What should F1 be? (Making F1 better)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

What is the point of Formula 1?
What is the point of Formula 1?

We began our discussion about how to make F1 better yesterday by asking what made F1 great in the past and what – if anything – is missing from it now.

In part two we’ll tackle a question that often provoked disagreement and debate between F1 fans: just what is Formula 1 supposed to be?

I’ve suggested some answers inspired by quotes from readers from earlier in the discussion. Pick the one that you think best describes what F1 should be, or write one of your own, and explain why you support it in the comments:

A contest to find the best racing driver in the world

In the sixties and seventies, the majority of overtaking took place under acceleration out of corners usually due to missed gear changes; something that rarely happens today.

This argument holds that what people who watch F1 really care about is who is the best driver. Technology that makes it easy to drive the cars, like semi-automatic gearboxes, should be banned. If the cars are more difficult to drive we’ll see more mistakes and better racing.

Making teams use more standard components is good because it will create a level playing field.

A contest to find the best racing car constructor in the world

Things like the proposed budget cap, the engine development freeze and the ban on testing were all conceived by the FIA in an effort to make the sport less costly and consequently more attractive to smaller teams, but I feel this goes against the spirit of F1.

This argument is the opposite to the first one.

The point of F1 is to see who can build the best car and so we should roll back the enormous restrictions on car design that have grown in the past decades. Allowing teams to develop radical new technologies will make F1 more exciting.

But some technologies – traction control, stability control and the like – may diminish the importance of the driver.

The most entertaining form of motor racing

Can we even expect much overtaking when the cars start in the order of which one is fastest?

Do we want to mix up the starting grid? Either reverse it or add fuel strategy into the mix to get some order changes.

Other motor sports have not been shy about introducing rules to ‘spice up’ the racing, so why should F1, one might argue.

If the cars started every race in reverse championship order we’d see much more overtaking. Bringing back refuelling would mix up the order during the races even more. A NASCAR-style ‘chase for the championship’ would keep interest alive late in the season.

The most dangerous form of motor racing

I don?t want drivers to die, but i want the possibility to be there.

A very controversial idea. Should danger be a part of Formula 1? Even some F1 drivers have suggested the sport is now “too safe” but can it ever be too safe?

Is risk or injury healthy for a sport – or can relishing an element of danger only ever be seen as bloodthirstiness?

A test bed for the automotive industry

Think how much of a real world impact F1 could have if hybrid/KERS technology was unlimited

Instead of allowing unrestricted, undirected technological development in F1, the sport should only allow innovation where it helps build better road cars.

For example, through Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems similar to hybrid engines on road cars, through tyres which are closer in specification to those used on the road, and through fuel-saving technology.

A worldwide motor racing competition

The sport is effectively a ??European gentlemen’s club??. Of the 24 drivers, only 6 are from outside Europe. To me that eliminates the ??best drivers in the world?? label. Europe may hold he best drivers, but that cannot be proven. He from a certain country or he with the deepest pocket, prevails.

Another arguments is that F1 should do more to spread its appeal around the world. Countries with large populations and large car-buying markets are neglected at the moment like America, Russia and the whole of Africa.

Over to you

Do you agree strongly with any of these statements? If so, why? Which of them are wrong?

Some of these statements are mutually exclusive – such as the first two. Which of them is more important?

What’s your definition of what Formula 1 should be?

This is part of “Making F1 better”, a series of articles looking at ways to improve Formula 1. The next instalment in this series will run on Monday. For more information see the introduction: Making F1 better: a discussion series

Making F1 better

Image (C) Renault/LAT

194 comments on “What should F1 be? (Making F1 better)”

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  1. Prisoner Monkeys
    25th April 2010, 0:38

    I think Formula 1 should be all of the above, but the emphasis should be first and foremost on driver skill. The championship is decided far too often on whoever has the best car.

    1. while they make some changes, we have an even field this year, so in the history books we’ll have a clear view who was the best driver of this generation, by just looking at this season.

  2. the Sri Lankan
    25th April 2010, 1:04

    bring back toyota! thats the only way me and my mates would watch F1 again!

    1. those loser will come back, they have to change the president and a few more of the people that make the decisions, but they have unfinished business in f1. And they are proud people, so as soon as they have a chance, they will be back. Don’t expect them to do much better than they did though.

    2. Toyota learned the lesson that it’s not how much money you have (although it does help), it’s the people that you have in the team that matter most and until Toyota can persuade one of the top aerodynamacists and the best engineers from where they are now (typically RedBull and McLaren) to come to their team, they will most likely continue to stay away.

      1. or they can go to Le Mans instead

        1. the Sri Lankan
          26th April 2010, 0:11

          i hope they just supply engines. all this time away form F1 gives them plenty of time to explore the Turbo engines for 2013 and get the jump on other manufacturers.imagine toyota jumping in when mclaren runs out of their mercedes contract

          1. maybe the Mclaren-Peugeot story all over again then…

  3. Ignoring the driver part of the equation I would have to say allowing more freedom in the engine and tyre areas. With teams (and manufacturers) pushing the envelope in these areas we would bring back the possibility of failures. Does abyone remember when Shumacher finished a race with one gear? (pretty sure Senna did this at one point too).
    With current tech being pushed to the limits we also have ended up with benefits for everyday people. Where would the tyres on our cars and bikes be without racing and tyre wars. Radial belts and silic compaunds have enhanced safety, provide longer better grip and have resulted from battles on the track.
    Or how about the pnuematic valve systems and turbo’s. Fiat’s new multi air engine would not have been possible if it were not for things like F1 needing something to produce greater revs.
    If F1 and other forms of motorsport are left to stagnate with heavily restrictive regulations we will end up with irrelevant events that no one will want to watch.
    As to the idea of electric motors only if they need them for a kers or similar setup. The technology behind this is amazing and far more real world applicable than full electric replacements.
    I could go on forever with these but I should leave some space for everyone else ;)

  4. If you want F1 to be first and foremost about driver’s skill, then let’s stop any talk about whether the sport is the pinnacle of motorsport, because you can’t have both. Regarding skill, a true crucible of driver merit looks utterly differnt that F1. It looks like the Race of Champions, or a championship on computer simulations with emprically equal “car” performance.

    The very best drivers would not come to a series where the car doesn’t matter at all, because it could not be the pinnacle of the sport. Without distinct, autonomous paths of technical development, it would not attract the designers, and the cars thus would not be the best, most sophisticated tools available. The best drivers want to drive the best cars, not the hardest cars to drive. The hardest car to drive fast may currently be zipping around some rural american dirt track with a 900hp V8, weighing less than a refrigerator, a tiny wheelbase, and no power steering. But that’s not the pinnacle of anything.

    Further, the view is ahistorical. F1 has always been, in large part, about the guy with the pencil behind his ear or the mouse in his hand—frequently it has been only about him. The idea that drivers nonetheless mattered more when it was hard not to miss a shift, or there was no power steering, degrades the skill of driving fast to proficient operation of primitive machinery. Anyway, getting the most from today’s cars is not achieved without exceptional talent. Ask Giancarlo Fisichella, or, lately, Michael Schumacher.

    It seems that now, with an historically unprecedented overall quality of cars on the grid, and the lack of wealthy hacks and gentlemen drivers, driver skill matters now more than anything. When before has the ability to manufacture from pure skill a tenth in qualifying or on an in lap separated the good the from the great? The sport has never been better, whatever evidence Youtube has to offer.

    1. I think you’re right. To my mind the best driver will outshine the machine he drives. I’m not saying Bruno Senna will win every grand prix to come cause he is a hidden talent that can out do his car. But any of these Lotus or HRT guys who have talent will be noticed, one of these days they’ll go early on slicks and end up in 10th or something.

      1. I agree. The best driver will outshine his machine. One just has to look back to Monaco in ’84 with Senna driving the Toleman, or to Monza in ’08 with Vettel in the Torro Rosso.

  5. Refueling needs to be back in F1 that will promote more overtaking on raceday. But what F1 should never do is to have standard parts for all car or have a budget cap which will prevent the teams to develop new technology. Reversed grid shouldn’t be for F1 it’s true it will make racing interesting but then it won’t be F1 anymore & the value of Saturday won’t be there anymore.

    I too agree with the fact that F1 will be a place where the top car manufacturer will use this as an testing ground for their road cars.Like Ferrari installed KERS in their 599 car.It’s true that some of the new track are not as challenging as the tracks in the old days were but it’s something the track designer needs to work with the drivers to how we a challenging track can be made.

    & Finally I think F1 should host races where there is a popularity if it then they should think about car market. Like is a good track but it fails to attract crowds, on the other hand China is one of the leading country where the manufacturer wants to enter but it too fails to attract crowds

    1. how does refueling promote overtaking on the track?

      1. When we will have refueling then different cars will have different fuel loads that’s why if a car in front is 20-30 kg heavier then the car which is at the back will be lighter & faster on the corners.Therefore will be able to overtake the car in front much easily.

  6. A USA GP is mandatory no matter what else makes it better.

    1. in an oval would be a good idea. Regular circuits in europe, an oval in the us and street circuits in asia and the middle east.
      it would be a good mix.
      Of course we need a 25 race calendar.

  7. Great post DaveW. I can’t even reply to it as it was just too good.

    For me, I love F1 as it is. Most people are making some good points however.

    The only thing I want is more of it!! Would love Friday to become Thursday, Saturday to become Friday and then a Saturday race and Sunday race. I think my life would be complete (of course this does nothing for cutting costs but it does somewhat quelch my thirst for my favourite sport!)

  8. Fat tires, big wings, creative powerplants .. that’s all

  9. it’s always has been (and always should be, imo) a platform for both individual and team competition in physical/mental performance as well as technological development. like any major sport now, it is contested behind the scenes, 24 hours a day, by big brains and playboys. i like the fact that the racecar craft is a sport in itself, and f1 is one interpretation of the ultimate motorsport.

    the 2 titles conflict with each other, but i don’t think the system is broken. when is the last time a lousy car actually won? i’m guessing jordan (ah, toro rosso). when is the last time a lousy driver won? again, jordan?

    sometimes the stars align for a sport’s utter domination (ferrari, new york yankees, whoever) and sometimes talent goes unrewarded. jenson button and mark webber could have spent their entire careers in obscurity. put jenson in arguably the best car for 2 years on the trot, and now he can do no wrong. that’s life, and as we all know, life isn’t fair.

    The most entertaining form of motor racing

    tough call. i want to say “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it” but i find myself pretty under-entertained sometimes. fom has certainly dropped the ball, and i don’t want to watch some of the ridiculous stunts that have been proposed, nor are performance equalizing, success ballast, etc. very appealing. a truly random starting grid would be ok i guess. when i’m watching a race, i want to see:

    1. wheel-to-wheel dueling
    2. lots of full laps from on-board cameras (in lieu of actual passing)
    3. crashes, general half-assery, hand of god, whatever

    The most dangerous form of motor racing

    risk is essential part of the sport for both spectators and participants. it isn’t unique in this.

    A test bed for the automotive industry

    this is a “must” for me, in principle and to justify it’s existence.

    A worldwide motor racing competition

    yes, but not at the expense of historic motorsports venues and cultures. by hook or by crook, the automobile forged america to suit it, yet we have no world championship grand prix. france is the birthplace of motorsport, and they have no f1 lovin’. england dominates motorsport for half a century and bernie plays games with the future of the british gp. i’d be more receptive of new races if the hosting countries first built a racing culture of their own.

  10. Nutritional
    25th April 2010, 7:15

    Formula One should be the best drivers in the world driving a collection of cars made by auto-manufacturers (specialist or factory)who want to win the world championship. The only rules there should be are those for sportsmanship, safety, and to make sure the drivers can drive the cars without requiring a G suit.

    I don’t think refueling or no-refueling makes any difference. I think that requiring teams to use both types of tire compounds in a race is makes for artificial competion if it even has an effect.
    However, I agree with having only one tire supplier. I think 1998, 2005, and 2006 were far too affected by tire war which obscured the quality of the cars and drivers.

    I think the new points system is plain silly. It again seems to be an attempt at artificially making the Championship seem more exciting and close with fatter scores beside a driver or team’s name. Think liked when it was 9,6,4,3,2,1. Though I think there should be a point for pole and a point for fastest lap.

    It seems there are people who think F1 needs more passing. Every form of motorsport has passing. NASCAR has a lot passing which is meaningless until 15 laps or so from the white flag. IRL varing degrees of passing which again don’t mean anything because one never knows who needs to pit again for fuel or who’s trying to make fuel because the strategy is so cocked-up. Formula One has the best drivers with the best cars made by the best teams in the world leading from start to finish a race populated by a collection of drivers who also happen to best in the world driving the rest of the best cars made by the best teams in the world. It represents the fine tip of the spears of physical skill, technology, and sportmanship. This is what makes Formula One “Formula One” – not whether there is or isn’t a lot of passing. That’s why it’s the best form of motor racing in the world, and why I think it’s the best sport in the world.

  11. the cars should be the most difficult to drive by far, with only a handfull of drivers in the world being able to do it at speed. No matter what the nationality. If a guy in angola is capable, bring him over.
    There should be a clear increase in horsepower from the lower formulas.
    Try an oval, and see how it goes. If it doesn’t take it off the calendar. Purists, don’t get to carried away, when the safety cars were introduced, it was pandemonium between some of you, but now it’s totally natural, and adds to the racing.
    If tecnology allowes, coming back to race tracks like the old nurburgring, it would be the best thing that happened to f1 in over 100 years.

    1. Nutritional
      25th April 2010, 9:53

      This may brand me as a “purist,” but I don’t think I’d want to see an oval in Formula One. Maybe, just maybe, the full oval at Indy, but other than that I’ll pass. I watch NASCAR and IRL here in North American and that’s more than enough ovals for me. They’re interesting from the technical end, in terms of adjusting the cars to the changing track, but other than it’s pretty boring until the last 50 laps or so. I don’t think ovals would really suit F1. Again the only exception may be Indy. The banking isn’t a steep as NASCAR’s “Superspeedways” so it lends to driver skill. Plus, the history and prestige of the track may lend itself to what Formula 1 is about.

    2. I agree with you kowalsky !
      Here’s my 2cents: F1 should be about the best drivers. They should be doing things that are dangerous: I think of past drivers as heroes because if things went wrong, they would not survive or at least take a serious knock. When I see the current F1, I get the impression that I could do that as well; which is not a good thing ! I honestly recognize that there’s more to it and I would never be able to, but it’s simply the impression you get. Lewis looked like he never needed to shave, and almost took the crown on his debut. It’s apparently not a ‘man’s sport’ anymore …
      I put drivers before the cars, but: it is a mechanical sport – so the car will always make a difference. I would stop short of introducing a spec formula, but would make rules to keep their relative performance in a similar range. The car should not win the race, the driver should.
      As much as I marvel at the tech side of F1, reality is that this technology is invisible. You just watch cars going really fast. I suggest the FIA start a RoboCar competition, F1 cars without drivers. It is possible to do that, planes are currently fighting wars almost on their own. Just imagine which one you would watch: the one with the humans, or the one with the Artificial Intelligence?
      I think road car relevance is simply nonsense. Why not introduce stop lights then which come on at random? Manufacturers use motorsport to help promote and sell technology, but it’s not an absolute requirement: Audi races diesel engines in Le Mans, but they were already succesfull in their sales. Porsche cup races exist. It’s not needed for F1. Motorsport is not a lab, it’s just a way to keep your engineers occupied and interested. Is it however a good ‘business case’ for a manufacturer? If they make a good race car, that doesn’t mean your road car will be any good.
      I think Fiat is in that respect gigantically missing the point. In order to benefit from F1, they should rename Ferrari to Alfa Romeo or Lancia. That would give them a lot more commercial value. We’ve seen BRM, Lotus, Mercedes, Renault, Brabham disappear from F1 before and nobody seemed to miss them.
      Test bed ? Only to a certain extent then: you set a platform of performance and make sure that everybody has the means to compete. Not one team blowing everybody away. Hybrids, turbo’s – actually I don’t really care as long as there’s racing. I don’t care whether there’s a V8 or V10 in the back, or that they all have the same engine.
      Whatever they have, over the perspective of the season the track variety and driver skill should be able to cancel out dominance. Off course this is all dynamic: if a V12 is the way to go, everybody else will follow and next year everybody is back in the same league. Provided that they have a chance in doing so, by putting in restrictions. I would advocate also a change in revenue allocation: everybody gets a same percentage of the pie, that would ensure all teams have an interest in serving up a spectacle instead of being rewarded for behavior which ensures their own dominance. Where’s the promised help from FOTA to the new teams ?
      Entertaining: depends wat you find entertaining. I advocate a return of close racing and slipstreaming. It does not need to result in overtaking. As such, my ideal cannot be captured in figures (ie nr of overtakes). I would go back to the basics: the quali is simply to determine the starting order, a teaser before the main dish. Pole position should mean something: this guy is the fastest in a single lap. Whether he was so in doing 10 laps or via Q3/Q2/Q1 systems is more or less irrelevant. The main issue is that it has become the deciding factor in the race, because they can’t overtake. Now I’m fine with people being close to each other and not be able to overtake; but when a driver is 2 secs per lap faster he should be able to pass the one in front and make that fact known. Finishing behind is simply an indication that something is wrong. The fastest guys should be in front, but that does not necessarily mean they will win the race. It just increases their odds. Off course, winning from P10 is highly unlikely – but not totally impossible.
      Danger: this is part of the appeal. There’s a chance you don’t walk away from a crash. But: motorsport is dangerous. If you don’t like that fact, then don’t race. Massa himself says that he accepts the danger. It seems to be more about the people around that have a problem. I remember F1 slowly dying after 92 and 93, but then a sudden reinterest came because of the death of Senna. That seemed to remind everybody that F1 had still some danger. But that was subsequently taken care of by removing it again. When you step in a racing car, you can crash and be killed. Or something can happen (like Massa and Surtees) that can get you killed. If you want to race in complete safety, then race in more safer series because F1 is not your place. There are braver men than you, no shame in that. F1 is the pinnacle, the hardest and most dangerous. Every time you step in the car, you accept this risk. I don’t like seeing people dying, but frankly: the world will keep turning, even after our own death. Death is part of living, it seems society has gone to great lengths to banish it.
      I agree with what Jacques Villeneuve said about his father’s deadly crash in that at least he died doing something he loved and not of old age, because that would have taken away part of the legend.
      Worldwide: I like that it has a global appeal and races are run not only in Europe. That puts me off Indycars: the American feel to it. I have nothing against Bahrain or Singapore per se, as long as the tracks are challenging, not dull flat pancakes with gigantic run-off area’s. Sjanghai is actually a nice track. Buones Aires used to be a nice track, but they made a horror of it. Kyalami was daunting, but look at the sorry track they made it into. I guess part of its success, is it’s global appeal, because if you are promoting a brand worldwide it makes sense to sponsor/buy a F1 team like RedBull. If Vodafone can sell more mobiles by having two brits in their lineup, so be it. It shouldn’t block a talented driver from another country though. But: if you are fast enough, you will get in. When there’s doubt, your nationality will come into play.
      I hate the fact that drivers are required to pay for their drives, because talented drivers without the backup well just disappear in other series instead of being able to show that they’re part of the best.
      Where would Schumacher be if Mercedes hadn’t coughed up for his seat in Jordan ? He impressed, but first somebody had to forward the cash. I remember Verstappen saying afterwards that when Schumi crashes, he’s just ‘testing the limits’ (merc pays) but when he does it, he gets told ‘do you know how much that costs?’. Maybe a draft selection from GP2 would be an idea …

      Enough ranting for today, my 2cents are up -back to group therapy now…

      1. So its interesting that Jim Clark died at the age of 31 because a tire with a slow puncture came off the rim? Or that Senna died at the age of 34 because his car bottomed out? Or that at the age of 28 Elio de Angelis suffocated underneath his car because the marshals figured he’d be fine? Or that Roland Ratzenberger died at the age of 31 because his wing fell off? So it’s okay that to back to the 1950’s idea or no seat belts? How in the world is that interesting? Why do they have to die to make it exciting? Why isn’t it exciting enough they can crash out, lose a chance to get points, but still be alive?

        1. It is not interesting per se, and it is not what I’m hoping to see when I tune in – that would point to some serious mental issues; but it is part of the game. Motorsport is dangerous. At the end of the day,I am as horrified as you when I see people dying.
          Don’t get me wrong: I would not change the design rules to make the outcome of death more certain (no seat belts) or downgrade the organizational aspects (no marshalls, no on-site hospital, less barriers). But the danger should still be there, it is part of the legend of F1.
          Indeed they should be able to crash out, but if the runoff area’s rob us of racing on some exciting tracks maybe we should refocus and accept the risk. Those that climb in those cars accept it, all those you mention accepted it. They didn’t need to race, but they did so because they loved it. Sad to see them go, tragic even – whatever word you want to use, I agree.
          If Massa were to have been fatally injured last year, would you stop watching F1? You apparently still do…
          Final thought: the cause of death is a bit irrelevant as people die every day by simple things, like falling off the stairs. The end result stays the same, and it is not less tragic.

          1. I’m sure you would hold the same position if you had friends or family among F1 drivers.

            You only need to look at Kubica’s crash in Montreal to know the sport is still plenty dangerous enough – or would the outcome of that crash have had to be more dramatic in order for F1 to have the “right” amount of danger in it?

          2. Formula One, and for that matter any motorsport has been and always will be inherently dangerous because the cars go so fast and the human body is so fragile. That fact should be enough, end of story. However you still seem to be dancing around having more danger. Why? And saying drivers accepted the risk is somewhat narrow sited and situational. I’m sure if Jim Clark was racing today and not in the ’60s and someone told him to jump in a 1960’s racecar and go on the ragged edge, he’d tell you you’re crazy because of the lack of what is now considered obvious and basic safety equipment.
            And on the subject of Massa’s crash it’s not comparable to the previously mentioned crashes. By some odd chance a spring flew off Barrichello’s car. You really can’t control something like that other than tensile quality of the springs or spring fasteners. In Jim Clark’s crash, had the tire been secured to the wheel, as they are now, his crash may not have been a bad. Had Senna’s Car had a barge board, tire tether, or foam insert around the driver’s head, as they do now, he could very well be still alive. If Elio de Angelis had had an emergency oxygen supply, as they do know, he may very well still be alive.
            And yes I’m still watching Formula One after Massa’s crash because I understand the inherent risk, but I don’t go on about how it’s not dangerous enough.
            And finally, the cause of death is relevant. If I baby dies because it sticks its finger in an unprotected electrical outlet, that’s just plain stupid and avoidable. If it happens to die of cancer, that’s unfortunately and tragic. See the whole idea of avoidable compared to unavoidable risk?

          3. Maciek, Nutritional, I don’t get a reply button on your comments so I’ll react to your comments by replying to myself.
            I indeed would hold the same position if a someone I knew was an F1 driver. This is more like the situation that Massa’s father would have: how would you feel if your son would come up to you one day and said ‘I want to go for a racing career’? You’d tell him about the dangers, but if he had the talent, the ultimate choice would be his. You would pray nothing would happen but in the end, you have to respect the decision. It is his life, not yours. He knows about the dangers, and his potential death would be horrible and even avoidable if only you would find a way of stopping him. If this is a problem, then we should ban motorsports for their inherent dangers. But we are all watching it, aren’t we ?
            Kubica’s crash indicates my point: as I stated above, I don’t want to turn back the clock and make death more likely. That crash (and that of Ralf at Indy) shows us that the safety levels are very high. Massa’s crash shows us that you cannot ban all risk and that indeed, there’s still a level of risk involved. The point I was trying to make is that in the aftermath of the Suzuka crashes in 09, people were immediately on about that it is a test track with small runoff area’s. They stopped just short of banning it all together, depriving us of yet another daunting F1 track. In 94, a chicane was put in the Eau Rouge corner. We’re not racing at the Indy oval, because of safety. Great tracks have been maimed for the sake of safety: Imola, Hockenheim, Kyalami. This is the point: although we have reached a certain level of safety, the quest to increase it even more is becoming detrimental: it robs us of racing at great tracks, challenging the driver and replaces it with tracks where you get no sense of speed at all. All this to no avail, because, yes, motorsport will always be dangerous and given the right amount of bad luck you can still horrendously crash. Where did Kubica crash: not on a Tilke dome. If they removed Montreal, the likelyhood of that type of crash will indeed deminish. In my opnion, the sport looses a bit of its appeal by doing so, certainly when the car can already take so much. Kubica did not have to die to make it interesting, but F1 can do with such a crash once in a while; in order to remind everyone that it is still dangerous. It is part of the game, part of the appeal. If it starts to look like everybody can do it, it’s not going in the right direction.
            In Australia the drivers were complaining about the potential glare of the sun. They have the same in Le Mans, driving flat out on the Hunaudieres straight. I find this signals that the most daring drivers are not in F1. Again, La Sarthe is another great track F1 would never race on, even though they’re looking for a French GP.
            Off course, Jim Clark would favor the current car over his. Again, I do not advocate turning back the clock in that respect, nor do I want to see the amateurism of the race organizers of that era. Although: what if his car was a second faster over a lap than the current one ? Would he fancy his chances ? Would we need to protect him and limit his choices for him ? Just thought-provoking here, because we’ve gone to a certain level of safety already and that remains a concern. But we shouldn’t completely remove some of the dangers either by changing track layouts.
            Avoidable risk: in the end all deaths can almost be considered avoidable; ie lung cancer: don’t smoke, don’t go to places where people smoke, etc. Where does it end: do you want to make your house completely baby-safe or do you teach your baby not to touch the outlets ? He could still fall of the stairs, even we can do that. Death is a fact of life and cannot be banned. Whether you die being stupid or not, or even because of someone else’s stupidity doesn’t matter. You’re still dead.

      2. If, from the beginning you were talking about the safety of the tracks, and tracks being banned because they’re considered too dangerous, then I see where you’re coming from. A track that comes to mind which they’ve watered down since Senna’s death is San Marino. What I don’t understand about that track, or a track in Monza, is what they did to make the tracks safer. On both tracks they either tightened corners or put in chicanes. I don’t see why they couldn’t have left the corners they way they were and instead adjusted the run-off areas to accept the speed. I guess such an idea wouldn’t work at the old Nurburgring Nordschleife because at many spots the only thing beyond the road in sheer cliff and trees. However, Spa is a track where they did increase run-off rather than slow the turns down and its seems to have worked.
        In regards to f1 drivers complaining about the sun. I watch NASCAR, Indy, American Le Mans Series, and the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series, and when the sun is in their eyes the complain about it. However, I think you may be taking the complaining out of context. I personally assume that when they complain about it, it’s the same as you or me complaining about the sun in our eyes when we’re driving. We complain simply because it’s annoying, but we aren’t saying such because we expect someone to do something about it.
        And just to clarify, you can’t simply teach a baby who’s crawling around and going “ga-ga” to not stick it’s finger in a socket like its a 2 year old. That’s why you can get socket covers. And babies don’t smoke cigarettes and die of lung cancer, they die of cancers like leukemia and other diseases which seem to be either hereditary or just bad luck. That’s why one death is avoidable and the other is not.

        1. As far as the sun is concerned, i think the drivers are right to complain.

          At Le Mans 24 hrs you cannot avoid having sunset, it is part of the recipy. At NASCAR the races often go on for 4 hours so it is hard to avoid this. In F1 we have only 2 hr. max so it is avoidable.

          Next to that, they complain, because someone (bernie) moved the race in time from a point where they did not have any problem with the light to a later time. They are reacting to a change recently made.

          1. I agree with you BasCB. However, I think the Le Mans and NASCAR drivers has it far worse than the F1 drivers do. Their windshield get soiled with rubber, oil, and dirt. Combined with the sun, they can’t see a thing. Additionally, they have to wait for a pit stop for the windshield to be cleaned. At least F1 drivers control their visor tear-off strips. Again, as you point out, if Bernie wasn’t so caught up in getting peak airtime in Europe, the sun wouldn’t be a problem either way. So being avoidable I guess the drivers should complain to a degree.

        2. There is a very small river behind Tamburello, so it would be hard to make runoff areas bigger there. Senna and I think Berger went there to see how it is and reckoned they couldn’t do anything about it.

  12. For a long time thought I’ve thought wings should be banned. And to keep F1 the quickest, roll that enforcement down through every FIA formula. Use underbody ground effect and sculptured bodies by all means, just no protuberances who’s sole function is aerodynamic.

    Engines to be closer to stock blocks, multi-cylinder up to say 4.0 litres. As well as sound great, it may encourage more manufactures to compete.

    Encourage use of KERS but not just a means of “push-to-pass”. It should be used throughout the lap.

    Tyres to be soft and slick but closer in proportions to road tyres, albeit those found on £100K+ exotica!

    Lottery grids I quite like the idea of, certainly more than any silly success penalty or reverse grid.

    Get rid of Tilkedromes. If that means two races per year at Spa, Suzuka whatever, so be it. Sadly, we are unlikely to see other more old-fashioned circuits get a go while Bernie is in charge.

    For me, Formula 1 is about the cars first and foremost. It shouldn’t be a contest to find the best driver, that’s what single make series are for. However, it should by it’s nature attract the best drivers in the world.

  13. To me, F1 is about pushing man and machine to the limit. And that is what we see year after year. Teams finding that extra 1/10. With this will come innovations such as KERS, the shark fin etc. Drivers should be the best of the best, the cream of the crop.

    1. The problem with finding that extra 1/10th was that you could spend 40 mil being there or thereabouts (like the new teams will do eventually) and then spend another 160 mil finding that extra few tenths (like the Ferrari’s, McLaren’s and RedBull’s are doing).

  14. I think F1 should be an open battle of technological innovation – imagine diesel, hybrids, solar powered, electric, kers, hydrogen-fuel cars, etc. F1 will be a testing stage for commercial production in cars. They maybe should have like a limit in bhp but can use any type of energy in the race (maybe eco-friendly). And in the end, that will be a benefit to everybody. :)

  15. If they had reverse grids, couldn’t the fastest cars just go slow in qualifying so that they’re at the front of the grid anyway?

    1. Yeah, that’s a big fear I have about reverse grids. It also pretty much makes a Saturday completely pointless.

    2. I think the only way to stop that happening would be to give points down to second-to-last place in both the race AND qualifying. Not something I’m especially eager to see.

  16. Just been watchin BTCC, far better action, mainly down to the accepting of contact. If f1 car bodies are made more rugged (so a wing doesnt fall off everytime a driver taps a car’s wheel) this would encourage closer racing and more contact which is what we all want to see.

    1. The standard of driving in BTCC is nowhere near F1 levels though. F1 is much quicker and even if the parts had more strength, I wouldn’t want to see contact betwen cars going over 200mph it would just be dangerous in my opinion. Clean overtaking should be encouraged and esp wheel to wheel action, not pushing each other off the road.

  17. George Child
    25th April 2010, 12:14

    How about doing away with qualifying and let the positions at the start be determined by drawing straws, along with that redesign the courses so more passing is possible. With those changes the best drivers should rise to the podium and the racing would be interesting. At present it is becoming a yawn. I suspect we will see the fan base diminish unless serious changes are made.

    1. Would you really be happy with that? Because by the end of the year some drivers will have enjoyed better starting positions on average than the others so it would be horrendously unfair.

      And even if you introduced a system where everyone ended the year with the same average starting position, lower grid positions are more of a penalty at some tracks than others. Starting tenth at Monaco is a disaster but you could win the race from there at Sepang.

    2. don’t listen too much at what bernie says. He talks nonesense quite often. Once the grid was set by drawing, what would be next… the race?

  18. I’m hearing a lot of anti- qualifying sentiments, or more against hopw it is run but qualifying was brillaint last year! The numbers in each session could be jiggled about a bit as this year has been pretty dull but a crucial part of the F1 weekend is qualifying.

    It isn’t the most exciting and should always be secondary to a race in terms of excitement but it is in many ways a rflection of F1. The drivers get their sessions and they have to put in the performance or that’s it they’re out. It’s ruthless and it demands a hell of a lot. No mistakes, good pace, sometimes tactics and damn good timing.

    Quali should stay, reverse grids won’t work everyone will just crawl and there can’t be a rule that says ‘every driver must push as hard as they can’ as it just won’t work.

    This isn’t NASCAR, this is aboput being the best. The designers and drivers should be awarded with pole if that’s how good they are otherwise it simply isn’t fair. More imagination should be used when trying to fix any issues with race not trying to demolish quali. Just breaking something more doesn’t make the real issue go away.

    1. qualifying was brillaint last year

      Q1 and Q2 were great but Q3 was always one big anti-climax because the order would be dictated more by fuel than performance. At Hungary when Alonso was on pole no-one said “oh what a great lap” everyone was just saying “he’s probably low on fuel” and, sure enough, he was.

      Now it’s entirely down to a driver so we can have a situation like one driver doing well in Q1 and Q2 but not as well in Q3, like Hamilton last weekend. While another driver, like Vettel, does a peach of a final sector and gets pole.

      1. The problem with Hungary was also that the timing ladder went down which just made things worse.
        Q3 did have some surprises last year-Fisi for instance.
        I agree I like how it is just down to the driver this year which is how it should be and it is still early but the first 2 sessions are predictable. I’d rather have a predictable quali and a great race though don’t get me wrong! :D

        1. Q3 did have some surprises last year-Fisi for instance.

          And the drama of it was vastly lessened because of the assumption that Fisichella was on low fuel. Whereas if that happens again this year it will be genuinely exciting because everyone will know he’s just done a very good lap.

  19. “A contest to find the best racing car constructor in the world

    Things like the proposed budget cap, the engine development freeze and the ban on testing were all conceived by the FIA in an effort to make the sport less costly and consequently more attractive to smaller teams, but I feel this goes against the spirit of F1.

    This argument is the opposite to the first one.

    The point of F1 is to see who can build the best car and so we should roll back the enormous restrictions on car design that have grown in the past decades. Allowing teams to develop radical new technologies will make F1 more exciting.

    But some technologies – traction control, stability control and the like – may diminish the importance of the driver.”

    I think that the argument is not directly opposed to the first as long as you restrict the way they may build the car. “the best car possible” is ALWAYS governed by certain regulations, so why not restrict it even more? I like the first 2 ideas a lot!

    The nationality and killing ideas are pretty horrible IMO :p

  20. Why no have special stages like in rallying something that doesnt count towards the championship but something to make life more fun.. I also think spectators are being hypocrits they go around saying “oh more overtaking and excitement” but when Hamilton drives aggressively everyone eats him alive, saying thats dangerous driving. Finally Circuits today dont show how fast the cars are actually moving.. It’s like watching a plane flying in the big blue sky the cars look docile and slow. And to be hones the drivers could do with being a bit less serious. I mean back to Hamilton everyone made a huge fuss about him driving fast on the road.. F1 is every motor enthusiasts dream, but the way it’s become a “vegetarian” spirited sport, is definitely not a “petrol head’s” dream

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