Would a spec series really be so bad?
24th July 2011, 14:08 at 2:08 pm #129801
When the 2014 engine regulations were released the other day, one of the things I noticed – both here and across the internet – was the reactions of a fair percentage of fans claiming that the FIA is trying to turn Formula 1 into a spec series. This is usually constructed as a highly-negative idea, but after watching GP2 and GP3 races from both this year and last, I have to wonder: would a spec series really be such a bad thing? Both GP2 and GP3 are very competitive, with lots of on-track action. And to my mind, competition between the drivers is what Formula 1 should be about. Sure, we all love to see the different solutions teams come up with, but if I had to choose, I would prefer to see a Formula 1 where the results are decided by driver skill rather than by who built the better car or who has the best engine.
What I have in mind, however, isn’t a spec series. If anything, it’s a near spec series, with highly-restrictive rules that only allow for some wiggle room by designers. This, I think, would create a championship where the emphasis is on driver ability, and the teams are able to find ways to supplement that ability. Of course, the major barrier to this is in the teams wanting their cars to have their own identity, but I think the idea of a spec series or a near-spec series should be entertained simply because of its potential to generate competitive racing.24th July 2011, 14:21 at 2:21 pm #175162
Three letters and one number….
Whatever happened to that?24th July 2011, 14:33 at 2:33 pm #175163
Why not just watch GP2 or Indy car instead? F1 is F1 and that includes drivers and team. Not just driver. Driver priority is the point of feeder series, not of what should be the pinnacle of motor sport.24th July 2011, 14:45 at 2:45 pm #175164
It isn’t what F1 is about. It may produce close racing, but there are lower categories to accomodate for that. I want to see close racing, but I want to see development, ingenuity, F-ducts and exhaust blown defusers, 6 wheels and fan cars- I realise the latter two are no longer possible, but they came from an open category and were amazing. That’s those are no longer allowed doesn’t bother me, as long as there is enough wiggle room for unique designs to come through I suppose that’s good enough, but more standardization of the rules than at present isn’t necessary or desirable.24th July 2011, 15:22 at 3:22 pm #175165
Don;t get me wrong, a near spec series as fast as F1 sounds great, but it shouldn’t be what F1 becomes, and if it was a different series it wouldn’t be able to compete with F1- and even if it could I wouldn’t want to see the drivers split between 2 series.24th July 2011, 17:16 at 5:16 pm #175166
I am not overwhelmed by this Idea, and IndyCar seems to show it just doesn’t cut it to be almost identical cars, that is why they now try to go for multiple engine suppliers and enable teams to do their own aero packages.24th July 2011, 20:55 at 8:55 pm #175167
everyone always says that the FIA are turning F1 into a spec series.
Normally if they ban something, something else will open up for further development. Take a look at the last massive rule change for 2009, clamp down on “frilly bits” but the double diffuser popped up, there are many other things too but it was plain to see even for a casual fan the Brawn was a totally different car to the Red Bull.
There are lots of choices out there it you want to watch a spec series.
I love competetive engineering and if F1 becomes a spec series, I’ll stop caring.24th July 2011, 22:15 at 10:15 pm #175168
I wouldn’t really mind if there was a spec car they were allowed to tweak, have their own engines, etc.24th July 2011, 23:17 at 11:17 pm #175169
There are plenty of single-seater spec series already. Much of F1’s appeal is that it is, uniquely among top-level single-seater motorsport, still about teams building their own cars. Inititally the term “Formula” was reserved for series where teams were expected to design their own cars, but the use of customer chassis in F3 and other “formulae” has diminished this definition, and the resurrected spec “Formula 2” series has killed it completely.
PM’s idea for F1 is essentially the polar opposite of my own. I would like to see as few parameters as possible (cost, fuel usage etc) being restricted, with the majority of car elements being open to different designs and innovation by the individual team. Driver skill should be important, but there are other ways of ensuring that (e.g. challenging circuits with proper runoff areas that punish mistakes) besides making everyone drive the same car.
If F1 were to become a spec series it would be unattractive to manufacturers. In its present state (and even more so if the regulations were relaxed, as I propose) F1 is a good development ground for motoring technology. Without that, it becomes an expensive PR exercise only – one that is usually only effective if the manufacturer in question is winning. Allowing manufacturers room to develop technologies that can be transferred to their primary business gives them a reason to remain in F1 even if they are not extremely competitive. Artificial restrictions harm this – remember, for instance, Toyota refusing to run KERS in 2009 on the grounds that KERS in Toyota road cars already yielded more power than was permitted by the FIA’s regulations for F1, so developing the technology would have been worthless for them.
I don’t think the 2014 engine regulations are “the beginning of the end” for F1 or anything like it, but we should not embrace F1 becoming a spec series as if it were just another step in the evolution of the sport. It would be a fundamental change in the philosophy of Grand Prix racing – and not even an original change, since the vast majority of single-seater series are spec series now anyway.25th July 2011, 0:06 at 12:06 am #175170
I feared after the 2009 rule changes that F1 was becoming a spec series, because the regulations seemed so restrictive. Yet the last two and a half years proved me how wrong I was!
And, to answer the question, I suppose it makes sense to homogenise a lot of F1 car parts to save money, but if F1 became a full on spec series, that’d be too big a step. The current position seems to be working, so why change it?26th July 2011, 13:47 at 1:47 pm #175171
For me it has always been about the technology, initially the drivers drove in multiple disciplines and the cream of the crop were paid to drive in F1 so it wasn’t just about the driver. In 66,the first year of the 3l.formula, if my memory serves me correctly, Jack Brabham cobbled an engine together out of a production engine block (Buick-Rover V8) custom SOHC heads and crankshaft, and conrods from the 2.5 Daimler V8 and went on to win the championship against the might of the Ferrari V12 and the BRM H-16, talk about David & Goliath. That kind of innovation and racing savvy could not happen today and the series is the poorer for it. Note also that money had nothing to do with winning that year.
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