Critics of the new regulations range from fans whose opinion is not given any heed by the rule makers to heavy weights like F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo. They argue that this isn’t Formula 1, rather it’s a battle of taxi drivers. Further, they believe that the quieter engines should be used elsewhere, not in pinnacle of motorsport
Note: The article reflects opinion of the writer and not Rach F1 as a publication
Yes, the 2014 turbocharged V6 engines are a lot quieter than their predecessors, yes the new generation of cars are a lot slower than 2013 cars, and yes, there are certain restrictions that prevent drivers from exploiting the full potential of these power units, but hey, the same regulations just gave us one of the best races in recent times - without rain and on a track where races are generally boring.
But we ask you, if wheel-to-wheel fights for the top spot on the podium isn’t Formula 1, then what is Formula 1? If the fans are biting their nails, watching their favourite drivers fight for that extra point or track position over his teammate or a team with double their budget, then Formula 1 should stay the way it is. Did anyone mind the sound of cars when Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were fighting during the opening stages and tail end of the race? Or did they find the intra-team battle at Red Bull, Force India and Williams a race of ‘taxi drivers’.
At the end of the day, the fans present at the circuit and those watching on their TV screens are hoping for a good show and this is what today’s Bahrain Grand Prix provides us with.
It’s quite clear why Ferrari and Red Bull, in particular have raised their voice against the new rules. At the last race of the 2013 season, Sebastian Vettel finished nearly 20 seconds ahead of the first non-Red Bull car. Fast forward to the first race of this season, the same team ended up nearly 25 seconds behind the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. End of the argument.
As far as Ferrari is concerned, well they clearly can’t see a Force India breezing past their scarlet cars with such an apparent ease. But if they didn’t do a good enough job as Mercedes in the power department, then the blame should lie with those working in Maranello and not on the regulations itself.
If you have to change something, change the rules regarding how penalties are given to drivers. Daniel Ricciardo was penalised with a 10 second stop-go penalty and a 10 place grid penalty for no fault of his own. In stark contrast, Pastor Maldonado was only given a 10 second stop go penalty, a five place grid drop and 3 penalty points for such a horrifying accident with Esteban Gutierrez, when he ran into the Sauber driver while exiting the pitlane, flipping him and forcing him out of the race.
Where’s the consistency? If a driver makes a mistake, he should be penalised and if a team makes a mistake, the team should be penalised. “You win and lose as a team” is merely a diplomatic argument and doesn’t make sense to any rational person. And why didn’t someone talk about this during the spygate controversy in 2007? Surely, their drivers were aware about it, weren’t they? And if McLaren gained an unfair advantage because of possessing secret Ferrari data, so did the drivers who were driving the cars. And why did Mercedes' test driver, particularly, Sam Bird, pay the price of tyegate controversy?
To conclude, we go on to the double points rule. Bernie Ecclestone, who brought this idea, now feels that it is a bit unfair to take away advantage from a team that has done so well over the first eighteen races of the season. Well, if you think this way, why was this regulation introduced in this first place. And now that it is very clear that this regulation hasn’t got the approval of fans(I’m sure they you’ll find plenty of polls online), then why isn’t the F1 fraternity giving any heed to overturn this rule? Oh wait, Mercedes, who did a better job in producing 2014 power units do not deserve to reap the benefits. End of the argument.