What is Formula 1’s place in the automotive industry?

Date published: January 4 2021

F1 Hermann Tilke designing Saudi Arabia track

The winter break is the perfect time to take stock and look at the bigger picture of Formula 1 and its place in the automotive industry.

Our readers discuss the wider question, as well as react to Aston Martin’s comments about wishing they had a third car to put Sergio Perez in.

What is F1’s place in the automotive industry?

Vorenus: These [Formula 1] cars are basically piloted upside aeroplane wings on wheels. Mercedes is desperate to pretend they’re very relevant from a marketing perspective. However, I argue, the sooner F1 stops pretending this and reverts back to for the following (or similar) formula, the better:

Cheap loud turbo engines;
Ground effect cars;
Push-to-pass turbo (just ten hits per race – facilitates battles according to Will Power);
Refuelling reintroduced (adds another dimension and less boring fuel-saving phases mid-race);
Get rid of blue flags, DRS and VSC; and
100% bio-fuels.
*There is a compelling argument to get rid of mirrors – forcing drivers to pick a line and stay with it in breaking zones.

Do this, and smaller engine manufacturers will re-enter the fray, like Mugen and Cosworth, which also means if an engine manufacturer leaves, they can be replaced more easily.

Ian Laidler: Well to use your own words there is a compelling argument that loud and cheap engines are not relevant on three fronts a) noise pollution, b) reliability which increases costs, and c) V8’s, V12’s etc are no longer relevant to today’s road cars, unless of course you are able to afford supercars.

You want to use Indycar technology in a completely different formula because Will Power says it induces racing, I also watch Indycar and to me push to pass has the same effect as DRS, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and both are artificial.

Why get rid of the VSC, it is a very useful tool as there are many instances where a full SC is not required, in fact they have often deployed the SC when an incident could easily of been cleared under a VSC allowing racing to restart without all this letting lapped cars to unlap themselves BS.

But you wanting to get rid of mirrors is the funniest thing I have heard for a while, and they’re certainly is no compelling argument in F1 or any other category to remove them, although some categories do also use rearward-facing camera’s in addition to the mirrors and if you notice even though people have said they don’t give much of a view drivers do indeed use them, when overtaking, changing lines, leaving the pits etc.

As for biofuels, well I think it’s better to embrace that technology now because they are the fuels of the future.

Jack Cook: The number one focus should be on the racing spectacle. It needs to look great, sound great, shock the senses and push driving skill and bravery to the limit.

Whatever technology it takes to provide that, should be on the cars. Anything else is superfluous.

Majchic Klass: There are still plenty of inroads to keeping F1 a combustion engine-related sport before electrification. As Ola points out F1 engines don’t transfer to road cars but some of the technology such as hybrids already has. What with biofuels and hydrogen sources being tested I am sure it will stay very relevant more than others make out.

Glyn Ruck: One of the great things that this era of F1 has achieved is to get the ICE to greater than 51% thermal efficiency. Now run that on “synthetic” fuels, and you are in the pound seats. Mercs little 1300cc turbo A 200 has used some of that affordable technology to raise it’s thermal efficiency substantially.

AMG is to use MGU-H technology on its road cars.

Sergio Perez is not a third driver

Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll Racing Point

Lino Maniscalco: Perez a third driver? He should be a well-deserved number 1. If Aston Martin has a competitive car, surely they will be without consistent drivers. Good luck Checo, you landed in a better car, the best after Mercedes.

JazzyJ: Third driver? The one who’s supposed to be a third driver, if we really talk about performance and valuable experience, is the team owner’s son. After giving the team their first win since the Jordan days, I thought they’d give Sergio more respect than this.

Joe: I must admit id have loved to see a Vettel vs Perez battle with Lance partnering Russell at Williams.

Russell has hype and a lot of people call Stroll trash, yet they seem to have forgotten that Stroll beat Russell for years in the lower series. Russell only became champion once Stroll jumped straight from f3 to f1.

This way Stroll could get a real name for a lot of fans and Seb and Checo would have a good chance to fight against McLaren, Ferrari and Renault for P3 in WCC.

DearLider: Stroll hasn’t been stellar in F1, but his junior career justified his seat in F1. Also, Stroll has had some real flashes of brilliance. Russell hasn’t really shown much at Williams except qualifying pace. His outing with Mercedes was properly impressive though.

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