Saturday, 21 March 2009

Formula 1

I have watched Formula 1 for most of my life (not literally, I sleep, eat and so forth as well). I'm a young man, and yet I remember watching Gerhard Berger's car go up in flames at Imola in 1989 live. did find the late 90s period of no overtaking tiresome, but I continued to watch.I found the annual rewriting of the rules absurd, but I continued to watch.I have watched 5 very exciting campaigns over the past 6 years (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008) and feel no doubts that little change was in fact so necessary.I miss the days of a crowded grid, with privateers running engines of different sizes, forms, power. I understand how that situation ended (sponsors only backed the winners, the winners spent more money, none of the otehrs could keep up, so the winners pulled ahead, etc.)However, this doesn't quite match reality. The fastest laptimes of the best and worst cars is miniscule nowadays (2-4% depending on the drivers and circuit). In years gone by, that differentail separated first from second. It is the fact that most cars finish most races, that has lead to the increase in differential in sponsorship between top and bottom. That, and the TV cameras' preference for red cars, which was true when Ferrari was losing and more true when they win.
Despite all of this, I was thoroughly excited about the new season (I always am).The new regulations (dramatic changes to rules governing aerodynamics, a return to "slick" tyres, adjustments to the safety car rules and a few other tweaks) promised to shake up the grid (as the advantage of basing your new model on its succesful predecessor is undermined).My favourite driver was saved from enforced retirement as the former Honda team were saved (and brought back as Brawn GP). Then, miracle upon miracle, it appeared that the car is quicker than its rivals. Of course, this triggered questions (it always does).
Then, the FIA does its utmost to undermine my excitement. At the World Motorsport Council it passes a new set of regulations (2 weeks before the season starts) that would change the manner through which championships are decided (most wins wins, rather than most points wins). I oppose this, as it would force teams to back a driver over his teammate early in the season, if they wanted to win the drivers championship. It also renders any position below 2nd nearly meaningless (so a driver forced to the back in an early incident has nothing to fight for).The teams complained, and it turns out that the FIA's rules show it illegal for them to bring in such a fundamental change, at such short notice, without the unanimous approval of the teams.Then, they decide to push the change back to 2010. Given the huge outcry (see any F1 fans forum, or any news agency) surely the FIA could admit "we got it wrong". But no such luck.
I'm upset, because my excitement has been dented. Hopefully the Brawn will still be quick, the races will still be exciting (even more overtaking than before, apparently) and the championship will not be settled until the autumn. But really, it annoys me that the FIA and FOTA (the teams association) can't get along.

No comments:

Post a Comment