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  2. havanaclub

    24:24 WEDNESDAY

    Sure. Just grab the Leyenda [emoji6] Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. I've been through a 6-8 week shipping period, and smoked one ROTT and it was excellent. All depends on the environmental conditions. You never know. Though better to play it safe if you've got plenty of other sticks to enjoy!
  4. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    Johansson’s radical proposal to make F1 awesome again – Part 2 Stefan Johansson, former Ferrari and McLaren F1 driver, has come up a with a template for a radically revised version of the sport he loves. Here is the second in a four-part series on what needs to change and why, this time in the nature of the competition. Yesterday we dealt with the economic changes necessary to help change F1’s structure. Today, it is about the nature of the competition itself. What I am proposing below are very radical changes that will require a complete reset philosophically on every level of how we go racing. Over time, focusing on downforce and aerodynamics has completely taken over every other aspect of racing to the point where it affects not only the car design, but also how every new race track is designed. Sadly, the end result is that the racing is getting more boring, with less passing as each year goes by, to the point where we instead have to come up with band-aid solutions to try and spice up the show. One such is the DRS device, another is forcing the tire manufacturer to essentially produce an inferior product to make the racing a little less predictable. As we know, none of this has worked out very well. In addition, over time there have been attempts at slowing the cars either by reducing the horsepower and at one point they even went down the road of introducing grooved tires. Yet at no time has there even been a decision to stop the focus on aero development, except for tiny isolated solutions that have been minimally effective and only added to the overall cost. Learning from other racing series can be extremely instructive as the same physics apply universally. IndyCar and NASCAR have in the past gone in the wrong direction by increasing aero grip, only to find out it was a huge, expensive mistake, and in each case backtracked to a less aero dependent package. If we count how many times there’s been small changes to the aero rules to slow the cars down, or speed them up, or help the overtaking, or whatever the reason was each time, and then count the amount of money that was spent by each team, it’s staggering. A perfect example is the 2019 rules, expected to have cost each team an additional €15m ($16.8m) and they likely won’t make any difference whatsoever. Yet, not once has the problem been fixed, but instead it has maybe masked it slightly for half a season, before the teams catch up to where they were before. At some point the penny has to drop! 70 percent reduction in downforce The cars should always be balanced on the edge of adhesion in both low- and high-speed corners. By doing this, there will be more emphasis on the drivers requiring the use of delicate car control and, in some corners, bravery will again make the difference. The engineering focus will shift more towards mechanical grip – the vehicle dynamics and tire performance to get back the lost grip from the limited aero downforce. This will make the cars much more difficult to drive which will force teams to hire the best drivers available, and many of the great traditional tracks that have been outgrown by the current cars and become boring due to the massive downforce will again become interesting both from the drivers’ and the spectators’ point of view. Someone recently suggested a drop of 40-50% downforce but I don’t think it’s enough to make the cars lose their aero sensitivity enough to be able to follow another car closely. The current F1 cars have such a huge amount of downforce that I believe a minimum 70% drop is required to reach the right target where the cars won’t be fully dependent on aero for performance. The Turbo cars of the 1980s had roughly 70% less downforce than the current cars, and they were already on the limit for being aero sensitive when you followed another car. No one at the time considered those cars to be undrivable because they had too little downforce and too much power: we just wanted more, as you always do as a driver. And those cars were awesome to drive. Implement a fixed maximum level of downforce In order to heavily reduce the overwhelming importance of aerodynamics on any current car design, there should be a fixed maximum level of downforce. This can be monitored real time from the strain gauges off the suspension pushrods. It will be no different than checking the engines to make sure they are always within the legal parameters or the tire pressures or any of the other multitude of parameters that are currently monitored in real time. It will feed straight into the ECU along with all the other data being collected from the car while running. So, for example, if there are spikes on the boost level or the fuel flow for a certain amount of time, there is a penalty, or the car can be disqualified, so the same thing should apply to downforce levels. Several different methods can be implemented to control this so there will be no room for interpretation or ways to cheat the system by the teams. It could either be controlled by a form of active ride system, that would alter the ride height by small increments in microseconds once the maximum downforce level is reached. The active ride system was already quite well developed in the early ’90s, so with the current technology available, it would be a relatively easy system to implement. It could also be controlled from the front and rear wings or the rear diffuser, all with microsecond adjustments so the car would be safe to drive at all times. Once the research on how to best achieve a consistent and safe way to control this is under way, the right answer will be found very quickly. The FIA will then issue and manage the same system for each team. Make the cars look attractive, aggressive, fast By implementing the rule on maximum downforce the current hideous front wings will be eliminated automatically and if the rule of standardized parts is implemented there will be one front wing design for all the teams to use. No add-on aero bits will be allowed on any of the car’s surfaces. Any aero development will be more focused on drag and aero efficiency, which will then also translate to road relevance eventually. As a result of this we will hopefully find a number of interesting and visually appealing solutions. Increase power by 30-40 percent, formula based on thermal efficiency and energy consumption Create a formula based on thermal efficiency and energy consumption that will have a maximum limit on how much energy a car can use for the duration of a Grand Prix. This will allow and hopefully encourage manufacturers to develop new technologies that are not restricted to the hybrid/internal combustion engine concept only, which is the only option currently allowed. Everyone with even a basic interest in engineering knows that there are a number of far more interesting alternatives. This would truly open the door for F1 to genuinely be at the cutting edge of technology instead of constantly fine-tuning a politically correct concept at a cost that is astronomical to everyone involved. Set a target of around 300-400hp increase in power as long as it can meet the energy consumption criteria, which will offset about 30 percent of the loss in lap-time from the reduction of downforce. By using this formula, it will eventually become apparent what energy source is actually the most environmentally friendly and efficient from a performance point of view. The immediate response I get when I mention this idea to anyone is that the manufacturers will never accept it and will leave instantly. If this is the case, F1 is doomed anyway. If there is one thing that is historically consistent in any form of motorsport, it’s when the manufacturers end up controlling a championship, they will eventually screw it up or simply pull out when it doesn’t suit their purpose any longer. Sometimes they then come back again when they’ve had a rethink (Honda most recent example), but there is zero loyalty to – or emotional engagement in – the sport. For them it’s purely business. If the current manufacturers don’t like the idea for whatever reason, I am certain that there will be other manufacturers that would look at F1 very seriously if it had a more sensible set of rules that would allow for more innovation and had a lower barrier of entry than the current rules provide. Interestingly, there is not one senior executive from any car manufacturer that I have spoken to that is in favor of the electric concept, they all feel this is a political agenda that’s been forced upon them. Noise If the rules are open for different alternatives on engine technology, we will again get back the engine noise as a factor in the overall experience. Fans can hear the difference between the different engine concepts and there will be very noisy engines and some that are not, but there will be something for everyone to relate to and talk about. More power, higher top speeds, less downforce, longer braking distances, slower cornering speeds, more passing With the massive reduction in downforce and a significant increase in horsepower we will see a huge increase in top speed, and as a result, much longer braking distances. This should radically improve the opportunities of overtaking as the entry and mid-corner speeds will be significantly lower, which will again require the drivers to slow the cars down much earlier and a lot more before they turn in to the corners. The target should be somewhere close to 400kph (248mph) in top speed, it will be super-exciting to watch and will definitely give people something to talk about. It’s hard for people to relate today when there are road cars with higher top speed and more horsepower than a Formula 1 car, no one cares or can appreciate that F1 cars are insanely fast in the slow- and medium-speed corners. We were close to 400kph in some cases in the ’80s with the turbo cars, at tracks that were infinitely more dangerous than any of the tracks are today, yet there were hardly ever any incidents except when a freak accident of some sort occurred, when something broke on the car for example. We need to get the ‘awesome’ factor back somehow. With the added horsepower and less downforce the cars will become beasts to drive and you will see the drivers really wrestling with the cars on exit and entry to the corners. I can guarantee that Lewis, Seb, Daniel, Max and all the rest of the top guys will love every moment of it, and it will automatically weed out the average guys as the teams will be forced to hire the best drivers they can. Weight reduction Put more emphasis on weight reduction. With all the focus on the current electric vehicles being the future of not only motor racing but also road cars, the weight of all these cars has increased dramatically, due to the batteries and the systems to run them. A current F1 car is now 50 percent heavier than it used to be. At one point the weight limit was 500kg. As an example, 30kg equates to roughly one second in lap-time on an average lap of 1m30s. If there were an emphasis on weight reduction as well as an option on engine technology, based on my idea of a fixed amount of energy over the duration of a race distance, there would be some very interesting alternatives surfacing very quickly. And if a good portion of the money currently being spent on the endless and worthless aero development would instead be spent on material technologies and more efficient engine technologies, we would very soon find some very exciting alternatives that would eventually filter down to road relevance. Imagine if every car on the road weighed 30-40% less than the weight of a current car, how much would that save in fuel consumption and subsequently in emissions each year on a global scale? The results would be massive! It seems strange to me that all focus is on electrification when the gains from lightweight cars would most likely outweigh the benefits of all-electric vehicles, yet there seems to be almost no effort in this area. Road cars today are essentially made of the same materials they were in the early 1900s: surely there has to be a lighter, safer and cheaper alternative. There are already materials in existence, both alloys and composite materials, that could be implemented, and if there was more focus in this area it would not be long before we would see some incredibly light and strong materials surface that would also eventually be cost effective enough to use for production vehicles. I refuse to believe there are no better alternatives than what is currently being used. Improve tire technology, make them wider and bigger in diameter Another by-product of the high downforce cars is the current generation of tires. For years, Pirelli has been forced to make a tire that is purposefully poor in performance just to slow the cars down or “make the racing more interesting” since it’s nearly impossible to pass when you follow another car due to the turbulence and the highly sensitive aero on today’s cars. None of this has worked out very well as we can witness every weekend watching any form of racing with aero-dependent cars. In order to offset the reduction in downforce, the tires could very easily be made to have significantly more grip and durability. It’s almost comical that every weekend teams at the highest level get caught out by tires not working at their optimal level. Teams spend hundreds of millions of dollars on aero development and engine development, yet on the day, they lose races because the tire pressures were off or the temps didn’t reach their optimal working range, or the fronts didn’t heat up as quick as the rears, or whatever. Literally, most races are won or lost depending on how teams make their tires work. So why isn’t there more focus on the tires in the overall performance of the car from the outset? There are chassis and engine manufacturers competing fiercely against each other; why not allow the tire manufacturers to do the same? Aside from the driver, there are three things that make a car go fast or slow – engine, chassis and tires. If we opened up the rules and allowed more than one tire manufacturer, we would very quickly see a dramatic increase in speed and lap times. This would also be by far the easiest and also cheapest way for the teams to get better performance as the tire companies would pour money into development and marketing. Tires have always been, and will always be, the cheapest and easiest way to get more performance out of a racecar. Like I already mentioned, teams spend millions in almost every category of racing on aero, chassis and engine development to gain an extra second in lap times, yet you can bolt on a set of tires that cost $3,000 and gain far more just by being a different compound or different in construction. Allow more than one tire manufacturer There are at least four tire companies I can think of today that would look at F1 very seriously if the rules were changed to reflect a more modern style tire. Each of these companies is already spending considerable amounts of money in other forms of motorsport, both on development and team support. If they were to engage in F1, we would see benefits not only on the competition side, but also in marketing and development as they would all spend significant money to promote their products through F1. This would help the series, the teams and the entire eco-system would grow accordingly. 18-inch rims to correlate to road car technology All other forms of racing except F1 have adapted to the more modern, low-profile size of tire versus the mandated 13-inch rims that has been part of F1 for nearly 50 years. F1 has been slow to adapt as it would interfere too much with the current aero packages, and as it’s the engineers that now write the rules, this idea has been shut down every time it arises. If there’s a wholesale rule change on aero reduction, this would be the perfect time to switch to the bigger diameter wheel and tire to make the tires more relevant to tire manufacturers’ high-performance road tire production, make the cars look more relevant to current road car design. And it will make the cars look far better from a pure aesthetic point of view rather than the image created by these silly-looking little balloon tires they are currently running on. If F1 claims it is on the cutting edge of technology and that it’s important to have some level of road relevance, you’d think one of the first things they would move away from are tires that have not been seen on any road car since the late ’70s! Summary of proposed changes To summarize these changes and how they will relate in overall performance, I’ve provided a “ball-park” guess at the loss or gain from the different changes based on an average lap of 1min30sec: Reduce downforce by 70%: +10-15sec Wider, taller, improved tires: - 3-5sec. Increase power by 300-400hp: - 3-5 sec. Reduce weight by 150-200kg (331-441lbs): - 3-5 sec. Again, this is a ball park guess without having done any significant research but based on my own experience and discussions with other drivers, engineers and designers. But it’s clear that we will be very close to the current lap times quite quickly, but it will be achieved in a completely different way. Hopefully in a way that will bring the awesome factor back to F1, with a fast-looking car that a driver will have to really fight to get the most out of it. The spectators will be able to see the drivers working hard with the cars moving around a lot more. 4-way matrix of chassis, power unit, tires, driver Based on the ideas I’ve presented above, when the new rules are being created, there should always be a focus on what I refer to as a 4-way matrix. The rules should always strive for each of the four elements to have an equal importance in the performance of the car. This will also help spread the load of development costs between the teams, engine manufacturers and tire companies, and it will help promote the best drivers to graduate to F1. Reduce the importance of electronics By eliminating all the electronic aids the drivers currently use, except the ones absolutely necessary to operate the car, the emphasis will shift back more towards car control instead of the engineers optimizing a car’s performance by studying the data to see where the drivers need less or more support in certain areas, with the help of a multitude of settings all controlled via the electronics on the cars. One of the technical directors was quoted recently saying, “We need to throw some things in there to make the racing more unpredictable”. If we instead threw a bunch of things away, we would get to that point a lot faster, and save a lot of money in the process. The electronic driver aids would be a good starting point for that. This is a perfect example of poor governance. The electronic takeover could and should have been nipped in the bud, so it didn’t get completely out of hand. Eliminate designers and engineers in the rule-making process, simplify the rules Since the rule-making process became a democracy of sorts, which allowed all the teams to have a say through the introduction of the “Technical Working Group” we have seen a progressive decline in the overall quality of the racing. The rules have become more and more complicated each year to the point where the team principals no longer bother to even try to understand them. They simply leave it to their technical team to make the decisions, and the 2019 aero rules are a perfect example of this. We have yet another new rule on the aero, apparently to make overtaking easier. This rule will make absolutely zero difference and will only add tens of millions of expense to the already stretched budgets for most of the teams. The engineers are all great and highly intelligent people, and it’s great working with them and talking to them, but they only have one thing in mind which is to make the cars go as fast as they can. It’s very difficult for them to see the bigger picture of what is required to make all the elements of the package work. I think it’s actually irresponsible of the team principals and the FIA to allow this to have happened in the first place, bearing in mind that the car rules are by far the most important element to make the business model work. So now we have this bizarre situation where the inmates are running the asylum – what could possibly go wrong?! Allow the engineers to do what they are good at and leave the governance to people who know what they’re doing. It’s evident that the democratic approach is not working. The teams can’t agree on anything most of the time, and, as such, we always will end up with some form of compromise that will in the end make no difference or, at best, very little. Instead, it should be governed by putting together an unbiased and well-rounded group of independent people that understand the business from a competition, technical as well as a practical and economic point of view – people who can see in advance when things are heading in the wrong direction before they do, and then act forcefully before it’s too late to correct. Make a set of rules that are challenging and exciting for manufacturers and private teams alike, and make them fair and equal and, most of all, easy to understand for both teams and the fans. Modify race tracks to make them more difficult to drive and more interesting to watch Virtually every race track today is either designed or modified to suit the current type of high downforce cars. As such, we end up with tracks that are full of low- and medium-speed corners, first-gear hairpins, and boring chicanes. These types of corners are not very interesting either for the drivers or the spectators, and are merely there to slow the cars down. Chicanes should be banned as far as I’m concerned, and for a track designer to put one in when they have a clean sheet of paper is beyond me. Abu Dhabi is a perfect example: they could have done pretty much anything they wanted with a budget that was through the roof, and we end up with arguably the most boring race track ever made. If the downforce is reduced significantly, many of these tracks can be modified, or in the case of some of the older tracks, put back to their original design as the cornering speeds will again be much lower. Braking distances will be longer and with run-off areas now much bigger than they were when they changed them in the first place, they will be much safer. The fans will love watching the drivers balancing the cars on the limit rather than perfecting the art of jumping a curb in a low-speed chicane which is currently the case and where you gain the most time in a modern car. Although the runoff areas are there for a reason, it’s important to find a method to “punish” a driver if he goes over the limit, something that will significantly slow him down to the point where there will be an automatic loss of time that far outweighs the potential gain of trying too hard and going over the limit. As it is today, every driver can find the limit on most tracks within the first five laps as there is no real penalty for going too fast and all you have to do is peg it back slightly the following lap. Interestingly, there are no more incidents on the street circuits where there are often no run off areas at all, which goes to show that drivers will be more disciplined when they have to be. Replace DRS with push-to-pass (P2P) The introduction of the DRS system was a typical knee-jerk reaction based on the fact that there were too many complaints that the racing was getting too boring and there was not enough overtaking. Although it has certainly helped the overtaking, it is of no interest as the driver in front is nothing more than a sitting duck, and there is no skill or strategy involved as you can use it as many times as you like during the course of the race. The Push to Pass system that is being used in IndyCar is far more interesting becaus each driver is given a certain number of seconds per race where they can use it, it is then up to the driver to distribute this to his best ability for the duration of the race. For example, if he’s too aggressive in the beginning of the race and he’s run out of seconds, he’ll be in trouble at the end of the race if there is a restart or a dice for position with another driver who still has enough P2P time left in the bank to attack. The time consumed could be displayed on the TV monitors so the fans can see what each driver has consumed. It adds another element of intrigue both on the track and for the commentators to discuss during the broadcast. Depending on what engine concept is used, a percentage performance gain could be used to achieve the same result. Race format The current race format is working quite well, it has a good balance of speed and endurance for both drivers and cars. By reducing the downforce significantly, the importance of gaining positions in the first couple of laps will reduce and we will see a more balanced approach from the drivers regarding where and when they decide to attack in the races, rather than risking everything at the start as they know that’s pretty much their only chance to overtake the way the current cars work. Allow teams to run the full distance if they wish to gamble on tire strategy, no mandatory pitstops. Race tactics will become more important, with more options on fuel strategy, tire wear and overall speed of the cars as the race progress. With the new rules drivers, should be able to attack at full speed for the duration of the race, with enough energy and tires to race hard from start to finish. Longer pit stops, one crew member per wheel Although it’s fascinating to watch the coordinated ballet of 16 people during an F1 pitstop, once you’ve seen it a couple of times it’s all the same as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t bring any further elements that add to the show. In fact, because the pitstop is so fast, it makes the overall race strategy more predictable than if you had a longer stop. If you only have one person on each corner of the car, it will make the time of the stop about 5-7 seconds longer than the current 2-4 second stops. This will alter the strategy calls and we will most likely see some drivers choosing to stay out on one set of tires and others going all out risking the extra time the pitstop will take. Tire strategy will become more important and as such add an extra element of unpredictability. Fewer investigations and penalties By using a random group of former drivers as Race Stewards, we are only causing confusion as each one of them has his own views of what is acceptable or not. If these things have to be policed based on a subjective viewpoint, it’s critical that the decision is made by the same person or team every time, otherwise it’s inevitable that there will be inconsistency. We need one person with great experience and is somewhat current, who is respected by everyone, to be appointed Chief Steward and attend all the races. This way, there will be consistency and all the drivers will eventually know what they can and can’t get away with. This person needs to be extremely tough and firm at all times. Because as we know, each generation has at least one driver who is pushing the envelope to the absolute limit of what they can get away with. They’re always in trouble with the stewards and historically these guys have such a strong conviction that they’ve never done anything wrong, that they are able to gradually wear the stewards down and often get away with stuff they shouldn’t. As it is, we currently get some very odd penalties and decisions depending on who is stewarding each particular race. Again, a lot of this is an unfortunate side effect of trying to sanitize the tracks to a point where there is no longer any punishment for going over the limit. No penalties for engine and gearbox changes Can anyone even remember the original purpose why this penalty rule was implemented? I think it was in the interest of cost reduction that it was decided that teams would only be allowed a maximum of three engines per season and the gearbox had to run at least five consecutive races before it could be replaced. It is evident that this rule has had the exact opposite effect, making the costs spiral even higher. By implementing a Draconian set of rules that are being enforced in an equally Draconian manner, the manufacturers are being forced to develop and build engines that are infinitely more expensive to produce than if they were allowed a sensible number of engines and gearboxes over the course of the season. By enforcing the rule as strictly as they do, the competition and subsequently the entertainment side have become a complete farce in many instances. The constant grid penalties are ruining the races and the competition is becoming a joke when a driver starts a race from last on the grid with 50 or more grid penalties. The team’s (rational) behavior of strategically taking penalties in order to position themselves for a better future race leads to even more confusion amongst fans and adds nothing to the racing. As always, the best way to reduce the costs in the long run is by having rules stability: the constant tinkering with the rules is just driving the costs higher every time, and the top teams with big budgets will always gain more from these rules changes as it’s the R&D that drive the costs through the roof, not the manufacturing of parts.
  5. It’s been a while but I’ve smoked a fair amount of don carlos, mostly #2. I remember tobacco, honey, graham cracker, and wood. Never had a CC with all of those flavors but to me HDM, RyJ, Upmann, and the Cohibas I’ve had are in the same ballpark in terms of being a mild to medium smoke that might hit a few of those notes.
  6. BoliDan

    Booze run

    Mezcal is smoked agave. I like it but for someone that has not had many drinks in awhile it will most likely going have a taste reminesint of used band-aid. It takes a palete of someone that at least has a night cap often. Much like laphroaig scotch. Someone that is used to smoked barley is going to get more pleasant flavors than someone who is just trying it for the first time. Yes I'd stick with tequilla and work your way up. Much like if you have not had a cigar in a month due to cold, probably best to start with a Fonseca instead of a partagas short, and rebuild your retrohale/palete tolerance.
  7. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    Johansson’s radical proposal to make F1 awesome again – Part 1 Stefan Johansson, former Ferrari and McLaren Formula 1 driver, has done a lot of thinking – and writing – to come up a with a template for a radically revised version of the sport he loves. Here is the first of a four-part series on what needs to change and why. This is an effort to offer my views on the current state of motorsport, and Formula 1 in particular. For some time now, and for whatever reason, there seem to be a lot of negative comments and chatter from the people inside the business as well as from fans all over the world. Why is that? How did we arrive at this situation from a time not that long ago when things were seemingly mostly positive, viewership was huge, the cars were fast and spectacular to watch, we had some great personalities in the paddock, superstar drivers racing the cars and plenty of action and drama on the race track, both between the teams and the drivers? Money was flowing into the business and global corporate sponsors as well as manufacturers were all lining up to be part of the show. Teams were selling at a huge premium and everyone involved in the business was prospering. Of course, there is not a simple answer to any of this. For sure, the majority of negative comments today is in part due to easy media accessibility for all, but it seems to me there are real elements of concern in the sport and they have arisen from a gradual process of poor decisions. In some cases on the technical side, knee-jerk decisions were based on either a bad accident or complaints from the fans and media about the racing not being good enough; in other cases, decisions were based on pressure from certain teams or manufacturers in order to keep them in the championship; and finally, but very importantly, a level of political correctness has crept in that, at least in my opinion, has done nothing to make the racing any better on any level, but has instead only contributed to pushing the costs through the roof and created a greater division between the teams, and, as such, made the racing too predictable and less interesting to watch. As a result of all this, the technology has evolved to where we are today, and most importantly, was allowed to evolve to a point where the budgets suddenly went into the stratosphere. At the same time, the business model for the commercial rights holders have changed dramatically since the introduction of pay-per-view instead of terrestrial TV, which means that there is theoretically more revenue, even if derived from significantly fewer viewers. The byproduct of this is that there is less interest for sponsors to spend big money as their metrics are primarily based on the number of eyeballs watching, and in particular, eyeballs in places where the demographics support purchase of the sponsors’ products – not all eyeballs are created equally in the minds of the sponsor – Unilever and Heineken differentiate between reaching eyeballs in Azerbaijan versus Germany and the US. In addition, there are now a number of different viewing platforms besides TV, which is causing even more confusion and a hard-to-quantify environment for companies to select the best strategy to market their products. The challenge the series and the teams are now facing is how to grow or even just maintain their eco system. So, as a result of there currently being a less attractive return-on-investment proposition for the global sponsor, we now have a situation where every team is more or less wholly dependent on the money they receive from the series, i.e. from the FOM, as this represents the bulk of their income. This was never the case before, when major sponsors were the main contributors and the money the teams received from the series was almost the icing on the cake, especially if they did well. Hence, there are now several teams racing without a main sponsor, or if they do have one, it’s for a fraction of what a title sponsor used to pay. Through all these various rule changes that have occurred in recent years I have a feeling that Formula 1 has somehow lost its identity and I am not sure anyone, whether it’s the FIA or Liberty (FOM), really know what Formula 1 stands for anymore. I believe we are now at a point where another two or maybe three decisions in the wrong direction could spell the end of F1 as we know it. People are already tuning out because they have either lost interest or it’s too predictable or not exciting enough. The younger generation doesn’t seem to care, F1 and motorsport in general is struggling to catch their attention. I challenge anyone to define in three words what F1 stands for today. In order to arrive at a situation that has the right balance between Economics, Competition, Entertainment and Relevance, it’s important to first identify the individual areas that matter the most and focus on getting these right and at the same time eliminate the areas that matter least. I will first attempt to identify the areas that I feel are important and will then go into more detail on each individual item and come up with what I believe could be a solution, or at least open the door for a debate or dialog in order to find the best way forward. Today. ECONOMICS - Background There’s been talk for some time now about various ways to bring down costs but no decisions have been made on how to achieve this. In the meantime, the costs are gradually creeping up every year and it’s now gotten to the point that even the world’s largest automotive manufacturers and the largest corporate sponsors are reluctant to compete in Formula 1. This being the case, the cost to compete is so high, so prohibitively expensive, that it serves as a barrier to those who would naturally be and traditionally have been involved in the sport. The major cost is in the constant development war, with the aerodynamics and the power units being the largest contributors of excessive expense for the teams and the engine manufacturers. Despite efforts to curb the costs through various sets of rules, such as limitations on the number of engines and gearboxes used in a season, all it seems to have done is the exact opposite and in fact driven the costs of producing these units much higher. The cost of manufacturing an already developed engine or gearbox is not that expensive in the overall scheme of things, but the cost of developing and manufacturing an engine that must last one-third of a season is extremely expensive and seemingly far outweighs the cost of using several engines during the course of the season Adding the hybrid component to the powertrain has done more damage than all the other rule changes combined in my opinion. It seems that in order to meet the politically correct agenda that is now creeping in to every facet of life, it’s somehow been decided that this is the future of automotive engineering and needs to be part of Formula 1 as well. Pushed by the manufacturers (under the premise of wanting the formula to have relevance to the manufacturer’s production lineup) who put pressure on the FIA, Formula 1 had to follow, along with the WEC. Interestingly, both series are now completely controlled and dominated by the OEMs and would not survive in their current formats without the money being poured in by the manufacturers competing. The privateer or independent teams are now just the clowns that make up the show in both series and have no realistic chance of ever winning a race. So, this means we are stuck with three teams in F1 and currently only one team in the WEC that have any chance of winning. This seems an incredibly high trade-off just to be doing the politically correct thing. By introducing this rule and subsequently allowing the manufacturers to effectively take control of both series, it will take some major undoing to get things back on the right track again. What we have now is an engine formula that is turning manufacturers away rather than inviting them to join, which is a very dangerous path. As we all know from past experiences, it’s only a matter of a board decision for any manufacturer (except Ferrari) to stop any racing program if it doesn’t suit their purpose for whatever reason. None of them have any real emotional attachment to racing, which has been shown by Toyota, Honda and BMW who all pulled out of F1 within a few years of each other. I strongly believe that the current concept of racecar design needs a complete reset in almost every major category, but particularly in Formula 1. There has been no real innovation since the discovery of aerodynamics. Every aspect of a current racecar design always has aero as the first priority, as this is what gives the most gain in lap-time by far. But as we all know, aside from making the car go faster, there are very few benefits from aerodynamics, if any. It’s the #1 factor in driving the costs higher, it’s the #1 factor in making the racing less interesting, it has no relevance aside from making the car go faster, yet it’s been the primary focus in every single form of racing the past 30 years or more. It’s time for a major reset. The cost of the development war is escalating every year and will continue to do so as long as aero is the prime factor in making the cars go faster. Another contributing factor to the high cost is the fact that each team must build most components themselves rather than buying “off the shelf” components already manufactured and tested. A loose interpretation of the old “B” team concept (using the parts and resources from another team that is legally allowed) has slowly crept in for teams like Haas, Sauber (Alfa Romeo), Toro Rosso and Force India to some degree. Under the current set of rules, this is a far better approach than trying to design, manufacture, test and run every single component yourself. We can clearly see the result of this: Haas and Sauber (Alfa Romeo) are now consistently the “best of the rest” teams. The result of this is that the “A” teams are starting to gather more and more control of the teams they are supporting, including the choice of drivers in some cases. The concern the midfield teams have is that if we are not careful, the entire grid will be controlled by the major manufacturers and it will turn into another version of the DTM, where three or maybe four manufacturers control the entire field with satellite teams that are under their complete control. There has been much discussion about a cost cap, and how to implement it. I don’t believe you can ever entirely control a fixed cost cap because teams will always find a way to circumvent a rule like that. The most effective way in my opinion is to limit the development in all the key areas on the cars that are irrelevant in the bigger picture. There are many areas or components on a car that I believe could be standardized and no one would even know or notice the difference. This would have the same or similar effect to the “B” team concept, but it would be the same for everybody, and it would automatically level the playing field in the process. Some of these areas are: AERODYNAMICS: Set a fixed limit on maximum downforce (more details to follow in the chapter on Competition). This will eliminate the massive spend on aero development that is currently by far the biggest line item in the budget. No aero add-ons allowed on any surface parts of the car. This will still allow for each team to design a car that is unique looking and will have its own interpretation of the rules, but the emphasis will shift away from purely being made to optimize aerodynamic downforce, and instead shift to other areas that will be of equal importance. By having a fixed limit on downforce, it will stop teams spending time and money on constantly finding different avenues on aero development in order to gain back the original loss. If the amount of downforce is always fixed, they will be forced to look in different areas to get more performance out of the car. This will drastically reduce the budgets as a large majority of the R&D budget is spent on the neverending aero development war. FRONT WING: Provide a standard front wing issued by the FIA (no one can tell the difference anyway so it really wouldn’t matter). Even Adrian Newey agrees that if you painted all the wings white and put them next to each other no one would know what wing belong to what car. A large portion of the aero budget would go away if the front wings were fixed and the same for all the teams, supplied by one manufacturer chosen by the FIA. As there is no innovation involved in any aspect of this because of the way the rules are written, it is purely a matter of optimizing to the umpteenth degree. Whoever has the most resources will eventually gain an edge, and the money being spent on this entirely worthless endeavor is just mindboggling. BRAKES: To put things in perspective, a top F1 team’s brake budget is nearly equivalent to a winning IndyCar team’s full-season budget. No one can see or relate to the insanely complicated brake ducting systems each team now must develop. If they were all given the same brake system and brake ducts it would be the same for everyone and no one would even know. With the greatly reduced importance of downforce, it would make sense to go back to a simple brake system whose primary function is to stop the car, not to add more downforce or create more efficient aero. MONOCOQUE: The FIA should produce a standard tub for all the teams to use that fits their safety criteria and that’s been crash tested by them. It’s a very expensive and unnecessary cost to have every team design, build and then crash test their monocoques before the start of each season. It would make much more sense for the teams to build their engine, cooling and aero package around a tub that is being provided by the FIA at a fixed and reasonable cost. It would save a huge amount of money and again no one would know the difference. Whatever creativity goes into the design of the tub would simply shift to a different area. It may not be the ideal solution for every team and engine manufacturer, but so what? The tub has little relevance apart from bolting the engine, suspension and all the aero bits onto it. ELECTRONICS AND DRIVER CONTROLS: Implement standard electronics for all the teams. Eliminate most of the current adjustments on the steering wheel. Every button, dial and switch on the steering wheel ultimately leads to somewhere on the car, whether it’s the diff, engine, brakes, steering or whatever. Assume then that each one of these functions requires a significant number of people to design, develop, build, test and maintain for each system. Rinse and repeat every race. The sheer manpower required to develop and maintain all these functions is staggering, and in the end, every team must do the same in varying degrees, and all it does is eliminate more and more skill elements in the driver’s arsenal. This may be the most obvious area that needs to be addressed in order to make the racing a little less predictable and put the emphasis back on driver skills, and by doing so, reduce the costs dramatically. GEARBOX The gearbox on a current F1 car is a work of art, the engineering is simply mindboggling and the size of some the components are so small they almost look like a Swiss watch in certain areas. Then bear in mind that each team must design, build and maintain these gearboxes. It would be very easy to have one independent manufacturer build the same gearbox for all the cars, no one would know or indeed care. We are already at the point now where the “B” teams are using the complete backend of the “A” team they are associated with. This includes the gearbox, differential, rear suspension and electronics. It would bring the costs down massively if everyone would just use the same gearbox, supplied by the FIA. It would also help level the playing field as this is one very costly component that has very little relevance to the overall importance of the package. BAN ALL FORMS OF COMMUNICATION WITH THE FACTORY DURING RACE WEEKENDS This is another area which is completely and utterly unnecessary. I have seen the set-up from one of the top teams first-hand and although it’s incredibly impressive, it does absolutely nothing to add to overall package. Do we really need a team of 20-30 people at the base to assist the race team with setup and race strategy, including test drivers running intra-session setup scenarios or overnight full-race simulations of various setup alternatives? It’s just another added cost that one team started and then everyone else had to follow. It’s only helping teams to optimize the setup and race strategy, and by doing so, taking another element of unpredictability away, again at a huge cost. Will these changes hurt Formula 1’s DNA? F1 lost its original DNA a long time ago as far as I’m concerned. The original rule which was kind of the foundation of F1 and what made it different from almost every other category in racing was that “every team had to manufacture their own cars.” The argument from the purists is that if we allow standard parts, then F1 will just become another form of IndyCar, where all the teams use the same chassis. If we are brutally honest, F1 is already almost at that point due to the incredibly strict rules every team has to operate under. There is little room for innovation in any area under the current rules, so every team basically ends up doing the same thing, instead of just using a number of items that are supplied directly from the FIA at a fraction of the cost of having to manufacture every component themselves. COST SAVINGS: A very rough ballpark estimate of the potential savings from the suggested changes above would be somewhere in the region of $80-100m/year, maybe a lot more than that for the top teams, as their development would effectively stop in many areas. The breakdown of savings would look something like this: BRAKES: $5-7m AERO DEVELOPMENT: $30-40m MONOCOQUE: $3-5m FIXED FRONT WING: $10-15m GEARBOX: $10-15m ELECTRONICS: $5-7m POWER UNIT: $20-30m I’m not sure how many jobs these changes would eliminate, but it would be more than a few. Payroll is always one of the highest line items in the budgets. I understand and I am sympathetic that there will be many jobs lost due to these changes but, like in any business, sometimes you need to change to make things work. Car manufacturers are not afraid to shut down entire factories, with tens of thousands of jobs lost, if it doesn’t fit whatever decisions they make at the time. Just because the teams have themselves gradually created a monster, in large part thanks to the manufacturers pouring crazy money into the series, and the governing body not recognizing this until it was too late to stop it, they are now faced with how to fix all this in order to ensure their long-term survival. REVENUE FLOW: The total payout from Liberty (FOM) to the teams over the past 3 years is averaging around $950m/year. This is then distributed through a complex formula among all the competing teams with a very complicated set of rules based on different tiers and how long each team has been competing, the importance of each team, and not insignificantly, what deal each team was able to cut with the old F1 owners when they needed some sort of concession. As things stand today, the FOM payout is heavily biased towards the top teams. Hardly any followers of the sport are aware of how this works except the die-hard fans. It would be much fairer and also more interesting to the fans if a payout system was used that started with a fixed amount for each team. The total amount could be $500m ($50m/team). The remaining funds would be the official prize money paid out based on performance in each race, so a rough total of $450m/year paid out over 21races. These numbers should be official, transparent and the same for each race. If the winner of each race gets $5m, then there would be something to talk about. Money talks and people are intrigued about it, it’s human nature. Why keep one of the key talking points for people a secret when it’s already one of the highest payouts in sport and would create some excitement and intrigue among the fans? If we use a very simple formula that everyone can understand based on $200,000/point scored, the total payout for 2018 would look like this: Mercedes-Benz: 655 points x $200,000 = $131m+$50m = $181.0m Ferrari: 571 points x $200,000 = $114m+$50m = $164.0m Red Bull: 419 points x $200,000 = $83.6m+$50m = $133.6m Renault: 122 points x $200,000 = $24.4m+$50m = $74.4m Haas: 93 points x $200,000 = $18.6m+$50m = $68.6m McLaren: 62 points x $200,000 = $12.4m+$50m = $62.4m Force India: 52 points x $200,000 = $10.4m+$50m = $60.4m Sauber: 48 points x $200,000 = $9.6m+$50m = $59.6m Toro Rosso: 33 points x $200,000 = $6.6m+$50m = $56.6m Williams: 7 points x $200,000 = $1.4m+$50m = $51.4m TOTAL: $925.0m In addition, there could be a $25m bonus for winning the championship, bringing the total payout to $950m. With the proposed technical rule changes, there will be sufficient income for every team to operate and be fiscally sound. If they then wish to improve their competitiveness it is up to each team how hard they are willing to work to find more sponsors, hire better drivers and personnel – and there will still be a level of skill placed on spending money efficiently on the right things to bring the success each team aims for – whether it be winning the championship or having the nicest hospitality unit.
  8. Keeping you in my prayers. Hang in there and keep your chin up.
  9. guideright

    Cigar-themed boat names

    “Torch It” - “Last One” - “Mongrel” - “Aged One” - “Nub It” - I could go on and on....
  10. Nekhyludov

    FOH'ers Daily Smoke

    OCT 18 Papo La Verdad. These are incredible - honeycomb, sour twang, salt. Every time I smoke one, I wonder why the hell I spend money on Cohibas.
  11. Glad you enjoyed it! I find the Brimstone goes best with a very full bodied cigar like a Bolivar or Partagas, something with some peppery notes to compliment the smokey notes in the Brimstone.
  12. MD Puffer

    Booze run

    I didn't mean to poo-poo Alabama's ABC stores- their pricing is competitive. Interestingly, by law, everything they sale there must have some percentage of alcohol. So even mixers that would otherwise be just sugar water and flavor have 1% alcohol to meet the criteria to be sold there. I'm looking to expand the wife's horizons but know I have to take baby steps. I think there are two types of drinkers. Those who want to taste whatever spirit their drinking, and those who want to mask it. She and I are opposite ends of the coins. Which means I'll be shopping for both of us! I've mostly stuck with Patron Anejo for drinking straight and silver for making margaritas. And I totally agree with the classic margarita recipe- fresh squeezed lime juice and simple syrup. I also add a splash of Cointreau as well. Tequilas have enjoyed massive interest in the past decade it seems and there are many good ones to be had. Don Julio does look like a good choice and I'll be picking up the Reposado to my list- unfortunately they're out of stock on the Anejo and the 1492 is a bit pricey and I fear whatever it is that sets it apart would be lost on me. Taste-wise, how does tequila differ from Mezcal? @kevpro mentioned Casamigos but I thought that was Mexcal- unless they also make a tequila?
  13. I’ve always been a firm believer that things happen for a reason, as shitty as it feels from time to time. There is often a greater purpose than what one can currently see. The tides will turn my brother. Hang in there
  14. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    Sainz says "fired up" Seidl "impatient" to start work Carlos Sainz says McLaren's incoming managing director Andreas Seidl has made a "very good" first impression and is "impatient" to start working at the Formula 1 team. McLaren has recruited the ex-Porsche LMP1 head to complete the management overhaul it hopes will lead it to the front of the F1 grid again. Seidl will start working for McLaren on May 1 and Sainz said was left enthused by a first meeting with him last month in Bahrain, where Seidl attended the grand prix as a guest. "I met him at the grand prix," said Sainz. "We had our first chance to say hello and have our first conversation. I was happy to meet him and I could see he was impatient to join the team, which is something I like. "I like seeing people fired up and ready to roll so it was good fun having our first conversation. He gave me a very good impression in general. He was very switched on and he was very willing to join the team as soon as possible. He's switched on and ready to go." Seidl's start at McLaren will follow the arrival of technical director James Key, who has finally joined the team from Toro Rosso. Sainz worked with Key at the Red Bull junior team, and spent "quite a lot of time with him" during Key's first working weekend in Bahrain. "And I was in the factory with him on Monday [afterwards]," he said. "[On Thursday in China] I got to spend some time with him. "I think little by little he is just getting to know more and more of the team and we just need to give him time and he will keep that experience going. I'm very excited. I have a good relationship with James from our Toro Rosso days. "During lunch we were playing back some memories together and it's always fun to have an old colleague come around again in a different phase of your career."
  15. Derboesekoenig

    24:24 WEDNESDAY

    Ahhhh Monte 80ths? I've wanted to try these for a long time. Will there be more? I will start watching 24:24 again, just for those
  16. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    Azerbaijan GP an important moment for Ferrari - Mattia Binotto The Azerbaijan Grand Prix marks an “important moment” for Ferrari as it prepares to bring its first updates of 2019, according to team boss Mattia Binotto. Ferrari has yet to win a race this season after failing to match Mercedes in Australia and China, while a strong display in Bahrain went unrewarded in the wake of Sebastian Vettel’s spin and the engine issue that afflicted Charles Leclerc’s car. It has left both Vettel and Leclerc over 30 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ championship while Ferrari already trails Mercedes by 57 points in the Constructors’ battle. Azerbaijan’s Baku City Circuit is one of only three venues on the current calendar – Sochi and Yas Marina are the others – where Ferrari has yet to win, a statistic it is keen to address this weekend. “Coming off the back of three races that definitely didn’t go the way we wanted, this GP is another important moment for us,” said Binotto. “We have prepared for it very well, analysing all the data we have acquired up until now, looking at areas where we can improve and working on adapting the car’s set-up and the power unit management to the characteristics of the track. “In fact, Baku features a very long straight, which places special demands on the engine, both the internal combustion part as well as the hybrid elements. “The track surface is very smooth, which means tyre wear is generally low, but as the tyres therefore generate less energy, it can be difficult to get them in the right working temperature range. “We know from past experience that there’s a high probability of the Safety Car appearing on track in Baku and therefore it’s an important aspect to consider when looking at the race strategy. “We are bringing a few updates to Baku, as the first step in the development of the SF90.” Leclerc dominated the 2017 Formula 2 weekend and claimed his best 2018 result, sixth, at Baku. “Azerbaijan is one of my favourite tracks of the season, I simply love it and I’ve always performed very well there,” he said. “I always enjoy driving on it, especially the castle part with all those tight corners. It’s a unique track, you cannot find anything like it anywhere else in the world, so it’s pretty special. “The rule is quite simple: never lose focus during the race otherwise at the first mistake you’re in the wall. Baku is a demanding track, but I can’t wait.”
  17. Today
  18. BoliDan

    Booze run

    No whisk(e)y huh? That's ok although sad. This my friend is quite the epic story that you have written in order to get to a fairly simple point. I think your splice lies in tequilla. Oh, the sweet agave plant has so many delightful secrets. You can find these cheap, even in ABC states, where they claim to provide more freedom, but actually want your money and dont beleive in free markets at all (but that's another topic). Blanco is not aged at all, this clear liquid is often sweet and has a little edge on it. Repasado, is what I suggest for you and the wife. It is sweeter, still, and that edge is taken off by a year of aging in oak barrels. Now, Anejo is my shtick. It is at least 2 years old and 8mpart flavors of the wood. Don Julio 1492 is my favorite. So much cinnamon, dark fruit and oak. A sipper to be sure, but the wife probably will not appreciate it. Reposado, yes. Make margaritas with simple syrup and lime juice. Screw the other ingredients, they are for wusses, and never use sweet and sour... OR a simple recipe for the wife. A part (shot) of tequilla, 2 parts of OJ, a splash of grenadine. BOOM, tequilla sunrise. For you, my fine friend: tequilla, ice, 3 splashes of aromatic bitters, and that's it (add a little agave syrup if too strong). Tequilla Old Fashioned. I suggest just buying Hornitos Reposado. It's cheap and good. I get it for $15 a liter, but you're doing good if its $20 at ABC. You can move up from there if you like it. When experimenting with tequilla, the only important thing is to ensure it is 100% agave.
  19. HarveyBoulevard

    FOH'ers Daily Smoke

    At least the birdbath is in focus...
  20. Part 2 because of Robert De Niro and the 1950s Cuba scenes.
  21. inter4alia

    Booze run

    Paper Plane. But if you look up the recipe online you might find slightly different Amaro preferences and slightly different pour volumes.
  22. joshhooper7

    24:24 WEDNESDAY

    Please PM me that Facebook group, Id love to meet the guy with 15 box code 80ths for $750
  23. Tough call for me. Two iconic actors, two legendary films, one really great story. The nostalgic setting and Brando's masterful and intense acting in Pt.1, versus Michael Corleone's ascension to power and the more complex and intriguing plot in Pt. 2. They were both equally entertaining, even though for different reasons. To me it seemed more like one movie divided into two parts, rather than two separate movies. I have to give it to Pt. 2 by a just a hair. I simply can't imagine how you could end the story with pt.1 and not make pt. 2. BTW - if you get a chance, read Mario Puzo's book called 'The Family', it has similar plot to the Godfather, but in a completely different era involving the early Papacy. Fantastic book.
  24. mtd057

    FOH'ers Daily Smoke

    I tried, I really did. I could not get into this Fonscea #1 MEL Jun 2016. Great construction and burn, but just wasn't for me. I might try another in a few months but I am not very optimistic. Now my 2nd choice, a Cohiba Panetelas, was pretty good. I found it to be much more flavorful than the Fonseca. Short and sweet. Now that I am thinking about it, I might put the Fonseca's up for trade.
  25. I picked The Godfather for 2 reasons; it is the only one I watched all the way through, and secondly... this scene...
  26. MIKA27

    FORMULA 1

    BERGER: HAMILTON IS AT THE LEVEL OF SENNA Gerhard Berger has always rated former teammate Ayrton Senna in a league of his own but he says Lewis Hamilton now ranks alongside the late Brazilian Formula 1 champion in his estimation. Speaking ahead of the 25th anniversary of Senna’s death at Imola on May 1, Berger told reporters his friend still led as a personality and the legend that surrounds him. In purely sporting terms, however, the similarities were clear. “Everybody asks me ‘How do you see this driver against Ayrton?’ and I always, in all the years, say ‘I don’t see anybody near to Ayrton’,” explained the Austrian, who partnered Senna at McLaren from 1990-92. “But Lewis is (now) the first driver I put on the same level as Ayrton.” Berger, who won 10 races for Benetton, McLaren and Ferrari between 1986 and 1997 and now runs the DTM (German Touring Car) series, said statistics were only one way of measuring greatness. “I go more by feeling and watching, and for me — and there were great champions like Nelson (Piquet), like Niki (Lauda), like (Alain) Prost, like Michael (Schumacher) – there has always been one above: Ayrton,” he said. “And now Lewis I see in the same league. Hamilton has five championships, one with McLaren in 2008 and four with Mercedes in the last five seasons. He is leading the championship into this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The 34-year-old Briton holds several records, including most pole positions (84), and his 75 wins are second only to seven times champion Schumacher’s career haul of 91. Senna won three championships with McLaren and held the record for poles (65) before Hamilton. The Brazilian won 41 races and would surely have gone on to many more had he not died at the age of 34. “The comparison? I see still Ayrton winning the game because in the end Ayrton was such a charming guy and a personality. And obviously if someone loses his life and stays with us in the way of a legend, it’s always something special,” said Berger. “But I try to see it from a performance point and from a performance point, Lewis is going from one pole position to the next one and Lewis is going from one race win to the next one. Just like Ayrton did.” Berger said Hamilton was “outstandingly fast”, made fewer mistakes than rivals and knew when to be patient. “It looks like he’s just running the game in such a good way that he’s unbeatable at the moment,” said the Austrian. “Yes he’s in the best car and best engine, but he also is the best. By far the best man at the moment.” He said Hamilton had a good chance of breaking Schumacher’s records. “I would like to protect Michael’s success because such a tragedy, it’s so sad to see these things,” Berger added, referring to the 2013 ski accident that left the German with severe head injuries. “But when you put this all out (aside) for a moment, then Lewis Hamilton is a very special driver in all the time I watched and have been in Formula One.”
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