Peter Windsor vs Darrell Waltrip on F1

We’ve approached the difficult question of passing in F1 from several angles on F1 Fanatic. Last night I found a fascinating video from the American TV channel Speed where F1 journalist Peter Windsor and ex-NASCAR driver Darrel Waltrip approach the question from opposite ends of the motor racing spectrum:

The video starts with a quote from Windsor I referred to in a previous article on F1 Fanatic. Asked how he would improve F1, Windsor replied:

I would change nothing. I think F1 is fantastic as it is. If you want to watch a million meaningless overtaking manoeuvres and lots of shunts go and watch NASCAR or bikes or IRL or something.

You can read my thoughts on that quote in full in this article: Boring races.

I think Windsor’s claim that too much overtaking would be as bad as too little is fair. But I find the idea that F1 is un-improvable a bit hard to take. Especially after last Sunday’s race.

I like this video for several reasons. It explores a complex and divisive problem using two people who know what they’re talking about.

Unlike the kind of F1 coverage we get from ITV in Britain it actually tackles a big issue like overtaking in F1 head-on. I hope the BBC will do more stuff like this next year.

And it’s also very interesting for a non-American like myself to get a perspective on the different attitudes to motor racing in the United States.

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37 comments on Peter Windsor vs Darrell Waltrip on F1

  1. Because everyone goes to Notting Hill expecting a glorified parade, whereas F1 is supposed to be a race. Bu races are supposed to have the possibility of passing (which has reduced over the years), no biased/incompetent interference from the authorities and a feeling that races are more down to skill than luck (in getting the right team at season’s beginning, in having no traffic on Saturday, on being able to bend the rules without the FIA noticing…)

  2. verasaki said on 29th August 2008, 3:00

    notting hill? anyone? i thought it was a place (or a bad movie) but an event? is it “racing parody”?

  3. Jimmy said on 29th August 2008, 7:45

    Like Windsors fishing analogy, I think of basketball vs. soccer. Every basket is not memorable. Sadly, too many races end nil-nil.

  4. Last point on passing: Over the years people tend to remember and glorify the great drivers, not necessarily the great cars. And the great drivers are the ones who created memorable duels that usually involved passing.

    We have a current crop of drivers that are potentially great but rarely get to duel for the lead because of the evolution of the technology. Next year’s aero-tire changes may bring more of that passing possibility back.

  5. the limit said on 30th August 2008, 3:47

    Alot of the so called blandness of modern F1 is down as much to track design as the enhancement of aerodynamics. The catch twenty two situation is that formally classic, fast circuits have been altered in order to slow the cars down. Why?
    Safety is now just as relevant as ever, but this is the main problem F1 faces. Excitement in racing means risk, risk to the driver or drivers. The best, most memorable moments in modern F1 have occured during dangerous overtaking moves.
    The sight of Mansell and Senna going wheel to wheel, Hakkinen’s pass at Spa, and Alonso’s 130R overtake are just some examples, and these must all be encouraged.
    However, in modern F1 track design, it is more important that safety is held in more higher regard than entertainment. You can’t blame them on that I guess, but for motor racing to be entertaining, danger has to be part of the whole spectacle.
    No one, no F1 fan, loves Eau Rouge because it is easy.
    They love it, as do the drivers, because it is dangerous, because it is a challenge.
    As for Peter Windsor, I agree that F1 would not be a better show for having numerous overtaking during the races, but certain aspects of foreign series you cannot
    NASCAR for example, for all its failings in terms of its good ole’ boy image and basic technology, is still an open sport for its fans. The fans atleast get to see a more ‘human’ element to their heroes, as opposed to the five minute interview session and some champagne spraying on a podium. After all, its still showbusiness, still a spectacle.
    Don’t get me wrong, I would hate to see Kimi Raikkonen gulping down a Diet Pepsi during an interview al la NASCAR, but a burnout for the fans would not go a miss.
    Could you imagine how the fans would react, to see a winning F1 driver barbecue his tyres in a post race celebration? They would love it!
    Less rules, less cloak and dagger, less politics, more entertainment! If for nothing else, to keep Kimi from falling asleep along with the rest of us.

  6. I feel bad for Peter in this video, because he seems set up. He elaborates on a statement I think he made in frustration very well (because I remember that statement.)

    I think his quote of Enzo “60% car / 40% driver” has become “90% car / 10% driver” in the current age, and dare I say, in Nascar it is “10% car / 90% driver” now. Those familiar with both motorsports will understand, the problem with both is that they have become too polarized towards certain concepts.

    I completely see Waltrip’s point in asking, who in F1 can push hard enough to cause the person in front of them to make mistakes (without breaking his own car in the process)? (The correct answer to this question: Kubica and Hamilton.)

    There is a lot of work to be done, I suppose…

  7. ahmed said on 16th May 2009, 3:40

    i have a design of a formula 1 car which will be an unbelievable winning machine .. for all time

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