The Formula One Teams’ Association’s plan to introduce adjustable rear wings has come in for fierce criticism from fans.
It’s not the wings themselves which have earned the most criticism but the rule which will only allow them to be used by a driver who is trying to overtake.
That was condemned as a “gimmick” which will create “artificial racing” in a poll of over 2,000 fans on F1 Fanatic.
Over two-thirds of fans were happy to see the introduction of adjustable rear wings – which will mimic the function of the F-ducts currently in use.
But only one in five support the rule which states that drivers can only use it when they are within one second of the car in front.
Many of the comments criticising the plan were aimed at that part of the rule:
We might as well save the money and get the drivers to sit in Sega’s Virtua Racing where the last car gets a speed boost over the leading car to provide closer racing and more overtakes.
Either let then have and use it when they want or don’t let them have it. It’s F1 and not a computer game.
That wasn’t the only response likening the rule to something out of a video game:
This rule is absolutely absurd, and if implemented, F1 will lose me as a viewer. You might as well put in Mario Kart-style bananas and blue shells – it’s a complete and utter farce.
If FOTA wanted to find a way of allowing teams to make use of F-duct style moveable aerodynamics but without the inelegant solution of using a driver’s knee to control it, then the adjustable rear wing makes some sense.
But it’s easy to understand the criticism of a rule which would give a substantial and artificial advantage to a chasing car.
While F1 has been urged to many overtaking easier, fans believe this artificial device will make it too easy and therefore less exciting.
More importantly, it’s the difference between ensuring F1 is perceived as a form of motor sport, and not a world wrestling-style ‘sports entertainment’ gimmick.
Several drivers have criticised the plan for the same reason. Mark Webber told Autosport:
It is good for the PlayStation I think, but I don’t know how well it is going to work in F1. [...]
Overtaking moves should be about pressurising, being skillful, and tactical. Yes we want to see more overtaking, of course we do, we know that, but we also need to keep the element of skill involved in overtaking and not just hitting buttons.
The good news is it’s not too late for the FIA and FOTA to fix this rule. They must change it in time for next season, allow adjustable rear wings to be used throughout the race and keep ‘Mario Kart’ rules out of Formula 1.
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