Sunday, 23 February 2014


I thought I blogged about this before but I looked through my blog and there is no mention of F.E.I.G.P.S.
I have been working on a little project lately. Well, maybe not so little. Towards the end of 2008 I was unemployed and living in an apartment in Galway. Life was boring and depressing because I was fairly isolated in that part of the country, being from Kerry and no relations living in Galway and very little interaction with people because of not having a job to go to. So I had to do something to keep my mind occupied when there was nothing to watch on tv during the long boring days when I just couldn't afford to go anywhere or do anything. One of the things I was passionate about at the time was Formula 1. I was worried that I would become disenchanted with the sport the way things were going and the fact that one of my favourite Grands Prix - Canada - had been dropped. It turned out that this worry was unnecessary at the time because slick tyres were coming back and Canada was only off the calendar for a year.
I got to thinking about if I was running my own formula, how I could make it compete with Formula 1 on a smaller budget and not to expect lap times to be as fast as F1 in my formula. I came up with an idea that I can best describe as being like a cross between Champ Cars and A1 Grand Prix. It would be an international racing series that would include a Grand Prix race at Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, Il Notre Dame, Montreal. I also had it in mind to have one race in Ireland and to try and include classic tracks like Spa and Suzuka and possibly Mount Panorama if it could be made safe for single-seater slicks & wings racing. I would also include oval races to appeal to the American market, even though I'm not a big fan of oval racing. America's biggest racing series is NASCAR and if I wanted to attract those race fans I'd need to include the odd oval event because NASCAR is raced in all ovals bar 2 races..
Ireland were competing in A1 Grand Prix at the time. They would go on to be champions in 2009. A1 was a single driver and same car for all teams formula. I would have gone with this for my formula. Only my one would have the driver being the team leader so the team would be out of the championship if the driver was out. The driver builds up their team around them and the team is named after the driver. All drivers would run the exact same car/engines/tyres etc., and have the exact same number of personnel with the exact same job descriptions in their team. So the best driver and the driver with the best team to set the car up for the race would be the most competitive in what I would hope to be the most level playing field in motorsport. It would have been similar to pre-2007 Champ Cars in terms of the design of the car (except for the engine and an air scoop like F1 instead of just a roll hoop) and the fact that the drivers had to change gears using a lever in the cockpit rather than paddles behind the steering wheel. My view was that there would be more of a skill to racing if drivers had to clutch pedal and use a lever to change gears. It wouldn't be a "H" system like road cars though. It would be sequential - back for up, forward for down - with a button on the steering wheel for reverse if the car needed to get out of the way in a dangerous position.
The points system has slight variations for long, short and oval circuits and I won't go into it in detail here. But it is a system that would reward consistency and that I think fans of American racing points systems would approve of. Points for pole and fastest lap (except for ovals which only have points for pole) and generally 35 (originally 33) points for a win and every finisher gets points, was the system for Formula Eamon. I wrote the first rule "book" by hand on blank A4 paper in 2008 during those lean times in Galway. I called it the Formula Eamon International Grand Prix Series (FEIGPS). A few years later in 2012 in Waterford I tweaked and upgraded the rules and regulations and stored them on my computer with a word processor.
For 2014 I did a bit more research and headed more in the direction of  Formula 1. I decided to change from a 3.5 litre, normally aspirated engine to a 2 litre turbo engine married to a hybrid system. I considered going the same way as Toyota's WEC/le Mans car and keeping the 3.5 litre engine with the hybrid system. But ultimately I had a better idea (from my research) of what power and boost figures could be got from 2 litre turbo engines in single-seaters. I also decided to regulate fuel usage and boost output for the races in line with how the road car industry strives for more eco-friendly economical cars and the boost regulation to reward faster drivers for more natural speed. I also went with a paddle shift system for gear change so drivers could maintain 2-handed control of the steering wheel for safety at high speed. But I kept a clutch system that retains a bit of skill in the gear change and still rewards driver ability. I still based the car design on Champ Cars, but the current design is more like the old Champ Cars because it doesn't have the F1-style air scoop, but a roll hoop over the driver's helmet. The original update on the computer in Word was 27 pages. The new 2014 rules and regulations book is 32 pages and has a little bit more technical detail.
I also decided to change the name to a shorter one that would have more impact and to suit the new version of the formula. It still retains the "Formula Eamon" part of the name, but instead of Formula Eamon International Grand Prix Series, it's now called International Formula Eamon Turbo - IFET for short. It is also a better name because you can now pronounce the short version in 2 syllables instead of 7 letters: I-fet. I made one more tweak to the fuel regulations. Since originally writing this, I discovered that formula 1 regulates it's fuel in kilos because of something to do with different properties for the fuel in its liquid and gas states. So I decided to do the same. I must update the pdf copy during the week as well. 
So that's my fantasy motor racing series Formula Eamon.

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