With every day that passes, someone is offering their opinion on why F1 is broken, needs a complete overhaul and needs desperately fixing. I've just sat back and watched all of the opinions appear on other websites before making my comment.
Firstly we need to decide if F1 is really broken? Certainly it's quite expensive to compete, but it always has been and teams have come and gone throughout the years, that has never changed. Maybe it could be made slightly more affordable for those at the back by allowing them to buy more parts or giving them cheaper engines, but F1 cannot have 10 teams competing for pole, it's never been like that.
I maintain that there should be an Engine Manufacturer Chamionship in which every engine moanufacturer gets a €50m bonus for signing up, on the basis that they have to supply power units for €10m to other teams. The money would come from the pot in which Usually disappears from the sport, but it would encourage more engine manufacturers to take part and make it more affordable for those struggling at the back.
The listed parts clause also needs to be expanded, I don't see why every team needs to manufacturer all of their own parts, there should be more shared technology. If a fan watching from the stands can't see the part then why should it be that each team spends so much money developing the same thing?
Let's now look at the racing, which isn't really that bad. People are moaning because Mercedes are doing a better job than anyone else, but a couple of years ago it was Red Bull in that situation, and before that it was Ferrari with Schumacher winning 5 championships in a row. The FIA changed the rules to try and level the playing field with every opportunity but usually failed! The problem being that it's quite unfair to penalise those doing a better job, as it's not their fault that everyone has lost their way. Although as new technology progresses and the gains become smaller, the teams will once again bunch up and races will be closer. The only way to speed this up would be to allow engine development to be unlimited for 12 months and then freeze them or allow everyone to use their tokens at any time.
Lift and coast was the phrase that was much bemoaned after Canada, although fuel saving fuel has always been a part of F1, it does seem to have become more extreme with the new restricted fuel engine formula. Solving this would involve a) refuelling or b) starting with a set weight fuel tank to ensure that everyone has enough fuel to start the race. Although this won't really help if drivers still can't lean on their tyres because they degrade too quickly. Once again however, making more durable tyres is a dangerous game because multiple tyre stops has spiced up races in recent years. This therefore is a difficult trade off, do we create tyres that last a whole race and tell drivers to push, therefore allowing them to really put the hammer down for the whole race? Sounds good but removes some of the variables that make F1 unpredictable. You can see why this is such a difficult decision.
Another thing that has been mentioned is how F1 drivers used to be heroes, wrestling these powerful beasts around circuits whilst current drivers are cruising and managing systems rather than driving as fast as possible. So F1 cars need to be harder to drive. Bringing back manual gear changes would help sort out the men from the boys as would increasing the speed through ground effect aero. It would also really help if drivers were allowed to speak their mind rather than pandering to the teams corporate sponsors (however important they may be for funding the spectacle) let's be honest, it's why we love Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya because they are ballsy on and off the track!
TV coverage of F1 is also an issue, it's difficult to attract new fans if there is no consistancy, in some respects F1 is trapped between a rock and a hard place with this as it needs the money from pay TV but the viewers from free-to-air coverage. But the BBC could do a better job with a "match of the day" style regular hilights package of every race meaning that their is a regular slot and format, even when it has the live races it could do a substantially better job, only going on air 30 mins before the Canadian GP where as its pay per view counterpart added an extra hour pre race.
Thus finding 'fixes' for F1 isn't as easy as it looks, and surveys that ask the hardcore fans what they want is a bit like asking your church congregation to tell you what keeps them attending where as really you should be asking those outside why they are not. There is no point wasting time asking those already hooked how to improve it if you want to grow the sport.
One thing however that is clear, is that the strategy group needs to be disbanded, it's great if All the teams want to get together to voice their opinion, but your never going to get competitiors to sit round the table and vote on rule changes for the greater good. Rules should be made by the governing body but sadly the governing body is as absent as ever. Time to grow some balls Mr Todt and do the job for which you were elected, and govern the sport.
Labels: F1; fix; Bernie ecclestone; jean Todt; Mercedes; Ferrari; red bull;