Granger Whitlaw loves Formula 1, here’s an excellent article on Formula One’s new engine formula for 2014, the shift from V8 engines to V6 turbos. Here’s a snippet of it, please click the link above for the entire article.
I spoke recently to the FIA’s F1 Race Director, Charlie Whiting. What does he think about the new engine regs for 2014? And what, indeed, does he think about the F1 life?
I find Charlie Whiting in his second home – in the office at any given Race Control building in any given F1 track of the world that bears the title, “Race Director”. We happen, on this occasion, to be in Austin, Texas, where the new Hermann Tilke-finished Circuit of Americas is undergoing its baptism by fire. And this is about the only time of the weekend when Charlie has a moment or two in which to chat. It is the lull after qualifying on Saturday. The F1 cars are in Parc Ferme conditions (under wraps in the team garages). And, baring the odd technical political or technical crisis or two (or three), Charlie can relax just a little, exhale some air and think about…the racing life.
“You’ve been in motor racing for quite a long time,” I say to the man whose silver hair speaks of 40-or-so years in the business but whose body is still that of the ever-young F1 professional. He wears a neatly-pressed light blue, short-sleeved FIA shirt against dark blue slacks. And his room for the week, as ever, is Spartan. A desk, a table with a couple of chairs. A laptop (fed by just-for-the-weekend 100-plus mgb speeds). The inevitable briefcase. No family snaps in leather frames. No mascots.
“Yes,” says Charlie. “Since the age of 14, actually. I’m 60 now, so that’s 46 years. Long enough! And everything still seems like yesterday. I can still recall Lydden Hill rallycrosses in vivid colour. But then, when you think about it, it was a long time ago. The thing that brought that home for me recently was that it’s now been 30 years since I was Chief Mechanic to Nelson Piquet at Brabham when we won the World Championship (in 1981 and 83)…”
I wonder, often, when I see ex F1 Brabham team people like Charlie or Mike “Herbie” Blash, or Alan Woollard or Eddie Baker or Nigel de Strayter, all of whom today work either for the FIA or FOM – I often wonder if they do spend any time thinking about the past. It’s F1 folklore that the only day that matters is tomorrow, that nostalgia is for the weak – and always I imagine that that’s even more the case when you work for the FIA or FOM, where so much of the emphasis is on politics, money, the future, the F1 show. Prod them a little, though, and away they go…
“I joined Brabham at the tail end of the BT45 and the BT46-Alfa, when Niki Lauda and John Watson were driving for us. They were lovely cars. Lovely. When you think how simple they were – they didn’t seem simple at the time – but they are very, very simple cars by today’s comparison. The complication was in the detail. On the BT45 you had to take the engine out to change the spark plugs! As a mechanic, that seemed complicated to me….”