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Schmidt's F1 blog: It's all a question of marketing

Schmidt's F1 blog
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S or two weeks I've been commuting between two worlds. First Formula 1 in Montreal, then Le Mans, and now Formula 1 again in Spielberg. A comparison is not difficult. Let's leave out the special atmosphere of Le Mans and concentrate on the cars and the races. The response from international criticism is clear. The WEC is great, Formula 1 is a flop. The reader's comments read similarly.

Hybrid technology top in Le Mans, a flop in Formula 1

But is that fair? Things that are demonized in Formula 1 are tolerated in the WEC. For example the noise. Have you ever heard of an Audi R18 e-tron quattro? They don't hear anything. It appears in a whisper as if from nowhere and is gone just as quickly. The Porsche 919 Hybrid is a bit louder, but is also below the noise level of Formula 1. No wonder. The drive unit is based on the same principle. Only the Toyota TS040 Hybrid makes more riot. It's just a naturally aspirated V8 engine with Kers.

Keyword hybrid. At Le Mans that's a big draw. A quota killer in Formula 1. Flow rate limitation and efficiency are an integral part of both series. Only with one it doesn't bother anyone, with the other everyone gets upset. The WEC regulations are even more complicated than those of Formula 1. I have never read anywhere that anyone complains about them.

The apparent contradiction clears up quickly. The WEC sells its technology positively. In Formula 1, the chief marketer has already criticized the sound when a wheel hadn't even turned. This created a negative mood from the start. System performance is communicated relatively openly in the WEC. Formula 1 is again playing its typically stupid games and keeping them as secret as the number combination for the safe of the US currency reserves. Not even the drivers find out from their engineers how much horsepower their engines have. If you want to buy people, you have to offer a little more than the usual PR propaganda. Ferrari has not even shown a photo of its engine to this day.

Biggest Formula 1 error is in the regulations

The biggest mistake that Formula 1 made is in the regulations. At the same time as the new engines came drastic aerodynamic restrictions. And hard concrete tires from Pirelli. And 50 kilograms on top. That made the cars four seconds slower. That gave the impression thatnew engines are to blame for the disappointing lap times. And because they sound like lawnmowers, the fan base immediately switched to defensive stance.

In the WEC it was the other way around. Porsche and Audi have set new Le Mans records there for the second year running. The cars are so fast that the rulers are already thinking about braking them. Formula 1 now wants to go the opposite way. A laudable goal. The question is whether the measures for 2017 will not come too late. Once inside people's minds, it's very difficult to get out.


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