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Old 19 Feb 2017, 15:08 (Ref:3713170)   #16
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Originally Posted by bella View Post
fair point gordon - can't some of the late 90s mclarens only be fired up using a period laptop?
You're probably right Bella but I suppose a 5 year old with an iPod could probably do it !! I can remember doing a winter warmer at Brands when some of the cars that were in the same race as me had to be started with a laptop
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Old 20 Feb 2017, 07:38 (Ref:3713279)   #17
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No doubt they are still about and complete, however running them is another matter as the years go on and the mechanics that serviced the complicated beasts in the day are slowly disappearing.
I know Bernie has a few at Biggin Hill !
Clare Williams referred to this as part of a discussion over the gift of a car to Massa.
She said that they have very few options for the cars once they are finished with, as it is too complex to fire up the engines.
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Old 20 Feb 2017, 08:22 (Ref:3713295)   #18
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Zak Brown has a few, collection includes Senna's Monaco Toleman and his later John Player Special as well as an Alan Jones Williams.
Zak Brown also has a Hakinen McLaren (and that was before he got his hands on the keys to the McLaren garages!)

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Clare Williams referred to this as part of a discussion over the gift of a car to Massa.
She said that they have very few options for the cars once they are finished with, as it is too complex to fire up the engines.
That's part of the reason you see a lot of the cars in EuroBOSS (or whatever it's called these days) running with different engines - there were a lot of Judd powered cars last time I saw it. The correct engines are too complex / lack of spares / too expensive - some of these cars were running in the 'throw the engine away after each session' era (slight exaggeration but certainly they weren't built with longevity in mind!).
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Old 20 Feb 2017, 08:48 (Ref:3713308)   #19
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Actually this whole engine thing is a historic element in itself, the keepers of F1 history need to have a record of, even examples of, these complex and exotic engines. I know I for one would like to know more about what went into them, the power available and why they were so complicated to fire up.

Has anybody written a book?
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Old 20 Feb 2017, 13:48 (Ref:3713400)   #20
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perhaps there should be renewed calls for an F1 hall of fame?
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Old 20 Feb 2017, 15:16 (Ref:3713438)   #21
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Sorry, what follows is a bit of a technical rant about the longevity of content on digital media and systems that rely upon dead or dying legacy hardware/software.

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Has anybody written a book?
So let me rant about digital media and the impact on the history of modern F1! You hear talk occasionally about the difficulty of digital storage in that formats change and equipment no longer exists to read the data. There is that for sure, but there is also the situation in which I think a lot of modern history lives on the internet be it wikipedia articles, new stories, forum posts, whatever. However there is little guarantee that information will persist long term because the parties who currently host that information are generally "for profit" and at times have little incentive to maintain the information long term. I am sure we have all had the experience of clicking a link from an old article somewhere and it is just gone. So my hope is that yes, this stuff should be documented in a way that can last. Otherwise we may find that in some ways modern F1 will be the least documented in the long term.

Here is an example of digital decay... Before things like forums were popular, there was what is/was known as Usenet newsgroups. I think they are still in use today, but they were much more popular around a decade or more ago. At some point someone started to archive them, then that seemed to get consolidated into a searchable system by someone known as "DejaNews". Then eventually that archive was acquired by Google which was folded into their "groups" system. It continued to be searchable and you could read older content. Then at some point within the last few years the ability to search and view older content (pretty much all that was archived by DejaNews) was removed from the search interface. So all of that content is currently not available to anyone (unless they have made their own archive). Depending upon what a Google does with it, it may be gone forever.

So... oddly enough paper may last longer than some digital media. That is why I continue to buy paper books.

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Actually this whole engine thing is a historic element in itself, the keepers of F1 history need to have a record of, even examples of, these complex and exotic engines. I know I for one would like to know more about what went into them, the power available and why they were so complicated to fire up.
I have two comments regarding the complexity of modern racing (and sometimes street) cars. First, I have to wonder how teams (and future owners) handle the situations in which they don't own the engines. So for example the car Williams gave to Massa. That car used a Mercedes engine which I assume was returned to Mercedes at the end of the season. I don't know the details, but I assume that Massa has only a chassis with "something" (highly likely completely non-functional) mounted in place of the power unit and maybe the transmission. The point being that unless you are someone like Mercedes, Renault or Ferrari... complete "modern" F1 cars likely don't exist when a season ends. That is why everyone talks about those who have working cars have different (none original) solutions for the engines.

Second, there is the issue brought up above about the reliance upon older hardware. There is the story that has floated around for quite awhile how McLaren is reliant upon a 1995 Compaq laptop for work on the original F1 road car because of a unique CA card required to make it all work. The IT industry is littered with stories like this. Usually it is some type of unique hardware system that requires related ancient computer equipment. I think the US Air Force still uses a system as part of the nuclear deterrent that relies upon 8" floppy drives.

I do think that long term this can be solved, but it does require some work. Machine virtualization is one example. But special hardware interfaces makes that difficult (which I think is the McLaren issue). But I believe that even McLaren is biting the bullet and working on a replacement that doesn't require the ancient Compaq laptops.

This next bit is VERY esoteric, but in 2014 a group established contact with a satellite named IEEE-3 that was from the 1970s. The satellite had long been retired and had a proprietary system for communication that was long gone. But it was still orbiting the sun and sending back data. Using some newer hardware and special software techniques (radio geeks will know about what is known as "Software Defined Radio") that were not really available decades ago, they recreated (relatively cheaply) the ability to to talk to the satellite without the original communication hardware.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intern...#Reboot_effort

My point is that, if someone wants to, they can solve the problem with interfacing with the older cars without having to rely upon the old associated computer hardware and software. It just takes someone who is dedicated to make it work.

Richard
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Old 20 Feb 2017, 18:52 (Ref:3713495)   #22
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To add to your last point about needing someone to be dedicated to make it happen, you need also to have sufficient monetary recourses as well.

But as you say about what you think may have happened to Massa's power-unit, this was also part of the problem that restricted the Pirelli testing to just the three teams; most of the others didn't have or couldn't afford to keep the units for the tests, and they also didn't have enough chassis available.

Look at what happened to the wet weather tyre test that Ferrari recently conducted. I don't believe that Vettel had a major shunt, but even Ferrari couldn't provide replacement parts. It is almost as though the teams are copying the car manufacturers, etc., and parts only come on stream just in time. Long gone are the days of huge stock bins of parts.
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Old 20 Feb 2017, 20:13 (Ref:3713522)   #23
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To add to your last point about needing someone to be dedicated to make it happen, you need also to have sufficient monetary recourses as well.
I almost added that point as well. Today that is very true. I do think that over time it may actually cost less given the assumption of more and more technical capabilities in the future. That has to however be measured against the difficulty of poor or non-existent documentation as well as personal domain knowledge (i.e. having access to engineers who know the details) disappearing over time.

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Old 20 Feb 2017, 21:34 (Ref:3713541)   #24
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When i was at ASI this year i was taking to sumone from Williams Heritage about what state their cars are in and they try to keep them in running condition, but the engines are the biggest problem.
Williams have all the kit needed to run any Renault engined cars, for the BMW ones they need to call BMW who will send a few engineers and the kit need to run the engines but any of the Honda engined cars cant be run as Honda wanted all of their property returned!
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Old 21 Feb 2017, 09:15 (Ref:3713634)   #25
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Mike Harte should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridMike Harte should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Richard, whilst you write about digital decay, another thing that users of the internet need to be wary of is that some history is being re-written to suit unknown agendas.

I happened to, only yesterday, look up articles on the history of a certain marque of car to refresh my memory. What I found is a complete re-write of timelines that was impossible to weave into my own movements from that time - we are talking about the 1980s.

What has seemed to have happened is that the timeline has been moved about 5 years, so instead of starting at the beginning of the 80s, every things now starts at around the middle of that decade. I think that this may have something to do with the fact that the manufacturer had great difficulty in meeting all the requirements of the regulators in the States, especially California. So, to save themselves blushes, it was much easier to re-write the timeline.

As your great leader, Abe Lincoln, once said: 'You can't trust everything that you read on the internet'.
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Old 21 Feb 2017, 17:05 (Ref:3713735)   #26
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fair point gordon - can't some of the late 90s mclarens only be fired up using a period laptop?
I gather Ferrari have a room full of vintage laptops for that exact reason. They also have the most proactive customer F1 programme ...... if you have the cash!
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Old 22 Feb 2017, 21:58 (Ref:3714112)   #27
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Hmmmm so that old lap top running Windows 98, I have in the bottom of my desk might have a use after all.
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Old 23 Feb 2017, 09:57 (Ref:3714231)   #28
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I don't see the actual laptops being that much of a problem - surely they can run the old software on new laptops in a VM? (we run a version of DOS on a VM for one legacy system for example). Getting the software off the older laptops would be a one-off pain in the arse but after you've done it then you've got it in a usable form for the future.

Again any specific hardware relating to the setup (as per the McLaren example above) surely is beyond the wit of man to resolve either? Again - it's a pain in the arse to do but if were to rebuild it you could make it wireless, use bluetooth or whatever. This is the sort of thing that you throw out to the internet and say "make this work" and someone will come back with a solution. Geeks love a challenge.
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Old 23 Feb 2017, 12:08 (Ref:3714259)   #29
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I don't see the actual laptops being that much of a problem - surely they can run the old software on new laptops in a VM? (we run a version of DOS on a VM for one legacy system for example). Getting the software off the older laptops would be a one-off pain in the arse but after you've done it then you've got it in a usable form for the future.

Again any specific hardware relating to the setup (as per the McLaren example above) surely is beyond the wit of man to resolve either? Again - it's a pain in the arse to do but if were to rebuild it you could make it wireless, use bluetooth or whatever. This is the sort of thing that you throw out to the internet and say "make this work" and someone will come back with a solution. Geeks love a challenge.
I think it's not so much the old OS and software that as you say can be run in a VM, but associated legacy hardware connectors/adapters that either are not supported on modern hardware, or for whatever reason, don't work correctly when used via adapters (I.e. USB to whatever). For the McLaren F1 road car, it is a specific bespoke CA card that is the problem. Outside of Motorsports the problem is hardware dongles (usually as part of a copy protection scheme) that don't play nice with virtual adapters.

But you are right, it is all solvable if someone has the time and money.

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Old 23 Feb 2017, 12:32 (Ref:3714264)   #30
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I think it's not so much the old OS and software that as you say can be run in a VM, but associated legacy hardware connectors/adapters that either are not supported on modern hardware, or for whatever reason, don't work correctly when used via adapters (I.e. USB to whatever). For the McLaren F1 road car, it is a specific bespoke CA card that is the problem. Outside of Motorsports the problem is hardware dongles (usually as part of a copy protection scheme) that don't play nice with virtual adapters.
recently we had a customer interested in buying a machine we haven't made for 20 years. we've got a spare unit kicking around in a test bay, but the software to power it doesn't work on modern computers (good luck finding a floppy drive to try installing it, for example), and the related techno-gubbins and controllers inside the control box aren't supported and wouldn't run anyway because there's no drivers for them...
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