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Stefan Johansson’s F1 revolution, Part 3: Proposed solutions

Stefan Johansson


Published on January 15, 2016 | Written by Stefan Johansson | Source:

In the third and final part of his analysis of F1, Johansson suggests ways to solve the aero, powertrain, tyre and cost issues that plague the sport.

Here are some of my thoughts on how to improve the racing – mostly applied to Formula 1 as everything normally filters down from there:

AERODYNAMICS: Set a fixed limit on the level of downforce – say 2000lbs. A current F1 car produces 3500-3700lbs based on information I have so that's a decrease of something like 40 percent. It will be very easy to monitor downforce levels through the strain gauges on the push/pullrods on the suspension, which can then be fed directly into the car's ECU.

The focus will shift to other areas to create grip. In time, grip will be back to current levels but mostly through increased mechanical grip and better tyres.

This will lower minimum corner speeds, which will then be defined more by the driver balancing the car with throttle/steering coordination. Less downforce means less drag, which in turn increases straight-line speed, which will make the braking zones longer, which will increase the opportunities for overtaking.

Teams will always spend every penny available to them, but maybe this way the spend and the designers' efforts will be focused on areas that not only improve racing but also benefit the automotive industry.

FRONT WING: Freeze front wing design and make it the same for every team. The FIA should mandate one front wing design for all teams and it will be manufactured and supplied to teams directly by the FIA. This will shift the focus of the aero work as around 80 percent of the aero is dependent on the design of the front wing, especially on an open-wheel car.

TYRES: Regain a good portion of the lost downforce grip by increasing tyre size and width significantly. F1 cars will look more aggressive with wider and taller tyres instead of the current F3-on-steroids look. Increase rim size to make the wheels and tyres look more current and relevant to modern car design. Front/rear tyre size ratio should be closer than it is currently to compensate for the loss of front downforce due to the smaller, mandated and less efficient front wing.

TYRE MANUFACTURERS: Open it up to any manufacturer, to allow for more tyre testing, partly subsidized by tyre manufacturers. This will be the fastest and by far the cheapest way to improve lap times. Competing tyre manufacturers will also generate more money for the teams.

TESTING: I struggle to understand how it can be more expensive to go testing than to build the insanely expensive simulators that every team now uses. If it really is the case, then there's even more argument for finding a way to reduce costs to where it makes sense to do more actual running of the cars.

The FIA needs to study the costs involved in putting a car on track and the running costs per lap. This way they can establish a set of rules that will make the benefits of track testing greater than all devices currently used to compensate for the heavy restrictions on testing. This will help everyone including the fans!

ENGINE POWER: Increase engine power to around 1200-1300hp. This, like the drag reductions, will increase top speed, make the braking distance much longer, and thus allow more opportunities to overtake. It will also increase the speed difference between mid-corner minimum speed versus top speed on the straights. And overall laptimes will drop significantly with an extra 300hp.

POWER UNITS: Allow manufacturers to develop whatever type of engine they wish within predetermined criteria taking into account energy consumption, fuel consumption and all other factors necessary for a high level of energy efficiency and power output. If they want to continue down the path of these super complicated "power units" let them do so, but also allow for more innovative thinking.

Abandon the limitations on how many engines you can use in one season. The original argument about saving costs by only using a set number of engines in a season is already completely broken and it is in fact far more expensive to design and manufacture an engine that has to run a certain length of time than it is to build a "grenade" that only lasts the length of a race distance.

To build an engine once the major part of the development has been done is relatively cheap in the overall scheme of things. Once the CNC machine has been programmed, making 200 pistons instead of 50 doesn't alter the cost that much.

DRIVER AIDS: It doesn't matter if the car has 600 or 2000hp unless you get rid of all the driver aids currently being deployed. The driver has to be in 100% control of the car to make it interesting and spectacular to watch.

The cars have around 900hp at the moment but I am sure drivers would love it if they had to handle the cars purely with throttle control instead of getting radio messages from the pits telling them what to adjust on the near-50 different knobs, dials and switches in the cars now.

Outlawing all forms of driver aids, including engine mapping and other methods of engine and differential manipulation, will also increase the gap between the good drivers and the average or mediocre ones, forcing teams to hire the best drivers they can.

COST CAP/BUDGETS: A lot of the components on the car that have no bearing on its overall speed could be standard parts made by external suppliers and sold to each team at a fixed price. Right now, virtually every single component on a F1 car is designed and made in house.

These are examples of components that could be outsourced and tendered in a bidding process to the FIA: Gearbox, Brakes and brake ducts, differential, ECU, Electronics, Monocoque, Front Wing, Steering wheel and controls.

Everybody talks about how F1 needs a revolution, yet no one seems willing to address the fundamental issue – the fact that a small team that's only ever there to make up the numbers and has zero hope of ever winning a race, is still spending close to $100m per year, just to be part of the show.

What's the point of a team entering each season knowing it must rely on paying drivers to even survive? In my opinion, a winning budget should be $100-$150m, and a budget to be able to compete should be no more than $30m. It's either that, or F1 will become a single-seater version of the DTM, where the manufacturers control everything.

MONOCOQUE/CRASH STRUCTURE: As mentioned above, make all cars have one common crash structure, supplied by the FIA and then build the rest of the tub around that. I know it would prevent designers creating the ultimate aero package for their engine, but so what?

It will be the same for everyone and there would still be plenty of room to create their own bodywork, gain an edge on competitors and make each team's cars look different from their rivals'. Anyway, they all look pretty much the same as it is already.

SIMULATORS: Outlaw all communication between the team base and the race team on race weekends.

PITSTOPS: Make pitstops longer – limit to one person per wheel for example. This would make a bigger difference between the best and worst teams, and would have a bigger impact on what tyre strategy to choose as the time lost in the pits will have more bearing on the choice of tyres and when to stop.

Although it's amazing to watch a 2.5-second pitstop, when you've seen one, they're all the same, and it has done nothing to improve the racing or the show.

ARTIFICIAL PASSING: Get rid of DRS and use a simple push-to-pass system that would be very easy to program into the ECU of every car. Give the drivers 10 or 20 P2P boosts per race, the fans can follow this on the TV screen so they know how many each driver has left toward the end of the race. This system is used in IndyCar and works very well, but a driver can also use it to defend, unlike the DRS system.

WEIGHT LIMIT: Make the weight so that any driver within reason can compete on an equal basis without having to starve himself to death because he's four inches taller than some of his rivals.

RACE STEWARDS: Dump the idea of different ex-driver Stewards at each race; they make things too subjective and inconsistent. Hire one person who goes to all the races. He or she needs to be current with the modern cars and respected by all drivers.

BLOCKING: Blocking sucks, it has nothing to do with skill or race craft. It's OK to weave once to try and break the slipstream from the guy behind, but blocking of any kind has no business on the race track. If the guy behind is faster exiting a corner he has the right to try and pass, and should never be forced to lift off the throttle in a straight line. If he is close enough on corner entry, it should be down to who brakes latest or has the best line entering the corner.

DRIVER PROMOTION: Introduce mandatory autograph sessions, make drivers interact with the fans more. The drivers are the heroes, the fans want to get closer to them.

TRACK DESIGN: Design tracks so they punish drivers for making a mistake, not necessarily by having an accident but so that the trade off by going over the limit is big enough to not attempt it unless you're very close to the edge already.

Maybe a sand trap immediately after the curbing, then followed by the "sticky" asphalt being used at most tracks now. If you go off, you will end up in the sand trap and your session or race is over.

It's interesting that there are no more accidents around Monaco, for example, than there are in Austin, despite the fact that at Monaco the guard rail is in fact the track limit. The way track limits are abused right now has become a joke, and the lap times are literally determined by how strict the guys in race control are.

RULES STABILITY: The best way to diminish costs after the cost-saving measures listed above is by keeping the rules stable for as long as possible. The trade-off between increased performance and cost will get smaller for each year the rules stay the same. This will also bring the grids closer.

GOVERNANCE: To accomplish any of this, it's critical that teams are kept out of the rule-making process. They have proven over and over that they can't agree on anything; democracy does not work in racing. The governing body should have a competent and consistent team of individuals that will determine the rules; if the teams want to play, they simply follow the rules.

There are two governing bodies, the FOM on the commercial side and the FIA on the sporting side, and between them they must be able to put together a package that has the right balance to be able to carry the sport forward in the next decade and bring back the passion of people watching their heroes battling with super-fast "beasts" of cars.

Part 1 - Problems in philosophy

Part 2 - Identifying key issues

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Stefan Johansson's F1 revolution, Part 2: Identifying key issues

Stefan Johansson

Published on January 13, 2016 | Written by Stefan Johansson | Source:

Continuing his three-part analysis on why Formula 1 needs a new approach, the ’80s grand prix star identifies the three areas that have sent the sport down a self-defeating dead end.

There are three main factors that determine the speed of a racing car – aerodynamics, engine and tires. Of these three, aerodynamics has become the most crucial component in modern car design. Yet, out of these three main factors, aerodynamics is the one area that has almost no significant benefit to anything beyond making a racecar go faster.

There is an endless tinkering to gain minuscule percentages of downforce versus drag, all determined by a very strict set of rules that basically allows for virtually no innovative thinking. It is purely a matter of spending as much time and money as is allowed by the rules to fine-tune the aero package.

The “development war” has become a big talking point in Formula 1, and the top teams are literally flying in crates with new aero parts every day during the course of a grand prix. It is purely a matter of cubic dollars, the more you spend the more you gain. Today a top F1 team is going through something like 75 different versions of its front wing-design in one season. The sheer cost of this is mindboggling. There is obviously a lot of other aero work going on at the same time but it’s all secondary to the front wing as this is what most influences aerodynamic forces along and over any open-wheel racecar.

Yet the more efficient the aero package is, the more difficult it is to pass the car in front of you as turbulence from the car ahead will inevitably affect the efficiency of the front wing of your car. When you look at the front wing of a current F1 car, it is not difficult to see how a slight interference in the perfect airflow will cause a major disturbance in the overall grip and in particular the front grip of the car. But it’s not only F1 cars that suffer from this problem; every modern racing car that produces downforce of any level is suffering from the same problem.

In an effort to try and make the racing more interesting, a number of “artificial” devices has been introduced, DRS (drag reduction system) being one of them. It’s helped the passing for sure, but it’s taken away a big part of what is the “art of racing”, in my opinion. There is no skill or technique involved in pressing a button in order to gain an advantage on the car in front of you, especially if this car is basically a sitting duck and has no ability to respond.

The current engines in F1 are incredibly sophisticated, so much so that they’re now called power units. The cost to develop these units is astronomical and drove up the costs for every team participating in F1. This has mostly affected the smaller teams who have to buy these engines from one of the engine manufacturers.

But it’s not only the cost of the engine that has gone up. Because they are so complicated to run and install, much more manpower is required. Combined with a general squeeze in the sponsorship flowing into F1 at the moment, this has caused most of the mid-level and smaller teams to rely more and more on Formula One Management’s complicated system of financial aid that pays out on a scale based on points scored in previous seasons.

Despite the massive cost of developing, manufacturing and maintaining these power units, the OEMs are forced to make them within an extremely strict set of rules, and there is only one option of technology that everyone must adhere to. So again, there is very little room for innovative thinking.

However, the big difference between the chassis and engine rules are that once you’ve submitted the engine you’re planning to run, you can only make changes according to incredibly complicated “token” regulations, whereas a team is allowed to develop its way out of a chassis problem. There is basically no limit to how many upgrades you can make to a car during a season. Apparently the main reason for this lock on engine development was to bring down costs, yet the cost of creating these power units in the first place has already broken any attempt at keeping the spends at a reasonable level.

For a while now, the tire supply in F1 has been limited to one manufacturer. The mandate to Pirelli has been to effectively build a bad tire, in the interest of making the racing more exciting. This has been going on for some years now and I don’t think anyone can say it has improved the racing on any level whatsoever. All it has done is make everyone drive 10-20% off their real pace just to make the tires last until a set lap in the race; it hasn’t altered strategy nor has it made the races more interesting.

For me it’s one of the worst ideas they have ever come up with in F1. It would be so much better for everyone involved if a driver was forced to be on the limit, every single lap throughout the race, so we see who are the really good ones and who are the ones who will make a mistake when the pressure is on.

One of the big arguments right now is about the cost of running a Formula 1 team, and how to reduce it. There’s talk of a cost cap and all sorts of different solutions are offered. There are several different thoughts and philosophies in this area – the smaller teams are complaining they don’t get enough of the profit share from the FOM, the bigger teams all want to spend more than they currently do if it means they can win.

I don’t think it will ever be possible to find a happy medium and it will be impossible to ever efficiently police a team’s outlay. The only sensible solution in my opinion is for the FIA to mandate new rules that would restrict or eliminate areas where big spending is done.

The money being spent on aero development in general is simply astronomical, the constant fiddling with the little aero widgets and bits and pieces being bolted on the cars is endless. Rather than focusing on overall downforce which increases corner speed, reducing drag would in my opinion be one of the major areas to focus on in order to help increase straightline speed.

If rules were devised to make drag reduction an imperative, super smart engineers would bring forth very major breakthroughs in a short period of time, and suddenly the difference between terminal speed on straights and cornering speed would be vastly increased. That would make the cars more of a handful, increase the length of braking zones, and thus increase the number and likelihood of passing opportunities.

Most people are now in agreement that the cars don’t sound or look spectacular enough, the fans can see that the drivers aren’t fighting their cars and, as a result, it’s difficult for fans to appreciate their heroes.

Part 1 - Problems in philosophy

Part 3 - Proposed solutions

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Stefan Johansson's F1 revolution, Part 1: Problems in philosophy

Stefan Johansson


Published on January 11, 2016 | Written by Stefan Johansson | Source:

The former Ferrari and McLaren Formula 1 driver's three-part analysis on why the sport – starting with grand prix racing – needs a new approach. Today he explains the basic flaw in racing's current template.

Following the recent tinkering with the rules in Formula 1, there has been a lot of argument about everything that is wrong with the series and what should be done to fix it. Everyone with an interest in racing seems very passionate about this and there are almost as many proposed solutions as there are people with opinions.

F1 is and always has been at the top of the ladder of motorsports, but in my opinion it’s not only F1 that needs to have a close look at the direction the racing has taken in recent years.

Nearly every form of motorsport today has become completely dependent on aerodynamics – and, more specifically, aerodynamic downforce – to determine the ultimate speed of any given car. Each passing year, lap times get quicker until there is a rule change to slow the cars, usually in the interest of safety. Most frequently, this is done by reducing horsepower – a quick fix… until designers and engineers find a way around the problem by increasing grip levels through even better aerodynamics. In 2-3 years, lap times are typically back to where they were before the rule changes.

In every form of racing, straightline top speeds are significantly lower today than they were in the mid-1980s yet lap times are much faster on every race track where it’s possible to make a reasonable comparison. So where is the speed coming from? Via massively faster cornering speeds. Nowadays for a driver it’s all about momentum. He or she is always trying to achieve the best possible minimum cornering speed as this will typically determine the best time over a lap. In the past, braking and exit speed were more the determining factors.

But leaving aside car failures or any other freak situation where a driver has no control over the outcome, where do the majority of accidents take place? Last time I checked, they happen in the corners!  So why does every professional racing series, in the name of safety, keep mandating reductions in engine power? The reductions bring slower and slower top speeds but cornering speeds keep increasing every year through permissible aerodynamic development. To me it makes absolutely no sense…

Of course, the main effect of this is that the racing suffers more and more, for a number of different reasons:

-        The difference between minimum speed mid-corner and top speed on the following straight is significantly reduced which reduces the opportunity for a driver to get a better exit than his rival in front and then have a run on him into the next braking area.

-        Braking distances are getting shorter and shorter as the top speed is decreased and grip level is increased. By nature this minimizes the opportunity for a driver to outbrake the car in front.

-        Most of the “challenging” corners are now gone, whether in F1 or a top level prototype as high-speed aero grip is now so enormous. Corners like Eau Rouge at Spa used to be a huge challenge to take flat even in an F1 car whereas today even the least capable are flat through there by their third lap in practice. It’s barely a corner anymore and it’s the same in an LMP1 or LMP2 car.

-        Every aero-dependent car (single-seaters and prototypes in particular) today relies primarily on aerodynamics at the front of the chassis as this affects what’s going on with the entire car. But when you follow another car, your front aero is inevitably ruined by the turbulence created by the car you’re trailing. This makes it even more difficult to carry sufficient speed to make a run on the car in front as the acceleration is not enough if the cars are equal in top speed.

If we go back to the 1980s and onwards and look at safety, we find that virtually all the bad accidents that happened (Elio De Angelis, Roland Ratzenberger, Ayrton Senna, Stefan Bellof) were freak accidents that could have just as easily happened today but would probably be survivable. The difference now is that the tracks and cars are much safer than they were back then. It is almost certain Senna would have survived his accident if he had been in an F1 car with the current cockpit design. (Bianchi’s accident was even more a freak situation that should have never happened in my opinion.)

In Formula 1, there are no more “big balls” tracks or corners left. Today, it’s all about precision and hitting your marks perfectly, and of course understanding how to get a car dialed in with the endless adjustments of knobs and switches now available. Drivers have to play with them constantly to get the most out of a car yet most of the decisions on what button or dial to change is determined by engineers in the pit lane.

Additionally, racetracks are now so sanitized that there is absolutely no punishment for going over the limit. The result is that every driver finds the limit within 5-10 laps by simply going beyond the track’s perimeter into generous runoff areas. Then they just peg their corner-speed back a bit from there for the next lap until they find the limit. There’s hardly a single corner left in racing where you have to “hang it out”. Lap times are literally determined by race control and how lenient they are to drivers going past the track limits.

As a result, bravery is no longer a part of a driver’s arsenal…

The essence of a truly great racing driver is a combination of raw natural talent, a good understanding of his car and ability to report its changing dynamics to his engineers. The best drivers have a highly developed ability to “read” a race - to consistently make the most of the situations they find themselves in and score the maximum points allowed by the car on a given day.

But above all, a great racing driver can combine this ability with the will to stick his neck out when needed… When it really matters, an ability to push past the limit of what both he and the car are normally capable of and make a difference. This is what every real racing driver craves. Nothing in this world can compare with the feeling of stepping into the unknown and controlling your car on the absolute limit of adhesion, with throttle and steering coordinated perfectly. To come out of a corner knowing you’ve just gained another two or three tenths of a second. This is what we live for.

To watch Senna qualifying at Monaco was pure bliss. But even more astounding is some onboard footage I came across of Juan Manuel Fangio racing around the old Nordschleife Nurburgring in the 1950s. It made my eyes well up, and is the most humbling piece of racing footage I have ever seen. It’s absolutely beautiful to watch and should be an inspiration to every driver. The steering never pointed straight for more than a second throughout the entire lap and he basically destroyed all his competitors.

It’s time to go back to the drawing board and look closely at the philosophy of auto racing, revisiting the entire concept of how racing cars are designed and built. New technology is fascinating but racing in any form should, in my opinion, always be about drivers, first and foremost.

Part 2 - Identifying key issues

Part 3 - Proposed solutions

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The Driver, The Artist, and Their Illustrated Friendship

Stefan Johansson

Stefan Johansson in his Los Angeles studio, September 2015

Stefan Johansson in his Los Angeles studio, September 2015

Posted on October 07, 2015 | Written by Chris Hull | Source:

For many of us, the artistry of a race car evokes the same reverence as that of a piece of conventional art. Be it a weld or a brush stroke, a poignant piece of canvas fortified with color, or a glimpse of meticulously machined aluminum peeking out from behind a swath of carbon fiber, there are parallels and commonalities between them. Some of us behold the beautiful lines imposed by aerodynamic efficiency the same way we stand in awe of a priceless painting or architectural masterpiece. On the hallowed grounds of Monza or in the inspired halls of the MoMA, our brains are bombarded with the same pleasure cocktail of endorphins and dopamine. The sweet spot of our interests lies firmly at the apex of art and racing.

A few years ago, I was working for iconic racing apparel/equipment manufacturer Alpinestars. Alpinestars has a rich history in motorsports, outfitting teams and drivers in Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, and every other major segment of professional and amateur racing. It was not uncommon to find a former F1 driver’s business card buried in an office drawer. One day as I was sifting through a drawer, I stumbled across a specific card that donned a very recognizable and intriguing graphic. This 3.5 inch by 2 inch piece of plastic suggested that it had a story to tell that I wanted to hear. It was likely a story of art and racing and the aforementioned sweet spot where they collide. It was Stefan Johansson’s card and it was embellished with a personalized Keith Haring graphic. I wanted to know how this came to be and I promptly emailed the address on the card.

The institutions of motorsports and modern art have famously rubbed elbows in the past. BMW has played a significant role in the intersection of art and racing, with their fabled Art Car series. Since its inception in 1975 the BMW art car program has explored the beautiful, aesthetic wonderland that exists between auto design, racing and contemporary art. Art royalty such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, David Hockney–and most recently Jeff Koons–have all projected their artistic vision onto some of BMW’s most storied machines. Bavarian motor masterpieces such as the 3.0 CSL, M1, and M3 as well as the V12LMS Prototype have been graced by the brush stroke of BMW’s 40 year old celebration of art and auto.

A lesser known, yet equally interesting fusion of racing and art was cultivated from an unlikely friendship during the late 1980s. Keith Haring had already established himself as an icon and influencer of the Pop Art movement. Stefan Johansson was a dependable workhorse of Formula 1, driving for the likes of McLaren, Ferrari, Tyrrell, and others. He was living in Monaco at the time, already nurturing a passion for art and design. An avid painter himself, he had begun collecting contemporary art, especially gravitating towards the Pop Art genre. As such, Keith Haring’s work resonated deeply with Stefan.

As is the nature of Monaco, the paths of cultural influencers, celebrities, athletes (F1 drivers), artists, and socialites tend to cross. Such was the case when Haring and Johansson found themselves across the table from each other at a dinner hosted by mutual friends.

“I don’t think Keith ever went to a race actually, we met outside the races completely unrelated to anything to do with racing.” Recalls Johansson of their 1988 meeting. “He had no interest whatsoever in cars or racing. We didn’t meet because I was a racing driver and he was a fan of racing, it was more of an organic meeting between people.”

The American artist and the Swedish F1 driver struck up a friendship and mutual respect for each other’s fields of work. Eventually a casual “Hey wouldn't it be cool if...” conversation took place, exploring where they might be able to merge their personalities and talents.

“I can’t actually remember how it came about.”

Said Johansson of the impromptu collaboration.

“I think we just talked about it over dinner one night as it would be a cool idea and then he came up with this design a few days later.”

The “design” is a wonderful, whimsical, and easily identifiable Haring illustration that the artist rendered as a friendly gesture and gift for Stefan. Very few people can say that they own a Keith Haring original piece of art, even fewer can say they possess a bespoke piece that bears their name and identity.

The simple drawing of an F1 man/machine hybrid creature wears trademarks of Haring’s style and pragmatic characteristics. It is enthusiastic. It suggests movement and speed and it evokes personality and character. The casual and playful cartoonish illustration is accompanied by Stefan Johansson’s name scrawled in equally casual hand-drawn block letters. Everything about it yields Haring’s iconic style and carries hints of his history as a graffiti artist, as well as a celebrated fine artist. The piece falls into an interesting space between objet d'art and logo. It is very much evocative of the era in which it was conceived.

The drawing has maintained a rather low profile over the years. Stefan has used it on his personal business cards and letterhead. He’s printed a couple of T shirts over the years, but never tried to commercialize it or use it in an overtly public manner.

The personal nature of the graphic and the fact that it was a somewhat spontaneous gift has kept it protected but possibly under-appreciated. While the simple sketch and text may not be as publicly impactful as say–a 1979 BMW M1 vividly hand-embellished by Andy Warhol–its significance is not lost on Johansson.

“I do reflect on it now and realize it’s a pretty cool thing,. At the time it didn’t seem that big of a deal, but as time goes by Keith’s work has become iconic. I see from the reaction I get from people when they see my business card that it’s something that’s a bit special,” Stefan reflects.

“Keith was a very special and incredibly kind person. Sadly he passed away only a few years after we met, so our friendship was rather fleeting. The fact that he was able to accomplish so much in such few years with his art is a true sign of how talented he was. His legacy in the art world will only become larger as time goes by.”

Stefan Johansson maintains a productive career in motorsports as a driver, manager, and consultant. He also continues to express his art and design tendencies in his paintings and in a fine timepiece company that bears his name. Keith Haring passed away in 1990, but his legacy lives on as an icon of not only contemporary art, but of social commentary and activism. His art resonates as much now with new generations of admirers as it did when he was alive.

While Haring may not have been a rabid F1 fan and Johansson may not have multiple world titles under his belt, their friendship still procured an invaluable anecdote of Formula 1 history. An anecdote rarely recited, but greatly appreciated by those of us who live for that perfect union of art and racing.

To complement this year's F1 USGP, Circuit of The Americas will explore the union of art and racing with POP AUSTIN. The POP AUSTIN International Art Show will host a satellite exhibit featuring an impressive collection of fine art, including pieces from Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Richard Orlinski, Desire Obtain Cherish, Shane Guffogg, Micky Hoogendijk and others.

The POP AUSTIN track exhibit, located in the Grand Plaza will be a not-to-miss experience and will be available and open to all race goers.

More information about POP AUSTIN is available here.

Tickets for the 2015 F1 USGP are going fast. Book yours today.

Original McLaren-Honda domination took five years of hard work, says ex-driver Stefan Johansson

Stefan Johansson

Pirelli says it is moving towards a solution which will give teams choice in tyre compounds for 2016.

One of the proposals from the last meeting of the Strategy Group was for teams to be given freedom to pick between the four available compounds at each grand prix. The current rules have Pirelli picking two compounds ahead of a race weekend.

Though it has reservations about the feasibility of giving teams free reign on compound choices, Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery says the manufacturer is working on a solution to accommodate the Strategy Group's proposal and hopes to make an announcement in the near future.

"We're having some pretty good ongoing discussions with the teams and the FIA and we seem to be homing in on a solution that gives the variety of choice they'd like to have and gives us an element of security that strange decisions aren't made," Hembery is quoted as saying by F1i. "So we're hopeful that in the next few weeks we'll be able to convey that to everybody, so that we can start working towards next year."

Tyres are a point of uncertainty currently, with Michelin recently applying to become sole tyre supplier from 2017 onwards.

Johansson: Haas has done its homework ahead of F1 entry

Stefan Johansson

Former Formula 1 driver Stefan Johansson has praised Haas F1 Team for ‘doing its homework’ ahead of its entry to the sport in 2016.

Haas is set to become the first American team to race in F1 in 30 years when it lines up on the grid for the Australian Grand Prix in April.

However, a great deal of scepticism does surround the arrival of a new team in F1 following the difficulties faced by the most recent trio of entries in 2010.

HRT raced until 2012 before collapsing, whilst Caterham lasted until the end of the 2014 season. Manor (formerly Marussia) is the only remaining ‘new’ team on the grid.

Haas is looking to buck the trend thanks to a technical partnership with Ferrari, and Johansson believes that this is a very smart move.

In an interview on his website, the Swedish racing veteran wrote about the idea of customer cars in F1, and why he thinks they should be re-introduced. Customer cars are banned in the sport, but technical partnerships are permitted.

“Well, I don’t understand the attitude of some the smaller teams,” Johansson said. “They say customer cars will ruin Formula 1 and that they have 300 people employed and what will happen to them?

“At the same time they’re scrambling for every penny because the cars are so expensive to make now and they can’t afford to pay their people or their suppliers in many cases.

“If I was Manor and I was offered a Ferrari I’d jump at it! Who wouldn’t? Their budget would be less than it is now. The car would already be developed and sorted and you could run the team with probably 60 people. It just makes business sense.”

Johansson praised Haas for engaging in a technical partnership with Ferrari, pushing the boundaries of working with a bigger team ahead of its entry to the sport next year.

“They’re pushing it as close to that as the rules will allow currently,” Johansson said.

“They’ve done their homework, they’ve listened to the right people and it’s the way to do it.”

Johansson urges Manor to Follow Haas approach

Stefan Johansson

Former F1 driver Stefan Johansson has urged Manor to consider following the lead of the 2016 entrant Haas.

Manor, the former Marussia team and clear 2015 backmarker, has admitted in recent days it is wary of the threat posed by the incoming Haas' novel approach to F1.

Haas is pushing to the limit of the existing rules in terms of 'customer cars', buying as much as possible from its close technical partner Ferrari.

"They're pushing it as close to that as the rules will allow currently," Swede Johansson, who raced until the early 90s for teams including Ferrari and McLaren, said.

"They've done their homework, they've listened to the right people and it's the way to do it."

However, Haas' rival small teams are pushing back hard against the push to free the 'customer car' model in F1, insisting that manufacturing a chassis almost entirely alone is part of the DNA of the sport.

"Well, I don't understand the attitude of some the smaller teams," Johansson told his website.

"At the same time they're scrambling for every penny because the cars are so expensive to make now and they can't afford to pay their people or their suppliers in many cases.

"If I was Manor and I was offered a Ferrari I'd jump at it," said Johansson. "Who wouldn't? Their budget would be less than it is now. The car would already be developed and sorted and you could run the team with probably 60 people. It just makes business sense.

"With a customer car you still get to be part of the show, you still get money from Bernie and you could actually make some money if you do it right. As far as I'm concerned it's the way to go," he added.