Formula 1 should stop reminiscing about its glorious past, for neglecting the present will have a detrimental effect on its future. Rachit Thukral argues.
Ask someone to draw comparisons between Fangio, Clark, Senna, Prost and Schumacher and people would dismiss the question, saying it is not reasonable to compare drivers of different eras of Formula 1. However, people tend to forget this very logic, while comparing the current grand prix cars with that of the 80s and the 90s.
We run out of praise when writing about F1’s illustrious history and how it has evolved into one of the most watched sporting events in the world, while still retaining its DNA. In fact, we review one classic race every other week.
The current crop of drivers also relish opportunities to drive classic cars, be it at events such as the Goodwood, or for some sponsorship purposes.
However, people must realize that there is no point in looking back at the stone age, when a glorious future can instead be carved. Trying to make cars similar to a previous era - aerodynamically - isn’t a good solution; forward thinking is the right approach.
And to be frank, Formula 1 is very much in good shape at present, save for the commercial side. The cars are still some of the fastest in the world and leverage technology that is increasingly finding its presence in road cars, albeit expensive ones.
While trackside figures might be falling globally, the Australian and the British Grands Prix have shown that fans are still ready to turn up in hundreds of thousands to watch some of the best drivers race against each other on the same piece of tarmac.
What Formula 1 needs is a competitive pecking order, with multiple teams having a shot at the title. Switching focus to mechanical grip over aerodynamic grip, something that will make it easier to follow another car, is one way of improving racing. A more equitable distribution of the prize money will also allow more teams to race at the front of the grid.
Various members of the F1 fraternity do a fine job of pulling the sport down. Well, that’s completely fine. If your website is seeing a sharp decline in visitors, or you are having trouble selling your magazine, you have only yourself to blame. Oh, and please don’t moan about falling TV viewership figures.
F1 teams have excellent PR departments which turn drivers into robots, when it comes to interviews. But they fail to prevent drivers from criticising the sport. They seem to forget that higher the audience, more the money flowing from sponsors. Oh, and did we tell these drivers tend to be in teams that are struggling to match Mercedes at present?
If people develop a negative perception about the sport, then they will consider even half-decent races as snorefests.
Comparing different eras is completely unreasonable, especially when F1 is mired in negativity at present. It’s time to focus on the positives and formulate plans to take the sport to greater heights. Cars are something everyone can relate to, utilise that.
Overtaking football and Olympics may seem like a distant reality, but who would have thought F1 would come this far from a passing time for the rich? And what’s the point of expanding to new countries, if the sport doesn’t see an overall surge in its viewership? Lets chase this long term goal together. After all, we all love Formula 1.