Ok, I have to admit, I’ve been criticizing the F1 circus for a while now and for good reason. Ever since my father took me to a race in Zeltweg, Austria (yes the current A1 Ring before it was shortened) in 1978 I’ve been following the F1 seasons very closely. It has always been exciting because drivers were allowed to race until their teeth fell out and this happened during the entire season with all teams and on all tracks.
Something has changed. Creating a boredom to cost ratio there is simply no other sport in the world that lacks such an enormous amount of excitement as this media and money show. For almost two decades now ever since Michael Schumacher started his world-championship sequence with Ferrari there simply has not been any moment that I would highlight as a a racing year that rocked. The sport has been regulated to death in the sense that today you might as well remove the driver and let a 12 years old use some playstation controls and drive the car from the sideline. For years the discussion has been in how to make the sport more competitive and attractive but all the current regulations and adjustments have been to no avail. The reason is simple, in these two decades there always has been a team that had one or more advantages on their cars. As mentioned we saw this with Ferrari, Button had a good stint in 2009 with Ross Brawn’s team, RedBull lead the charts with Vettel for 4 years and for the past two years it seems Mercedes fires up their engines and simply drive to finish without ever being challenged. The regulations being put on engineers, factories, drivers, team personnel and everything related has created such a tremendous amount of boredom in the sport that for the first time since 1978 I stopped following F1 on TV and simply checked the results on a random sports website. It is simply a waste of time spending a weekend seeing these 22 drivers in a long single line driving from start to finish almost in the same line-up as they’d started. I’m still flabbergasted why Hamilton or Rosberg are still so excited when they’ve “won” a race. To me it doesn’t look like winning at all but merely driving an X amount of laps and getting to the finish. How can you be so excited when no-one has challenged you, no other driver has put you to the test and the only victory surfaced is the car did not fail from a technical issue. How can you call yourself “World-Champion” when only one other person came close in making it somewhat difficult for you? It would be like Germany calling themselves Soccer “World-Champion” if they only played Argentina and the rest of the contenders where some countries who never made it to the finals.
Here the stats from last year: (thanks to http://www.4mula1.ro)
Number of wins in 2014
This year to-date
Now tell me why I should get excited about this?
There is only one way to get it back and that is to put the driver back in the seat instead of the on-board computer.
Get rid of ALL technology, no sensor feedback during the race, no traction control, no (K)ERS, no ESP, no nothing. Let the driver read the pit-signs again instead of making a “phone-call” to the pit-wall to nag about which position he’s in or “some vibration in the left front side”. Get over it, race and shut up. Make tires that last 50% of the race so everyone needs at least one pitstop, remove fuel consumption restrictions and most of all:
Have a maximum top speed of <X> KM/h which all teams can achieve.
(you fill in the X). This will achieve that all cars have the same baseline and it comes back to the skill of the driver to get the car to the finish in the fastest possible way plus being able to dodge his co-racers who are as quick as he is. To put a cherry on the cake remove about half the people involved in a pitstop. These days you can hardly see the car anymore when it comes in to change its boots. 3 on each wheel, front and back jack-man, lollypop-man, two safety guys and you get around 17 people mucking around with the iron-horse. Limit that to a max of 9 (1 at each wheel, two on the jack, lollypop-man and two with a fire-extinguisher and you’re done. This creates more excitement during the pitstops because the skills of the mechanics are tested in a somewhat broader fashion than removing and adding a wheel-nut. I’d rather see someone struggling with a tire and bring some tension in a race than to only blink my eyes and see the car gone again. No fun.
The motto of Formula 1 should once more be : “Lets race until blood drips out of your eyes” instead of turning some knobs on a computer.
As long as I see no movement on the stats-boards I won’t be tuning in again. I like to see racing, not a long line of some computerised and beefed up lawnmowers driving around for two hours.
C’mon Bernie. Turn the sport into what is used to be so I won’t have to buy nail-clippers again.
P.S. This weekend young and talented F1 driver Jules Bianchi died from the consequences of his accident last year at Suzuka, Japan. My condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues. It is a shame that the long stint of non-fatal incidents since the death of Ayrton Senna has been broken again. Lets hope Jules will be the last one.