I don’t want to become an F1 commentator or a critic. But I love that sport and there’s a lot more to it than just ‘driving round the track a hundred times’ as some people say.
Last year, grace a la recession, the FIA (Federation Internationale d’Automobile) introduced some restrictions for teams and manufacturers a few of which have been mentioned here.
- Biggest of them all: No refueling. Teams would have to go the whole race on one fuel tank
- One set of Soft tyres need to be used during the race.
- One engine will have to last for two full races.
- Body of the car has to be slimmer and taller to increase overtaking but increasing drag and thereby reducing speed.
- No testing allowed in-season.
- Numerous budget caps and other cuts in spending were also introduce as also..
- Many restrictions on car improvements and modifications.
What was interesting to watch this year was that there were many new entrants to the F1 grid and this year there are 22 cars starting every race rather than the usual 20. Lowly teams like Force India who otherwise would never manage competing with the bigwigs have managed to get themselves among the top 10 in nearly every race. The gap between the leader and the last driver in qualifying has reduced two less than three seconds apart on an average! Overtaking has definitely been seen with many cars having these new ‘F-ducts’ that give them an extra boost of straight-line speed. So in a way the restrictions have been quite helpful for many teams. We’ve also seen some amazing strategies being applied by teams to win races. The FIA has also approved two new locations for racing – Korea and India. The former is doubtful but India is sure to see a race next year.
But here are the reasons they fail a bit, and here’s why:
- F1 should really be the pinnacle of all motorsport technology – the fastest engines, the best aerodynamics and best electronic equipments for driving. Adding restrictions on spending doesn’t really let the best come out to be seen. E.g In one of the races, the max straightline speed was just about 290. But I tell you on the very same day, I saw 200cc MotoGP bikers going at 304. Bikes going faster than cars? Just awful!
- If there are to be restrictions on tyres used, why is there only one manufacturer? Bridgestone tyres seem to become super slippery in the wet, and in the heat, they grain easily. The management needs to think over their tyre strategy.
- Refueling had a big amount of suspense. Watching the pit crew members getting scuttled when the driver moved ahead too early, fire around the fueling hole, burning mirrors etc. There was a lot of drama when fuel had to be used. They took out a major element of drama from the race. It is like deleting a passionate moment from a chick-flick movie. It just ruins the excitement.
- What else can I say? I just wait for the race to get over these days. Half way through the race its pretty clear who is going to win unless there is some technical snag or team stupidity (Vettel – Webber in Turkey). It gets pretty boring. And Mr. Steve Slater, I understand that the races are to a degree interesting, but comparing them to all of the previous year’s races, they are much more boring.
I’ll be writing an article very soon on the changes that F1 needs to introduce. See you soon!