22 July 2011
Friday press conference - German GP - Pt.2
Team personnel: James Allison (Renault), Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari), Mark Gallagher (Cosworth), Norbert Haug (Mercedes), Monisha Kaltenborn (Sauber)
Questions from the floor
(Ottavio Daviddi – Tuttosport) There is an FIA idea to close cars for safety reasons; I would like to know your opinion on this. I think all the aerodynamics would change if this was the case.
This is something that's been under discussion for a few Technical Working Group meetings now. We're looking to try to look after the driver's head, both from large scale things like tyres and also small scale things like the very unfortunate incident that Felipe suffered. There are a few suggestions around: one of them was looking into a fully enclosed canopy. Another one was looking into a visor-type where it's still open above the driver's head but he has a visor in front of him. And then there is a third type of proposal as well, where there isn't a see-through windscreen at all but there is like a roll (bar) structure in front of the driver that would anyway deflect any big objects. All those things are still in fairly early discussion and you would have seen from what the FIA proposed, published recently, that they are showing some of the very early research that's being done into the feasibility and practicality of this type of solution, but there are a lot of questions to answer before we can bring it to a practical solution. The closed canopy would have an aerodynamic effect – not a bad one, it would be easier to manage the airflow around a closed canopy than an open one – but there are all sorts of other things to discuss, like egress in the event of an accident, keeping the canopy clean, for example when it might get covered in oil and the like, so each of the proposed solutions has advantages and disadvantages and we need to do the basic research to find out what is the best way forward.
I think that if this makes sense for Formula One it needs to be applied to all formula: the junior drivers, everybody and I think we should carefully think that idea through.
(Flavio Vanetti – Il Corriere della Sera) I would like to ask your opinion about the fact that the international Federation has decided that from 2014 only electrical power units can be used in the pit lane. Do you agree and do you believe that this thing could match the opposition of the World Motor Sport Council?
I think that this is something that we have started discussing. There are different opinions on that. As you know, there are some manufacturers that are keen to go ahead with this project. Some others fear that, not from a technical point of view, just from a show point of view, it is something that we need to make sure that the sport is happy for. This is a topic that in my view, because of the situation that it is for 2014, it can still be discussed, we have the time to discuss it in a proper way. There are different opinions on this subject because on one side there is the technical aspect and on the other side there is the sport and the passion. You may say that in the pit lane, with no noise, it would be difficult for the people to perceive the passion that Formula One is all about. On the other side, you may say that Formula One has to be the pinnacle of motor sport in terms of new developments and research and so this goes in the opposite direction. I think this is something that we will discuss.
Stefano's summed it up fairly neatly. There are technical hurdles to be cleared in order to make it happen but nothing that's impossible, just things that make the configuration of the car change relative to what we've got today. It is a complication from a design point of view, but it's not an impossibility. From what I understand, the idea has been trailed in various groups and it largely receives a positive reaction as a useful initiative, but there are pros and cons with it from an operational point of view that we're still discussing.
Q: (Ralf Bach – R&B) But is it not too dangerous for those working in the pit lane who won't hear the cars?
This is possible, because on the main straight you could have cars that are normally running with the engine on so this is a factor that is under consideration, this is one of the points that James is basically mentioning. It's an element of consideration, for sure.
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