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
- A brilliant race in Turkey shows F1 is on the right track (Making F1 better)
- Making F1 better: series round-up
- Addicted to aero (Making F1 better)
- Improving F1 means solving a three-dimensional problem (Making F1 better)
- What should F1 be? (Making F1 better)
- When was F1 at its best? The rose-tinted spectacles problem (Making F1 better)
- Making F1 better: a discussion series
Image (C) Renault/LAT