Condensed matter: Buenos Aires build day

The Buenos Aires track looks set to generate some superb racing as well as a fiendish technical and strategic challenge. Here’s what we picked up on today.

  • The daytime heat is approaching that of Malaysia, where there were all sorts of concerns about overheating powertrains. There don’t seem to be as many worried faces this time round, however.
  • The pit lane route has dictated the split start and finish lines. The cars will likely start from a dummy grid at the finish line before rolling forward to the start line at the beginning of the race.
  • At Virgin, there’s the same air of confidence that they’ll have a race winner as there was in Malaysia – except that the team expects a win from Alguersuari this time. The Spaniard was looking particularly chilled out so we’ll be keeping a close eye on him come Saturday.
  • We saw a demo of a new 360 degree camera that is being trialled on four cars at this event. The footage is unbelievable. By moving the iPad in your hands you can move the view all the way around the car as its driving along, as well as up and down. The organiser hopes to roll it out as a live feature within the official app in time for the Miami race. If it’s half as good in real time as the video we played with, you’re not going to want to miss it.
  • Amlin Aguri technical director Peter McCool tells us that regulations are largely in place for next year’s technology, that he’s designed a powertrain, and that season two constructors are set. (He hasn’t confirmed that Amlin is one of the chosen few, however.) Constructors will be obliged to provide their powertrains, at a fixed price, to two other teams if asked. With five or six constructors, that leaves only four or five customer teams, so we’ll likely see some teams next season running with unique powertrains. Everything backwards from the battery is on offer, although teams have to stick with the same chassis. McCool thinks there could be a wide variety of configurations and that there’s a possibility that some manufacturers will design out a conventional gearbox altogether. There are still details to be sorted but we can expect more news very soon.
  • McCool also said that the team got a lot out of the test day in Punta, and that he expects a big step forward at this event. While he’s excited about season two opportunities, he’s pretty determined to get the team performing much more strongly for the remainder of this season.
  • The new Andretti tub was needed because Brabham’s car took some punishment in the last race, and not all of his own making. Dodgy kerb construction meant a couple of protruding bolts tore into the underside of the car which, added to a prang on Sunday’s testing, meant RIP to that chassis.
  • Talking of Andretti, the reason for the official silence over the Montagny affair seems to because of confidentiality rules in the anti-doping code. It’s all buried in lawyer-speak but it appears that, essentially, even if a doping test has been failed, there is an investigative and appeals process that has to be followed – and all parties are meant to keep quiet until the entire thing has run its course. A public announcement is then part of the sanction if guilt is established. Montagny may have been trying to shoulder the responsibility by admitting fault, but the ensuring furore hasn’t really helped the judicial procedure. For its part, Andretti Autosport has a zero tolerance policy to drugs. Digging around on the anti-doping section of the FIA website, we found the following articles (click here for full document):
  • 14.1.2 Notice to the National Anti-Doping Organisations, the FIA, the ASNs and WADA Notice of the assertion of an anti-doping rule violation to the National Anti-Doping Organisation concerned, the FIA, the ASN concerned and WADA shall be given as provided under Articles 7 and 14, simultaneously with the notice to the Athlete or other Person.
  • 14.1.5 Confidentiality The recipient entities shall not disclose this information beyond those Persons with a need to know until the Anti-Doping Organisation responsible for results management has made Public Disclosure or, should it fail to make Public Disclosure, until the time limits set out in Article 14.2 have expired.
  • 14.3.5 Neither the FIA, nor the competent ASN, nor any official of either body shall publicly comment on the specific facts of any pending case (as opposed to general description of process and science) except in response to public comments attributed to the Athlete, the other Person against whom an anti-doping rule violation is asserted, or their representatives.

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