Sport F1 bosses evaluating change to grid formation process, says Symonds

19:10  12 january  2018
19:10  12 january  2018 Source:   Autosport

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F1 evaluating grid formation change © LAT Images F1 evaluating grid formation change

Formula 1 bosses are evaluating making changes to the way the grid lines up for a grand prix in the future, according to Pat Symonds.

Former Williams chief technical officer Symonds joined the team of specialists working under new F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn last year who have been asked to help define F1's future direction.

Speaking at MIA's Entertainment & Energy-Efficient Motorsport Conference, Symonds said F1 is testing out potential regulation changes in the virtual world using eSports to assess their effectiveness.

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"We're keen to use virtual environments to test some of these regulations," said Symonds. "What we can do then is look at statistics.

"It gives you a chance to do things you can't otherwise simulate in an easy manner.

"I'll give you an example of something we've been thinking about this year.

"For a number of years, the starting grid for F1 has been a staggered formation.

Chandhok: Maini should target qualifying improvement in 2018

  Chandhok: Maini should target qualifying improvement in 2018 Arjun Maini’s manager Karun Chandhok believes that the Haas Formula 1 development driver needs to improve his qualifying form during 2018. Maini – who competed for Trident and Russian Time in F2 testing last December and set the fastest time in two sessions for the latter – is working on a move into the series for 2018. The Indian was outqualified by Alessio Lorandi at Jenzer three times in the opening four weekends of GP3 action last season, before bettering the Italian and newcomer Juan Manuel Correa three times at the end of the campaign. Maini started the Barcelona feature race in sixth, prior to going on to better his personal best by heading the second row at Spa. “There are certain circuits where his qualifying performances weren’t great,” he told Read Motorsport at the Autosport International show at Birmingham’s NEC, as Maini qualified outside the top 10 on three occasions, starting features 12th at Austria, 13th at Hungary and 19th at Jerez. “That’s something we need to think about going forward. “In the F2 test, he was actually working with an engineer who I worked with at iSport in 2008 [in GP2], Gavin Jones, a brilliant engineer, one of the best I’ve ever worked with. “I spoke to him before the test about Arjun’s one-lap pace and I thought it needed an improvement and he said they had focused on that in Abu Dhabi and he delivered under pressure to do it. “He’s improving.

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"We know one of our problems is that we put the fastest car on the grid and not only do we do that but we separate them.

"It used to not be like that, there was a time when cars started two abreast, there was a time when - we've got a photo in our boardroom in London where I think it's Monza - there are four cars on the front row.

"What would happen if we did that again? It's not the sort of thing you can simulate easily.

"We can go to our esports group and we can say 'look guys, let's change the grid, let's do 20 races'.

"They don't have to be 300km races. We're only interested in the first three laps. Then we see what happens.

"Are we going to get a much more exciting first lap or are we going to get a huge collision on corner one?

"By doing this, and looking at it statistically, we can start to understand these things. It gives us our evidence-based form of decision-making, a mantra I preach quite regularly."

de Ferran: analysis needed to help Brazil recover drivers

  de Ferran: analysis needed to help Brazil recover drivers Double Champ Car champion Gil de Ferran believes analysis needs to take place to help Brazil gain future drivers in high echelons of motorsport. This year is set to be the first season 1969 that Brazil does not to have a driver on the Formula 1 grid after Felipe Massa’s retirement, while Helio Castroneves has switched to sportscars from IndyCar with Penske. Only Foyt’s line-up of rookie Matheus Leist and veteran Tony Kanaan gives the country a full-time place on the IndyCar grid, with Europe’s highest-placed driver currently Sergio Sette Camara in F2 with Carlin. “The last all-Brazilian line-up must have been Helio and I at Penske,” de Ferran told Read Motorsport at the Autosport International show at Birmingham’s NEC, who spent four years as team-mates with Castroneves between 2000 and 2003. “It’s an interesting one. “I was actually talking to an influential friend of mine in Brazil, in the motorsports world, and feeling sad really in general because Massa’s retired, and it’s unlikely we will have a F1 driver next year, which is the first time in God knows how long.” In comparison, nine compatriots joined de Ferran on the grid in the first race of his second Champ Car-winning season in 2001. Despite some other potential talent further down the motorsport ladder, he believes that a downturn of multiple numbers is on the horizon.

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F1 evaluating grid formation change © LAT Images F1 evaluating grid formation change

Symonds cited the furore of early 2016, when the qualifying format was changed only to be changed back almost immediately following criticism from fans and those in the paddock, as a reason to simulate the proposed changes.

"Some might remember that a couple of years ago, someone who is no longer involved in F1 decided it would be a good idea to change the qualifying procedure and at a whim that was done," he said.

"There was no simulation of it whatsoever.

"A few people with an IQ that ran into double figures did look at it and decided it was going to be a disaster and sure enough it was a disaster but nevertheless it went ahead and sure enough it was a disaster.

"How do things like that happen? We can't let happen again."

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