Sport an innovation go hand-in-hand. Ice-skating is well known for its continuous renovations of skates, in swimming the suits gain on aqua-dynamics but what about the Formula One?
Fernando Alonso has won the Formula One Championships twice, for the last time in 2006 driving a Renault. Now after the year with McLaren he is back with Renault and he is quite certain that he will not reach the podium this year. How is that possible? What has changed?
Formula One is a sport unlike many others where not only the players (the driver) matter, but also their equipment (the vehicles). There are few other sports where this dual relation is so profound. This makes it ever so hard to determine where a possible problem lies: is it the driver or the vehicle? “The team reached the pinnacle of performance during the 2005 and 2006 seasons, winning the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in both seasons in an historic double-double achievement.” (1)
Apparently much is due to the vehicle. “The new single-seater has lost superior traction capacity in respect to the former R27.” There are also earo-dynamical changes that deteriorate the agility of the car. (2)
According to the sport-newspaper “Marca,” the Renault team has contracted 526 employees to make the new R28 as much competitive as possible. “Without Alonso, Renault struggled in 2007 because of design flaws in their car and problems adapting to the control tyres that were introduced last season.” (3)
The vehicle is key in winning the championships. “and it is clear that Ferrari’s is one of the best.” (cars, says Alonso). (4)
Apparently Formula One is not only the fastest of races, its innovation pace is also steady. Each year there are changes and innovations to the vehicles and those who cannot keep up end-up behind.
(1) – http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2190842.html
(2) – http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/357830/0/renault/plan/monoplaza/
(3) – http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7136498.stm
(4) – [http://sport.guardian.co.uk/formulaone2008/story/0],,2267946,00.html
© 2008 Hans Bool