What F1 can learn from other racing series

Juan-Pablo Montoya, Williams-BMW, Hockenheimring, 2003The other week I wrote about lessons that F1 could learn (and forget) about NASCAR and got a big response.

It got me wondering what other ideas should F1 steal from other sports?

Here are a few of my suggestions. What other motor sports do you watch – and what would you like to see F1 imitate?

Tyres: World Series by Renault

Alvaro Parente, World Series by Renault, Monza, 2007

It’s not just that they’re slicks. Fat, wide, proper racing slicks – not the weedy grooved things F1 has had for over a decade. What I like about World Series by Renault tyres – and this is really sad – is the bulge of the sidewalls. It’s utterly aesthetically perfect – exactly how a single-seater racing tyre should look.

Hopefully F1 will go back to slicks in 2009 as planned as we’ll get tyres that look as good as this on the cars.

F1 teams to test slick tyres for possible 2009 return

Calendar: A1 Grand Prix

Alex Yoong, A1 Grand Prix, Laguna Seca, 2006

It’s fashionable to knock A1 Grand Prix with its ‘World Cup of Motorsport’ pretensions and ugly, underpowered cars. But it does make for good racing and it’s visited some great circuits: Zandvoort, Brands Hatch and Laguna Seca (pictured).

(Unfortunately it also does a decent line in nutty street circuits as well: the Durban street circuit saw shunt after shunt last weekend, and last year’s visit to Beijing was particularly ill-advised – one corner was too tight for the cars to get around…)

2008 F1 calendar

Personalities: Moto GP

Valentino Rossi, 2007

It seems the Moto GP riders have the biggest personalities in motor sport – and they don’t come much bigger than Valentino Rossi. The Doctor particularly enjoys celebrating victory with elaborately choreographed stunts, and dabbles in four-wheeled motorsport such as rallying.

I’m sure F1 drivers would love to entertain their fans in the same way if they were let off the leash a bit. Kimi Raikkonen looked bursting to let rip with a few doughnuts after his win at Spa last year.

Ten videos Max Mosley should watch

Website: Superleague Formula

Website: Superleague Formula

Racing cars with football strips on them? What a terrible idea.

But their website is top-notch: Formula1.com could learn a lot from it. They’ve got a proper blog, videos on Youtube, photos on Flickr, and a blogroll that has F1Fanatic on it. Formula One Management on the other hand even have Youtube delete F1 videos that fans have filmed themselves…

Now FOM bans amateur video of Kubica crash

Aerodynamics: GP2

Bruno Senna, GP2 Asia, Dubai, 2008

After finishing runner-up to Nico Rosberg in the action-packed inaugural GP2 championship in 2005, Heikki Kovalainen did some development work for the championship. His advice to them? Make the rear wing smaller.

They did just that and GP2 has seen even better racing over the last two years – coupled with a switch to slick tyres of course. And you can’t deny the cars look good…

Good ideas on how to improve racing in F1

Photos copyright: Renault World Series | A1GP.com | Surfcologic via Flickr | Superleague Formula | GP2 Series Media

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19 comments on What F1 can learn from other racing series

  1. Rohan said on 28th February 2008, 8:54

    I actually don’t paticularly like the look of GP2 cars – they look far too bulky and simple. Much prefer a car to have a random assortment of winglets tbh.

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th February 2008, 9:33

    Do you prefer the 2008 GP2 car?

  3. Nathan Jones said on 28th February 2008, 10:03

    if f1 had slicks they could do burnouts after the race! but this wil never happen with2 race engines 4 race gearboxes anyways, too much risk.
    with the grooves they cant wear them or they get disqualified!
    even some rare dull races in MotoGP have been livened up by Rossi’s antics after the race.
    if u could passs in f1 u could even see a driver wait to pass on last lap! now that would b good viewing!
    the ideal would b cars that can follow literally nose to tail through fast bends like the V8 Supercars can!
    now that is great racing!

  4. Steven Roy said on 28th February 2008, 10:35

    F1 has to get rid of the complex aerodynamics if there is ever to be racing. This is not a new phenomenon. A great driver once said ‘the problem with modern F1 cars is the front wings are so sensitive that you can’t follow another car through a corner and therefore you can’t overtake in the braking zone for the next corner. I would take the wings off and throw them in the bin. Don’t reduce them, don’t modify them. Bin them. Then fit a big normally aspirated engine and 21 inch rear slicks.’ The driver in question was Gilles Villeneuve. We have put up with a lack of wheel to wheel racing for far too long. Time for change.

    It was obvious that F1 was in trouble when Max banned drivers from waving their national flag from the cockpit after the race. I understand the safety implications but Valentino Rossi manages to organise the most elaborate post race celebrations with a few mates so it shouldn’t be beyond F1 to do the same.

  5. TommyB said on 28th February 2008, 10:49

    They are so desperate to improve the racing but we all no that its the huge number of aero parts on the cars that are ruining close racing. Banning tyre warmers and things like that just isnt going to do that much for closer racing, if anything its going to make the cars further apart (When BMW tested without tyre warmers the cars were 14 seconds a lap slower before the tyres got warmed up)

  6. Steven Roy you are spot on about the wings. Bin them!
    Actually you are also on the mark about banning the flags from the cars being particularly killjoy in nature.
    (If only I could get you to see the light about Massa!)

    I would love to see a solid enduro on the Calender. 1000km event at Spa, Each car needs two drivers, both drivers get the points. Double points at that.

    Wouldn’t that spice things up!

  7. Steven Roy said on 28th February 2008, 12:31

    If Massa can deliver without all the electronic aids this season I will be the first to admit I was wrong. But that isn’t going to happen.

    I don’t like the idea of two driver F1 races but I would love to see the Procar concept return. But instead of the top 5 drivers all of them should compete. Imagine how it would affect some of the more fragile egos if everyone raced in identical cars. A lot of the drivers who pick up the big cheques could find their earning potential severely reduced. The original BMW M1 Procar should never have been allowed to die.

  8. How about the way F1 treats fans? I attended the USGP for 5 years and it always seemed like the race track fans were just a huge inconvenience to the sport. I think F1 would like it better if all the fans stayed home and watched on TV. Not to mention it is perpetuallly adversarial about something. It’s always in hate mode: hate the fans, hate , hate this, hate that…

    F1 could learn from ALMS, which is very fan friendly. You could almost pick up a wrench and help in the paddock if you wanted (yes, you can walk around the paddock anytime you want — not that USGP Thurs. morning B.S.). At Road Atalanta last year I rode for a hot lap on the track in a 997 GT3, driven by a race driver. My wife was behind me in a Audi R8. I took a photo of Alan McNish at turn 13 at Road America. He personalized a print I made of it when I went to Petit Le Mans. Tom Milner and Joey Hand (and others) recognize us and make a point to wave or shake our hands everytime we attend.

    If I had to choose between attending a F1 race and an ALMS race I’d choose the latter in a heartbeat.

    I’ll watch all the F1 races this year, but I find the sport very unpleasant otherwsie.

  9. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th February 2008, 13:59

    That’s a good point Dean. I think some venues do a good job for fans, others not so much. Silverstone lay a lot of stuff on for people with families and kids. But wherever you go you don’t get to see much of the drivers.

  10. Robert McKay said on 28th February 2008, 14:01

    Who actually does the tyres for the Renault World Series?

  11. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th February 2008, 14:06


  12. Oh com’on ….again that “ban the wings”….

    If you ban the wings>F1 cars not faster than Fford.

    It IMPOSSIBLE to make up by the tyres for the loss of downforce.

    You’ll see what i mean in 2009 when you’ll get the lap times.

    Coincidently, many of your technical wishes keith will be there next seasons (softer, bigger slicks, smaller rear wing and less sensitive aero, cut by half).

    We’ll see what happens, this is a huge change coming.

  13. Toncho said on 28th February 2008, 20:19

    I would copy anything that brings the MotoGP (or even the 125 races) equilibrium to F1. I am not talking here about last year’s plain season but more about the mid-90’s spirit with Rayney, Scwantz, Gardner, Lawson,… that was racing!!

  14. Wesley said on 29th February 2008, 0:03

    I totally agree,I attend the ALMS Petite LeMans every year at Road Atlanta and it is awesome.You can walk around the paddock,talk to drivers,the mechanics will even give you a used race tire to take home and make a swing for the kids if you just ask.Great enviroment.

  15. Nico Savidge said on 29th February 2008, 1:10

    F1 should definitely take A1 GP’s schedule – with the USGP gone, I’d kill for an F1 race three hours down the road, at Laguna Seca….

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