Participating: Max Mosley (FIA President), Henri Richard (AMD Executive Vice President).
First of all thank you all very much for coming. The purpose of this brief press conference today is to announce the appointment of AMD, represented here by
Mr. Henri Richard, as the official technology partners of the FIA. This is, for us, a very significant matter because they have already worked with us on the FIA/AMD survey which I think you're familiar with in principle, because some of the results have been released. But the full, raw data is now available on a compact disc for anybody who wants it, in the press centre and on our web site.
If I could just remind you, the main results of that survey were that 94 percent of our fans wanted more overtaking; 88 percent said that showcasing the skills of the drivers is the most essential aspect of Formula One; 80 percent agreed that advanced technology sets F1 apart, so the technology was important; 74 percent wanted more emphasis on driver skill; and 64 percent – a surprising amount – look forward to the technical innovations each season.
Now that is extremely important information for us because it has enabled us to target the regulation changes for 2008 in a much more efficient way. They will now reflect more accurately the views of the millions of fans worldwide than they would otherwise have done, based on more than 93,000 people filling in a very detailed questionnaire.
For that we are very, very grateful to AMD, and that was the first stage of our partnership. But a more important aspect of the partnership is about to begin. We have an issue in Formula One with overtaking. We didn't
realize how important that was to the fans until recently. There was a theory that some people like basketball with lots of goals, some like football with few goals. Maybe overtaking wasn't so important, but 94 percent of the fans say that it is.
Now there have been various attempts to solve the problem which is that the car behind needs to be something like two seconds a lap faster, on the average circuit, before it can overtake the car in front. The only way to solve that problem is some really original thinking. We first attempted to solve the problem by saying ‘well, we will run some simulations and see what we do to the downforce to make overtaking possible' and the answer was 90 percent less downforce, much much bigger wheels and
tires. But I think everyone agrees that 90 percent less downforce, even with bigger wheels and
tires, would make the cars too slow - too slow compared to other forms of single seater motor racing, and therefore we would either have to change everything worldwide or find another solution.
Finding another solution means somebody has got to do something really clever and what AMD have done is make available to us an immensely powerful computer – it will be one of the most powerful in the world – which will enable us to run, using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), a number of
programs which will be the equivalent to turning up here with two Formula One cars and a vast number of people who can make bits of pieces for you and trying all the different bits and pieces and getting two drivers to run round in different configurations, one against the other.
All of that we are going to be able to do on a computer, all of that we are going to be able to do before the end of the year so we that will be able to publish these regulations before the end of the year.
We think we know what to do. We have to validate it and then we have to optimize it and the calculating power to do that is immense. That's what AMD are making available to us and we are very grateful.
So that is the purpose of today's meeting and I'm going to ask Henri Richard to say a few words to you in a moment. Then if everybody's interested I can tell you where we've got to on our thinking about Formula One regulations for 2008, following the consultation period we have had since the beginning of July, but more of that in a moment. Henri Richard.
Henri Richard: Thank you Max. Well, first I want to thank you for being here, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the sport of Formula One, and to help the FIA in this
Endeavour. As some of you may know, AMD has been involved in Formula One since 2002. We are a micro-processor company; we're all about bringing technology and innovation to the masses.
And what we have discovered with our involvement with Formula One is that one of the highest technology sports in the world where real information technology is now at the centre of performance, was not well understood by the fan base. You know, 20 years ago, the last people that would leave the pits were the mechanics. The reality is that today the last people that leave the pits are the software engineers and the hardware engineers. And that's not well understood in the market. We are all about bringing innovation and new micro-processor technology to the masses and we felt there was a huge opportunity to bring the customer base, the fan base, closer to the reality of the technology.
About a year ago Max and I were together and we were thinking about how could we do this? Well, one way was of course to sponsor this survey and help find out what was really important to the fans. Furthermore, we then
realized that there were some challenges that the FIA was facing in order to bring new regulations and those challenges were actually easier to solve in the virtual world of computing and computational fluid dynamics than in the real world and so we decided to make available our 64 bit technology to the FIA in order to help them in that
Endeavour, and here we are.
Thank you very much, thank you Henri. Well, perhaps it would be interesting if I quickly go through the new thinking on Formula One. As you know, we sent out a complete set of regulations at the beginning of July. And very soon after that had been circulated to the World Council, which was done in June, we got the results of the survey so we had had to rethink the regulations in the light of that survey. We've also talked, individually, to several Formula One teams and a number of other stakeholders, and quite recently collectively to the Formula One teams, so we've had input from them.
And where we are now, is, I think getting really quite close to knowing what we're really going to do.
Quickly and I hope briefly: on the aerodynamics, we are going to limit downforce for the first time by quantity rather than by fixing bodywork dimensions and hoping we get the downforce right. In other words, we are going to say the car must never have more than N thousand newtons of downforce in any circumstances. You can work on the drag but you can't exceed that downforce.
Now that is a fairly dramatic change but the fact that it is necessary is perfectly illustrated by this year where we had new regulations which were devised by the Technical Working Group, by the experts from the teams, with a view to reducing downforce by 25 percent.
Well, what happened was that by the time we got to the beginning of the season most of the 25 percent has been recovered but worse than that, they recover it by putting all sorts of little bits and pieces and little winglets and tabs on the cars which have made the cars even more sensitive to the wake of the car in front, making overtaking even more difficult. So we haven't lost the downforce and we have got an even bigger problem with the overtaking. It is simply the wrong way to go. For the last 38 years the FIA has tried to limit cornering speeds derived from aerodynamics by specifying the dimensions of the cars. We are going to do it in a more logical way in future which is specifying the maximum downforce and that will be the end of the discussion.
In combination with this large downforce (reduction), we already have, as you know, in the regulations, much wider
tires, slicks, more grip. The net result will be that, to achieve the same lap times in 2008 as we anticipate in 2006, we will have in the order of, and this is still very approximate, but in the order of 50 percent of the downforce levels that we currently have. Obviously it varies from circuit to circuit but in the order of magnitude, 50 percent.
Then in combination with measuring the downforce, we will also fit a high grip plank – we still call it the plank – that will be of a very high grip material, that will stop people running the plank on the ground to get round the downforce regulation in ways that technical people among you will see immediately. It is also a safety measure when the cars lose wheels. With some of the new tarmac run-offs, they are not losing speed as fast as they would… with high grip materials they will lose speed very quickly. It was a request from the drivers when I had a meeting with them. Entirely sensible. We will try to do that sooner, but we will definitely do it in 2008.
And then finally, as I have already mentioned, we are doing this very, very significant investigation into overtaking and by the end of the year we're very confident that by the end of the year we will have the problem solved.
Just to explain, just in case anybody's in any doubt, the problem we have at the moment is that the car in front interferes with the aerodynamics of the car behind so the car behind is unable to run closer in the corners, it is unable to do what it has to do to be able to overtake. That problem we believe is soluble and with the aid of these computing facilities for which, thanks to AMD, we think we are going to have the answer. When we've validated the concept and started the process of
optimization, we will then discuss it with any Formula One team that's interested with a view to getting assistance in
optimizing still further the final dimensions. But one must recognize that those teams which have the necessary facilities will be flat out preparing their car for 2006 and one can't expect them to do the work of the federation. That's why it's such a major step for us to get from where we were, which was having to ask the teams' advice on everything to do with aerodynamics to being able to do this ourselves. It's very significant.
On the engine, there's a lot of discussion currently on the V8/V10 equivalence. At the moment, as you know, there is a proposal to keep the V8/V10 equivalence in 2008 and thereafter as a means of providing an inexpensive engine for entry level teams and things of that kind. Increasingly, now, this is making some of the teams uneasy which one can understand and it may be that we end up with no V10 equivalence but a rev-limited V8. This is very much on the agenda for 2008, because is there any point in seeking to run engines faster and faster? Would it not be more rational to limit them, at say, 18,000rpm. Then any work on the engine would be looking for great efficiency in that rev range, rather than always trying to go faster and faster. We're going to see 20,000 rpm next year. This is not a region in which it is likely that road cars will every wish to operate, because it is so inefficient, so we're looking at that very carefully.
We are also looking closely at introducing hybrid technology into Formula One. I think there's widespread agreement for that among the manufacturers. Briefly, that would involve a device on the car which would accumulate energy while the brakes were on and release that energy whenever the driver wished, on the next straight. What we're looking at the moment is something in the order of 50 to 60 kilos weight for the system, 60 horsepower for five seconds on the following straight, so several times a lap.
And that, of course, is the future of road cars because everyone knows that eventually, when you put your brakes on in a road car all the energy will be saved, it will not be dissipated in heat into the atmosphere as it is at the moment and will then be deployed when you need it again for the car to roll forward. That is the future with road cars, it's a long way in the future but it's coming. It is entirely appropriate that performance from Formula One should come not so much from running engines incredibly fast but from running engines at racing speeds, the sort of speeds we're used to now, but the bonus, the extra power coming from the ability to recover it when the car is braking and use it again when the car is on the next straight.
I think what you can say about the use of hybrid technology in Formula One is that the only debate is when? We would like to see it in 2008; some manufacturers say that's too soon. It's a matter under discussion at the moment.
The transmissions. It's been suggested to us that the sporty car of the future won't have a manual gear change, it will have a paddle change, and I think that's probably true, so we're prepared to go along with a paddle change to the transmission but we want standard internals for the gearboxes, so that we don't have this absurd situation where each year a fortune is spent making the gears a little bit lighter, a little bit thinner, new gearbox, several million dollars. Nobody sees any of this, nobody gets any benefit, the public get nothing from it at all and it just costs a fortune. The top teams are changing the ratios now every 400kms, because that's the life of the ratios. We want standard ratios, which they make themselves but we give them minimum size, minimum dimensions, minimum strength. Gearboxes last much longer.
The brakes. There was a proposal to have standard brakes for cost reasons. It was pointed out to us by one of the big brake manufacturers that with the new, much bigger wheels, we've got room to fit much bigger brakes inside the wheel. That means the cost of the brakes will come down dramatically. So that's a problem that really is self-solving if we go that way with the wheels. Therefore brakes will be free.
And finally, on the tires, all the tire dimensions and things like that are in the regulations you've seen a long time ago, but the new technology that we will allow and indeed encourage with the
tires is active tire pressures. That would have safety implications in Formula One, that's to say the
tire could be maintained at a given a pressure at all times, actively. That has great safety implications for Formula One because we wouldn't lose pressure when the safety car was out and things of that kind: different times of day, temperatures and so on.
But for road cars that is a fundamental technology that has implications for noise, for performance and also, of course, for safety, fuel economy, all those elements. So that is a technology for the future of road cars. It's quite challenging because if you want to have a system where you're controlling the pressure remotely on a car where you changing the wheel in four seconds then obviously there are mechanical challenges there but we're confident the teams, or the better teams will meet them, by 2008.
Now finally, there are two other things you should be aware of. As you will already have noticed in the proposal at the beginning of July, after the end of the Concorde Agreement there will no longer be a restriction on a team selling its cars or selling any part of its cars, so entry level people will simply be able to buy a car from a big team and/or part of a car and that will be a completely private matter between the various teams and that will be possible after 2008. That will help new teams come in.
We are looking at all elements – everything we're doing – with a view to reducing costs because the costs are currently too high and they are getting higher every year. Particularly for entry level teams it's a big problem.
And then finally and perhaps most importantly in the long term, we are going to set up a commission for future technology, and this isn't just for Formula One, it's for all of motorsport. We will invite each major manufacturer to send one member to this commission, somebody not from motorsport but from the future R&D department of the company and also invite them if they wish to nominate an academic. This group will look at the technology that's coming into the motor industry, in five, in ten and in 15 years time and see which, if any of these new technologies might be incorporated in Formula One. Formula One should be tied into the future of the motor industry, not in the elements that concern driver assistance – obviously the future of the road car is more and more that it will drive itself, less and less will it require a driver – talking longer term, but in the elements concerned with efficiency, fuel consumption, safety, braking, all the safety and efficiency elements. We hope that AMD will play a significant role in that group because the whole future of the car industry, particularly the things that we don't so much want in Formula One – cars that drive themselves and so on – the whole future there is electronics. Electronics is going to solve the problems of congestion, it's going to solve the problems of safety, all of those things are soluble with the sort of computing power that is going to become available. Henri Richard can tell you more about that than I can.
That really concludes a brief outline of where we are at the moment. These regulations will be published before the end of 2005, they will come into force on the first of January, 2008. They will apply to the FIA Formula One World Championship from 2008 onwards and between now and then there will probably be quite a bit more consultation but what I've told you is that we're now quite close to what we're going to end up with. Do you wish to add anything, Henri?
AMD is about bringing ever more complex computing at declining cost to the market. We thought that there was an opportunity by bringing this relationship to a very close partnership to provide insight to the FIA not only for motor sport but also for production cars into what we are thinking about in 2010 and the further timeframe. The computing power that will be available by then at the cost that we're foreseeing will make things that are impossible to dream about today every day technology and that's really the interest of this partnership. I think we're providing some computing power to the FIA to help them in their job today, and for us, we're going to learn where the automotive industry is going and what sort of computing power they are going to need tomorrow based on our ability to innovate in that domain and that's really a win-win situation. We're very fortunate to be part of this
Questions From The Floor
Q. (Mike Doodson) Max, if we look back 15 years to the beginning of your presidency it's rather difficult to have thought then that 15 years hence, you, the great enemy of computer technology will have got into bed – or perhaps I should have said the FIA should have got into bed – with a company like AMD. From a serious point of view, will AMD's partnership with the FIA in any way compromise that feeling that you had then of cutting down the technology on the cars and giving the drivers a greater role in their control and driving?
MM: The answer from our point of view is that nothing has changed in that we still want to stop, in Formula One, the sort of technology that is going to be everyday in road cars: driver aids like ESP, ABS and so on, simply because it's also a driver's championship. There is much work that can now be done with computers on the other side which is the efficiency, the fuel economy, safety and things of that kind. Crash testing; most of the crash tests are actually done on a computer; then it's only later they do it in metal. l can't tell you what a change it is for us to move from not being able to do anything technically unless we finance a little wind tunnel
program ourselves or get a team to do it, to suddenly having available facilities which are at least the equal of any Formula One teams, probably better, where we can do these things ourselves with a very high degree of certainty that what comes out the other end will actually work. It isn't just a guess, it will really work. It sounds, at first sight, as though we've kind of sold our soul to what we didn't want to do but that's not the case. We won't, in Formula One, have technologies which replace the driver. Somebody one day may have a form of motor racing with no drivers and we would be happy to regulate that, but the Formula One World Championship has been for drivers ever since 1950 and we need the driver to stay in control.
One little relevant point which I forgot earlier on is the question of the ECU. Most of the big manufacturers want to keep their own ECU. We would have to have a standard ECU if we want to get rid of traction control. If we don't have a standard ECU we can never completely convince the public or all of you, the media, that we're on top of it and we can make sure they haven't got a dodgy traction control system, hidden in there so there's going to be a choice at a certain point: yes, you can have your own ECU but we've got to give up attempt so get rid of traction control or no, we will have a standard ECU and then we know there's no traction control. For us, it's easier to let them do their own ECUs but traction control is important to the public. That's an ongoing debate which will have to be resolved between now and December.
Q. (Dan Knutson – National Speedsport News) Max, on August 31, you had a meeting with the teams to listen to their proposals for the future of F1. How did that meeting go, what did you think of their proposals and how with did those ideas mesh with the FIA's?
MM: The meeting was very friendly, constructive, helpful and so on, an interesting exchange of views, but to be perfectly frank there aren't any proposals yet from the teams. That's to say we've produced detailed regulations, they haven't actually done that. They've come up with some principles which we listened to with interest and which are not far from ours. Where they mentioned a figure, it's generally speaking been the same as in the regulations we published in July. So they are really more into principles than detail and I don't think any of their principles conflict with ours.
There wasn't really any point of conflict and the only ongoing debate was this thing about the ECU which I mentioned just now which, it's a simple choice. You can let them have the ECU but then we've got to give up with the traction control or vice versa. But I don't think there is any serious issue at debate, there certainly wasn't one on Wednesday with the teams, but I don't think they are in a position to agree detailed rules among themselves. They've been talking for seven months and there aren't any, so one has to assume there are difficulties. But that isn't really our concern. We will go ahead and listen to everybody but in the end we will publish the regulations.
Q. (Matt Bishop – F1 Racing) Max , how will the downforce limit be policed and just as important, how can you convince the teams, media and public that it is being properly policed?
MM: What we're going to do is wheel the car into the famous bridge we use and put weights on it, equal to the maximum downforce you are allowed. And if the plank is touching the bridge at all points, the car is legal and if it's not then it's not. Now that obviously depends on having a single
tire manufacturer which is already in the regulations we circulated and would be done after the cars go into Parc Fermé following the qualifying and so on. But nobody that we've talked to has yet come up with a way of getting round it. Doesn't mean they can't but we're saying to them if you think of something clever tell us before it becomes concrete in the rules but we're pretty sure there isn't a way round it.
Q. (Anne Giuntini – L'Equipe) Don't you think the main problem about the standard ECU is the difference of interests between the teams because TAG is involved, Bosch, Magnetti Marelli? Who will build the constructors of the standard ECU?
MM: We could easily enough put the ECU out to tender. This happens in other forms of racing, there are several forms of racing where there's a standard electronic system but the down side is you're restricting people in a certain way which it's not really our interest to restrict. It's actually better for us if they do it themselves. On the other hand, if we do it we have to give up our long term ambition of abolishing traction control. A lot of people say you could have a system to check, even with the different ECUs and I think that may well be true. The problem we've got is that the team that's losing goes round the paddock saying we're not losing because we're not as clever as them; we've losing because they're cheating. And then they say, you know how they're cheating: inside their ECU they've got a really clever traction control system and the FIA are not clever enough to find it. We had this, if you remember, when traction control, launch control and all these things were prohibited, then when we
legalized it in return for the cheap engines – which incidentally we never got – and various safety things – which we've never received – we freed up traction control and what happened? Cars got stuck on the grid – not all of them but several of them. And it conclusively proved that people weren't running these illegal system. But everybody thought they were. It's like doping in cycling, it may not be happening but people think it's happening and it spoils the sport. So if you can't absolutely demonstrate that there's no traction control and that everybody's the same then you have to say OK, have traction control and I think that's probably where we'll end up. Instinctively, I would prefer to see lots of different ECUs, freedom of technology but I think we've got to
recognize then that's it with traction control. But we'll listen to what everybody has to say.
Q. (Andreas Gröbl – Die Presse) Getting back to what Matt asked you first, wouldn't you have to bring some kind of wind tunnel equipment to the race tracks to actually measure the downforce?
MM: No, because, imagine, you've got the car, it's on the bridge. Let's say, just to make the figures easy, you're allowed 10,000 newtons, about one ton, probably not as much as that, but suppose. You put the ton on the car and it either touches or it doesn't. Now if it touches before the entire ton's on, it's not a problem. It's the team's problem, they're not going to get enough downforce. You've got the ton on and it's not touching then you know that you can have more than a ton of downforce and it still doesn't touch the ground. Therefore it's illegal.
Q. (Andreas Gröbl – Die Presse) And also you mentioned that the computer fluid dynamics were even better than some wind tunnel equipment that the teams could offer you. Would that, in the long term mean that that's end of wind tunnels in general? Because the teams would also be using this technology.
MM: The teams have computational fluid dynamics to determine the models that they then make which they then put in the wind tunnel for testing. What they are trying to do is to make a car that's faster than the other car even by a very small amount. What we are trying to do is to get the two cars to run together with the front one not interfering with the back one so what we are doing is actually a little bit cruder; we can be less precise with the results and still have a big success. Therefore we are able to do the entire thing in a computer, whereas they could design their entire car on a computer but it wouldn't be
optimized to the nth degree so they will go on using their wind tunnels. With our new downforce rule, they will use the wind tunnels to reduce drag but that won't give us the increases in performance that we've been getting from the increase downforce.
Q. (Dom Taylor – F1 Racing) Max, you say that you were surprised to find that fans were interested in technological innovation. But then your argument for standard gearboxes appears to rest on the fact that fans don't care about the technology inside gearboxes. Could you just explain that apparent contradiction?
MM: Yes. What I said was not standard gearbox, I said standard internals and that's not quite the same thing. You see, at the moment, there are differences between the teams with their gearboxes. There are certain teams who have got an incredibly clever gearbox system which effectively allows them seamless gear changes. That sort of technology you could use perfectly well. That doesn't depend on how thin the gear is. What worries us is that they are throwing all this equipment away every 400kms. There would be standard ratios, standard bits and pieces in the gearbox but the technology of the gearbox would still be open to the teams. I think a fan would be very interested if they knew the cutting edge gearboxes work. At the moment, it's all secret. We know about it, but we're not allowed to discuss it. Eventually it will come out and the fans will be fascinated, but you don't need a gearbox where the ratios only last 400kms to use that technology. You could use that technology in a road car. That technology will eventually, probably, find its way into road cars, very interesting when it does. Road cars certainly won't need their ratios changed every few hundred kilometres. So it's going in a more sensible direction. Fundamentally, what we're trying to do is to get rid of things which bring nothing to anybody, no one any benefit, and which nobody knows about. The only people who really know how big the gear ratios are, are the gearbox engineers. Most people, if they saw a Formula One gearbox, would be astonished that you could put more than 900bhp through a thing that's almost like a Swiss watch. But nobody sees it. Nobody knows. It's just the gearbox engineers who have a wonderful time but it costs millions to no purpose.
Q. (Dieter Mencken – The Citizen) – AMD have been involved in Formula One for a few years as a sponsor of a front-running team. Will this deal be continued now that you will be working with the FIA? There could be allegations that some of the data that the FIA find out could be passed on to that leading team. Also, there are rules in place to make it hard for teams entering Formula One who actually have the money to do it. Are the FIA going to do anything to change that?
HR: AMD have been involved in Formula One racing since 2002 with the teams Sauber Petronas and Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. We have a partnership with Sauber that runs until the end of the 2005 season and a partnership with Ferrari that runs until the end of the 2006 season, so yes we will continue to be involved with these teams at least until the end of our current contract. Many people do not
realize that we are actually involved with most of the teams in Formula One but they are associated with us through our sister companies, so we have an involvement right down the grid. There is no question over the security or confidentiality of the data that the FIA will acquire because we will give our computer to the FIA and they will use it independently of us so we won't have the data they gather so we couldn't pass it on to our partner teams even if we wanted to. Our commercial relationships will be kept totally separate to our relationship with the FIA.
MM: It would be very easy for us to go to a department or plant of AMD anywhere in the world and simply use their in-house computer facilities to use our software on but this is not what we're going to do because it would not be 100 per cent secure. Instead what will happen is that AMD will deliver their latest machine to us and we will use it away from everyone else, in secret if you like. We will take it to a secret location and do our research there so that there is no clash of interests. AMD agreed to this without any problem. In response to the second question, the current Concorde Agreement runs until the end of the 2007 season and it says that one of the rules is that you have to be a manufacturer in that you have to build your own car. In our set of rules for 2008 that stipulation has been left out so that current teams will be able to sell their old cars and engines to new teams so that they can enter much more cheaply. As to the $48 million entry bond that new teams have to pay, that regulation is part of the sporting regulations not the technical regulations. If that requirement is put in a new Concorde Agreement then we won't sign it. We put it in when there were too many teams and some were running around 15 seconds a lap slower than the leaders so we had to ensure that only serious entries could compete, but over the past few years we have seen a reduction in numbers down to 10 teams primarily due to cost issues.
Q. (Dieter Mencken – The Citizen) The question comes out muffled.
MM: For 2008 we will make new sporting regulations and new technical regulations and so the clause will definitely be gone. If we wanted to get rid of that clause in 2006 or 2007 then we would have the agreement of all the current teams. The idea has been put to them but thus far they have not agreed to remove it.
Q. (James Allen – ITV) Max, you seem to be converging with the teams on many issues whereas before you appeared to be diverging from them in terms of what your ideals were for the future of the sport. To what extend were the incidents at Indianapolis the catalyst for the change of direction? Also you mentioned that with active
tire pressure controls that it would be a challenge to change pressures remotely on
tires that can be changed in four seconds, so does that mean tire changes are coming back?
MM: No, not quite. We had not diverged from anyone, we were in the process of planning these regulation changes from before Indianapolis. We invited all the teams to a technical meeting in January and only one turned up. We then invited them to a second meeting in April and only three turned up. The fact that the rest of the teams chose not to attend was completely up to them. That group of teams said that they would go away and talk amongst themselves and said they'd publish their own set of technical regulations for 2008 but so far they have not done so. Only we have published a draft set of regulations, as we said we would and we've circulated them. I never saw Indianapolis as a self-destruct race. The simple fact of the matter was that there were 14 cars that were unable to run on the track due to a technical issue. It was not possible for us to change the circuit. They wanted a chicane before the last corner but we could not put in a chicane without first going through our set of procedures that we always go through when altering a track.
Had we altered the track and had an accident, the US legal system would have been very tough on us. Lawyers and Judges would have said ‘why didn't you go through your standard procedures?' What would I be supposed to say to that? Everyone knew the rules and the teams did what they thought was right. On the
tire change issue, we made, with the teams, an agreement to have a rule to have a single
tire for qualifying and the race as a measure to slow cars. In the future, with less aerodynamic effects on the cars, as I explained earlier, then yes, we could return to
tire changes again. We have already put in our draft 2008 regulations that we will have a single
tire manufacturer and we would certainly consult whoever that would be before making such a change. There is an argument for it as it adds a bit of excitement and gives an extra variable to the race.
Q. (Steve Cooper – F1 Racing) Max, you have spoken about re-designing the cars to improve the possibility of overtaking, but what about re-designing the tracks to make overtaking easier?
MM: We hope that any new tracks would be like Turkey because we know that it's essential to have a slow corner followed by a long straight and then followed by another slow corner, and with a wide track too. We're very optimistic that all new tracks in the future can continue the trends that we saw in Turkey and also in Shanghai and before that in Malaysia. Certain tracks will allow us to fine-tune them so that the ability to overtake is made that much easier. It will be very hard though to change many of the current tracks that were built before the ones I mentioned to be that much more conducive to overtaking
Q. GP2 has been a brilliant season for overtaking and has been really exciting. Should Formula One be looking to that example as a way to make races more exciting for the fans?
MM: With reverse grids they definitely have made it a very exciting championship this year yes, but we should be able to get thrilling racing in Formula One without having to revert to artificial measures like the ones they use in GP2.
Q. Adam Hay-Nicholls (Two Paws Agency) To Henri, how will the computer equipment that AMD give to the FIA be different from the computers that Ferrari are using at the moment?
HR: Well the equipment that the FIA will use will be the absolute cutting edge technology. They will have it as soon as we produce it – that's how new it will be. As far as the teams go, we can't disclose the details of exactly what equipment of ours is used by our partners, but the equipment is theirs as they buy it from us, we just assist them with how they use it. Because they own the products they will be brand new when they buy them but they will age over time, but the equipment that the FIA will use from us will be absolute cutting-edge.
Q. Dominic Fugère (Le Journal de Montréal) You said that Ferrari and Sauber are your partners in Formula One and that they use your products. What about the other teams you mentioned? Who are they and what is the limit of your involvement with them?
HR: I can't disclose that. That's a confidential matter between AMD and the teams we have an involvement with. Our role at AMD is to make a microprocessor which is the hub and the heart of the computer systems that some of the teams in Formula One use. The microprocessor is implemented on their systems and we help them out. The FIA will be using our technology completely independently of any of the teams that we have partnerships with, but we will advise them on how best to use our systems. Obviously we have some people that have been around Formula One and you'll see some of the usual suspects helping out the FIA with their computational fluid dynamics as they look to find the best solutions to solve the problems that Max was talking about.
Q. (Dominic Fugère – Le Journal de Montréal) – How secure will your systems be within the FIA? Do you have enough firewalls to stop any information leaking out to the teams? What are you doing to make sure the teams don't get hold of the information that you find out with this research?
MM: We have very good firewalls and security is not a matter we have to think about because like I said before, most of the research will be done in secret so the information will be very secure when we collect it. Also, we are not trying to make a car go faster. The teams are all in competition and are spending a lot of money on wind tunnels and computational fluid dynamics to make their car go a tenth of a second faster than their rivals. We are simply trying to research the best way of making overtaking easier by cutting aerodynamics, so giving the data to a team will not make their cars any faster. Its very different.
Q. (Dominic Fugère – Le Journal de Montréal) Will new technical regulations making overtaking easier have a big effect on race strategies?
MM: They'll have to wait until we decide on the rules. At the moment it looks about the same.
Q. (Maurice Hamilton – The Observer) What about the tracks? Teams complained that in Turkey, turn eight in particular was far too bumpy. How far will you take on board what the teams say about that when you're looking at track design?
MM: There is an argument that bumps on a racetrack are like bumps on a road and so there is information there that can be transferred across to road car technology and in effect the job is not for us to do but for the designers to do. If teams complain a track is too bumpy then they should design a car that handles the bumps well and is not thrown off by them. We won't demand that all tracks are 100 per cent smooth, but it is a big question and we will obviously discuss it with our medical people before taking a decision on what we do with that.
Q. (Mike Doodson) Max, the FIA has now got Ferrari commitment from 2008 onwards, but this hasn't led to a huge response from other teams leaping to join them, so which way do you see that going?
MM: I think what is truly going on at the moment is a bargaining situation between the FOM companies, which Bernie (Ecclestone) owns part of, and the teams. We are not involved in that. What we will do is publish the 2008 regulations. There will be a Formula One World Championship in 2008. Currently there are three teams that have signed up to compete and another three teams are on the verge of signing up to join them. I think it's only a matter of time before more follow but only they can decide. In the 1960s, you had a race promoter who got his race date from the FIA and then got in touch with all the teams and did deals with them to try to get them to come to his race. It is not our concern what they (the teams) say to Bernie's companies. One of his jobs is to get the cars to the tracks. If he can't get those cars to the track then he'll get other cars there instead. We want to encourage them to agree to stay with his companies and with Formula One but there will be a Championship in 2008 whether they are there or not. They can always go off and race in America or Japan –there are lots of top-level championships, but usually they come back because Formula One is the most attractive because it brings the most marketability and competition at the top level. We'll set out our stall and I'm confident that in the end, there'll just be Formula One and everyone will sign up and things will continue as they have for the last 50 years.
HR: It is known you have a lot of secrets Max, so, on behalf of AMD, here's a notebook of ours with fingerprint recognition so that if you do lose it then nobody else can use it.
MM: Thanks very much. FIA
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