Racing cars or remote control cars?


I'm very new to F1. My curiousity peaked with an article I read about it coming back to the USA next year, on top of the Senna documentary I just saw. Now as a newbie, I'm learning about all the controversy of "no passing" and such.
I'm currently reading the book "A Mechanic's Tale". In it, Steve Machett talks about his desire for cars running without drivers some day. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't pay to see men playing with remote control cars essentially.
Maybe restrictions need to be made to the amount of external computer control used by teams. Are these cars or remote control toys?
After watching the documentary, I got the sense that true driver racing died with Senna.
I will , however, look forward to the start of the second half in September.
Funny you bring this up now sfcrab because in Article 20.1 of the Sporting Regs is the rule "The Driver must drive the car alone and unaided".

In my other forum I started a thread in a very similar vein on 30th July, when I wrote this:
"The Driver must drive the car alone and unaided... but when a driver (of every team) is getting his ears stuffed all the time with such things as
"adjust brake balance 20% forward" and
"harvest KERS on Turns 3, 4 and 7" and
"switch to fuel mix xxx"
and so on, can the drivers really be said to be driving "alone and unaided" as required under Article 20.1 of the Sporting Regs?

It's not quite the same as a driver getting, say, comparative splits of his competitors who may be out of sight, or being informed of an engineer's observation of damage or something as he went past the pits, those are information, but the perpetual instructions to change settings seem to me a definite case of the teams and race engineers driving the cars almost as much as the driver behind the wheel."

And that's not a great leap from what we have now to what you're concerned with, which is remote-controlled cars.
Engineers in the pits get telemetry from the cars, say, at the start of a turn, flashed to supercomputers back at the factory, number-crunched, and flashed back to the race engineer in the pit wall who then gets back on the radio with a new instruction to the driver before he's even clipped the apex!;) (It's not quite that quick, but not very far off it!!)

Let's face it, the military operate drones in combat missions in battle theatres all over the world from offices in Nebraska or wherever, for example, and the technology is already in common use to allow the same in F1-type racing for anyone with a few £$€ that wants to do it.

However, while Article 20.1 needs beefing up so that it actually means something (one of many Rules that need restating properly) I don't expect that F1 will ever go down the route of pilotless cars, that would be as dull as Scalextric, and while that's pretty good on the living room floor there's no way it's F1 !
Hmm. Considering the pace of change with home entertainment systems, computer game technology and game play on the internet a driverless car series is already dead in the water. One of the fundamentals of following any sporting activity is that it shows off to the spectator skills and bravado of elite humans doing something that the vast majority of spectators could only imagine doing themselves.

Another fundamental is the cost involved in following a sport. When a punter weighs up the cost of going to see a live event against the cost of actually participating in a live event, say on the internet or at a game facility, it seems to me an easy choice. The live event is worth it if it is about watching real people putting life and limb on the line doing it in front of you because that is where the thrills and excitement are.

Putting the drivers in a remote control room not only separates them from their machines but also separates them from the spectator. After all, what are you going to watch, a few blokes in front of computer screens or the mchines on track? Oh, and why bother watching machines on track when they might just as well be CGI on a big screen?

As we know, gaming events have been taking place for well over a decade for those who have a penchant for spectating at such things. Will they be the future of motor sport? Maybe but not in my lifetime. I do though fear that future generations may lose the touch, smell and feel of the real thing if the technophilic computer age anoraks overplay their hand and win the day.

That's just the opinion of old geezer in pessimsitic frame of mind. Only temporary, you understand.:) .
It's almost got to the stage (with all the driver aids) that the only thing left to make a difference is human error!

We're probably enjoying the twilight of the days when a driver can make an inspired move and make it stick.
It won't be long before the electronics will stop a driver from doing something brilliant, in much the same way that modern fly-by-wire aeroplanes prevent a pilot from performing moves that have prevented air disasters in the past.

(You bugger Fenderman you got me feeling serious, now I feel miserable.):snigger:
:oops:@the_roadie Sorry about that, but, hey, let's look on the bright side the accursed FIA do try to peg back what they say as excessive drive assistance. Maybe the threat of having their trans-World circus eclipsed by us armchair racers doing it for ourselves will be additional motivation for them to work to keep it real.:D (couldn't find a "cheer up it's not so bad" smiley so a big grin will have to do).;)
Fenderman.Unless you are firmly strapped into a racing seat with three big mates to help simulate the G forces you will never get a real feeling of driving an F1 car.Everytime you brake your big mate pulls your head forward with a foce of 60lbs.Thats 5 G force the same as get in a real car.Same for left and right hand bends.There is not a simulator anywhere apart from NASA I believe that can reproduce these forces.
If you don't believe me.Try an F1 experience yourself and you will see that I am telling the truth.
... and that is precisely why we watch our heroes out doing the business, sportsman , and why I don't see a remote control F1 replacing the real thing.

Edit: by the way, read my first post again. My reference to the "touch, feel and smell" of the real thing was with regard to the spectator experience, not the driving experience.

Edit No.2: sportsman 's point with regard to the physical impacts and effects of driving and F1 car more eruditely explain what would be lost in the separation of the car from the driver.
Again, being new to this, I wasn't aware of the regulations, which is a good sign. (The regulations, not my unawareness)
I also get the sense that constructors and drivers probably argue to themselves who is responsible for the success of a champion.."Without our technology, you wouldn't have won the race"; "Without my driving your technology would just sit there"., etc.
We can say that without our fan interest providing money, neither would have a job.
Bring on Belgium!
sfcrab - The fastest cars in F1 history were the 2004 cars, particularly the Ferraris. Gradually since that point, the cars have been brought closer and closer together. Senna was on pole by 3.3 seconds to the first non-McLaren at the 1988 San Marino Grand Prix, a margin that Caterham have been able to beat this year. In 1988, Senna had only one man to worry about, albeit it was the brilliant Alain Prost. Schumacher had no such worries in 2002 and 2004.

However, since 2004, there has always been at least two teams in contention for both titles (save for 2011, when we saw a driver who really was on top of his game.) Though the Red Bull drivers are only two points apart, Ferrari are showing the difference a brilliant driver makes when compared to a very good one.

In answer to your original question, if driverless cars paid the bills, Bernie would have done it.
Fundamentally, all things being equal, motorsport is about who can put it out there a little more than the next guy but still keep it together. If it ever gets to be radio controlled then F1 will be dead.
All this info is great. Thanks everyone!
And it's interesting you brought up Caterham, teabagyokel, because I'm following Alexander Rossi's rise through the ranks. As a test driver now for them, hopefully he'll be on the circuit soon as the first American in awhile to race F1.
Thanks Speshal. I also started reading the next Matchett book, The Chariot Maker's. I don't know what the consensus is on his books, but it seemed a good place to start learning.
This break in the season came at the perfect time for me. I watched the Hungarian race knowing very little and now I'm filling up the time between races with as much info on F1 as I can find. I look forward to watching the race at SPA with an even better appreciation.

teabagyokel - As a complete American novice, I've only ever been aware of Mario Andretti. And as for other drivers, you'd have to have lived under a rock to never have heard of Michael Schumacher. That was the extent of my driver knowledge until I watched the documentary Senna. I wish I had been interested in F1 back then.

I grew up only aware of American Indy racers, like Al Unser and A.J. Foyt (and also Andretti).

Thanks to Speed Channel, F1 is shown here in the states.
As a sign of my naivety, I chose a Caterham logo for my icon in the hopes of getting American Rossi into an F1 Grand Prix.
Being half Italian, I always have a place in my heart for Ferrari, however.
sfcrab - The last two Americans were the hilariously mis-named Scott Speed, and Michael Andretti. On the one hand Michael was up against Senna and did take a podium at Monza. On the other hand, he was rubbish.

America has had two World Champions - Phil Hill in 1961 and Mario Andretti in 1978, both bizarrely crowned World Champions with their team-mates having fatal accidents at Monza. I hope any third American title is not tinged with as much sadness.

I also hope the sport decides not to do everything in its power to alienate America this time!
I did just have a minor revelation. Alexander Rossi, while being born in America, still had to move to Europe in order to race so he'll have credentials for F1. I'm hoping with the new track in Austin and next year in New Jersey, that American racers will develop here for F1. And God knows if an American Team would ever come about.
Baby steps, though.
We have the tracks coming. Now we need the driver.
He wrote a chapter on each year he was at Benetton. Ironically, that chapter on 1994 is the one in which he says:

"...I would be quite happy to see the level of science and technology increase to the point where the cars could be entirely controlled by an intricate network of sensors and processors, negating any further need for driver input. ...No more need to put our drivers' safety at risk; no more need for drivers at all!"

He said that 1993 was the zenith of Formula One. They were forced to contract their technical progress in 1994.
"Formula one will never again see that level of sophistication."
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