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Thoughts on a Vettel return to Red Bull/Aston or to Mercedes?
;)
Marko doesn't hire older drivers: he got rid of Coulthard and Webber as soon as he could. With such a talented #1 as Verstappen, all RBR need is reliable #2, and it is hard to see Vettel assuming that role.
Aston is a possibility, as one can imagine old man Stroll seeing Vettel as giving that circus some credibility, as well as teaching Lance how to drive.
 

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I don't think either Horner or Wolff would like to have Vettel, with his current temperament, on board. OTOH, Renault or Alfa might possibly consider him.
 

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I don't know what line of guff Ferrari may have sold Sainz, but for ages they have had a #1 and a #2 driver, and they are infatuated with Leclerc to the point where whey were willing to let Vettel, who was extremely popular within the team, leave if not to force him out. In that context, regardless of what Ferrari's public statements will be or what they told Sainz, it is hard to believe that he will be given equal status to Leclerc's.
I'm genuinely interested to see who is faster between the two. I think most would say Leclerc is faster without question and I think that's reasonable but I'm holding out judgement until I see them in the same car.
 

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Discussion Starter #124
Formula 1
FERRARI NEVER OFFERED VETTEL A NEW CONTRACT
By Mark Hughes and Scott Mitchell
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Ferrari never went as far as offering Sebastian Vettel a new contract for 2021, having made its decision about his future during the off-season, The Race has learned.
Furthermore, it has also emerged that the terms of Carlos Sainz Jr’s deal with Ferrari were agreed during the winter, well in advance of what was set to be the first 2020 Formula 1 race, in Melbourne.
Our sources indicate there was no offer made to Vettel because Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto had already made up his mind about Vettel after a 2019 season that featured several points of conflict in the Vettel/Charles Leclerc combination – most infamously in Brazil where the pair made contact, leading to the retirement of both cars.
Vettel is contracted until the end of 2020 but there was never any discussion about him staying beyond the duration of that contract.
Charles Leclerc Sebastian Vettel

was extended to the end of 2024 in December – at much the same time that Ferrari was discussing terms with Sainz.
It is understood that Daniel Ricciardo was also in discussions with the team, but those talks were over quite quickly as Ferrari’s preference was always for Sainz.
McLaren boss Zak Brown confirmed on Friday that Sainz had approached himduring the winter for clearance to talk with Ferrari.
The official Ferrari team statement about the end of the Vettel partnership made no mention of a contract having been offered but turned down by Vettel.
Our sources indicate that stories circulating that Vettel had been offered the same deal as Leclerc, or the same retainer as Leclerc – or indeed a one-year contract for less money – were all without foundation. But they played into the narrative that the Ferrari statement did not dismiss.

The Ferrari statement called the split with Vettel “a decision taken jointly by ourselves and Sebastian, one which both parties feel is for the best” and said there was “no specific reason that led to this decision, apart from the common and amicable belief that the time had come to go our separate ways in order to reach our respective objectives”.
Vettel was quoted as saying “in order to get the best possible results in this sport, it’s vital for all parties to work in perfect harmony. The team and I have realised that there is no longer a common desire to stay together beyond the end of this season”.
The following day, Binotto said that the team and Vettel no longer shared the same short-term or long-term goals.
No common desire, or not sharing the same goals, can now likely be read as Vettel wanted to stay with Ferrari on his terms, but Ferrari was ready to move on.
Vettel’s confirmed exit then triggered what seemed like a whirlwind 48 hours in the F1 driver market as Sainz reportedly sought permission from McLaren to negotiate with Ferrari, while McLaren needed to act first to secure Sainz’s replacement.
Sebastian Vettel Lando Norris McLaren Ferrari F1 2020

This period also included speculation about who McLaren would pick: Ricciardo or Vettel – but Vettel was never an option to McLaren.

Graceless Renault response shows Ricciardo’s right to leave
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On Thursday morning, McLaren announced Ricciardo would join, Renault released a statement laced with frustration towards Ricciardo, and eventually Ferrari announced Sainz.
These moves were not the work of a mad 48-hour window, but a simpler act of slotting pieces into place.
McLaren had given Sainz permission to speak to Ferrari months earlier. It had also kept in contact with Ricciardo having missed out on signing him in 2018.
Brown said that the timing of the announcements shows that “we were very joined up through this entire process”.
However, Renault’s statement suggests it was caught out by how advanced all negotiations were.
“I’ve come to learn in Formula 1, don’t expect anything other than the unexpected,” said Brown.
“We had a sense. We started talking to Carlos in the off-season about his future with us, whether he wants to drive for McLaren or Ferrari.
“You can understand the reasons why. And we stayed close to Daniel ever since he left Red Bull.
“We kind of had a good sense we were going to end up with one of those two guys in our racecar.”
Zak Brown McLaren F1 2020


What F1 will lose if Vettel quits completely
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That also highlights how Vettel was left without a hand to play.
Some interpreted Brown’s comments on Friday that McLaren never considered Vettel to be an insult to the four-time world champion.
But he was not considered simply because the process had been underway for months, and he did not feature in the negotiations.
Major decisions are best avoided in a moment of chaos. If the decisions by Ferrari and McLaren this week seemed rushed, it’s only because they were rooted in months of work.
What emerged this week was simply the act of everything falling into place – for everyone except Vettel and Renault
 

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Discussion Starter #127
AUTOSPORT.com
F1 News: Teams approve cost cap, aero handicap changes

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Formula 1 teams have approved a radical set of rule changes aimed at securing the future of the sport in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Autosport has learned.

Following weeks of discussions between teams, the FIA and F1 bosses about potential changes aimed at cutting costs and improving the show, the 'New Deal' proposals were put to a team e-vote on Friday.
Multiple sources have confirmed that teams supported the changes, which included F1's budget cap being cut from $175 million to $145 million next year and other rules including an aero development handicap system and the use of open-source parts.
The key battleground in recent weeks had been the level of the budget cap, with Ferrari in particular reluctant to cut the level too much despite pressure from other teams.
While independent outfits like McLaren were in favour of reducing it to as low as $100 million, Ferrari was adamant that it would not be happy to accept anything below $145 million.
With that figure being proposed for next year, with a glide-path down to $140 million in 2022 and $135 million after that, it is understood that the Italian outfit was happy with the compromise and gave its support.

As well as the budget cap, other rules forming part of the package included a radical aero development handicap system, where the worst performing teams are allowed more wind tunnel and CFD development time compared to the more successful outfits, plus the allowance for the use of open source parts.
With the teams having approved the rule changes, the matter now needs to be put to the FIA's World Motor Sport Council for final ratification.
It is understood that the governing body will do that via an e-vote, probably early next week, rather than wait for the next FIA WMSC meeting that is scheduled for mid-Jun

 

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Discussion Starter #128
BBC
Formula 1 teams agree cost-cutting package

By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 writer
From the sectionFormula 1
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Christina Horner and Mattia Binotto

Teams came to an agreement despite differing views over what the budget cap should be
Formula 1 teams have agreed to a package of cost-cutting changes to help the sport ride out the coronavirus pandemic, BBC Sport can reveal.
Teams voted to accept a plan to lower the budget cap to be introduced next year by $30m to $145m (£114m).
This will be reduced again to $140m in 2022 and $135m for the period 2023-25.
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This is one of a series of measures aimed at reducing costs and levelling the field, including a research-and-development handicap system.
The package still needs to be officially approved by F1's legislative body, the world motorsport council of governing body the FIA. Its vote will take place next week and is expected to be a formality.
How has this come about?
F1 had already agreed last October to introduce a budget cap of $175m in 2021, but the potential for loss of income caused by the coronavirus led to calls to lower that figure.
A split emerged between the big three teams and the rest as Ferrari and Red Bull, particularly, opposed lowering the cap below $150m, while McLaren were among those pushing for a figure as low as $100m.
But teams have finally agreed on a compromise which all can accept, according to a number of senior figures who wished to remain anonymous.
Ferrari had argued that any figure below $150m would force them to cut hundreds of jobs, but they are understood to feel they have made a series of significant sacrifices for the good of the sport.
Among these are their acquiescence to a major reduction in aerodynamic development in the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and a delay in the introduction of new rules in 2022.
Ferrari accept that their 2020 car is not as competitive as they would have liked, so having to race it for two years with minimal development possibilities could delay their chances of contending effectively for the world championship until 2022.
McLaren have been lobbying to reduce the budget cap for what they see as a more level playing field
Radical steps for an unprecedented situation
One of the most radical aspects of the rules package is the plan to limit aerodynamic development for the most successful teams.
There will be a defined benchmark amount of permitted wind-tunnel time and computing data, and a sliding scale of allowance of that R&D depending on a team's finishing position in the previous championship.
In 2021, to allow for the fact that teams have to develop cars to the new rules in 2022, the team who finishes first this year will be allowed 90% of that quota, with a sliding scale at 2.5% increments so the team that finished last gets 112.5%.
From 2022 onwards, the world champions will be permitted 70% of the total allowance, with 5% increments until the team that finishes last is allowed 115%.
Any new teams would be given the same allowance as the team that finishes last.
The manufacturer teams have negotiated a quid pro quo on a topic known as the "notional value" of customer parts.
This rule defines a valuation for parts typically bought by smaller teams from manufacturers, such as gearboxes and suspension.
Once a team has bought those parts, their defined value is taken off that team's total budget-cap figure.
Talks dragged on as a result of the complexity of these ideas and the need to define all potential details within them.
202478

The introduction of a new design of F1 car has been pushed back to the 2022 season
Is there anything else?
The vote also marked the formal acceptance of a number of other rules that have been widely discussed in public and agreed already.
These include:
  • The delay in the introduction until 2022 of the wide-ranging new technical regulations that had been planned for 2021 and which are aimed at making the field more competitive and enabling cars to race more effectively
  • The requirement for teams to race their 2020 cars in 2021 as well.
  • The possibility that the format of some race weekends will change to facilitate cramming in as many races as possible once the championship gets under way this season - for example by compressing the on-track action into two days.
  • The budget cap will reduce or increase by $1m for each race that is removed or added to the calendar. So next year, for example, it will be $145m if there are 21 races, but $144m if there are 20 and $146m if there are 22.
  • Restrictions on engine development in 2020 and 2021, including limiting hours on a dynamometer test bed and the number of upgrades permitted per season, as a first step towards reducing engine costs for F1's road-car manufacturers.
 

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Discussion Starter #131
f1i.com
Wolff reportedly set to resign as Mercedes team boss!
© XPB


Phillip van Osten
28/05/2020 at 18:14

Reports are swirling in the German media today alleging that Toto Wolff will soon relinquish his role at the helm of the Mercedes F1 team although he would retain his ownership in the outfit.
Auto Bild and F1 Insider are claiming that the future of Mercedes in Formula 1 beyond the 2020 season is currently being debated behind closed doors at Daimler.
The reports suggest that Wolff will resign as the Brackley squad's team boss before the 2020 gets underway in Austria in July but the stories offer no insight into the identity of his potential successor.

Wolff holds a 30% stake in the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team, while Daimler owns 70% of the company.
One scenario that could be in the works would see a buy-out of Daimler's stake by Aston Martin, in which executive chairman and Racing Point team owner Lawrence Stroll owns 25%, while Wolff also holds a small stake in the British automotive manufacturer.

However, the acquisition would rely on a payment in Aston shares, with Daimler therefore increasing its current holding in Aston Martin Lagonda, and the scheme ultimately leaving Stroll and Wolff as the majority owners of the Mercedes F1 team.
As a reminder, Aston Martin nominated earlier this week former Mercedes AMG boss Tobias Moers - a man close to Daimler CEO Ola Källenius - as the sportscar manufacturer's new top man.

It's possible that Moers' appointment was the first part of a game plan that is currently unfolding for Daimler and involving Mercedes' exit from F1, at least as a works team as the German manufacturer would remain in the sport as an engine supplier, with contracts in place for 2021 with Williams, Racing Point and McLaren.
Needless to say, the move that is allegedly in the works sparks questions about the future of Lewis Hamilton in F1. The six-time world champion has yet to commit to Mercedes for 2021 and beyond, and has often linked his plans to Wolff's own fate.
Reports emerged last week that Valtteri Bottas had initiated talks with Renault for 2021, so one could deduct that the Finn has perhaps already been told about Mercedes' plans to completely revamp its involvement in F1.

©Mercedes
Should Aston acquire the Mercedes team, the move would also open questions about the future of Racing Point which is set to become Aston Martin's works outfit in 2021. Would the Silverstone-based outfit remain in the hands of Stroll's consortium of investors or would the Canadian billionaire sell the team?
Russian businessman Dmitry Mazepin, who missed out on Force India's buy-out in 2018, comes to mind as a possible suitor for the pink outfit.
The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn which that has taken the world by storm, and especially the automotive sector, has companies scrambling to devise contingency plans to mitigate the crisis' financial impact.
The speculation in the German media might well turn into fact sooner rather than later.
 

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Discussion Starter #132
Mercedes and Wolff quit speculation "unfounded and irresponsible"


In a statement supplied to GPFans by Mercedes, the rumours were put to rest.
“Speculation regarding a potential withdrawal from Formula 1 continues to be unfounded and irresponsible. The sport has taken the right measures to address the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and its future financial sustainability, and we welcome these steps. It is our clear intention to continue competing in Formula 1 as a Mercedes-Benz works team in the years to come, and to do so with our managing partner Toto Wolff.”

 

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Discussion Starter #133
INSIDE RACING


Ben Issatt
Formula 1 29 May 2020
Williams start 'formal sale process' after announcing £13m loss for 2019
Williams has opened the door to potentially selling their historic Formula 1 team after posting a £13m loss for 2019.
The Grove-based outfit saw a combined loss of revenue totalling £51m for the calendar year, with £35m coming from reduced F1 revenue as a result of their poor on-track performance.
As a result, that led to a reverse in financial results from a near £13m profit in 2018 to a £13m loss last year.
In addition, Williams is also now dealing with the fallout of the coronavirus, which is set to hit revenues even harder for 2020.
And despite announcing a financial restructuringearlier this year, the dire situation has forced the company's hand in looking for either potential investors or a buyer.
“The Williams GP Holdings board is undertaking a review of all the various strategic options available to the Company," a statement said on Friday.
"Options being considered include, but are not limited to, raising new capital for the business, a divestment of a minority stake in WGPH, or a divestment of a majority stake in WGPH including a potential sale of the whole Company.
“Whilst no decisions have been made regarding the optimal outcome yet, to facilitate discussions with interested parties, the Company announces the commencement of a 'formal sale process'.
“The Company is not in receipt of any approaches at the time of this announcement and confirms that it is in preliminary discussions with a small number of parties regarding a potential investment in the Company,” the statement noted.
“There can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer will be made. The WGPH board reserves the right to alter or terminate the process at any time and if it does so it will make an announcement as appropriate.
"The WGPH board also reserves the right to reject any approach or terminate discussions with any interested party at any time.”

202723


This news could get the attention of at least two billionaires, Michael Latifi, father of current race driver Nicholas, and Dmitry Mazepin.
Latifi, who also owns a stake in McLaren, has been increasing his investment into Williams through sponsorship deals for this season.
While Mazepin has been interested in buying an F1 team for several years, including being linked to Williams last year.
In another financial blow, Williams also confirmed on Friday that the title sponsorship deal with ROKit has been terminated with immediate effect due to the impact of Covid-19.
That partnership had originally been set to run until the end of 2023

That partnership had originally been set to run until the end of 2023
 

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Discussion Starter #135
REUTERS
MAY 30, 2020
Austria gives go-ahead to crowd-free F1 races

ZURICH (Reuters) - Formula One can start its season in Austria with two races behind closed doors on July 5 and 12, the country’s health ministry said on Saturday.

The delayed championship, which was due to get going in Australia in March, has had to cancel or postpone a string of races — including the Monaco highlight — due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Austrian grand prix circuit, the scenic Red Bull Ring owned by the energy drink brand, is near the village of Spielberg about 200 km (124 miles) southwest of the capital Vienna.
Formula One is expected to publish a revamped calendar early next week with a race in neighbouring Hungary, also without spectators, following on from Austria.
Two races will then follow at Silverstone in Britain, with Hockenheim in Germany an alternative if quarantine conditions are an obstacle, with further rounds in Spain, Belgium and Italy.
The sport has said it hopes to do between 15-18 races, a reduction from the originally scheduled record 22, ending the season in Abu Dhabi in December after visiting Asia and the Americas.
Austria is among countries moving ahead with easing restrictions as new coronavirus infections wane.
Formula One’s 10 teams will be limited to a maximum 80 people each at the races when the delayed season gets going in July, the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) had said on Thursday.
The numbers are likely still to exceed 1,000 with support series and marshals, medical staff and others also to be factored in.
The Austrian event organisers presented a comprehensive, professional security concept to prevent infections, the country’s health ministry said on its website.
“The concept calls for strict hygienic measures as well as regular tests and health checks for the teams and their employees,” Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said.

Reporting by John Miller/Alan Baldwin, Editing by Hugh Lawson and Toby Davis

 

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Discussion Starter #136
THE-RACE.com

WHY F1’S INDEPENDENTS WILL LEAD ITS RADICALLY DOWNSIZED FUTURE
By Mark Hughes
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Renault and Mercedes both issuing statements last week reiterating their intention of remaining in Formula 1 for some time to come isn’t actually an indication that F1’s long term future will be manufacturer-led.
This may sound anomalous, especially given the statement from the independent Williams team that it is looking for new investors, or even new owners.
But it’s true regardless that F1’s long term future is far more likely to lie with independents than automotive manufacturers.
F1 budgets – even before the cost cap – are small fry in the scale of the economics of a big time car manufacturer. But they are insurmountably huge for the independents. The way that the recent cost cap agreements are swingeing for Mercedes and Ferrari, but are still at a level that the lower half of the field can’t reach anyway, reflect this mismatch.
Downscaling is coming to F1 at a time when the automotives – the force that pushed the upsizing – have different priorities in a fast changing world.
The big rocks are beginning to crack and the F1 edifice that will remain after the economic sea change brought by the pandemic is anyone’s guess at the moment.
We have an F1 that is scaled around automotive giants in the boom era when F1 fitted perfectly with the fast times – but with those giants either gone or considering their futures
The redundancies announced by McLaren last week may look small fry a year or two from now. We could be about to see an enforced restructuring that will return a smaller F1 to the era of the independents.
As the commercial power of the championship grew exponentially in the late 1990s/early 2000s, so the top teams expanded with it. Like goldfish in a bigger pool.
McLaren Ferrari 2001 Brazilian Grand Prix Interlagos

The banking crisis of 2008 reduced the size of that pool but there was no meaningful reduction in the size of the teams – and therefore the money required to feed them – in response. There was enough spare profit from within F1 that a greater share was simply released to the teams to maintain their previous levels of spend. But that’s not a long-term option available this time around.
We still have top teams of over 1000 employees and annual budgets in the hundreds of millions at a time when there’s going to be much less fat on the bone for motorsport in total.
The huge expansion two decades ago was largely funded by car manufacturers. It’s easy to forget now that in addition to the current manufacturers Mercedes, Renault and Honda, F1 also hosted Ford/Jaguar, BMW, Peugeot, Fiat and Toyota. There was a time when automotive manufacturers believed they couldn’t afford not to be in F1. No longer.
Honda Toyota BMW F1 2006

But although F1 budgets are now huge in a historical context, they remain relatively small scale for a major car manufacturer. An update to an existing showroom model could easily stretch to a couple of hundred million, an all-new model many times that.
Even so, the F1 spend has to be justified. Even before the pandemic, the automotive industry’s move away from the internal combustion engine, away even from performance-led values and towards environmental demands, was already making F1 look a less than perfect fit to finance and marketing departments alike.
Not so at Ferrari, the only brand value almost specifically built around F1. Besides which, Ferrari is no longer really the ‘automotive’ team it was when owned by Fiat, but a largely publicly-owned specialist.
But elsewhere? As other manufacturers pulled out in the wake of the banking crisis, Mercedes stayed and built up the greatest F1 team that’s ever been seen and in doing so transformed its image from staid to hip and lowered the average age of its buyers significantly. But it’s done that now.
Nico Hulkenberg Renault Alex Albon Red Bull Belgian Grand Prix 2019 Spa

Renault as a works team left then returned, unable to convert its Red Bull-partnering titles into any meaningful profile. But as a works entity it’s yet to achieve anything like that level of success, or that which it achieved on its own in 2005-06. Honda left as a works team and only relatively recently returned but only as an engine supplier. That’s it.
Yes, we will probably still have Mercedes, Renault and Honda in the short term – though no one is actually contracted to F1 beyond the end of this year – and Honda is committed to Red Bull only until the end of next year.

Should’ve been mega: Toyota in F1
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But with the exception of Ferrari, it’s by no means clear what the long-term commitment to F1 is of the current ‘automotives’ and although an F1 budget is not overpowering on their scales, it’s not difficult to imagine a line being crossed through them at a board meeting.
So we have an F1 that is scaled around automotive giants in the boom era when F1 fitted perfectly with the fast times – but with those automotives either gone or considering their futures in the championship. Simultaneously, we have an F1 business with its own economic challenges.
It seems obvious a drastic downsizing is coming and that it will be of a scale beyond the scope of the just-agreed cost caps. As Racing Point’s technical director Andy Green said recently, the big teams risk becoming dinosaurs.
We would be back to an F1 where most of the teams on the grid exist only to race in F1
Haas team principal Günther Steiner commented a few days ago: “When we get to sign the new Concorde for the next five years we will see if the billionaires will stay in the sport… we need to push more that we can make this a break-even business at least..”
It is those billionaires – Dietrich Mateschitz, Lawrence Stroll, perhaps in the future Toto Wolff, Michael Latifi, Gene Haas, the Swedish backers of Sauber – who would be the new dominant owners.
Brabham Williams F1 1982

As such, we would be back to an F1 where most of the teams on the grid exist only to race in F1 and whose existence therefore depends entirely upon the sustainability of the F1 business.
It was just such a group of independent entities that formed the basis of F1 from the late ‘50s and for the next four decades. They formed a robust group that, when marshalled together by Bernie Ecclestone, made F1 into the global phenomenon it became – which attracted the tobacco money and subsequently the automotive.
The future income streams are likely going to come from elsewhere, but not at the scale we’ve seen for the last couple of decades. The pandemic has just hurried that process along and made it more obvious. The pool is shrinking; the biggest fish within will soon need to do the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #137
AUTOSPORT.COM
Retrospective: How Bruce McLaren created a legendary F1 team

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On the 50th anniversary of Bruce McLaren's tragic death while testing at Goodwood, ADAM COOPER recalls the early days of the Formula 1 team that still carries his name
When the McLaren team travelled to its first ever Formula 1 race in Monaco in 1966 the outfit compromised a Ford station wagon towing a trailer. On it sat an anonymous white racing car with a dark stripe running down its nose.
That debut weekend was to prove something of a disaster, largely due to the shortcomings of the Ford engine that Bruce McLaren had chosen rather than any failings in the team or the car itself.
However, it was a start, and McLaren and his colleagues had something on which to build.
"I'll tell you something," he wrote in his Autosport column the following week. "Being a Formula 1 constructor isn't easy (not that I kidded myself that it was going to be).
"I remember saying profoundly in this column a while back that motor racing tends to be a question of how much engineering you can do on how little money. Now I'd like to add a third rider - in how little time!"
McLaren was just 28 years old when he made the bold decision to become a constructor. However he was already vastly experienced in F1 terms.
After travelling from New Zealand to Europe in 1957 he had spent eight years with the Cooper team, initially as understudy to Jack Brabham. Over that time he won three grands prix, and recorded 17 other podium finishes. Latterly the team had seemed to lose its way, and during 1965 he managed only a third and three fifth places in a season spoiled by retirements (like at Zandvoort, below).

That season Bruce also took his first steps as a sportscar builder and entrant, and with Cooper on the wane, a graduation to F1 seemed like a logical step for 1966. By coincidence, the engine regulations were changing from 1.5 litres to three litres. There was sure to be a major shake-up, and it was a good time to get in.
"I think the idea developed during the '65 season," McLaren's compatriot Chris Amon, who died in 2016, told this writer some 35 years later. "Bruce was having a pretty frustrating time at Cooper, and I think he saw that going nowhere. Equally, he'd seen what Jack Brabham had done, so I think that sowed the seeds of the idea."
Bruce had already begun to gather a good crew around him. Administration and team management was taken care of by American Teddy Mayer. His brother Timmy had been killed in a McLaren-run Cooper in the 1964 Tasman series, but the tragedy only served to strengthen Teddy's bond with Bruce.
"We were optimistic, but we kept hearing about setback after setback. Eventually one engine arrived in England. We knew it was going to be fairly heavy, but it was like a 10-tonne truck!" Robin Herd
There was a loyal group of mechanics, including Mayer's friend Tyler Alexander and a bunch of hardworking and talented Kiwis. Amon, yet another young New Zealander, was a logical choice as second driver, having learned the F1 ropes with Reg Parnell's team.
"Bruce was great to work with," Amon recalled. "You never knew what he was going to come up with the next day. He had flashes of inspiration, and having decided on something he never allowed anything to get in the way of getting it done.
"He generated tremendous enthusiasm within the whole operation. With some of his ideas Teddy and Tyler had to moderate his enthusiasm and try and do them within the resources of the company!
"And on a personal basis Bruce was a wonderful guy - the sort of person who never had a bad word to say about anybody. Bruce was the sort of person who collected a good team around him. It was a very young crew, and there were some very good people around."
Bruce wisely decided to bring in a trained engineer to design the car. The man he chose was budding aerospace engineer Robin Herd (below left, with McLaren and Mayer), who was involved with the Concorde project but harboured a desire to work in racing, and had plenty of enthusiasm to back up his ambition.

"I had a great job but I wanted something more challenging," recalled Herd, who died last year. "I got a message to phone Bruce. We met that evening, and that was that. McLaren were doing F1 and I was designing racing cars!
"I was only 24, and to be told we've got to have this car on the grid at Monaco next year when I hadn't actually designed anything other than engineering exercises, showed an extraordinary degree of faith or stupidity on his part, and a similar arrogance or stupidity on mine. But I wanted to do it so much I wasn't going to let anything stand in my way."
A testing contract with Firestone proved a good starting point in terms of hard cash. The next big problem was to source a three-litre engine, and even well-established teams were struggling to find one for the new formula.
McLaren was part of Ford's massive Le Mans effort and, aware of the resources the company had, decided he might as well try his contacts at the blue oval. He acquired a stock of 4.2-litre Indy V8s and commissioned Californian company Traco to downsize them to the F1 legal limit. The general idea was to show Ford that it should be in grand prix racing, and potentially drum up future works support.
Meanwhile Herd pressed on with the first car, which was to be known as the M2A. It featured a highly unusual chassis made out of Mallite, an aluminium/balsa sandwich that was used in aircraft cabins.
The prototype was fitted with a 4.5-litre Oldsmobile V8 engine, and was used as a Firestone test hack, running for the first time in November 1965.
In hindsight, a downsized version of the Olds was a much better starting point for an F1 engine - indeed the same unit would morph into the Repco used by Jack Brabham in 1966. By the time the definitive M2B was ready to run, the Ford engine no longer seemed to be such a good idea.
"We were optimistic, but we kept hearing about setback after setback," Herd recalled. "Eventually one engine arrived in England. We knew it was going to be fairly heavy, but the weight we were quoted bore no resemblance to what it actually weighed. It was like a 10-tonne truck! Nevertheless, we stuck it in the back of the car and went to Goodwood for half a day's testing before Monaco."
Alas, the shakedown was not a great success: "At least it ran," added Herd. "And it made a lovely noise. That's probably where most of the power went.
"Bruce, who'd been there with the Oldsmobile car, came in and said 'This thing's got no power, it's a joke'."
The sheer scale of the Ford V8 was part of the problem, and it disguised any potential that the chassis might have.

"We worked out that the engine and gearbox together weighed about the same as the whole Brabham car," says mechanic Howden Ganley, who later raced in F1 between 1971 and '74. "It was a very good chassis, probably the stiffest monocoque of the time, but had nothing to propel it. We were going to run two cars, but it was enough of a scramble getting one together."
That left the unfortunate Amon without a ride for the whole season.
"It was all very exciting at the beginning," he recalled. "But it was equally very frustrating. We all thought the engine had tremendous potential, but of course it was a total disaster."
The team had no transporter, so the precious car was loaded onto a trailer, which was attached to the back of a loaned American Ford Fairlane station wagon - a legacy of Bruce's Le Mans contract. Herd and the mechanics drove from the team's new workshop in Colnbrook to Lydd, from where they took a Silver City Airways Bristol Freighter to Le Touquet, prior to the long drive south. Bruce, his wife Patty and Mayer flew down to Nice later.
Once in the paddock, alongside Lotus, Ferrari, BRM, Brabham, Cooper and the rest, the new M2B attracted favourable comments. It was well-built, and thanks to hardworking Kiwi mechanic and noted perfectionist John Muller, it looked immaculate.
"Even if one's own ideas were not adopted, you knew that your voice was heard, and you were not 'just' another employee. As a way of building a team it was superb, and a lesson I took on in my own race car business [Tiga] in later years" Howden Ganley
However that weekend the real F1 cars received less attention than the Hollywood "fakes" tended by John Frankenheimer's film crew, who had virtually taken over the principality as they set to work on the making of Grand Prix. In fact McLaren had been recruited to double for the fictional Japanese Yamura team, in return for a useful injection of cash.
On the track, the M2B performed respectably, but mainly because everyone else was struggling to sort their new cars. Bruce didn't help himself in qualifying by leaving his racing boots in the hotel. He had to saw the toes off his Hush Puppies...
"We were actually the first car out in practice, and Bruce qualified 10th," recalled Herd. "The car was so heavy, he couldn't help but have phenomenal traction!"
He was nearly three seconds off Jim Clark's pole, but six cars were behind him. The start and the first lap were captured by Frankenheimer's cameras, and the movie showed Bruce shooting up to an initial sixth place. The heavy engine helped him to get what little power there was down onto the road.
However, the excitement didn't last. After 10 laps an oil leak, caused by a loose line, sent him into the pits. The rules did not allow it to be topped up.

"An oil pipe union came loose up front in my car and squirted half the oil on the road and the other half over me in the cockpit," Bruce wrote in Autosport. "Oil is uncomfortable enough on the road, but I can assure you it's even worse in the cockpit - after it had been through the engine it was a little on the warm side too!"
Ganley recalls: "The oil went onto Bruce's shoes. And he had a big moment when his foot slipped off the pedal. We got it hooked up again, but he was a long way behind. Bruce was worried about blowing the engine up, so he didn't go out again."
The following day there was an informal debrief on the terrace of Bruce's hotel, where all the team members were invited to make suggestions.
"We were all given our opportunity to speak," says Ganley. "And each suggestion was given due consideration. Even if one's own ideas were not adopted, you knew that your voice was heard, and you were not 'just' another employee. As a way of building a team it was superb, and a lesson I took on in my own race car business [Tiga] in later years."
The team was so disappointed with the Ford engine that it tried a much lighter Italian Serenissima V8 for Spa, Brands Hatch (where Bruce finished sixth) and Zandvoort, but it was hardly any better. The reworked Ford was given a second chance at Watkins Glen and Mexico City, earning a fifth place in the former.
The patient Amon never did race a second car, and in F1 terms it proved to be a wasted year for the youngster. However, that year he and Bruce scored a historic - if controversial - win in the Le Mans 24 Hours for Ford over the sister car of Ken Miles and Denny Hulme.
McLaren began the 1967 season with a BRM V8 engine, and Bruce finished an encouraging fourth in Monaco, albeit some way behind after a pitstop. That year he also drove three races in Dan Gurney's Eagle after Richie Ginther retired, although he didn't finish any of them.
He returned to his own car later in the year, this time with a BRM V12, but again with limited success due to unreliability. He continued to be successful in sportscar racing, winning the Sebring 12 Hours with Mario Andretti and taking the Can-Am title after victories in two out of the six rounds.
Bruce started 1968 well by winning the Teretonga Tasman race for BRM, and then things really came together for him in F1. The Cosworth DFV was by now freely available to paying customers, and the M7A package proved to be competitive. Spurred on by the presence of his old pal Hulme in the sister car, Bruce won the Race of Champions in March and gave his team its first grand prix win in Belgium.
Later in the year he finished second in Canada and Mexico, while he also qualified second at Monza, where Hulme was victorious. Meanwhile having narrowly lost the World Championship, Hulme took the Can-Am title for McLaren.

The latest M7C proved to be very competitive in 1969 (above). Bruce didn't win a race, but he finished in the top five eight times, and earned third place in the World Championship. He also won the Can-Am title for a second time, with six race wins to his name. The other five were won by Hulme as the McLaren team utterly dominated the series.
By 1970 McLaren was well established - it was a winner in F1 and Can-Am, and was expanding into Indycar racing. Bruce had even made a prototype road car. The future was bright, and it seemed that anything was possible under his leadership.
There were also suggestions that he might wind down his F1 involvement. However, armed with the new M14A, he finished an encouraging second - from 11th on the grid - at Jarama, before retiring from what turned out to be his final grand prix in Monaco.
His legacy, of course, was the team that he founded, and whose employees he had inspired to carry on and fulfil his vision
On 2 June he travelled to Goodwood for what should have been a routine test day. Initially he drove the F1 car, while mechanic and sometime racer Cary Taylor shook down the latest M8D Can-Am chassis, which was due to be shipped to North America for the start of the season later that month. Bruce then swapped to the big sportscar, which had been nicknamed the 'Batmobile'.
He undertook several short runs, making small adjustments in the pits each time before heading out again. Then shortly before the planned lunch break the mechanics heard the thump of a huge impact, followed by silence. The tail section had lifted at some 170mph and sent the orange car spiralling into an unyielding concrete flag marshals' post.
Crew members jumped in a car and raced to the scene, but there was nothing anyone could do for Bruce - he was dead at the age of 32. His legacy, of course, was the team that he founded, and whose employees he had inspired to carry on and fulfil his vision.


 

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How do you set up an F1 car and other racing machines?
  • By Jake Boxall-Legge, Tim Wright

  • Friday June 5th 2020

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Getting the best setup for a racing car unlocks a huge amount of performance, particularly in a single-spec series where everybody has the same basic kit. Different circuits require different setups, and ensuring your car is tuned to the demands of the track's characteristics can yield big rewards.
Think of it like playing a guitar; some songs might require a different tuning to another, and so the strings must be tightened and loosened to play the right notes.
Whether you're a racing veteran or an Esports rookie delving into the options menu for the first time, there is a multitude of different parameters you can change. With the help of former McLaren and Jordan F1 engineer Tim Wright, we explore some of those different settings and explain their effects.
How do you adjust downforce?

Adjusting the downforce levels of a car is usually a simple operation; for a single-spec car, for example, a wing may come with set levels at which the wing can be adjusted to. These generally adjust the wing angle of attack.
If we think of a neutral angle of attack as a horizontal line, steading increasing that angle of attack means that you begin to increase the overall downforce.
Adding downforce ensures that the car can navigate corners at much higher speeds, as the tyres are loaded more and generate more grip.
However, as you do so, the wing also begins to produce more drag as it displaces a greater amount of air, reducing the top speed in a straight line.
When to adjust downforce: For a circuit with long straights and high-speed corners, such as Monza, a low angle of attack is recommended, meaning you can run a shallow wing and benefit from a greater straight-line speed.
For slower circuits like Monaco, you can run the maximum amount of wing available to you to improve your cornering speeds.
Other circuits are much more of a trade-off, and you may wish to experiment with different downforce settings.
What is toe angle?

Toe angle is the angle at which, when looking down on the car from a plan view, the wheels point relative to the centreline of the car. Neutral toe means that the wheels are completely parallel to the centreline, toe out means that the front of the wheel points away from the car, while toe in means that the wheel points inwards.
Generally speaking, a race car will run with toe out at the front and toe in at the rear. This means that the front wheels are splayed outwards, whereas the rear will be pointing inwards. Front toe out not only helps to put heat into the tyre as there is a slight scrubbing effect, but can help give more grip and stability when the wheels are turned.
This is dependent on whatever Ackermann (the difference between the turning rate of the front two wheels) is designed into the car, as true Ackermann will turn the inside wheel more than the outside. This is vice versa if the car has anti Ackermann.
At the rear, toe in is run mainly because under braking the wheels tend to try and straighten, depending on the suspension geometry, therefore making a larger footprint.
How do you adjust the toe angle?

Adjusting the toe is normally achieved by shortening or lengthening the track rod. At the front this is attached to the end of the steering rack and to the upright on the outer end.
There is a rose joint on each end and sometimes there will be a right-hand and left-hand thread so that the rod can just be rotated one way or the other. At the rear, there is a similar rod attached to the chassis on the inboard end.
The popular way to measure toe is to have a line (sometimes fishing line) on each side, supported on rods attached to the front and rear of the vehicle running parallel to the centre line of the car. A measurement can then be taken from this line to the front edge of the wheel rim and then to the rear edge, the difference giving you the toe in or out.
A general figure for toe in at the rear will be 2.5mm per wheel but at the front it can be as much as 5mm toe out per wheel.
A lot of this is also dependent on how much camber is being run on each wheel.
For true Ackermann, if the outboard steering arm joint is in front of the top wishbone joint, then if you draw a line through these two points on both sides, they should converge at the centre of the rear axle.
Depending on the architecture of the front upright, it may not be possible to achieve true Ackermann and so you may end up with the lines being parallel or if the steering arm joint is behind the top wishbone joint then you can have anti Ackermann.
When to change toe angle: If you are running on an oval circuit, or a circuit with multiple corners in the same direction, putting toe out on the inside wheel and toe in on the inside wheel will help to reduce the amount of steering needed.
On the rear tyres, adding toe in will assist with braking performance, while toe out may improve acceleration at the cost of overall straight-line speed.
In the case of Mercedes' DAS system in F1, the toe angle can be controlled from within the cockpit to allow the benefit of greater toe in the corners, but reduced toe on the straights.
What does changing the ride height do?

The ride height of a car is normally measured in the middle of the car on the centre line of front and rear axles. The idea is to get the front of the car as low as possible without it touching under braking or on bumps.
The height of the rear of the car will depend on how much downforce the car will develop in normal running. In the case of a Formula One car or an LMP1 sports car, they can produce huge amounts of downforce, therefore the rear ride height tends to be reasonably high.
The most popular solution to keep the ride heights of the car at a constant level in high downforce sections of the circuit is the use of a third damper, which is linked to the normal dampers and can be adjusted with a series of spacers.
On most saloon cars, ride heights are adjusted by compressing the spring to raise the car or reducing the preload if lowering the car. On cars where the springs and dampers are operated via a pushrod and rocker, then the adjustment is made to the length of the pushrod, either by a system of shims or screwing a rose joint in or out on its thread.
When to change ride height: Ride heights are usually kept low to maximise the performance of the floor, but creating an offset between ride height at the front and rear (rake) means the diffuser has more space to allow the airflow to expand.
On bumpier circuits, raising the ride height means that the car will be less susceptible to losing downforce on the bumps. Lowering the front end also dials out understeer, and the reverse applies to counteract oversteer.
What are the tyre pressures in racing?

Tyre manufacturers will always advise teams as to the optimum pressure that their tyres will run at when hot.
In F1 this is rigorously adhered to as it is written in the regulations, but in other formulas it is fairly common to experiment with the pressures, as this can have a huge effect when it comes to qualifying or a race.
Normally a new slick tyre, depending on the compound, side wall construction and circuit length, will heat up quickly and provide maximum grip within one or two laps.
Once a tyre has been run and has had a heat cycle, the surface will become harder, therefore it takes longer to get the optimum temperature again. For a race situation, the pressures will have to be adjusted up slightly from their qualifying setting even if the tyres have been pre-heated. D
Depending on the manufacturer, tyre pressures will either be measured in imperial (psi) or metric (bar). A typical running pressure would be 2 bar (29psi) for a road car.
In F1, tyre pressures can be around 1.5bar or lower, depending on the circuit. Pirelli, F1's tyre supplier, provides every team with the required range of pressures allowed, which must be adhered to by the teams.
When to change tyre pressures: Lower tyre pressures can improve the overall contact patch with the road, improving grip, but under-inflation will mean that the handling is less responsive as the tyre carcass drags along the road and produces unnecessarily high slip angles - and hence, greater wear.
Lowering the pressures at the front creates oversteer, and lowering those at the rear generates a greater level of understeer.
Higher pressures produce less grip overall and offer a stiffer setup, but won't generate as much wear.
What are dampers and how do they work?

Dampers, or shock absorbers, to give them their proper name, are complicated pieces of engineering and come in a multitude of forms.
The makeup of a damper is a cylinder with a certain amount of oil, and a piston that tries to compress the oil or allows it to bypass with a series of small holes and shims.
To maintain pressure inside the damper, many of the manufacturers use gas in a separate cylinder where the pressure can be adjusted to suit.
As the name implies, the idea is to allow the wheels to ride bumps and kerbs efficiently without upsetting the ride of the car. However, they can also be used to help generate tyre temperatures if set properly.
The more advanced dampers might have what is called four-way adjustments, so you have low speed and high-speed bump and low speed and high-speed rebound. This relates to the speed of the damper shaft and determines how it reacts to a series of bumps.
Some sophisticated dampers have a 'blow off valve' that allows the pressure to be dumped temporarily in the case of a heavy kerb strike. The adjustment of each feature is normally achieved by turning an internal shaft that is connected to the piston and basically opens or closes a series of ports.
The more closed the port becomes, the harder it will be for the oil to pass by the piston. This can also be achieved by using a stack of very thin shims that deflect under pressure.

In some racing categories like F1, cars use torsion bars (above) rather than shock-damper systems to control the ride. When the suspension assembly rises in response to a kerb or a bump, the pushrod or pullrod puts the torsion bar under a twisting motion.
Different sizes and arrangements of torsion bars provide different degrees of resistance.
When to change spring rates: Reducing spring stiffness at the front relative to the rear will reduce understeer, while the opposite applies to reduce oversteer.
Softening the springs at the rear also allows the car to put more power through the wheels, but doing so too much increases oversteer and makes the back of the car difficult to control.
Engineers take all of those factors, along with the demands of the circuit, into account to dial in the right handling characteristics.
What are camber angles?

Camber is the inclination of the wheel assembly when looking at it from the front or rear view.
Positive camber is when the top of the tyre is leaning out compared with the lower part and negative camber is obviously the opposite.
It was quite popular on latter day race cars that ran skinny tyres and large suspension movements to run with positive camber, especially on the rear, as when the car accelerated and the rear end sat down, the contact patch would be flatter.
Modern day race cars only run with negative camber, as seen above, as tyres are much fatter and have stiff side walls that can control the tread. Again, the tyre manufacturers will always advise the maximum amount of camber their tyres will withstand from a loading point of view.
Running negative camber means that, when a car rolls in response to a corner, the outside wheel has a greater contact patch to ensure the car remains stable.
However, camber can bring stability to a setup and in conjunction with toe settings can have a big influence on grip.

A lot can be learned from inspecting a tyre once it has been run, as it is obvious where the tyre has spent most of its time in contact with the track.
Slick tyres have wear indentations in the surface which allow you to see how much the camber is wearing the tyre and you can adjust the camber to get more of a contact surface.
Also, there is an effect called 'graining' on the surface of a tyre that indicates that not enough heat is being generated and the surface of the tyre starts to be rolled or pushed towards the outside of the tyre. Camber and toe settings can be used to improve this.
When to change camber: Generally speaking, a racing car should only use negative camber - and the rear wheels use less camber than the fronts.
Using a camber setting that counteracts the roll of the car - so that the outside wheel has the largest contact patch possible - in corners is ideal, but too much camber means the inside of the tyre can wear faster than the outside.
The amount of negative camber can also be reduced if the car has too much oversteer.
What is bump and rebound?

The most basic racing dampers will have several adjustments for compression, called 'bump' and for extension, called 'rebound'.
Bump is when the piston travels down the cylinder and rebound is when it tries to return.
The softer you can run the compression side means that the car will be better on the bumps etc but may not control the roll of the car very well.
This is where a setup needs to take into consideration the relationship between using an anti-roll bar in conjunction with damping to achieve a good result.
When to change bump and rebound:Dampers are also used to control the attitude of the car, so that it doesn't pitch too much under braking.
To achieve this either a stiffer compression is used on the front, or a stiffer rebound at the rear will stop the rear of the car rising, but the down side is the effect this has on traction and causing understeer, so it becomes a delicate balancing act for the engineer to work out the best settings.
A stiffer compression setting at the front will also reduce understeer.
What is brake bias and how do you change it?

Brake bias is a simple device controlled by the driver. Running laterally through the brake pedal, just above the pivot point, is an adjustable bar, or balance bar to give it a proper name.
One side of the bar is attached to the front master cylinder, by a clevis, and the other side attached to the rear master cylinder. Normally there is a cable attached to the end of the balance bar and by turning the cable from inside the cockpit, the driver can move the bar left to right or right to left, depending on whether they want the bias to go to the front brakes or the rear brakes.
When the driver pushes the brake pedal the balance bar will pivot and put more pressure on one of the master cylinders.
On most modern racing cars, the bias is set around 58% to the front brakes and the driver can then adjust the balance depending on tyre wear or fuel load. With hybrid cars such as F1 this is slightly more complicated as the brake energy is part of the storage system.
When to change brake bias: Looking at a circuit holistically, shifting the brake bias to minimise the overall locking under braking is key, but some corners may provide different challenges to others.
Too much locking at the front requires a shift of brake bias rearwards, while the opposite applies in the event that the rear locks up too much.
What is an anti-roll bar?

Anti-roll bars (or anti-sway bars as the Americans call them) are designed to do exactly as it says: limit the amount of body roll in the car.
There are many different designs of mechanical ARBs, but usually they are a tube or solid bar mounted laterally across the car and attached to the front and rear suspension systems by an adjustable link.
The bars will have an arm on each end at 90 degrees to the bar, so that when the car rolls, the bar is twisted and resists the movement. The bar is therefore a highly stressed item. The arms may have a series of holes along their length so that they change the angular deflection of the bar.
Another way of changing the forces put into the bar is for the arms to be a blade that can be turned. With this system it is possible for the driver to adjust the blades by way of a cable inside the cockpit.
Anti-roll bars are also a device with which to balance the car.
When to change ARB settings: If the driver is complaining about understeer you can soften the effect of the front bar. If they are complaining of oversteer or bad traction, then you can soften the rear bar to let the car roll more into the corner.
Quite often when running in the wet, disconnecting the rear anti-roll bar altogether can help as this allows the suspension to move more freely and therefore there is greater tyre contact as the car rolls.
What is a caster angle?

The caster angle is the difference between the vertical axis of the suspension and the axis at which the steering pivots. It's perhaps easiest to visualise on a motorbike, where the front forks are often inclined at an angle compared to a vertical line drawn across the front wheel.
On a Formula 1 car, the steering pivot axis is the line joining the pivot points on the upper and lower wishbones.
Generally speaking, the upper wishbone's mounting point trails further back down the car compared to the lower wishbone, and this creates positive caster. This is commonly used as it provides the driver with clear feedback, and generates its own self-aligning torque due to the positioning of the trail behind the steering axis.
This also amplifies the effect of camber in the corners to boost the overall grip.
Negative caster is rarely used and, although it lends itself to more easy steering on a small scale, it has none of the bonuses experienced when setting up a car with positive caster.
Caster is usually built into the car's suspension system, but over recent seasons teams have experimented with the positions of mounting points to explore the effects of caster

 

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EDITORS' PICK|2,204 views|Jun 9, 2020,05:37pm EDT
Revealed: Mercedes Paid Just $176 Million For Its F1 Team
Christian Sylt
I cover the theme park industry and the business of Formula One

It took time for Mercedes to rev up the performance of its F1 team but it went on to break almost every record in the book (Jose Breton/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

It took time for Mercedes to rev up the[+]NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES

Daimler, the owner of luxury auto maker Mercedes, has revealed that it paid just $175.7 million (£137.3 million) to buy its championship-winning Formula One team.
Timing is everything when buying and selling an F1 team. Just last month Britain's Williams squad put itself up for sale after finishing in last place for the past two years running. Its performance alone could drive down its sale price, let alone the fact that we are in the midst of a major economic downturn.

At the other end of the spectrum, when Daimler first invested in its team at the end of 2009 it seemed to be the top of the market. The team, which was then known as Brawn GP, had just won the F1 title and had decimated the biggest names in the sport thanks to some game-changing technical innovations.
Remarkably, it pulled this off in its first year under the ownership of its management led by Ross Brawn, who is now F1's sporting boss. His eponymous team was one of the few independent outfits in F1 but it didn't stay that way for long. Daimler raced onto the scene after selling its stake in McLaren to the other shareholders in the team. Rumours swirled about how much Daimler paid to buy Brawn GP but the actual sale price remained a mystery. Until now.

Detailed research of company filings has revealed precisely how much it cost Daimler's UK subsidiary to get the keys to the team. As the following Daimler UK document shows, "on 24 December 2009 the company acquired 45.1 per cent of the issued share capital of Brawn GP Limited for a consideration comprising stage cash payments on pre-defined dates over the next five years. The fair value of the total consideration was £76,987,000."
At the same time, Brawn GP's management also sold a 30% stake in the team to Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments fund which had decals on its cars and the drivers' race suits over the following three years. The team was re-named Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix but that was just the start.

As shown on the following company document, "in March 2011 Daimler UK Limited and Aabar Investments PJS reached an agreement to acquire the remaining 24.9% shareholding in Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited previously held by management. This increased the Daimler UK Limited shareholding from 45.1% to 60% and Aabar Investments PJS's shareholding from 30% to 40%. In order to acquire the additional 14.9% Daimler UK Limited paid consideration of £19,899,000."
It took complete control of the wheel the following year according to this company filing. It states that "on 19 December 2012 Daimler UK Limited reached an agreement with Aabar Investments PJS in order to acquire the later's remaining 40% shareholding in Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited, increasing the Daimler UK Limited shareholding from 60% to 100%. The agreed purchase price was £44,000,000."
The filings reveal that Daimler didn't actually pay all of this as an amount that Aabar owed it was deducted from the total. Accordingly, a "consideration of £40,400,000 was paid by Daimler AG and recharged to Daimler UK Limited through the inter-company account. The balance of £3,600,000 was settled through the waiver by Daimler AG of a contractual penalty incurred by Aabar Investments PJS as a result of a cancelled order."
As the table below shows, this brought the purchase price to a total of $175.7 million (£137.3 million) but two maneuvers offset it further.
Mercedes paid just $175.7 million to buy its F1 team

Mercedes paid just $175.7 million to buy its F1[+]SPONSORS.FORMULAMONEY.COM

In 2013 Austrian motorsport executive Toto Wolff became the boss of the Mercedes F1 team and, as he explained to us, he told Daimler: "I wouldn’t do it without being a co-shareholder because I’m an entrepreneur, that’s how I function. I need to be able to develop the value of the company."
Wolff got what he wanted as his company Motorsports Invest bought a 30% stake in the team with a further 10% going to the late F1 champion Niki Lauda who became its non-executive chairman. This too is revealed in the filings which state that "in August 2013 the company disposed of 40% of the share capital in Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited to NL Holding GmbH and Motorsports Invest for consideration of £40,000,000, reducing its shareholding from 100% to 60%." Wolff had a lot of work to do.
When Daimler's acquisition of Brawn GP was announced in November 2009, Erich Klemm, then deputy chairman of Daimler's supervisory board, said that the "exit at McLaren-Mercedes was a chance to completely leave the costly and controversial circus...We can not understand why the board of directors has immediately started a new Formula One project."
The following month, Uwe Werner, another supervisory board member, added that "the Daimler board decrees, on the one hand, harsh austerity measures for the workforce, and has shifted some production to facilities in other countries. On the other hand it spends tens of millions on Formula One. It is incomprehensible to many workers." They soon changed their minds when Wolff took the company's driving seat.

As we have reported, Wolff is one of the most talented operators in the 70-year history of F1 and his business track record outside the sport matches his achievements at the helm of Mercedes. Although the team took some time to rev up its performance, it went on to break pretty much every record in the book.
Toto Wolff is one of the smartest operators that F1 has ever seen (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Toto Wolff is one of the smartest operators that[+]GETTY IMAGES
Mercedes has won the F1 drivers and teams titles for the past six years running with five of them coming when British superstar Lewis Hamilton was at the wheel. It has also won 47% of the 198 races it has competed in and that’s just the start.
In 2015 Mercedes had a record 12 one-two finishes and the following year it reached another landmark when it won all but two of the 21 races. It is still making history and last year scored five consecutive one-two finishes at the start of the season which is more than any other F1 team has ever achieved.

In turn, this success has fueled a high-octane return for the team's sponsors which include oil giant Petronas and fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger. In 2018 Mercedes got a 24% share of F1's television coverage and generated $3.8 billion of Advertising Value Equivalent - the price its sponsors would have to pay to get equivalent exposure on air.
In hindsight it makes the purchase price seem cheap and it was clearly far from the top of the market when Daimler bought the team. In fact, to put it in perspective, the amount it paid came to the equivalent of just 42.7% of the team's costs in 2018. As we reported in UK newspaper CityAM, it spent $414.7 million (£321.5 million) of its $436.5 million (£338.4 million) of revenue leaving it with a $16.4 million (£12.7 million) net profit.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, Forbes valuedthe team at $1 billion but the road ahead isn't so certain.
Mercedes today became the first F1 team to hit the track since the onset of the coronavirus when Hamilton's team mate Valtteri Bottas tested at Silverstone in the UK. Hamilton is due to take the wheel on Wednesday and is in pole position to win the F1 title this year when racing resumes in July. If Hamilton can pull it off it would put him on equal footing with legendary driver Michael Schumacher but he might not find it so easy to beat his racing record.

Lewis Hamilton (right) is on track to equal the record set by legendary driver Michael Schumacher, seen here on the left (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton (right) is on track to equal the[+]GETTY IMAGES
A $145 million cap on team spending is due to be introduced next year in order to level the playing field in F1 after years of domination by Mercedes. It could reduce the team's chances of winning and even if this were to continue, it would be harder for it to give as great a boost to Mercedes' exposure as it did in the early days because its success in F1 is now so well-known.
This dilemma is emerging just as Mercedes and F1 itself are coming to a crossroads. Wolff and Hamilton reach the end of their contracts at the end of 2020 and the contracts committing every team to race in the sport also expire then. None have signed new agreements with F1's owner Liberty Media, which is listed on the Nasdaq with the ticker FWONK.
The four auto makers involved with F1 - Ferrari, Daimler, Honda and Renault - have been badly dented by the coronavirus crisis as car dealers have been shuttered and people have become reluctant to travel. They also have to navigate a growing drive towards electrification. It explains why Mercedes launched a team last year in the electric-powered Formula E racing series but this doesn't mean it is planning to pull out of F1. Quite the opposite in fact.

A statement from Daimler last month said that "it is our clear intention to continue competing in Formula One as a Mercedes-Benz works team in the years to come, and to do so with our managing partner Toto Wolff." He echoed this in a recent interview when he said "I have the best intention to stay here."
However, he added "I don't want to become a team principal who goes from great to good without realising that he’s maybe not adding as much any more to the team as he did in the beginning...To be honest with you, I haven't taken any decision yet as we haven't even started racing yet."
Wolff said that he will open contract talks with Hamilton when the F1 season returns though it appears the reigning champion has already made up his mind.
Responding to a report which linked him to Ferrari, Hamilton said on Instagram in April that "there is no dream of another team. I am with my dream team...I'm not trying to move." He will soon have a chance to prove it.
 
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