30/06/2011

FOTA Fan Forum

Just got back from the FOTA fan forum at the McLaren technology centre a little over an hour ago and i thought i would share some interesting things that came out of it.

The session was divided into three sections, in each section the fans could ask questions to the members of the F1 community (listed below) who were present on a variety of topics.

Section one - sporting competition in F1: Graeme Lowdon (Virgin), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren), Robert Fernley (Force India), Ross Brawn (Mercedes).

Section two - technical development: James Allison (Lotus Renault), Paddy Lowe (McLaren), Paul Monaghan (Red Bull).

Section three - drivers: Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren).

As this is a blog on Indian Motorsport i will focus mainly on Robert Fernley (deputy team principle of Force India) however if you have any specific questions for me about the day, contact me here or on twitter (@f1peter27).

A range of topics were discussed including engines, DRS, KERS, pay TV vs free to air TV, timing data and media. But the thing Robert Fernley seemed to talk most passionately about was getting a race in Africa and trying to make F1 an even more Worldwide sport.

I had a nice long chat with him after the event and he explained the philosophy of Force India is that the team is a family of three drivers not just two - which relates to Nico Hulkenberg getting FP1 drives. He also acknowledged that it can go wrong if the reserve driver crashes (which is what happened at the last GP) however that's a risk they are willing to take to make sure everyone is included. He went on to explain to me that he slowly expects more and more teams to do the same thing and follow Force India in allowing reserve drivers to take part in FP1 for experience.

We also chatted about Force India's development within F1. He stated that it will take time to beat the big boys (Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes) however it could be done with time and slow development. From what he was saying it seems like the team are trying to get the infrastructure in place and then build on that rather than just throwing loads of money into research and development - they are trying to build a legacy not just a championship winning team.

Finally, the Indian GP was a discussion point between us. One of the things he is hoping for from that race is to get more Indian companies interested in the sport (Tata was mentioned) to try and develop more commercial and technical linkups. One beautiful sentence he stated was that "The British GP is our base race, but the Indian GP is our spiritual race".

Overall a great day, some good photos can be viewed here and you can listen to the entire forum on autosport.com here. If you went to the forum and your wondering who i was, i am in the photo with Robert Fernley below.


I will look forward to receiving your questions =)

2 comments:

  1. Hi Peter, nice blog. I am so looking forward to know what all questions you asked to him? I would love to know more on it.... Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, i have basically outlines everything we discussed in my blog post =)

    If there is anything else you wanna know about the event though i'm welcome to tell you everything =)

    ReplyDelete

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