Clip The Apex
There is some speculation that Audi are going to join F1 in 2016, by combining their budgets for DTM and WEC. The article I've attached states that they've hired Stefano Domenicali, who I don't think has any endurance racing or touring car experience. If this is true, and Audi do join F1, could Fernando Alonso join the German marque in 2016 if he takes a sabbatical year next season? I can't see McLaren agreeing to a 1-year deal with Nando.
All this is idle speculation of course, but if Audi do join, prompted by the new fuel-efficient technologies, could we see a revival of the manufacturer dominance of the early 2000's and an answer to the ever-present problems of the financial situation of F1's participants, as summed up by Caterham's issues this week?
If Audi do join, it can surely only be good for the sport. It would provide an incentive for other manufacturers to join, theoretically provide greater competition to Mercedes (of course, Audi, Mercedes and BMW are great German rivals) and provide greater security for the size of F1's grid in the years to come, especially with the American team Haas joining. F1 certainly has problems in the way it is run - one only has to briefly skim over the financial malaise of some of the smaller teams. Hopefully, this potential development combined with Bernie (hopefully!) providing greater financial security to the teams and not his bland investors who care nothing for the sport, will ensure F1's security and relevance for the next few decades at least.
The terrible accident at Suzuka has lead to many a discussion about what safety should be put onto the car. However, in the wake of Charlie Whiting's portrayal of the Race Control reaction as textbook, is it now time to consider what could become of the F1 textbook for future races?
It seems that it is absolutely vital that heavy machinery should not be allowed out onto the track without the drivers slowing down to a long way below race speed. It seems F1 is to experiment with the virtual Safety Car for a section, which is absolutely fantastic.
However, I don't believe I am the only one disenchanted with the Safety Car rules. The necessity for lapped runners to overtake the leaders then practically join up with the back of the field extends Safety Car periods unnecessarily, and is open to abuse as lapped Nick Heidfeld proved in Monaco 2008 by supporting team-mate Kubica's attempt to hold onto second place by failing to overtake. It can provide a 10 minute wait - and all of those laps coming off the race count.
One idea I have is to bin the idea of a Safety Car period. If the virtual Safety Car/slow zone procedure is successful, then it is less likely that the Safety Car is deployed. Anything too serious for the slow zone should thus be covered by a red flag.
There are many famous names in F1, some of these names appear throughout multiple generations which has got me thinking, does the ability to race in F1 come down to genetics?
The first names that spring to mind are usually the ones where the children emulate the success of their Father, Hill, Villeneuve & potentially Rosberg. All sons of champions & legends in the sport.
Damon & Jacques had their greatest success with a hugely dominating car but have shown that having a winning father meant the racing instinct was passed down through the genes. Rosberg has the speed but again he is driving a dominant machine only time will tell if he was a born racer or just lucky enough to have a father who both had the funds and the connections to make sure Nico got the opportunity to compete with the best.
For the argument against genetics three names spring instantly to mind. Brabham, Piquet & Senna, all multiple World Drivers Champions yet their offspring failed to make the cut when it came to F1, Ayrton Senna famously quoted "If you think I'm fast then you should see my nephew" Where that speed is? No one knows.
The less said about Piquet Jr the better.
Although David Brabham had considerable success away from Formula 1 his results in the top tier of motorsport showed he didn't have that little bit extra that a driver needs to be the best although a lot of that could be down to the machinery he was stuck with.
F1 is dangerous, maybe the reason we don't see more generational racers is that many parents don't want to see their children go through the same risks that they put themselves through for the sport they loved. Emilo de Villota isn't a household name but everyone knows his daughter Maria who died due to complications after crashing while testing an F1 car. Henry Surtees was on the way to follow in his grandfathers footsteps but died in a GP3 race. The latest tragedy is Jules Bianchi, currently fighting for his life after a horrific accident in Japan, racing is in his blood though with both his Grandfather & Great Uncle who both competed & won at the top of their fields.
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