Formula One - On and Off track week 24

Formula One - On and Off track week 24

Historic Formula One Racing, Classic team Lotus festival, Red Bull still under scrutiny by rivals, Mr. Seymore Action must be happy again. Historic Formula One Racing The FIA not only organizes the official Formula One Championship, but...


Historic Formula One Racing, Classic team Lotus festival, Red Bull still under scrutiny by rivals, Mr. Seymore Action must be happy again.

Historic Formula One Racing

The FIA not only organizes the official Formula One Championship, but also the Historic Formula One Championship. This year there are races in Hockenheim (Germany), Spa (Belgium), Monza (Italy), Brands Hatch (UK), Nogaro and Dijon (France) and the final round of the championship is a race on the Algarve circuit in Portugal. The Historic Championship gives spectators a chance of seeing the old school classic Formula One cars, which have previously been driven by racing legends like Gilles Villeneuve, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jackie Stewart and Nigel Mansell.

Historic Formula One cars.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Most cars are from the 1966-1985 era, the era of the also legendary 3 liter Cosworth DFV engine, an engine that is still being produced. Because there are speed differences between the cars that represent two decades of Formula One racing, the championship is divided in four classes. Drivers score points for the class they participate in, but they can also win the overall FIA trophy at the end of the season. Over 50 drivers are member of the HFO Drivers' Association and each race about 25 cars appear on the start grid. It is an unique championship with unique cars, the objective is not only to preserve these cars which are a part of the Formula One heritage, but also race with them and show spectators what Formula One racing was like in the old days.

It is an excellent opportunity to see classic cars like the Tyrrell 001 (1970), March 701/9 (1971), Ferrari 312 (1975), Lotus 87B (1981), the famous Lotus 88 with its double chassis (1981), the beautiful sleek Brabham BT 49B (1982), and let's not forget the all-time classic; the Tyrrell P34 with its six wheels, designed by Briton Derek Gardner for the 1976 season. Perhaps these cars are unknown to you, but the names and their engines still sound like music to the ears of the die-hard Formula One fans. Interested? Round 4 of the HFO Championship will take place on July 3 and 4 at the Brands Hatch circuit, together with races of historic F5000, F2 and F3 cars.

Classic team Lotus festival

Also a classic and a legend of its time, the Lotus Formula One team, in the early days led by the genius of the late Colin Chapman. The very successful team was active from 1954 to 1994. The Lotus team has been revived by Malaysian entrepreneur and airline owner Tony Fernandes, and are now participating in the 2010 Formula One Championship. Fernandes is very proud he is now representing the famous marque, and to celebrate the 500th Formula One race of Lotus during the European Grand Prix, he has together with Clive Chapman, son of Colin Chapman, organized the Classic Team Lotus Festival on June 19-20 at the circuit of Snetterton, UK.

Highlight of the festival will be a display of 35 Lotus Formula One cars from 1958 to 1994, a number of these cars will give a high speed demonstration on the circuit, with a special appearance of Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen, Fairuz Fauzy and Martin Brundle who will drive the classic Lotus cars. Also unique will be the display of the three Lotus cars of Jim Clark, including the Indy 500 winning Team Lotus type 38. The 2010 Lotus T127 will make its first UK public debut; Trulli, Kovalainen and Fauzy will give a demonstration with the by Mike Gascoybe designed T127 on the Snetterton circuit. There will also be a reunion of Team Lotus personnel from 1954 to 1994, films will be shown about the history of Lotus, there is a display of Lotus scale models, and for the youngest visitors the local Scalextric slot car club has build a four-lane Snetterton mini circuit. There will also be races for the Lotus Elise Trophy and Lotus Cup Europe. Again a unique opportunity to see historic Formula One cars in action.

Red Bull still under scrutiny by rivals

And now a huge jump from historic Formula One to present day Formula One. Red Bull Racing's unique exhaust system is believed to be part of their success this year, and the system is being closely scrutinized by their rivals as they try to unravel its secrets. The Red Bull system, also known as the 'exhaust driven diffuser', was one of Red Bull's closely guarded secrets, in fact it was so secret the team decided to fool the competition and put fake exhaust outlet stickers on their RB6 cars during pre-season testing in Spain. The stickers gave the impression the exhausts outlets exited at the rear of the engine cover, while in reality they exit at the rear of the floor of the car just between the rear wheels, where they are led to the diffuser.

It's hard to keep something a secret in Formula one.
Photo by xpb.cc.

But it is like Martin Whitmarsh commented after the discovery of the F-Duct on the McLaren 2010 car, "Secrets in Formula One have a remarkably short shelf-life." While Red Bull does everything to keep their secret a secret and even have mechanics standing on the start grid to block the view on the rear of the car to fend off unwanted voyeurs and photographers, a number of teams have figured out how the Red Bull system works and are working on a similar system. Exhaust driven diffusers are not entirely new, similar systems were used in the 1990s, but they were not as sophisticated as the Red Bull system. In those days Red Bull top notch designer Adrian Newey worked for McLaren team, and McLaren used these 'blown diffusers' for years, so he is very familiar with the system.

The exhaust gasses are not simply led over the diffuser, but they pass along the upper part of the diffuser, the high speed exhaust gasses are supposed to help to pull the airflow through the diffuser, which in its turn will produce more downforce. In the past the exhaust gasses were led directly into the diffuser but this had one huge disadvantage; the working of such a diffuser also depended on the position of the throttle, in other words, it worked at its best when the driver hit the pedal to the metal. But as we have seen with the F-Duct or 'blown wing' system, the idea is very simple, but getting copying it and getting it working 100% right is the real challenge.

Mr. Seymore Action must be happy again

Formula One is heading for a classic season, and who would have thought that after the first race in Bahrain? Certainly not the elusive Mr. Seymore Action, a guy who has a split personality and represents many Formula One pundits, he was very pessimistic after that first race and demanded immediate action to save the sport. The race in Canada certainly proved Formula One is not boring at all, and was one of the most spectacular races of the last five years. Although initially Red Bull Racing dominated the season and seemed to be coasting towards the title, again like last year when Brawn GP dominated the first part of the season, McLaren and Ferrari are catching up with Red Bull and the championship is still wide open. Also positive is the extraordinary performance of the Renault and Force India teams, they certainly contributed to the increased action on the track.

While some teams are doing very well, others are disappointing to say the least, Mercedes and Williams are off the pace, and the new teams are still struggling to make any kind of progress. But this also led to interesting confrontations on track, Schumacher is nowadays fighting with Jaime Alguersuari, Adrian Sutil, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Vitaly Petrov, instead of winning all races like he used to do in his heydays. Both Force India and Renault, much to their own surprise, are challenging the top teams, and if the top teams make mistakes, they step in and they have now become regular points scorers. Cars are much closer together, which also led to the much discussed Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel crash in Turkey, not good for the team, but certainly spectacular from a spectators' point of view.

Plenty of race action in Canada.
Photo by xpb.cc.

The race in Canada also showed how important the role of the tyres is. After Bahrain Mr. Seymore Action proposed the Bridgestone tyres should be made less durable to increase the number of pit stops. But Bridgestone kept their cool and simply refused to produce tyres that wouldn't last long. With a record 61 pit stops in Canada, there was nothing to complain about. The decisions of the FIA Stewards are much more consistent now, and there were no real controversies. The FIA is now concentrating on 'clarifying the rules', rather than to just simply punishing a driver or team without giving an explanation. The fight for the championship is again very tight this year, and the fans, drivers and teams are happy again, and it is expected they will stay happy for the remainder of the season. And Mr. Seymore Action? He's probably hiding somewhere, embarrassed because he cried wolf after just one race.

Join us again next week for the weekly "Formula One: On and off track".


See also: Formula One - On and Off track week 23

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About this article
Series General , Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Mark Webber , Nigel Mansell , Martin Brundle , Jackie Stewart , Jim Clark , Gilles Villeneuve , Emerson Fittipaldi , Heikki Kovalainen , Fairuz Fauzy , Vitantonio Liuzzi , Sebastian Vettel , Adrian Sutil , Vitaly Petrov , Adrian Newey , Martin Whitmarsh , Colin Chapman
Teams Red Bull Racing , Team Lotus , Force India , Williams , Brawn GP