Youth is F1’s future
and the key factor for future success lies in the technology – software and hardware – that controls these units. A lot of the difculties have been caused by electronic miscommunication.
You can see already, from the results of the early grands prix, that the engine manufacturer who has been fastest to adapt to these challenges has so far been the most successful. How long will this situation last? Well, it was interesting to talk to Sebastian about this.
Red Bull have recovered very quickly from the setbacks they had in testing and in Melbourne. As I write, their appeal against Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualication from second place in Australia is yet to be heard, but from a technical point of view, both they and Renault have made great progress in solving the problems they’ve had.
When you think of all the top teams that are operating in Formula 1, they have the experience, the know-how, the nancial resources, and – most importantly – they have the people. It lets them react quickly and overcome their problems, and Red Bull are proving this. By the second race of the season they were ghting at the front again, and the Sepang circuit has a lot of straights – there is nowhere to hide if you are down on power. Renault are bouncing back and I have no doubt that Red Bull will be contenders again this year. Already they are running strongly.
Another interesting thing about new-look F1 is that so many teams have taken on much younger talent. The young generation have great electronic know-how; they hone their craft in simulators, and process and understand the telemetry data their cars are producing. They learn and adapt quickly, which is very important in an era in which the driver has to adjust so many control settings on the steering wheel throughout the lap, even from corner to corner.
Look at a steering wheel and it’s amazing to see how many adjustments are possible. A driver’s mind must work so fast – not just piloting the car on the limit, but making decisions about changing the car’s behaviour on corner entry, mid-corner and exit, not to mention fuelmapping and energy-recovery strategies. It’s a great new challenge: these guys are from a different world to my generation.
These technologies will be applied to the cars we’ll drive in the future. I like the idea of new rules making engines more efcient, because it accelerates the ow of fresh ideas and new technologies that will benet us all. It addresses many of the problems the world faces today. F1 is, at a very high level, expressing the future of the motor car, and this makes it more likely that more car manufacturers will want to get involved.
That’s my view. In motor racing – especially F1 – you have to learn and change very quickly in response to new challenges, and that is how successful innovations are born. The fastest, most reliable and most efcient engine is the winner, and to be associated with success is a powerful marketing message. That’s what Ford understood all those years ago when they invested in the DFV V8 engine that helped me win two world championships. I miss the noise of the normally aspirated engines of course, but turbos are always quieter. We will get used to the new sound.
It’s still possible that next year the FIA could bring in new exhausts that make a louder noise. It’s not difcult – modern exhaust specialists can make a car produce any noise you want!
Current F1 youngsters Daniil Kvyat (left) and Kevin Magnussen (right): ”These guys are from a different world to my generation”