fact that he's tried to do this before - several times - and it hasn't worked. We will see.

#59 glorius&victorius

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 16:31

Originally posted by Timstr11
Motor racing and F1 especially is inherently a science project.

Prost is talking BS.

The man has failed at running his own team as he obviously discovered that more then anything to compete at a decent level in F1, you need a well resourced technical base.

Yes, it is a science project and I love it for that!
If I hated the technology I'd be watching Formula Renault.

I suggest all who think differently quit F1 and watch a low tech spec series. There are plenty around.


I think what Prost was talking about was the balance between tech and driver. Clearly today tech is dominating as never before in the history of F1. Prost didnt say he is against tech, I think what he tried to say is that there should be a better balance between tech and driver.

That is no BS in my opinion.

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#60 noikeee

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 16:35

Originally posted by Timstr11
I suggest all who think differently quit F1 and watch a low tech spec series. There are plenty around.


I already do that. Watching GP2 and A1GP is lots of fun. They'd be better than F1 if they had the best drivers and the same level of interest around the competition.

The idea of putting top F1 drivers in A1GP cars is very interesting, I'd like to see that. Unfortunately it seems that F1 drivers nowadays are by contract 100% dedicated to F1 and can't participate in other competitions, like they used to do in the (distant) past.

#61 angst

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 17:50

Originally posted by Frank Booth


:up:

It's truly an engineering competition and I hope it remains that way. I hope in the future there is more carryover from F1 to passenger cars so there can be a legitimate reason for doing it.


There has never been carry over from F1 to road car. It has always been the other way round...

#62 brakedistance

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 18:23

People are not suddenly becoming worse drivers over time.

The cars may be easier to drive, but the competition is just as strong. Are you telling me that the next Michael Schumacher could never have beaten MS because he raced 20 years later? Or that Patrick Depallier will always be better than Kimi because his car was much harder to drive?

#63 giacomo

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 18:24

Originally posted by Alain Prost
"You might be able to pull anyone from the top two-thirds of the grid and they could win if they were in the right car.
"The car was always more important than the driver, but the good teams knew who the best drivers were in my time."

Both statements are valid for Formula One now and back in the old days.

Just remember what Jean-Pierre Jarier did when he jumped from ATS to Lotus in 1978.

#64 angst

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 19:00

Originally posted by brakedistance
People are not suddenly becoming worse drivers over time.

The cars may be easier to drive, but the competition is just as strong. Are you telling me that the next Michael Schumacher could never have beaten MS because he raced 20 years later? Or that Patrick Depallier will always be better than Kimi because his car was much harder to drive?


the answer to the first question is; it depends upon what they are driving in twenty years time. If all that the driver has to do by that point is turn the steering wheel, then I would think that questions about any comparison would definitely be a moot one...

As for Depailler and Raikkonen. First, depailler is probably a damn sight better than you likely give him credit for, secondly, of all the drivers in the field I'd reckon Raikkonen would be a joy to watch in some of the cars from Depailler's day... :D

#65 angst

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 19:01

Originally posted by giacomo
Both statements are valid for Formula One now and back in the old days.

Just remember what Jean-Pierre Jarier did when he jumped from ATS to Lotus in 1978.


Yes. And look what Daly did when he jumped into the Championship winning Williams....;)

#66 giacomo

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 19:21

Originally posted by angst
Yes. And look what Daly did when he jumped into the Championship winning Williams....;)

... and what the also-ran Keke Rosberg did when he jumped into the very same Williams.

#67 undersquare

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 19:30

The cars have always been easy to drive at 98%. Modern cars spin like a top at 100.1%, so I don't see that it's any easier today that in Prost's era. Also I suspect the average gap between teammates has stayed pretty constant (but too lazy to research it sorry :p )

#68 SeanValen

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 19:40

Originally posted by Hacklerf
Prost "A new driver with very little experience can come in to Formula One and drive very quickly. It's just like playing on a PlayStation"

Spot on Prost, spot on


:up: :up: :up:



Prost is right, and to be honest, I've felt like this for years, yet I still hoped the FIA and teams would improve the sport to get back to the future a bit, and make it challenging, but they haven't done enough.

I'm still young, hopefully before I turn 40 one day, F1 will be a proud sport to showcasing driver sport again.

Michael Schumacher did some awesome drives in his career, but you can argue, his latter years, for the tv viewer, when Schumacher had more technological aids in the car, most viewers couldn't be able to see what he was doing in the car to be so fast compared to other drivers, and why he wasn't able to overtake some drivers on tracks he might of done earlier in his career, DIRTY AIR ANYONE, and that's all due to increased grip.


F1 is like a secret cigar club, you have to watch tones of races from the past to appreciate what drivers maybe making the difference now, it's very hard to see the differences, we were pretty lucky with Alonso and Hamilton last year, yet they never really raced each other long enough, couple of first corner stuff, wow wow, it's sad because the sport can do so much better.


I enjoyed seeing drivers slide, and compensating in the corners, Michael's oversteer style showed out more in his earlier f1 seasons, because THERE WAS LESS GRIP! But hey, if everything was meant to stay the same forever, we'll live forever, all good things come to an end.

#69 Mauseri

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 20:36

Originally posted by former champ
anything to protect Raikkonen's status in your eyes. That's all your post is about. Compare F1 now to F1 in say 1985 and really think about it. Your right that no one on the current grid wins by doing a Prost, not one of them is capable of winning a World title in an inferior car the way he managed. Level of the field much higher? Heh, you need a history lesson.

Prost was good at his time, but to win today, you cant just rely on others falling of the road and crashing between themselves. You need to put yourself to the front with sheer pace.

I dont think that the sport need to be protected from young drivers. If these do as good as the experienced ones, it can only be a good thing. I rather see driving talent shine than experience. Bye bye journeymen.

#70 rolf123

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 21:53

F1 does not seem to reward experience anymore which is very sad.

Although other sports have fallen victim to youth i.e. spoiled or privileged youngsters - this includes Hamilton, I don't care how many sacrifices his dad made, without his dad doing this Hamilton would be a complete nobody - but at least other sports still reward experience to a degree.

F1 these days does not do this anymore.

#71 Josta

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 22:16

Originally posted by micra_k10

Prost was good at his time, but to win today, you cant just rely on others falling of the road and crashing between themselves. You need to put yourself to the front with sheer pace.

I dont think that the sport need to be protected from young drivers. If these do as good as the experienced ones, it can only be a good thing. I rather see driving talent shine than experience. Bye bye journeymen.


So now you regard Prost as a Journeyman? Prost beat the best in the world, as teammates. In points, he has beaten every single teammate he had, including triple WDC Senna, Triple WDC Lauda, WDC Mansell, WDC Hill, WDC Rosberg, as well as highly rated drivers such as Arnoux and Alesi.

Kimi on the other hand, errr, well, he got beaten by Nick Heidfeld, beaten by Coulthard, initialy beaten by Monty, beaten by Wurz, and initially beaten by Massa. In short, Prost is one of the best drivers ever to sit in an F1 car. Personally, I would rate him as better than Senna, (which his points score whilst teammate would justify). Prost won WDC's when he wasn't in the best car. Kimi just managed to scrape a 1 point lead to win a WDC when he WAS in the fastest car. Previously, he lost a championship whilst driving the fastest car by far.

Love Kimi as much as you like, but to denigrate Prosts achievements in a pathetic way to defend Kimi is quite simply rediculous.

#72 Melbourne Park

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 23:14

Originally posted by StefanV
I think the A1GP is a great idea and could have been what so many of us long for - the best drivers in equal cars. Kimi & Heikki would drive for Finland, Ralf for Germany, Kubica for Poland, Ekström for Sweden, Webber for Australia. And so on. Why is it not like that? I think we all know the answer.

Imagine if the A1GP was run over the Euro winter months, and the top A1GP driver got to choose which F1 drive / team he'd take for the next year; and the 2nd A1GP driver would get to choose which team he'd take for the next year. And so on it would go.

The whole selection process could go for a week, with the teams presenting their technologies and their driver pay offers in public to the media and to the drivers, and demonstrating why their solutions for the next year were the best and why they should be chosen. And the driver pay offers would have to be for a "first" selection driver, and then a second pay offer for the "second" selection driver. Such deals would have to be all inclusive of marketing responsibilities as well, with no secret deals or outside affiliated payments allowed, and the drivers would have to work exclusively for the F1 team.

Such a system would also lower driver payments, because an F1 team would know that it would not be able to retain drivers by paying huge amounts for them. The drivers themselves would get the drive and pay deal they earned from their A1GP performance. And A1GP ratings would get a lot better as well.

One of the worst things about modern F1 is the cult of "the best", which teams invent in order to attract the public. The Nike habit of chasing budding brilliance and paying 30 or 100 million when the sportsman is a teenager is bazaar IMO and far from sport - its pure brand marketing. Just like Ron Dennis's branding of Kimi, such sports people get huge pay packets because they become a brand, and the reality of your capability becomes less important than your marketing power.

#73 Mauseri

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 23:17

Originally posted by Josta
Kimi on the other hand, errr,

Keep Kimi out of this...

#74 Insane111

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 23:43

Not sure if anyone's noticed yet, but the interview is actually up on the BBC Motorsport section, as one of the video links to click on.

Look here - http://news.bbc.co.u...ort/default.stm

#75 StefanV

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 23:47

Originally posted by Melbourne Park
Imagine if the A1GP was run over the Euro winter months, and the top A1GP driver got to choose which F1 drive / team he'd take for the next year; and the 2nd A1GP driver would get to choose which team he'd take for the next year. And so on it would go.

The whole selection process could go for a week, with the teams presenting their technologies and their driver pay offers in public to the media and to the drivers, and demonstrating why their solutions for the next year were the best and why they should be chosen. And the driver pay offers would have to be for a "first" selection driver, and then a second pay offer for the "second" selection driver. Such deals would have to be all inclusive of marketing responsibilities as well, with no secret deals or outside affiliated payments allowed, and the drivers would have to work exclusively for the F1 team.

Such a system would also lower driver payments, because an F1 team would know that it would not be able to retain drivers by paying huge amounts for them. The drivers themselves would get the drive and pay deal they earned from their A1GP performance. And A1GP ratings would get a lot better as well.

One of the worst things about modern F1 is the cult of "the best", which teams invent in order to attract the public. The Nike habit of chasing budding brilliance and paying 30 or 100 million when the sportsman is a teenager is bazaar IMO and far from sport - its pure brand marketing. Just like Ron Dennis's branding of Kimi, such sports people get huge pay packets because they become a brand, and the reality of your capability becomes less important than your marketing power.

Nice idea. Maybe. But I do not think there is any need to connect A1GP any more than you connect a national team in football or any other sport with the club level action. If the F1 teams allowed their drivers to represent their countries, and if the drivers would be interested in representing their country, it would be more than enough. Than A1GP would work and draw new audiences to motorsport. Maybe A1GP could change the rules so that a "national team" consisted of X drivers (maybe 5) and they had to rotate the drives among them. Then it would be more a team sport.

#76 Melbourne Park

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 02:27

Originally posted by StefanV

Nice idea. Maybe. But I do not think there is any need to connect A1GP any more than you connect a national team in football or any other sport with the club level action. If the F1 teams allowed their drivers to represent their countries, and if the drivers would be interested in representing their country, it would be more than enough. Than A1GP would work and draw new audiences to motorsport. Maybe A1GP could change the rules so that a "national team" consisted of X drivers (maybe 5) and they had to rotate the drives among them. Then it would be more a team sport.


I'd love a one design race car to act as the selector for F1 teams! Imagine having the drivers moving around the teams every year - over a number of years, we'd really understand the good and bad points of F1 drivers. These days, we have little idea. Most of the time, they sit in the cars, a bit back from the car in front, running a restrictive engine program, and waiting for a pit stop opportunity to get some clear air and to turn the mapping dial onto a flank speed setting.

As to the cars, they need to have a formula that encourages overtaking, and IMO that means have a formula where a car close behind has a clear advantage. Their spending money on the KERS change - but its a noddy version of it, and is virtually one design in its effect. I think I will be disapointed in the results, becaause car designers are deliberately designing their cars so that the car behind has a disadvantage.

Heck maybe we could put positioning sensors on the cars, and if a car gets within three car lengths of a car in front, it could get two seconds of nitro - that would work. Instead, they are in typically Mosley fashion, going to have totally different cars to this years, which will result in just the big teams getting the new cars right, and it will be years before the smaller teams close the gaps - if ever -and nothing will change IMO. I suppose they could make it so that the KERS would only work if you are within 3 car lengths of the car in front. I'd like that.







#77 StefanV

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 02:58

Originally posted by Melbourne Park


I'd love a one design race car to act as the selector for F1 teams! Imagine having the drivers moving around the teams every year - over a number of years, we'd really understand the good and bad points of F1 drivers. These days, we have little idea. Most of the time, they sit in the cars, a bit back from the car in front, running a restrictive engine program, and waiting for a pit stop opportunity to get some clear air and to turn the mapping dial onto a flank speed setting.

As to the cars, they need to have a formula that encourages overtaking, and IMO that means have a formula where a car close behind has a clear advantage. Their spending money on the KERS change - but its a noddy version of it, and is virtually one design in its effect. I think I will be disapointed in the results, becaause car designers are deliberately designing their cars so that the car behind has a disadvantage.

Heck maybe we could put positioning sensors on the cars, and if a car gets within three car lengths of a car in front, it could get two seconds of nitro - that would work. Instead, they are in typically Mosley fashion, going to have totally different cars to this years, which will result in just the big teams getting the new cars right, and it will be years before the smaller teams close the gaps - if ever -and nothing will change IMO. I suppose they could make it so that the KERS would only work if you are within 3 car lengths of the car in front. I'd like that.





I think that part of the job for a F1 team boss is to find the best parts, the best co-workers, the best suppliers, the best atmosphere, the best drivers... I do not see anyone agree of having one of the most vital parts of the team assigned to them.

The second part, to improve overtaking. I think that is also mostly a result of optimization and rules tightening. The cars are so similar that they have also have more or less the same weaknesses and strengths. They go the same speed in the high speed corner, out from the hairpin, on the straight and braking performance is almost identical. The drivers are the best in the world with very little that differs between them, just as the crews setting up the cars. One reason you see more overtaking in the lower formulas is that you do not have the same level of professionalism in each team. The cars are the same, bu the ability to tune it and drive it is not. Maybe GP2 is better for overtaking, but when they start from their qualifying position there is not so many lead changes for the podium. When they reverse the grid it is of course different. But when Kimi or Lewis is penalized during qualifying, maybe because of an engine change, you see a lot of overtaking also in F1.

KERS is another example of a rule that is not supposed to open for innovations, and through innovations the appearance of cars that have different characteristics. Where some brakes longer to get a more efficient recovery, some brakes late but accelerates slower to compensate for the energy "wasted" by braking late. KERS is there only so that Max can say that F1 is caring aboiut the environment, it will not change anything at all. Just as you say.

At the moment the rules force the teams to spend most of their resources on something that is useless outside F1. Winglets and silly mirrors.

#78 Melbourne Park

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 03:44

Originally posted by StefanV
The second part, to improve overtaking. I think that is also mostly a result of optimization and rules tightening. The cars are so similar that they have also have more or less the same weaknesses and strengths. They go the same speed in the high speed corner, out from the hairpin, on the straight and braking performance is almost identical.

Unfortunately, you are quite wrong. Teams actively test their aero wakes, to ensure that the car behind's aero is hurt. That's why Mosley's proposed wind tunnel restrictions are not going to allow more than one scale model into a tunnel, and why nothing above 60% scale will be allowed. The situation now is that a car that is close behind another car, gets its downforce lessened due to the wake of the car in front. This results in less cornering speed, which means when the car enters the straight, it is several KMH slower, and that deficit continues on for the whole main straight (all else being equal). Under brakes, the car behind has less downforce, so it also has to brake earlier.

If you look at the stats - an 2007 Autosport article was published reviewing the overtaking stats - that overtaking has almost disappeared from F1 in dry weather. Its is still possible to overtake though - on the average track, the difference in speed between a car needs to be around 1.5 seconds per lap. That's a huge differential, compared to the earlier days, when the car behind actually had an advantage when close behind.

Originally posted by StefanV
KERS is another example of a rule that is not supposed to open for innovations, and through innovations the appearance of cars that have different characteristics. Where some brakes longer to get a more efficient recovery, some brakes late but accelerates slower to compensate for the energy "wasted" by braking late. KERS is there only so that Max can say that F1 is caring aboiut the environment, it will not change anything at all. Just as you say.

The idea behind KERS is also about overtaking. The idea is that you have maybe 12 seconds of an extra 80 horsepower of recovered energy. If you are 0.5 seconds faster than the car in front, you'll be able to catch up to the car in front, but you'll loose it through the corners - but if you can use KERS, then you'll have an extra 80hp available if the car in front is not using his KERS at the same time. So if you can fool the car in front to use its KERS, then the 80 HP might make up the for the extra second of speed you need (1.5 seconds - 0.5 seconds you are faster).

KERS is very much an overtaking device. If you're interested, there is a thread on KERS.



#79 StefanV

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 04:10

Originally posted by Melbourne Park
Unfortunately, you are quite wrong. Teams actively test their aero wakes, to ensure that the car behind's aero is hurt. That's why Mosley's proposed wind tunnel restrictions are not going to allow more than one scale model into a tunnel, and why nothing above 60% scale will be allowed. The situation now is that a car that is close behind another car, gets its downforce lessened due to the wake of the car in front. This results in less cornering speed, which means when the car enters the straight, it is several KMH slower, and that deficit continues on for the whole main straight (all else being equal). Under brakes, the car behind has less downforce, so it also has to brake earlier.


Wrong. or right. I said "mostly". And what you describe is a proof of that. The teams have come so far in maximizing their own aero efficiency so that they can work on the aero efficiency of the competitors car. But they do not make dirty air to the cost of their own performance. If you want to win you need to be faster. To get any advantages from creating dirty air for those behind you, you must first get ahead of that car. But my main point was that the car have almost identical characteristic. Compare to the mid sixties when some had 16 cylinders and others had 8. You do not get the same torque there. You need different gearing, different approach to a corner. Then there was turbos against normally aspirated machines. Of course, before that there was front engine cars vs rear engine, Then there was ground effect. Now they all have the same engine, rev limited 8 cylinders 2.4 litre. I'm not sure if Kimi would even notice if someone put a Honda engine in his Ferrari the night before a race. They have more or less the simulation software which makes them come up with almost identical gearings and downforce levels. So if Lewis enter a corner in third gear, Kimi before him will also be on third gear just as Kubica behind him. They accelarete and all of them change when the light come up. They drive like one. The aero is crap, but it is not necessarily the root of all evil.


Originally posted by Melbourne Park

If you look at the stats - an 2007 Autosport article was published reviewing the overtaking stats - that overtaking has almost disappeared from F1 in dry weather. Its is still possible to overtake though - on the average track, the difference in speed between a car needs to be around 1.5 seconds per lap. That's a huge differential, compared to the earlier days, when the car behind actually had an advantage when close behind.

The idea behind KERS is also about overtaking. The idea is that you have maybe 12 seconds of an extra 80 horsepower of recovered energy. If you are 0.5 seconds faster than the car in front, you'll be able to catch up to the car in front, but you'll loose it through the corners - but if you can use KERS, then you'll have an extra 80hp available if the car in front is not using his KERS at the same time. So if you can fool the car in front to use its KERS, then the 80 HP might make up the for the extra second of speed you need (1.5 seconds - 0.5 seconds you are faster).

KERS is very much an overtaking device. If you're interested, there is a thread on KERS.

The KERS is even worse than I thought. I knew they would all get basically the same system, a system that is so basic I could do a more advanced one with my son, a book of matches and a set of guitar strings. "Push to pass" button? That was what made me stop following Champcars. Nintendo features.

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#80 Melbourne Park

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 04:28

StefanV, I think I understand your point of view now.

If I had my way, since all the F1 teams have wind tunnels, I'd put in a rule that said that if an F1 car's draft negatively effected the downforce of a car behind, it would be found illegal. So a team could protest a car in front after the race, because the driver might find that when he got close to the car in front, he had to go round corners a bit slower. Such a protest could be resolved by the FIA hiring a teams 100% duel car wind tunnel (yes there are some), and putting the offending car into the tunnel, with a standardized FIA mock up F1 car behind it to act as the yardstick of down force interference. Such FIA mock ups would be provided to all the teams.

End of problem IMO, but too simple for everyone to handle. But with all the money the teams spend on aero, they should be able to design a car which would leave the car behind alone.

#81 Italiano Tifoso

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 06:15

Yeah right, teams spending money on aero to make it easier for the competition to overtake them... :lol:

Interesting idea but for obvious reasons it wont happen.

I don't think the post race protest would be a good idea at all; for a group of people who thought that spygate should never have gone to the FIA court because spying 'always happens', now we have a suggestion that will create endless protests at the end of each GP. That's not how i want my F1.

Thank god you are not running the FIA; with suggestions like that i think your rights to criticise Max Mosley should be revoked.

The only way to address the aero problem is the way they are tackling it now with the TWG, it is slow but it is the right way. Careful evaluation is the key, not brash statements and rules which have no after thought at all, that just leads to more expenditure and more problems.

The sooner people realise it is not a simple problem, the sooner they will realise there is not a simple solution. The fact that there is a TWG setup is evidence that the powers that be are giving it careful thought and consideration before making any rash changes.

#82 ViMaMo

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 06:29

Originally posted by RSNS
So, yes: ban refueling, make overtaking possible, abolish rev limiters and make it possible to have different alternatives to win a race (fast beginning, slow middle, fast end; OR slow beginning, fast end, OR, ... and so forth). Make cars much harder to drive so that drivers do get very tired and have to spare themselves. If necessary make races longer. I think he will propose something of the kind.


09 regulations seem to provide more opportunities for overtaking. They need to increase braking distances. Now its just slamming it at the 50m mark.

#83 Melbourne Park

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 07:52

Originally posted by vivian
09 regulations seem to provide more opportunities for overtaking. They need to increase braking distances. Now its just slamming it at the 50m mark.

Lower downforce is the best - and the most difficult way. Getting rid of the carbon brakes would - initially at least - lengthen braking. Another way would be to increase the weight of the cars. Many people will say though that longer braking distances mean less safety, and the same would apply to heavier cars.

#84 Maldwyn

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 09:11

Originally posted by StefanV
I think the A1GP is a great idea and could have been what so many of us long for - the best drivers in equal cars.

Sorry, but IMHO A1GP is just another series among many. What you're suggesting goes against the whole raison d'être of the series which (we are told) is based on nations, not drivers, competing against each other. That's its' USP, which has failed to capture the imagination of many race goers.

I like the idea of F1 drivers competing in other cars occasionally, as they used to in F2 many years ago. Of course contracts prevent that now, but then having F1 stars competing against the new crop of young drivers gave us, and F1 team owners, a real chance to see how they measured up. Riccardo Patrese, for example was being watched by Alan Rees (Shadow F1 team manager) when he qualified on pole for the 1977 F2 event at the Nürburgring, and that performance helped secure him a test then a race seat in F1. Team owners/managers simply do not have that kind of opportunity now; nor do the drivers.

If we want to see F1 drivers competing against each other in equal cars how about reviving something like the Procar series of 1979/80 :smoking:

Failing that, F1 already has a ready made opportunity to put established stars up against the newcomers - GP2. If F1 teams were more closely linked to GP2 teams with 'guest' appearances by drivers then I think that could have benefits for both series for many reasons.

#85 former champ

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 09:14

Originally posted by micra_k10
Prost was good at his time, but to win today, you cant just rely on others falling of the road and crashing between themselves. You need to put yourself to the front with sheer pace.


Like I said, you need a history lesson. You haven't the faintest clue what F1 and Alain Prost were all about back in the day. That explanation you gave is downright pathetic.

#86 undersquare

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 09:25

I think Prost was looking back through rose-tinted specs like we all do. Only Hamilton made it look easy in the first year, everyone else is relatively slow and makes a lot of mistakes - Sutil, Heikki, Nakajima for example. They all improve a lot in their second and third years.

I think the biggest problem, assuming the 09 spec allows overtaking, is the increasing artificiality - use of both tyre compounds, push-to-pass, and the adjustable front wing. We won't know what the hell is going on.

#87 StefanV

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 09:53

Originally posted by Maldwyn

Sorry, but IMHO A1GP is just another series among many. What you're suggesting goes against the whole raison d'être of the series which (we are told) is based on nations, not drivers, competing against each other. That's its' USP, which has failed to capture the imagination of many race goers.

I am aware of that. But if a nation is going to compete against another nation - would it not be natural that they sent their best people to represent the country? When England plays France in the FIFA World Cup, do they just send some 18 year old maybe-talents and let Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole and the other top guys lie on a beach somewhere in the Pacific?

#88 BMW_F1

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:40

Originally posted by StefanV

I am aware of that. But if a nation is going to compete against another nation - would it not be natural that they sent their best people to represent the country? When England plays France in the FIFA World Cup, do they just send some 18 year old maybe-talents and let Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole and the other top guys lie on a beach somewhere in the Pacific?


F1 is not a true sport IMO.

#89 StefanV

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 14:36

Originally posted by BMW_F1


F1 is not a true sport IMO.

Neither is cycling, but A1GP could be closer.

#90 Timstr11

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 14:54

Originally posted by glorius&victorius


I think what Prost was talking about was the balance between tech and driver. Clearly today tech is dominating as never before in the history of F1. Prost didnt say he is against tech, I think what he tried to say is that there should be a better balance between tech and driver.

That is no BS in my opinion.

Surely technology is dominating our lives more and more, in every aspect. F1 included. But we can't turn the clock back and I don't see why we should.

I certainly don't subscribe to the idea that currently individual drivers don't make a difference anymore. There is still enough evidence that even with today's sophisticated racing, individual drivers are still able to make a difference. That's enough for me.

How else would you explain the one team mate being consitently better than the other team mate?

Was Schumacher just lucky...Alonso, Hamilton, Kimi? Are they all just lucky to be where they are?

Prost is talking BS and glorifying his time in F1.

#91 BMW_F1

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 15:31

Originally posted by StefanV

Neither is cycling, but A1GP could be closer.



oh no.. Cycling definitely is. They are on the Olympics.

#92 RSNS

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 22:57

Having watched the interview, I think Prost's main point is that today's races are a sprint: one must be fast, continuously fast. The car will not break, you will have to refuel every 20 laps or so and that's it: whoever gets the first corner or is faster in the laps surrounding a pitstop wins.

Not everybody likes this kind of racing. During Prost's life as a F1 driver, strategy was required: when to push and for how long, when to spare the care, when to spare the tires.

This gave racing rhythm - a kind of structure in the sense that there were very distinctive parts of in a given race.

Younger people tend to like it fast: in many cases with music, the drummer is always at the fullest, there is just pushing. Perhaps we, old timers, are missing the beauty of that kind of thing.

We prefer more complex racing, strategy, overtaking, uncertainty. I would have thought that everybody would prefer a complex race (RACE, mind you, not car) to a simple one, but apparently this is not so.

There are many more ingredients missing: a certain amount of danger and experience: one had to know how to handle a race (let alone a car). Today if you have an accident chances are that you'll get away with it (I actually prefer it this way, but it is true that races are less impressive).

Most modern circuits themselves are mostly what we considered Mickey Mouse circuits. Flat, straight-corner-straight, many 'pedal to the metal' bends (actually bent straights). However, the cars are fast as hell, and perhaps our generation does not see that the younger fans actually like it that way: fast over difficult.

This is a Devil's advocate post. But I am trying to figure out why youngsters are so keen on defending contemporary F1 while the old timers, almost to a man, find it boring (or woman).

#93 Melbourne Park

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 23:48

Originally posted by RSNS
This is a Devil's advocate post. But I am trying to figure out why youngsters are so keen on defending contemporary F1 while the old timers, almost to a man, find it boring (or woman).

Its ignorance. And the facts are that younger people love MotoGP, which racers much the same as the type of F1 that Prost is talking about, MotoGP is much more entertaining than F1 IMO - although Stoner's antics in tearing away at the start and disappearing resembled F1, it was still very rare for that to happen. And in the rest of the field, classic racing is still the norm in MotoGP.

#94 ViMaMo

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:33

Originally posted by Melbourne Park
Lower downforce is the best - and the most difficult way. Getting rid of the carbon brakes would - initially at least - lengthen braking. Another way would be to increase the weight of the cars. Many people will say though that longer braking distances mean less safety, and the same would apply to heavier cars.


heavier cars would take a longer time to stop, a lower downforce leads to lesser grip thro fast corners and more imp hinders braking. im lost. then F1 shud be using softer and wider tyres, more downforce, abs, etc etc cos anythign less will make the car dangerous to drive. :confused:

Didnt Zanardi try steel brakes on the Williams?

#95 Timstr11

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 09:52

Originally posted by Melbourne Park
Lower downforce is the best - and the most difficult way. Getting rid of the carbon brakes would - initially at least - lengthen braking. Another way would be to increase the weight of the cars. Many people will say though that longer braking distances mean less safety, and the same would apply to heavier cars.

So verybody runs steel brakes. Everybody has to brake earlier, making longer braking distances....How will that affect racing?
In my opinion, the only effect it will have is slow down the cars.
Same for heavier cars.

Drivers will drive the cars close to the limit of what is physically possible. The changes you propose simply reduce the performance for all cars.

The one thing that hopefully the 2009 aero rules will take away is the difficulty to near and overtake a car when you are in fact lapping faster.

#96 Melbourne Park

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 12:03

Originally posted by Timstr11
So verybody runs steel brakes. Everybody has to brake earlier, making longer braking distances....How will that affect racing?
In my opinion, the only effect it will have is slow down the cars.
Same for heavier cars.

Drivers will drive the cars close to the limit of what is physically possible. The changes you propose simply reduce the performance for all cars.

The one thing that hopefully the 2009 aero rules will take away is the difficulty to near and overtake a car when you are in fact lapping faster.

Hey I agree - but a few years ago, the same issues were debated. Firstly, lighter cars are safer than heavier cars. That's known for racing cars, presuming the protection is similar.

Concerning the brakes, steel brakes would be cheaper and would lengthen braking. Obviously in an emergency, if a car has deliberatley poorer brakes, then that is less safe. Its a logical argument that has been used before! Although I am not certain about how much money would be saved by having steel brakes. I imagine with F1, a tonne of development would focus on steel brakes becoming as efficient as today's carbon ones already are!

For me, I would prefer less downforce - but it has not been easy to regulate that. Having only a particular amount of fuel available for a race is another way, and have the formula open. That is my preferred option, but if Toyota kept on winning WDCs by spending mega dollars on fancy energy recovery technologies, then I'd probably dislike it!

#97 angst

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 12:06

Originally posted by Melbourne Park
Hey I agree - but a few years ago, the same issues were debated. Firstly, lighter cars are safer than heavier cars. That's known for racing cars, presuming the protection is similar.

Concerning the brakes, steel brakes would be cheaper and would lengthen braking. Obviously in an emergency, if a car has deliberatley poorer brakes, then that is less safe. Its a logical argument that has been used before!


It could be argued that less efficient brakes are ins ome ways safer..... strange but true. Given that the braking points are so late, any brake failure atm gives much less time for other evasive action to be taken by the driver to scrub off speed than if the brakes were less efficient.

#98 Melbourne Park

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 12:22

Originally posted by angst


It could be argued that less efficient brakes are ins ome ways safer..... strange but true. Given that the braking points are so late, any brake failure atm gives much less time for other evasive action to be taken by the driver to scrub off speed than if the brakes were less efficient.


I think the brake issue concerns when something happens in front of you, say Kubica's smash and if his car had of careered back onto the straight. In such a situation, you as the driver might want to stop quickly. Hence a quickly stopping car is safer. Its got nothing to do with normal braking points.

Same too with body weight - a lighter car stops better, and when it hits another car, it has less momentum or energy when it hits the car.

But speed also is unsafe ... they have to slow the cars down, because the tracks are designed for only a certain level of speed.

I have always wanted to simply limit downforce - that is what happens in yachting, they limit sail area. But despite the huge expenditures of the teams and the technology available, the FIA hasn't figured out a way to limit downforce. Maybe its because the FIA actually doesn't have much internal wealth to put an effective system in place that measures downforce.

#99 StefanV

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 12:33

I think the issue with steel brakes and weight is partly that much of the extra weight is the wheel itself. That means that in an impact, it is harder to keep the wheels attached to the car and a loose wheel is a dangerous thing.

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#100 noikeee

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 12:37

Originally posted by RSNS
Having watched the interview, I think Prost's main point is that today's races are a sprint: one must be fast, continuously fast. The car will not break, you will have to refuel every 20 laps or so and that's it: whoever gets the first corner or is faster in the laps surrounding a pitstop wins.

Not everybody likes this kind of racing. During Prost's life as a F1 driver, strategy was required: when to push and for how long, when to spare the care, when to spare the tires.

This gave racing rhythm - a kind of structure in the sense that there were very distinctive parts of in a given race.

Younger people tend to like it fast: in many cases with music, the drummer is always at the fullest, there is just pushing. Perhaps we, old timers, are missing the beauty of that kind of thing.

We prefer more complex racing, strategy, overtaking, uncertainty. I would have thought that everybody would prefer a complex race (RACE, mind you, not car) to a simple one, but apparently this is not so.

There are many more ingredients missing: a certain amount of danger and experience: one had to know how to handle a race (let alone a car). Today if you have an accident chances are that you'll get away with it (I actually prefer it this way, but it is true that races are less impressive).

Most modern circuits themselves are mostly what we considered Mickey Mouse circuits. Flat, straight-corner-straight, many 'pedal to the metal' bends (actually bent straights). However, the cars are fast as hell, and perhaps our generation does not see that the younger fans actually like it that way: fast over difficult.

This is a Devil's advocate post. But I am trying to figure out why youngsters are so keen on defending contemporary F1 while the old timers, almost to a man, find it boring (or woman).


I'm not seeing many people defending modern F1 here.

Here's my take on it: I've been recently watching the races from the 1985 season (one year before I was born) and the idea I get from the races is that Prost is right about the "strategy" sense having been lost. I really like the fact the drivers had to manage their tyres at least (to try avoiding having to pit), and not rely on knowing the tyres will be changed in the pretty much mandatory refuel stops nowadays. Also it's great how the cars behaved very differently in lots of fuel and little fuel, both situations that had to be managed in a race. Nowadays cars never run with fuel for more than 50% of the race.

The level of uncertainty in 1985 races is much higher than nowadays which makes it much more entertaining. However I'm not sure if it's possible to bring back that level of uncertainty under any regulations - it happened not only because of the ban on refuelling, but also because cars were WAY more unreliable. I think the current regulations on 4-race engines, 4-race gearboxes, etc, are stupid and contribute to this, but even if you remove them, the cars won't suddenly start blowing up - teams are simply far more professional these days and technology has advanced a lot more. It's a natural evolution.

Overtaking was clearly much easier with actual slipstreaming happening, although I was very surprised to watch how it often was too easy! Most drivers just let the other pass and wouldn't try too hard to block, fearing contact would happen and ruin their races (not to mention ruining their bones, vital organs, spinal tissue...). Nowadays the safety element IMO made drivers much more aggressive wheel-to-wheel, however the dirty aero problems defeats this good point as it's gone completely the other way, it's impossible to pass.

Continuing to talk about the good points of modern F1: sense of speed is definitely a major point, even if modern circuits often look like huge parking lots. Modern cars just look much faster most of the time. Although I think this is heavily connected to how much coverage has improved: in 1985 races I don't see onboard shots. I see too many boring shots from helicopters or from very far away. I get very annoyed at how there's no info at all on anyone below 6th place. Not to mention the extra laptop with live timing next to the TV that I use nowadays. We're too spoiled and don't realise it.

As much as I agree with him on the "strategy" side, there is one thing I think Prost is talking bollocks - which is what I think most people have criticised here. I don't think it's right to glorify the past drivers over current drivers just because they had to focus on different skills. Sure, Kimi, Alonso, Lewis, etc don't have to look after their tyres and balance their strategies in the way Prost and his generation had to in the past. They'd probably be shit at it. But then again Prost didn't have to go flat out almost every single lap back then, like these guys do nowadays. I'm not sure he'd be able to keep up in the same way, without committing any more than 1 or 2 mistakes per season like these guys do... Different eras, different skills, same merit. Except on the danger side, those old guys were simply crazy to sit inside those fragile cars and drive their wheels off.

Connected to this is his criticism on how "it's too easy for young guys" and how that is "wrong". That's nonsense. I believe the reasons for having young drivers come into F1 and immediately impress are the following:

a) they are far better trained nowadays, in terms of fitness, mental preparation, and starting single-seaters from an young age
b) detailed telemetry is now instantly available and it's possible for them to see exactly where they're losing time to the experienced driver. Does Prost want to ban telemetry? Might as well ban all computers from F1 then. Since we're there, ban electricity from the F1 paddock too.
c) all the technology available outside of a racing team environment, like very realistic computer games and widespread tv coverage of every single move of professional F1 drivers when they sit in a cockpit. Kids starting karting can learn how to take the correct lines and the correct techniques from early on.
d) lower difference in power and handling between series like GP2 and F1. Ok, I can see why people think this is bad.
e) not every single young driver coming into F1 performs like Jesus Christ on a steering wheel. Some of them fail. Some of them are genuinely talented and this isn't any different from the previous era in F1. Rookies have sit in a F1 car and immediately impressed since... ever? There's just too many examples, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve...

Apart from d) which is debatable, how is any of these bad? It just allows a higher driving standard and professionalism standard in F1. We want to see the best fighting out on track. Sure there's been a bit on an exaggerated focus by the media on trying to get anyone reaching mid 30s to retire immediately, but if they can't keep up with the young guys on speed anymore, should they really still be there? The reason they kept going into the 40s in the past was that experience gave them a huge advantage back then. If the same happened nowadays we'd be far worse - because there's far less seats available for people to get into F1 and accumulate experience. Remember there were 40 cars trying to get into the F1 grid at one point.

Sorry for the huge post, I felt like writing a lot about many things at the same time.