The Formula One Scene
The Formula One Scene
RECENTLY THE FISA have been announcing a long list of new rules. some to come into effect immediately. others as long-term thinking and many of them arc aimed to ensure that control of Formula One racing remains with the International Governing body, and that it remains At line with the rest of the world of motor sport. Malty people in Forrnula One think that it is somCthing special that should have its own rules and management; they seem unable to appreciate that it is the top of a pyramid whose base is the ordinary sporting clubmen starting in his first closed-to-club driving test, treasure hunt or rally. From the moment you buy a competition licence. fill in an entry forni and put a number on your car, you come under a basic code of practice that you stay with until you are on pole-position for the British Grand Prix. The same code of practice holds good anywhere in the civilised world where countries arc members of the Federation International Automobile. The world-wide FIA has delegated the management of the sport to the Federation International Sport Automobile (FISA), who in turn delegate local management to member countries who look after domestic needs, in our case the Royal Automobile Club. and they pass on management to individual clubs like the Vintage Sports Car Club or the Hants. and Berks. Motor Club. From thc top to the bottom all activities are run to the same basic concepts and the same basic rules, but naturally each activity has its own rule, and regulation on details, There are something like 54 countries in the FIA, of which some 44 have sporting interests, so you can imagine how many people are involved in the sport as competitors: whether they take part in driving Imts or Grand Prix races rhey are all FISA competitors. Big Stun who are closely tied to thc sport, like Goodyear, Dunlop. ELF. BP-Shell. Castrol, Ferodo, Champion, NOR. Lucas, Magneti-Marelli, as well as manufacturers like Ferrari, Renault, British Leyland. Fiat. Datsun. Ford and all thc others. arc interested in the sport across a wide range of activity. of which Fonnula One is only a part. Admittedly it is a big pan. but none the !ems, only spun of their overall interest. When I hear talk that the Formula One Constructors Association arc going to break away from the FIA and FISA and run their own events to their own rules. I wonder what they are going to use for tyres, oil, brake linings. sparking plugs. electrical equipment and at on. If they operate outside the accepted authority ‘of FISA they constitute “pirate events” and would not get the support of a lot of vital firms. unless those lirms were prepared to go “pirate” and forsake all interest in RSA controlled sport. I have asked Goodyear and EI.F about this and they both point out that the sum total of their involvement in other sporting activities is far greater than that in Fommla One. They agreed that Formula One was their biggest and most important involvement. hut they were not prepared to drop everything else and put all their effort into Formula One. Goodyear arc in rallies, circuit racing at all levels. NASCAR racing, USAC racing, CART racing. drag-racing, in fact anything involving wheels. Likewise ELF are involVed with tust shun, eve’ form of racing car from Renault 5 sa10.11, tat the Formula One Renault-Turbo. Realising that a total breakaway is impracticable certain members of FOCA have been
operating in a round-about way to attain more control of Formula One, and a succession of not-very-strong FISA Presidents has allowed this infiltration to grow almost unnoticed. Many years ago the Frenchman Jean-Marie Balestrc saw what was happentng and said it he became President of FISA he would puss stop to it . At the time he was the head of the French Sporting Authority, and subsequently he did become PISA President. Since that day he has waged open warfare with the FOCA to prevent any further filtering away of control from the FIA and FISA. and he is still hard at it. even though at may be hidden by smoke-screens and diversions on both sides. Remember that he heads the committee that represents the sport for something like 44 countries throughout the world and ma, thousands of licence holders. Fl.K;A represent ten teams and twenty drivers. the rest are not allowed into the Ecclestone Mosley closed-shop.
Among the many new decisions taken are that no constructor or association of constructors may organise or may be asSociated with the organisation of a Grand Prik. No Gnind Prix may be sold to a motor c. manufacturer in the form of sponsorship. nor may the n.ic of a motor car company be used in the title of a Grand Prix. Similarly sponsors may not monopolise a constructor’s name where official documents are concerned. the constructor’s name must appear. but the sponsor’s name may be associated with it. As an example the cars made in Walsall by Morris Nunn can be called Ensign-Unipart. or Unipart-Ensign but not simply a Formula One Unipart and Frank Williams cannot refer officially to his cars as Sa.udia-Leyland. he ant put the recognised constructor’s namc in there somewhere. On a long term, some proposals for a new Formula have been announced in which the desire is that efficient rather than powerful engines will result. At the moment the engine designers strive to get the maximum b.h.p, from the permitted maximum capacity of 3-litres or 11/2-litres if supercharged, regardless of efficiency as regards fuel consumption, other than the practical one of being able to carry sufficient petrol to do the race non-stop. For a long while now Keith Duckworth of Cosworth Engineering has been “banging-on” about a fuel-flow Formula to encourage the design of efficient engine,. Basically, ha has calculated the amount of fuel needed per second to produce 430 b.h.p. and hc has designed a valve that will limit the flow of fuel to this figure. It is up to thc engine designer to decide how best to usc that quantity per second to obtain the maximum power. Duckworth says that any designer worth his salt should get 430 b.h.p. and a clever one might get 450 b.h.p., but at no time would the Duckworth Valve allow more than the fixed quantity of fuel per second to pass into the engine. Ford looked over his shoulder and said they
thought it was a sensible suggestion and it had their backing. Now the FISA have started to think along these lines, an all Duckworth’s “banging-on” has been
worthwhile. The general opinion seems to be that 500 b.h.p. would be a better aim and from 1983, with a four-year option, a fuel-flow Formula will comc into being. Details are yet to be finalised, but the official wording says “Control of constunption and orientation in the direction of a fuel flow meter”. This will leave the size or configuration of the engine open to the indis,idual engine designer and already Duckworth has visualised a turbo-charged Cosworth DIN of about 31/2-litres, not to produce 900 b.h.p. at the cost of 1 m.p.g.. as it could do. but 450 b.h.p. at 15 m.p.g., by concentrating on engine efficiency by restricting the flow of fuel into the engine. In passing thc FISA have banned until further notice 2-stroke engines, Wankel engines, Diesel engines and turbine engines from Formula One, as from January 1st, 1981. The have also banned 4-wheel-drive and cars with more than 4 wheels from Formula One, though I an not sure why. Another subject that has been worrying the rule makers is the tendency mu various technical reasons to move the driver in a Formula One car further and further forwards. It at felt that driver protection from the front is insufficient, and when you look at the Alfa Romeo Tips 179 without thc fibreglass nose-cowl you think they may be right. The pedals are ahead of the front wheels and than is nothing in front of them except fibreglass. The FISA has put up a prize of 05,000 for the team who produce the best solution for a stronger footwell area by mid-summer, the dccision as to which is the best will bc made by a small technical committee. I can’t really see ma, teams making an effort to win the prize, for most of them spend 115,000 before you and I have had breakfast. lilt was 10.000.000 they might rush to their drawing boards.
Finally. one popular decision that was taken was ta limit the Formula One season to February to October. with a four-month break from mid-October to mid-February. Everyone seemed In agree that Formula One racing all round the dock was more than designers. engineers. mechanics. and team-members could stand and a break was essential. Anyone who was on the Jumbo jet bringing about 250 team members back from Watkins Glen last year will apprcciate this move. The reaction of everyone to the realisation that the 1979 season had finally ended was one of total exhaustion. Everyone just flaked-out, even the most vociferous pany-goer or rabble-rouser was stretched out sound asleep before he had consumed his first tift of beer! I’m sure this FISA decision will be popular among the workers vvho maintain the pace of Formula One, even ills will not be popular among the money-grabbers and wheeler-dealers. — D.S. J.