The Formula One Scene

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The Tyrrell ban

A strong wind has been blowing through the world of Formula One recently, a wind called “discipline” and it is not before its time. The biggest upset has been the banning of Team Tyrrell from further participation in this year’s World Championship events and the withdrawal of all their points gained in the Drivers’ Championship and the Manufacturers’ Championship. This is as the result of an investigation into one of the Tyrrell cars following Martin Brundle’s fine second place in the Detroit Grand Prix. Briefly, this suggested that Tyrrell 012 had been running under the weight limit for the major part of the race, a fact that could not be proved, and equally could not be disproved. It involved a rubber water bag fitted inside the monocoque which was said to contain water for a water-injection system that Tyrrell was using on his Cosworth DFY engines and which was topped up at a pit stop just before the end of the race. The water in the bag at the end of the race was found to contain certain impurities, suggesting power-boosting additives, but more serious, the rubber bag contained a large quantity of lead balls lying loosely in the bottom and which could have been added with the water at the pit stop. It was claimed to be ballast to ensure that the Tyrrell 012 was above the 540 kgs minimum weight limit. Lead is permitted for the use of bringing a car up to the limit, but it must be firmly fixed and must be such that if necessary, scrutineers seals may be fixed to it. There is no way a seal can be fixed to a lot of lead balls swilling about in a rubber tank. There were many more detail transgressions of the rules, but almost every car in Formula One can probably be challenged on some minor detail, just as you or I can be shown to be breaking some detail law whenever we set off in our Rolls Royce or our Morris Minor.

After a lot of blustering and time wasting, to say nothing of expense, involving an International Court of Appeal and masses of “small print” work by the legal profession, the final outcome is that Ken Tyrrell and Team Tyrrell have been accused of cheating and the penalty imposed is a ban from the World Championship events for the rest of the year. Now anyone close to the pit and paddock of Formula One knows that lots of teams have cheated over the years, but they have kept a low profile and got away with it. Other teams have flagrantly ignored certain rules, like having the name of the driver on the car, but such things have been ignored. If cheating or rule-bending was all that Ken Tyrrell had been guilty of I suggest that he would have got off with a caution and a slap on the wrist, but ever since the first turbocharged engine began to make its presence felt he has been mouthing-off and putting in formal protests about turbochargers being additional power producing engines and about teams using illegal petrol. He has opposed certain rule changes when everyone else has been in agreement, and has caused embarrassment to his fellow constructors by attending a FISA/FOCA meeting when he was not invited. In other words, he has not kept a low-profile, exactly the opposite in fact, which has made him very unpopular with a lot of people. In recent times ELF have felt forced to withdraw his free supplies of petrol and oil, and Renault have refused him the opportunity to use their turbocharged V6 engine, and BMW have conveniently avoided getting involved with his team. He has found little sympathy among the inner sanctums of the world of Formula One, and he must know why, even if the outside world does not.

So there were no Tyrrell entries accepted for the recent Italian Grand Prix at Monza, and there were no unsupercharged or unturbocharged 3-litre-engined cars in the entry, for the first time since the start of the present Formula in 1966, and for the first time there were no Cosworth DFV or DFY engines since their appearance at the Dutch Grand Prix in 1967. What has happened is that we are now in a new Formula One without anyone realising it. When the Formula One rules were announced for 1966 they limited unblown engines to 3,000 cc and blown engines to 1,500 cc. For too long the Cosworth V8 of 3,000 cc dominated the scene, and now the pendulum has swung and it is the blown 1,500 cc engine that is dominant and with the demise of the Tyrrell team the 1,500 cc engine rule has taken over completely. Whether your 1,500 cc engine has forced induction from a mechanically driven supercharger. or an exhaust driven turbocharger makes no blown 1,500 cc is the end result, so we can now consider that we are in the new Formula of “blown fifteen hundreds”. That it is a very healthy state of affairs is shown by the variety of engines taking part in Formula One, with Renault, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Honda, Porsche, BMW and Hart engines powering various chassis constructions and all giving sufficient horsepower to make Formula One very exciting and the Formula One cars very exacting to drive, especially if you are near the front of the starting grid.

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The Senna affair

Ambitious drivers are always a problem, but without them Formula One would be a very dull “old ladies tea party”. Without doubt Ayrton Senna, whose real name is Ayrton Senna da Silva, has great ability and a good future as a Formula One racing driver, which is why the Toleman team signed him up to drew their TG184 car, which he has done with impressive results. Although his contract with Toleman was for three years they did not bind him down, and inserted a “let out” clause if he wanted to leave and go to another team. It would appear that he has been badly mismanaged by his business and legal associates, with the result that the Toleman team suspended him from driving for them at Monza. At the previous race Team Lotus announced that they had signed up Senna for the 1985 season and it turned out that neither they nor Senna had respected his current contract requirements with Toleman. A simple case of bad manners and lack of discipline, so prevalent in Formula One since the advent of outside sponsorship and big business becoming involved. One of the things that got up the nose of the Toleman team was the Team Lotus press release, itself a monument of journalistic folly. which said rather imperiously: “…He (Senna) will, of course, continue to drive for Toleman for the rest of the season…” The reply from Toleman was: “The Toleman team do not appreciate the press release from Lotus stating that Senna will, of course, continue to drive for Toleman for the rest of the season”. The upshot was a disciplinary action against Senna, standing him down from the Monza pre-race testing and then withdrawing him from the entry list and substituting Stefan Johansson in his place. The Toleman team are trying to keep Senna, for they realise the folly of having a driver in the team who would really prefer to be somewhere else, but they quite rightly have taken a very po-faced view of the manner in which the business with Senna has been conducted, and are backing it up with some heavy legal action relative to the existing contract. If they had not done this it would be an admission that contracts are waste of time.

Who was it who said, “A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s, written on?”

Porsche and Formula One

I ant probably biased sat Ron Dennis and John Barnard will say! don’t understand, hut I think that the Research & Development de,jnient tat the Porsche factory have dominated the Formula One scene to the way they have with most things to which they have turned their attention. I am not discredii mg McLaren International, nor their drivers Alain Prost and Niki Lauda, but if Brabham, Williams or Lotus had been smart enough to get Porsche to build an engine for them the outcome could have been the same. But that is ism to say that it would have been the same if Osella. RAM or ATS had used Porsche expertise. Full marks must go to Ron Dennis for approaching Porsche to ask if tney could design and build a Formula One engine for his new team, and to John Barnard for providing the chassis in which to install it, and to the rest of the McLaren team for making the whole thing so successful. With Marlboro backing supporting the main structure of the team. Dennis needed more backing to finance the engine project, for Porsche are an engineering business firm anti utilising the knowledge and expertise of their research and development centre at Weissach costs a lot of money. This he found from the sympathetic Mansour Oieh, the head ol Techniques d’Avant Garde, Or TAG is it is known„ which is a Paris based firm of Saudi Arabian origins who deal in technology outside the Kingdom. In a strictly business arrangement Dennis and TAG formed the foss TAO TURBO ENGINES which became responsible financially for the Porsche Formula One engine. and for ant’ fat nor use of the engine, allowing McLaren International the exclusive use ail the engine, code-mimed PO-TTE, Which is selfexplanatory. For a time it was thought that other teams might be Offered the engine for 1985, hut a recent announcement by TAG TURBO ENGINES has stated that next year will see the exclusive use still reserve(

I for NIcLaren International. At the anne ol writing the Porsche huilt engine has powered the McLaren MP4•2 cars to 10 wins out of 14 races, which has secured McLaren International the FISA Manufacturers ChampionshM Its a huge rnargin over Ferrari, Renault and all the others and throughout the season it has been vet). oty ; vants mat taere are no weak links in the McLaren team. Whatever aspect you attek allacy are strong. Cars, .drivers, management. PreParat”’ sponsorship, appearance. PlatheitY. and ab”: ael;lh’ereenageirMt aorteherill=s1s:Z stro, lacking Sn at least one department bane long maintained that a Formula no each one to a ball its a juggling ;lat. it means ha2 see esghs so site air anal ‘tat a:: t° first of all have rise right two in vtitir hands when the music stops, and furthermore to know in ,which order the other eight are coming down. This season has shown R. Dennis to be a master juggler, and his team seem able to tell hint whess the music is about to stop, and to tell him its which order the eight airborne balls arc. You can look at the niggler its :Anne

tea., and see illin at:: I:’ dnes ite alWaYs have the wrong pair ot balls us his hands, but when he does get the right ones he does not know it. When Piquet is going for a pole-position time you can see the Brabham team juggler at work and he cats anticipate the music stopping, and that’s when Piquet gets pole. Seven times this season is not luck. If Ron Dennis drops all the balls in the last two races of the season, which is very unlikely, no one will blame him. As a colleague said, “Sometimes I get the impression that Dennis has eleven balls!” The Mansell Affair: another disciplinary raetion taken b.Vthe controlling body of the sport was to fine Nigel Mansell on thousand dollars for some dodgy driving at the start of tly Detroit Gr.. I. Will not call it dangerous driving; for driving a Fortnula One ear must be dangerous at all times if you are out m win, but it certainly was dodgy, if not a bit stupid. He forced his Lotus-Renault .through an taint ‘talc “closing gap” made by ,Prqst and Piquet who were ahead of him. The result W3S that the Lotus hit the Brabham and a multiple shunt occurred at the front of the field as they left the starting grid. Luckily no-one .s hurt, but it meant • a re-start to the race and though Mansell went toe Cotirt cif Appeal, the fine remained and it was pointed out very forcibly that he had made a foolish manoeuvre bearing in mind the layout of the Detroit track which turns left almost immediatelv after the start. Honing • gone through the legal motions and lost, Mansell has had the good grace to accept the reprimand, pay the line, and make no further waves, so the whole affair is over and done With .d all is back 1,, square one. Nigel Mansell can look forward to next year with great interest and enthusiasm, !Or

he has now Signed a contract to drive for the Williams-Honda team in 1985 and I wish him luck, for he is a hard trier and his heart is in the right place. his only trouble being that he lacks the ultimate skill and finesse of a Prost or a Piquet, to go with his bravery and enthusiasm. • • •

Renault engines: Sadly, the Renault scam will point. out .that it was they who pioneered the use of turbocharged 1500 cc engines, and did all the early development work with the KKK company of Germany. Then Ferrari joined in and overtook them, profiting from the early development work, followed by BMW, and finally Porsche quite clearly got. sj,cial treatment frosts KKK, which incensed Renault and they went off to Garrett AiResearch of Calilbrnia for their turbocharger units, While still being competitive, the Renault Vs engine does not have ass advantage over its rivals, but the new all-alloy 1984 version has kept its end up well. To all .intents and purposes, and as Ian as can he managed, theengines hired Out to Lotus are identical to the works engines. At first this seemed unlikely. but over the season the Lotus 95T has never been lacking in power and de Angelis and Mansell have had better results than Warwick and Tambay with the works Renaults, all of which means that Lotus have been a very satisfied customer. So much so that they have renewed their agreement for the supply of the French V6 ‘engine to Team Lotus for another three years, so the name Lot:Its-Renault will continue to figure strongly in the Formula One scene.

The same happy State of affairs cannot be seen as regardsthe Ligier team, for their Renault-powered cars have barely been second league runners. No doubt the team would blame the engines. but it is not as simple as that and Renault are probably wishing they had not agreed to supply them with engines. Recently Ken Tyrrell asked Renault if he.could have their engines Itir his 1985 team, but the simple answer was “No” — I don’t think they even bothered to say “sorry”! — D.S. J.

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