Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Singapore, 2008

Top ten: Worst rules ever seen in F1

Top TenPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

A new rule offering double points at the last race of the year has provoked widespread criticism from Formula One fans.

It’s not the first folly F1 has undertaken – here are ten of the worst ideas ever to make it into the rule book.

Though we should consider ourselves fortunate none of them are quite as bad as Formula E’s ‘Vote to Pass’ rule. Except perhaps the last one…

Aggregate qualifying

Jarno Trulli, Toyota, Monaco, 2005A classic example of bad F1 rule-making: an excessively elaborate approach which failed to solve a fairly simple problem.

During the 2000s Formula One seemed to change its qualifying rules once per season at least. Aggregate qualifying was the surely nadir of the various schemes that were devised.

It involved running two qualifying sessions where each driver did a single lap, the first with no fuel restriction and the second using the fuel load they would start the race with. These times were then added together to produce the grid.

If ever a rule looked like an answer to a question no-one asked, it was this. As well as being needlessly complicated, the fact that the second session was held on Sunday morning deprived the sport of the media value of deciding the grid on Saturday.

The only positive thing to be said about this episode was that the powers-that-be realised how bad an idea it was fairly quickly. It was used for just six races in 2005 before being dropped.

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Point for fastest lap

In the first years of the championship the driver who set the fastest lap at each race got a bonus point. The plan was dropped in 1958 and ever since drivers have only scored points based on where they finish in the race.

The simplicity of that approach is something F1 would do well to preserve. There were discussions last year about reviving the practice, but giving the bonus point to the pole sitter instead.

F1 should be very wary of tinkering with the points system in this way without thinking carefully about exactly what incentive it is giving to competitors. It doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to see what farcical scenarios could unfold if rules like this were implemented.

For example if a driver needed only one point to win the championship and could do so by setting fastest lap in the race, they would be better off treating the race as a qualifying session, only leaving the pits for a few laps on soft tyres. Series which do give points for fastest lap, such as GP2, attempt to prevent that from happening with ever more complicated rules governing how a driver is eligible for the bonus point. All of which is needless complication for no real benefit.

As for granting a point for pole position, viewing figures for races would certainly not improve if millions tuned in one day to discover the championship had already been won 24 hours earlier thanks to the pole sitter taking a bonus point during qualifying. Besides which, starting the race ahead of everyone else is enough reward in itself.

Grooved tyres

Fernando Alonso, Renault R28, Hockenheimring, 2008From 1998 F1′s tyre manufacturers were required to produce tyres with circumferential grooves in them, in an attempt to reduce the contact patch on the ground and therefore reduce cornering speeds.

It proved an unpopular move with many drivers who did not like the handling sensation given by the new tyres. Jacques Villeneuve strongly criticised FIA president Max Mosley’s plan before it was introduced.

However the stated aim of controlling cornering speeds was not successfully achieved. The ending of competition between tyre manufacturers in 2007 finally achieved that. The unpopular grooved tyres were now surplus to requirements, and were scrapped in the 2009 regulations.

Narrow track cars

It was a double-whammy of rubbish rules in 1998. As well as the unpleasant grooved tyres, car widths were reduced from 2000mm to 1800mm.

To my eye the cars just haven’t looked right ever since – too narrow and too tall. Design expert Adrian Newey thinks so too, and that’s good enough for me.

Shared drives

A relic from a bygone age. Drivers were once allowed to take over a team mate’s car if their own broke down.

The sport became instantly simpler in 1958 when drivers were only allowed to drive a single car during the race, meaning an end to complicated post-race totting up of which drivers had appeared in which cars and finished in which positions.

Perhaps not so much a bad idea as one which doesn’t really belong in the sport of today, and which had to go to allow Formula One to become what it is.

Refuelling

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Singapore, 2008In-race refuelling has been allowed at several points in the history of Formula One, but its last introduction was by far the most controversial.

Its return to F1 in 1994 came over the objections of all the teams bar Ferrari, who believed their V12-engined car stood to gain the most from it. But even after they joined their rivals in using V10 engines from 1996 the practice remained.

Promises the equipment would not leak and fires would not be possible were quickly disproven. Jos Verstappen’s Benetton erupted in a major conflagration during the 1994 German Grand Prix, injuring him and several members of his pit crew. Fire remained an occupational hazard of the F1 pit lane until refuelling was finally outlawed again in 2009.

Refuelling did produce some surprising twists in the races during its first few years. But as teams quickly mastered the new variable it became less a source of strategic interest and more a cause for frustration as drivers would ‘wait for the refuelling stops’ when stuck behind a rival rather than risk an overtaking move.

F1 finally rid itself of refuelling at the end of 2009, though not before it spawned some undesirable offshoots in the rule book, such as the regulation forbidding drivers from pitting while the Safety Car was out. But even that wasn’t as bad as…

Fuel credit qualifying

Jenson Button, Honda, Monaco, 2007F1′s three-part qualifying system was a change for the better when it was introduced in 2006, though it wasn’t without one honking great flaw.

Much as today’s Q3 drivers are handicapped by having to start the race on the tyres they qualified on, in 2006 they had to use their race fuel load in Q3. Making matters even more complicated, their race fuel load was fixed at the beginning of Q3, and for every lap they ran drivers were credited with a lap’s worth of fuel at the start of the race.

This led to the bizarre spectacle of every driver beginning Q3 by circulating the track at a steady pace to burn off as much fuel as possible before their flying lap, then having their tanks replenished before the start of the race.

Attempts to explain this particular piece of nonsense to the uninitiated invariably provoked confused expressions. The rule remained in force in 2007, when it was noted that Honda’s environmental awareness-raising ‘Earthdreams’ car was not above joining in the practice of burning fuel to satisfy this grossly ill-conceived regulation.

Dropped scores

Sometimes good intentions yield bad ideas. Allowing a driver to drop their lowest scores from a particular number of races promised to reduce the effect of unreliability on their season.

But it made for very complicated calculations at the end of championships, which involved working out how many points each driver would lose and gain based on each possible finishing position.

Making life even more difficult, for a period the championship was split into two halves, in each of which a driver could drop a certain number of results. That arrangement was scrapped in 1980 and ten years later the practice of dropping scores also ended. Since then every race result has counted towards the championship – a satisfyingly simple and logical arrangement.

DRS

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013“People say there’s not enough overtaking in Formula One.”

“That’s OK, I have a solution: we’ll make overtaking so easy no one cares when it happens any more!”

“Great idea! Every race will be like that brilliant grand prix at Dijon in 1979 where Rene Arnoux blasted past Gilles Villeneuve on a straight and then quickly pulled away from him.”

“That’s settled, then. Now, what shall we do about the points system…”

Double points at the last race

Tinkering with the points system is what those in charge of F1 do when they can’t face up to tackling the sport’s real problems. And so instead of addressing F1′s runaway costs and growing shortage of competitors, they decided to double points for the last race of the season this year.

This was a panicky response to the drop-off in television viewers at the end of last season, when Sebastian Vettel wrapped up the title with three races to go.

Presumably those who supported the move forgot how often the previous, fairer points systems produced thrilling last-race title showdowns (most recently in 2012, 2010, 2008, 2007 and 2006) and failed to appreciate how sport can only produce these moments of pure drama when the spectacle is genuine, rather than artificial.

Over 90% of F1 Fanatic readers oppose the plan. Rarely have I seen opinion among fans so strong and so near to unanimous on any topic.

This presents those in charge with a glaring contradiction: they are trying to make F1 more appealing to people by introducing a rule the vast majority do not want. Hopefully that obvious point will become clear to them in the coming weeks and the rule can be scrapped before the season begins.

Then they can refocus their attention on fixing the things that are broken with the sport instead of those that aren’t.

Over to you

What do you think belongs on a list of the worst rules ever seen in F1? Have your say in the comments.

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Images © Toyota, Renault/LAT, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Honda, Daimler/Hoch Zwei

158 comments on “Top ten: Worst rules ever seen in F1”

  1. For example if a driver needed only one point to win the championship and could do so by setting fastest lap in the race, they would be better off treating the race as a qualifying session, only leaving the pits for a few laps on soft tyres.

    That seems like more of a risk than actually racing. All it takes is an unforeseen event, or another driver trying the same, and you would fail to score at all.

    1. I do definitely agree about pole though. Qualifying well is rewarded the following day. To some extent so is setting fast laps in the race, although for some reason I’m not so against that earning a point.

    2. RaceProUK (@)
      6th January 2014, 16:27

      The simplest solution is surely only classified finishers are eligible for fastest lap. The beauty about that is the rules for classifying finishers already exists :-)

      1. Still, all you need to do is pit a couple of laps before the end for new tyres, it’s a pointless (no pun intended) idea.

        1. Another (albeit slightly more complicated system) is that only finishers in point scoring positions are eligible for fastest lap point. I’m sure another series awards the FL point this way, but I can’t for the life of me remember which one…

        2. @george, another good reason to make pit-stops and tyre changes illegal except for wet races or puncture/damage.

          1. @hohum I don’t agree with that, as then if you have unusually high degradation then you are thoroughly screwed.

            @matt90 I especially don’t understand it for drivers are already doing all that is possible (those in contention, anyway) to get pole. So adding a point is no extra incentive: Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel aren’t exactly going to speed up for that point, they are already going as fast as they can conceivably go.

          2. @vettel1, well obviously the tyres will have to change, they could do it 50 years ago so they should still be able to.

          3. Even with that @hohum, it’s still difficult to make a tyre last a whole race and still perform. Bridgestone proved that in 2005.

            50 years ago tyres didn’t have to cope with well in excess of 15000N in downforce, 5G in lateral g-force and around 6G in braking. Nor 750bhp at the same time. And, performance-wise, they were pretty crap compared to nowadays.

          4. Of course it would be possible if the tyres were just simply made to last, but regardless I wouldn’t want it enforced. There would need to be too much of a pace detriment and strategy I find interesting personally. A 60 lap sprint would start to get slightly repetitive.

          5. @vettel1, well Max I like to see the drivers skill, those “pace detrimental” tyres challenge a drivers skill far more than the downforce enhanced gumballs we see now, and like driving in the wet, that skill is far more visible with less adhesive rubber.

        3. Pointless idea. Lovely wordplay.

  2. A well written yet depressing article. Seven of the rules listed have been in operation within the past ten or fifteen years, including the proposed double points farce.
    I love F1, but when I read how badly the sport has been managed over the last number of years, how idiotic those in charge of the sport appear to be, it gives me a sinking feeling. As far as I know no other sport on the planet suffers from such needless tinkering with its rules, all in the aim of putting on a ‘show’. I read more and more about how F1 needs to have rules and gimmicks to make it more ‘entertaining’. I hear very little about the need for fair and healthy competition or how to improve the sporting aspect of this, y’know, sport. It is still a sport, right?

    1. Now I’m at a stage where I’m really hoping and on the look out for something else to usurp F1. After Keith’s recent article on DRS, I’m curious if Formula Renault 3.5 has better, “purer” racing?

      I love the cutting edge technical aspect of Formula 1, but now I think I’m willing to give it up and pay more attention to FR3.5 or GP2 instead. What if one day Renault just says screw F1 and built a new category above their FR3.5? A single chassis and engine series that’s even faster and tougher. Would you watch that? I’d be intrigued. Work with Red Bull to build a series around that fantasy fan-car Adrian Newey designed for Gran Turismo.

      1. Yeah that’d be a very interesting scenario, I’d like to see what would happen if there was a single seater category to really challenge F1, would the powers that be take notice and react to the competition?
        As for myself I’m going to give endurance racing a try. I watch Le Mans every year, but I think now’s the best time for a newbie to jump in to the series by following Mark Webber over. I’ve been told by other commenters on this site that it’s well worth checking out, especially if you’re a bit disillusioned with the current state of F1.

        1. RaceProUK (@)
          7th January 2014, 11:40

          A1GP tried. It folded after five years.

      2. What if one day Renault just says screw F1 and built a new category above their FR3.5? A single chassis and engine series that’s even faster and tougher. Would you watch that?

        Nope.

        A big part of F1, for me, has always been the competition in building the cars. Obviously the race is a test of skill for the drivers, but it is also a test of skill for the engineers, the strategists, the pit crews etc. In it’s pure form, it is a true, multi-disciplinary team sport.

        1. I love F1 for that reason, in that it’s a huge, synchronized effort of a whole team, not an individual, that wins championships. Vettel has 4 WDC titles, but without that Red Bull team, I doubt he could have done what he did (and I’m not playing down his skill, but playing up the fact that the rest of the team is crucial – engineers, pit crew, etc.)

          That said, I also love the close racing that spec series provides. I still believe that a top-tier spec series, done right, can survive side-by-side with F1; at the end of the day, exciting racing is just that, regardless of formula or series.

      3. ‘Purer’ is difficult to define: F1 has always been about getting the best drivers together, and everyone putting together what is essentially a custom/prototype car and seeing which combinations work best. In that sense, F1 is still ‘pure’, since we have constructors each building their own chassis and a lot of the best open-wheel drivers (I know this is debateable with the increasing talk of pay drivers).

        I’m guessing you’re thinking of ‘purer’ in the sense that it should just be the drivers separating themselves. I love watching GP2 and GP3 when I can find the races; WSR is even harder to find. Very difficult since none of these series are televised in Canada (although there might be a broadcaster for North America, but I’ve yet to find it). However, those lower tiers are amazing; young talent all trying to show they’re the best, and it leads to some amazing (albeit sometimes careless) racing. I still remember watching bump drafting happen in a Spa GP3 race (I believe it was a 2012 race I was watching); I didn’t even know that could happen! Try that in F1, you’ll probably end up doing a Mark Webber somersault, like he did with Heikki in Spain (2012?)

        What you’re saying, I would definitely watch: even if it was filled with ex-F1 drivers, à la Davidson, De La Rosa, Di Resta, hell, throw in an Inoue or Nakajima, it would be amazing to see what drivers who made it to F1 but never really made a lasting impact can do in a top-tier spec series. Newey designed chassis with 800+ hp, I don’t care if it’s hybrid, NA, or turbocharged, but huge power, huge tyres, simple aero, and throw in drivers that never really made it in F1, but are still capable drivers.

        I think a series like this, too, would be beneficial for those who have essentially graduated GP2/WSR, but cannot secure an F1 drive (Da Costa, Frijns, Bird, etc.); imagine them mixing it up with ex-F1 drivers (or those that have ‘retired’ from F1… thinking of Webber). While the calibre of drivers would not match F1, the fact that they are still very capable drivers in awesome machinery… I would probably relegate F1 to watching highlights/replays if a spec-series like this emerged and was accessible (i.e. online streaming like WEC races, or television).

    2. Actually the only rule which had sense was the dropped scores. At least it has some sense as it can erase some bad luck in some way, avoiding to be penalized for an inexplicable explosive tyre, a collision for which you’re not to blame but ended your race. And that rule is in effect and well working for other sports as well.

      For the rest, quite atonishing to see how F1 was some kind of a lab over the years for rule making/testing. And that continues … If not getting worse

  3. Without DRS, I would definitely no longer be following F1, it was too boring. If I wanted to watch a train, I’d go to my nearest train station. Certainly a lot easier and cheaper.

    1. Oh lord, the current crop is leaking in, PURGE.

    2. @cstonehouse I rather have the odd overtaking than treat it as a given. Spa 2000 wouldn’t have happened with DRS…

      1. @fer-no65 funnily enough, I said exactly that in an essay I wrote quite recently!

    3. Thats what people don’t seem to realise. We’re not in the 70’s and 80’s anymore. We live in a world where constant entertainment and excitement is needed to keep the younger generations interested.

      I hate the direction F1 has been going but this is the future. Appease the kids or they’ll switch over to X-Factor instead.

      Sign of the times. F1 has to do silly gimmicky things to stay relevant in a silly, gimmicky world.

      1. @ukphillie but the gimmicks can be applied in a clever way. Maybe DRS wouldn’t be regarded so bad if they apply some other things. Every driver has just 5 DRS uses in the whole race. Use them to either deffend, attack or set and awesome pace before pitting. But the “sitting ducks” system used today is silly.

        1. Agreed. I think a push to pass system like Indy Car is the clearest solution. I hate the sitting duck thing as well.

          In the F1 games you really get an idea of what goes through a drivers mind. As recent as last night I felt it, coming down the back straight at Nurburgring, car within a second of me….I think, I’ll just take my line as usual, the overtake is a foregone conclusion. Boring as hell. However if I had an opportunity to defend with MY DRS, it would make things a lot fairer and a lot more interesting.

          1. @ukphillie we had something similar for a few seasons now. It was called KERS.

      2. I don’t think younger generations need constant entertainment and excitement. That whole idea is an age old myth. Every generation ever since early humans have been through that. My english teacher said the same thing about us about 15 years ago and my father’s english teacher said the same to him 50 years ago. When fangio was racing the sport was changed for the newer generations and old generations were complaining about this exact same thing… too easy, need more explosions to keep the younger folks watching…

        F1 should not compete with f-factor. F1 has always been gimmicky. The almost complete lack of passing was a serious problem in F1 some time ago. The cars were closer than ever but you still couldn’t make a pass. Drs was a solution to that problem. A bad solution. No matter how you do it the racing needs to have some artificial rules to make it interesting. Some rules are bad while others are good. We know from past that things like limiting fuel or adding drs do not work. All that being said I would not be surprised if F1 did even more stupid things. Like copying pace cars and full course yellows from nascar.

        The problem with F1 is that F1 is not a sport but entertainment and as such the people who are making decisions make the decision from entertainment perspective and not from sport perspective. F1 is trying to compete with x-factor when it should compete with other sports. Double points for the last race? Would that ever happen in olympics?

      3. @ukphillie I don’t think it has to do with the public. Football hasn’t changed a single bit… and I wonder how many spaniards love watching 2 teams beat the heck out of everyone else in their league.

        I think it has to do with times when things just have to be easier because they have to be. It’s happened with videogames, and it happens everywhere else too. Everything has to be reachable, and be right now. Or they better make it special so you are willing to pay money for it.

        Everything has to be top exciting all the time, and that most of the times get the other effect.

        1. I think other sports have changed though. The introduction of Sin Bins in Rugby, Hockey, etc… Putting mic’s on the umpire in the NFL and making them explain every decision to the audience. Even football has become so fast paced at least one heart attack occurs per season, sometimes more.

          20/20 cricket, instant replay in baseball the list goes on.

          Seems to me there is no pure form of sport any longer, it’s all just entertainment, and it IS to appease the modern sports fan.

          1. Conservatives really should be allowed (forced?) to go to their own boring, unchanging world.

          2. @LosD

            Grow up, it’s an opinion. things do change, which you obviously approve of, so whats the problem?

            Conservatives? A Tip, not everything is political, take your beret off and get back to me when you leave school.

          3. RaceProUK (@)
            6th January 2014, 18:44

            @ukphillie – I think @losd meant ‘conservatives’ in the dictionary sense, not the political sense.

          4. I’m not particular FOR every change, but that whole speech reeked of conservatism. Not particularly the political kind, but the “get off my my lawn” kind.

          5. @LosD

            I didn’t say I disapproved of any of those things though, I said they exist, which in turn is turning sport from competition to entertainment.

            I don’t think your comment was fair at all.

          6. @ukphillie Hmmm, the whole comment seemed very negative to me, but I might have misunderstood, and in that case I apologize.

          7. Putting mic’s on the umpire in the NFL and making them explain every decision to the audience. Even football has become so fast paced at least one heart attack occurs per season, sometimes more.

            The first of those doesn’t make any real difference to the sport, it just makes it more accessible for the fans. And the second, unless you can think of a a rule change that caused it, also seems like an unrelated example.

      4. @ukphillie, agreed but I just thought of a great gimmick to get younger people interested in the racing, it’s so simple I cant believe no-one has thought of it before;
        Let the teams build the best engine they can, then the car with the most horsepower wont need DRS to pass on the straight but the car with the broadest power band should be able to pass during acceleration out of a corner, but hey why would a manufacturer like Ferarri or Mercedes want to build a better engine?

    4. Overtaking was a skill and risky, which is why people wanted to see over taking. It was relatively rare, which made overtaking moves prized and valuable, and worth waiting for. Now, overtaking is a matter of pressing a button.

      As, IIRC, Whitmarsh suggested, its not necessarily the overtaking which is exciting as such, its the anticipation of an over take.

      Think about it, watching several laps of a driver sizing up and working out how to make the move is several laps of anticipation for the viewer. The move its self is done in an instant. Where is the build up of anticipation now? We see a car catching up, and bang, they press the button and its over. No skill, no excitement.

      Now, how on earth is it exciting to anyone to see what we have now? Its meaningless, hollow and worthless. Worse still, it has to be an embarrassment for a professional racing driver to either complete a move by pressing a button, or to have to sit there defenseless.

      Frankly, I find DRS offensive to the very nature of racing. Its one of two things that have turned F1 from a drop everything must see to a passing interest. In the past, the level of change we see for this season should have be excited for the new season. Sadly, not any more. Sky F1 is cancelled (which as a result has meant I re-evaluated my entire Sky deal and I have ditched the whole lot), and I’ll just watch the BBC’s scraps, or if its suddenly becomes that exciting, I’ll go other routes.

      For some, no big deal; for me, that’s massive.

      1. Comment of the Century.

      2. Most of the overtaking that happens now is primarily because of the tyres. When a driver has just left the pits with a new set of tyres they are able to take chunks of time from the other cars around them that haven’t pitted because they have much more grip available. It is in situations like this where most of the overtaking in a race happens.

        1. ACx has a very valid point about the anticipation and build up of excitement, which is providing the thrill and sweaty palms. However to defend the DRS rule a little bit, You can also prevent the build up of excitement, if it is almost impossible to overtake, i.e. sometimes at Monaco. I remember the total dismaying feeling when Schueys brilliant overtake on Alonso just before the chequered flag in Monaco was deemed illegal despite all the signs waved on the track. If setup correctly, DRS only makes an overtake a possibility, where none would have been, without DRS. And I think they are getting better at setting up DRS, but I agree that it is often too effective.

      3. Think about it, watching several laps of a driver sizing up and working out how to make the move is several laps of anticipation for the viewer. The move its self is done in an instant.

        The problem was that, over the last few years, aero started playing such a role that it became more and more difficult to make that pass. we saw cars stuck for many laps, often most of the race, unable to get close enough to pass because of the aerodynamic penalty of being behind another car.

        Personally, I dislike the current implementation of DRS immensely. It was a horribly artificial solution to the problem. I hated it from the start. But you could see the idea working well at a few races in the first season. DRS would help a driver who had a good exit from the previous corner get alongside their opponent and have a chance to outbrake them into the next corner. While still artificial, this was as close to working as DRS would ever manage.

        However, this was not good enough for the powers that be. They decided they wanted still more passing (I will not call it overtaking, it is just passing). So the zones were lengthened, more zones added, and real overtakes have all but disappeared.

        To me the solution is fairly simple. The problem was caused by too much reliance of aerodynamic downforce. It can be solved by limiting aerodynamic downforce.

      4. Sorry but the whole anti-DRS lobby have very, very short memories. It was not that long ago that we as a group of F1 fanatics bemoaned the lack of overtaking in F1, and that chorus rang loud for over a decade before DRS was even thought about. 2012 was the most exciting season in terms of race by race action I have ever seen as well as a great final race showdown. Sure, 2010 and 2008 produced exciting championship finales but for action in each individual race 2012 takes the cake, and DRS had a lot to do with that (and from my recollection Keith’s stats on rate the race between ’12 and ’13 back that up too). Before DRS so many races ended up as processions – remember the Trulli Train? Do you seriously think that would happen in the DRS era? No way.

        Is the passing artificial? In some cases yes it is, but would have Webber won the ’12 British GP without DRS? Unlikely, as it put him in a great position to finish off a move. Could Lewis have won the 2012 Canadian GP without DRS? Again unlikely. However in terms of exciting races, without the interference of bad weather most races pre-DRS featured little if any passing for position on track (as opposed to in the pit phase) within the top six. How many classic ‘Races’ were there in either 2008 or 2010 for example where the top drivers actually changed positions on track when it was dry?

        Now before I get lynched by all those who think DRS is the technical regulation of Satan because it might slightly hurt the purity of racing in F1 I too think that a huge reduction in downforce is what F1 needs for several reasons (overtaking becomes easier, aero departments focus on low drag instead of high downforce which makes F1 more road car relevant, lower costs possibly) however DRS is not the huge monster so many of us fanatics think it is.

        F1 has had a huge opportunity to deal with the growing fan backlash with the 2014 rules and has not done what so many fans are crying out for – cut downforce by 90%+ and use much grippier tyres. The question is why not? Maybe a journo might want to pose these questions to a guy like Newey in an interview: If he was writing the F1 rulebook for lower costs and better racing (not faster cars through optimal aero) what would he do? Would the massive downforce reduction make any difference in his expert opinion to the amount of overtaking seen in F1?

        But to describe DRS as one of the ten worst rules in F1 when the evidence of DRS solving the overtaking problem in F1 over the last three seasons is so overwhelming I find a bit over the top.

    5. If you look back at the ‘good old days’ of F1 or even compare other open wheel series, aero is where it all starts to go wrong. If you have more mechanical grip and ground related downforce, the car in front has less impact on the ability to pass it.

      The rules should simplify the amount and complexity of wings (single beam wing, no end plates, limit total aero surface area for example), allow a flat floor and produce a tyre that can last the distance but must be changed. Ban funky engine maps to blow exhaust but allow floor exits.

      Suspension would then have to be tuned and setup to work, roll centres, roll stiffness, COG, etc would all matter again where as now, tuning suspension is all about making the aero work.

      I wonder how a reverse grid sprint race would work?? Provided you can actually overtake…

      1. Aero is one thing, and perhaps the narrow track rule that Keith mentioned in the article also contributes. A wider car, more mechanical grip, and simplify the aero. If you need to keep engineers busy, get them working on engines and suspensions (i.e. ERS energy storage, cool developments like Renault’s Mass Damper). We really need to move on from this fixation with aero; it really is a case of less is more (obviously not more downforce, but more fun).

  4. I would also add the 2005 rule of no tyre changes throughout the race.

    1. That was a funny one. I wasn’t a great fan of the rule but it did give us some good moments of racing – including at Monaco, of all places – and that dramatic moment at the Nurburgring. At the end of the year I wasn’t that disappointed they scrapped the rule. But I don’t think it ranks among the very worst.

      1. @keithcollantine, F1 was great in the years when the race ran non-stop from start to finish without pit-stops, less expensive as well, but I agree that stopping for fuel but not tyres was pointless except for saving the cost of building and transporting extra tyres.

        1. No tyre changes was even more dangerous than refuelling, which I kind of miss: One of my great moments of F1, is when the Iceman drives through the mist of fuel, from Massa’s broken fuel rig, it ignites, Kimi sees the flames in the mirrors, hesitates for a moment until he sees that the flames die out, and then he hits the throttle. I always hope for a replay, where he is even more cool and just keeps going, believing the fire will be blown out by the pressure build-up from the wind-speed;-)

          1. @palle, how was no tyre changes dangerous ?

          2. @hohum: When the driver had ruined his tyres by late braking, they started vibrating violently. One race this caused Raikonnens front suspension to disintegrate during braking and he had a very dangerous accident, where the front wheel was dancing on top of the car right in front of the cockpit. It was also pure luck that he didn’t hit anyone. Apart from that when thinking of Road safety, it is a very bad signal to send that You should just keep on driving on tyres which are totally shot.

          3. @palle, OK I remember that one, forgot the rule did not allow damaged tyres to be changed, what I prefer is the era when tyres could be changed if damaged but pitstops took so long it was not worth changing a tyre just to gain a little extra speed.

      2. Oh, that was just scary and dangerous. I was squirming watching that Nurburgring race. In hindsight should he have been given a black flag for technical issues?

        I forget. When Raikkonen’s car finally did let go did it *almost* collect someone else at the end of the main straight?

        1. Pretty sure he nearly collected Button, who was probably a lap down.

  5. Narrow track cars… yeah, that was a killer ! thinking about it, I wonder if that made aero-grip a lot more relevant than mech-grip. Looking at the cars of that era, they were very wide track, which obviously improves cornering. And back then, while following each other was difficult, It wasn’t the major apocaliptic great-god-this-is-boring issue like in the late 2000’s..

    Also from those qualifying formats, of the mid-2000’s I LOVED the 1 lap qualy. We could watch the whole timed lap from each car, and it was great to spot the differences between the drivers and cars. Nowadays, you have to rely on the TV Director usually-wrong guess about who the pole sitter will be and 90% of the times we miss the lap.

    1. The one lap qualifying was awesome for the things you mention but sometimes it wasn’t fair because the drivers on later would be on the back foot if it rained.

      1. @jaymz more often than not, it was unfair to those that retired the race before, cuz they had to qualy first when the track was “greener”. Of the top of my head, just 2 times the top guns suffered a late rain: Melbourne and Suzuka 2005.

        1. exact. The last drivers had more grip than the first ones, for the rubber set left by the first ones. And in the rain, it was the opposite.

  6. Always thought the pit lane closing under safety car rule was stupid, punished those who were unlucky enough to be low on fuel and it made Nelson Piquet JR finish 2nd in Germany because he pitted before the safety car came out

    1. Agreed that the bad safety car rules really ****** me off at some races. If the FIA changed one rule, it seemed that they didn’t consider the effects on the rules they changed to accommodate the original rules back then (or ever).

  7. Every time I read or come across any other system to what we have now for qualifying I thank the Motorsport gods because that would be Saturday totally ruined for me.

    1. I agree, I watched every stupid attempt by Bernie and Max to make qualifying into an interesting exercise for spectators, for 2 guys who had actually managed/owned teams they seemed incapable of predicting how teams would have to respond in order to qualify well, but eventually after trying every other possible permutation they finally came up with a good solution, tyres excepted.

      Hands up all those who remember watching an empty track for 50 minutes !

    2. I’ve watched a lot of races from seasons prior to 2008, but never the qualifying sessions. I had no idea that qualifying was done like this in the past. To me, the Q1/Q2/Q3 system is logical, easy to follow, and rewards the best car/driver. I can’t imagine it any other way…

  8. I initially didn’t mind the double points but now I’m thinking otherwise. Just simply if it’s not broke don’t fix it. F1 seems to like trying to fix things that aren’t broke.

    I admit I’m a bit of a moan, but I never really moaned about many of these changes in F1. Many because there will always be really fast cars having a good old race.

    What I do moan about is how the FIA let some teams away with things for so long so they dominate. There seems to be a pattern as to who they will relax the rules on. I think this is more important than some rule change.

  9. The point for fastest lap i have always liked, doesnt look like it will be reintroduced but i felt it gave something to aim for even if through other incidents you found yourself further down the field during the order than expected.

    Double points i am not against in general, but i would probably prefer it to be added at the “classics” as well as last race….makes more sense for Le Mans 24hr i suppose as it is a Bigger race than the other WEC rounds.

    Perhaps controversially i would like to see points for all, as the higher place finish outside the points trumping all other finishes outside the points (Caterham v Marussia) is a nonsense when the rewards are so high for that one higher finish. Its like saying most victories will win the title regardless of points; and it wont devalue anything the top ten finishers would have achieved anyway.

    A point for leading a lap also seems fun, ala NASCAR!! Will prob be unpopular here, but works well in NASCAR.

    1. Points for fastest lap would have at least deserved a try in a year with such high reliability as 2013. I imagine people like Hamilton, Alonso and Webber would have tried to nick an extra point towards the end of the race, once his team had urged Vettel to play it safe with his 30 second lead.

    2. Don’t Nascar wins earn a lot more points than the 25 in F1, making the fastest lap point much less influential in the championship total ?

      1. They get so many points that doing some quick championship-maths looks like it becomes a serious undertaking. That’s partly why I don’t want to see points for every position. It’s nice to work out championship permutations without reaching for a calculator.

        1. @matt90 perhaps making points systems complicated makes drivers reluctant to drive “as fast as they have to” (e.g. Alain Prost) and encourages them to race all-out, all the time.

    3. NASCAR doesnt operate a fastest lap reward.
      The NASCAR system is 46 for a win, 42 for 2nd and 1 point less the whole way down the field.
      Bonus points are 1 pt for leading a lap (lots of drivers can earn this, and they only earn it once during the race no matter how many laps they lead) …and 1 pt for the driver that leads the most laps……………it could be worth a try, certainly no more daft than saying the last race is twice as important than any other race.
      The point for fastest lap is pure F1 history, from introduction of the world championship in 1950 until 1959, and given the possiblility of a year full of unreliability, it may have given something to those drivers batling dodgy engine/ERS etc. At the time of the point for fastest lap rule, the win was worth 8; so to apply it now of similar value would be 4 points.

  10. Not again with this DRS ********.
    2010 Canada, would have been sooooo much better, had jenson stuck behind X number of backmakers, riiight?
    You couldn’t even try different strategies without DRS, because you couldn’t overtake. IF THE GUY IN FRONT WOULD BE FASTER, than the next car wouldn’t catch it, IT IS AS SIMPLE AS THAT.
    By your logic, it’s much better to be a slower guy in front with an unfair aero advantage. I don’t see how DRS is a bigger advantage, than being in front, when the guy behind can’t follow you in the corners…
    Your logic MIGHT made sense, if the cars kept swapping positions every lap. The guy with DRS overtakes, next lap the other guy does this. In the past 3 years this never happend. Even sometimes with DRS it’s hard to overtake, so stop this nonsense already. It reduces an unfair aero advantage. If the guy in front is faster, than he wouldn’t have less than a second gap to the next, AS SIMPLE AS THAT.

    1. So you don’t find it boring to see a guy breeze past as if he has an extra 500bhp? Sure the guy behind is faster, but there has to be skill in overtaking… And that’s slowly disappearing with each motorway-style pass done at the push of a button, as the non-DRS overtakes are becoming more and more rare at each event. But if it looks like overtaking on TV then it must be exciting, right?

    2. Luth (@soulofaetherym)
      6th January 2014, 18:07

      I agree in a way. But DRS just makes it too easy. Just limit it ***, it isn’t that hard. Each driver starts the race with, idk, 90s of DRS they can use whenever, wherever, under their responsability.

    3. DRS is a ill-conceived fix to an aero problem.

      1. And now they have developed it, they don’t want to change the aero and get rid of the DRS (as they’ve already spent the money developing DRS to ‘fix’ the current aero). So they continue developing the current aero line (with modifications), but no big change to cut the wake (e.g. more Ground Effect), although the monkey seat is disappearing for 2014 at least.

    4. You couldn’t even try different strategies without DRS, because you couldn’t overtake.

      No, 2010 had more overtaking than any of the preceding 17 seasons.

    5. LSL you know what the problem is so why defend a gimmick that only partially solves the problem and only on that part of the track where it is not a problem, why not address the cause rather than the symptom.

    6. 2010 Canada, would have been sooooo much better, had jenson stuck behind X number of backmakers, riiight?

      What a strange example. That was an exceptional race. It wouldn’t be exceptional if that could happen every weekend. It was a product of the weather and tyres, and I don’t see why you would want it to be a product of DRS instead.

      1. But to use a (better) counter example…

        2005/6 Imola would have been much better if Schumacher/Alonso had passed Alonso/Schumacher the second they came up behind them, with the race then continuing uncontested. Right?

  11. Some very horrible rules in here indeed. And thanks for the background information on how DRS first came about.

    The other horrible rules I can think of: there are a couple from the 1950 and 60s, like instant disqualification when a competitor drove a meter in the wrong direction (Hawthorn, Portugal 1958) or when the competitor is given a push start (Fairman, Britain 1961 / Revson, Belgium 1964).

    I’m not entirely sure about it, but there was a rule in the early days of F1 that I found quite ridiculous: on the final lap of a race, imagine a car breaking down midway through the lap. Then as soon as the winner takes the chequered flag, the finishing position of the car that has broken down is determined to be its track position relative to the other cars. So if a competitor hasn’t yet passed the car when the winner crosses the line, he will be classified behind the car that retired, even though he will complete the lap and thus traveled a greater distance than the retired car. Example: Clark, Monaco 1964.

    From the modern era, the double compound rule is not my favourite rule either, though it’s not in the league of the two mandatory pit stop idea that was floating around late last year.

    1. Wow, I really didn’t know about the retirement one, but it kinda makes sense though (so I can see why it was so back then), i.e. it was a race to win, and when the winner crosses the line the race is over. Where you are is then your finishing position.

    2. Thinking of disqualifications, drivers used to get excluded for piddling reasons that would get just a fine or minor grid-penalty now. I remember Martin Brundle was thrown out of the Monaco GP because his car was underweight on Thursday one year, probably 1991.

      Pre-qualifying was harsh too, particularly how the line-up was only reviewed twice a year. Hard to imagine 39 entries for a Grand Prix now, but if you didn’t make the top four in a short session at stupid o’clock on Friday morning, it was time to pack up. No practice, no race.

  12. I could perhaps accept the double points thing if it were to be accompanied by certain races having doubled race durations.

    1. Luth (@soulofaetherym)
      6th January 2014, 18:08

      Abu Dhabi wouldn’t be fun even if they ran a 24h of abu dhabi race -.- If it was Brazil, Spa, Suzuka, Britain, I’d agree, but this? This is just crap made for the $$

  13. “Very complicated calculations” for dropped scores??? If you use your fingers, it might be, but is this F1 for Dummies?

    1. The ‘dummies’ who like to watch F1 but aren’t fanatical about it to the point of knowing the rules and keeping track of the points probably outnumber the people who can tell you on top of their head how many grooves front tyres had in 1998 or who would have won the 1988 championship were it not for the dropped points.

  14. If the FIA want to ensure that the season finishes with closer scores, then why do they add so much weighting to a win? They should take a leaf out of the motoGP playbook and have the top five positions scored like this:

    1st = 25; 2nd = 20; 3rd = 16; 4th = 13(12*); 5th = 10 and keep the 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 for the lower positions.
    * the FIA seems to be triskaidekaphobic so 12 would be a logical alternative.

    The astute among you may notice a certain similarity if you decrease the above scores by a scale factor of 2.5:

    1st = 10; 2nd = 8; 3rd = 6.4; 4th = 5.2; 5th = 4.

    That goes to show that the old system which gave us 2007 and 2008 was more or less the optimal one for preventing (or at least minimising) the chance of one person running away.

    The FIA, in their infinite idiocy, keep changing things for change’s sake, without any logical reason. The above points system would ensure a closer without giving any added value to any one race (and without denigrating and devaluing the other 18).

    1. This scoring system was introduced by Bernie because a driver ( I forget who) nearly won the WDC by coming 2nd. nearly every race making Bernies knee jerk, Bernies other knee had jerked when it seemed a driver with many wins and a few DNFs could win the WDC without starting a few races at seasons end.

      1. ANd that system was introduced when a guy kept winning and therefore claimed the championship earlier each year @hohum, as you surely remember.

        Which gives a good indication how successful this will be in making sure Vettel does not run away with the title, sparking another kneejerk change to the points to solve it, …

  15. I am sorry to say this. I am kowalsky, i followf1 since 1980, but i never felt so sad about the state of f1. I understand i am getting older And that is never a recepy for happiness, but watching marc marquez win the motogp title gave me a lot of joy, so there is more wrong with f1, than with me thanks god.
    I already gave up on f1, And i am sorry to say my main focus is going to be motorcicle racing, where i still get the thrills that hooked me to f1, when being a 10 year old i saw laudas recovery on tv.
    I traveled to 3 gps un 2013. Two motogp And one of f1. But next year i will not travel to watch any f1 race.
    Thats what all this nonesense has forced me to do.

    1. MotoGP on Silverstone was quite the race eh.

      1. kowalsky jose sanchez
        8th January 2014, 16:43

        That was awesome. The fight for pole on saturday could be remembered as one of the best momentos in motorcycle racing history. Like traveling in time to watch f1 in the 70″s.

  16. I have to say the overly complicated qualifying system of early 2005 would be my personal worst rule. People I know who watched F1 kept asking me ‘why isn’t the fastest guy from Saturday on pole?’ and I think we even had a few incidents with Sunday weather making sure Schumacher and Barrichello went off on Saturday all of the sudden.

    Grooved tyres completely missed the point as well, since cars kept going faster (the F2004 breaking the FW14’s lap records proves that) and the tyre war meant constant tyre upgrades (and thus faster lap times) as well.

    In general, the struggle with finding the right gimmick for tyres and fuel has cost F1 a lot of time and money. Frankly, I fell asleep when I was watching the 1997 Argentine GP online once, but some of the races this season were carbon copies of those late 90s races with little overtaking. Apart from the drivers now having battles on the final 10 laps once they know their tyres will hold up.

  17. The rule remained in force in 2007, when it was noted that Honda’s environmental awareness-raising ‘Earthdreams’ car was not above joining in the practice of burning fuel to satisfy this grossly ill-conceived regulation.

    To be fair, Honda barely made any Q3 appearances in 2007.

    1. Luth (@soulofaetherym)
      6th January 2014, 18:09

      That’s what he means xD

    2. That sir, gave me quite a laugh.

    3. Ouch! :)

  18. The grooved tires was a lot better than the on-purpose-rubbish tires from Pirelli, it still allowed the drivers to go all out instead of just doing tire preserving through the entire race.

    1. I agree, the grooved tyres was very strange at first but after a while they grew on me and by the time they were scrapped it almost looked funny seeing the cars on slicks again! The main thing is that they didn’t really interfere with the racing but did provide an engineering challenge (though it could be argued that solving that puzzle didn’t really help the world move on much!). Keith’s point about not controlling cornering speeds I also think is wrong, whilst they might not have brought the speeds down as much as the single supplier, there can be little doubt that cornering speeds were lower than they would otherwise have been without the grooves – given the lower surface area and the harder compounds which the tyre makers had to use to make the tyres work.

    2. Agreed, the grooves were pointless but they allowed the drivers to race.

    3. Hah! I started watching F1 in the era of the grooved tyres, so slicks were weird to me, too.

      You’re right, though, Bridgestone made a tyre that you could really push on, and I thought that they had a good balance in the prime/option compounds they brought to each race. Any boring races certainly didn’t come down to the tyres. Aero on the other hand…

  19. What gets me is….People will watch a 90 minute football match with 3 goals and rave about how great the game was.

    Yet the same people will watch a 90 minute race with 3 overtakes and say it’s boring.

    At what point between watching the two sports does the mindset change?

    I’m just speculating here, but I reckon the casual, newer generations of F1 fan tune in to see a load of risky overtakes that look cool, as many crashes as possible, and the thought of Carbon Fibre littering the track is what makes them tune in in the first place. That is the only explanation I can think of to explain this change in attitude between watching different sports.

    I may be wrong, if anyone has a better explanation please put it to me. I absolutely do not understand it.

    1. That’s the same what people said to me when I was 7 and started watching F1. The way to inclusion and showing people how great something you like is, isn’t through the slander of their generation.

      Despite the low scores, football does provide more spectacle. People are visibly performing and ‘nearly scoring a goal’ looks better than ‘nearly overtaking a car’.

      1. Not if you truly appreciate what happening.

        1. But that’s the thing; the vast majority doesn’t care. My parents used to be avid fans, but ever since Schumacher first retired in 2006 they never really cared as much. Two days after the Korean GP they remembered Kimi’s pass on Grosjean, but not how Hulkenberg held off Hamilton.

          Passes are more memorable for the masses. DRS is not the solution; but it’s not like the masses of potential European F1 audiences are watching demolition derbies or lower NASCAR series right now. Heck, Maldonado is universally loathed, while he’s the king of crashes. Wouldn’t he be a lot more popular with casual fans if they really only cared for crashes?

    2. @ukphillie imagine now the football players not changing their position during 90 minutes :)

      1. … but artificial overtakes are not a good answer to that

    3. Now that I see more context to this COTD, I question why it became COTD. If you are only talking about new generation F1 fans that you speculate theoretically need to see mayhem on the track, then yeah I guess they’d be bored with 3 overtakes in a race.

      But now that I see the full commentary I reject the whole premise. Footballers are footballers and have always understood the nuances of that sport, and F1ers are F1ers who also understand that passing in F1 has always leaned toward being rare and difficult, until they brought in DRS of course, and even then it is the non-DRS passes that get a mention…nobody cares about the DRS passes.

      I think it is an incorrect assumption, not to mention you are making a blanket statement, to suggest what footballers and F1 fans are looking for, so I don’t think any explanation is needed nor do I think there is any change in attitude of any significance.

      1. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

        I find golf pretty tedious. What if we put each green on a slow tilt-and-whirl machine; trying to get it on the green would be hilarious, let alone putting!

        Football: when a team runs away with it, sometimes I hear that the field must be tilted one way. Why does it only have to be a metaphor? Let’s literally tilt the field!

        Baseball: there should be a random bat that explodes in each, uh, pile of bats. Maybe the 7th inning can be the “double point” inning, for some reason.

        Cricket: uh… lets just make it baseball!

        Basketball: well, teams already score 100+ points in a game, lets just leave that one alone. No wait, let’s just add a random game of H-O-R-S-E which determines the winner at the end of the game.

        American Football: just throw in a few more ads, no one will notice

        Basically, I know what you’re getting at. As far as F1 goes… let’s just cut to the chase and get the F1 drivers together to play a few televised rounds of Mario Kart.

  20. I was talking with friends last night and reading through old season review books and we strongly agreed that F1 was better with refueling. The prime example being 1998 Hungry where Schumacher drove a full race flat out and beat the McLarens.

    The only time refueling was spoiled was when it was used to add a twist to qualifying. That was pathetic!

    The Refueling rules in the 90’s was the best and i think the quality of races has suffered with it as well as the fastest drivers. I hate Hamilton but he’s proabably the fastest driver in the sport but since refueling was removed he’s never looked as dominant again. Next up Schumacher, Alonso same story. Not saying its 100% because of refuling but can you pick out “Legacy” defining races they’ve had with the refueling ban?

    If i could have the call i’d bring refueling back and sack DRS. A fair exchange that would improve the racing and the impression of f1. No?

    1. @mrgrieves So that’s one race out of 272 in 16 years that offers a case for having refuelling?

      I do think that particular race has been mythologised somewhat. Whenever it’s brought up no one ever mentions that Hakkinen had a broken front anti-roll bar which slowed him down and in turn held Coulthard up, aiding Schumacher’s cause to the extent that he was even able to go off the track at one point and still leave the pits ahead.

      I’m not saying Schumacher’s didn’t drive well, I just don’t think it’s the shining example of the wonders of refuelling some people make it out to be.

      1. We could pick out many more over the 16 years, Thats the one that stands out and takes more notice than pointing out every race

        I’d much rather add the unpredictability and imbalance of cars through refueling making races more interesting than the joke that is DRS!

        Another part of the refueling ban is how races become a procession until the person in front has to switch tyres Which makes the first 15-25 laps boring as we wait for cars to pit.

        In my 20 years of watching F1 my personal favorite season was 97 which i felt had a perfect mix of tyre’s and refueling influence in way the races panned out which makes it frustrating to see the current system in my opinion fail to offer good racing.

        Despite this i can see the other side of the argument on refueling as a friend pointed out on a Indycar race in the 90’s where Al Unser was the fastest guy all weekend, overtook Andretti 3 times in the race but still finished behind him meaning despite being the fastest driver and overtaking his nearest rival he still lost, arguably robbed by refueling which open another debate on the whether the (fastest driver & car deserves to win) Vs (More entertaining races through variables)

  21. The interesting thing about the narrow track cars is that now most open wheel categories have gone the same way.

    When F1 1st narrowed the cars in ’98 they looked really odd as everything else still featured wider cars, However over time as other categories have gone to a narrower track I don’t really notice it anymore apart from when watching some archive footage featuring the wider cars.

    Regarding the aggregate qualifying, That was a horrid idea but the thing that always confused me was the fact that the Sunday qualifying ended up as unpopular as it was.
    When we were forced to have Sunday qualifying at Suzuka in 2004 after the threat of a Typhoon at Saturday the idea of Sunday qualifying at every race was a pretty popular idea & was discussed a lot over the final race weekend in Brazil with most supporting the idea.

    Yet when it was put into the rules some of the same people who had spoken in favor of it in late-2004 were suddenly madly opposed to it. For example several TV broadcasters who initially favored the idea when asked about it (ITV included) then refused to televise the session & came out in opposition to it asking for it to return to 1 session on Saturday.

  22. Whatever rule was introduced to allow Valencia and Abu Dhabi host a grand prix.

  23. Hm, I wanna know what was the argument of FIA to make cars narrower in 1998? Was it to make more space on track for possible overtaking?

  24. The “pit closed under safety car” rule deserves a mention in its own right, turned safety car periods into a total lottery. And although it was never actually put into effect, Bernie’s gold medals system deserves a (dis)honourable mention. Hopefully double points will meet the same fate.

  25. I always thought the “let the backmarkers unlap themselves during the safety car period” was one of the dumbest rules ever it dragged the safety car period on endlessly and was completely pointless.

    1. Too Right, that definitely should be in the list.

      1. +1. It is worse than DRS, if the DRS setting is “correct”, as in making it possible to orchestrate an otherwise impossible overtake.

    2. Agreed, lapped cars should be given blue flags so that all cars on the lead lap can overtake them, simples.. Just reverse it.

  26. Bring back the wide cars!! :)

    1. Wider tyres, narrower wings ! yes!

  27. I kind of agree with the DRS issue. For me the problem is that it actually aids you for being slower. If you are behind a driver due to your lack of speed then you get an artificial boost when within 1 second. We saw it last season with the Ferrari’s in that they were a little off the pace and never really challenged for the top 3 during qualifying, however during the race they benefited from 0.5sec a lap in some races due to following quicker cars and using DRS. The biggest flaw with this rule for me was in 2012 when Kimi overtook Alonso just before the DRS detection zone with a great move (think it was India)… so Alonso was just behind once they hit the detection zone and Alonso was then gifted the place back on the straight through DRS. Still a great sport though!

  28. Attempts to explain this particular piece of nonsense to the uninitiated invariably provoked confused expressions.

    HA HA Good one Kieth. I totally agree.. Like every rule, the FIA takes out of the hat randomly, this one was so convoluted to the fans. The race to burn more fuel often saw gaining Michael and Fernando battling it out for track positions.. and it got nastier on some occasions like France 2006

  29. awesomely disgusting list Keith! Totally agree with your top 10 this time even if some stupid rules were left out I don’t think any one of them deserves to be in the top 10.

    Now, someone should show this monumental tribute to human stupidity to F1 bosses so they can see in what distinguished company they’d put themselves in with the double-points race nonsense!

  30. Am I the only one here who actually misses the Refuelling and Fuel credit qualifying?? In my opinion this model of racing actually promoted (what I like most in motorsport) driving on the limit and still giving teams some credit of tactical windows at the same time.
    I also think that DRS gets criticised (that much) mainly because of the constant regulation changes and the supplied tires. If we had Bridgestone era durability and current technical reliability it would mean a one MANDATORY pitstop and cruise within delta lap time to finishing line, in other words a BOREFEST…

    1. I miss mid race refueling. Liked the cars getting to low fuel loads getting faster and faster. Different fueling strategies affecting pace. The pit stop times that’s not just about mechanic’s hand skills but having connection to different strategies.

      But fuel credit qualifying? The sight of cars cruising around just burning fuel was rather disgraceful.

  31. I’d much rather add the unpredictability and imbalance of cars through refueling making races more interesting than the joke that is DRS!

    Another part of the refueling ban is how races become a procession until the person in front has to switch tyres Which makes the first 15-25 laps boring as we wait for cars to pit.

    In my 20 years of watching F1 my personal favorite season was 97 which i felt had a perfect mix of tyre’s and refueling influence in way the races panned out which makes it frustrating to see the current system in my opinion fail to offer good racing.

    Despite this i can see the other side of the argument on refueling as a friend pointed out on a Indycar race in the 90’s where Al Unser was the fastest guy all weekend, overtook Andretti 3 times in the race but still finished behind him meaning despite being the fastest driver and overtaking his nearest rival he still lost, arguably robbed by refueling which open another debate on the whether the (fastest driver & car deserves to win) Vs (More entertaining races through variables)

    1. Another part of the refueling ban is how races become a procession

      They were more of a procession when we had refueling though.

      Stats show that from race #1 of refueling been allowed (Brazil 1994) the levels of on track overtaking plummeted & we began to see more passing in the pits than on the track. This trend continued throughout the refueling-era as fuel strategy & pit-passing took priority over on-track racing/overtaking.

      Refueling was banned in 2010 & the levels of on-track overtaking shot back to pre-refueling figures & the 2010 season featured more on-track overtaking than any season since 1989.

      I hated refueling, I hated what it did to the racing & how it destroyed good racing battles for position & took away potential on-track overtakes.

      The example from the 1st race it was allowed again the ’94 Brazilian Gp. A great fight for the lead between Senna/Schumacher, Fuel strategy kicks in & Schumacher ends up ahead & then drives away to a dominant win. Go back a year & with no refueling with no guarantee that Senna would be making a pit stop (Since No-stop races were common) Schumacher would have had to try & overtake Senna on the track & we would have got a much better race.

      Go forward 10 years to the 2004 French Gp. A great fight for the lead between Alonso/Schumacher. Fuel strategy kicks in with Schumacher going for a 4-stop strategy & from the 1st stops on you have the 2 guys fighting for the win nowhere near one another on track with Schumacher eventually taking the lead via fuel strategy having been 10+ seconds behind Alonso for most of the race after the initial stops.

      What we had before refueling with completely open tyre strategy with drivers able to determine strategy & opt to change it mid-race was far better than anything we’ve had since be it refueling or the current mandated tyre stops to run both compounds.

    2. Another part of the refueling ban is how races become a procession until the person in front has to switch tyres Which makes the first 15-25 laps boring as we wait for cars to pit.

      yeah, sure. A very big downturn in excitement from waiting for the guy in front to stop for fuel and hope you come out of the pits before he passes the pits when you stop later on, right (and before you mention saving tyres – we have seen saving fuel a lot too to eke out a stop)?

      Personally I don’t see that much difference, apart from that the tyres worked well when drivers and teams were not exactly sure what to expect.

  32. Great article
    I also liked the 2005 rule that gave no penalty for an engine change when a car retired from the race… Leading to both BAR Hondas retiring from the Australian GP on purpose during the last lap!

    The other thing I remember being pretty confusing when I started watching F1 was the old red flag / safety car rule of considering two separate race segments and adding the times… Pretty tough to follow!

  33. I would include the single-race application of disallowing all cutting of corners for Senna in Suzuka 1989.

  34. Now that’s a nice list! I agree with 9,5 of 10. And that half belongs to DRS. 3 years on I can’t still make up my mind about it! I don’t know maybe I have watched too many processions the last 25 years that I dread to get back there! My main concern is that since DRS and Pirelli have always co-existed together we can’t say just how much affects overtaking each one individually. In reality tyres get you in range and DRS makes it easier than it should be, but still you must be in range.
    I believe the root of all evil is in the freezing of engine development, back in the day different engines meant different power, driveability, reliability, fuel consumption. Now the last 3 years we have 3 similar units and therefore a gimmick had to be invented for some straight line action. Perhaps the new units will have inherent differenties that will render the DRS redundant. I read many comments about the build up to an overtake to be equally as important as the passing itself and I totally disagree. People don’t you forget that certain tracks featured virtually zero overtaking and yes we knew about it so there was no build up whatsoever.

  35. add 1 = allowing Traction Control in 2001.
    changing the rules each year hasn’t made the sport more or less interesting at all. it only serves to complicate things and confuse the non die hard fan.
    i still would prefer the 1 session = 1 hour Qualifying system. even if it was set to 40mins to eradicate the 1st 20mins of the 1 hour session when not much happened. but that only led to a crazy last 15mins anyways with times changing by the lap. damn i miss the good old days of F1.

  36. I really thought this was going to be a troll post. 1. Double points for last race 2. Double points for last race 3. Double points for last race…….

  37. To my eye the cars just haven’t looked right ever since

    The appearance debate of F1 cars is very very tiring. They are what they are, it’s the story they tell that make them beautiful.

  38. I couldn’t agree more with you. Specially this:
    1. Narrow track cars – the cars were never so ugly. May be I change my opinion after seeing the 2014 cars….
    2. Refueling – I always hated this rule. In some tracks, the only overtaking point was the Pit Lane.
    3. DSR – this is too artificial. A number of Push to Pass would work better.
    4. Double point in the last race – remembers 1991 when Balestre changed points for first place from 9 to 10 trying to make the victory more important

    I would add the discarded points system used during the 80’s

  39. I would love to see double points for some races. Especially those that are very difficult to pass on. Double points for monaco would make drivers keener to overtake than settle for a comfortable points haul.

  40. Two rule changes in recent history stand out as glaringly stupid to me. First, engine homo-ligation. Rarely are the engines discussed for their differences anymore. I thought the sport was much more interesting when really the only rule was how many liters your engine could be. Some had V8s, V10s or V12s. The racing was fantastic when two competitors had different advantages: This engine has better top speed while this other one has better grunt out of the corners; or this team has the best engine but it is far less reliable….
    Second is this stupid notion that they now intentionally make rapidly degrading tyres. Tyre competition sometimes gave an advantage, but it was to half of the field and it changed from race to race and season to season. Sometimes you would see the top ten all on one tyre except somehow a particular driver managed a podium on a different tyre. That reveled true driving talent when now it is only down to who has the best aerodynamicist.
    Wake up F1. You are slowly turning yourself into my worst nightmare: NASCAR.

  41. Multiple issues so dividing them by topic.

    DRS situation
    I think overall DRS has been a positive step given that the focus on aero made overtaking all but impossible. Yes, there are situations where the driver in front becomes a sitting duck. This can be remedied in multiple ways:
    1) Ensure that DRS confers a maximum advantage of increase in speed of say 5 mph. [Complex and difficult to enforce]
    2) Change how ERS can be used in conjugation with DRS. The lead driver is allowed to use the full ERS capacity (120 kW) while the driver using DRS can only use a fraction of the ERS capacity. The fraction may be a global number for the season or it may vary from race to race. [Simple and easy to enforce, pressing the DRS button limits the ERS capacity to a preassigned fraction.]
    3) Allow current form of DRS only after the gap between two drivers in 30 seconds or less. [Easiest change of the lot]
    4) Have adjustable rear wings and adjustable front wings and split DRS into offense and defense modes:
    a) Offense mode: Adjustable rear wing that allows the following driver a burst of speed of 10-12mph
    b) Defense mode: Adjustable front wing that allows the lead driver a burst of speed of 4-6 mph
    This means the speed difference between the drivers will be somewhere between 4-8 mph and may or may not be enough for an overtaking maneuver. [Really complex and difficult to enforce]

    Double points situation
    Double points for the last race is a dumb idea as it clearly adds value only to marketing and entertainment at the cost of the competition.

    However it can be done in a nice way by introducing the idea of jokers.
    1) In a season, every driver gets 1 joker for use in the driver’s championship(WDC) and every team gets 1 joker to use in the constructor’s championship(WCC). At a given race, a team and its associated drivers can only play either the driver’s joker or the teams joker and not both.
    [This ensures that a driver’s interest’s and a team’s interest’s are not in conflict and offers a degree of protection to the driver’s, particularly the team’s 2nd driver.]
    2) When you use a joker in a race any points that you score get doubled.
    3) The intention to play the joker can be made
    a) earliest: after the end of qualifying
    b) latest: one hour before the start of the race
    [Creates an element of surprise for the audience and provides the teams with an element of security]

    Pros:
    1) Every driver/team has a chance to score extra points on a circuit that suits them.
    2) There is an element of strategy involved here, for both the top teams and the mid-field teams.
    3) Generates audience interest, speculation and discussion.

    Cons:
    1) A team’s WCC points will not be equal to WDC#1 + WDC#2. [This seems like a small price to pay, the equality will only happen if zero additional points are scored with the jokers]
    2) How do we deal with undue mischief from other drivers/teams towards a driver/team who is playing a joker in a given race? As this is a bit of a ‘WMD’ situation, the FIA will have to add very stiff penalties for undue interference. The GPDA will also have to play an active role in ensuring that the driver’s play nice with each other as far as joker’s go.

    Ideally, I think it should be 2 jokers for every driver and 2 joker’s for every team but as proof of concept 1 joker will do. More than 2 will be too tough to manage.

    Thoughts?

  42. I whole heartily agree that the narrow cars look like crap compared to the wider 200cm cars. DRS is a joke.

  43. I like the narrow track more than the 2009 new wing ration, personally most people have become more appreciative of the narrow track cars, they were actually not bad even if the grooved tyres had most of the blame for the 1998-2008 cars

  44. No refueling, F1 is sprint racing. No tyre changes F1 is sprint racing, turbos the 80’s and the new turbos F1 is not all about power but about efficiency and lightweight, most of the blame behind the turbos was that it meant that marketing and money started to sever the big teams from the middle teams.

    All of this rules makes sense for someone that loves the 50’s 60’s and 70’s of F1 but started on the 90’s

  45. IMO one of the worst rules ever has been in 2005, that it wasn’t allowed to change the tyres in a race …^^

  46. I was thinking this afternoon about this double points rule and how it will upset the championship and title fight. But then I started thinking about the backmarkers. Can you imagine this scenario. Caterham has done such an amazing job and somehow manage to score their first point in some GP, effectively giving them 10th position in the constructors. But then, here’s the twist, Marussia manages it aswell, only they did the exact same thing in Abu Dhabi. They end up scoring P10 worth 2 points giving them 10th in the constructors. This as a result Caterham pulls the plug and ends their F1 project.

    This rule is just pure evil if you think about it really…

  47. Extra points is a dumb idea especially if inferior tracks like Abu Dhabi are used. But if a single race were lengthened to 500km, then maybe it could work.

    Races like Monza, Silverstone (with a simpler layout), Montreal, Spa and maybe Austin could be run over 500km. Longer than that would be too hard on brakes, and tracks that are too technical would break cars over that distance. Extra tires could be allotted, and today’s engines are required to last at least two races, so distance isn’t really a problem.

  48. Back in the 90’s in used to watch every race, now with all the idiotic rules I am loosing more interest every year. I remember at university I developed a database with all the F1 qualifying and finishing positions and entered all the data for 5 years form 1989 to 1994, and played around with different point scoring positions to see how the championship would change.

    Back then points were only given for the first 6 finishers, and the result was the no matter how points were scored, there was little impact on the final result.

    If it was up to me I would score the first 10 finishers (10,,9,8,7,65,4,3,2,1 points), top 3 qualifiers (3,2,1 points), and the 3 fastest laps (3,2,1 points).

    I would change the aero rules to get rid of most downforce, just leave enough for the cars to stay on the ground (think of Formula Ford on steroids).

    Thinking back about pre-qualifying days, if F1 was affordable enough for 39 cars to be able to enter today that would be fantastic for the sport.

  49. I think,the point for the fastest lap wasn’t a bad idea,BUT i think,it would be great if the FIA gave it for the pole position,not for the FL.

  50. Bring back refuelling, Bridgestone tyres, strong V8/V10 engines and forbid all the drs, ers/kers stuff and nring new safety car rules: close the pit entrance when safety car is called and don’t allow them to go full speed into pits under caution

  51. The worst rule ever introduced to F1 or any automotive sport for that matter, was allowing the use of airplane airfoils to impart downforce. F1 (and others) are now in a confused state as to which technology to employ.. airplane or automotive. So until the powers to be figure out these are cars and not airplanes, expect motor racing to be a confused pimple faced kid that does not know what it want’s to be when it grows up.

  52. What baffles me is the number of people that think an overtake using DRS constitutes racing. It doesnt.

  53. The 5 power units rule for 2014 and the 4 power unit rule for 2015

  54. It has long been supported that three things need to happen in F1

    Use the BTTC rules in handy cap weighting of cars who finished on the podium in the last race.
    F1 should be now handed over to an independent board of professional qualified managers and run it like a business
    Each car fielded and completes a race should get one constructors point to share out media revenues more evenly

  55. noeltudball
    5th July 2015, 13:02

    Why does the driver has to take off and put back on the steering wheel at the end of every race.

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