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GP Week : Issue 111
GPWEEK OPINION >> DRS to revolutionize Tilke tracks? Does size matter? Different riders reacted different ways, as repor ted last week. On balance, in terms of performance, the feeling is one of swings and roundabouts. But on the question of fuel consumption, there was no doubt. Smaller riders use less, both for reasons of aerodynamic and the simple physics of having less weight to shift. Fuel consumption is already one of the biggest issues facing engineers – alongside durability, it is probably even more important than horsepower. At 21 litres, a rough calculation on an average 118km GP race shows the bikes have to average at least 5.6 km/l (15.9 mpg). It’s tight, as anyone who’s ever done a track day on a big superbike will confirm. It means consumption programmes already in use will frequently cut in later in the race to lean out the mixture – spoiling performance and throttle response. And sooner in the race for a big rider. It is about to come an even bigger issue, when the new 1000cc MotoGP generation begins next year. Engine capacity goes up by a quarter, tanks size stays at 21 litres. Take this into account, consider for a moment Rossi’s well-known political skills, and the timing of his request falls into place. It’s not so much that he wants to negate Dani’s advantage now, nor to take up cudgels on behalf of friend (and big feller) Simoncelli. He’s thinking ahead, and protecting himself from what will become a keener advantage in 2012. I’m not sure that it’s fair. I think the bikes should be equal, and the rider should ride them. But knowing Rossi’s power and influence, I would be far from surprised to see an equalising weight penalty incorporated into next year’s regulations. spectators supporting their three national teams. Malaysians can lay claim to Team Lotus, Lotus-Renault GP and Mercedes GP, thanks to their owners and title sponsors. Twelve years after the first race was held here the country has increased its commitment and the future of the Malaysian Grand Prix looks to be healthier than ever. Popularity has a price though. Namely the traffic jam I just had to endure. After the race, the one hour drive to KL became two as six lanes of traffic inched at a snail’s pace out of the circuit. I was nearly as bad as the Sunday night queues to get back to Shanghai. Something to look forward to this week. 21