Formula 1 – The Sorry State Of F1 Racing

Something just did not click about the race yesterday. Istanbul Park is one of the best track built recently. It’s Turn 8 is a legend already and it only has been on the calendar since 2005. Overtaking opportunities do exist on this track. And yet, we witnessed yet another race day parade, at least at the front of the grid. I began to think what was strange about the race. Several things came to my mind this morning. And they somehow represent the whole current sorry state of the F1 racing.

There was only one retirement (Webber), good on the others, but why is that ? (Similar points popped up elsewhere too. Keith at F1 Fanatic is also asking a question whether the cars or drivers are getting more reliable.) Alonso was (yet again) not capable to overtake Heidfeld, good on Heidfeld, but how come ? Practically nobody went off the track, I am happy for all that stayed on track, but isn’t it weird on a track like this?

On the other hand Button’s Honda for example made up several places and some of them by actual overtaking. Alonso was much faster than the BMWs once he took the track position from them in the pits. And Raikkonen was faster than Massa, yet he finished behind him…

What the hell is wrong …

Well there are people earning millions making sure we have races to watch on some 16 or 17 or 18 or 20 Sundays a year. But are they still capable of running the F1? There has been lots of Mad Max and Bernie bashing, some justified, some not. But that will only get worse if things continue to develop in the way they do. The race in Turkey is the prime example of the sorry state the F1 “racing” is at the moment.

Reliability is good, without that it is difficult to win anything, ask Kimi… But it has been taken into extremes by these stupid 1 race weekend engine rules, then 2 race weekend engines. Now we have the engine homologation that lead to limiting revs. Engines that were designed for 20,000 + revs are forced to run at 19,000 at most. Where has the “testing the technology to the limit” gone? In Turkey only 1 car retired from the race, make it 2 if we count in Sutil’s Spyker. Are they all that reliable? I do not think that is the case. Driver simply preserve their cars as the order is set by the last round of pit stops and there is no point in racing.

The reason behind the limit to the engine was to save money, allegedly. Does it work? Well yes. Teams spend less money on engine development. But are they spending less money overall? No way… What they save on engines they blow on wind tunnels and aero developments and somewhere else. What happens? We have more and more ugly winglets, more complicated aero and nice massive turbulence in the wake of the car. We all know well what the consequence on ability to overtake is. (It may be interesting to look back few seasons to see what year the overtaking started to disappear and what year the stupid engine rules came into effect.) Now some engine rev advantage would help here, but that is what they all have the same, 19,000 rpm …

What else can help? Some skill and courage from drivers perhaps. Skills are there, but what happened to courage? The drivers are afraid to touch the wheels these days, afraid to take any risks. Again, look at Alonso. It was not a first time this season he was stuck behind slower Heidfeld. And he did not even try to overtake him. Why risking when pit stops will come … But what kind of racing attitude is that.

“How the hell can you drive a race car, fight with people, and think all the time about points for a bloody championship? How can you settle for a safe third or something, because it’s four points? Jesus, people like that should be accountants, not racing drivers.” – Gilles Villeneuve

Yes, he stole the win from Massa at the Nurburgring, but that was down to tyres and rain, not to Alonso’s courage. Who is fighting on the track these days? The midfield cars that either finish outside of points or crash out of points and have nothing to loose. Or front runners that messed up qualifying and also have nothing to loose. OK, I am glad to see that Button enjoyed his race and battled for positions around P15. At least it proves that it is possible to race if the driver feels like it. But what counts are race wins and podiums and points, and those guys simply calculate and play safe. Ferrari claims their drivers are equal. Well, not if one is leading the race and another follows. Otherwise how come the obviously faster Raikkonen did not fight for the race win? Of course one can understand that taking the team mate out of race would not be nice. But at least pushing him to make a mistake would not do much harm. Alonso was far back… We need more guys like Sato getting knocked on his helmet by Michael Schumacher, or taking on Alonso …

I do not subscribe to the ridiculous green ideas for F1 that Max is putting for discussion. I also do not think that the GP2 style reverse grid 2 races weekend is the way to go as Flavio suggests. But something should be done. It is not upon us fans to come up with solutions. We are here to get the entertainment. But you up there, milking the circuits and fans out their cash should finally start giving something back. Many fans are loyal and will be with F1 no matter what the racing is about because of the feeling, hype, noise, glamour that no other racing series can provide. But not all and only the hard core fans will not fill up the grandstands or make up the TV ratings…This is RACING series, so please, bring back some racing! Stop all the bull and do something … It can’t be that difficult, just look few years back to times when cars and drivers actually raced…

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. zblkhwk says:

    The same thing happens in NASCAR here in the states, where a top 10 finish is the goal with the total focus on the driver’s championship.

    Perhaps changing the points back to the previous version of 10 for first and 6 for second…or similar system rewarding the top finish.

    Also, not too long ago, you could only count a certain number of races, not all. That would certainly up the stakes for a win.

    I do not think you can discount the aerodynamics of the vehicles either. As much as these guys spend on aero packages, I’ll bet they intentionally make it impossible for anyone to follow too close. Perhaps some rules to improve airflow for a pass…

    Indy Car seems to have it right. They race their asses off, wheel to wheel at 220mph.

    Anyway, somebody better figure it out soon…the parade is getting boring.

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