In one of the Formula 1 fan pages on Facebook, there was a post stating that the FIA delegates survived the Nepal Earthquake. Under it was a displeasing comment that reflects the frustrations of the fans.
One should hope that the person was just sick of the sport, and doesn’t have a disgusting mindset. Although we can’t do much about the later, the first point can be debated and written again and again.
Thanks to the off-track banters, the three-week gap between the flyway races, and the next race in Spain has kept us hooked to the sport. Two of the major talks were from Ex-FIA President Max Mosley, and former Red Bull driver Mark Webber. Mosley talked about revisiting the rules on cost cap in exchange of technical freedom. Mark Webber shared his vision of bringing back Formula 1 to its old glory. Both of them highlighted the lack of entertainment on-track.
Falling audience figures is bad for any sport, and if those in charge of the sport doesn’t change their mindset by not answering to the calls of fans, it might get worse.
It doesn’t matter if more races are added, and the gap between the races is reduced to create more exposure of the sport. If the fans are not happy with what they see on the track, they wouldn’t mind to skip those odd races or even the sport for that matter.
Cost capping has always been on the agenda of F1’s strategy group, but it’s the only thing that never materialises. The teams are spending ridiculous amount, and yet the action on track has been minimal, not that it was beyond the limits in those days.
Going by the recent voices of the top brasses of Formula 1, one has to note their desperation of doing something to the sport to get the spike in audience figures. Even when compared to yesteryears, it’s not that all the teams had a shot at the title. Domination of one team is often the case in many seasons of Formula 1, but the viewership was there because it took a lot to drive those cars.
The cars were of raw speed, and the risk of death turned people on. It’s not difficult to understand where that line came from, and there are too many quotes to quote from that era.
“Because in a split second, it’s all gone!” – Ayrton Senna
Former Formula 1 driver, Mario Andretti once said, “If everything seems to be under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”
It’s such an irony that Formula 1 these days is all about control.
Gone were the days of James Hunt, Ayrton Senna and Mario Andretti, Formula 1 has given up speed for safety. It's a good thing for the sport to be safe, but the sport was still faster and safer a decade ago. Bernie Ecclestone has reignited the talks of getting on-board the 1000bhp engines, but the manufacturers want to stick with the V6’s instead of V8’s.
This again brings back to the topic of Engine parity, and two-tier Formula 1. Back in 2009, the biggest outcome of cost cap would have been the two-tier Formula 1. Big teams never liked the idea of cost cap, and there is very little reason for them to back the cost cap now. Teams like Ferrari and others have gone so far in threatening to start a rebel series if cost cap was introduced. They have a valid point, as cost cap can’t be policed, and their competitiveness will be under threat. But, how far are they going to pretend that everything is okay will remain a question for now. Either way, it would be very hard task for two different engine options to remain together in Formula 1. It’s not that it hasn’t happened in the past, but it might take away the sheen of Formula 1.
Mosley is right with his idea this time around; teams would be tempted to sign up with the cost cap agreement in place for more technical freedom. It would be interesting to see the designers pushing around their abilities, as they search for more interesting concepts. Bar one or two components, it has been a long time since there was an innovation that was borrowed from the track to the road cars.
Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsports, and automobiles. If innovation doesn’t happen in Formula 1, where else can we see the raise of new technology?
If the term engine were taken out of the equation, would Mercedes still dominate in the same way for rest of the season?
Mark Webber’s recent vision of making Formula 1 more awesome has earned him more fans. Speaking to F1i , Webber talked about the importance of tyre management in recent years, and how the drivers have to be pushed to the limit.
“F1 has changed so much in the last five or six years, so that today, the engineers are constantly focussing on tyre performance and even in GP2 and GP3, a driver’s performance is all about how he manages the tyres. It should be about people going to the limit.” – Mark Webber
The other things Webber highlighted was the artificial overtaking by aids like DRS, and tyres.
“There are certain things going on and we seem to have to tell everyone what we are doing with the technical and sporting regs and what’s happening. Why not just get on with things? There is no need to wash your laundry in public. The end result is what it is. You don’t need to try and explain everything. Most people I talk to are intimidated by what DRS is, what the Softs and Supersofts are, they feel they can’t just turn on the TV and understand what they are watching.”
To conclude, the top brasses are right in their desperation to spike up the audience figures. But, they need to understand that improving the overtaking is not the only way it has to happen. Yes, fans will be impressed with more overtakes, but making the drivers to drive at the limit beyond the normal mankind will help in regaining the lost glory of Formula 1.