Tuesday, March 8, 2011

...And In It's 51st Year, Bernie, Saddened By A Lack Of Passing Brought Forth A Deluge

After a couple of days of various Twitter conversations on the subject I figured I'd mention it here so that all 1.7 of you who visit this little corner of the Interwebs could catch up on the goings on.

Tamara Ecclestone*
Bernie Ecclestone, who understands that controversy equals coverage equals interest equals revenue, has declared that not only could there be artificial "rain" but that F1 leadership has been discussing it and some tracks have already been reviewed for adding this "feature".

Tim may have a different view on this, but I see it coming down to what you think Formula One is ultimately about.  We know it's about drivers' skill, team management, constructor performance, performance of team strategy, politics, a touch of fortune and a decent set of "attachments" (as David Hobbes would put it). 

The question is, "Does performance of Team Strategy, as an element of competition mean "Some elements of Team Strategy" or "All elements of Team Strategy"?

The answer to that question is your answer to whether there should be artificial rain or not.

I can go either way with it.  If you want to test all competitive aspects of the different teams, thus providing more Nico Hulkenberg moments, then you would want to see all challenge types represented in every (or almost every) race.

It would be the same concept as the different components in a Motocross track.  High jumps, burms, washboard sections, all artificially put in place to test the different skills of the racers, builds of the bikes, and strategy of attacking the course.  These are not naturally occurring configurations nor do they appear in only some tracks based on the whim of nature.

On the other hand, you could argue that the track design itself is the extent of the "core" driver/team test and that rain pushes that test to the extreme but it is not a core component.   You could also argue that at no time do burms and jumps and hills spontaneously appear and go away.

F1 already has many artificial challenges incorporated in the competition.  Whether it be engine re-use, forced tire changes, or eyebrow enhancements.  They exist to increase competition and spur innovation.

Rain occurs so infrequently that it's probably not high on the cost/benefit chart to dump a lot of research into the best rain "things".   If they knew it would rain a lot more, however, there might be a reason to see a bunch of new rain "tech".   That alone could be worth it.

In the end, for me, I could go either way, but if it happens, it must:
  • be completely randomized via computer program.
  • be programmed such that no one would know when it was coming up to 15 minutes before the event.
  • be programmed with a set number of events occurring across the entire season but not numbered by race.
  • last for a random period weighted toward 20 minute averages but possibly lasting twice that.
  • vary in intensity but the intensity can be "forecast" via "cloud factor" with an error rate of 10% such as to encourage teams to take certain risks regarding tire types and pit stops. Cloud factor numbers would be available from the formation lap and they could change as well, leading to or removing the possibility of rain.
Basically, simulate the entire experience with the only "artificial" aspect of it being that it happens much more often.  Anything outside of that and we'll be looking at a scenario where Flavio asks Piquet to urinate on the chicane after Alonzo goes by.

*Because I love you, dear readers. 


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