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1994 Driver Aid Ban & Semi Auto Gearboxes


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#1 Ibsey

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:15

Why weren't semi-automatic gearboxes (i.e. drivers shifting paddles to change gears) also banned for being a driver aid in 1994?

 

People always said shifting gears during the 1980's was a key driver skill, and lots of overtaking happen when drivers missed gears?


Edited by Ibsey, 12 January 2018 - 10:16.


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#2 Bloggsworth

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 17:16

Strangely, it saved the teams a lot of money - Villeneuve could, reputedly, go through 5 gearsets and the odd casing in a weekend, most drivers consumed dog-clutches quicker than popsicles on a hot day - The exception being Michele Alboreto, who was so gentle he could make gears last a good while. Flappy paddles remove skill, but tend not to break gearboxes.



#3 saudoso

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 21:56

They are not so good at blowing engines either.

#4 Ibsey

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 04:22

They are not so good at blowing engines either.

 

If engine reliability was the issue then why include CVT under the 94 driver aid ban. According to Newey's new book CVT were better for engines since they kept them at the optium rev range, rather than having them work at all rev's. Granted the sound of CVT's wouldn't have been great, but something could have been done about that.  

 

Regarding the cost, initially it would have been an issue. Although the likes of Laurrouse were still using a stick shift in 1993. But after a while reliability developments would have been made to the gearboxes & engines to make them more resistant to driver errors. I mean how many races these days does engine and gearboxes need to last for? The FIA forced the ban on active suspension at a late stage which ended up costing the majority of teams lots of money in the initial outlay. Perhaps comparisons can be drawn from that?

 

The FIA's official reasoning behind the driver aid ban was "spicing up the show". So forcing teams to remove semi auto gearboxes would have done that. Frank Dernie certainly holds this view (see 1:00:20 into the video)   

 

 

 

 

The cynic in me believes they didn't ban semi auto gearboxes for 1994, basically because Ferrari had theirs working fine, so Ferrari would have been hurt by any ban as much as others. I can't see it being less of a driver aid than ABS or TC. Is that too cynical? 


Edited by Ibsey, 14 January 2018 - 04:27.


#5 OO7

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 18:52

I've mentioned the same thing in the racing comments thread about fly-by-wire throttles and torque maps being driver aids.  These engine/torque maps not only smooth natural engine characteristics for the driver as Dernie explains, they also enable teams to introduce wheel spin-up protection with 'constant power maps'.  In addition, overrun/engine braking programmes are another issue as well as electro-hydraulic differentials (perhaps to a lesser degree).  Despite the very high levels torque available from the current, hybrid F1 cars, Martin Brundle was pretty dumbfounded when he discovered just how drivable they are, even around a wet Silverstone, I wonder why. :well:



#6 TennisUK

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 19:07

Safety was another issue - no linkage, knob etc to complicate anything in the cockpit in the case of an accident.



#7 Ibsey

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 19:14

I've mentioned the same thing in the racing comments thread about fly-by-wire throttles and torque maps being driver aids.  

 

I know fly by wire throttles were banned for 1994, and there was a huge political row over it (hence the reason why Mclaren had throttle problems in Brazil 94). But I understand they were allowed for 1995. I'm writing a new book on the 1994 season about the politics behind active ban, the driver aids ban and the various cheating allegations involving Benetton and others. So all will be explained in that book. FYI the book is due to be released in 2019 and  I'll post details of the book here closer to the time. 

 

 

 In addition, overrun/engine braking programmes are another issue as well as electro-hydraulic differentials (perhaps to a lesser degree).  

 

Do you know if hydaulic diff's were banned for 1994 as being a rudimentary form of TC?

 

In preseason 1994, there was a lot of talk in Autosport about a hydraulic diff possibly being TC, but no confirmation either way. I've asked someone who worked on Hill's car and he's confirmed that it wasn't on the FW16 but can't answer the above question. Any help would be greatly appreciated.



#8 Ibsey

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 19:31

Safety was another issue - no linkage, knob etc to complicate anything in the cockpit in the case of an accident.

 

It did cross my mind that drivers not taking their hands of the wheel whilst changing gears would be safer and maybe that was a consideration why it wasn't banned for 1994. But everything I've read from the time, suggests the FIA weren't very pro-active on safety until the Senna crash. Mosley seemed too busy trying to show who was boss in F1 in 1993 by forcing through the active ban. At one point if Mosley had his way he would have implemented the active ban at Hungary 1993...which doesn't strike me as particularly safe considering what Newey says in his book about how the William's aero interacted with active suspension. 

 

Also I wonder how much of the active ban contributed towards all the terrible accidents in 1994? Most people might not be aware that when Mosley managed to force through the active ban for 1994, it was arguably a year earlier than the concorde agreement said it should have been... and Williams and McLaren were outrage. Again all this will be fully explained in the new book. 


Edited by Ibsey, 14 January 2018 - 19:42.


#9 OO7

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 19:59

I know fly by wire throttles were banned for 1994, and there was a huge political row over it (hence the reason why Mclaren had throttle problems in Brazil 94). But I understand they were allowed for 1995. I'm writing a new book on the 1994 season about the politics behind active ban, the driver aids ban and the various cheating allegations involving Benetton and others. So all will be explained in that book. FYI the book is due to be released in 2019 and  I'll post details of the book here closer to the time. 

 

 

 

Do you know if hydaulic diff's were banned for 1994 as being a rudimentary form of TC?

 

In preseason 1994, there was a lot of talk in Autosport about a hydraulic diff possibly being TC, but no confirmation either way. I've asked someone who worked on Hill's car and he's confirmed that it wasn't on the FW16 but can't answer the above question. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I didn't realise that about the FBW throttles.  I wonder when they were first introduced?

 

Regarding the hydraulic diff's, I didn't even realise they were even used at the time.  Active systems could emulate TC however they aren't allowed, but I don't know how they were regulated back then.  Peter Wright (presumably the former F1 engineer and Lotus F1 technical director) wrote an excellent piece on the 1997 cars many years ago.  He talks about various technologies of that year including full drive-by-wire and the electro-hydraulic differentials.  Although it isn't specifically stated, I got the feeling the e-diffs were new to 1997.  The diff story is about a third of the way down the page: http://www.grandprix...ft/ft00280.html

 

I also found the following Patrick Head quote posted via BigPat on F1technical.net -  "We are restricted to emulating the characteristics of passive differentials, but that doesn't mean that we can't emulate different types of diffs in different parts of the same corner!"

 

BTW Thanks for the heads up on the book, do you have a previous one?



#10 Ibsey

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 20:23

I didn't realise that about the FBW throttles.  I wonder when they were first introduced?

 

 

I don't know exactly myself but I do know the Benetton fly by wire system first appeared at Monaco 1993 when Benetton started using their 1993 spec traction control. Because the rules permitted it then, it was based around ignition cut which had an extremely audible effect. Steve Matchett, a Benetton mechanic at the time explained the team had to develop a bespoke “fly by wire” throttle, hence why it took until the fifth race of 1993 for the system to appear. Another reason for the delay to Benetton’s 1993 spec traction control system was ensuring it would not cause engine reliability issues. 

 

 

 

BTW Thanks for the heads up on the book, do you have a previous one?

 

I don't have a previous book, and frankly I'm only writing this book because their is so much BS written about the 1994 season and the cheating allegations. Can't tell you how mind blowing some of the stuff I have uncovered is. Only by understanding all the politics in 1994, can you then TRULY understand the cheating allegations. I will also cover both sides of the arguements and allow the reader to decide whether some of the cheating allegations against Benetton for instance were indeed correct. 

 

Obviously I don't want to give too much away however I will say I've never written a book in my life, nor ever thought I would. So I wouldn't be going to all this effort to produce this particular book, if the content wasn't worth reading. It has taken me years to research everything (check out my previous posts on this forum for instance). Also had input from various F1 insiders including Frank Dernie, Willem Toet, and some others who were involved in the top teams in 1994. So the book has lots of fresh insight into the 1994 controversies.  

 

PM if you would like to become a beta reader or know an F1 insider who could contribute to this kind of book. I am shortly going to approach a publisher with my draft so now would be perfect timing.


Edited by Ibsey, 14 January 2018 - 20:34.


#11 OO7

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 21:45

I don't know exactly myself but I do know the Benetton fly by wire system first appeared at Monaco 1993 when Benetton started using their 1993 spec traction control. Because the rules permitted it then, it was based around ignition cut which had an extremely audible effect. Steve Matchett, a Benetton mechanic at the time explained the team had to develop a bespoke “fly by wire” throttle, hence why it took until the fifth race of 1993 for the system to appear. Another reason for the delay to Benetton’s 1993 spec traction control system was ensuring it would not cause engine reliability issues. 

 

 

 

I don't have a previous book, and frankly I'm only writing this book because their is so much BS written about the 1994 season and the cheating allegations. Can't tell you how mind blowing some of the stuff I have uncovered is. Only by understanding all the politics in 1994, can you then TRULY understand the cheating allegations. I will also cover both sides of the arguements and allow the reader to decide whether some of the cheating allegations against Benetton for instance were indeed correct. 

 

Obviously I don't want to give too much away however I will say I've never written a book in my life, nor ever thought I would. So I wouldn't be going to all this effort to produce this particular book, if the content wasn't worth reading. It has taken me years to research everything (check out my previous posts on this forum for instance). Also had input from various F1 insiders including Frank Dernie, Willem Toet, and some others who were involved in the top teams in 1994. So the book has lots of fresh insight into the 1994 controversies.  

 

PM if you would like to become a beta reader or know an F1 insider who could contribute to this kind of book. I am shortly going to approach a publisher with my draft so now would be perfect timing.

I'd guess in that case that Williams may have been the first to use drive-by-wire in 1992 with FW14B considering the car had launch control.

 

I read Toet's article a while back on his linkedin page about how Benetton developed traction control.  It was an excellent article and essentially described how the system on the 94 car was legal, it wasn't a traction control system despite acting like it. :)



#12 Ibsey

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 00:47

 

I read Toet's article a while back on his linkedin page about how Benetton developed traction control.  It was an excellent article and essentially described how the system on the 94 car was legal, it wasn't a traction control system despite acting like it. :)

 

I have to say Toet has been one of my favourite contributors towards this book. I've asked him many questions, and he always responds within a day, is happy to help, and actually answers the question I've asked. Also he's happy to go on the record with his answers, which is important to give the book and its mind blowing findings creditability amongst readers when it is released, and I can tell he is being honest and open with his answers. I'm going to allude to the book's biggest, mind blowing finding to date...what did Senna hear at Aida 1994 that made him convinced there was something illegal on Schumacher’s B194 but not on Verstappen’s car?

 

In that TC article linkedin article you mentioned, Toet thought it might be that legal TC system Senna heard. Only a couple of days ago I questioned that with Toet asking if he was 100% sure it was because elsewhere in that same article Toet said

 

“A good driver would use the system to learn how to apply the throttle. Driving flat out everywhere would be find except that it wasted fuel and made a more detectable sound.”

 

 

So based on the bold bit I would have assumed Verstappen’s B194 would have been the one making the funny noises at Aida and not Schumacher. Given Jos was a lesser driver than Schumacher, so presumably Jos was the one driving flat out thus making a more detectable sound from his legal TC system?

 

Toet agreed that my own theory was what Senna likely heard at Aida. Which explains everything, including why Schumi was so much quicker than his teammates in 1994, and why it would have shock a driver like Senna's ears in particular etc. The theory is not only based on insight from those who really should know and will be fully explained and evidenced in the book. But a former F1 driver who was a commentator in 1994 also spoke about it during his commentaries – which is what initially prompted me to look into it. I’ve just asked a second (very qualified) source to verify this theory, which might clarify certain rumors shall we say.  

 

If you provide feedback on the chapter I'll send you then I might just give you a bit more of an idea what I mean   ;) .

 

Sorry to be so crytic at this stage, but I don't want to give away the book's biggest selling point just yet (hopefully you'll understand why). I will do closer to the time, to ignite interest in the book and this subject. But the chapter I'll send you will show the extend of research I have done into this subject (years) and the quality of Toet's invaluable input to the book.


Edited by Ibsey, 15 January 2018 - 08:09.


#13 OO7

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 23:49

I have to say Toet has been one of my favourite contributors towards this book. I've asked him many questions, and he always responds within a day, is happy to help, and actually answers the question I've asked. Also he's happy to go on the record with his answers, which is important to give the book and its mind blowing findings creditability amongst readers when it is released, and I can tell he is being honest and open with his answers. I'm going to allude to the book's biggest, mind blowing finding to date...what did Senna hear at Aida 1994 that made him convinced there was something illegal on Schumacher’s B194 but not on Verstappen’s car?

 

In that TC article linkedin article you mentioned, Toet thought it might be that legal TC system Senna heard. Only a couple of days ago I questioned that with Toet asking if he was 100% sure it was because elsewhere in that same article Toet said

 

 

So based on the bold bit I would have assumed Verstappen’s B194 would have been the one making the funny noises at Aida and not Schumacher. Given Jos was a lesser driver than Schumacher, so presumably Jos was the one driving flat out thus making a more detectable sound from his legal TC system?

 

Toet agreed that my own theory was what Senna likely heard at Aida. Which explains everything, including why Schumi was so much quicker than his teammates in 1994, and why it would have shock a driver like Senna's ears in particular etc. The theory is not only based on insight from those who really should know and will be fully explained and evidenced in the book. But a former F1 driver who was a commentator in 1994 also spoke about it during his commentaries – which is what initially prompted me to look into it. I’ve just asked a second (very qualified) source to verify this theory, which might clarify certain rumors shall we say.  

 

If you provide feedback on the chapter I'll send you then I might just give you a bit more of an idea what I mean   ;) .

 

Sorry to be so crytic at this stage, but I don't want to give away the book's biggest selling point just yet (hopefully you'll understand why). I will do closer to the time, to ignite interest in the book and this subject. But the chapter I'll send you will show the extend of research I have done into this subject (years) and the quality of Toet's invaluable input to the book.

Ibs I've sent the email :)

 

I've read quite few of Toet's articles and seen some video presentations by him.  He always comes across as a very enthusiast, open guy.

 

Your info on Jos is interesting and I hadn't really considered that.  Early last year I read an article in which Jos stated that his car never had any form traction control like Michael's.  Now I assumed he was being sincere and my logic for this wold be Michael being the lead driver.  While the Benetton traction control system was legal, having it on both cars would make it more conspicuous arousing attention specifically from the F.I.A.  They may have had Benetton remove it with a further 'driver aid' clarification.  We saw something similar happen to all teams in 2016 with the paddle shift, race start strategies.

 

No need to apologies about holding info back, it's completely understandable.



#14 Ibsey

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 02:36

 

Your info on Jos is interesting and I hadn't really considered that.  

 

Lots more interesting points like that in the book, as you will see in the chapter I've just emailed you. Enjoy  :)

 

 

 Early last year I read an article in which Jos stated that his car never had any form traction control like Michael's.  

 

I assume you are referring to that famous Jos interview friom 2011. Where he assumed that when he drove Schumacher's car in Hockenhiem 1994 it must have had some sort of driver aid because he found that the handling was too skittish for him to cope with it. In the original interview, the interviewer then asked Jos what evidence he had to support that claim and he admitted that he had no evidence at all and there was nothing in the cockpit to suggest any driver aids had been fitted to the car. It basically seemed to boil down to the fact that, because he found the car to be too difficult to drive, he assumed that the only way it could be possible to drive it was with some sort of driver aid, that he assumed was switched off when he was driving it.

 

In my book I have been examining Jos' 2011 claims (because people often cite it has evidence Benetton were cheating). Obviously every other allegation leveled at Benetton is also scrutinised to see how arguments stand up. What I have uncovered is Jos has contradicted his 2011 claims in three separate interviews over the years. Furthermore there is a quote from Schumacher from that weekend detailing how bad his car handed at Hockenhiem 1994 following the introduction of the plank and how stiff he had to run the springs to compensate. If you watch video footage of Verstappen approaching and then spinning at the second chicane in Schumacher’s B194; 

 

 

 

You'll see how little rear wing the Benetton is running, how badly the car reacts to bumps (evidence of how stiffly sprung the car is) and how late Verstappen gets on the brakes after the car gets sideways. All supporting the idea that driver error was the cause of this spin, rather than any driver aids being switched off. Furthermore, the allegation from the LDRA report is that they found launch control, they did not mention other driver aids. Launch control would not have prevented a spin at a corner even if it was turned on. So Verstappen’s 2011 interview does not tally with what the LDRA investigation found.

 

I did try contacting Jos through someone to see if he still holds his 2011 views or not. But they didn't reply to me.

 

Toet confirmed to me that as far as he is aware both drivers had the legal TC system on their car, and Dernie has also confirmed similar things. Having said that, the 2nd Benetton drivers did get things like higher mileage/repaired chassis' towards the end of the season. in the book you'll learn about another feature on the Benetton which perhaps explains why Jos held his 2011 views, and why all of his various crashes in 1994 were initiated by him losing the rear end first. Basically jos or Lehto didn't get to grips with this feature as well as Schumacher. Also there was something else...the thing I believe Senna might have heard at Aida.      ;)


Edited by Ibsey, 16 January 2018 - 08:46.


#15 saudoso

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 21:40

If engine reliability was the issue then why include CVT under the 94 driver aid ban. According to Newey's new book CVT were better for engines since they kept them at the optium rev range, rather than having them work at all rev's. Granted the sound of CVT's wouldn't have been great, but something could have been done about that.  

...

Well, back them they would take action to preserve the quality of the show and a CVT transmission would be a hell of a killjoy.



#16 Ibsey

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 01:57

Well, back them they would take action to preserve the quality of the show and a CVT transmission would be a hell of a killjoy.

 

I don't disagree with you about CVT being a kill joy. In fact Newey says in his book, Ferrari wouldn't be able to get that to work so they got it banned. My point previously was I don't think reliability of engines was the consideration the FIA used in keeping semi auto gearboxes for 1994. Had that been the case then arguably they would have kept TC for 1994 as well. Since drivers over-revving engines, via wheel spin, would have hurt engine reliability. But they banned TC...   


Edited by Ibsey, 17 January 2018 - 02:00.


#17 saudoso

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 18:31

I don't disagree with you about CVT being a kill joy. In fact Newey says in his book, Ferrari wouldn't be able to get that to work so they got it banned. My point previously was I don't think reliability of engines was the consideration the FIA used in keeping semi auto gearboxes for 1994. Had that been the case then arguably they would have kept TC for 1994 as well. Since drivers over-revving engines, via wheel spin, would have hurt engine reliability. But they banned TC...   

They had EFI and electronic ignition already: you couldn't over-rev with the throttle. You could by downshifting early though.

 

Anyway that's the recollection I have from the era. Might as well be wrong.


Edited by saudoso, 18 January 2018 - 18:33.


#18 Ibsey

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 07:43

They had EFI and electronic ignition already: you couldn't over-rev with the throttle. You could by downshifting early though.

 

Anyway that's the recollection I have from the era. Might as well be wrong.

 

I think Schumacher's engine failed at Hockenheim 1994 because he was over-revving the engine whislt sitting in Berger's slipstream.  



#19 saudoso

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 16:22

Or overheating in the splitstream? I don't know.

But I don't believe the semiauto gearbox was kept to favor a specific team.