Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tilke to the Max

F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke has revealed that, with Bernie Ecclestone's blessing, his future designs will be "much more to the edge." Coming from Tilke, this has all the credibility of a pledge from Kim Jong-il to introduce a North Korean Freedom of Information Act.

Hermann continues to claim that his insipid portfolio of track designs are a consequence of the financial, geographical and safety constraints placed upon him. Whilst such constraints undoubtedly exist, people of genuine creativity always find ways to express their imagination, irrespective of the restrictions placed upon them. Yet, with the exception of Turn 8 at Istanbul, Tilke's work has been nothing but the output of a sterile, mechanistic, and utterly unoriginal mind.

So, for anyone such as Hermann, wishing to design a classic track for the very first time, here are some guidelines:

1) Don't design the circuit on a computer. Use your imagination, rather than selecting curves from the palette of geometrical arcs available in a piece of software.

2) Get involved with the selection of the land. Do not allow this to be presented to you as a fait accompli.

3) Select a piece of rolling countryside, with good drainage, good access, and some degree of forestation.

4) Allow the circuit design to be determined by the topography of the land rather than vice versa.

5) Use the natural contour, gradient and elevation of the land.

6) Introduce successive corners which swerve in alternating directions, i.e. esses. Make these esses tighten up or open out. For full effect, combine these esses with uphill or downhill gradients.

7) Introduce blind crests and blind apexes. Don't cut down trees.

8) Introduce corners with positive and negative cambers.

9) Don't use constant radius corners.

10) Introduce fast corners which can't quite be taken flat-out with the level of downforce prescribed by the current F1 Technical Working Group.

11) Introduce at least one point on the circuit where an F1 car will briefly take-off unless the driver has a confidence lift.

12) Don't try to pastiche corners from other classic circuits.


johnh said...

The Tilke story is a classic case of a monopoly getting a stronghold and complacency kicking in... although in this case there was no imagination in the first place either.

I also love the fact Tilke and his defenders have continually blamed the rules, but only now he says he wants to get closer to the problem boundary... making explicit there was always room to get closer to the edge in the first place.

Nice article. But I feel you're preaching to the converted (every F1 fan in the world apart from Bernie) on this one!

Gordon McCabe said...

Cheers John. Although, on the question of preaching to the converted, I suspect that as time passes, an ever larger fraction of the F1 fanbase will be unable to remember the days when the cars raced on proper circuits.

Patrick said...

Basically, I agree with you, but in his defence, I do rather like Sepang. If only it had been built somewhere the locals were interested in watching...

Unknown said...

I feel extremely fortunate to live right in between boh Laguna Seca and Infineon (aka Sears Point). Both great tracks, largely designed around the natural geography of the land.

Gordon McCabe said...

Yeah, two excellent tracks.