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McLaren run at Phoenix oval ahead of '91 GP?


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#1 kevins

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Posted 27 January 2022 - 19:37

I just seen this video where it is claimed McLaren and Penske were at Phoenix International Raceway doing a photoshoot for Marlboro ahead of the '91 Phoenix GP, had a spare afternoon and let Berger and Senna have a proper run.

 

Any truth to this? I find it hard to believe they would risk their drivers at the start of the season, on an oval, pre SAFER days. As much as I'd like to believe it's true!!

 


Edited by kevins, 28 January 2022 - 12:56.


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#2 as65p

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Posted 27 January 2022 - 21:16

Very hard to believe, can't remember hearing of it before (and I did pay a lot of attention those days).

 

If that were indeed a Marlboro photoshoot, shouldn't there be something like... photos of the event? At the very least. :well:



#3 aportinga

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Posted 27 January 2022 - 23:33

I only recall Senna testing with Penske at Firebird raceway.



#4 Jim Thurman

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 07:11

Could this be as simple as confusing Phoenix International Raceway (oval) and Firebird Raceway (road course)?



#5 as65p

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 08:58

I only recall Senna testing with Penske at Firebird raceway.

Of course, but that was around two years later, winter '92/'93.

 

https://youtu.be/YtOi7p58wkI


Edited by as65p, 28 January 2022 - 09:01.


#6 Michael Ferner

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 09:04

I do recall F1 teams testing at Firebird during the time of the Phoenix GPs, so I'm inclined to agree with Jim here.



#7 GazChed

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 09:04

Ayrton Senna drove a Penske Indycar in a test at the Firebird Raceway just before the start of the 1993 season. TNF member Nigel Beresford was present and has given an interview to auto123.com.

#8 as65p

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 09:19

I do recall F1 teams testing at Firebird during the time of the Phoenix GPs, so I'm inclined to agree with Jim here.

 

But surely not at the oval configuration? That would have made little sense.



#9 kevins

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 13:00

I know of the test Senna did in '93, I don't think the video (which I managed to embed now!) is confusing the supposed '91 run with it. The guy says his source is an Autosport article, but has doubts himself, so guess it didnt happen, even though he quotes lap times! 



#10 Michael Ferner

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 13:06

I'm not sure I want to waste ten minutes on that... so, what times are they supposed to have done?



#11 kevins

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 13:18

LOL I cant remember exactly, does 21 s sound plausible? Just 1s off the pace he said

 

EDIt just playing the end while having lunch , 22.1 on Hockenheim setup, 21.4 for pole at the CART race a month later


Edited by kevins, 28 January 2022 - 13:24.


#12 D-Type

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 14:36

Is this the same Phoenix oval where Nigel Mansell had his accident in 1993?



#13 Michael Ferner

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 14:47

So, the Americans are all idiots because in ninety years they haven't learned how to build cars to run on an oval, while McLaren can come over on a holiday with a road course setup and come within an ace of the best US times without really trying?



#14 arttidesco

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 15:17

If it is too good to be true on the intelnet.....

Can just imagine Ron phoning his former employees to make sure it did not happen 😉

#15 10kDA

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 16:15

The former Firebird International Raceway is not the Phoenix oval track. These days Firebird is known as Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. They have multiple road course configurations, a drag strip, and a lake for powerboat races. No oval.



#16 10kDA

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 16:28

Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park/Firebird International Raceway

 

Wild-Horse-Pass-Motorsports-Park.jpg

 

 

Phoenix Raceway

Phoenix-Raceway.jpg


Edited by 10kDA, 28 January 2022 - 16:30.


#17 ChiliFan

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 17:31

The guy says his source is an Autosport article, but has doubts himself, so guess it didnt happen, even though he quotes lap times! 

 

Could this have been from the 1st week of April 1991?



#18 Vitesse2

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 18:08

Could this have been from the 1st week of April 1991?

An April Fool had crossed my mind too. However, Autosport publishes on Thursdays and April 1st was a Friday in 1994, which is the year quoted in the video for the source in Autosport (although no issue date is mentioned, just 'around 1994' - 3'19" in on the video). April 1st 1993, OTOH ...



#19 Jim Thurman

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 21:38

So, the Americans are all idiots because in ninety years they haven't learned how to build cars to run on an oval, while McLaren can come over on a holiday with a road course setup and come within an ace of the best US times without really trying?

 

Yes, Michael, they are out there, on this very forum. Those who wish this to be the truth or believe it would be easily so. But, somehow they're not the ones being biased if the ugliness behind those thoughts are pointed out  :rolleyes:


Edited by Jim Thurman, 28 January 2022 - 21:39.


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#20 Jim Thurman

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 21:40

Has anyone bothered to check Autosport, vague reference as it was, to confirm whether anything remotely like this was printed?

 

I'm guessing no...and no  :p



#21 PayasYouRace

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 21:42

LOL I cant remember exactly, does 21 s sound plausible? Just 1s off the pace he said

 

EDIt just playing the end while having lunch , 22.1 on Hockenheim setup, 21.4 for pole at the CART race a month later

 

That's a plausible laptime. At the time F1 cars were quite a bit lighter than their Indycar brethren. Both were in the 700-800 hp region, and Phoenix isn't a pure power track.

 

If the laptime isn't real for whatever reason, someone has clearly put some thought into what a reasonable lap would be by an F1 car on that sort of track.

 

 

So, the Americans are all idiots because in ninety years they haven't learned how to build cars to run on an oval, while McLaren can come over on a holiday with a road course setup and come within an ace of the best US times without really trying?

 

Scoff all you like, but you're comparing an F1 car to an Indycar, so there are inherent rule-based advantages and disadvantages built into both cars, and that's the same today as it was 30 years ago. If the claim was McLaren rocking up with an Indycar (let's say a spiritual successor to the Lotus 96 or Ferrari 637), you'd be right to laugh. But it's pretty hard to compare when taking the actual claim of a McLaren 

 

But then nobody has claimed the Americans are idiots because they couldn't build an Indycar with 90 years of experience that could barely beat an F1 car. You've invented that.

 

But surely not at the oval configuration? That would have made little sense.

 

But with a bit of time remaining after achieving what they were there to do, in an era when McLaren were taking up to five cars to a Grand Prix, having a little fun run at the end doesn't need to make that much sense.



#22 Michael Ferner

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 22:05

Get real. If the reported time was a mistake, and it really was 25.1" that would have been a hell of a feat. But within 0.7" of a CART pole position, and with a "Hockenheim set-up" :lol: Has anyone ever thought about this? Why would they have a Hockenheim setup on the car in spring :confused: :rolleyes:, and that is exactly the setup that will make you slow on a short oval :lol: I looked it up, 22.1" would have them qualify in the top ten for the next CART race, if you think that's possible, think again. Tell you what, just a few weeks earlier the Silver Crown cars lapped PIR in 26.4" for a new track record, and those have the same power-to-weight ratio as F1. A Silver Crown car is basically an oversized Sprint car without wings, and those wings usually slash off about ten percent of your lap time. Have you ever seen a Sprint car wing? Those things create downforce up the wazoo, not like those tiny little F1 winglets (especially those in the "Hockenheim set-up" :lol:). How would an F1 car, built for road racing and with comparatively little downforce, compare to a Sprint car with the same power and the same weight, built for going left-left-left-left-left-left and a garage door on top to create downforce? Yeah, I know, "but it is Eff Wun...!" :rolleyes:



#23 cpbell

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 22:09

Yes, Michael, they are out there, on this very forum. Those who wish this to be the truth or believe it would be easily so. But, somehow they're not the ones being biased if the ugliness behind those thoughts are pointed out  :rolleyes:

I would say that they guy in the video, Aidan Millward, is far from being an "F1 is the only proper series" type - he is a massive fan of Aussie V8 Supercars and has expressed his admiration for the US single-seater scene in the '90s, so his point isn't "these Yanks were idiots" but rather "how brilliant were McLaren to get that close to the oval experts!?"



#24 Michael Ferner

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 22:20

I think he's just gullible.



#25 PayasYouRace

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Posted 28 January 2022 - 23:45

Get real. If the reported time was a mistake, and it really was 25.1" that would have been a hell of a feat. But within 0.7" of a CART pole position, and with a "Hockenheim set-up" :lol: Has anyone ever thought about this? Why would they have a Hockenheim setup on the car in spring :confused: :rolleyes:, and that is exactly the setup that will make you slow on a short oval :lol: I looked it up, 22.1" would have them qualify in the top ten for the next CART race, if you think that's possible, think again. Tell you what, just a few weeks earlier the Silver Crown cars lapped PIR in 26.4" for a new track record, and those have the same power-to-weight ratio as F1. A Silver Crown car is basically an oversized Sprint car without wings, and those wings usually slash off about ten percent of your lap time. Have you ever seen a Sprint car wing? Those things create downforce up the wazoo, not like those tiny little F1 winglets (especially those in the "Hockenheim set-up" :lol:). How would an F1 car, built for road racing and with comparatively little downforce, compare to a Sprint car with the same power and the same weight, built for going left-left-left-left-left-left and a garage door on top to create downforce? Yeah, I know, "but it is Eff Wun...!" :rolleyes:

Maybe if you stopped laughing and actually thought about it you’d see that it’s entirely reasonable.



#26 LittleChris

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 00:36

I would say that they guy in the video, Aidan Millward, is far from being an "F1 is the only proper series" type - he is a massive fan of Aussie V8 Supercars and has expressed his admiration for the US single-seater scene in the '90s, so his point isn't "these Yanks were idiots" but rather "how brilliant were McLaren to get that close to the oval experts!?"

He's a You Tuber and relies on clicks. I've looked at a few of his videos and not very impressed



#27 Michael Ferner

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 01:02

Maybe if you stopped laughing and actually thought about it you’d see that it’s entirely reasonable.

 

No. But maybe I can interest you in a bridge I need to sell...



#28 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 04:02

Things that make sense.

 

-Doing a Marlboro photoshoot pre-event(I guess it was season opener?)

-Using the Phoenix Oval. If you're just doing photos or some low speed video stuff you can do it anywhere.  I'm guessing cars would have arrived by plane? Sky Harbor to Firebird is roughly a left out of the airport, down the motorway, and a right into the circuit. The road course is probably 15-20 miles from the airport straight shot, the oval would be 20-25 but closer to your eventual destination downtown for the street race. Either track is credible.

-A 91 F1 car doing a lap of an oval at Indycar speed. For above reasons. Maybe they wouldn't work at Michigan or Pocono or Indianapolis but an F1 car could definitely handle a short oval like Phoenix. Plus we don't know enough about the tire quality in the respective series, maybe F1 cars had grippier rubber. 

 

Things that are questionable

-Just letting an F1 car loose a few days before the season opener, with your star drivers, on an oval? Even if they 'took it easy' what if something went wrong? The corners at Phoenix are kinda tight, you might have encountered weird loads you wouldn't see on a fast corner on a road course. 

 

Things that don't make sense

-The "Hockenheim setup". Or do they mean they trimmed the wing angle down for a best guess at an oval configuration? 

 

The whole "yeah just have a go" thing really doesn't strike me as a Ron Dennis-era McLaren approach, even in the slightly more wooly(compared to now) 80s. 

 

But it's not impossible. Someone told me a story about the lap record at Putnam Park(Mr Beresford will appreciate this) belonging to Eddie Irvine. Which...didn't make much sense. Why on earth would a contemporary F1 car and driver be there? Well, if you needed a sub-50km shakedown, as per the rules, just ahead of the USGP at Indianapolis, Putnam Park is a short drive west and a decent enough road course. Just have to avoid that damn tree if you go wide in turn 8(at the time, it's been removed since). 



#29 PayasYouRace

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 09:28

No. But maybe I can interest you in a bridge I need to sell...

 

So much for the higher standard of discussion in TNF. Still, let's break down the claim a bit.

 

Get real. If the reported time was a mistake, and it really was 25.1" that would have been a hell of a feat. 

 

It seems you're starting from the point that the McLaren wouldn't be able to get near the Indycar time. But that's a faulty premise already. We know that an F1 of the time has a certain baked in performance advantage over an Indycar, just because of the difference in rule set. This isn't some idea that the European way is superior to the American way, it's just the facts of the matter. The F1 car is lighter, has similar power, etc.

 

 

 But within 0.7" of a CART pole position, and with a "Hockenheim set-up" :lol: Has anyone ever thought about this? Why would they have a Hockenheim setup on the car in spring :confused: :rolleyes:, and that is exactly the setup that will make you slow on a short oval :lol:

 

Of all the aspects of the claim, the Hockenhem set-up is probably most suspect. This is the one part that perhaps has been embellished, mistaken or invented. After-all, if you're not necessarily that conversant in engineering you might assume that would work.

Spoiler

Still, for now, let's assume that was incorrect. It's more likely the team would have had a set-up more akin to what they needed for the upcoming Phoenix street race, and that's much more likely to be the basis for a short oval like Phoenix. Perhaps the reality is that they set the car up "more like Hockenheim" than they arrived with.

 

 

 I looked it up, 22.1" would have them qualify in the top ten for the next CART race, if you think that's possible, think again.

 

Argument from incredulity. Of course that's possible. As I've said before we're talking about a car that, all things being equal, would be much quicker than an Indycar on just about every kind of circuit except for a super-speedway, where power counts for more and nimbleness less. Phoenix and other short ovals and the like are exactly the regime, fast corners, where the F1 car has an advantage. So for the car with such a built in advantage to be competitive with the Indycars just like that is probably one of the more probable aspects of the case. The laptime makes sense. It is very much what you might expect from an F1 of the time, within a reasonable error. As you can see, I have actually put some thought into it. On top of that, we don't know what tyres they were running.

 

 

 Tell you what, just a few weeks earlier the Silver Crown cars lapped PIR in 26.4" for a new track record, and those have the same power-to-weight ratio as F1. A Silver Crown car is basically an oversized Sprint car without wings, and those wings usually slash off about ten percent of your lap time. Have you ever seen a Sprint car wing? Those things create downforce up the wazoo, not like those tiny little F1 winglets (especially those in the "Hockenheim set-up" :lol:)

 

You're comparing a vastly different kind of car to an F1 car. Of the Silver Crown car and the Indycar, the one that is most similar to the F1 car is the Indycar. I've already addressed the Hockenheim set-up aspect. Though not too familiar with a Silver Crown car, they appear as you say, a sprint car without wings.

 

 

I can see how they'd be about five seconds away from an Indycar. You claim adding wings would slash 10% of their time. I can't verify that, and huge wings like that on an oval the size of Phoenix would bring a drag penalty. An Indycar short-oval set up had flatter wings than the road course set up. It would seem that the F1 car, even with small wings, would do a 22 second lap without breaking a sweat. Don't forget the underbody downforce of an F1 car. While not as extreme as in the ground effect era, they still had flat floors and diffusers which wouldn't be a problem for a single car on an oval. It would be fairly effective. The Silver Crown cars clearly don't produce underbody downforce, which explains why with good power:weight ratio, they're so far off the Indycar.

 

 

How would an F1 car, built for road racing and with comparatively little downforce, compare to a Sprint car with the same power and the same weight, built for going left-left-left-left-left-left and a garage door on top to create downforce? Yeah, I know, "but it is Eff Wun...!" :rolleyes:

 

At the end of the day a track like Phoenix doesn't have too different requirements to something like Silverstone at the time. It's just fast corners linked by straights.

 

So while actually verifying the story would be very difficult, the claimed pace of the car isn't the problem with the story. I think Ross has addressed much of the likelyhood of the event happening and I agree with him.



#30 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 09:38

I think the "confusing Firebird raceway with the Phoenix oval" is by far the most plausible hypothesis.

 

But steel-manning the argument that this did in fact happen; I'm not sure "Hockenheim setup" necessarily needs to be interpreted as literally the exact same setup as they'd use at Hockenheim. You know how they sometimes talk about teams using "Monza setups" at Mexico City these days? That doesn't mean that the setups are literally identical, it's just that they are using similar wing angles etc. Back in this era, Hockenheim was as much the benchmark for the high-speed-low-downforce track as Monza was (if not more). So I wouldn't dismiss this out of hand just because of that phrasing. It would probably just mean that they were running a low-downforce setup.


Edited by Rediscoveryx, 29 January 2022 - 09:39.


#31 kevins

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 12:57

So, the Americans are all idiots because in ninety years they haven't learned how to build cars to run on an oval, while McLaren can come over on a holiday with a road course setup and come within an ace of the best US times without really trying?

Hi Michael,

 

I assume this is aimed at the video and not me (the OP)? Just in case, the above is not my view at all, and I did say I doubted the story, as indeed did the video presenter, who I know nothing about.

 

I suspect there are some grains of truth in the story, but got it embellished  over time, a bit like the Henri Toivonen Estoril lap that would have put him halfway up the F1 grid!

 

EDIT Oh, my 100th post :)


Edited by kevins, 29 January 2022 - 12:58.


#32 Michael Ferner

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 14:07

Congrats to your 100th post, and no, it wasn't aimed at you at all. I have no axe to grind, it is just my incredulity breaking through about how easy it is to make people switch off their brains. This is exactly how Trumpism works, isn' it? Just invent a BS story to suit your agenda, and people with more inclnation to believe in that agenda than actual knowledge about the subject start taking it seriously. Soon, it will be quoted as fact, and that makes me sick. Toivonen/Estoril is a good example of how these things go.



#33 F1matt

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 14:31

Apart from the obvious difference in weight between an 1991 F1 and Indycar there is also the issue of neck protection, an Indycar had much more head protection for drivers to rest their helmets on in the corners, a standard F1 car had zero head protection back in 1991, Senna and Berger must have looked like Giraffes when they turned up for free practice at the GP. 



#34 cpbell

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 15:21

He's a You Tuber and relies on clicks. I've looked at a few of his videos and not very impressed

He's certainly not as learned or detailed as DCN or our other historians here, but at least he's interested in motorsport history and covers it on his channel.  I feel we ought not be too much like the opera cognoscenti who black-listed Bryn Terfel after he did a few popular concerts and released non-operatic albums for leaving the rareified air of the purists and engaging with a different audience for once.


Edited by cpbell, 29 January 2022 - 15:26.


#35 Bloggsworth

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 16:33

Apart from the obvious difference in weight between an 1991 F1 and Indycar there is also the issue of neck protection, an Indycar had much more head protection for drivers to rest their helmets on in the corners, a standard F1 car had zero head protection back in 1991, Senna and Berger must have looked like Giraffes when they turned up for free practice at the GP. 

Prop-forwards...



#36 PayasYouRace

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 17:55

Just to clarify, because some people have definitely misunderstood, I've been putting forward an argument that the quoted laptime is plausible. I'm not arguing that the test actually happened.



#37 Tim Murray

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 20:40

FWIW I’ve checked Autosport for several weeks either side of the ‘91 Phoenix GP and there’s no mention of anything resembling the scenario put forward in the video. The only team mentioned as doing any local pre-race testing was Leyton House, who did some running at Firebird Raceway.

#38 TennisUK

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Posted 29 January 2022 - 22:27

Lotus tested at Firebird Raceway in 1990.

#39 NewMrMe

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 12:10

I have difficulty believing this happened. I think this might be a case of Chinese whispers combined with some deliberate embellishments mean the story has evolved over time.

 

With Marlboro sponsoring both McLaren and Penske I can easily believe that some sort of joint promotional event happened around the time of the 1991 US GP. This could have been at either the Phoenix oval or FIrebird Raceway.

I could also believe the cars taking to the circuit as part of the event, but not as anything more than a processional promotion run, not as an actual test. For this though they wouldn't be timing laps nor would they be running anywhere near the limit.

 

The video states they were using 1990 MP4/5bs not the 1991 MP4/6. Using older models that are no longer raced makes sense for promotional events and brings further questions that brings the rest of the story into doubt. Why would they have other parts for set up options for the older cars? It also rules out the (unlikely but slim possibility) that they used the opportunity of being at a circuit to have quick shakedown test.



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#40 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 12:37

If they ran, they wouldn't have brought a dedicated oval or even low downforce setup. They might have just adjusted the car to something more or less resembling a Phoenix wing level and just run the cars. 

 

If they were using a year old car that makes it all more plausible, slightly. I still don't think you risk Senna on an oval, pre-season, in a car not designed for it, on a whim. That said it was 1991 and the whole safety calculus was different.



#41 BRG

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 15:27

I am sure that, if this had really happened, there would be some clear evidence of it, photos or film, not to mention personal reminiscences.  Maybe someone should ask Gerhard?  

 

Having said that, if it was just for giggles, why would they need any special set-up?   And the drivers were grown-ups who would know they weren't there to crash.  On a shorter oval, a 1990 F1 car would be easily as quick as the local machinery, just not as safe, or as capable of keeping up the pace for many laps.  



#42 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 18:50

I don't think there would have been any 'special setup'. They might have stuck a finger in the air and made a guess at wing angles and maybe some asymmetrical suspension settings. 15 minute jobby. 



#43 JohnH

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 19:55

Seems that he’s the only one in the world that’s ever heard of this. The facts don’t add up or make any sense, and there’s no articles , photos or proof. False.

#44 DCapps

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 20:48

Seems that he’s the only one in the world that’s ever heard of this. The facts don’t add up or make any sense, and there’s no articles , photos or proof. False.

 

Although given that Aidan Millward now considers me a "swarmy pr*ck" and then backpedaled a tad ("Jesus Christ I even said it’s probably exaggerated or didn’t even happen in the video.") when I pointed out that there appears to be absolutely nothing in any contemporary source regarding this happening, that so many seem to have either simply accepted the story or rationalized "that it was possible..." (you know who you are...) is what concerns me. Other than Tim, didn't anyone think that to do some research regarding this story? It took me maybe half an hour at tops to establish this was utter nonsense. Nothing in Autosport or On Track, the most like sources, for starters, and the same of any of the other like sources (Autoweek, NSSN, Motor Sport, etc., etc.). It was not that difficult to establish that the story was baloney (I really should use the proper academic term, bull$hit). I can see the folks on YouTube being suckered by the story given that most are probably totally clueless about such things, but that this took so long before someone here did the fact-checking does not inspire much confidence. Despite his attempt to weasel his way our of it, Millward presented an Alternate Fact and heads nodded. What's is wrong with you people? Apparently Michael and Jim smelled the stench of bovine exhaust pretty early on, but otherwise we got rationalizations regarding possibilities rather than suggesting that this simply did not pass muster for any number of reasons, and going wait-a-minute-let's-check-the-facts...

 

Generally, I have ignored what goes on here, but this...



#45 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 20:52

It seems unlikely, but it's not improbable. They were at a race track. It could happen. F1 cars have run around in all sorts of weird situations, even in the modern era. Plus an impromptu test in 1991 would not have a lot of evidence or wide coverage. Why would it, you didn't know it was going to happen. And if McLaren did a lap or two(again I don't see why they would) after the Marlboro crew went home, or they politely asked them not to film that bit, or whatever; that's why it would be lost to the sands of time. 

 

It probably didn't happen but it's not out of this world that it did and it wouldn't have surprised me if there was no recording of it. But people are alive who would have been there and could confirm with a quick email or two. 

 

But I do wonder where the idea of this rumor even came from. 



#46 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 21:40

Wrong version of the track, for one.



#47 Jim Thurman

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 21:56

Don, exactly. Having much experience with this sort of thing due to all the ridiculous tales surrounding U.S. motorsport that have proliferated via the internet, and particularly so at another forum/message board, I realize how it rarely takes beyond mere minutes of research to soundly disprove them.

 

Earlier, I was thinking, why is it even still a discussion? What's to discuss?



#48 Jim Thurman

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 22:00

"If something is too good to be true, it probably is." 

 

"Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

 

The internet: "Wait, let's discuss this." (while not looking up anything at all)

 

Followed by pages of debate and "analysis."  :lol:  Oh my!

 



#49 Tim Murray

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 22:44

Just thinking about timescales: the MP4/6 was seen for the first time at Estoril, where Senna and Berger both drove the first chassis, MP4/6/1. They tested for three days - Wednesday 27th February to Friday 1st March. Phoenix practice began on Friday 8th March. So McLaren had six days to get back from Estoril, prepare chassis 2 and 3 for Phoenix and get their whole caboodle over to Phoenix. Chassis 1 was taken along as the spare; there’s no mention of them taking any MP4/5s along. Ron Dennis was quoted as saying that neither of the race cars had turned a wheel before Friday Phoenix practice.

So, any running on the oval would have been done using chassis 1. I could quite see them taking the opportunity of using the oval to shake down the race cars, but to waste precious time running on the oval for no good reason just doesn’t make sense.

#50 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 30 January 2022 - 23:04

I asked the question of the 674 members of the McLaren old boys and girls network. I would say this is pretty conclusive:

“ I was on the race team (1988-2000) and on Ayrton’s race car. Although I was at Phoenix in 91, I certainly never visited the raceway oval.”