Honda website
Honda website

NOVEMBER 16, 2000

Traction control could be the start of structured F1 change

A program of structured change leading to progressively revised F1 technical regulations could be prompted by the reintroduction of traction control next season. That's the guardedly optimistic view of Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn who is anxious to capitalize on what he recognizes as a window of cooperation between the F1 teams which was reflected by their unanimous decision to vote in favor of this very specific electronic driver aid at last week's F1 technical working group meeting.

Those experienced in the vagaries of F1 inwardly know just what a remarkable state of affairs that unanimity really was. All too frequently in the past the technical working group has caused a log-jam in terms of rule development, simply because getting 11 Formula 1 team principals to agree on the time of the day would be a challenging task even if they were not desperately trying to fight their individual team's corner when it comes to protecting a competitive advantage.

That said, in reality, there is probably no other way of practically operating the sport according to Brawn. Despite these apparent anomalies, in his view the F1 technical working group does a pretty good job battling its way towards a sometimes rocky consensus.

Over the next five years Brawn would like to see F1 rules gradually evolve to require cars with reduced aerodynamic downforce, but more mechanical grip, something which, in his view, ideally calls for the reintroduction of slick tires. Yet he defends FIA president Max Mosley for introducing grooved tires on the basis that this was the only way the governing body could influence the level of adhesion developed by the cars while the competing teams were in disagreement about an overall strategy.

Taking a wider view, Brawn sees a case for encouraging more, rather than less, electronic and associated technology in F1. "We are entering an era where the major car makers are investing huge amounts of money in F1 and everybody realizes that not all of them can win," he reminds us.

"Obviously it is extremely important to win on a Sunday afternoon, but if we can also provide a situation where F1 generates really worthwhile technical feed-back to the car companies, they might find this just as important and valuable as winning races. That could help everybody involved."