Grand Prix Commission Bans Electronic Suspension And Launch Control

The Grand Prix Commission met this morning in Geneva to discuss rule changes for the upcoming MotoGP season, and MotoGP.com has a preliminary announcement of what those changes will be:

  • An immediate ban on electronic suspension
  • An immediate ban on electronic and hydraulic launch control systems
  • The scrapping of the Friday morning free practice sessions
  • The reduction of the remaining sessions from 60 minutes in length to 45 minutes
  • From the Brno weekend, the riders will have only 5 engines to use for the remaining 8 races of the season.

We will report more fully on this once the FIM issues the formal press release announcing the full changes, but already, we can draw a few preliminary conclusions about the effect of these changes:

  • The teams will have to spend more time and money developing a replacement for the electronic suspension systems they've been working on
  • The ban on electronic launch control systems will be as effective as it is in Formula 1 (where the cars get off the line without any wheelspin, and without stalling, despite launch control being banned). Meanwhile, any teams using hydraulic systems will be forced to spend more money developing an electronic system that won't get picked up at the FIM technical inspection
  • Sponsors will be displeased that they are potentially losing 33% of their exposure, due to the loss of 1 hour and 45 minutes of potential TV coverage
  • The factories will spend more money to ensure their engines are robust enough to last for the final races. All vacation for the racing departments will be cancelled over the summer, and if an engine breakdown has a major part in the title race, there'll be a lot of squealing.

If these measures are aimed at cutting costs, then at first glance, they look like they may be effective. But at the end of the season, the manufacturers and teams may well find themselves scratching their heads wondering where all the money went. If you ever wanted to see what the law of unintended consequences looked like, you're about to find out.

 

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Comments

I hope you are being pessimistic.. but its probably more realistic.
I am happy to see the ban on the electronics/hydraulics. Is it definitely a foregone conclusion though that this will have no real effect (apart from costing the teams more money). I don't know enough about the engineering to know what workarounds there are.

If only the guys at Dorna and FIM could read this site they might get a few ideas and see what people really think of them!!!

All i can say is your right more money spent now!!!
would have been better to spend it on KERS.

Very sharp analysis ! Thanks for that.

Besides being ineffective in the long(er) run as you point out , I wonder even _if_ the law of unintended consequences did not exist what % of the total cost of running a team would really be slashed by this....

This really seems like a drop in the ocean to me. Why not just accept that we have 2 rough years ahead of us .... Sorry for Dorna , but on the long run , the championship will whether the storm... IMHO panicy moves are not going to help.

They are trying to tackle the wrong problem. The teams are not spending so much money because the parts are expensive, they are spending so much becuase they are trying to be competitive.

Budgets are not created based on the sum cost of all the parts they will need, they are based on what will need to be spent to beat the other guy.

They could try to slow the bikes and in helping to reduce cost with making minimum weight limits 10 to 15kg more per bike. then they could make stronger engines and stronger frames that would survie a crash.

But developing stronger engines and stronger frames would cost more money, wiping out any savings you may have made. As Rusty points out, rule changes cost money. 

 

stromger engines would save money in the long run, ie stronger con rods and valves it reduces coct and rebuilds.
Stronger frames with stand more impact. less frames go to to bin.
short term cost ,long term saving.

It's not like the engineers and manufacturers need a rule to tell them to make their stuff more durable...  it's already built in to their paradigm.

But, it's also a cost vs. benefit consideration...  As soon as they can build a part that lasts twice as long, for less than twice as much, without giving up any performance, they're going to do it.

The thing is, their rebuild schedule is based on the weakest part's durability (that used to be valve springs).  The parts are not all developed at the same rate, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to implement more expensive parts until they can all last beyond another rebuild cycle (meaning:  it doesn't help if the engine will still have to be rebuilt in the middle of a 2nd or 3rd race weekend).  All the parts have to make the same minimum distance, because once they open it up to rebuild it, they're going to replace everything.

Once again, the cost is in the development.  Replicating or reproducing a successful design is comparatively inexpensive.  Maturity of a spec lowers that price further.

something I was gonna say.

I guess I'll say it later.

I think this new rules nonsense is all a big mistake.

I'll say something else when I can do so without hurting people's feelings.

To all: feel free to comment. As long as your comments are well thought through, and do not contain personal attacks. We love intelligent comment here, and are proud to receive so much of it. Just as long as we can rise above the level of the personal. 

The symbolism of the "cost cutting" is the most important aspect to Dorna. It is the thing to do. The big costs are having a team and to develop the bikes is the lion's share of costs. Travel and lodging are, according to Liam Nielson (sp?) are a big issue. Change the schedule! Make it more effective in terms of logistics. Why are the Laguna Seca round and Indy so far apart on the calendar, why not back to back? The current schedule is crazy. Europe has TV, the whole world does, why not stop worrying about whether the Europeans are going to lose interest in a week or so.

The current cost cutting approach is like building a huge grocery store, stocking it and then cutting the times it is open by an hour to save costs. The items that are "changed" are a drop in the bucket compared to the core costs.

This reduction in testing will make the strong (Ducati, Honda and Yamaha) stronger and make the weaker teams less desirable as vehicles (no pun) for advertising. The big issue behind all of this the "not well thought out" change from 990 to 800. That was a huge cost to all and in my opinion a big mistake. It accomplished exactly the opposite of what the intended result was - to slow the bikes down and make the racing "safer" .

I do agree that ANY change in rules, especially so close to the season's start. will end up costing money. The teams that have big money will have the means to make the change better and more effectively than the others, again making this a case of "rich getting richer." There comes a point beyond which making changes is counterproductive.

rhbusby
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