So the FOTA fans forum happened today an I was lucky enough to go, an be asked to read out my question. It was a rather strange and fantastic event, free food an a chat with fellow fans before being called in to the main event, which was apparently powered by Santander, though I’m still not certain how that works. From the BBC team Legard and Kravitz were in attendance, group of people I met all agree’d, Kravitz looked tanned, fit and healthy an Legard’s commentary is rubbish. Also spotted Mike Gascoyne at the end, however at the time I was in a huddle round MW and didn’t get a chance to talk to him.
The event itself took place at BAFTA so the auditorium I imagine usually functions as cinema, an we all went in to pictures of F1 on the screen. James Allen came in and introduced the panel of Martin Whitmarsh, Tony Fernandes, Jock Clear, Paul Di Resta and Luca Colajanni.
Colajanni I think possibly felt he was on unfriendly territory still he answered his questions quite well, an was very funny about the occurrences in Valencia. Paul Di Resta was the quietest of the panel but was a good representative for the drivers an where the drivers interests can clash with the fans, for instance on the subject of how extensive run off areas should be. Jock Clear was a bit more party line than I expected, he went on about 7 world championships at almost every opportunity he could, but he was certainly interesting on the information fans should be able to receive an the entirely different view it can give you on a race, he apparently new from the second Redbull qualified they didnít have a chance in Canada, in his opinion McLaren were always going to walk it. I did managed to talk to him after the race, although I rather fluffed my lines, I asked about the qualifying tyre rule an what a bad rule it was an whether it would be going next season, he said no an asked what season Iíd been watching! I donít know if he attributed part of the success of the season to the rule or something but he did name China as a race that had benefitted from the rule so maybe his memory is a bit selective. I think Canada and Turkey are the only races that could be said to have benefited from the rule whereas it has hindered all other dry races, an both Canada and Turkey were so good largely down to other mitigating factors.
Fernandes was fantastic, I donít think I disagreed with a thing he said, Iím become more of a Lotus fan with every passing day, seemed to have a very good ideas about the direction the sport should be going in, an added brilliant perspective from the front running new team. It was particularly the way Martin treated him that showed Lotus has gained respect within the paddock, it would have been interesting to know what the midfield teams think about this new threat.
Whitmarsh himself played the role of FOTA statesman, provided good answers to most questions, although he deflected others by not exactly answering, still, as the panellist with the most substantial standing he still interacted with the fans fantastically well. I talked to him after the event also an he seemed more inclined to agree that the quail tyre rule is a strategy killer, I meant to ask him about how to get into F1 PR but my nerve failed annoyingly, that though was the only tint on a rather fantastic event and day.
My question was: Surley it will be grossly unfair and artificial to give only the following driver the chance to adjust his rear wing, and will it not be greener to give drivers fully adjustable rear wings for the whole race?
Both Whitmarsh and Clear rather dodged the question but the point was made that itís alright for F1 to try things, and then abandon them if it later turns out they donít work.
Think this day proved that F1 and especially FOTA are really attempting to connect with their fans and their audience, despite their insistence on calling their cars, the races, and the spectacle, ďthe productĒ. An all credit to James Allen for running the day.