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Blind spot monitoring for F1 cars?


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#1 ARTGP

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Posted 05 July 2022 - 22:25

Should F1 cars adopt blind spot monitoring technology or some kind augmented visibility system to reduce the amount of "I didn't see him" incidents? Or would that be considered an "insidious" driver aid? 

 

Would it prevent accidents like the ones below?

 

Lance-Stroll-vs-Nicolas-Latifi-Crash-q1-

 

Zhou-Guanyus-car-rolls-over-in-scary-cra

 

When a driver locks up a wheel, he might just run wide. When he gets on the gas too hard, he might have to apply a steering correction and reduce the throttle application. All skill and no need for driver aids there. But when a driver can't see another car, it can cause spectacular crashes and it doesn't contribute to the racing or any skill. Being able to see what is in your blind spot is not a skill or a coherent ability. By definition, it's your blind spot. So I don't have a problem with introduction of such technology. "I didn't see him" crashes add nothing to F1 imo.  I'm curious what others think.   

 

I was trying to see if there were any parallels in other forms of motorsport and I remembered that in Nascar and Indycar, drivers have "spotters" which are team personnel who watch the circuit from trackside for their team car and have a direct line of communication to the driver to let them know about the cars that are around them. On the oval tracks, these spotters are relaying car position down to the second, and down the centimeter (okay that's a bit of hyperbole but you get the point...)

Here is some sample audio of a Nascar spotter at work : https://www.youtube....h?v=SLsF_rPGyXc

 

 

I don't think F1 needs team personel in a drivers ear in the way Nascar does, but a simple light in the cockpit or an audible warning in the driver's ear piece corresponding to the left or the right side of the car when another car goes into the blind spots would make things better would it not? 


Edited by ARTGP, 05 July 2022 - 22:26.


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#2 PlatenGlass

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Posted 05 July 2022 - 22:39

I remember once I think it was Sato used a "spotter" to turn 1 on the first lap and the commentators were generally mocking of this wondering why he needed to be talked through the first corner like he was a child or something. I considered at the time that Indycar/NASCAR used spotters, and that if it had been someone like Schumacher they would have probably thought of it as an innovative and clever idea, taking something from America and using it to his own advantage in F1. Anyway, that's my aside.



#3 Deeq

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Posted 05 July 2022 - 23:00

Should F1 cars adopt blind spot monitoring technology or some kind augmented visibility system to reduce the amount of "I didn't see him" incidents? Or would that be considered an "insidious" driver aid?

Would it prevent accidents like the ones below?

Lance-Stroll-vs-Nicolas-Latifi-Crash-q1-

Zhou-Guanyus-car-rolls-over-in-scary-cra

When a driver locks up a wheel, he might just run wide. When he gets on the gas too hard, he might have to apply a steering correction and reduce the throttle application. All skill and no need for driver aids there. But when a driver can't see another car, it can cause spectacular crashes and it doesn't contribute to the racing or any skill. Being able to see what is in your blind spot is not a skill or a coherent ability. By definition, it's your blind spot. So I don't have a problem with introduction of such technology. "I didn't see him" crashes add nothing to F1 imo. I'm curious what others think.

I was trying to see if there were any parallels in other forms of motorsport and I remembered that in Nascar and Indycar, drivers have "spotters" which are team personnel who watch the circuit from trackside for their team car and have a direct line of communication to the driver to let them know about the cars that are around them. On the oval tracks, these spotters are relaying car position down to the second, and down the centimeter (okay that's a bit of hyperbole but you get the point...)
Here is some sample audio of a Nascar spotter at work : https://www.youtube....h?v=SLsF_rPGyXc


I don't think F1 needs team personel in a drivers ear in the way Nascar does, but a simple light in the cockpit or an audible warning in the driver's ear piece corresponding to the left or the right side of the car when another car goes into the blind spots would make things better would it not?

a spotter would not help the Russell brainfade..
You risk further scattering their attention..allready have too many things to monitor in their "planes"

Edited by Deeq, 05 July 2022 - 23:00.


#4 BoDarvelle

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 00:00

I call them mirrors.



#5 PayasYouRace

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 05:54

a spotter would not help the Russell brainfade..
You risk further scattering their attention..allready have too many things to monitor in their "planes"

How would it not help? If he was hearing “stay right” or “two cars left”, he might not have moved over.



#6 Beri

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 07:01

Does Indycar use spotters on street/road courses?



#7 loki

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 07:10

Does Indycar use spotters on street/road courses?

Sometimes.  Depends on the driver.



#8 Widefoot2

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 07:16

Impossible! No REAL racing driver or team would ever stoop to such signs of weakness!*

 

https://www.usatoday...ology/10433811/

 

 

*For the sarcasm impaired: /S



#9 SenorSjon

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 07:53

Use a radar on the visor like you can add in AC. ;) 



#10 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 08:04

I think we had a thread on this before...I suggested something akin to the proximity 'map' that you have on Assetto Corsa. Not sure how that could be integrated though, I'm sure they could do something with the screen on the steering wheel.



#11 Beri

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 08:10

Sometimes.  Depends on the driver.

 

I can imagine street/road courses being much more difficult to coach. Would that really work over an entire lap? Because how does that work? Spotters at Ovals have got a birds eye overview. At street/road courses it is likely to be only one or two corners a spotter has use?



#12 smitten

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 08:17

Some issues to resolve (in no particular order):

 

  1. Sensory overload.  Moreso than an online game, in the car you already have all senses working overtime to determine relative positions.  Adding more load to that could have the opposite effect from that desired
  2. Does it get disabled in the pits where there's 20 guys forming a small box for you to drive into?
  3. Can it process fast enough and accurately enough to actually be useful?  My roadcar gives me a number of false positives for collision avoidance, which is fine because you want your road car to be configured on the conservative side, but the track is not the road.
  4. Starts.  Potentially having cars on four sides of you - could it give useful information to the driver? (given that one of your GIFs was a start)
  5. Overtaking.  These guys get really close and they do so deliberately.  Can (or need) such a system differentiate between intent?  Again, my car goes bananas when trying to drive into my garage because it's a dumb "something is close" system.

 

I guess my gut tells me there are too many problems to solve at this time for it to be useful, and that it goes against the "drive the car alone and unaided" principal.



#13 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 08:20

I can imagine street/road courses being much more difficult to coach. Would that really work over an entire lap? Because how does that work? Spotters at Ovals have got a birds eye overview. At street/road courses it is likely to be only one or two corners a spotter has use?

 

Hypothetically it could be used at the start of the race (as that's where it's mostly needed).

 

I think that spotters are more suited to oval racing though, not just because of the issue of visibility for the spotter, but also due to oval racing not having the same extreme braking zones/complexity of right-left corner sequences etc. The spotter-driver relationship going through the Weelington -> Copse section of Silverstone would be much more complex and the driver could just as easily get confused by unclear messaging from the spotter.



#14 cbo

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 08:30

Replace the mirrors with cameras, you can get a much better view that way.

#15 PayasYouRace

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 08:30

A spotter seems to be the ideal solution. It’s well proven that they don’t result in sensory overload in other series, in tight packs at high speed.

The “alone and unaided” rule gets over-interpreted. It’s meant to be there to prevent driver aids that remove control from the driver. It shouldn’t apply to anything that increases awareness of the driver.

#16 noikeee

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 10:32

The same thought did cross my mind when watching the replays of the start crash on Sunday.
 
I think it's technologically doable - even if it might take a bit of tweaking and experimenting - and wouldn't cheapen or detract from the driving itself. I'm not entirely sure what form could this best take - an augmented reality visual aid, an audio effect, an extra visual aid on the cockpit, a traditional US-style spotter - but there's something that could be worked in.
 
The reality is the mirrors are absolute rubbish. I don't see any major downsides in trying to experiment with improving the spatial awareness of other cars for the drivers. If anything we might get better, cleaner racing. The only downside I can see is if drivers start relying a bit too much on it and then it fails, but it is an area that can definitely be explored.


#17 ANF

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 10:37

Stroll didn't check his mirror before he drove into Latifi in Melbourne. It had nothing to do with blind spot.



#18 registered

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 12:05

Like the Radar Porsche had in GTE?



#19 PayasYouRace

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 12:22

Probably worth noting that a radar system is of little to no help when you’re three wide on the inside or outside. It can only tell you the first thing that’s there.

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#20 ARTGP

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 13:01

Stroll didn't check his mirror before he drove into Latifi in Melbourne. It had nothing to do with blind spot.

True but if there was an audible pinging in his right ear, maybe he wouldn’t have just turned right so abruptly?

In a way, the drivers need to be protected from themselves…because while it may amuse some to let them fail on their own stupidity, it leads to quite spectacular accidents…

Edited by ARTGP, 06 July 2022 - 13:03.


#21 absinthedude

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 13:28

There's a case for spotters, especially after starts and restarts. I do think there is a bit of snobbery going on, F1 feeling it's above such essentially American things. 



#22 ANF

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 14:23

True but if there was an audible pinging in his right ear, maybe he wouldn’t have just turned right so abruptly?

In a way, the drivers need to be protected from themselves…because while it may amuse some to let them fail on their own stupidity, it leads to quite spectacular accidents…

A cheaper solution to the problem would be an audible pinging that reminds Stroll to check his mirror before moving across the track. :p

#23 Wingcommander

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 17:03

Let’s not make things even easier for the drivers. Spatial awareness is part of the skillset.

Edited by Wingcommander, 06 July 2022 - 17:04.


#24 ARTGP

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 17:04

Let’s not make things even easier for the drivers. Spatial awareness is part of the skillset.


And what good does it do for Guanyu Zhou when another driver spears into the side of his car through no fault of his own?

#25 Sterzo

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 17:09

Let’s not make things even easier for the drivers. Spatial awareness is part of the skillset.

The current mirrors are arguably inadequate, while the cockpit surround and driving position restrict the driver's ability to look around as you would in a 30 mph road car.



#26 PayasYouRace

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 17:35

Your monthly reminder that the mirrors aren't actually bad at all.

 

 

Still, there are blind spots and in the race start situation a bit if help wouldn't go amiss. The spotter is the obvious route.



#27 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 17:38

if that view is similar from the Mercedes car Russel would have clearly seen Gasly there when squeezing into Zhou.



#28 ANF

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 18:10

Maybe Russell saw Gasly but didn't realise how quickly he was approaching? Looks like about 0.8s passed between Russell checking his mirror and contact being made.



#29 loki

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 18:33

The current mirrors are arguably inadequate, while the cockpit surround and driving position restrict the driver's ability to look around as you would in a 30 mph road car.

That first started in all racing about 20 years ago or so when the head and neck was implemented.  It’s not just F1.  In club sports cars over here there are head bolsters (usually fixed to the seat) required and many use them in local circle track too.  Other series/sanctions have been able to adapt.



#30 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 18:56

Maybe Russell saw Gasly but didn't realise how quickly he was approaching? Looks like about 0.8s passed between Russell checking his mirror and contact being made.

Latifi blasted through him and Zhou so he knew he had a poor getaway.

If seeing Gasly close he should expect Gasly closing in fast



#31 FullOppositeLock

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 19:07

Many road cars nowadays have mirror integrated blind spot information system as simple as showing a warning light if an object is close and in the dead angle of the mirror. Can’t see how something like that could be a bad thing on a race car.

#32 redreni

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 19:10

Making it easier for drivers to see each other sounds like a no-brainer, although I do think there's a serious point behind the late Gilles Villeneuve's idea (which is often taken to have been entirely in jest) that F1 should ban mirrors.

 

I genuinely think there would be something to be said for a formula where you couldn't see cars coming up behind you and so you couldn't defend to the inside, but you also couldn't dive-bomb people. Villeneuve lived in an era, of course, where cockpit sides were low and you absolutely could see cars that were next to you, so if somebody was legitimately alongside you before the turn-in point you would see them and not turn in on them. You might still contest the exit of the corner, but you wouldn't just drive into them. If they dive-bombed you, on the other hand, you'd never see them coming and it would be a guaranteed accident and therefore, in theory, this would deter the dive-bomb move.

 

I can understand the intuition that the more drivers can see, the less likely it is that they will crash. Yet I regularly see junior formula races where cars come together on the straight; there's no problem about them seeing each other, it's just that they both want to run the other one off the road. If you make it easier for a driver to see threats to his position from behind, you might find it just leads to even dirtier defending.



#33 ANF

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 19:11

Latifi blasted through him and Zhou so he knew he had a poor getaway.
If seeing Gasly close he should expect Gasly closing in fast

Yeah... Now that I watch it from Gasly's onboard it does look odd. Gasly was already about to get an overlap on Zhou while Russell's helmet was facing the mirror.



#34 Roadhouse

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 20:19

Many road cars nowadays have mirror integrated blind spot information system as simple as showing a warning light if an object is close and in the dead angle of the mirror. Can’t see how something like that could be a bad thing on a race car.

 

There are some race cars with a camera+monitor instead of a rearview mirror. Would be nice to put on an F1 car because you could add image stabilization as well. Big problem for me though is that your competitors can't see if you might've seen them.



#35 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 21:00

Many road cars nowadays have mirror integrated blind spot information system as simple as showing a warning light if an object is close and in the dead angle of the mirror. Can’t see how something like that could be a bad thing on a race car.

the thing with that is - at start it will probably be on for both mirrors through the first couple of turns anyway.....

not sure how you tune it to not trigger for Zhou but trigger for Gasly



#36 FullOppositeLock

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 21:08

the thing with that is - at start it will probably be on for both mirrors through the first couple of turns anyway.....

not sure how you tune it to not trigger for Zhou but trigger for Gasly

Good question. Such a system would have to be configured to e.g. only start warning when the object is at less than 1m otherwise it is indeed not very useful in the context of motorsport.

 

Edit: after re-reading, why would it be bad if it triggered for Zhou? It's just a non-intrusive warning light informing that there is an object, probably another car, very close to the rear of your own car, so to be vigilant with your own trajectory.


Edited by FullOppositeLock, 06 July 2022 - 21:10.


#37 HeadFirst

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 21:18

Stroll didn't check his mirror before he drove into Latifi in Melbourne. It had nothing to do with blind spot.

 

Agreed. Stroll's error was in assuming that Latifi had allowed him to pass, meaning he that he (Latifi) had no intention of repassing. It was practice, and the whole warming tires, hot laps/cool laps leaving space thing, clearly got the better of Stroll. Stupid on his part, but why did Latifi let him through in the first place?.



#38 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 21:28

=

Edit: after re-reading, why would it be bad if it triggered for Zhou? It's just a non-intrusive warning light informing that there is an object, probably another car, very close to the rear of your own car, so to be vigilant with your own trajectory.

My point is if the driver sees Zhou and the system is on he can assume that's why it's on and it will try to squeeze towards Zhou not knowing there is a danger in the middle of them....

 

not sure I made myself clear. 



#39 ANF

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 21:36

Agreed. Stroll's error was in assuming that Latifi had allowed him to pass, meaning he that he (Latifi) had no intention of repassing. It was practice, and the whole warming tires, hot laps/cool laps leaving space thing, clearly got the better of Stroll. Stupid on his part, but why did Latifi let him through in the first place?.

Latifi had been told Stroll was on a push lap so he got out of the way, but once Stroll had overtaken Latifi he slowed down.

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#40 as65p

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Posted 06 July 2022 - 22:42

Let’s not make things even easier for the drivers. Spatial awareness is part of the skillset.

:up: This.



#41 pdac

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 06:26

Just use proper mirrors and teach the drivers how to use them. The only problem is (presumably for aero reasons) the mirrors have become stupid little appendages that are only their to satisfy the regulations. Most of the time when drivers say "I didn't know they were there", they mean they just assumed they weren't there because "I didn't look" or "I couldn't make out what that was in the mirror" or worse "I knew they were there, but I was playing the percentages and thought I'd be alright".



#42 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 07:33

Do I have to post another helmet cam video to show the mirrors are actually pretty good?

Yes the drivers will often use the “didn’t see him” excuse when it suits them, but we know from how the drivers are able to weave and block (even when they’re not supposed to) those behind that the mirrors are pretty effective.

But they do have blind spots and at the race start there’s a lot going on. Having a spotter at the start would be a great help because it wouldn’t be relying on the driver to have to look at something else when he’s already got a lot of things to look at. Audible warnings are very effective in these sorts of situations.

#43 noikeee

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 07:42

Spotters and drones to provide the perfect aerial view for the spotters?

Idk I am brainstorming here.

#44 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 08:10

Spotters and drones to provide the perfect aerial view for the spotters?

Idk I am brainstorming here.


Or just do what they do in America and have a spotter on the roof of the grandstand/pit building.

#45 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 08:31

Or just do what they do in America and have a spotter on the roof of the grandstand/pit building.

 

Let a spotter sit on the rear wing of the car with a radio link to the driver.



#46 Beri

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 08:37

Or just do what they do in America and have a spotter on the roof of the grandstand/pit building.

 

Will work if this is only for a first lap event and you are monitoring only the first or first two corners. Will not work over a large portion of the track.



#47 noikeee

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 09:05

Or just do what they do in America and have a spotter on the roof of the grandstand/pit building.


Which is great for an oval where you can see the whole track.. Not so great for a large race course.

#48 PayasYouRace

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 09:07

Which is great for an oval where you can see the whole track.. Not so great for a large race course.


They don’t need to see the whole track. The only place the field is packed up in a Grand Prix is at the start.

#49 noikeee

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 09:09

Errrrm it's the most tricky bit, but a spotter would be useful in all situations through all the race.

#50 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 07 July 2022 - 12:32

Didn't they try the spotter thing before, I seem to remember Brundle commenting on his surprise that a race engineer was spotting for a driver into T1 on the first lap. I dunno why I've got Sato and Indianapolis in my brain, but I'm not sure if that's correct. But someone definitely did it in one race years ago.


Edited by IrvTheSwerve, 07 July 2022 - 12:32.