Workshop battle

Your article about testing the materials used in Formula One cars illustrates the pressure on the sport’s governing body when it comes to enforcing its own rules.


Your article about testing the materials used in Formula One cars (Focus, 10 April) illustrates the pressure on the sport’s governing body when it comes to enforcing its own rules.

It was interesting to see the comment of the NPL engineer that he has had attempts to ‘influence’ the outcome of his tests on a few occasions and good to see that he stood firm.

In a sport where the slightest technical advantage is eagerly sought after I suppose this is not too different from footballers surrounding the referee in an attempt to change his mind after a controversial decision.

In the case of Formula One, however, there is a fine balance between gaining a technical advantage through good engineering, which is part of the point of the sport, and doing so by stepping over the line of the rules.

Watching a motor race, how can we know whether the winning car’s slight advantage was a result of good driving, a perfectly innocent engineering innovation or something that would be classed as an unfair advantage.

We rely, I suppose, on the likes of your interviewee to act as our arbiter. Maybe the governing body of the sport itself should make more of the rigorous controls placed on its engineers to demonstrate that Formula One is a battle of wits in the workshop as well as on the track.


John Clarke
Sheffield


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