Ok, so this is a bit personal so please forgive me. I’ve been thinking about writing this post for pretty much all of 2013, but now in the middle of the Indian GP I feel its the right time.
I have basically lost my love for F1 that I’ve had for 22 years.
I think my first memory of F1 was watching the Canadian GP in 1991 (I also seem to remember watching Berger’s crash at Imola live, but not entirely sure). Anyway, I remember Mansell losing drive at the hairpin at Montreal, and my frustration watching the title slip away for him that year – it was dramatic. But it didn’t really matter because I was hooked. I was hooked by the danger involved, Murray Walker’s voice, the sound of the cars and the absolute dedication of drivers such as Senna.
To be honest, that love I never really lost until it started to fade in 2011. Even throughout the Schumacher years, the speed of the cars and the thrill of the unexpected was still there. Since 2011 though, its basically been downhill for my interest.
I think I first recognised I was losing the love when I thought that sleeping through the night and thinking about feeling good in the morning took precedence over getting up for Japanese qualifying. My former self would have been appalled at this, but now its more a ‘well I missed qualifying… meh’.
To sum it up, its not just one thing but a collection of things, with DRS the salty icing on the cake. I realise some people love it, but its not what I fell in love with and I no longer have a connection to F1 like I did. Its a sad feeling to be honest. Here are a list of things I can think of:
* Drivers never go off the track pushing hard.
* Run off areas do not punish drivers at all.
* Apart from the odd occaision (Hulkenberg for example), the art of defensive driving is dead.
* F1 is now a time trial, because everything can be calculated in advance because DRS means that it can be.
* DRS is manufactured overtaking. I would take a Trulli train any day over a DRS pass.
* Tyres mean drivers do not push or are encouraged to sit back 2 seconds (forget about any overtaking like Hamilton on Kimi at Monza 2008… just forget it).
* From a personal point of view, I cannot watch all the races because of Sky in the UK. I watch half of them on streams but its just not the same.
* Team radio telling drivers how to drive, because of advances in telemetry. Drivers are turning into robots. Maybe getting rid of team radio is the answer, but it’s never going to happen.
* The FIA not running any races without DRS after the introduction of degrading tyres and no refuelling.
* The FIA introducing 2 DRS zones at every race like complete non-sensical fools.
* More and more pay drivers because of teams like Red Bull not even attempting to make a version of the RRA to work.
* The quality of the circuits and the poor atmosphere at a lot of races (due to FOM and oil money).
* Too many penalties for next to nothing, meaning drivers are scared to race.
* Half of the race commentary and team radio being about tyres.
* Something I cannot properly explain – A feeling like everytime a DRS flap has been opened, a part of my love for F1 has faded away.
* This: as I write this in the background I hear Button’s engineer team radio: “Don’t worry about being overtaken by Vettel” because it might destroy his tyres.
* Ok, that’s enough!!!
Let me clarify, there well be a number of F1 fans out there that are loving this new style of push to pass F1, and millions of overtakes on straights, and all that stuff. Unfortunately for me though, I don’t and I don’t have a passion for F1 anymore.
So anyway, I’m not going to be watching F1 until 2014 now, so I would like to say goodbye to all you fellow F1fanatics and I’ll see you next year. I’m hoping 2014 will rekindle the love – I really hope it does, although the increase in DRS opening size is not a good start. Anyway, I’m not going to watch any more races and will spend time with my family instead this year.
Congratulations Vettel and many thanks Keith for keeping up the excellent work! See you in 2014.