Porcine Maquillage

FIA Truck © James Moy Photography

FIA Truck
© James Moy Photography

The World Motor Sport Council has today agreed changes to the Formula 1 Regulations for 2015. And they’re not likely to make many fans happy. Crucially, cost capping is not happening and cost saving initiatives are nominal at best.

But let’s start with the less controversial elements. Well, I say less controversial…

Only four Power Units will be allowed per driver next season, unless there are more than 20 races in which case there will be five. The penalty for changing an entire Power Unit will be starting from the back of the grid, rather than the pitlane.

Simple enough. Only it isn’t quite related in such simple terms, as under the header “Power Units” the FIA states that: “The number of engines permitted by each driver in a season will be four.”

The FIA, then, seems somewhat confused itself. Does it mean four Power Units, or does it mean four Internal Combustion Engines, themselves a component part of what we were informed by the FIA we should refer to as the Power Unit, from the start of 2014?

If the FIA could agree on what we are supposed to be calling what, and then refer to it as such in official communications, it might be slightly helpful.

Next… Aero testing. The number of wind tunnel runs permissable will be reduced from 80 hours per week to 65 hours per week. Wind-on hours are to be reduced from 30 hours per week to 25 hours. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) usage is to be reduced from 30 Teraflops to 25 Teraflops. However, as a pay off, two periods of tunnel occupancy will be allowed in one day (rather than only one). However teams will only be able to nominate the use of one wind tunnel for one year.

There will be three pre-season track tests of four days each in Europe in 2015 (currently teams are able to test outside Europe). This will be reduced to two tests of four days in 2016. There will also be two in-season tests of two days each in Europe (instead of the current four). Two of these four days must be reserved for young drivers.

Todt has not been able to force through cost reduction © James Moy Photography

Todt has not been able to force through cost reduction
© James Moy Photography

That should save some money, although the larger cost savings which had been discussed were vetoed by the larger teams in the last meeting of the Strategy Group. As such no meaningful cost saving has been agreed or put into place. One might argue a stronger FIA President might have simply laid down his own, draconian and unworkable terms and told the teams they a month to come up with something better on which they all agreed. It’s what Mosley did. And it worked.

Friday night race curfew will be extended from six to seven hours in 2015 and to eight hours in 2016.

However, and it is a big however… parc fermé will now apply from the start of FP3 instead of the start of qualifying.

There had been much chatter that moves were being put in place to reduce the amount of running over a race weekend to save costs. The thought was that Friday would see the brunt of that, becoming more of a media day. Of course the race promoters were not happy with eliminating Friday running because it would reduce the numbers through the gates. But with FP3 now meaning cars are in Parc Ferme, how much realistic running does the FIA believe we will see on a Saturday morning?

FP3 was the time when teams would perfect set-up. But by eliminating the possibility to make changes to the cars after Friday night, what possible reason is there to run in FP3? With the slight exception that perhaps it has rained all day Friday and so you just want to check you’re not a million miles out on your dry set-up, why have FP3 at all?

Essentially what we’ve got is a reduction in running time, but not one that will make fans, or one imagines teams, all that happy.

But hey, the ban on tyre blankets has been rescinded. So that’s OK.

Oh, and we’ve got sparks because titanium kick plates have been mandated.

Standing starts now not just for the start © James Moy Photography

Standing starts now not just for the start
© James Moy Photography

We’ve also got standing starts after safety cars. With the exception of a safety car coming out within the first two laps or the final five laps of the race, this is what will happen. The safety car will control the field and lapped cars will unlap themselves. When the track is clear, the safety car will pull into the pits and the field will line up on the grid in current race order, just as they would at the end of the initial formation lap. Lights on, lights off, race restart.

Unless someone stalls. Then I guess we have another formation lap.

No mention has been made of what happens on a safety car start in the wet. Although I imagine that as the safety car would have been on track from before the second lap then we’ll just have a normal safety car start whereby everyone is released in a snake, as we are used to.

Safety car standing restarts are, much like double points, the answer to the question that nobody in the sport was asking. At least not seriously. If people were unhappy that the race leader still led on a restart, then perhaps they need re-education over the purpose of the safety car. It doesn’t pop out to close up the field and improve the chance of action and spectacle. This isn’t NASCAR. We don’t throw a full course yellow for a commercial break, we don’t go racing for three hours only to have the field neutralised and run to a Green, White, Chequer in the final minute and a half of competition in order to make good TV. We race. Start to finish, pausing only for an issue of safety. It’s called the safety car for a reason. Not the show car. Not the spectacular car. The safety car.

What happens to the driver who has had an amazing race, fought his way through the field but is struggling with his clutch? Safety car, standing restart, clutch goes, car stalls and he is rolled into the pitlane. All his hard work over. What about the driver who has led every lap of the race, and on the restart gets boonied out at the first corner by an overzealous move from the guy who knew that first corner was his one shot at the win?

It’s falsity. For the sake of it.

Like these kick plates. Utter falsity. Indycar’s James Hinchcliffe summed it up best on twitter last week. As he protested, sparks back in the day were cool because they were a by-product of the cars. They weren’t there to look cool. They were there because the plates were doing a job of protecting the gearbox. The sparks looked cool because they were cool.

And the worst part of it all is that these changes are being made in the name of the fans. This, apparently, is what the fans want. This will draw new fans to the sport and keep the existing fans entertained. Its all about the show. Its all about creating something big and spectacular. We’re in the entertainment business afterall. It’s all about how it looks.

But the FIA, the Strategy Group, the World Motor Sport Council, would do well to remember that Formula 1 has perhaps never been in better health. Bahrain and Canada were arguably two of the best races of the last decade. We are seeing contests decided by seconds. We are seeing minimal attrition in the earliest days of brand new ground-breaking technology.

People look back to the halcyon days of yore and protest it was so much better in the 60s or the 70s, the 80s or the 90s. It was decided that the folks at home wanted turbos and more power than grip. Well here it is and yet still people complain. Want it like the 60s? Fine. Then have races with 7 finishers and the winner lapping everyone. Twice. Want it like the early 2000s? Fine. Have it. And have the championship sewn up by mid-season.

We have got close, exciting racing. We have got brilliant new technology that the governing body has done precisely nothing to promote positively to get the fanbase excited about this new beginning for the sport. And so they panic, because they failed in their basic task to promote what they had. We have a governing body so weak that it cannot impose its will on the teams in the sport. A governing body which can see the financial ruin into which this sport is launching itself, but instead of pushing through meaningful change, concerns itself simply with how the cars look and sound. Papering over the cracks which grow ever wider.

Ecclestone and Todt in heated discussion © James Moy Photography

Ecclestone and Todt in heated discussion
© James Moy Photography

I was accused in Austria, by Christian Horner, of being overly negative and pessimistic towards regulation changes that are yet to be put in place and could yet make the sport exciting. And you know what? Maybe I am. I hope I am. I hope these things work and make the sport even better. But when I asked Horner if this vision of the future, with double points, standing safety car restarts and fake sparks were why he got involved in racing in the first place, his immediate response belied the PR line that followed. “No, but…”

This week, he said he believed the teams should no longer have any say in the regulation of the sport and it should be down solely to the governing body. I applauded his view, as the teams cannot agree on anything as their vested interest in their competitive and financial positions makes it impossible for them to give ground. The Strategy Group is a prime example of the idiocy that can result from allowing a Select Committee of teams to propose rules.

But when one looks at what the WMSC has approved today, you have to question if allowing the FIA to run the sport unguarded and unchecked is really such a smart idea after all.

Formula 1 is allegedly listening to the fans. Its most public example of this is over the engine noise debate. It is trying to assuage their fears and concerns. At least that’s the public face. Will any of the attempts make a difference? No. But if they can look like they’re trying then they’ll keep the fans onside, right? Wrong.

Because every change they make takes the sport away from what makes it so special. It takes that simplicity, that purity, and it pours in something bitter that leaves a foul stench and a bad taste.

I get people tweeting me every day saying how much they enjoy watching GP2 because there are no gimmicks. There is no push to pass, no boost button, no special wing flap to open on the straight. Its raw, basic racing and people love it. They ask what Formula 1 is doing to itself. People tell me they’ve been a fan since the 1970s, never missed a race… and now they can’t bring themselves to watch anymore. “I want racing, not wrestling.”

But the gimmicks have taken over.

Sadly, in Formula 1, overtaking no longer means anything because, with very rare exceptions, the majority of moves are now done under DRS.

With double points, the chance of a shock and perhaps undeserving result in the championship now awaits, too. Not content with throwing open the championship to a last chance lottery, now with the race result a gimmick in the form of standing safety car restarts can also replace something earned with something blagged. Hey, don’t worry folks, it’ll be great for TV.

But who will be watching?

FIFA tried to mess with football a decade or so ago by introducing the Golden Goal and Silver Goal concepts. Both, now, have thankfully been consigned to history. The game was exciting enough as it was. You didn’t need gimmicks to make it better.

There is an old adage – Keep it simple, stupid. It is one the FIA would do well to remember.

The fans are not idiots. The more this sport treats them as though they are, the more of them the sport will lose.

As Barack Obama once famously said… “You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig.”

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52 thoughts on “Porcine Maquillage

  1. “and unworkable terms and told the teams they a month to come up with something better on which they all agreed. It’s what Mosley did. And it worked.”
    I despise the man, but he got that bit 100% right.

  2. The next step is for F1 to pick a member of the France family to take over for Bernie. If you’re going to steal from their rulebook, you might as well get one of the family who created it to help. Let’s have a Chase for the Championship, where if you win you’re in. Teach them how to toss “debris” cautions at the right time, Lucky Dogs, wave-arounds and of course the green/white/checker finish. And what’s with those standing starts? If you hate the noise, let’s stuff some small-block Chevys under the hoods-nobody’ll know!

    I miss when F1 was about outsmarting your opponents, when a small team could make good, where a driver could start at Minardi or Ensign and end up a champion.

  3. I cannot see a problem with artificial sparks! In fact F1 should take this opportunity to embrace the entire pep boys catalog of automotive accessories. For sure chrome spinners, faux vents, and under car LED’s will entice younger audiences. If the FIA really wants to increase viewership the easiest way would be to mandate Lamborghini Style Doors. The kids will go crazy for this! Imagine seeing the race winner step out as his sidepod opens like a scissor door! The camera pans inside the cockpit, alight with LEDs we see the nitrous tank and subwoofers. If we’re lucky maybe a fish tank and a couple tvs will be visible too! Even more amazing is that his wheels appear to still be spinning even though the car is stationary! This is what people want to see and the FIA is heading in the right direction. As for cost cutting, a ban on carbon fibre is the obvious choice. There are plenty of replica carbon fibre vinyls available and no one in the audience would be aware of the change. Viewers are confused by all of this aerodynamics and the truth is these wings do not work. I put a wing on my limited edition Expresso Neon and it actually made it slower! Wings and scoops are all fake things to make the cars look like fighter jets and if we must have them every car should use the same ones like nascar. Then they could sell Official Formula 1 wings at AutoZone and we could put the same exact wings they use on our cars! That is how you get fans excited.

  4. Interesting comments, Will. In the future please do not refer to the current U.S. President in your articles …. talk about “foul stench and a bad taste”.

    I am one of many fans that has been watching/following F1 (most open wheel racing formulas since the 70′s since I grew up in the era of the Mears Gang) competitions. One of the obvious, but not mentioned in your comments, reasons F1 requires gimmicks (DRS) is that the team’s have piqued at the limits of the formula. In other words, the maximum performance available from the car/driver (mostly car) at nearly every place on the track. Back in the day as they say, there was much more diversity in the design of the vehicles, hence the lapping of the back markers.

    After all, what is the expected outcome of an F1 race? Is it a bigger fan base, or newest technology that will likely end up in my production car, or track records, or safety, or driver championship decided in the last race of the season, or total team dominance in a season, or none or all of the above?

    Cost cutting is a bunch of b.s.. It’s about money allocation and distribution, and proper decision making within a team. For example, Williams absolutely should have won in Austria but they screwed the pooche (a U.S. slang – I don’t know why) and ran a lap or two too long on old tires (tyres, whatever). By the way, Red Bull decided to invest winning the championships in each year rather than investing in the upcoming formula changes as Mercedes had and hence the results for this year were predictable.

    The governing body should and must grow some big Titanium ones and let the team’s spend money on testing, making as much horsepower/torque (turn up the wick on the massive turbo) as possible, and figure out how to get that horsepower hooked to the track. They should have limited amount of fuel but bring fuel strategy back to the game by limiting fuel cell capacity and allow refueling.

    The above is my never to be humbled opinion, and I’m sticking to it!

    I love, love, love your commentary and expertise on-air and want to hear more…..

      • That line was hardly original though, and there was no need to drag a very divisive figure into your otherwise brilliant article.

        • Ok. I’ll be sure to run every quote I use past you in case it upsets you shall I? I quoted Churchill last year. Pretty sure I’ve quoted Machiavelli and Sun Tzu before as well. Clausewitz a few times. Maybe even Napoleon. Doesn’t mean I agree with their politics. Doesn’t mean you need to get your knickers in a twist.

          • Sorry, mate. It wasn’t referring to the text in the quote, nor you, it was the name of the person (Obama) that plagiarized (to take and use ideas, passages, etc. from (another’s work)) the phrase. I hear you, Will. Love the quotes, just not the man you referenced. I promise to stick to racing in future comments. After all, it racing that is more important in this context (I don’t say that to be mean or disparaging). By the way – it’s panties in an knot (;^) in America. Kidding…

            Back to racing – I use to think of F1 as “no holds barred” with respect to money. Spend whatever it takes in the machine and technology to win – this brings out the absolute top performance. I want to know, with absolute certainty, that the team that wins, is the winner because the whole package is the absolute best – meaning the team won because that is the only combination of driver, machine, crew, engineers, leadership, decisions, and equipment that could have won that day, on that track, under those meteorological conditions. Period.

            I remember thinking when I attended the inaugural return of F1 to the USA at Indianapolis “there is so much money here today compared to the Indy 500 …. wow!”.

      • Will that was a good line. Some here in the US (the minority) will take whatever avenue they seem fit to throw bs at the president. We are talking F1 and the pot shots just keep coming.

    • Dear DGretlein. As Americans we should applaud Will Buxton’s freedom of speech and willingness to express his opinion. Will Buxton is the one with the big titanium ones. In the future, I’d recommend that you not comment on U.S. politics, but rather on Formula 1, as it ruined your otherwise agreeable comment.
      Let me explain why Buxton’s quote has nothing to do with politics (for dummies):
      First, Buxton is transferring the quote from one context to another. He is, thus, using it to prove his point, not Obama’s.
      Second, to say that the quote is irrelevant due to its source is a sign of immense ignorance. Not only are most historical figures heavily quotable, most ordinary folk are quotable, too. You might just have a quote I’d like to use in my own articles.
      Will, thanks for standing up to this guy. It’s your blog and it should be respected. Your usage of quotes is great and helps non-F1 people relate stories to the greater world around us. Don’t surrender to the mercy of ignorants; listen to your intelligent conscience and your articles will continue their high standard.

  5. Very well put Will. This is one fan who is just about fed up, seriously considering going back to just viewing Tudor Sports series and NASCAR road races.

  6. Like others who have been fortune enough to have attend many GP’s in the past, I too find myself asking, do I really want to spend my vacation at another GP with this kind of mentality controlling the rules, Think I will just go to the beach next year

  7. Completely agree with every word.
    Here’s something else to consider about the standing safety car restarts, Tyres.

    If you have some drivers on old tyres & others on newer tyres then those on older tyres are going to get mugged off a standing start & braking through the 1st corner.
    You could force everyone to make a stop under the SC to ensure everyone has fresh tyres, However that totally kills teams strategy & what happens if a driver doesn’t have any fresh tyres left?

    Its an idiotic rule change & it makes me so angry to see the sport I have loved for decades seemingly do everything to make me lose interest in it.

    I have been losing interest in F1 the past 3 years thanks to the (in my view) negative effect DRS & the High-Deg tyres were having on the racing, However Despite all the negativity about the new engines this year, The new rules have won back that interest.
    I have actually really been enjoying the racing & think the engines sound fine. I love how the increased torque & reduction in downforce have produced a better spectacle when watching the cars be driven around the circuits. I like how the racing has been close, competitive & how much of the overtaking has been more exciting to watch as DRS seems to be less effective this year.

    However double points & this absurd safety car standing restart rule as well as some othe other artificial elements have again taken my enjoyment down a few notches.

  8. A+ writing, sir. I too have been recording and watching all the GP2 races now that they air them on NBCSN. I adore the new technology of F1 but simplification can go a long way.

    • Yep, GP2 races are generally more interesting than the F1 races. The cars look better too.

      If you get a chance, watch an Indy Lights race and compare it to the IndyCar race. Same things apply. Too bad they’ve got such small fields.

  9. Will I love your enthusiasm about our sport. Great article. Nothing seems to be sane coming out of the various abc branches of racing. Ask teams to put expensive technology together and then tell them that they spend too much.
    Personally the racing wheel to wheel has never been really consistent over the season. Monaco is a great race, a spectacle, but the racing blows. Passing never happens, or if it does it’s a mistake.
    People complain about the wheel to wheel racing but don’t talk about all of the tracks that really are not being designed for passing. You can implement any gimmick on the car you want but the tracks are not passing friendly.
    I love this sport and have always watched because of the technology, outright speed and the spectacle.
    It is great entertainment that needs better management and allocation of money on a more equitable plane.
    My two cents.

  10. I agree with what you say about the standing starts and the sparks. F1 is real racing, we don’t need to be poseurs.

    But I think you (and the proposed changes) miss the mark with respect to testing. With the tremendous amounts of money that is being invested, I just can’t see that it’s fair to the teams to only allow testing for a handful of days before the season, and then effectively lock down the technology for much of the season. And look what’s happened to Renault as a result. They’re underperforming and unreliable, but there’s very little they can do to correct the situation.

    Whatever is done to limit costs, I think that testing needs to be *expanded*, at least in ways that will allow full proving of the underlying technologies like engines and tires.

    • Steve Matchet stumped most of last year to eliminate in-season testing as a separate event. Instead, allow unlimited track time on Friday and allow all of Friday to be a test session. Promoters get a better gate, fans get more to watch and argue over. Teams save travel and expense money (they’re there already). Everyone wins. All I would change is something to make the teams use their second string drivers on Friday.

  11. Spot on Will.
    I too have been watching GP2 for the first time this year. Partially due to it being on US TV, but also because it is primal racing, without gimmicks and trickery. Off topic, but Moto2 has been giving me the same rush, although it must be noted that the last two Motogp races have been epic. I admit to living in the past, longingly listening to Youtube clips of the V12, V10 and yes even the V8′s. I am doing my best to embrace the technology, but am saddened by the lack of development that the engine builders are allowed. Sadly I wish for the best, but expect the worst for F1 unless things change (for the better)
    Cheers

  12. The people at the top of F1 have been removed from the real world for so long, they don’t know what it means to love racing anymore. Changes like these are insulting to us. They’ve become complacent to the point that they believe these quick “fixes” will completely resolve their problems. The real problem with this sport, the absurdly inequitable distribution of influence and finance, will never be dealt with. Every year, Formula 1 gets more and more pretentious, self-righteous, elitist. My passion for it is being supplanted by a revitalized love for sports car racing, which is getting better and better worldwide. The first time I see sparks flying out from under one of these cars, it’s going to make me so bitterly disappointed.

  13. So the current 2014 technical formula (particularly the power unit) is pretty much ‘brilliant’ according to Buxton and the promotional ‘angle’ is real the trouble? This sounds nearly as deluded, cynical, and condescending as the FIA & co. to be honest…

  14. Pingback: Rosberg ‘not sharing all information with Hamilton’ | F1 Fanatic Round-up | Formula 1 News

  15. Fans don’t want this, never ever! And they haven’t been asked.

    Wider tyres for increasing mechanical grip while reducing reliance on wings and aero was a great proposal, but it’s been ditched. It would have made the cars look wider and cooler while also reducing costs.

    Will, is there a conspiracy to deliberately undermine F1?

    • F1 racing was the purest back when Colin Chapman was building “waterbugs” — tall, skinny tires on cigar tube bodies.

      I’ll admit that we can’t go back to those cars, if only for safety reasons. Fuel in aluminum tanks along side the drivers? Insanity! But I’d have no problem with eliminating wings completely, setting a minimum ride height from whatever was the lowest part of the chassis, and limiting the tire patch area (make it wide, make it long, builder’s choice).

  16. Christian Horner is protecting the sport and his job. Nothing more. Once F1 went to sparks, F1 anybodies lost all right to criticize NASCAR. Just, no.

    Also, a lot of what happens during cautions in NASCAR is largely down to the fact that its an oval. Simply too dangerous to risk crap flying around in that close a course. Especially when average speeds are at or over 200mph.

    Anyways, back to F1… the entire money issue could be solved so easily. Cost caps.. allow the teams to spend 20% of the yearly revenue of F1 as a whole (would come to roughly 200 million US). Transplant P1 rules to F1: you get this much fuel for a race.. build any engine package you want. However, get rid of the fuel flow restrictions. Allow semi-active suspensions (similar to what is available on modern day cars..skyhook, mrc, etc.). Write up a basic set of safety rules (how come F1 doesnt use the ‘safer barriers’?) for the cars and leave everything else open. Allow constant development of the engines. Freezing them is just plain stupid. Theres no better word for it.. its dumb, stupid, idiotic.

    F1 could be amazing in terms of innovation and racing but the FIA seems insistent on turning it into WWE of the racing world mixed with Indycar dullness. STOP! Please STOP, FIA, you are ruining F1 and trying to change something that simply is too much for your minds to comprehend.

    We want innovation, craziness, and decent racing. Cost caps with more open rules are the way to go. Audi would jump in if it wasnt for the crap rules. Audi, the current motorsport juggernaut, is more interested in INDYCAR racing than F1. Think about that.

  17. Increasing free practice times on all Fridays and some Thursdays wouldn’t cost much and be beneficial to all concerned.

    • You can’t really give F1 teams more practice on Fridays because thats when the support races have there practice/qualifying session.

      GP2 practice is inbetween F1 FP1/2 with Qualifying after FP2. Then there’s GP3 practice after that with Porsche Supercup & any other support events also squeezed in.

      And Thursday is setup & media day. Its when the track tv cameras are setup & put trhough the test run (With safety & medical car), When teams/drivers do the track walk & when all the media events are held.

      Also consider that more running means teams need more sets of tyres, More fuel & more parts & that will increase costs.

  18. Hi Will,

    Aussie fan of yours (even though I am not privileged to hear your coverage during GP2 races) as you have excellent insight into the sport I love.

    Alas it’s getting difficult to stay in love like an old ex girlfriend that doesn’t look as good or sound as sexy as you remember her…

    Your point about answering questions nobody is asking is very poignant, I do recall a world wide survey that heralded in the DRS solution to people voting that there was not enough overtaking. Nothing was asked of the fans for these new ideas.

    Do you think this new Team Governance (by the leading 6 teams) has castrated Fthe FIA and the interests of the sport? It’s starting to look that way.

    These gimmicks are needed because we are no longer pushing the envolope of performance technology (tyres, aerodynamics and engines have had to be held back as the cars are evolving too fast).

    One thing that has been consistent is the quality of the racing, we have had good seasons and awesome races in the last 5 years with the engine parity so I agree with your point about why would you want to mess with that. That’s an own goal / shooting onesself in the foot waiting to happen…

    Come back to me my love….

  19. Some good points. But I see while mentioning ‘governing body’ and ‘teams’, you’re conveniently living out the third peace of the dysfunctional puzzle. Someone cynical might say it’s because that third piece is paying your wages….

    And to those fans tweeting about how super-duper GP2 is with ‘raw, basic racing’, you might spill the beans and mention to them it’s because GP2 is a single-engine-single-chassis series. Maybe F1 should listen to its fans on that one also…..

  20. Great leap forwards by man kind used to be made in wars. Now we can make the same leap forwards using sport. Fuel – to promote fuel efficiency, from 2014 fuel is limited to 100kg per race. Previously fuel was unlimited, but teams typically used around 160kg per race. However cars are still very fast. Maybe a couple of seconds slower per lap but that will change with the technology advances. Hopefully we will see these advances in our everyday road car as well. I would love my average fuel consumption to go from 40MPG to over 60MPG with no difference in performance. IF Formula one just focus on this then not only would we still see great racing but also F! would be helping save the planet!

  21. Well wrote Will, I totally agree with you. It’s incredible how FIA (with the help of the teams and FOM) in the last years did all these crappy rules to “enhance” the show, with the result of a loss of audience and interest for the sport (also in Europe), and instead of a U-turn they follow with this “brainwaves”.
    Hinch is right about the fake sparks, but it’s not the major issue IMHO, even if sounds like a pathetic effort to add some special effects to fill the show. The real problem for me is the standing start after the Safety Car: one of the reasons of the introduction of the SC procedures 21 years ago indeed was the need to avoid the risks of a new standing start when possible. This new rule is less safe, less fair for the guys in front how you said, and of uncertain spectacularity for the fans. About FP3, with the new rule I doubt we will see many action on track on Saturday morning, not the best for the people in the stands or that see it on pay TV..

    I just hope that someone with just a little bit of logic might push for change these decisions before the 2015 season…

    Cheers from Italy!

  22. Will, I have a serious question:

    Have you, and the others in the paddock who see this through the fans eyes considered a way to make a concerted media push to get fans to be more outspoken about this? F1 entirely misses the mark when it comes to embracing social media; if they did, they would be able to see the fans speaking out against this stupidity. So what power do we have then? How can we, as a community, send a message to the FIA that this is total BS, and we are not total idiots?

    I don’t feel this is the responsibility of you, or any journalist in the paddock… but I feel like the people who speak directly to the fans would be the best people to come together and organize the F1 community to speak out against this. Maybe I am just dreaming… but every time I read about this stuff, I cant help but wonder where the rational people were, and why they did not stand up and scream out against this in the council meetings. Perhaps there were none.

    It seems that if the FIA is doing this because they are listening to fans, then they should be open to hearing what we have to say. But since they are way off the mark, I would imagine they really aren’t listening to any fans at all. I doubt there is anything we can actually do, but if the community could be organized, and had a means of focusing our ire through the correct channel, maybe we could get the ear of the right person.

    But my guess is, they just don’t even care enough to listen.

  23. Will, great article!
    I’m one of those that just watches F1 for “entertainment” these days (after 25 years), F1 has out-evolved itself. And the management structure keeps that in check. Sad, because what the powers that be don’t seem to understand is that the current cars have the opportunity to be one of the better formula’s.

    I did give up on F1 about a decade ago, when teams seemed to decide that using aero to prevent other cars following and being overtaken had a higher priority than being outright fast. Luckily around that time GP2 started, with the 2005-2007 Dallara being one of the best racing cars ever devised! Combined with low-grip tyres that lasted, it had it all! For a few years I watched GP2, and fast-forwarded F1.

    And to be honest I still watch F1 mostly to see what has become of the drivers that I really enjoyed watching in series like GP2, WSR & F3, because that is where the real racing happens.

    As a side note, your coverage of GP2 really is excellent! Having another driver up there makes it worth watching even during the pre-race pause. It even cheers up the most boring of races! Keep them coming, and say hi to Karun, Luca, Jerome, Robin and all the others from the real fans!

  24. Sounds like F1 is starting to head down that road so well known to IndyCar…

    By the way, I saw something in the 2015 tech regulations that said the brake disks must rotate at the same speed of the wheels. What are the teams doing?

  25. When turbos were first introduced to F1:
    “The nearer you are to a disintegrating, in general the better its performance will be. As soon as you get on to economy, you can’t afford to throw fuel in for cooling, therefore you have to try and put in exactly the right amount of fuel. Then, if you have any failure on your engine management system to provide that right amount of fuel, and it goes marginally weak from the weak position that you’re already trying run for economy, you can melt your turbine in a second or valve or piston and you’re out of the race.”.

    - Keith Duckworth non-turbo Ford DFV designer

  26. For the second year in a row we skipped Montreal to attend the Six Hours at the Glen. We (husband and I) have followed F1 since the late 60s. We still watch on TV but probably won’t be attending any more Grands Prix. It is all just getting to be too, too much. Makes me sad.
    The weekend at the Glen was fantastic by the way. Great racing at affordable prices on a wonderful and historic circuit. Terrific sights (AND sounds). We have a new love. I highly recommend the experience. Thought I could never love any racing series the way I loved F1 (and have attended many Indy 500s, CanAms, Historics, Club races, you name it.)

  27. A couple weeks ago I sent you a tweet asking you if over-regulation could be stifling F1 and unfortunately these regs seem to doing just that. I know that costs where growing by leaps and bounds, but the racing in ’05, ’06, ’07 was fantastic! Much loser rules seemed to translate to a good product on track without gimmicks (I.e. spark plates, stupid exhaust extensions)

  28. Will, I have followed you for years on Speed (A Canadian channel which used to host F1), and now on NBCSports. I have just set my Directv system to record GP2 because when I compared the F1 and GP2 races at Silverstone this weekend, GP2 was far more exciting, raw and energetic. Even Sergio Perez argues – and he is outspoken in this respect – that the fastest GP2 cars are faster than some F1 cars with 1/8 th of the budget. That is enough to make even Caterham greener. I can get my kicks while watching GP2 while the guys in the suits (Todt etc.) can fiddle while Rome burns. They don’t care about me, I have only been watching F1 since 1969.

  29. I agree completely. In many ways I think there should be a significant relaxing of rules. Not only to bring more innovation in but to just give teams the ability to run with ideas. I honestly think the FIA and Bernie have lost it. With now Bernie’s team threatening to end Monza (if it is simply grandstanding or will happen remains to be seen) and the FIA introducing ever more restrictive rules, it seems like the sport is very quickly losing its way. I do feel nostalgia sometimes for the F1 of old, but I also see the flaws of back then. So I don’t think going back in time is the first best answer.

    I love the new engines, just like I loved the old, and the technology is utterly interesting to me. I think if the FIA backed off a bit you would see teams do some quite amazing things. As for the cost cap it will never happen. The day a cost cap is implemented will be the day that F1 really starts to go the NASCAR route, cause with cost caps will come ever increasingly stringent rules and gimmicks.

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