No matter what, a change in F1 or indeed in any sport will always evoke a negative reaction even if it is made for overwhelmingly positive reasons. If you appease some people, you aggrieve others.
The ‘F1 is a farce’ cries rumble on – with many saying they want a return to the pre-artifice days of the sport. Really?
Using DRS and Pirelli tyres, we get the overtaking and variation in winners that everyone wanted in the years of Schumacher dominance and which we got in the golden seasons like 1974 and 1983. Overtaking is done on the track and not in the pitlane. Cars pass each other.
‘But it’s artificial, it’s not real racing.’
Okay right, guys, let’s look at the alternatives:
If we revert to rock-hard tyres, do away with DRS and KERS – we’ll have ‘pure’ F1 back.
But it’ll be as boring as hell, as Paul Hembery says. One team will still be perfectly capable of exploiting the rules better than any other and creaming the field. We had rules free of trick rear wings and push to pass buttons in 1988, 1992, 1993, 1998, 2002 and 2004, to name a few, and that didn’t stop the best car being a speck on the horizon by lap 2 – there were so many processional Grands Prix you’d think the Grenadier Guards had organised them.
Okay, what can be done beyond that?
‘Let’s have simpler aero. Give designers a box of defined dimensions and let them design a car within that box’ say the purists – well we had something similar to that in a season like 1976, when cars as diverse as the Tyrrell P34 and the Ferrari 312T2 raced against each other. Sure, they looked great, and they sure were memorable too. They’re the kind of cars that schoolboys would sketch in their jotters. But was the racing any closer? Ferrari won five of the first six races and it was only Lauda’s accident in Germany that stopped his gallop to the title. Then look at what happened in 1978 when Colin Chapman came up with the Lotus 79 – it annihilated everything else.
Okay –what else?
‘Let’s bring variation in engines back – V12s versus V8s and V10s’
Who is going to pay for that in these buttock-clenching times? And do you think having massive disparity in engines will make the racing closer?
I am sorry to say that, at this level and with these budgets, the teams will always push every single tiny advantage they can. The engineers are infinitely cleverer than the rulemakers. One or two teams will always find a way to eke out an advantage.
If you want close racing between identical chassis, there are loads of series that will satisfy your craving – Indycar, the Porsche Supercup, Caterham Sevens at Thruxton.
F1 is no longer what it was – and if you don’t like it (and we all have our own thoughts on its current state) then that’s fine. But we can’t expect it to revert back to the way it was just for us.
We all seem to forget what Formula 1 is – the gripers derisively snort ”Well, I suppose the tyres spice up Bernie’s ‘show’.”
Well of course F1 is a show! It is primarily a multi-million dollar, global television spectacle that also happens to be a sport. It is primarily entertainment – that’s why it is able to siphon the money from manufacturers and famous brands because it gives them a world stage with millions of spectators. If it’s dull then there will be nobody to pay for it. Sorry guys – that’s the way it works. It was changed because we all asked for it.
It seems the loudest voices are those of the purists – they don’t like what they’ve got at the minute (based on one single Grand Prix, I might add) so they start to look at what they had before and convince themselves they want it back. Even it was no better or even worse. There even seems to be clamouring for refuelling to come back – the refuelling that was decried because it negated the point of qualifying and artificially created position changes by forcing teams to adopt diverse and confusing fuel strategies? Not to mention being dangerous and often skewing results because the equipment was so prone to breakages!
F1 fans at the minute sound like my baby sister when she used to get scolded for misbehaviour by my dad and would say ‘I want my mummy.’ Then, when my mum would also scold her, she would say ‘I want my daddy.’
They don’t know what they want.