F1 fans reject FOTA’s ‘Mario Kart’ wings

CommentPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Formula 1 in 2011?
Formula 1 in 2011?

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 ?ǣ 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.
Mark Webber

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.

Read more: Adjustable rear wings confirmed for 2011 ?ǣ but only for overtaking (Poll)


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124 comments on “F1 fans reject FOTA’s ‘Mario Kart’ wings”

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  1. ya know, this really is some video game crap. most racing games have a “feature” called auto-catch up – it silently improves the performance of racers in the back, so that poor players still get a feeling of “whew, close one! that was super fun!” and continue to spend money.

    i dare you to tell the difference.

  2. This one gets worse the more I reflect on it.

    It will, by definition, de-value passes altogether.

    Think of the best pass you ever saw, the one that had you leaping around the room. Maybe it was Mansell on Piquet at Stowe, or maybe it was Hakkinen on Schumacher around Zonta at Spa, or Alonso around Schumacher around the 130R, or…you get my drift. Now consider how great it would have been if you knew that the guy making the pass had a button that gave him, whatever, 10kph or 15kph more for no good reason, and the guy in front WASN’T ALLOWED TO USE HIS! Unbelievable. At least the “push to pass” in Champcar or KERS in F1 allowed both attacker and defender the option to use the ‘artificial’ boost, if they had all their ducks lined up, at least. And those rare passes that would have gone down in the annals of all-time classic F1 moments, well, they’ll be all over before they even reach the braking area now, they? It won’t even be close. And the extra passes we do get will all be, by definition, the result of an arbitrary rule that just hands the advantage to the guy who’s behind, for the tremendous virtue of…being behind. You might say there will be cases where the ‘wronged’ party who gets picked off like a sitting duck for the terrible error of being ahead will then be able to turn around and use the same method to re-pass, but (a) we all know it often doesn’t work like that, and (b) SO WHAT if it does happen??? It’ll then be back to square one but the unfair advantage will still be there, won’t it?

    Wrong, so wrong. It amazes me that there was a HUGE debate after Bahrain about how to liven things up and allow more passing moves, I actually tried to write down all the ideas at the time and I gave up after about 40 of them, but not one person said: how about having a moveable-wing-that-the-driver-behind-can-use-but-not-the-one-in-front-and-only-if-he’s-less-than-1s-behind-at-arbitrarily-defined-points-on-the-track-and-not-during-the-first-2-laps-and-can-you-tell-we’re-making-this-all-up-as-we-go-along?

    1. Sean, you took the words right out of my keyboard.

    2. A very good rant. Thumbs up.

      1. This. Sums up my feelings exactly.

  3. No aerodynamic surfaces independent of the main bodywork forward of the centre line of the front wheels, behind the centre line of the rear wheels …the aero guys would still have lots to work with…wings are so 1970’s

    1. i like the sound of that

  4. If they want an F-duct without the inelligent solution of using a knee, why not just allow it to be controlled by an electronic flap, which can be activated by a flap on the steering wheel by the thumb or index finger?

  5. I have the perfect solution for overtaking. The car behind can use the adjustable rear wing, and the car in front can use KERS. Can KERS outpace the low-drag car behind, or will it give a bigger slipstream? Who knows? Oh, the tension….

    1. Unless the car behind uses KERS as well..

  6. Perhaps FOTA should consider implementing a system that would allow the drivers of cars one second or less apart to manipulate each others rear wing. This option could only be activated after the halfway point, and only after the stewards of the meeting have designated the race, to that point, as being a total bore. :)

  7. Christian Ditch
    24th June 2010, 23:11

    Right, I don’t think this new rule is fantastic, because it’s far from that, and I hope that it gets amended before the start of next season.

    But I’m sick of hearing people saying that they’re going to stop watching F1 if they push the rule through. They’re the same people that said they’d stop watching after Indy-gate, Spy-gate, Spa-gate, Lie-gate, and every other minor scandal in F1!

    Seriously, it’s so tiring to hear empty threats continually.

    Even if the FIA push through this rule, we will all still continue to watch. People who take the effort to write on forums are NOT going to turn off from F1 because off some stupid rear wings rule!

    1. I know I’m not going to stop watching it. I would LIKE to, if rules such as this were passed, because it’s the only way I can think of expressing my outrage – but I’ll end up watching anyway. However, if F1 fans worldwide came to some sort of agreement to just refuse to watch the 2011 season, sure, I’ll jump on board :P

  8. Hi there! Haven’t posted in a good while, been rather busy. Just posted to say I generally agree with the gist of the article, especially as I voted in favour of such devices being used whenever required, but felt that the unnecessary slandering of Mario Kart to be particularly unpalatable. For a start it’s Super Mario Kart, one of the best racing games ever made, and for the record there are no blue shells or wings, not in the original anyway.

  9. So, let me get this straight:

    Devices which could be controlled by the driver from the cockpit were banned. McLaren got around this by just making it a hole in the car. Then that gets banned, and in its place we get…a device which can be controlled by the driver from the cockpit.

    1. Tom M in Australia
      25th June 2010, 0:34

      Traction control was banned. McLaren got round this just by adding an extra brake pedal. Then that got banned, and in it’s place we got traction control. Then that got banned…

    2. Yep, seems the ban on movable aero devices is gone. A victory for the engineers?

      Maybe we should add another rule using the ideas from the SWIFT indycar solution for 2012. Let the movable part have LED lights that light up if it is used to give the people watching a clue as to what is going on. A similar light can be used for KERS switching on or buffering engergy as well.

      That would be fun watching a light show.

      1. Yes, that does show the full gimmick at its best.

        Seriously, if they keep this rule, such LEDs should be done too, and then we can at least have a category in race strategy: overtake with/without LEDs.

        But on the other hand, this is a replacement for the lack of telemetry being shown in the race – if we had a diagram showing KERS,throttle/brake, gear, etc. for larger bits of the race, we would not need to have it on the cars so much.

  10. fecklessmoron (@)
    25th June 2010, 0:33

    I haven’t seen a whole lot wrong with the racing this year. F duct or not.

    I don’t see an adjustable rear wing creating Vettel vs Webber or Button vs Hamilton vs Button type of excitement any more than I think overly soft tires will create interesting races like Canada.

  11. Prisoner Monkeys
    25th June 2010, 0:44

    I think people will be more receptive to the system once they see it in action. The wings are only expected to yield an extra 15km/h, and so they hardly guarantee an overtake. I think it will be very difficult – if not impossible – to watch the racing next year and say “That pass only happened because of the rear wing”.

    1. I think that’s the problem. Many will just assume it was the rear wing.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        25th June 2010, 2:58

        Well, it’s pretty obvious that the wing has been designed to facilitate a driver’s skill in overtaking, not replace it. It doesn’t guarantee an overtake – all the defneding driver has to do is use KERS (or even just drive defensively), and the wing won’t do an iota of good.

  12. Why oh why am I not surprised by this. Just when you think F1 is rediscovering itself it wants to put a shotgun to its head and pull the trigger.

    Is anyone at FOTA watching this season. EVERYTHING IS OK… STOP CHANGING THINGS… ARRRGGHHHHH.

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills here.

  13. Bartholomew
    25th June 2010, 2:19

    This idea is not very good, but KERS is even worse.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      25th June 2010, 3:00

      They’re trying to make KERS as attractive as possible to all the teams. It’s not compulsory, but the weight of the car has been inceased by 20kg so that anyone who doesn’t use KERS will still have a weight penalty. It won’t be the same as last year when only three teams ran it (and robbed Fisichella of victory in Belgium).

    2. KERS, at least, ticks the box of being a technology that we can see being useful in road cars in the future.
      Now, if they only changed the rules to allow a minimum number of uses per race, rather than per lap, we would also avoid the predictable patterns we saw in ’09, which effectively negated the battles on track.

  14. well, well… these are the rules…

  15. Whether you allow allow adjustable rear wings to be used throughout the race or you completely forget about this rule.

  16. Don’t know if this has been mentioned but I can see team mates using this to their advantage when they are together on the track. Driver A lets driver B past and then they alternate from sector to sector. Easiest way to establish a lead/catch up to a group

    1. LOL, that is inventive!

  17. With this we can think that the F1 is getting virtual…….. Many criticisms will be received from this virtual arena……

  18. Thinking about this logically. Is there any other sport that has rules like this? Player A can do (x) at this moment in time, but Player B cannot do (x) but can do (y). 5 seconds later Player A can do (y) but Player B cannot do (x).

    Football, tennis, tiddlywinks, snakes and ladders have concrete rules which apply to all players equally at all times. They don’t change EVERY YEAR, so why can’t F1? This rule tweaking is just job creation, someone justifying their pay cheque with dross like this.

    And to answer the person who says die hard fans won’t stop watching. They will eventually and they will stop new fans from following. (I will NEVER pay to go to a GP). You try explaining to anyone the ‘rules of F1’. Watch their eyes glaze over, watch the jaw drop as you tell them that frequently after the checkered flag, when you are done celebrating the finishing order is altered. Soon you’ll have to explain with calculator in hand, why teams are not taking part in the GP after flying round the world at great expense.

    /rant over// time to take the tablets.

    1. Maybe not in your version of snakes and ladders.

      I have devised a set of rules far superior to your petty common rules.

      S&LiA Rules
      (Snakes and ladders international association)
      1) If a superior player is by chance relegated by a snake, behind a much less able player, the lesser player will be shown a blue flag, and must allow the better player to move past.

      2) If a player does not attend a game meeting, the player will be fined $20 by the S&LiA.

      3) If a player is less than 2 places behind another, (s)he will be allowed to adjust the dice (Permo Marker) in order to gain advantage to assist passing.

      4) to save costs, the dice will be limited to the number 5.

      5) if a players die fails, the player may replace it at his own discretion.

      5a) if a players uses more than 5 dice in one day, for the following games he will start just off the board, at a position of negative five.

      6) If a liquid or solid object (food or drink) is spilled or dropped onto the playing area, all players must stay in position untill the mess has been cleared up by the Marshalls (Mum).

      6a) if this occurs when the leading player is less than 10 spaces from the end, Players will stay in formation and finish in their current order.

      1. LOL I like it. I’ll give these ‘improved for the show’ rules a try. I’ll tinker with them until My favored player wins or the others quit and take up Monopoly.

  19. Seems to me, that besides having an experienced driver helping the race stewards. They need a few to help these committees.

  20. This whole thing is ridiculous, F1 cars arn’t meant to have movable bodywork for starters, 2nd they are, as others have pointed out, into a game, and lessening the skill involved.

    The other thing that annoys me, is that there is a much better idea, right in front of them. I didn’t watch A1GP a lot, but as I understand it, all cars had a push to pass button, which raise the rev limiter on the engine for a short time. This would achieve the same thing as the moveable wing, but it would surely be a much more popular idea.

    The even better thing that A1 showed us, was how you can limit it, not by saying, only use it when you are behind, but by only letting drivers use it say, 10 times in a race. This wouldn’t fell like a game, it would feel like stratagy. Where all drivers have the same opportunity.

    Even if my idea isn’t liked. I feel the point about movable bodywork stands, It’s just not what F1 is meant to be.

    At any rate, I feel this movable read wing might end up like the moveable front wing. Invisible to the viewers, and only semi useful.

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