Auto Racing/formula one
QUESTION: I'm new to formula one and had a few easy questions for you, if you don't mind... Are drivers penalized for blocking a driver behind them, as a defense strategy, in just the qualifying rounds or is that also disallowed in the race for some reason? Do the two drivers on each team drive the same exact type car, as far as design and engine, or are they different?. And last... why do they zig zag right before the race when going to their grid positions? I'm learning...thanks!
ANSWER: Thanks for your question Lee.
Yes, blocking is not allowed in race or practice. In the race, a driver is allowed to make one change of direction only in defending his position. Weaving will result in a penalty. It can be a stop and go penalty, a pit drive-through or a grid penalty at the next race. If the driver is being lapped rather than dicing for position, if he ignores more than a few blue flags, he will get a drive through penalty. In practice a blocker will have his times removed from the offending session or suffer a grid drop penalty.
Mostly the 2 team cars are the same or very similar, but there is no rule saying they must be the same car. Normally the cars will be set up differently to accommodate driver preferences, and so may have parts the other doesn't have. There is a strange rule saying the livery must be similar.
The zig-zagging is to warm up brakes and tyres so they are near optimal temperatures at the start.
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QUESTION: Thanks Adam, Watching this last race, they said how some teams will race hard, not coddling the tires but take several pit stops when they need to change tires, while some teams will save the tires and go slower, but take fewer pit stops to get a better time, 2 different strategies. Aren't there computer models that would show them which strategy would be more advantageous?
Ok that's all, thanks again.
Thanks for the question. Yes they have models and these will look at the differences between 2,3 and 4 stops, as well as pushing vs making the tyres last. It is rather complicated as track position is another factor, less so with a track where the DRS gives good overtaking opportunities than on twisty tracks, as a lot of time can be lost (and hence tyre strategy ruined) if you are stuck behind a slower or similar-speed car at that stage of the race. Also, there is the opportunity mid-race to change strategy if conditions change, maybe a competitor is showing that the softer tyre is lasting longer than expected or maybe the harder tyres aren't giving the grip required and hurting lap times....