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Recap & Analysis

  • I know what let's change F1 to 1F

    I doubt I'm going to get much in the way of shock and surprise when I announce this is a rant about the FIA.

    Formula One wing mirrors - reflective devices that aid the driver in seeing to the rear and side outside their peripheral vision - are to be banned. Pretty inconspicuous things, you'd have thought. Well on a mid-season whim the FIA have decided to ban (from the Spanish Grand Prix) what are known as "outboard" wing mirrors.

    An outboard wing mirror is situated on the outer edge of the sidepod, rather than the more traditional position that is on the side of the cockpit. Currently the paddock is split down the middle, six teams have mirrors outboard, and six "onboard"; with McLaren (onboarders) testing outboard mirrors as recently as Friday in Australia.

    Being located further away from the driver arguably they sacrifice driver visibility for aerodynamic gain. A mirror in the already turbulent wake of the front wheel can be advantageous to mounting it on the cockpit where it disturbs the airflow to the rear wing.

    But that isn't my gripe.

    Seemingly it was Pedro de la Rosa's gross inability to get out of other drivers way in Australia that has produced this kneejerk reaction.

    "Everyone has got a problem with mirrors. The reality is that the mirrors on the sidepods, they give you very small vision of what is happening behind and they vibrate a lot so you see very little."

    Pedro de la Rosa

    That may be the case Pedro, but similar things have been said about onboard mirrors also. Does anyone really expect the drivers won't use the pathetic F1 mirrors as an excuse for the fact they don't actually care what's behind them 99.8% of the time?

    Outboard mirrors are nothing new to Formula One. The 2006 Ferrari 248 was the first car that adopted them. Yes that would be four years ago!

    Sure there have been grumbles before about an inability to see exactly where a car behind is, and a number of crashes too.There is a good case that outboard mirrors need to be outlawed, but on a whim after 2 rounds of a 19 round season? Come on.

    If there was a problem it should have been identified and sorted out in the 2010 regulations, if it wasn't clearly identified before three weeks ago, considering they've been in existence over 3 years, should it really be rushed through like this?

    The FIA have been tooting from the rafters about cutting costs and yet they impose whimsical regulation changes at a moments notice. It begs the question does the right hand know what the left hand is doing?

    Anyone arguing this is the same as the diffuser issue is off base. That was a clarification of existing rules about the size and shape of the hole in the diffuser that was intended to fit the starter, which some teams had exploited for aerodynamic gain.

    Perhaps if I were chief dogsbody at the FIA I'd get a phone call from some irate pen pusher who'd got out of bed on the wrong side that morning, and said he didn't like the outboard "F" in F1. He'd say for clarity that the sport is first, the best, it should become "1F".

    You know what I'd tell him? Where to get off.

Tagged with...
  • outboard wing mirror
  • Pedro de la Rosa
  • Spanish GP 2010
  • Australian GP 2010
  • FIA
  • 2010 Season
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  • What color is Ferrari?
  • Simon Worth's avatar
    Simon Worth
    6:24pm Wed, 7th April 2010

    I agree Richard, I really don't understand the need to ban outboarders 2 races into the season. I can remember drivers using the lack of vision from their mirrors as excuses for crashes or taking someone off back in the 1980's. If they're serious about it surely the FIA would stipulate a minimum size for the mirrors also. Surely if the drivers were serious about the lack of rear vision then they would have spoken out about it together.

    They do make some odd decisions don't they? I can't understand why they chose to reduce mechanical grip by reducing the width of the front tyres. Surely if you want to negate the affect of dirty air on a car following another car is to increase mechanical grip.

Red Bull RB5 on Monaco 2009 - © Red Bull/Getty

Red Bull introdced their double diffuser in Monaco © Red Bull/Getty

Position Driver Team Time
1 J Button McLaren 1:33:36.531
2 R Kubica Renault +12 secs
3 F Massa Ferrari +14.4 secs
4 F Alonso Ferrari +16.3 secs
5 N Rosberg Mercedes +16.6 secs
6 L Hamilton McLaren +29.8 secs
7 V Liuzzi Force India +59.8 secs
8 R Barrichello Williams +60.5 secs
9 M Webber Red Bull +67.3 secs
10 M Schumacher Mercedes +69.3 secs
11 J Alguersuari Toro Rosso +71.3 secs
12 P De la Rosa BMW Sauber +74 secs
13 H Kovalainen Lotus +2 laps
14 K Chandhok HRT +5 laps
DNF T Glock Virgin +17 laps
DNF L Di Grassi Virgin +30 laps
DNF S Vettel Red Bull +31 laps
DNF A Sutil Force India +45 laps
DNF V Petrov Renault +45 laps
DNF B Senna HRT +50 laps
DNF S Buemi Toro Rosso +58 laps
DNF N Hulkenberg Williams +58 laps
DNF K Kobayashi BMW Sauber +58 laps
DNF J Trulli Lotus +58 laps