Is Formula One a Team Sport or an Individual Sport?
15th August 2011, 13:14 at 1:14 pm #129919
My brother and I just had a discussion over whether F1 is a team or individual sport. I spent a good while trying to argue that while the driver gets all the credit, he is heavily reliant on the team, he remains adamant that it should be seen as an individual sport. I’m sure this debate has been had on the site many times before, but what are your views on this subject?15th August 2011, 13:38 at 1:38 pm #176487
I think it depends on how you want to look at it. Most care for individual drivers rather than teams, and the driver championship is more important to many rather than the constructors championship. F1 is mostly a team sport, but an individual winning a Grand Prix usually means much more than a footballer scoring a goal.15th August 2011, 13:48 at 1:48 pm #176488
I think that F1 is a combination of both. However, I have also always believed that it is a bit more individual sport than it is a team sport. When the red lights go out, drivers are left alone on the track and everyone fights for himself, not for the team.
It is, of course, so that teams are the ones that pay the bills and make the cars. Drivers would be nothing without their teams. But drivers are the ones who make the difference. Ferrari wouldn’t pay Alonso gazillions of euros if they didn’t know that he can make that difference, lead the team and find the extra one tenth of a second per lap that’s needed to beat the nearest rival. Hamilton isn’t considering going to Red Bull in 2013 because he wants to bring more success to the “drinks company”. He is doing that because he wants to win more titles for himself.
What is more, the fans mostly celebrate the winning drivers, not so much the teams. I think the English fans would be happier if Hamilton won the drivers’ championship in a Mercedes than if Rosberg would do the same in a McLaren.
By the way, Jaime Alguersuari once openly called F1 an individual sport in an interview. I believe that a lot of drivers think that way, it’s just politically correct to say how important the team is.15th August 2011, 14:01 at 2:01 pm #176489
F1 is definitely a team sport and in my opinion the driver isn’t even the most important member of the team; a good driver in a bad car hasn’t got a very good chance of winning but a bad driver in a good car has quite a good chance of winning.15th August 2011, 14:07 at 2:07 pm #176490
It is both. Hence there is a constructors championship and a drivers championship. The driver relies on his team and his machinery, but his own performances account for so much that it can be certainly be credited as an individual sport. But there is that reliance on the team, and that is why there is a constructors championship, to recognise their contribution and allow the management of 2 drivers. That the most cared about aspect is the drivers championship perhaps shows a lean towards it being more individual focused, but that the individual drivers still have reliance on a decent car brings it about level. I’d summarise it as equally an individual (after all, even the argument that drivers are solely dependent on their machinery loses relevance when you consider that at the very least 2 team-mates in identical machinery must compete against one another) and team sport.15th August 2011, 14:32 at 2:32 pm #176491
I’m with beneboy on this. It’s mainly about the car and therefore the team. The drivers are made to stand in front of the world because it adds a human touch to the sport and makes it easier to sell to the press and general public (eg you can’t interview a car, or associate with a car, or have fall outs and drama with a car).
“a good driver in a bad car hasn’t got a very good chance of winning but a bad driver in a good car has quite a good chance of winning”15th August 2011, 15:04 at 3:04 pm #176492
a good driver in a bad car hasn’t got a very good chance of winning but a bad driver in a good car has quite a good chance of winning
I’m not sure I agree with this statement. There have been many drivers over the years who’ve done nothing with a good car – Take all of Schumacher’s team mates in 94, for example, Johnny Dumfries in 1986 and Alex Zanardi in 1999. Stefan Johansson, who was a pretty good driver, spent 2 or 3 season in competitive machinery and never won a race.
On the other hand, plenty of drivers have transcended their machinery to achieve good results. Senna in 84, Schumacher in 96, Vettel in 08 and many others.
That’s because it’s far easier for a top quality driver to outclass his machinery than it is for an average driver to do well in decent machinery.
That said, I do believe it’s roughly 50/50 between being a team sport and an individual sport. The drivers are nothing without the teams, and many teams are more concerned with winning the constructors championship than the drivers championship. The drivers however are out there to win it for themselves, and the fans and media would much prefer to focus on them.
As Matt said: On an individual level, the drivers have to beat their team mates, but on a team level, the teams have to beat each other.
I’d liken it to a pyramid: The drivers are top of the pyramid, but they wouldn’t be that high without the support of the teams.15th August 2011, 15:05 at 3:05 pm #176493
My issue with that quote is that at the very least, that bad driver needs to beat an even worse team-mate. Of course, in-team politics could decide that, but more often it is done on the track. When we want to see how how well drivers have done despite the abilities of their car, we will often compare them to their team mates. Vettel is 1st partly because he has the best car, but partly because he is soundly beating Webber.
Edit: I very much like the analogy of a pyramid.15th August 2011, 16:20 at 4:20 pm #176494
I still stand by that quote. For me F1 is 85% about the car/team and 15% down to the driver. The driver can of course make the difference, but ultimately it’s the car.15th August 2011, 16:41 at 4:41 pm #176495
Its a team sport but there is one hero.
Imagine football penalty shoot outs. The goal keeper suddenly becomes the hero because he is fundamentally responsible for the winning/losing no matter how much training/coaching was done.15th August 2011, 17:47 at 5:47 pm #176496
I’d say f1paddocks hit the nail on the head. I think we can look at F1 like it is an iceberg, the driver is the bit the majority of the world sees, and the rest of the team/car is hidden to most. I’d say compared to other open wheel categories (which use spec chassis and engines) F1 is more dependent on the team because there tend to be much larger variances in the capability of the machinery fielded.15th August 2011, 18:08 at 6:08 pm #176497
sbl on tourParticipant
I agree with beneboy, although it is a team sport the driver does get all the public adoration but its the background boys and the guys in the pit lane are that make the real difference and maybe its these blokes who should get more recognition in the media , etc
I reckon most of the time the driver does what his boss and engineeer tell him!15th August 2011, 20:34 at 8:34 pm #176498
I believe it’s the combination of team and driver that makes F1 so interesting to watch, because you see unique battles which are not simply driver v driver or team v team. There may be a better driver in a slower car, or a somewhat reckless driver (Hamilton) in one of the fastest cars. The viewer understands a driver has to work with better or worse tools than his opponents. Both variables- driver skill and team quality- interact to make the race.15th August 2011, 20:45 at 8:45 pm #176499
I think its a team sport until the lights go out on a sunday, then the team can do no more to help the driver than set a strategy, it’s all down to the driver from that point on15th August 2011, 20:57 at 8:57 pm #176500
Alianora La CantaParticipant
A driver without a team is useless. A team without a driver is also useless. Both have championships which attempt to assess their performance relative to their rivals.
That’s probably oversimplifying things, but one of the beautiful things about F1 is that it is both a team and individual sport, and those involved routinely have to negotiate (implicitly or otherwise) how the two eseential-but-contradictory elements interact with one another.
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