Tue 25 Mar 2008
Imagine someone asks you to draw a racing car, just gives you a blank piece of paper and a pencil - what would be the first thing you’d draw?
Me, I’d probably start at the nose and do a nice sweeping line back then a little dip to symbolise the cockpit (they have raised sides now, but I’m kinda old fashioned!), before rising up to the airbox and then sloping back down over the engine cover to the rear wing. That wing would be next before adding in the wheels and a line along the floor of the car.
An adventurous sort may try to add on little wings and flaps which of course real F1 cars feature but are hard to replicate from memory.
Only at this point have I thought about maybe adding a helmet in the cockpit to show that that’s where the driver would go - and it would seem the real-life F1 designers are much the same as us mere mortals.
A car of any description is of absolutely no use without someone to drive it - an F1 car even more so. What would be the point in spending millions of pounds designing and developing something that’s going to sit still without someone to pilot it?
Red Bull’s Adrian Newey has a reputation of being particularly inconsiderate when it comes to driver comfort, with his previous designs often ending up horrible places to be even for only a couple of hours during a grand prix. The space left for the driver is often too hot, too short and too narrow for him to be able to comfortably do his job to the best of his ability.
As the races head off into more and more exotic climates, surely the drivers should come into the equation a bit earlier in the design process. From a designers point of view, I would imagine they are too busy concentrating on the rulebook and how to exploit it to be bothered by other human beings and their complaints!
This has all come to our attention this weekend when Lewis Hamilton complained that his drinks bottle had failed so he was unable to take on fluid during probably the hottest race of the year. This attracted a lot of attention as it was broadcast live on ITV, and has been repeated on several websites.
The BMW drivers are apparently also reporting issues with their drinks bottles - it would seem that the water inside is becoming too hot to drink which means that having the system at all is a bit of a waste of time. It’s a strange complaint that I don’t think I’ve heard before from any other team - this has attracted a little bit of coverage, mainly on sidepodcast.
Finally, on his own blog David Coulthard has mentioned that his drinks bottle failed on the very first lap too - this has received no media coverage at all!
When Hamilton mentioned it on ITV, it was as if it was a rare occurence and perhaps in his F1 career it has indeed been a rare thing - but from reports coming out of other teams it would appear this is an all too common thing.
Surely the teams should be looking into this with a view that it can’t possibly be good for the drivers to endure such extremes of heat without any chance of rehydration?