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Baselining cars at the end of a season

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#1 fdspd

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 20:12

So here's a wild idea to pass some time over the winter: (Apologies for poorly constructed sentences. English is my second language!)

Give rival teams a chance to inspect each other's cars at the end of a season.

Positives I see with such an opportunity

1. With the current rules, the fastest team this season, in most cases, carries over the advantage through the winter to the next season. But if you let rival teams open up others cars, you could effectively baseline all the teams to a certain level. Whoever comes out fastest at the first gp of the next season is the guy who did the best job over the winter. I think the biggest benefit of this is that it *could* prevent prolonged dominance of one team because of a fundamentally superior chasis.The filp side to this I've listed under the negatives.
2. Cost cutting. Everybody cries about cost cutting all the time. Letting rival teams inspect each other's cars will cut down R&D costs.
3. Could help the slower and not so cash rich teams a lot. They don't have to spend reinventing the wheel.
4. Teams better understand the cars than the FIA. Could possibly detect illegalities in rivals cars which the FIA couldn't catch.
5. Potential for creating a closer field for next season. The 3 new teams don't have to be 5 secs off, running at GP2 pace.

1. Counter argument to positives point number 1. A team's hardwork is nullified in a single season. All the money spent in R&D will effectively end up developing others cars as well. I think this is the biggest reason why such a rule is never considered in F1. It's a business, and if the money being spent into R&D gives an ROI over just a single season then it's not good for business!
2. Potential IP roadblocks? But this has never stopped teams copying each other.
3. Logistics. How long do you give the teams to inspect the cars?
4. Most teams would have the next season's car on the drawing board in June. Inspecting rival's cars in December could give the teams new ideas which could mean they have to start from scratch. Wasted time, wasted money.

Could be more. Thoughts? Has this ever been considered or discussed?


#2 SCUDmissile

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 21:00

Fantastic thread and post, looking at both lines of argument. It is an interesting idea, but I don't think it can ever work.

#3 Jackmancer

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 21:02

I understand the idea, but if there's gonna be something like this I'd prefer the DTM system where they add extra weight to the car per point. Let's say 0.1 kilo per point.

But I wouldn't really want that either.

#4 Afterburner

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 21:13

One very crucial point that you're missing is that not all of these teams are strictly Formula One manufacturers (e.g. Ferrari and McLaren). Most of the technology and development they do on their Formula One program eventually trickles down into their street cars. For this reason, Ferrari, McLaren, or any manufacturer team would never ever let a rival team inspect its car--the inspecting manufacturer could learn design secrets that they could then copy and use on their own road cars to poach business from the manufacturer that initially used the secret. For the manufacturers especially, it's not just racing that's at stake concerning the secrecy surrounding designs--it's their business and their very livelihood.

I understand your perspective, of course, and you do raise some very good points, but manufacturers would likely relate this idea to corporate suicide.

#5 gillesthegenius

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:18

Great thread. But if a team wins the champioship before the last race, as it usually happens when a team is very dominant, they could undo all the vital developments for the last few races, therby retaining all of its secrets when the car is put up for inspection, whicjh can practically only be allowed right after the final race. Teams not involved in the championship fight, like Mclaren this year, could also do it, leaving only the championship contenders exposed.

Edited by gillesthegenius, 05 December 2012 - 03:59.

#6 KnucklesAgain

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 18:43

(Positive) 4. Teams better understand the cars than the FIA. Could possibly detect illegalities in rivals cars which the FIA couldn't catch.

This would cause endless strife over the winter because the probability is high that any WDC/WCC-winning team has something on the car that can be construed as illegal.

#7 fum3s

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 19:05

I don't think it's necessary. The enduring surprise in F1 is that year after year the top teams are always within a few tenths of each other. Could it possibly be that design information is already diffusing throughout the paddock? What a shocking thought!