Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

New 2017 rules introduced ‘because Verstappen made F1 look easy’

2017 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Formula One’s 2017 rules package was introduced because Bernie Ecclestone believed Max Verstappen’s success had made the sport look too easy, according to former Williams chief technical officer Pat Symonds.

Verstappen made his Formula One debut in 2015 at the age of 17. He won his first race one year later after joining Red Bull.

Interactive: Compare all the 2017 F1 cars
However Symonds told F1 Racing magazine Verstappen’s rise to prominence had already become a cause for concern among the sport’s bosses. Before the 2016 season began new rules for 2017 were announced to make F1 cars faster.

Symonds said the decision to make the cars quicker did not come from a desire to improve the racing. “In my mind, this premise of going five seconds a lap faster has no basis in entertainment at all,” he said.

“I know it came from Bernie [Ecclestone] and through the Strategy Group. He felt affronted, initially, that a 17-year-old could get into a Formula One car and drive it.”

“I actually think the opposite. I think it’s great that a 17-year-old can get in and drive a Formula One car. If you want to attract a younger audience, you need younger drivers.”

“The feeling is that if they were five seconds a lap quicker, they would be that much more difficult to drive and a young driver wouldn’t be able to do it. Facts don’t really come into these suppositions that are made.”

The introduction of wider wings and other aerodynamic upgrades plus larger tyres has contributed to a reduction in lap times of around four seconds compared to last year. Drivers have reported the cars are now more physically demanding but have raised concerns over the effect they will have on the racing.

2017 F1 season

Browse all 2017 F1 season articles

82 comments on “New 2017 rules introduced ‘because Verstappen made F1 look easy’”

  1. IF that’s the reason, that’s an astonishingly idiotic reason. Verstappen isn’t a normal talent, if he shows F1 is easy *for him* it doesn’t necessarily mean F1 is too easy.

    1. I heard Symonds say it in the podcast and sadly I believe that he is spot on for the reasoning behind it @hahostolze. When you think about it, it feels exaclty like what was wrong with BE running the sport in the last couple of years.

      1. @bascb what do you mean, he was spot on for the reasoning behind it? As in, you reckon he found the right reason (Bernie), or you agree that Verstappen coming in was a reason to change the rules?

        1. I meant to say that I think Symonds is correct in his estimate that this change came about because of Bernie feeling that a kid being able to drive the cars was not right @hahostolze.

          I thoroughly disagree with the idea that the notion of an exceptional talent like Verstappen managing fine would somehow mean there is something wrong with the sport or the cars though :-)

          1. haha, ok, on the same page then ;-)

    2. @hahostolze, I would disagree with the claim that Verstappen was an important factor and say that it is more likely that it stems from the constant complaints by the motorsport press and a vocal section of the fan base that, following the rule changes in 2014, the cars had become too slow, coupled with wider political moves by Bernie behind the scenes.

      I can remember people complaining that GP2 was becoming too close in performance to F1, or people even claiming that GP2 cars were faster than the backmarker cars in F1 – a claim that was incorrect, but nevertheless it seemed to be believed by a certain chunk of the fan base.

      There were articles on this site and on other sites producing critical comparisons with previous seasons and fans complaining that the drivers were not being challenged enough. All in all, I think that it eventually reached a critical mass where the commercial authorities, fearing that they would bleed viewers and commercial partners, decided that they needed to make the cars more impressive to appease the fans and the media and decided that making the cars faster would address those complaints.

      Whilst it is likely that Bernie would have spearheaded this change in regulations, I think it is more likely that this was also a power play by Bernie to try and reassert his authority over the teams that had pushed for a regulation package he opposed and, in particular, to try and stop Mercedes (a team with whom he had clashed in the past) dominating the sport for too long. Remember, the current power unit regulation package is scheduled to last until at least 2021 – now, imagine if Mercedes had maintained a similar level of dominance from 2014 through to 2021 if the current chassis regulations had remained largely unaltered in that period.

      From Bernie’s point of view, that would have been a disaster – it would have ensured that Mercedes, one of the teams less favourably disposed to him, were politically dominant amongst the teams, whilst some teams, such as Red Bull, would either be alienated or potentially even quit the sport by then if they felt it wasn’t serving their commercial ends. It is highly likely that at least some portion of the fans would have abandoned the sport if they tired of Mercedes’s dominance, and that would have coincided with a period when Bernie was having to renegotiate a number of commercial agreements with broadcasters.

      Verstappen may have been a useful distraction for Bernie, since the media and the fans then jumped on him as further evidence that F1 “wasn’t enough of a man’s sport” and would have helped those pushing for a faster regulation package, but I strongly suspect that Bernie had been pushing for the changes to the regulations well before then.

      1. Let’s not forget countless GP2 drivers that tested 2014-2016 F1 cars that always mentioned that they were surprised at how easy it was to drive F1 cars compared to GP2 cars.

  2. he will make the new cars look easy too

  3. Pedro Andrade
    20th March 2017, 12:02

    So, instead of just imposing a simple “To drive in F1 a person must be at least X years old” rule, they went around and designed a whole new package of regulations, with huge costs associated and the possible effect of leading to less close racing, to maybe have the same effect. These people are geniuses!

    1. The “X years old” rule got imposed as well. This year, under-18s are strictly not welcome. But something had to be done to make that look like something other than ageism, for there to be some basis to not wanting a 17-year-old in the car given Max’s likely performance. So large rule changes combined with the age bar was the only option.

      1. We’d need to see more successful teenage drivers before the X-years-old rule would even be considered reasonable

      2. All they had to do was simply require that in order to obtain a super-license, the driver has to have acquired a driving license in they race for.

        To be honest, that should have been common sense anyway for top-level motorsport, but I understand why it isn’t…

  4. I don’t think driving a 2017 car is hard for Verstappen given he has been in F1 for two years already. But we’ll see how that pans out for Stroll, maybe he will be massively off the pace, and maybe not.

    Regardless if the cars are harder to drive or not, I’m glad we went back to cars that achieve massive speeds while cornering. Watching a car drive alone during quali has been boring for the past ten years, but that may change this year.

  5. I love it when people like Symonds leave the fold and throw all the hand grenades over their shoulders…

  6. I don’t think it was just MV who made F1 look much too easy, but his young age did accent it. But the question is who was responsible for the chapter of gadget tires and extreme conservation of everything such that drivers have just been passengers monitoring everything all day, with only a few scant laps here and there of actual wheel to wheel racing? Who brought in DRS for easy passes not one of which is memorable nor gets recalled on these forums?

    1. Guybrush Threepwood
      20th March 2017, 18:47

      As a Ricciardo fan I obviously remember more of his passes, but these are a select few that wouldn’t have been possible without DRS:

      * Ric on Vet, Monza 2014
      * Ric on Perez, Canada 2014
      * Ric on Hamilton, Hungary 2014
      * Ric on Alonso, Hungary 2014
      * Ric on Alonso, USA 2014
      * Ric on Bottas, Monza 2016

      I’m sure there are a hell of a lot more for each driver on the grid. The problem is that people forget about DRS when there are great passes but only remember it when one car sails past another (with BTW only tends to happen if that car has a Mercedes or Ferrari engine).

  7. I don’t see a reason, apart from safety, that you shouldn’t make the cars go faster. That is for me the purpose of F1. Pinnacle of motorsport.

    1. I agree. it`s irrelevant what the reasoning behind the New rules was. F1 badly needed more speed
      and BETTER LOOKING CARS for that matter.Like you say It`s the very purpose of F1, beeing the most physically demanding and fastest cars by some margin. Not looking like a big F3 car sliding around the track.
      I have seen many NEGATIVE comments about the New rules from MR SYMONDS. What is his and so many
      other fans/jounalists problem. They don`t seem to care what F1 is only, that the racing is good. Well i want to see some New lap records and amazing braking/ turn in and cornering speeds. and some very tired drivers after the race.

  8. Didn’t these rules get proposed long before Verstappen was in F1?

    1. The initial Strategy Group proposal came in May 2015. At this point Verstappen had done five F1 races but he had made his F1 debut quite a bit earlier in practice at Suzuka the previous year:

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2015/05/15/strategy-group-plans-return-of-refuelling-free-tyre-choice-and-cars-five-seconds-quicker/

      The final regulations were then passed in 2016 before the season began, as per the article above.

      So I think the timing supports the view that we’re in classic F1 knee-jerk rule-writing territory.

  9. He makes it look easy because he is immensely talented. Then factor in DRS, tire and fuel saving, and you have a formula that is like driving like grannies compared to other racing.

  10. And there’s yet another reason, as of we needed one, to be glad that the CVC/Ecclestone era will be written out of the rulebook.

  11. I’d been arguing F1 was being made to look too easy when Daniil Kyvat (old enough, but not experienced enough) did such a good job in his debut season. So I don’t see any particular drama about Max Verstappen, except that he made it blatantly obvious that F1 had become too easy.

    Lance is not perhaps the right person to use to assess whether these measures worked – he might have been F3 champion in a weak year, but he is F3 champion nonetheless and even in a weak year, that’s generally a sign of readiness for F1. If it means that we can take the performance of the people who are in F1 a bit more seriously, however, that has got to help.

    1. @alianora-la-canta It is worth noting that Kvyat debuted in 2014, a year in which the cars were supposedly harder to drive

      1. He did, which tended to not only suggest mid-2010s-spec F1 was too easy, but that early-2010s-spec F1 was much too easy. It was not a fun realisation to have :(

  12. I can actually see where Bernie’s coming from, and on top of that, you need to imagine it as Bernie would think (F1 is the elite, and elite only).

    You don’t want to make it look too easy. For someone to come in and instantly be pretty darn great is slightly concerning, especially given his lack of experience in racing. You want to know, as a viewer, the drivers are struggling to tame these beasts, and how it’s a fairly steep learning curve.

    However, a more simple solution would be to cut things like DRS, for example, which really makes a mockery of modern motorsport.

    The irony is, I can see the younger generation coping with the higher downforce and speeds perhaps better than the older drivers, due to their superior (in general, of course) fitness. The modern sportsman is a much younger and fitter animal these days..

    1. Agree with what you are saying here, although wrt your last paragraph the cars were more beastly in the past and drivers managed, in spite of the greater knowledge in general wrt fitness etc. that is now present. And the ‘older’ drivers are only in their 30’s right now and so are hardly out of touch with modern fitness regimes.

  13. I also believe F1 became much easier in 2014. From then on most of the debutants were quick from the beginning. I remember how much new drivers suffered in 2009, the likes of Grosjean, Alguersuari and even Fisichella when switching teams. Also, since the dawn of V6 era the gaps between team-mates in qualifying have often shrunk compared to previous years. In the races it was even more visible with a lot tyre and fuel saving, DRS to overtake and being far from the limit because of really slow corner speeds.

    Overtaking may be a bit harder this year but with DRS staying on it can actually produce more action in braking zones rather than in the middle of the straight.

  14. Which would be like changing Test cricket because Tendulkar made it look easy when he debuted at 16

  15. Max Verstappen – so quick they had to make the cars five seconds a lap quicker just to give him a challenge..

  16. It’s typical Bernie thinking really. Would it occur to him that, no matter how easy or difficult a sport may be, it’s always the truly talented who rise to the top? MV’s success has nothing to do with the sport being easy and everything to do with his remarkable ability to race. If it’s so easy to drive in F1, how does Bernie explain the failure of some drivers, many of whom are quite capable in other formulae?

    The fact is that, if F1 were easy, it would be the oldies that benefit and we’d see drivers carrying on well into their forties and fifties. Rather like NASCAR and Indycars… ;)

    1. @clive-allen I’m not sure BE was thinking F1 was literally too easy, but was probably thinking the hiring of any 17 year old, no matter his name or talent level, can give a perception to the general audience that F1 must be easy if a 17 year old can do it.

      To your point we all know it is not easy, as indicated by one of your indicators, that being that some drivers fail in F1, and that they can’t race in F1 into ages they can in Indycar and NASCAR. However we also know that the ultra conserving times of the last 3 or 4 years have even had the drivers frustrated at not enjoying what they do and wanting more challenge.

      So call these new regs knee-jerk if you will (a collective ‘you’) but they were needed and are welcome imho.

      1. @robbie And I’m not sure that the age of a driver has any effect on the general perception of F1 at all. It may be a long time ago but, when I was young and just beginning to learn about F1, one of my favourite drivers was Chris Amon, purely because he was the youngest driver involved (well, I told you it was a long time ago). He gave me someone to identify with.

        Far more important in the perception of F1 is the quality of the racing – not just the number of passes that are made but the battles and confrontations that occur. That’s what grabs people and stops them saying “it’s just cars going round and round.”

        1. @clive-allen Fair comment. I fully agree it’s the quality of the racing that is a big component. Battles, confrontations…absolutely. That is why I support them having changed the age and experience regs post-Max, as well as the degree of difficulty of driving these cars post-2016. That way, when fans understand that not just anybody can walk in and do F1 with minimal life and racing experience, they’ll appreciate that the drivers needed are the very best and truly had to qualify to be there and are truly prepared.

  17. Let’s not escape the irony that Verstappen has turned out to be an absolute blockbuster, attracting many more people to F1 and leading to slightly knee-jerk articles about how he has saved F1. Bernie, with your finger on the pulse, you ;-)

  18. Bernie, “and the kids can take there silly insta-face with them too! No one with money EVER paid attention to social media!”

  19. I think this is a “broken clock twice a day” type of deal.

  20. Estaban de los Casas
    20th March 2017, 15:48

    Even younger drivers will equate less costs to teams. They dont need money they can paid in PopTarts and Video games.

  21. Estaban de los Casas
    20th March 2017, 15:58

    I apologize for my comments about the needs of teenagers who race. I do believe parents start their kids earlier in life and those with true talent get to professional levels much earlier in life. Because they get it sooner doesnt mean they HAVE to go through the feeder series. The bottom line is, if you are good enough and your reputation shows teams that you do have it, then what does age have to do with it??

    All over the world all kinds of sport are facing kids who are capable enough to compete at much earlier ages. Why should F1 be any different??

    1. Your comment about ‘starting your kids in sport early’ tends to ignore that it’s often only an avenue open to the very determined (to the detriment of the child’s development) or very rich.

  22. What a ridiculous thought that the cars are to easy to drive if a teenager can do it. Max is probably the fittest on the grid for these cars. Dont FIA know how the human body and age works?

    1. But as I’ve been trying to stress in several posts, this is not specifically about one individual’s talent as much as it is about the perception the general audience is left with when they see a 17 year old being brought into F1…an F1 that used to be too hard physically and emotionally for most teenagers, and therefore had a mystique about it that you truly had to be amongst the best in the world with much proven on your resume, to be able to handle it.

      Forgetting specifically Max’s talent, it’s about perceptions, and it is simply a fact as far as I’m concerned that F1 needed these changes badly in order to keep calling itself the pinnacle. It used to be that the thought of a 17 year old in F1 would conjure images of a kid getting chewed up and spit out, if not literally from lack of performance but also from the psychological standpoint. Now of course I know times change and perhaps younger drivers are more capable physically and psychologically than ever, but that doesn’t erase the image or perception that if someone who barely has his civilian license can do it, then how hard can it be? Is there some sort of trophy for rushing teenagers into F1?

      1. Yeh, the WDC trophy. ;)

  23. I got into F1 when I was a child, but I never thought about how old the drivers were while doing so. Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know, but having a 17 year old driving wouldn’t have made any difference. Similar to how I don’t think I would be any more or less interesting in watching Wimbledon if Andy Murray were a lot younger.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say Verstappen made it look easy. He wasn’t just some random child who came from nowhere. He was incredibly talented and has now proven himself against some of the best drivers in the world. In fact, he has even beaten or matched some of them. So what does that mean? The cars are so easy to drive that Verstappen can beat or match people. But that implies that the likes of Ricciardo and Alonso are average drivers in easy cars.

    And what now? If Verstappen continues to do well, does it mean the cars are still too easy? Are the objectives of this rule change to make Verstappen struggle and everyone else do okay? I’m not saying I don’t see why a young driver doing well makes it seem easy, but I really struggle to see the logic behind making this rule change for this reason. Then again, that makes sense – it was Bernie’s decision.

  24. Oh, thanks for setting us straight Pat.

    Nothing to do with the ridiculously slow race pace, poor racing or the need to try and end Mercedes’ recent dominance then.

    1. ExcitedAbout17
      20th March 2017, 17:55

      Why do we need an article/mention when Fraud Symonds opens his mouth?

  25. More proof that F1 is not a sport. Changing rules because somebody is ‘too good’. And they wonder why people are switching off.

    1. Except funnily enough, not one shred of proof is provided. Why it’s almost as if this isn’t in fact proof of anything other than that Symonds opened a hole and sounds came out.

  26. If you want to attract a younger audience, you need younger drivers.

    The drivers are younger than they have ever been in the entire history of Formula 1, I think there are 3 teenage drivers this year, so the number of young viewers should be through the roof. But they aren’t, if anything they are falling away, so the assumption that you need young drivers to increase the number of young viewers is incorrect.

    By all means, give young drivers an opportunity if you think they are good enough but don’t sign them on the basis that more kids will be attracted to the sport because then you are signing a driver for the wrong reasons, and this devalues the sport.

  27. Mark in Florida
    20th March 2017, 16:42

    Age has very little to do with talent. Verstappen is a natural, he is a young man and feels bulletproof. That’s why he can drive without fear. In fact one of the drivers at Sebring won in the pc class he was I believe only 16. There are many talented driver’s around the world who are young. Formula 1 needs young drivers who are exciting to watch and push the action. Not a bunch of moaners who can’t pass and think everyone should get out of the way. Put your foot on the accelerator and go for. Max figured it out, you can too.

    1. But what would happen if there were lots more Max’es on the grid? Drivers that heavily rely on other drivers to avoid crashes during overtaking. It would be a most expensive demolition derby. F1 needs drivers that are aware of fear and the responsibility they have to the safety of themselves and the other drivers on the grid. 1 or 2 “Maxes” on the grid is good, but you just can’t have a grid full of aggressive, fearless drivers at this level. Increasing the speed of the racing will make this more apparent.

      1. It would be like GP2 (F2), where the younger drivers develop and learn but at times it can look sloppy with collisions compared to F1. Generally great racing though!

  28. Really, what utter nonsense.

    Verstappen is plainly very talented, and thus deserves a place in F1. Age shouldn’t have anything to do with it.

    Lewis Hamilton and Jacques Villeneuve won multiple races and came runner up in the WDC in their respective debut seasons. Did we change the rules because of them?

    1. @zazeems Ok but a few things…LH and JV were 22 and 25 respectively, and in the case of JV he came to F1 off a CART Championship, and an Indy 500 win.

      I think folks are getting too fixated on Max and his talent here. To me the broader point about this discussion is…should the pinnacle of F1 be known as a series that a 17 year old can enter and succeed at in very short order, with very little racing experience? Or should it in fact be harder such that nobody would risk a 17 year old’s career by throwing them to the wolves prematurely? Harder so that it has a mystique about it that not just anyone can do it without much preparation.

      Interestingly it was JV himself who implied at the time we heard the news of Max’s acceptance at TR, that F1 was setting a dangerous precedent with a 17 year old in that it takes something away from the mystique of the sport, and a driver at such a young age could also more easily be chewed up and spit out being unprepared for the pinnacle.

      It is beside the point that Max has done fine. They immediately changed the rule after his hiring so that you have to be 18 with more credentials than Max had, and now that the cars will be harder to drive, perhaps even 18 will become too young in terms of overall experience and physical and mental capacity to handle the massive pressures. Max had his Dad throughout his life to prep him for such things.

      F1 needs to once again be challenging enough that it would be unthinkable and undesirable to have a kid enter it. Age 19, 20, or 21 still leaves them a full career ahead of them, and us appreciating that it is not easy to get in and stay in. There’s a reason why Ross Brawn has already been talking about pay drivers and getting F1 to a point of ensuring they have 20+ of the best drivers in the world on the grid…not some who are there because of the size of their wallet. The product on the track should be the pinnacle all around.

      1. And you still miss the point that the best 20+ drivers in the world can include a 17 year old, which Verstappen easily was in his debut season.

      2. @robbie

        F1 was setting a dangerous precedent with a 17 year old in that it takes something away from the mystique of the sport, and a driver at such a young age could also more easily be chewed up and spit out being unprepared for the pinnacle.

        But he proved he was prepared. Why are you arguing to stop talented drivers like him simply because of his age?

        should the pinnacle of F1 be known as a series that a 17 year old can enter and succeed at in very short order, with very little racing experience?

        How do we know that just any teenager can succeed in F1?

        1. @hahostolze and @mbr-9 You’re missing the point simply because F1 should be an entity that is too hard both in terms of racing and in terms of the mental and psychological aspect, for 17 year olds to handle.

          You are claiming that MV has succeeded already so therefore you’re asking what’s my point? First of all, MV has done what he has while F1 is actually F1 lite, right? The very reason they have made F1 harder now is because even the drivers have been asking for more challenge, not just the fans. So you are basing things on a series that has had way too much tire conservation on top of extreme conservation of many aspects of F1 all at once which adds up to bored drivers monitoring systems and barely being able to push themselves or their car, and 17 year olds able to do it.

          So Max has done fine in a series that has not been challenging drivers as much as it has in the past. Let’s see F1 get back to being the pinnacle of racing, and then tell me how many 17 year olds that haven’t been raised by an ex-F1 driver would be able to cut it. But more to the point, F1 should be so hard that you shouldn’t even be considered for a drive until you’re pretty much 20 and full of racing experience as well as experience with media and with handling pressure.

          You can’t tell me that because exceptional Max has done what he has done, all 17 year olds are welcome. And that that makes F1 sound like the pinnacle of racing. F1 should be hard enough that the grid contains drivers who have needed their first 20 years of accumulating racing experience as well as life experience so they don’t get chewed up and spit out by the entity of F1 and it’s seasoned grid.

          Again, this is not an indictment of 17 year olds or of Max…it is an indictment of an F1 that up until this season, in recent seasons, has appeared too easy for the pinnacle of racing globally.

          I have absolutely nothing against Max whatsoever…in fact I’m a fan…but I’m also for an F1 that has now been changed to the good imho, and it should get back to being too hard for anybody but, as Brawn puts it, the best 20 drivers in the world. Max’s entry was on spec, not on anything he had really had much time to prove other than to some really close insiders to him, and he’s a special case. And they’ve already upped the age and requirements from his entry on anyway which proves they too are concerned about what age says about what F1 represents to people. And as exceptional as Max has been, in his youthful exuberance he has also had to be reminded of forcing drivers to maneuver after they’ve committed to braking…ie. It hasn’t all been perfect for Max and drivers who have had incidents with him.

  29. Verstappen didn’t make F1 look easy, he made it look good.
    He also made more senior drivers look almost – dare I say it – complacent.

  30. The important tidbit with verstappen is that he was more ready for F1 at 17 than some drivers in the past were at 27. This is not because verstappen is magic. It is because the way the young drivers are brought up is totally different than it was just 20 years ago. Back then there were no young driver programs, no regimented training with professional input and no scientific approach to all aspects of training. Usually it was the driver with his parents living in camper van hoping they’ll make it while handful of greasy manager hopefuls wait outside their camper vans hoping to cash in on the possible success. Now these guys coming up already have better fitness programs and schedules than F1 drivers had 20 years ago. They have managers and doctors and fitness trainers earlier in their lives than the drivers 20 years ago even knew those things existed.

    It is a bit like comparing isaac newton with modern day scientist. Just to show his theory newton had to take months long trips to travel just to show his theory to someone else. Then go back, refine it and then do it again. Nowadays you can contact anyone anywhere at a click of a button, have super computers test your theories and have all the information at your finger tips. That doesn’t mean science today is any easier just like it doesn’t mean newton was a dumbass because he could not do differential equations at age of 15.

    The better the training programs become the younger the drivers coming into f1 will be. And I don’t think this is a good thing. I think a 17 year-old or 16 year-old can handle powerful single seater. But it is not good for anything to be racing the bright spotlight of f1 at that young age. Children need time to grow up and learn more about the world and what they want before they are dropped into F1 car. Not just because F1 is life but because it all starts so much earlier. If 14 year-olds already need to be spending millions per year to just race and only race then what kind of youth do you get when you are one of those who do not make it? What happens to your school if you need to be full time racing driver already at the age of 14?

    1. COTD worthy.

    2. This still misses the point that Verstappen IS magic. Lance Stroll will show this season that for all the preparation and for all the things you mention that makes current F1 so much easier, there is no substitute for pure talent.

    3. I say: Give these young drivers a chance if they are truly talented. If they can’t handle F1, then they don’t belong.

      1. @mbr-9 And the risk of that…the unnecessary risk…is that in rushing a young driver in prematurely, only to find out they can’t handle F1 and don’t belong, you have done something that could have been avoided simply with a bit of patience and giving that driver another year or two of experience and maturation. The grid is downgraded with a driver struggling to belong, when there could be someone there just a year or two older but much better prepared and therefore a much greater asset to the show.

        The cars have just become more enthralling…everyone wants and hopes for closer more enthralling racing and Brawn is saying all the right things to get to that end sooner than later, and you would throw a kid in there and hope he makes it and doesn’t have his whole career destroyed, out of pure impatience. Not the pinnacle of racing I want thank you very much.

      2. The point I was trying to get across was that if we allow younger and younger drivers to enter into F1 then what will also happen is that the careers must start at younger age and the kids need to become full time professionals at younger age. If the next verstappen comes into f1 at 16 years old then that means he was already racing full time at 12 year old. No matter how good these kids can be I think it is a good idea to stop and think should such young people already have a full time job driving race cars?

        I think all people should have at least some kind of education and if you are racing formula 3 and gp2 already at the age of 14 and 15 then what kind of education can these people have? What kind of childhood and social experiences are they going to get out of testing single seaters and sitting in planes and cars travelling? What is your future when you did not even complete your basic education because you were driving race cars?

        Not all of them are going to be able to make a career out of motorsport. Most of the time it is not even about your skill level. Motorsport is expensive and if you can’t get sponsors your racing career ends. You can be the next senna but if you can not afford to get good formula 3 ride or can’t make the transition into gp2 then your career is done. It happens all the time. The higher you climb the ladder the more there are professional drivers and the smaller the number of seats.

        It is not a question if the kids can race formula 1 cars at that age. The question is should they be racing race cars fulltime so early in their lives?

    4. Hans Braakhuis
      20th March 2017, 21:44

      If you are good enough, you are old enough.

  31. invisiblekid
    20th March 2017, 17:42

    Erm, so what happened in 2008 after Lewis Hamilton got 4 race wins, 12 podiums, 6 poles and nearly won the championship in his 1st season then? Sure he had a good car, but come on Pat, your talking crap

    1. How old was Lewis then…

  32. Honestly, we need more examples of teenagers being as successful as Verstappen before claiming that F1 is too easy for them. At the moment, you can just say Verstappen is a prodigy at his age because the claim doesn’t hold up.

  33. “I actually think the opposite. I think it’s great that a 17-year-old can get in and drive a Formula One car. If you want to attract a younger audience, you need younger drivers.”

    I disagree with the entire premise of this comment. Having been “young” a lot more recently that Pat Symonds, I wouldn’t have been attracted by the star drivers being younger than me. Even in my early 20’s I was young enough to want to look UP to the big names like Alonso and Raikkonen rather than already be older than them.

  34. Verstappen is so good that they invented a rule with his name on it! He was able to handle both the full braking, the lane change maneuver and check the distance in the mirror at the same time. I guess that the reason why he could do this was that he came in with the sort of attitude and talent that masters are made of and probably the RB car was handling very well and the cornering speed was low enough. Before this dark era with lift and coast, slow F1 cars, the Max maneuver might not be possible, which is why it hadn’t been banned before he used it consistently. So Verstappen or not, F1 cars needed to speed up.

    1. Ah, not quite. They didn’t invent a rule and put Max’s name on it. The rule already existed and they reminded Max of it. Almost overwhelmingly the drivers already knew you don’t jam another driver up by forcing him into an impossible situation due to him already being committed under braking. Max’s youthful exuberance needed curbing, and if I recall correctly there were some days around here over many many posts that most were calling for his head, such was he vehemently being called a danger on the track on this site.

      1. There was no rule, it was a drivers agreement. Max knew that and took advantage of it till the FIA last year decided to make it into a rule… “the Verstappen rule”

      2. @robbie As Johnny H writes there was no rule, and I don’t recall that any posts were calling for his head because of this. Vettel among others were very angry about the maneuver, but sadly Vettel was then became the – until now – only driver, who got punished for infringing this new rule, because he got very mad.
        I think it was unfair to make a rule, because the rule take away the last possible defence against overtaking a driver had in these DRS infested times. And Verstappen didn’t cause any accidents, but he shoke things up a bit. That is what disruption does and that is what makes a master – test the framework, apply new techniques, exploit the options provided by the equipment etc. I don’t buy the argument about “committed under braking” – if You know what the leading driver might do, or can do, then You have to take Your precautions – it is racing and You can hardly blame the guy in front of You for trying to make it difficult. Dangerous? Well, racing is a bit dangerous, if You are afraid, then don’t race or race like mr nice guy, Nick Heidfeld, who had a reputation for always moving to avoid contact – the tough drivers exploit it, of course.

  35. Pat Symonds the liar and proven cheater is now to be believed without questioning his spin on why the rules were changed???? I think not.
    He wouldnt be the first team member to journalist convert to make ridiculous claims to bolster his career in the media.

  36. G. (@greggriffiths)
    21st March 2017, 8:13

    Sorry Bernnie, that you had to leave the sport feeling affronted by a 17 year old. but the fact is that if hes good enough to drive in F1 thats where he should be, and if he sould be wining races because hes fort hard to get there and has a natural talent. then thats how it shoud be. like you 17 year old wonders in sports like football/rugby or quite frankly in any sport. just accept that youngsters are being pushed and talent realised earlier nowadays. but any way thats rant was pointless cus burnies already of his high horse.

    lets hope Verstappen does the same this year (or better)

  37. When Lionel Messi debuted for Barcelona aged 16, did people think football was too easy or were they enjoying an exceptional talent?
    When Boris Becker won Wimbledon aged 18, did people think tennis was too easy or were they enjoying an exceptional talent?

    Tennis and football weren’t changed because of some teenager being succesfull and neither did those sports change the approach to rookies. Sometimes you have to sit back and enjoy unique talent, the rest will sort itself out.

  38. Having read thru most of comments, don’t think this perspective has been posted… surprisingly.
    Sure, Max can drive a current, modern F1 car with Paddle shifters.
    No 3rd pedal real clutch.
    No shift lever.
    Hey! Just like his xbox, with every F1 circuit portrayed in astonishing detail!

    Do you think even the ‘one’ previous generation F1 driver had this advantage, let alone the likes of Enzo, Clark, Ayrton, Schumi, Mikka, et al? I don’t. He’s talented, yes, like I was talented on my 2 wheeler as a kid….. it’s what I grew up with.
    For all you naysayers out there, put him in an LMS car or an indycar or WRC. Then lets see how he measures.

    Villeneuve…. he was a well rounded talent. Ya, I’m gonna get incoming from that. You think I care? Nah. What he did is in the books.

    Yes, Max is good. In one good car, doing what he’s done since he could walk.
    Well rounded? Hopefully we will find out one day. Until then, he has yet to prove himself in anything except what he grew up with. Literally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.