Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2015

F1 has become too complicated – Vettel

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel warns F1’s rules have become too complicated.

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Several fans who’ve been to the Canadian Grand Prix responded to yesterday’s article on grand prix attendance to point out its one of the most popular races:

I’ve attended the Montreal race many times — the 20th anniversary of my first race is this year.

The grandstands are always packed, but the number and size of the grandstands changes. The ones at the Senna S and the hairpin have fewer rows than they did when Jacques Villeneuve was world champion and attendance at its peak with over 120,000 race-day attendance. There was even a grandstand directly across from the parc ferme where Jean Alesi threw his helmet after his last race.
@Mtlracer

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On this day in F1

Jean Behra was born on this day 95 years ago. He lost his life in a crash during a support race for the German Grand Prix in 1959.

86 comments on “F1 has become too complicated – Vettel”

  1. Mercedes sounds nice! and cool little tailpipes, very interesting! I will reserve final judgement of the noise when they’re out on track.
    Also that Schumacher headline is a disgrace, its so sad it led to that!

    1. It’s a disgrace, tabloids are tabloids. I wonder if Tost is just making up an excuse not to run the Ferrari branding. I’m not convinced Renault is really serious about investing in f1, I think the french are joy ridding, it’s the french state that covers it so all is well.

      1. Wholeheartedly agree about the tabloids @peartree @johns23.

        Ithink that STRgenuinly did not finish their livery. They should refresh it and now that Renaut and CEPSA are gone from the livery it needed. Maybe they are hopiing to agree with a new sponsor too.

        I disagree about Renault not committing. The French govt. having a large stake makes it more complicated, as they cannot be seen to throw money at F1, that would be politically deadly.

        1. I didn’t knew that Cepsa is definitely gone. We shall see @bascb I say it’s sand Renault is throwing at F1.

    2. listen to any 125, 250, 500,600, 800, 1000 cc motorcycle from that close to the exhaust, and it usually sounds better. these startup sounds of 2016 engines the teams are giving are marketing excercises and nothing more, they do NOT represent the final sound.

      1. Your not wrong thats for sure! Listen to the MOTOGP bikes in the pits or at start-up and they sound crazy! completely different when they’re revving their heads off on the pit straight

    3. Still not as good as in old good 80’s.

  2. You know the teams are tight on schedule when they can’t even finish the paint job in time.

    1. If there’s one thing teams are allowed to skimp on, it’s the paintjob ;)

  3. Couple questions about Torro Rosso’s livery…

    1) was the graphic designer called in to build engine components?
    2) is the engineer now free to design the livery?
    3) does it matter? The car will look the same as it does every year… Just put “Ferrari” where it used to say “Renault”

    1. Well, if the Bull on either side is off by a tenth of a millimetre *or* is incorrectly rotated by more than half of a degree, the car will be slower by more than 274.3%. Simulated Wind Tunnel testing doesn’t lie.

    2. It clearly matters.
      I’v never seen so many comments about a (livery) launch being delayed by a week!

  4. 490 people are not enough to operate a competitive F1 team. There is nothing wrong with the sport. Carry on.

    1. Ding ding ding, winner.

    2. In fairness, Renault is running both chassis and engine sides of the operation – all the teams smaller than it only build their own chassis and subcontract the engine. Mercedes are on around 1000 people for the whole F1 enterprise, Ferrari have long since had a total of 850 people, McLaren aren’t much smaller if the Honda people working on their engine are included in their tally.

      Yes, Force India defeated Renault with about 175 fewer people, but that was primarily a money issue – Force India had their problem early in the year and fixed it quite quickly, while Renault had their problem shortly after the season started and continuing for the entire season.

      1. @alianora-la-canta Renault is going up from 490 to 650 in Enstone at their chassis department. They got way more dudes back in France working on the engine.

        1. @rethla Don’t forget the dudettes.

          1. @xtwl Yep, Carmen is doing important simulatorwork ;)

        2. @rethla Thank you for the clarity! (That puts them about on par with Mercedes, most likely).

      2. – Mercedes are on around 1000 people for the whole F1 enterprise, Ferrari have long since had a total of 850 people.

        I don’t understand how you came about your figures. Where do your figures come from? Who is to say that Ferrari is not more staffed than Mercedes?

        Mercedes own website says they have about 700 employees working 24 hours in 5 shifts 7 days a week at Brackley. I would like to go with that figure for now. Of course they haven’t told us how many people they have at Stuttgart but to simply say that Ferrari has a smaller number of staff considering the massive resources they have at their disposal coupled with their decades of auto tech powered by a very smart work force spread out in various divisions and branches is simply not correct.

        It may be possible that MercedesAMGF1 has more staff strength than Ferrari but where are the figures. Throwing out figures without backing them up does not make them true. Of course I stand to be corrected.

        1. Mercedes own website says they have about 700 employees working 24 hours in 5 shifts 7 days a week at Brackley.

          Brackley is one of two sites the team operates from. The engines are built at Brixworth.

          1. Thanks for that.
            There are 400 employees at the Brixworth company – according to their website – which added to the 700 at Brackley brings the total number up to 1100. If one includes those in Stuttgart, then we are talking about quite a large workforce put together to simply put 2 cars on a track 19 – 21 weekends a year.

            I still am interested in finding out how many people Ferrari involve in their current F1 pursuits. I expect the number not to be too far from that of Mercedes. Since Mercedes have people who are partially involved in the F1 enterprise – take Stuttgart for instance, I assume Ferrari likely has the same arrangement.

          2. Tata, against that, you need to take into account that not all of the staff employed by Mercedes at those two offices will be working on F1 projects and therefore you will be overestimating the size of Mercedes’s F1 team. I believe that Mercedes HPP (in Brixworth) is not just responsible for producing the engines and transmission systems for their Formula 1 team, but also produce components for their DTM, Formula 3 and GT operations.

    3. Is there something wrong with companies employing massive amounts of people for their F1 program?

      Is there something wrong with spending money in F1?

      There are many, many, many, low budget racing series, can’t we have 1 that is unlimited? Doesnt it make sense that series is F1?

      Nothing wrong with F1 ‘fans’, carry on.

    4. @maciek, when you think about it, is it necessarily that surprising or excessive? There are a whole suite of jobs back in the factory, ranging from fabricators and mechanics through to individuals who are required in any company of a moderate size (administrative, IT and personnel teams, for example).

  5. Being chosen for Comment of the Day gives a nice warm feeling inside, perfect for the dead of winter. Thanks :) Can’t wait until June!

    1. congratulations @mtlracer.
      20th anniversary of my first race this year as well. For me it was the March’96 season opener in Sao Paolo.
      I like that circuit as it is small with good views of large parts of the circuit, with a fantastic crowd.
      And looking at a glass half full, the circuit is in the city itself (like Montreal, Melbourne, Monaco). But then again almost anything within 100km of Sé is still within the city of Sao Paulo ;-)

      1. @coldfly Wasn’t the ’96 season opened with a first race at a new Melbourne track?

        1. Yes, you’re right. My mistake.
          PS – Melbourne the race I’ve watched live most often. Although I’ve now moved to being there on the Friday and Saturday and watch the Sunday race on TV. Albert Park is a great location (walking distance from the centre/CBD) but not a good one to see the race.

    2. @mtlracer Glad to hear it :-)

  6. Actually really disappointed in that Formula E change. Berlin was clearly the most interesting circuit.

    1. well they kinda had to change the venue, unless running over refugees is the gimmick FormulaE just needs

      1. @papalotis – Probably a good thing it’s not Bernie’s decision then…….

      2. I was going to add my complaints, but that’s a pretty good reason to move venue

  7. I agree with Vettel, they need to make the cars similar to one another to show who is the fastest driver in the championship, not the driver in the fastest car. But, I don’t see this happening ever in F1, let alone any motor racing.

    1. I would be for all having the same car to see who is the fastest driver at the time. But, for me, thats not what F1 is about. We want to see the engineers pushing the boundries of whats possible with a F1 car and seeing what innovations each manufacturer can come up with. Its as much about the teams as it is for the driver. On another note, unless the regulations change again, no-one is catching Mercedes

      1. they need to make the cars similar to one another…
        I would be for all having the same car

        Quite the opposite for me, @warner16, @johns23

        I’ve come to see F1 more as a team sport than an individual sport. Say more like football then like cycling. In football the main prize is for the best team, with merely a man-of-the-match or topscorer accolade for players. In football we don’t have a league saying that (e.g.) Messi is leading, with Suarez 2nd and Ronaldo 3rd.

        Teams focus on WCC already; I’d like to see it go further in the way the sport is presented:
        * Race result is top 3 teams (with the winning driver merely standing on the side);
        * Per race there is an official DOTW/Race chosen (they’ll find a way how), which is just as important as being the first driver over the finish. (all 22 have a fair shot at it every weekend).
        * WCC standings first, and later WDR merely as a side-statistic (or replaced with a DOTW-type league);

        1. @coldfly,

          Race result is top 3 teams…. driver merely standing on the side.
          but where are you going to find a podium big enough for 3,000 people, and wouldn’t it be really expensive to take them all to every race?

          1. Forgot to “un”quote after top line.

        2. I’ve come to see F1 more as a team sport than an individual sport. Say more like football then like cycling. In football the main prize is for the best team, with merely a man-of-the-match or topscorer accolade for players. In football we don’t have a league saying that (e.g.) Messi is leading, with Suarez 2nd and Ronaldo 3rd.

          It isn’t a direct comparison. In F1 the whole team isn’t on the pitch / track. Only two drivers are and although they’re on the same team they’re competing with each other.

          Teams focus on WCC already; I’d like to see it go further in the way the sport is presented:
          * Race result is top 3 teams (with the winning driver merely standing on the side);

          You can do this yourself already. They just won’t be on the podium.

          * Per race there is an official DOTW/Race chosen (they’ll find a way how), which is just as important as being the first driver over the finish. (all 22 have a fair shot at it every weekend).

          Given the FIA’s past history I have little confidence they’ll ‘find a way’ without leaving the driver result completely open to debate and controversy. There’s a reason why a system as definitive as first past the post is used.

          * WCC standings first, and later WDR merely as a side-statistic (or replaced with a DOTW-type league);

          Again, you can do this yourself already. Just choose the drivers you like each weekend and tell everyone else that they’re wrong if they disagree. Because that’s what every other fan and team would do in the same situation :)

          1. Thanks Greg (@gregkingston) for reading/dissecting my comment, and your (tic) comments.
            Actually even in football it’s NOT the whole team on the pitch either (e.g. a maximum of 11 in the version ‘where they predominantly use their feet’) but the whole team wins the cup!
            If FIFA can determine a man-of-the-match and organise a ‘ballon d’or’, why wouldn’t FIA be able to do the same.
            And we can still have the top-scorer to get a prize like the WDC now.

            PS – fair point @hohum. Also the dignitary kissing will take ages, and any cap throwing between teams might start WW3 ;-)

    2. Vettel stated that the rules are ‘too complex’. This does not imply that the solution be unique of specific (everyone is in the same car), in fact it rather implies a more generalized form. (less coefficients /rules)

      Less rules, larger pool of opportunities, more diverse solutions, more opportunities for overtaking (WEC anyone?).

      More rules, cars are too similar, cars cannot overtake, large factories dominate, as ruleset turns playing field in to a barrel from fish are shot.

      1. …from which fish are shot.

    3. @warner16 Ever heard of where Yuji Ide came to F1 from?

      1. Super Formula

    4. No, no, NO!

      Vettel is completely wrong. F1 is not, and should not be, just about who is the fastest driver. It isn’t, never has been, and never should be.

      F1 is a team sport. Obviously the driver is a big part, but so are all the designers, engineers, strategists etc. It is about which team can do the best over the season: Designing and building a car, improving it, picking the right strategy, being on the right tyres, reacting the best to changing situations, and driving the car. It is all part of F1.

      If you want to see a pure driver-vs-driver challenge, there are plenty of spec racing series out there. If Vettel wants to take part in a pure driver-vs-driver series, he should move to one of them, not try to change F1 into a spec series.

      1. He didn’t say the cars should be identical. And the translation on here isn’t that bad… So why is everyone dropping their panties so quickly? Not a single word about spec-series’….

        Literally he said “It should primarily be about the sport AND which driver is the fastest. The cars had and still have a significant part, but we shouldn’t lose ourselves in too complicated rules.”

        He basically said, let’s just make sure the drivers are still kinda important…

  8. Formula 1 is far too complicated. Try and explain the 2016 tyre regulation to any casual or someone who isn’t a fan of the sport. With every regulation change the sport has gone through since 2010, F1 has proved nothing other than the fact that it is run by absolute idiots.

    There’s a good reason to why simple sports (football, basketball) who have rules that can easily be explained to anyone are so popular and appease to such an large global audience.

    1. They just happens to be the cheapest sports to participate in and watch aswell but surely that had nothing to do with it?

      1. Corrolation does not equal causation. They could be popular because they are cheap, or they could be cheap because they are popular, or the two could be related by a third, as yet unmentioned factor.

      2. Not to mention, the hugely popular sports that are very expensive to participate in – road cycling, for example

    2. F1 will always be far more complicated than getting a bunch of guys on a field kicking a ball around. It is an engineering challenge as much as a driving challenge. The rules for this will always be complicated to the average man-on-the-street who’s knowledge of cars pretty much extends to “put petrol in, turn on, press accelerator and it goes forward”.

      The only way to simplify the rules to a point where the average man-on-the-street will understand is to make it a spec series. Is that what we really want?

      1. @drmouse
        Are you really saying that there isn’t a less complicated way to go about the whole tyre regulations than the ones we have in 2016? F1 adds unnecessary complexity for the sake of complexity.

        1. @kingshark

          No, not at all. There are areas which could be simplified, although I have to say I don’t find the new tyre rules that complicated. They boil down to “You can use 2 out of 3 tyre compounds in the race, and we pick one of those”. The rest, mostly, can be ignored for the casual viewer.

          But aiming for a set of rules which the average man on the street can understand completely is unrealistic at best. In a highly technical sport like F1, there is no way the average guy will understand even the majority of the rules. The thing is to realise this, and either;
          * make sure the sport is still enjoyable without an in depth understanding of the rules, or
          * accept that your audience will be limited to people with the intelligence and will to understand the rules.

  9. When can you ever know who is the fastest Seb we seen the closest to it in 07 Alo and Ham. But Seb has had 2 yrs lol, he now knows how others felt in his dominance. He has 4 titles and is young he can wait abit thanks. Did Vet prove he was the fastest in 14.

    1. He proved he was the most perfect driver of the group in 15, does that work for you?

      1. Really? How exactly did he prove he was the most ‘perfect’ driver of the group? What did he not make errors like everyone else? Or are we going to ignore Bahrain and Mexico?

        1. I’m sure the average F1F reader understands what most perfect means… (hint: it doesnt mean perfect)

          He was also rated top driver last year by those very same readers…

          I guess we know a thing or two – unless you cant understand what most perfect means:-)

        2. Speaking of things we should ignore – can we add to that list any story featured on TJ13?

  10. Such barren years for Vettel, how will he cope with hese 2 years wo a title? All these drivers are the same. Hamilton said the same in Vet era and now Vet is saying the same. Vet would not say anything driving a merc

  11. I was hearing the same from Lewis in the Vet years. Vet would say nothing driving the Merc and that is a FACT. He wishes he was in the Merc. Kimi is no benchmark

  12. I Wonder how many Times a small team has built a splendid car and having bad drivers doing it injustice. I bet torro rosso will have a giant Bull on it ;)

  13. While rule making has gotten a bit out of hand over the last few years, F1 has always been and will always be complicated. It’s the nature of the beast. Part of the appeal of the sport is that it is complicated, there is something satisfying in being able to grapple with the rules and technology for ages until you understand them. And if the sport appeals to you, you will do your best to try understand all the intricacies of the sport, end of. I started watching F1 when I was 8 and I can tell you I didn’t understand what active suspension was or how traction control worked, but as my interest grew so did my knowledge of the technology and the wider rule book. It was no doubt the same for every reader of this blog. It’s probably also the same for any rugby fan who tries to understand ever changing scrum and breakdown rules…

    My point is that, while the rules need to be rationalised, we can’t dumb them down to cater to fly by night fans who probably won’t watch more than 30 minutes of a race each season. If people can’t get excited about the prospect of watching the best drivers in the world race the fastest cars in the world, no set of rules is going to influence that.

    1. F1 is rules for rules sake. Explain the driver helmet rule? What was the point of it if not to make the sport less fun? F1, killing itself slowly one (stupid) rule at a time.

      1. The point is to make the drivers identifiable, its not one of the complex rules. The helmet designs actually means something now.

      2. The helmet rule is to help people (especially casual fans) keep track of which driver is which in the cars. At least, that’s the theory.

    2. The more knowledge people have the more complex the rules have to be written and the more are needed. If you took the 1952 rules and apply to today drivers would need G-suits. The problem is irreversible in that the designers are so clever without really tight rules the cars would be too fast. Too many rules complaint just seems like a throwaway line to make headlines and is so generalised as to actually mean nothing.

      1. Unfortunately, with really tight rules we’re getting rather close to no racing at all, just passes telegraphed long in advance. Rules installed that are necessary to maintain the sport (for safety, anti-competitiveness or subverting the sport reasons) are good. Rules put in that end up dictating exactly which direction to go, and the extent one is allowed to go down it, are bad – because they lead to incrementalism, which is extremely expensive and predictable.

        1. Well, tight rules usually lead to close racing and loose rules to big gaps in the pack. If you allow lots of freedom, you allow designers to get it really right or really wrong. If you restrict freedom, you everybody is working in the same direction.
          The gap between 1st and 18th last season (what was it, 3-4 %?) must have been one of the closest in the history of the sport. It’s close to the spread in single-make formulae.
          Now this is generally speaking of course. Specific rules may have specific effects. In F1 you can argue that overtaking is still too difficult to allow for alternative strategies to work, as you lose too much time in traffic. On the other hand you can say that overtaking is too easy, as a ‘slower’ driver-car that somehow gained track position cannot hold it for long.
          So in conclusion… Teams used to be able from time to time to overcome a, let’s say, 1% car performance disadvantage by trying a different strategy or by a driver having a good day. Nowadays, with all the computing power and ‘manageability’ of the races, it’s very, very hard to overcome a performance deficit of, let’s say, 0.2%. So although the cars are closer and closer in absolute performance, it changes little for relative performance. You can blame rules for that, but to me it looks like a result of the level of available technology.

  14. In my country, there is one TV company that has exclusive rights for F1 broadcast. Until now it has been free, but if they decide to move it to pay platform, which they can if they decide to, I am not sure I will pay the money to watch F1. This company does already broadcast MotoGP on they pay platform and I do not follow it although I would like to.

  15. Spain and Poland lose free-to-air coverage of F1 (F1 Broadcasting)

    With consequent drop in viewing figures blamed on everything else..

    1. Of course. They will say its because the engines are too silent, not enough overtakes and because its boring (F1 has been boring for many people I know since Senna is gone!)…

      1. not enough overtakes

        @bakano There’s more than double the number of overtakes that their was a decade ago.

        The average in 2015 was 32 per-gp, The average in 2005 was 10 per-gp.

        since refueling was banned for 2010 the average number of on track overtakes has been at the highest levels since the 1980s.

        guess its not enough for the low attention span young fans who insist on constant action every lap & anything less than 500 overtakes is boring! ridiculous!

        1. RogerA, in case it was not clear I was just sharing the most common reasons appointed by people, not me own reasons.
          I am well aware that the actual figures do not match the people’s perception and I always scratch my head and I hear and read over and over that overtaking is the problem in F1. Sometimes after races with action packed fights in the midfield. And they do not all come from young fans. Just search the internet about F1 problem and overtaking is at the top of the list.
          The problem is even if the Toro Rossos, Force Indias, Saubers and Lotus are constantly fighting between themselves with multiple overtakes sometimes in the same lap, if Hamilton leads Rosberg and Vettel in a procession from start to finish most people will say there is no action in F1.

          Yes, fight for the race win is important but I also find it amusing that people that complaining about the boredom of current F1, usually point to an era when Ayrton Senna won a lot of his races with more than 30 seconds to 2nd place and the race win was decided (bar retirement) before reaching half-point…

        2. RogerA, BaKano was making was that people will launch personal criticisms of any decline in viewing figures based on personal biases rather than a rational appraisal of what is going on.

          As Balue says, frankly, most of the factors which figures have claimed might be influencing viewing figures – from a perceived lack of overtaking to quieter engines or a lack of European tracks, or a whole host of other topics – have shown a very weak or non-existent correlation with viewing figures, with pay TV having an overwhelmingly dominant effect (between 90-95% of the fall in viewing figures can be tied to switches in contracts from free to air to pay TV contracts).

          I also find it rather patronising to assume that complaints about a lack of overtaking are made only by feckless youths with a short attention span. You can see Alianora La Canta complaining about processional races, for example, and he has been watching the sport for well over two decades – I doubt that he would fall into the “feckless youth” category.

  16. Sad to hear about Spain and Poland’s loss of free coverage.

    Meanwhile in Belgium, starting from this year there will be free live internet coverage in addition to the replay catch-up and the presence on game consoles and smart tvs.

    Glad to announce that it’s not everywhere that they are cutting in the budgets.

  17. Just a point regarding Spain’s TV coverage. What has happened is that the Free TV broadcaster has decided not to renew its contract & no other Free TV broadcaster came forward to take it up.

    Movistar+ were already broadcasting F1 in Spain & have been for several seasons. They were offering a paid alternative which offered more extensive coverage than what was available on the FTA channels. They had every session live with a selection of video options & more in-depth pre/post session coverage.

  18. That Mercedes engine sounds raw. Looking forward hearing it under full load.

  19. I challenge Vettel to say when F1 one was about the driver.

    Surely, it’s always part of the package, but I can’t think of a single era where the car wasn’t vital to success.

  20. Vettel is right, F1 is too complicated. One minute a driver is quiet and happy to be in superior equipment, the next minute he’s complaining when his cars not, i mean i can’t possibly figure out whats going on.

  21. Complicated? No, this is not the problem.
    Otherwise there are a lot of another problem with this series.

  22. If vettel thinks f1 should be evaluated on the basis of fastest drivers than fastest cars he should face a fastest team mate let him pair with Lewis or Alonso it will be more drastic than what Ricardo did.

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