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 Post subject: Best era in Formula one?
PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 6:03 am 
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just wondering what era do people think was the best?

i am tempted to say Senna, Prost, early Schumacher era i never really got to experience that era but it sounds like it had it all but the main thing is it had personalities and interesting circuits

which era did you enjoy the most and why? and if its not the current era then what is missing from the current era that is missing from the era that you think is the best? i hope i made sense there


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 6:47 am 
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It seems to me that F1 from about 2005 has been the most exciting, so many good teams and drivers, high field quality. And today(2010-2013 is very good racing. Fpr me ruined by DRS/KERS/Grid penalties/ too many tyre-guessing games. But such a high level.
I watched from Clark's days, though the 1.5s were beautiful, elegant little cars, but fields were small and reliability poor. Good racing in the winged late-sixties through the seventies; turbo cars were the most exciting, as were drivers GillesV, Piquet, Prost, Mansell, K Rosberg, Senna, etc.
I suppose parts of each era have been exciting. I seem to look forward more to today's races than ever before. Maybe better knowledge, media coverage, info= more interest?

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Last edited by POBRatings on Sun May 12, 2013 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 7:49 am 
It's simple - the 'best' era is the one where you first started seriously following F1. Everything before that is history, everything after is just not as good. For me, the 'best' F1 has ever been is 1991.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 7:54 am 
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For me, pre downforce cars, meaning up to about 1979, starting at about 1970 with the introduction of slicks.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 8:44 am 
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vince14 wrote:
It's simple - the 'best' era is the one where you first started seriously following F1. Everything before that is history, everything after is just not as good. For me, the 'best' F1 has ever been is 1991.

There's something in what you say. I started watching in the early 80s and I will admit to having a certain nostalgia for the racing of that time (although I don't miss the reliability issues). In particular pole battles at the time were something to behold: gladiatorial stuff :)

Have to say I'm liking the unpredictability of today's racing, although some elements within that make me a little uncomfortable (DRS lending an artificial element to some overtakes; not being able to push 100% on the tyres; over-dependence upon aero; engine restrictions; qualifying tyres). However, I'd still prefer to keep those elements in than go back to some of the processional bore-fests we've had to endure in the past. Today needs tweaks but IMO the racing is pretty good


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 9:56 am 
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Says something about the current era when not that many everyday people are calling F1 boring anymore. 2012 and 2013 beat the previous 20 seasons. In 20 years this era will be remembered as one of the absolute great ones


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 10:21 am 
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To me there are two which I can't decide between, but which have a few things in common: the sixties and the eighties. The evolution of the chassis in the sixties, and the coming of age of aerodynamics combined with outrageous power in the eighties. So both eras during which the 'formula' behind Formula 1 actually meant something.

I hope I am completely wrong about my reservations about today's F1, but the ever decreasing room left within the formula for the designers means that artificiality is now king. Perhaps we've just been dulled into believing Hollywood's recipes are the only way to go. They aren't.

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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 10:27 am 
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Tough choice. Around 2010 was pretty exciting, but not 'the best'. Anything from about 2004 - 2009 was pretty dull when compared with 80's and 90's. I actually stopped watching during the 'MSC Years' in the 2000's as it was so damn dull.

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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 10:38 am 
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Honestly, I'd say right now. The sport in its current format is more exciting than it's ever been. Some people like to complain about 'artificial' racing but I can guarantee that if we were to return to days of no DRS, durable tyres and races won in the pits and where overtaking is a rarity then there would be a torrent of complaints about how dull it is. The sport seems to be more popular than ever right now and for good reason.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 10:45 am 
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Depends how you define "best" I guess. Whenever I look at the 79-82 seasons on Wikipedia and see the list of names on there, it reads like a greatest hits album. For example, the 1981 season contained:

Piquet
Reutemann
Jones
Lafitte
Prost
Watson
Villeneuve
de Angelis
Arnoux
Patrese
Pironi
Andretti
Tambay
Rosberg
Alboreto
Jabouille
Warwick

Compare that to one of the worst seasons for driver talent, 1995:
Schumacher
Hill
Coulthard
Herbert
Alesi
Berger
Hakkinen
Barrichello
(Mansell)
Brundle
Irvine

the rest of the grid was made up of average midfielders or pay drivers. So in terms of driver talent, the 80s and especially the early 80s was the best imo.

In terms of racing, 2005 onwards has been brilliant to watch with the exception of 2009. Even 2010 with indestructible Bridgestones and no refuelling was fairly good, I think there were a fair few wet races to help that along. 2005 was awesome to watch with the single set of tyres per race, the ends of races were absolutely epic and if you watch GP2 sprint races you get a feel for what the races felt like. 2006, 2007 and 2008 were awesome for the championship battles and the depth of driver talent. 2009 was really good for driver talent in general too, Nakajima was the only real pay driver and he was there because of engines rather than pure cash. That situation is something I don't tihnk we'll ever see again. Then 2010 adds Hulkenberg, Schumacher and Kobayashi and the standard of racing was so high.

Of course, as entertainment the current era with KERS, DRS and Pirelli is just awesome and F1 is in a really good place at the moment. Contrary to what seems to be popular opinion, I see that as progress rather than a middle finger to the purists. We have Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Button, Massa, Webber, Raikkonen and Grosjean all in good or top cars; all of those drivers on the list will be remembered as top level drivers in 10 years time, even if a few of them don't end up winning championships. The midfield is fairly strong and the backmarker teams aren't as distant as the backmarkers of years gone by.

So... depends what you're after I guess. Personally I wouldn't trade current F1 for anything but there's no denying the level of talent on offer in the 80s.

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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 10:56 am 
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I started watching in '93 and, whilst I think those cars look far better than the cars of today, I think the overall standard of drivers now is better than in my living memory.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 11:14 am 
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To me personally, it was the short period at the beginning of the turbo era.
There were just so many engine options and events you could not look away.

The turbo cars would streak away trying to build up enough of a lead while Alfa Romeo, Matra, Ferrari and Ford Cosworth powered cars would chase them, and remember that in this period, even though most of the runners had DFV engines, they were prepared bu different tuners. They had different fuel systems, different electronics, exhausts, transmissions etc, so it was not a one-size-fits-all off the shelf engine, they were quite different to each other.

The turbo cars also suffered badly from 'turbo lag' and were heavy, which meant that a normally aspirated car would catch and pass them on a 'twisty bit' and had to work hard enough to give them a gap long enough that the turbo did not just blast past on the next straight bit.

Even then the race was not over. It was not unusual to see turbo cars on the penultimate lap in 1-2-3 and they all 'blow' for the car in 4th to end up winning.


The other things that come to mind when I try to think of excitement is when a car dived into the pits and came out on very soft rubber to make a Kamikaze dash to pass a car infront.

In general, when there were far less regs it was better.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 11:20 am 
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Driver wise I think the death of Senna marked the end of a fabulous era in the 80's when there were many memorable drivers on the grid. Afterwards, only Hakkinen could do battle with Schumacher, although his tenure was short-lived. Then it picked up again in 2001. A lot of the current driver talent on the grid comes from the start of the 2000's (Raikkonen, Alonso, Button, Webber) mixed with later comers like Hamilton, Vettel, Kubica (not current) from the mid-decade.

However, I do think that the reason the current field looks so close is because of car equalization. When drivers from 1st to 15th are in the same second, it can't be another reason than the car they're driving. And unfortunately this is a result of extremely tight regulations that limited severely the development of the cars.

So my conclusion is that, talent wise the current times are as rich as the 80's, but engineering wise this is currently one of the worst times of F1, with cars looking so much close, frozen engines and little innovation. In contrast, the period from about 1965 to 1995 (when Ferrari last used a V12 engine) was the times when you could see a lot of different solutions on the grid. Some worked, some not, as is the nature of life. I'm born in 1987, but subconsciously I love the 70's, before the turbo era, when you could buy a Cosworth DFV, pack together a chassis and off you went to the track. And the turbo cars were unbelievable monsters.

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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 4:49 pm 
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If it was the year you started following F1 then it would be 1950 for me but I prefer the line up in 1954 season.



Manuel Fangio
Onofre Marimón
Luigi Musso
Prince Bira 1
Sergio Mantovani
Alberto Ascari
Luigi Villoresi
Roberto Mieres
Stirling Moss
Harry Schell
Louis Rosier
Paco Godia 9
Ferrari 500 2.0 L4 P Giuseppe Farina
José Froilán González
Mike Hawthorn
Umberto Maglioli Maurice Trintignant
Piero Taruffi
Robert Manzon
Alberto Ascari
Equipe Gordini Gordini T16 Gordini 23 2.5 L6 E Jean Behra
Élie Bayol 1
Roger Loyer
Paul Frère
André Pilette

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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 6:02 pm 
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I think that when ground-effect met turbos in the late 70s and early 80s there were 4 years when F1 was magical 1978-1982. The speed with which development took place (Gordon Murray's race-winning fan-car was designed in just 6 weeks) was incredible compared with what teams are allowed to come up with these days. The cars looked very different from the next team's cars. You could tell a Ligier from a Williams, even if they took the advertising off them. I could write a dissertation on just these four years of racing. I can't put everything I'd like to say in here.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 8:36 pm 
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I started watching in 2002 when i was old enough to actually understand what was going on. I know very little about the 70's and 80's and to an extent the 90's. All i know is what my dad has told me and what ive read on the forums. During the time ive followed F1, if say that 2010 onwards has been the best, imo the wrong person won the title in 2010 and 2012, but the racing has been excellent


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 11:28 pm 
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Volantary wrote:
2005 was awesome to watch with the single set of tyres per race, the ends of races were absolutely epic and if you watch GP2 sprint races you get a feel for what the races felt like.


2005 contained less overtaking than almost any other season. And most races weren't exciting but rather boring, we had a couple of thrillers like Japan.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 11:32 pm 
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Piket87 wrote:
However, I do think that the reason the current field looks so close is because of car equalization. When drivers from 1st to 15th are in the same second, it can't be another reason than the car they're driving. And unfortunately this is a result of extremely tight regulations that limited severely the development of the cars.


Yeah it's probably true. People get the impression the standard is amazing, and it is very good but they weren't saying that in 2009, Alonso and Hamilton and Kubica in limited cars, but many of the same drivers, in fact almost all, but suddenly now the standard is "amazing"?


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 11:59 pm 
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Been following F1 from the mid nineties, the last season and the current season are the best so far.

I really hated the period where you had to be 2 seconds fasts a lap in order to overtake, unless you do it in pit stop.


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 7:07 am 
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Current era from 2005 has gotten better and better.
I revisited races from Senna era, Schumi era, and in general most of the season races were boring and there was not many drivers in the hunt as there is today. Not only are many more drivers in the hunt for the championship, they are real threats to win becasue the points positions are hardly by luck or inheritance through bad luck of others.


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 7:37 am 
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I started following F1 in 1976. It's easier for me to name the worst era than the best. The technical package at the start of 1994 was my favorite. The cars were powerful, with their 3.5 liter engines, and the reintroduction of refueling got rid of the cruising to the flag that was going on late in the races of previous years. Then the plank was introduced, and F1 would never be as pure again. The amazing technology of 1993(and 1992 for Williams) was interesting, but it basically made Williams and McLaren look like they were racing a grid of F3000 cars. The turbos had a very brief window between when they were reliable enough to win a championship and when they were fuel constrained by the rules. The ground effect cars were exciting, but they too were spoiled by the rule makers before they could define an era.

Oddly enough, the Goodyear v. Bridgestone tire war was pretty good once the seemingly ridiculous grooves were mastered. Unlike in other tire wars, the need for the grooves to remain stable meant that the compounds were incredibly sophisticated and produced grip without the marbles that generally ruin racing during tire wars, or when Pirelli is making the only tires. Speaking of Pirelli, this is my least favorite era of F1. It is profoundly contrived, with multiple tire compound requirements during the race, starting on qualifying tires, gimmicky DRS and KERS, and long life components to justify penalties. There are nine year old track records, which shows where the quality of F1 has gone. It's funny that some people think the drivers of the '80s or recent years are better than the grid that Schumacher faced in his peak years. The other drivers looked bad because he was there, and often in a fully competitive car. Had Schumacher been in his 20s in the '70s, or the '80s, or now, then those eras' drivers would have struggled to become household names. Mika Hakkinen would have faired well in any era, and Newey passengers would have won virtually every race. He did make it boring once he had a car that was his equal though. I remember when he tried to state a close finish at Indy in 2002 and accidentally gave the race to Barrichello. He shrugged. I recall thinking that if he didn't care if he won, why was I getting up at all hours to watch him race? I don't think he really relit his fire until late in the 2006 season. Suddenly he was racing for wins instead of points again, and it was like 1995 all over again. Too bad he didn't have to race like that for the some of his championships.


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 8:47 am 
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I started watching in 1997 full time, after seeing Suzuka 1996. So 15 years or so. We had the Schumacher era, and now the current era (probably will be the Vettel era but who can say).

I missed the classic front engine stuff. The crazy time with six wheels. The Senna/Prost years. The Piquet years. Mansell chasing the title. I missed Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart.

I'll say this though, I'd have hated to have been an F1 fan back in the dark days when it seemed like drivers were ending up dead quite often. I like the fact it's been 10 or 11 years since an F1 fatality and yet longer since the previous driver fatality. I love the fact Kubica can hit a wall at 180mph and Webber can flip his car and they can be pretty much fine to walk away or just need a week or two to recuperate. I like the fact that even freak circumstances like a several kg spring to a weak point on a helmet wasn't able to kill Massa. Sure, safety can be improved yet more, but it's a pretty safe era.


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 11:46 am 
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There are some eras before my time which I would have loved to see. I wish they would release full races with commentary for purchase through them legally godamit! >.<. I have seen F1 Season reviews but I don't think they do justice to the season.


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 12:50 pm 
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Todd wrote:
I started following F1 in 1976. It's easier for me to name the worst era than the best. The technical package at the start of 1994 was my favorite. The cars were powerful, with their 3.5 liter engines, and the reintroduction of refueling got rid of the cruising to the flag that was going on late in the races of previous years. Then the plank was introduced, and F1 would never be as pure again. The amazing technology of 1993(and 1992 for Williams) was interesting, but it basically made Williams and McLaren look like they were racing a grid of F3000 cars. The turbos had a very brief window between when they were reliable enough to win a championship and when they were fuel constrained by the rules. The ground effect cars were exciting, but they too were spoiled by the rule makers before they could define an era.

Oddly enough, the Goodyear v. Bridgestone tire war was pretty good once the seemingly ridiculous grooves were mastered. Unlike in other tire wars, the need for the grooves to remain stable meant that the compounds were incredibly sophisticated and produced grip without the marbles that generally ruin racing during tire wars, or when Pirelli is making the only tires. Speaking of Pirelli, this is my least favorite era of F1. It is profoundly contrived, with multiple tire compound requirements during the race, starting on qualifying tires, gimmicky DRS and KERS, and long life components to justify penalties. There are nine year old track records, which shows where the quality of F1 has gone. It's funny that some people think the drivers of the '80s or recent years are better than the grid that Schumacher faced in his peak years. The other drivers looked bad because he was there, and often in a fully competitive car. Had Schumacher been in his 20s in the '70s, or the '80s, or now, then those eras' drivers would have struggled to become household names. Mika Hakkinen would have faired well in any era, and Newey passengers would have won virtually every race. He did make it boring once he had a car that was his equal though. I remember when he tried to state a close finish at Indy in 2002 and accidentally gave the race to Barrichello. He shrugged. I recall thinking that if he didn't care if he won, why was I getting up at all hours to watch him race? I don't think he really relit his fire until late in the 2006 season. Suddenly he was racing for wins instead of points again, and it was like 1995 all over again. Too bad he didn't have to race like that for the some of his championships.


Very good summary of the eras, Todd. My impressions were the same.

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 1:29 pm 
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I've only been following F1 since 2009 so I'm not best placed to make a judgement. However, when I watch F1 highlights from about 2004 and 2005 it just strikes me how cars that are almost 10 years old are still faster over a single lap and over a race distance than cars of today. Even in terms of design despite the cars age they still seem "new" to me.


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 1:42 pm 
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mac_d wrote:
I started watching in 1997 full time, after seeing Suzuka 1996. So 15 years or so. We had the Schumacher era, and now the current era (probably will be the Vettel era but who can say).

I missed the classic front engine stuff. The crazy time with six wheels. The Senna/Prost years. The Piquet years. Mansell chasing the title. I missed Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart.

I'll say this though, I'd have hated to have been an F1 fan back in the dark days when it seemed like drivers were ending up dead quite often. I like the fact it's been 10 or 11 years since an F1 fatality and yet longer since the previous driver fatality. I love the fact Kubica can hit a wall at 180mph and Webber can flip his car and they can be pretty much fine to walk away or just need a week or two to recuperate. I like the fact that even freak circumstances like a several kg spring to a weak point on a helmet wasn't able to kill Massa. Sure, safety can be improved yet more, but it's a pretty safe era.


I'm fairly sure if Kubica hit a wall at 180 mph he would be dead, it can't have been that much. But insane crash, insane that he walked away. And thank God for the helmet technology and quick medical care that saved Massa.

Edit: it actually was 186mph, but the angle was more oblique than I remembered and the fact that the car was airborne perhaps helped.


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 2:29 pm 
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Todd wrote:
I started following F1 in 1976. It's easier for me to name the worst era than the best. The technical package at the start of 1994 was my favorite. The cars were powerful, with their 3.5 liter engines, and the reintroduction of refueling got rid of the cruising to the flag that was going on late in the races of previous years. Then the plank was introduced, and F1 would never be as pure again. The amazing technology of 1993(and 1992 for Williams) was interesting, but it basically made Williams and McLaren look like they were racing a grid of F3000 cars. The turbos had a very brief window between when they were reliable enough to win a championship and when they were fuel constrained by the rules. The ground effect cars were exciting, but they too were spoiled by the rule makers before they could define an era.

Oddly enough, the Goodyear v. Bridgestone tire war was pretty good once the seemingly ridiculous grooves were mastered. Unlike in other tire wars, the need for the grooves to remain stable meant that the compounds were incredibly sophisticated and produced grip without the marbles that generally ruin racing during tire wars, or when Pirelli is making the only tires. Speaking of Pirelli, this is my least favorite era of F1. It is profoundly contrived, with multiple tire compound requirements during the race, starting on qualifying tires, gimmicky DRS and KERS, and long life components to justify penalties. There are nine year old track records, which shows where the quality of F1 has gone. It's funny that some people think the drivers of the '80s or recent years are better than the grid that Schumacher faced in his peak years. The other drivers looked bad because he was there, and often in a fully competitive car. Had Schumacher been in his 20s in the '70s, or the '80s, or now, then those eras' drivers would have struggled to become household names. Mika Hakkinen would have faired well in any era, and Newey passengers would have won virtually every race. He did make it boring once he had a car that was his equal though. I remember when he tried to state a close finish at Indy in 2002 and accidentally gave the race to Barrichello. He shrugged. I recall thinking that if he didn't care if he won, why was I getting up at all hours to watch him race? I don't think he really relit his fire until late in the 2006 season. Suddenly he was racing for wins instead of points again, and it was like 1995 all over again. Too bad he didn't have to race like that for the some of his championships.


Hello Todd, very insightful. One question, could you tell me what you refer to when you talk about planks?


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 3:35 pm 
I think the best era is right now.

Last year we had the most WDC-champions racing each other ever. So the competition on the drivers side has probably never been harder.

The competition is also tighter than ever because there is less difference between the strength of the teams.

I still remember the late 1970's when I loved watching Mario Andretti and Ronnie Peterson in their wonderful Lotus's but it wasn't especially exciting to see them lap everybody else with at least one lap on their way to victory. Watching Schumacher or Mansell win just about every single race of the season in their heydays wasn't too exciting either. And I believe it was even worse back in the 50's and 60's.

So even though it's true that we don't have a duel between the two best drivers like we did with Senna/Prost, today we have a number of extremely competent drivers that can put up just as good a show. Like Alonso overtaking Hamilton on the first lap yesterday. Of Raikonnens duels with Webber last year.


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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 3:49 pm 
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Today's racing is to a pretty high standard to what I am used to, as I am only really familiar with modern F1 (1988-2013) other than me knowing details of the likes of James Hunt and Gilles Villnuerve thanks to books.

When it comes to top flight drivers, you are not going to beat Senna, Prost and Schumi from 1993 in my opinion. 3 drivers who make my top 5 greatest of modern F1 drivers. When it comes to depth today is probably better than previous years as the grid is pretty stacked full of drivers of reasonable quality. Plus today you have Seb, Lewis, Alonso and Kimi who are all elite level drivers.

You would get some decent hands in the likes of Berger, Alesi, Irvine and D.C in the mid to late 90's but also a lot of dross at the back of the grid. You get the odd dud like Narain or Van Der Garde but they are far less in quantity than the 90's. 1995 stands out for lack of depth as only Schumi at that stage is what I would consider a elite driver, Hill and Alesi were only decent and Mika had not yet entered his peak.

I think most era's have seasons that are better than others, the early 00's stands out as between 2001-2004, only one season in 2003 had a exciting and close WDC thanks to Schumi and Ferrari's tyranny. Other than that it will come down to how emotionally invested you are in the drivers you are presented with. For example 2007/2008 I enjoy greatly due to being a Lewis fan and having a strong emotion in what happened. I enjoy watching 1990-1993 back as I love watching Senna at his very peak. So those years may be my favorite on a subjective level thanks to my preferences.

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 3:59 pm 
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Beleriand_K wrote:
I think the best era is right now.

Last year we had the most WDC-champions racing each other ever. So the competition on the drivers side has probably never been harder.

The competition is also tighter than ever because there is less difference between the strength of the teams.

I still remember the late 1970's when I loved watching Mario Andretti and Ronnie Peterson in their wonderful Lotus's but it wasn't especially exciting to see them lap everybody else with at least one lap on their way to victory. Watching Schumacher or Mansell win just about every single race of the season in their heydays wasn't too exciting either. And I believe it was even worse back in the 50's and 60's.

So even though it's true that we don't have a duel between the two best drivers like we did with Senna/Prost, today we have a number of extremely competent drivers that can put up just as good a show. Like Alonso overtaking Hamilton on the first lap yesterday. Of Raikonnens duels with Webber last year.


Quite right about today. Imo Alonso and Raikkonen must be close to any other great drivers in ability, and there are more and closer-matched teams, cars and drivers now.

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 6:14 pm 
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How can it not be right now? There have been classic eras: Fangio v Ascari; Hill v Clark; Hunt v Lauda; Prost v Piquet; Prost v Senna; Schumacher v Hakkinen; Schumacher v Alonso. But while they've all had exceptional drivers up the front each one of them has had a midfield of average drivers. None of them compare to the pool of drivers we have now. We had Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen, Button and Schumacher just last year. Then just below them sat Webber, Rosberg, Massa etc. They've each got their share of detractors, but like them or loathe them they're all brilliant drivers.

We have a situation where give any of the top 15 drivers (at least the top 15) the best car, and one that suits their very style, and they can win the World Championship. I don't think you could do that with the field 5 years ago. And that doesn't take away from the ability of the accepted 'top drivers' - it just goes to show just how strong the field is at the moment.

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 7:32 pm 
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For me it was the 80's, and yes... that's when i started watching the racing. Being born in '76 means that I was bowled over by the spectacle, but I was possessing enough nous to understand the idea of turbocharging vs naturally aspirated, that sense of different approaches to tackle the same inherent problem... How to be the fastest over the course of a race.
Throw into this the unpredictability of mechanical reliability, cigarette sponsors throwing money at teams to hawk their wares, much smaller amounts of lead time from design to manufacture to track.... Oh, and of course the subtle tones of James Hunt being drowned out by the exhuberence of Murray Walker.
It's also worth noting, from a personal point of view, that the whole 80's era was a golden-age of televisual racing entertainment. Saturday afternoons became a case of switching between BBC1 and ITV to watch the Autocross on one side, then the Motorcycle and Sidecars on the other, all topped off with a (rose tinted) tea of fried egg and chips whilst watching The Dukes of Hazzard.
I understand that the sensibilities of nostalgia add a lot to how we perceive and appreciate things that are 'of the moment' now. But F1 is a pale shadow of what it used to be. It's not all down to the constant forward motion of 'safety', but 1994 was a seminal year (for obvious reasons), and the processional nature of the 'noughties' was a direct result of that.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 6:27 am 
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Maky wrote:
Todd wrote:
I started following F1 in 1976. It's easier for me to name the worst era than the best. The technical package at the start of 1994 was my favorite. The cars were powerful, with their 3.5 liter engines, and the reintroduction of refueling got rid of the cruising to the flag that was going on late in the races of previous years. Then the plank was introduced, and F1 would never be as pure again. The amazing technology of 1993(and 1992 for Williams) was interesting, but it basically made Williams and McLaren look like they were racing a grid of F3000 cars. The turbos had a very brief window between when they were reliable enough to win a championship and when they were fuel constrained by the rules. The ground effect cars were exciting, but they too were spoiled by the rule makers before they could define an era.

Oddly enough, the Goodyear v. Bridgestone tire war was pretty good once the seemingly ridiculous grooves were mastered. Unlike in other tire wars, the need for the grooves to remain stable meant that the compounds were incredibly sophisticated and produced grip without the marbles that generally ruin racing during tire wars, or when Pirelli is making the only tires. Speaking of Pirelli, this is my least favorite era of F1. It is profoundly contrived, with multiple tire compound requirements during the race, starting on qualifying tires, gimmicky DRS and KERS, and long life components to justify penalties. There are nine year old track records, which shows where the quality of F1 has gone. It's funny that some people think the drivers of the '80s or recent years are better than the grid that Schumacher faced in his peak years. The other drivers looked bad because he was there, and often in a fully competitive car. Had Schumacher been in his 20s in the '70s, or the '80s, or now, then those eras' drivers would have struggled to become household names. Mika Hakkinen would have faired well in any era, and Newey passengers would have won virtually every race. He did make it boring once he had a car that was his equal though. I remember when he tried to state a close finish at Indy in 2002 and accidentally gave the race to Barrichello. He shrugged. I recall thinking that if he didn't care if he won, why was I getting up at all hours to watch him race? I don't think he really relit his fire until late in the 2006 season. Suddenly he was racing for wins instead of points again, and it was like 1995 all over again. Too bad he didn't have to race like that for the some of his championships.


Hello Todd, very insightful. One question, could you tell me what you refer to when you talk about planks?


Following Senna's death at Imola in the third round of the 1994 season, the FIA made a number of changes to reduce car performance. The most controversial of these was a mandated piece of wood-like material running the length of the center line of the car's floor. It is the lowest point of the chassis, and must be 10 mm thick before and after the race. The idea was to raise the minimum ride height of the cars, creating less downforce and hopefully making them less pitch sensitive. To spice up the championship, they stripped Schumacher of a race win at Spa that year because of a thin spot worn on his 'plank.' During the race, he'd spun over a curb and worn a thin spot ahead of the rear wheels. The wear was consistent with the sideways trip down the curb, as it wasn't at an end of the plank. A low ride height would have resulted in even wear or wear at one end of the plank. That wasn't the case, but his points lead was getting excessive in spite of other efforts to dock him points. I think the plank is still in the rules. I can't think of a time that anyone has actually been excluded for legitimate wear of the plank in the almost 20 years since Spa 1994. It was a concern every time a car bottomed out for years following that race, but apparently the FIA only ignores explanations about wear when they have an agenda.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 7:00 am 
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Todd wrote:
Maky wrote:
Todd wrote:
I started following F1 in 1976. It's easier for me to name the worst era than the best. The technical package at the start of 1994 was my favorite. The cars were powerful, with their 3.5 liter engines, and the reintroduction of refueling got rid of the cruising to the flag that was going on late in the races of previous years. Then the plank was introduced, and F1 would never be as pure again. The amazing technology of 1993(and 1992 for Williams) was interesting, but it basically made Williams and McLaren look like they were racing a grid of F3000 cars. The turbos had a very brief window between when they were reliable enough to win a championship and when they were fuel constrained by the rules. The ground effect cars were exciting, but they too were spoiled by the rule makers before they could define an era.

Oddly enough, the Goodyear v. Bridgestone tire war was pretty good once the seemingly ridiculous grooves were mastered. Unlike in other tire wars, the need for the grooves to remain stable meant that the compounds were incredibly sophisticated and produced grip without the marbles that generally ruin racing during tire wars, or when Pirelli is making the only tires. Speaking of Pirelli, this is my least favorite era of F1. It is profoundly contrived, with multiple tire compound requirements during the race, starting on qualifying tires, gimmicky DRS and KERS, and long life components to justify penalties. There are nine year old track records, which shows where the quality of F1 has gone. It's funny that some people think the drivers of the '80s or recent years are better than the grid that Schumacher faced in his peak years. The other drivers looked bad because he was there, and often in a fully competitive car. Had Schumacher been in his 20s in the '70s, or the '80s, or now, then those eras' drivers would have struggled to become household names. Mika Hakkinen would have faired well in any era, and Newey passengers would have won virtually every race. He did make it boring once he had a car that was his equal though. I remember when he tried to state a close finish at Indy in 2002 and accidentally gave the race to Barrichello. He shrugged. I recall thinking that if he didn't care if he won, why was I getting up at all hours to watch him race? I don't think he really relit his fire until late in the 2006 season. Suddenly he was racing for wins instead of points again, and it was like 1995 all over again. Too bad he didn't have to race like that for the some of his championships.


Hello Todd, very insightful. One question, could you tell me what you refer to when you talk about planks?


Following Senna's death at Imola in the third round of the 1994 season, the FIA made a number of changes to reduce car performance. The most controversial of these was a mandated piece of wood-like material running the length of the center line of the car's floor. It is the lowest point of the chassis, and must be 10 mm thick before and after the race. The idea was to raise the minimum ride height of the cars, creating less downforce and hopefully making them less pitch sensitive. To spice up the championship, they stripped Schumacher of a race win at Spa that year because of a thin spot worn on his 'plank.' During the race, he'd spun over a curb and worn a thin spot ahead of the rear wheels. The wear was consistent with the sideways trip down the curb, as it wasn't at an end of the plank. A low ride height would have resulted in even wear or wear at one end of the plank. That wasn't the case, but his points lead was getting excessive in spite of other efforts to dock him points. I think the plank is still in the rules. I can't think of a time that anyone has actually been excluded for legitimate wear of the plank in the almost 20 years since Spa 1994. It was a concern every time a car bottomed out for years following that race, but apparently the FIA only ignores explanations about wear when they have an agenda.

Thanks. Yes I think it still exists. If its the same wood like looking strip seen when Webber went airborne i.e.


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 9:18 pm 
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Been watching since the late mid 70's when I was a little kid. My fascination with those open wheeled cars stemmed from my obsession with my 60's styled F1 and Indy machines that I always had in my hands at all times. My grandmother lived in a building in Puerto Rico that had an old horse training facility behind it and from her 17th floor window one day I heard a roar off in the distance. Apparently someone bought the horse facility and converted the outer track to asphalt and people would test and set up their cars there for races elsewhere. I remember vividly that the cars being used looked just like my toy cars and my favorite one was the bright golden yellow one with black stripes running down the center (perhaps why I fell so hard for my steelers when I learned about football in the early 80's).


Anyhow, my dad was also an avid racing fan who followed every series broadcast in the states and I would always watch with him, constantly asking questions (poor man) and I remember seeing all of the cars from even before then. While the 80's marked a change in how racing drivers were assessed and recruited, that decade was stacked with REAL, hungry young drivers with considerable experience and skill. The Turbo engines had a ferocious roar but more often than not would implode in a cloud of smoke and a trail of fluids and most of those guys missed out on making lasting impressions. Enter Prost and then Senna, followed by Mansell, there was now a mix of young and slightly less young drivers of immense talent contesting the championship in a VARIETY of vastly different cars until the late end of the decade when things were heading in the direction of closer competition thanks to the sort of standardization of car construction methods. The FIA changed up the game and then a new war was waged int he way of micro engineering. In other words, with engineers finding their hands were tied, it became a chess match to see who could outwit everyone else and develop some sort of system that would still not circumvent the rules and remain within the allowed legal limits set forth by the FIA.

Having seen all that, I'd have to say for me there are 2 or 3 eras I can never choose between. The early 90's cars were sheer marvels of beauty and that is when the look/blueprint for the modern car was born and everything since then for me has been a slow evolution of sorts. If I had to pick one era only I'd have to go with the late 90's to 2006. The sound alone instilled (and still does today) a feeling of proper all-out speed without ever having to open your eyes. You just knew the cars were at the pinnacle of technology and the drivers were fighting for control beastly cars that would prefer to have none of it. Simply amazing.

Don't know how anyone can argue against this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTO0OV4_NwY


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:06 pm 
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Maky wrote:
Todd wrote:

Hello Todd, very insightful. One question, could you tell me what you refer to when you talk about planks?


The plank was introduced to cut back on down force.It was a 10mm thick plank made of a material called Jabroc & it stopped the venturi effect from the bottom of the car. IIRC, if the plank had more than 1mm worn off it you were disqualified as happened to Schumacher in Belgium 94 after he had won the race.

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Last edited by ob1kenobi.23 on Tue May 14, 2013 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:54 pm 
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ob1kenobi.23 wrote:
Maky wrote:
Todd wrote:

Hello Todd, very insightful. One question, could you tell me what you refer to when you talk about planks?


The plank was introduced to cut back on down force.It was a 10mm thick plank made of a material called Jabok & it stopped the venturi effect from the bottom of the car. IIRC, if the plank had 3mm worn off it you were disqualified as happened to Schumacher in Belgium 94 after he had won the race.



I thought the plank was 6.62606957 × 10-34 m2 kg / s :D


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 11:14 pm 
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moby wrote:
ob1kenobi.23 wrote:
Maky wrote:
Todd wrote:

Hello Todd, very insightful. One question, could you tell me what you refer to when you talk about planks?


The plank was introduced to cut back on down force.It was a 10mm thick plank made of a material called Jabroc & it stopped the venturi effect from the bottom of the car. IIRC, if the plank had more than 1mm worn off it you were disqualified as happened to Schumacher in Belgium 94 after he had won the race.



I thought the plank was 6.62606957 × 10-34 m2 kg / s :D


:lol: :thumbup:

According to the technical specifications governing F1, a rectangular skid block must be fitted beneath the central plane of the car. This skid block may comprise more than one piece but must:
extend longitudinally from a point lying 330mm behind the front wheel centre line to the centre line of the rear wheels
be made from a homogeneous material
have a width of 300mm with a tolerance of +/- 2mm.
have a thickness of 10mm with a tolerance of +/- 1mm.
have a uniform thickness when new.
be fixed symmetrically about the centre line of the car in such a way that no air may pass between it and the surface formed by the parts lying on the reference plane.

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Champions are made from something they have deep inside of them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have the skill & the will but the will must be stronger than the skill. Muhammad Ali


Last edited by ob1kenobi.23 on Tue May 14, 2013 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 11:17 pm 
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Oops, double post.

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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 3:04 am 
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It is all relative, and it is all certainly subjective. However, for me, it has to be a period before commercialism took over the sport. A time before sponsors and a time when the sport was just evolving and growing into it's shoes so to speak. I think of the 50s, long before we could watch every race, hell before we could even watch more than one per year unless you lived in Europe. I think of those big front engined monsters where the drivers sat with the heads well above the car riding on tires that would fit some bicycles these days. When they would race between farm houses, through the streets of Watkins Glen, down tree-lined boulevards, and when they raced on the high banks of Monza. They even included the Indy 500 on their schedule of events.

A time when names like Alberto Ascari, Gusieppi Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Forlian Gonzalez, Mike Hawthorn, Luigi Musso, Peter Collins, Tony Brooks, and more raced for sake of racing and risked their lives knowing a high percentage of them were not likely to retire alive. Yet we saw glimpses of those to come... Phil Hill, Jean Behra, Jo Bonnier, Maurice Trintigant, Wolfgang von Tripps, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, Carroll Shelby, and even some character named Bernie Ecclestone.

I think to a time when Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes, Maserati, Lancia battled the likes of BRM, Connaught, Cooper, Vanwall, Gordini, HWM, Lotus-Climax, ERA.... and somehow it worked.

Yeah, I am an old fart.... and yes, it may be a case of what I was introduced to, but it is also a case of hating what F1 has become with all the commercial demands on the sport and the teams. All the sponsors needed to field a competitive team. To racing in places that don't really give a damn about racing, but want the credibility that comes with hosting an F1 race and are willing to pay for it... in front of a whole 35,000 fans... maybe. Nor am I a fan of the praying mantis look of race cars, but that I can overlook if the rest of F1 works.

Was it perfect back then? Oh, hell no. However, to me it was the "best era in formula one". I know F1 can never go back to those times of old, but it doesn't mean that today is better... only that it is what F1 has evolved to be.
:)

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Last edited by Blake on Wed May 15, 2013 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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