Flipping back, when drivers like Vettel and Mark Webber raced wheel to wheel or the all time famous battles between Alonso and Schumi or Senna vs. Prost happened; the entire crowd watching it are on their feet. The TV audiences clap and cheer harder. It pushes people out of their seats or sofa and makes them wave their hands. That is the spirit of Racing. That is Formula One. What is happening now is something different. I don’t care to react or smile when overtaking manoeuvres happen between famous drivers. The Fun is OVER.
Earlier, over takings were rare and tough and those whose managed to pull it received great applause and honours. People remember the races by the famous over takings that happened, not by the year or date. Nowadays, the race is filled with boring overtaking which the drivers would themselves not remember after the races end.
There are primarily Three reasons [apart from domination of Red Bull] which has Degraded and Spoiled the fun and excitement in F1:
2. Pirelli tires
Controlled by a button in the steering wheel or a pedal, a mechanical or hydraulic motor lifts a flap of the rear wing up which enables the car to go faster by almost 20kmph reducing the down force in long straights.
It is not the system that is under question. It is the rules surrounding it, which is under consideration. Since only the following driver can use it, he easily gains speed and in 1-2 laps he overtakes the leading driver. Even though the leading driver who is now behind can use it in his favour, the over takings which happen here are only due to DRS.[involves min. Driver skill ]
If u have seen the races, the car in back closes in slowly and overtakes with a press of a button and moves ahead within a blink of an eye. Where is the racing in this?? The rules have to be modified to ensure higher quality of overtaking manoeuvres.
One suitable solution is to allow the following or the second driver to use the DRS when he is within 1 sec ond and 2 second of the leading driver or 0.5 sec to 1.5 sec instead of the current “within 1 sec “.
This rule will not only reduce the gap between cars but also engages them in a wheel-wheel battle to overtake each other.
Few months back, FIA asked the opinions and views of the audience and the viewers expressed the changes they wished to see .The results were as expected .Viewers wanted to see more overtaking.
So the rules were tweaked to increase chances of overtaking. But they failed to recognize that there is difference between just overtaking and racing. Seeing cars that just pass each other isn’t special. I can see that in the movies or video games. What the audience wishes to see is The Bravery, Confidence and Guts of the driver to overtake. They want to see the rivals fighting a war in the fortress rather than silly fights between kids.
The Pirelli tires:
They dominate the race more than the cars do. Their performance changes every race and for every weather conditions. They degrade in the best condition and perform better in the most unpredictable situations. Even the top constructors are clueless to select the right tire compound during the race. Some say Bernie wanted this and ordered Pirelli to make tires that wear out fast. Whatever!!
It is impossible for the teams to make strategies. It is just luck that plays the decisive role here. The tires create a mess and leaves audience surprised.
Compared to the previous years, even though overtaking has increased four fold, the number of accidents and safety cars has reduced by the same. Most of the races have seen more than 22 finishers. Why don’t we see accidents and safety cars??
When do accidents happen??Only when the driver feels that the only way to get ahead is to overtake, he pushes himself and attempts overtaking and might make a mistake. But now, he knows there are more options than just overtaking. The race isn’t over until it’s over. The tire changes might push few to the top or plummet some down, so the drivers are becoming more patient and drives more carefully, particularly at the start. This restricts their driving skills to come to play. So the new tire not only spoils the fun, but also hides the driver’s capability.
I love those days when pit crews gush gallons of fuel in the cars within 4 seconds. It gives a new perspective and role to pit stops. Currently since only tire changes take place, the difference in timings between teams is hardly a second but when fuelling happens it makes the difference.
Refuelling has to be brought back and this is the best time because there are around 3-4 pit stops in each race and refuelling can happen one or two times and moreover different teams will refuel at different times and tires will perform differently to different fuel loads. That creates the difference and brings the importance of strategy. The Teams would have to decide during which stops we refuel.
The new Engine rules are just making matters worse. More importance is being given to aerodynamics than mechanics. Probably the teams hire more aerospace engineers than the Boeing/Airbus.
What happened to the V10s or V12 engines that roared in the tracks? What happened to famous overtaking and team strategies??What happened to Formula One?
Decisions have to be made, rules have to be changed, and excitement has to be brought in.