Surely you’re joking, Mr. Ecclestone

April 30, 2006

by Amit Goyal

Formula 1 has seen such a deluge of rule changes over the past couple of years that it has left many fans (including yours truly) greatly miffed and confused. The qualifying session has been changed so often that I am sure the drivers must be confirming the rules before every race. Moreover, an F1 car with a 2.4lt V8 engine is a joke! This one gives 750 bhps compared to the 950 of the V10s. F1 is the only sport that is stepping back on technology. Also, teams are now trying hard to push the V8s to their limits for more power which I think increases the risk of an engine (that is supposed to last for 2 races now) failure.

When I sit down to watch F1, I want to see the fastest cars being driven around by good guys to the limit where speed is all that matters. All the rule changes are being made to make the game cheaper and safer. Cheaper! I don't think that these companies care about a few million here and there. They say that it will attract more companies to race as costs go down and the competition becomes close. It’s like telling Superman that you have the cape but you are not allowed to fly because others can’t fly as fast. And safer. F1 has the most stringent laws concerning driver safety. What was the last accident you heard about in F1? I think it was Ralf Schumacher at the US Grand Prix in 2004. That was due to a split tyre, and he still missed some 6 races only. The crash was one of the worst ever in the F1 history, but the car kept him safe. These cars are safer than any other road cars.

Here are a few (ridiculous to say the least) rule changes F1 is about to see.

– Same car for the years 2008-2010. A tech freeze. There goes the entire development concept.
– Four race gearbox.
– Single tyre supplier (Bye-bye Michelin! We will miss you.).
– Testing limited to 30,000 kms per year.
– No tyre warmers. You want to save money by doing away with them? Seriously!
– No spare cars.
– Entry fee lowered from USD 48mn to 300,000 Euros.

I say give them the fastest cars and let them race. Also there is a talk about reducing the downforce (technically F1 cars can race upside down on ceilings!) on the cars for more overtaking. But then again that increases the risks. Wait! FIA has a solution. Keep the drag force the same. Which basically means you will have to slow down the car to make it stable. Sucks!

But the good news is that with the entry fee cut down and performance being no criterion, we might once again see our very own Karthikeyan back on the track.

What did you say? Indicators on F1 cars! Well, you never know.


7 Responses to “Surely you’re joking, Mr. Ecclestone”

  1. Sudeep Says:

    “They say that it will attract more companies to race as costs go down and the competition becomes close.”

    I think F1 as we know it today is less about racing and more about technology. The more dough you pump in the better your car and the better your chance to win. Thats not in the true spirit of racing. Lets level the grounds and then see who tops it. It’ll become more competetive and definitely more interesting. Lets face it, the most exciting parts of F1 are when the McLaren overtakes a Ferrari or vice verca or any other team takes the lead for that matter. And now we’ll see more of that. Thats a lot to look forward to in the days to come.

  2. Amit Goyal Says:

    Don’t you think it should be about technology? I mean otherwise give everyone the same car and let them race!! And it is always not about technology. Did you watch the San Marino GP? Schumi won despite a slower car due to superior driving skills and the fact that he made no mistake at any stage of the race, to hold off Alonso who did the same last year to Schumi.
    So you see it ain’t all about technology. Skills do count. Otherwise Barichello would have won many more!!

  3. Sohail Says:

    Well I dint get all the technical points spoken here by the author, and to be frank I really dont care about them. But I certainly agree with the author that the frequent rule changes have left many a fan confused.
    F1 is what it is because of the speed factor involved in it, atleast for the non purists like me!
    @Sudeep: wont the essence of competition thrown out of window if you apply the equal playing field rule? I mean its like asking Wasim Akram not to bowl a reverse swinging yorker to a tailender just beacuse he is not talented enough to play it! everything is fine in luv and sports for me.

  4. Amit Goyal Says:

    You exactly mirror my feelings 🙂

  5. Ankit Says:

    Formula 1 to me is a perfect mix of human skill and technological innovation. However, the way things are going, it seems that the whole innovation bit is being taken out.
    I agree on the safety part of it and the FIA concern on the same but some of the steps being taken towards it are riddikulus.
    Last year’s single set of tyres for the race seemed like an attempt to make the sport more dangerous. (Remember Kimi’s last lap crash at Europian GP)
    I do like some of the new rules (like the qualifying format) as they add some excitement to the sport. But going from V10 to V8 and now a 4 speed gearbox truely sucks.

  6. Amit Goyal Says:

    @ Ankit

    Its not a four speed gearbox, but a four race gearbox, which means you cannot change or modify your gearbox for four races.
    And yeah some of the changes are “riddikulus”!!!

  7. scuderiafan87 Says:

    I wrote on this very topic. I think you should keep an more open mind.

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