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Cost cap in place, rethink parc ferme rules before race


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#1 HP

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 00:20

Since introduction of parc ferme rules for spending reasons, there seemed more or less only one race strategy that worked. Put car on pole, dictate race pace. One consequence is that WDC battles of the Senna/Prost ilk, didn't happen anymore. Senna set a blistering pole, but in the race Prost came back because of a more suitable race setup.

 

For the sprint race, the same parc ferme rules already in place are planned being applied.

 

The result seems very predictable to me.

 

For me the question then is: make parc ferme rules as they are now still sense, when there is a cost cap in place?

 

IMO there is not any good reason left, as it will cost teams if they optimize the car for qualy or for race trim, even produce a special part just for qualy. There are obvious limits with producing special parts, with the engines and gear boxes rules for example.

 

There is also other policing going on, especially with the engines, so there is less opportunity to have an illegal engine during qualy.

 

So how should revised parc ferme rules look like?

 



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#2 ARTGP

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 02:29

Parc ferme is probably nice for the mechanics to get a bit of a breather. but otherwise, I'm not sure I see the point anymore.



#3 Clatter

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 10:19

Parc ferme is probably nice for the mechanics to get a bit of a breather. but otherwise, I'm not sure I see the point anymore.

I've thought that for a long time. There's a long list of stuff they can change penalty free. Even breaking their car, or flat spotting a tyre, in Q, comes with a penalty free fix. There really does seem little point in it.

Edited by Clatter, 03 May 2021 - 10:19.


#4 ANF

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 10:25

IMO there is not any good reason left, as it will cost teams if they optimize the car for qualy or for race trim, even produce a special part just for qualy.

It will cost teams – and teams like Mercedes can afford it, but maybe teams like Haas can't in the long run.

#5 pacificquay

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 10:26

Cars are definitely more reliable now they have less opportunity to tinker with them!



#6 Clatter

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 10:28

It will cost teams – and teams like Mercedes can afford it, but maybe teams like Haas can't in the long run.

With the cost cap its likely that all teams can afford it, they may not be good enough to make use of it though.

#7 Clatter

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 10:32

Cars are definitely more reliable now they have less opportunity to tinker with them!

Is that the reason? Or is it the fact that many components now have to last for multiple races they have been beefed up rather than made to just last the distance? Not forgetting that materials and methods have changed over the years.

#8 P123

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 10:34

Cars are definitely more reliable now they have less opportunity to tinker with them!

 

Improvements in manufacturing also mean that even without parc ferme there would still be less tinkering than before.  If the idea is to spice thing up, maybe going the other way and allowing no parts to be changed is the way, as often teams are allowed to change lists of parts.

 

In terms of pole/ win conversion, it is no different now than it was 30 years ago.  Strangely enough, the pole sitter has yet to win a race this season.



#9 BRG

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 10:39

Cars are definitely more reliable now they have less opportunity to tinker with them!

 

Is that the reason?

Yes, I think it is at least part of the reason.  Before parc ferme, teams would routinely strip cars down almost to the last nut and bolt, for no very good reason that I could see, other than because they could.  Once that was stopped, and long before the limit to engines and gearboxes came in, there was a bit step up in reliability.  A car that was good in Q would be OK in the race.  But if it had been stripped and rebuilt, there was a whole raft of areas where it wasn't quite right anymore.

 

This is sensible rule and should be kept IMO.



#10 Anderis

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 11:27

I think parc ferme at this point is more about not overloading the mechanics with too much work rather than saving money?

 

As for competition I also would like parc ferme rules lifted, additionally I would move some of the practice sessions to between Q and race so that the teams come less prepared to Q and more prepared to race compared to Q, so we have more Q to race pace variation (without that it's difficult to have many interesting races). Of course set some reasonable hours during which it's allowed to work on the car so that the mechanics have time to rest.



#11 Clatter

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 11:35

Yes, I think it is at least part of the reason.  Before parc ferme, teams would routinely strip cars down almost to the last nut and bolt, for no very good reason that I could see, other than because they could.  Once that was stopped, and long before the limit to engines and gearboxes came in, there was a bit step up in reliability.  A car that was good in Q would be OK in the race.  But if it had been stripped and rebuilt, there was a whole raft of areas where it wasn't quite right anymore.

 

This is sensible rule and should be kept IMO.

 


Personally I don't mind a bit of unreliability. There was something exciting about not being sure that a car would make it to the end of the race. Now we don't even think about it. For cost savings it was a good idea, for the secondary aim of trying shake up the field a bit, it's done nothing. They try extending Parc Ferme by starting it earlier, and we can see no difference. I think with the cost cap coming in, and major components having to last multiple races anyway, Parc Ferme has more or less had its day.

Edited by Clatter, 03 May 2021 - 11:39.


#12 Nathan

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 11:41

F1 cars are so reliable today primarily because of FEA software and helped greatly by the night-and-day difference in quality control departments within teams compared to 20 years ago..



#13 Myrvold

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 14:52

Shouldn't be any parc ferme rules in this sense anymore (post-race parc ferme should stay obviously).

 

There is a cost-cap, so it won't be possible for rich teams to rebuild the cars between every Q and R without sacrificing other areas.

You can't have Q engines etc. as you can only use a set amount of engines before getting a penalty. Of course, as a mid-to-rear team you may take a penalty and dedicate an engine to Q from that...

When it comes to the mechanics, there are already rules in place for when they can enter and leave. With IIRC two "jokers" they can use throughout a season. So it won't be possible to keep the mechanics working over night either

 

I actually see no reason to keep it. Maybe no parc ferme leads to some clever engineering and ideas in terms of parts and swapping them etc.


Edited by Myrvold, 03 May 2021 - 14:53.


#14 noikeee

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 22:07

Maybe they're concerned it'd look wasteful if they start going through parts like crazy like back in the days.



#15 HP

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Posted 03 May 2021 - 22:27

Maybe they're concerned it'd look wasteful if they start going through parts like crazy like back in the days.

IMO that point has been taken care mostly by the cost cap. Even using thinner brakes for qualifying needs serious consideration, if it is worth the effort.

 

If they use thinner brakes we might get some good laughs about green glowing brakes in this forum, especially since we have both a Schumacher and a Verstappen on the grid.

 

Apologies to those that haven't been around back then and don't know exactly what I am writing about.

 

In any case removing parc ferme will have us fans having more to talk about. We'll try to figure out, who changed what for qualify and what effect it had on the grid.



#16 BRG

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 11:32

 

In any case removing parc ferme will have us fans having more to talk about. We'll try to figure out, who changed what for qualify and what effect it had on the grid.

Don't say that!  If the powers-that-be think it would provide yet another smokescreen to cover up the real fundamental problems of the formula, they might do it.  Anything but making it possible for drivers to race each other properly.



#17 PayasYouRace

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 11:38

Yes, I think it is at least part of the reason. Before parc ferme, teams would routinely strip cars down almost to the last nut and bolt, for no very good reason that I could see, other than because they could. Once that was stopped, and long before the limit to engines and gearboxes came in, there was a bit step up in reliability. A car that was good in Q would be OK in the race. But if it had been stripped and rebuilt, there was a whole raft of areas where it wasn't quite right anymore.

This is sensible rule and should be kept IMO.

Parc ferme was introduced in 2003. The first engine change penalties came in 2004. Ferrari had already smashed out ultra-reliability in 2002.

#18 Pingguest

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 12:43

In the late-2000s, the FIA proposed the introduction of the budget cap in exchange for teams regaining more technical and sporting liberties. But now, we have a budget cap and still a stringent set of technical and sporting regulations.

 

Having said that, abolishing the post-qualifying parc ferme would allow proper qualifying to return and might lead to starting grids to be mixed more often. 



#19 Anderis

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 13:05

In the late-2000s, the FIA proposed the introduction of the budget cap in exchange for teams regaining more technical and sporting liberties. But now, we have a budget cap and still a stringent set of technical and sporting regulations.

I remember the whole thing. The budget cap was supposed to be much stricter than what we have today so no wonder why the big spenders were firmly against it and threatened a breakaway series. Ironically half of those teams that opposed those rules were no longer in F1 after 2 years anyway.

Would have been great if those changes were pushed through successfully as it was not only about budget cap but also about expanding the grid and lessening the dependence of F1 on big manufacturers. I bet it would have made F1 more enjoyable, at least for someone like me.



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#20 Anderis

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 13:14

Another thing about this story is how it proves what kind of a bureaucratic mess F1 has become.

 

Strict technical regulations were mainly a response to increasing costs so anyone with a bit of imagination could think of how a budget cap could be immediately exploited with lessening a lot of restrictions that are simply no longer necessary in context of a budget cap. What changes could we bring along with the budget cap to make F1 more interesting?

Not much of that has happened. It's like the people running F1 have lost a bigger picture from their minds, something that even people running the sport in the late 2000's used to have.



#21 Pingguest

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 16:22

I remember the whole thing. The budget cap was supposed to be much stricter than what we have today so no wonder why the big spenders were firmly against it and threatened a breakaway series. Ironically half of those teams that opposed those rules were no longer in F1 after 2 years anyway.

Would have been great if those changes were pushed through successfully as it was not only about budget cap but also about expanding the grid and lessening the dependence of F1 on big manufacturers. I bet it would have made F1 more enjoyable, at least for someone like me.

 

I could not agree more. If the budgets are sufficiently reduced by the regulations, one could make a very long list of rules within both the technical and sporting regulations that could be abolished. As teams will have a smaller staff, members of the technical team will have to be more generalists instead of specialist. It would make way for the return of generalists like Gordon Murray.



#22 ARTGP

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Posted 04 May 2021 - 16:32

In the late-2000s, the FIA proposed the introduction of the budget cap in exchange for teams regaining more technical and sporting liberties. But now, we have a budget cap and still a stringent set of technical and sporting regulations.

 

Having said that, abolishing the post-qualifying parc ferme would allow proper qualifying to return and might lead to starting grids to be mixed more often. 

 

The reason for the doubling down (cost cap and strict regulation), is because the FIA are desperate to ensure a close competition.

 

The problem with having a budget cap, and wide open tech regulations, is that if 1 team finds the golden goose, there won't be a competition, and the cost cap would actively prevent the others from catching up. So the restrictive tech regs narrow down the development scope of the cars intentionally, to prevent teams gaining too much of an advantage relative to one another by way of widely different concepts.

 

For example, if 9 out of 10 teams bring a V6 engine and the 10th brings a V8 engine which turns out to dominate, then the V8 car will dominate and the cost cap will reinforce the disparity.  In our case, we aren't talking about engines, but instead things like removing all the crazy barge board stuff and front wing flicks and flaps that leads to huge disparities in performance between the teams because 1 team found very complex solution, different to the rest.


Edited by ARTGP, 04 May 2021 - 16:36.


#23 Pingguest

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 08:50

The reason for the doubling down (cost cap and strict regulation), is because the FIA are desperate to ensure a close competition.

 

The problem with having a budget cap, and wide open tech regulations, is that if 1 team finds the golden goose, there won't be a competition, and the cost cap would actively prevent the others from catching up. So the restrictive tech regs narrow down the development scope of the cars intentionally, to prevent teams gaining too much of an advantage relative to one another by way of widely different concepts.

 

For example, if 9 out of 10 teams bring a V6 engine and the 10th brings a V8 engine which turns out to dominate, then the V8 car will dominate and the cost cap will reinforce the disparity.  In our case, we aren't talking about engines, but instead things like removing all the crazy barge board stuff and front wing flicks and flaps that leads to huge disparities in performance between the teams because 1 team found very complex solution, different to the rest.

 

There is always a chance that one team might dominate for a short period of time. In the past, however, a team could only dominate for one maybe two years. Compare the current era with that of the mid-seventies until the early-eighties.



#24 Anderis

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 11:29

The reason for the doubling down (cost cap and strict regulation), is because the FIA are desperate to ensure a close competition.

 

The problem with having a budget cap, and wide open tech regulations, is that if 1 team finds the golden goose, there won't be a competition, and the cost cap would actively prevent the others from catching up. So the restrictive tech regs narrow down the development scope of the cars intentionally, to prevent teams gaining too much of an advantage relative to one another by way of widely different concepts.

 

For example, if 9 out of 10 teams bring a V6 engine and the 10th brings a V8 engine which turns out to dominate, then the V8 car will dominate and the cost cap will reinforce the disparity.  In our case, we aren't talking about engines, but instead things like removing all the crazy barge board stuff and front wing flicks and flaps that leads to huge disparities in performance between the teams because 1 team found very complex solution, different to the rest.

I don't think it's that big of an issue as you describe.

 

Yeah, one team might dominate because it comes up with a solution others will struggle to copy with limited budget.

 

But if it's that big of an advantage, the teams will adjust what they spend their budgets on for the following years accordingly and catch-up.

 

And then the other team will come up with another solution. And another team with something completely else. I'm sure it wouldn't be anywhere near as static as it's now. It's not like we're enjoying a lot of particularly close seasons in recent years so I don't think it would be a step backwards.

 

Also don't forget that the budgets are limited to everyone. As much as it will be more difficult to catch-up, it will be also more difficult to pull ahead because even if you bet on a right solution, you won't have hundreds of millions of dollars to polish it and make everything bulletproof before you introduce it to a car.

 

I think it would work OK in the long run.



#25 Pingguest

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 12:21

I don't think it's that big of an issue as you describe.

 

Yeah, one team might dominate because it comes up with a solution others will struggle to copy with limited budget.

 

But if it's that big of an advantage, the teams will adjust what they spend their budgets on for the following years accordingly and catch-up.

 

And then the other team will come up with another solution. And another team with something completely else. I'm sure it wouldn't be anywhere near as static as it's now. It's not like we're enjoying a lot of particularly close seasons in recent years so I don't think it would be a step backwards.

 

Also don't forget that the budgets are limited to everyone. As much as it will be more difficult to catch-up, it will be also more difficult to pull ahead because even if you bet on a right solution, you won't have hundreds of millions of dollars to polish it and make everything bulletproof before you introduce it to a car.

 

I think it would work OK in the long run.

 

In 1978, Lotus started to dominate the entire field with their ground effect car. Brabham tried to catch-up - and initially succeeded - by introducing their fan car, despite having a US$ 26 million budget (!) in today's money. After the banning of the fan car, all teams had copied and improved on Lotus' concept.



#26 Tiakumosan

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 13:40

If they were to remove parc ferme, do you see a return of warm-up practice? If so, we should lose one of the free practices so its 1 hour session is used as a warm up session, no?

#27 Anderis

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 14:06

In my ideal world the GP weekend would look something like that:

 

Saturday:

10:00 - FP1 1,5h

13:00 - Q 1h

15:00 - FP2 1h

 

Sunday:

12:00 - FP3 1.5h

15:00 - race

 

Monday:

a 2 car test session - one car has to be given to a young driver

(of course the test day would only take place on circuits it makes sense, I guess Monaco and a few others wouldn't hold it)

The details can be tweaked, you get the general idea. Drivers coming to Q slightly unprepared and then having an opportunity to play a lot more with setup before the race. And then having the monday test to experiment and to increase the pool of young drivers with a decent amount of experience in F1 cars. There would be a limit of how many test sessions you can do before you stop counting as a young driver, so that McLaren doesn't keep Gary Paffet for 15 years as a "young" test driver. :p



#28 Pingguest

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 14:23

With a working budget cap, testing restrictions are no longer necessary. 



#29 Clatter

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 14:27

If they were to remove parc ferme, do you see a return of warm-up practice? If so, we should lose one of the free practices so its 1 hour session is used as a warm up session, no?

 


Why? The warm up was only 30 minutes and there is plenty of dead time on race day to slot it in. Don't see it happening though.

Edited by Clatter, 05 May 2021 - 14:28.


#30 BRG

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 14:34

Why? The warm up was only 30 minutes and there is plenty of dead time on race day to slot it in. Don't see it happening though.

So we would have the teams stripping down the cars for no good reason and then needing a warm-up session to find out what they had put together wrong and correct it?  


Edited by BRG, 05 May 2021 - 14:34.


#31 Pingguest

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 16:11

So we would have the teams stripping down the cars for no good reason and then needing a warm-up session to find out what they had put together wrong and correct it?  

 

If cars may differ between qualifying and race, we might end up with mixed starting grids more often.



#32 Clatter

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 16:26

So we would have the teams stripping down the cars for no good reason and then needing a warm-up session to find out what they had put together wrong and correct it?  

 


Break their car, or flat spot tyres in Q and they can repair all the damage penalty free, might as well let them fix everything else. Parc Ferme means very little AFAIC and has done bugger all to shake things up.

Edited by Clatter, 05 May 2021 - 16:27.