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F1 Opinion 100

Something has to be done in Formula 1

It was David Coulthard on the podium that started me thinking. There was Sebastian Vettel enjoying a richly deserved fourth consecutive World Championship but DC appeared far more interested in talking to Romain Grosjean who had somewhat improbably forced his way through from 17th on the grid to claim the final place on that podium.

opinion  Something has to be done in Formula 1

As well he might. At the sharp end where it should be most interesting, Formula 1 has been boring this year, its outcome a foregone conclusion from mid-season. I still sit down and watch all of every one, but I fear more as a Pavlovian reaction to hearing John McVie’s bass line than in expectation of a thrilling battle for victory. I have nothing but contempt for those who blame Red Bull and Vettel for introducing such dull predictability into F1 for while I’d not count myself a fan of either, nor can I blame them for doing their job better than any one else.

Even so, something needs to be done.

The question is what? At the very heart of Formula 1 lies an arrogant misunderstanding of the very reason for its existence. For the teams the prime motivation for taking part is commercial: the better they do, the more sponsorship they’ll attract, the more money they’ll make. What F1 should be about is putting on a show, for the people who to go the races, watch the telly, buy the products advertised and ultimately pay the wages of every single person involved.

opinion  Something has to be done in Formula 1

But how do you turn F1 into a show without also turning it into a pantomime? I have been much taken with the measures made by Alan Gow and others into turning the BTCC into a true spectacle once more. If you like close, hard racing from first lap to last, it’s a one-stop shop. But would artificial impediments like success ballast really work at the very top level? I don’t think so: I could see a revolt by teams penalised for doing their jobs too well and rather a lot of theatrical flouncings off the stage.

So leave the cars as they are and, if I may be allowed briefly to mix my metaphors, address not the players, but the pitch. In particular qualifying. In fact, scrap it.

This I hope is not as lunatic as it sounds. Cars would still practice as before but come Saturday afternoon would compete not for grid positions on a Sunday, but in a separate competition in the form of a sprint, with lap times aggregated to ensure every team covered a minimum distance flat out to ensure the customers (that’s us) didn’t spend most of the session looking at either an empty track or the slowest cars desperate to gain some air times for their sponsors. A small but significant number of points would be awarded to make sure the sprint retained the undivided attention of all teams, but grids for Sunday would be allocated on a basis that was randomised save for ensuring that over the course of the season everyone was treated equally.

opinion  Something has to be done in Formula 1

Not knowing whether you were going to start first or last would, of course, wreak a small amount of havoc with strategy but I think that’s an entirely good thing: races should be won on the track not the pit wall. What it would achieve is more overtaking (also known as racing), less predictability and a far greater opportunity for drivers to show us what they’re really made of. And guess what: I expect the top teams would still be the ones on the top steps at the end of the day and all that would happened is we’d have had a lot more fun watching them get there, as we did with Grosjean on Sunday.

One last thing: I hate it when Vettel is told to stop going for the fastest lap of the race. I think it should be encouraged, and would award to a point or two to anyone who did.

Madness? I’m sure you’ll let me know.

Add your comments

100 comments on Something has to be done in Formula 1

  1. Keith Collantine | F1 Fanatic, 28 October 2013 11:45

    “a separate competition in the form of a sprint, with lap times aggregated to ensure every team covered a minimum distance…”

    Sorry but with all respect to the author I lost interest here. Whatever might be wrong with F1 at the moment, making it even more unnecessarily complicated isn’t going to improve it.

    F1 needs to become simpler, not more complex. For example, get rid of the rule forcing drivers to use both tyre compounds. Get rid of the rule forcing drivers who reach Q3 to start on the tyre they qualified on. It’s nonsense like this which gives us the dismal spectacle of drivers making a single pit stop to fulfil their obligation to the rules, as we saw yesterday (and in the Bridgestone years, for that matter).

    Above all, stop using sticking plaster gimmicks like DRS to address deeper underlying problems such as cars not being able to follow each other closely because of their overwhelming reliance on downforce.

  2. Manuel Santos-Leite, 28 October 2013 12:08

    Of course something must be done:
    The cars should have less downforce (especially in the front end) the tyre specification should be ‘free’ for the teams to choose, DRS should be banned and telemetry should be limited to the gathering of data, not allowing the level of remote performance management we see today.

  3. martin tomlinson, 28 October 2013 12:20

    Well said Keith!
    I agree with all that you’ve said – keep it simple. No compulsary pit stops, no gimmicks and while we’re at it no pit /car radios. The race is x number of laps. The cars start together and the first one past the chequered flag in the winner without any of this ridiculous ‘strategy’ crap!

  4. David Morgan-Kirby, 28 October 2013 12:28

    Well, a damn good start would be to give the cars more power than the grip can handle. Get rid of DRS, it’s an abortion. With paddle shifting there are no missed gear changes, so ditch paddle shifting. Minimize downforce and put driver skill back into the equation. Just look at lap times and it is obvious that it is the car that counts far more than the driver. Then it’s time to re-think circuits and lack of overtaking oportunities, there should be a small area with no grip between the track edge and spin-off areas so that a driver pays for their mistake. Finally for pitstops no more than 6 crewmen working on a car, pitstops would be alittle slower but the punters would see far more and again, there would be more chance of a miscue.
    Oh yes, one more thing, pension off Tilke! COTA is a decent track ONLY because Tilke was told how and what to do……they held his feet to the fire there.
    That’s a start

  5. Barrie Murray-Upton, 28 October 2013 12:47

    GREAT IDEA! But will the powers agree.

  6. PHIL DARBY, 28 October 2013 12:48

    Points should be awarded to the first 3 rows of the grid after qualifying and for the fastest lap of the race and for most laps led .

  7. Christopher Gavin, 28 October 2013 12:51

    Lack of pre- and in-season testing is hurting the mid-field players and doesn’t allow new F1 drivers to aclimatise to the rarified world of F1 cars…

    …and don’t penalise drivers for doing doughnuts at the end of a race. Cracking spectacle, for a change.

    While I still watch all the races, my allegiances have now gone much more down the endurance sportscar racing route. And why, with their budgets, FOM’s F1 coverage can’t keep up with that provided by V8 Supercars down under I really can’t understand.

    Thanks for the forum to rant!

  8. Pat O'Brien, 28 October 2013 13:01

    I don’t know what exactly it is about qualifying but I’ve stopped watching. That’s after several years of fast forwarding through Q1 and all but the last 5 minutes of Q2 and alll but the last 5 minutes of Q3. I guess it’s become predictable but also I feel that the cars, like they are now at Indy, don’t give me the impression they’re on the ragged edge. Too much grip, nopt enough power? Maybe. The go-cart tracks that Tilke turns out are part of it, a big part of it. Why do they allow the diffusers? That’s where most of the grip comes from. GP2 is competitive without the gimmicks, wht=y is it so hard to analyze what makes it so?

    Reading the other comments, we seem to be on to something here.

  9. alwyn Keepence, 28 October 2013 13:01

    I’m concerned about what will happen to Formula One next year with the introduction of such small engines with strict limits on turbocharged power. In Australia, open wheel racing is dead. It was killed off some years ago by Formula Holden. The rules of the formula severely limited the power output of the 3.5 litre V6 Commodore engine but the chassis were all ex Formula 3000, which were well capable of handling Cosworth power. Consequently the chassis capability was way ahead of the engine power. This led to boring racing, the crowds stopped coming and the V8 “Supercar” sheds took over. This could happen with next year’s underpowered F1 cars unless something serious is done about the reliance on aerodynamics, self-destructing tyres and other gimmicks.

  10. IM, 28 October 2013 13:03

    A significant part of the problem will be solved should Adrian Newey go ahead with his plan to quit F1 to design Americas Cup boats. This ought to solve Vettel’s issues with being booed as well – if he wins in someone else’s cars, people will be forced to admit he deserves to win, if he doesn’t then he won’t be there to be booed.

  11. Rodriguez 917, 28 October 2013 13:08

    I think a point for pole position and a point for fastest lap would spice things up.

    The cars are too clinical, go on youtube and search for the 1986 Australian GP qualifying and watch Berger in the Benetton BMW. He’s wrestling with 1,350 bhp, a manual gearbox, not much downforce and qualifying tyres. I could watch that all day, the current cars are like finely tuned swiss watches, I want to see a bit more brute force

  12. @unclearengineer, 28 October 2013 13:09

    Simplicity is the key:

    Reverse grid based on previous race performance – overtaking.
    Single tyre compound for race.
    Minimum time pit stops with a limited number of people on car.

    And my wild card:

    The complete design of the car (including upgrades) has to be made available to all teams at the end of the race. My theory here is that other teams (and specifically teams without a massive R&D budget (and McLaren!)) have the opportunity to catch up between races, hopefully reducing the chance of the race leader being over 2s clear by the end of Lap 1.

  13. Bill, 28 October 2013 13:15

    IM: You think? Like, for instance, Senna? He only won titles with McLaren. Clark? Only won titles with Lotus. Alonso only with Renault. Kimi only with Ferrari. Why should Vettel go to another team when he is doing exactly like former said gents?

    Vettel did just win a race where he actually did what Frankel wants: start from the far back and work your way to the win. Vettel pitted in lap 2 and dropped back to P17, then reeled everyone in with great overtakings. But apparently the hatred makes blind for such facts, and we get to read articles like this one.

    We now better prepare for the inevitable eulogies on Webbers F1 career in 4 weeks time. You know, the guy who drives the other Newey car.

  14. joe, 28 October 2013 13:37

    tyres that would last longer would give us more on track action and an and a one lap quali where you show every one and you only get one shot

  15. C C, 28 October 2013 13:42

    Keith makes a good point – keeping things simple and that there are underlying problems that we can’t keep putting sticking plasters over.

    For me, the variables have now gone from the Sport. Everything is now predictable, traffic permitting, meaning nothing ‘interesting’ can happen that we haven’t been bored stupid with in the over-long pre-race build up.

    If it can’t rain every race.. then minor tweeks to increase the variables include:

    Ban Pit to Driver radio: Any Radio messages for Safety can be delivered to the grid as a whole in real time by race control. Teams can only radio their cars if it is an approved Satety issue specific to that car. The upshot being that Drivers can push as hard as they like and adjust the engine settings as much as they like. The micro management of each Driver whilst Driving now is tedious. We might even see the odd Engine blow!

    Ban DRS. I’d rather see Drivers battle and show skill to pass, I’d honestly rather have a procession with the expectation something ‘might’ happen than someone press a button to ‘coast pass’. It would be no exageration to say the average Road user uses more skill and thought processing when over-taking a lorry on a 2 lane road against on-coming traffic.

    Downforce, give them less. Even if races involve cars following each other, as many races have for decades, at least let the public enjoy watching the car wriggle around due to power exceeding grip.

    Ban the engine and gearbox rules – we want cars on the edge.

    Bring back Gravel traps – we want DNF’s for people who can’t keep it on the island.

  16. Bill, 28 October 2013 13:51

    Usain Bolt wins everything: Yay!

    Audi wins 11 of the last 13 24hours of Le Mans: Yay!

    Federer, Nadal hegemony: Yay!

    Man United always in the top 4: Yay!

    Sebastian Loeb wins everything: Yay!

    Valentino Rossi 500 times champion: Yay!

    Vettel wins his 4th title in a race where he fought from the back: F1 is boring, and we need to change the rules so that fast cars need to fight from the back!

    George Carlin wouldv made shows on this sort of logic.

  17. R.E.B, 28 October 2013 14:02

    “What F1 should be about is putting on a show” Should it though? The obsession with trying to make F1 a mass market light entertainment medium is in my opinion a fundamental reason for the malaise, and hasn’t made F1 more interesting even though it may impress a few airheads and attract the odd rapper/pop puppet into thinking it “mental innit!”. Self destructing tyres, silly gimmicks posing as green tech and a set of design regs like a telephone directory have made F1 overcomplicated and too expensive for what it delivers. No, in my opinion F1 should not be about a show, it should be about engineering purity, and a platform for the best drivers in the world to show their talent.

  18. Cliff, 28 October 2013 14:29

    Sorry chaps but F1 is, generally, doing fine. I’m as enthusiastic as I was when I first started following it almost sixty years ago – well almost!

  19. Terry Jacob, 28 October 2013 14:40

    The BTCC hasn’t been transformed into a ‘spectacle’ , it has deteriorated into a branch of banger racing .

  20. Tom C, 28 October 2013 14:42

    Would this formula work?
    Ban wings.
    All cars must have flat bottoms & a limited ride height.
    Limit tyre sizes.
    No limits on engine size or power
    Ban traction control, ABS and anything but manual gearboxes.
    Retain rules that mean the cars remain open wheel single seaters (look good & aerodynamically poor)

    This should address some of the difficulties of overtaking & place more emphasis on the skill of the driver. It should give the opportunity for power to overwhelm traction.
    For those who wish F1 to remain at the peak of innovation, I’d reply that there remains plenty of scope for innovation in both engines & aero.
    I fear the fatal flaw is that there is still the chance of a well designed car or well financed team dominating, but maybe that shouldn’t be removed altogether.

  21. Finndog, 28 October 2013 14:46

    F1 needs to change to prevent one team and driver continually dominating from one year to the next. Occasionally we get the odd year where more than one or two teams can win a race and mount a serious championship campaign but this is far and few between. How you go about changing without upsetting teams, drivers and spectators is a tough job. Reverse grids, no pit radio, split strategies drawn out of a hat etc These ideas may not please the old purists but F1 can’t just rely on heritage and needs to invest in future spectators and companies willing to have their brands on their cars. No spectators equals less sponsor opportunities. Formula needs to take a look at itself and improve the show. The sooner the better!

  22. Tom C, 28 October 2013 14:48

    Re. C C: good point about the importance of variables. Agreed.

  23. Jim Sheldon, 28 October 2013 15:01

    How about we disconnect all communications to the car and driver. And get back to tires (slicks) and an aero package that actually work in the drivers favor.

    Technology is ruining what is supposed to be a sport where drivers race to see who is the best and what we have today is a single car (Red Bull) and a single driver (Vettle) who have the resources to single handedly make it seem as though they are the best. The only thing they have proven is that they spend more money than the others and they support one driver and one driver only.

    Red Bull as with Ferrari have taken the one driver concept to a new level of lowness, just short of cheating

    Vettle may well be one of the best but based on how F1 is currently run it is doubtful that he ranks with the true gems of this sport, i.e. Fangio, Clark, Stewart, Brabham, Senna, Prost.

    I suggest Vettle, Newey and Red Bull as a company take a page from a real champion like motocrosser Ryan Villapoto and Team Kawasaki, a racer and a team who are true champions who do not discourage teammates from racing each other for the win on equal equipment.

    As fans we want to see all of the drivers race each other without team interference, only then will we see who is the best driver and the best car.

    Think back to Mansell/Patrese, Nigel had the upper hand because he understood the car better. Williams did not impede either driver from racing the other. Again Ferrari and Red Bull need to take note.

    As fans if we wanted to watch a strategy style automotive race we can turn on Nascar.

  24. TRS, 28 October 2013 15:18

    I can’t see how the point for fastest lap would work. Cars out of the running for points would pit with three laps to go, bang on a set of soft tyres and each go hell for leather.

    I would like the FIA to set rules that mean that cars cannot quite get through Eau Rouge and the 130R flat out. Then we might see who can really hustle their car.

  25. Simon, 28 October 2013 15:28

    I agree that something must be done about F1, probably numerous things.

    For me by far the biggest current issues are KERS and DRS. Both are utterly ridiculous.

    DRS especially completely spoils the show. Who cares if there is a lot of overtaking if it doesn’t actually require any driver skill to achieve it?

    For me, seeing Mansell hounding Prost or Piquet lap after lap after lap desperately trying to get past was much more exciting, even if he ultimately failed, than seeing someone press a button and just sail on past.

    Even though I technically still watch Formula 1 races in that I have the TV switched on, the truth is that my attention is usually elsewhere most of the time. The occasional raised voices of the commentators can drag me back in but then I find it is just more of the above and I drift back out again.

    It is only a small step now before I just don’t bother anymore at all.

  26. Dave Walker, 28 October 2013 15:34

    How about no bodywork past the front or rear tires which may cut down the wake and allow cars to follow more closely – of course it might not take the engineers too long to solve that

  27. Jim G, 28 October 2013 15:35

    Why not use success ballast? At the end of each race add X kgs for each position ahead of midway (11th/12th) and take away X kgs for every position behind midway.

    If x equals 3, then the winner would be carrying circa 60Kg’s more than last place and that would help even out performance.

    Teams can then do everything like present but be on a more level playing field.

    You could even out the carrot/stick by giving drivers with more ballast more tv coverage too – as they get overtaken!

  28. JSaviano, 28 October 2013 15:40

    Keith C makes VERY good points. DRS is an artifice to fix something that is wrong. Don’t add an artificial “fix,” simply get at the root of the problem (over-reliance on aero). I agree completely with the whole silly tires rules, the parc ferme rules, etc, etc. And get better officiating.

    I would add that I have no problem with next year’s engines, but I would allow for more boost and more KERS, and do away with pneumatic valves. The cars need more power than grip.

    Lastly, and I’ve floated this before, make each Friday of the 3 day race weekend a completely unfettered testing day. 4-6 hours or so of unrestricted testing. Any driver, any car mods, essentially allow Fridays to be what the teams used to do when testing was allowed. The difference is that the audience, and other teams, get to watch. Good for spectators, the circuit, and the teams.

  29. James, 28 October 2013 16:17

    There are some great comments and suggestions here, if only the powers that be in F1 and the FIA would take note from the fans who are passionate about the sport and not simply focus their attention on the paddock club clan.

    Taking off the rose coloured glasses, one sees that F1 today is owned and run by financiers who are only interested in draining as much money out of the sport as possible before they bail, and with Bernie almost powerless and possibly facing jail time, for me the sport faces an uncertain future which is sad to see.

    Even more concerning, with circuits having to pay CVC/FOM’s outrageous sanctioning fees, circuits struggling to make any money even after charging punters top dollar for tickets. How can a family for example afford to take the kids to a race which then leads one to wonder where the next generation of F1 fans will come from if many can’t afford to attend a race in person or buy a TV package that will enable them to watch on TV?

    F1 needs to take a long, hard look at the product it is offering, diehard fan will likely always follow the sport but it’s the younger generation and general public that needs to be engaged especially as the sport tries to break into and establish roots in markets such as the U.S., India, China etc whilst at the same time not alienating it’s traditional European heartland.

    So many questions and possible solutions if only the powers that be would listen and analyse, will it happen, not anytime soon I fear….

  30. Ciaran O'Duffy, 28 October 2013 16:40

    I agree entirely. I watched the formula ford festival final at Brands on Mondello TV on the internet at the weekend instead of the F1. I was out of my seat on the last lap. I haven’t felt like that about a race since Gilles was racing way back then.

  31. Ciaran O'Duffy, 28 October 2013 16:40

    I don’t think the problem is with the cars, the engineers will always outsmart the regs.
    I’m sure you are familiar with the old racers adage; “the Driver you measure with seconds the suspension in tenths and the engine in one hundreths2
    I have been living in Germany for 26 years, when I came here in the eighties it was all touring cars, nobody wanted to know about Single seaters. Then came Schumacher and a season of karting went from costing about 3 grand a year to about 50K. So here is what I believe: The Germans are very good at organizing things and building systematic structures. At club level, all sports are organized by what is referred to as Vereins, They are basically Clubs run like a business but without Tax liability. This means that revenues for events must be plowed back into the sport. When this happens at a grass roots level it in effect produces a system that provides a larger forum for up and coming talents to show their skills. Unlike for example Hamilton who are found almost by coincidence.
    My nine year old son plays football at his club in our small town on floodlight Astroturf and also has an indoor pitch. In effect the money stays in the sport.
    Vettel comes from this structure and I’ll bet the next one is already on the way. It’s their success that brought the former Touring car giants like Mercedes Benz & BMW into F1 not the other way around.
    F1 will be less boring when everywhere else cottons on to this , like they say It’s the drivers where the seconds are, and maybe we will see England again in a world cup final.

  32. Bill, 28 October 2013 16:44

    “What F1 should be about is putting on a show,”

    Your opinion, but im sure the real racing fans would argue F1 is about seeing the best drivers race eachother, and may the best man win.

  33. Bill, 28 October 2013 16:45

    Currently, F1 is in its second season, where there is more overtaking than in the previous decade combined. Besides, how would you see that pan out at a 78 lap Monaco race?

    2013 comes just after a season where the title race went down to the very last race. This season has seen plenty of fantastic battles for the win, including some of the last 6. Vettel exposing the difference in braincells with The Second Coming at Spa was fantastic.

  34. Bill, 28 October 2013 16:47

    Andrew, you better stick with reviewing the MP12-C several times a year, and managing to get such actually published and paid for by Nigel Roebuck than offering clueless opinions on the state of F1. Your comments on f1 all read like some disgruntled Bieber-fan. Hamilton is never gonna win anything as long as Vettel is in f1, get over it.

  35. John W, 28 October 2013 16:49

    F1 lost any pretence at not being an artificial race formula around the time when it became possible to build cars that would go faster than was really safe. Since the turbo era the cars have been artificially slowed by the regulations. Nothing can alter that. If we can get back to building cars that will go scarily fast to the point where a driver can’t always deal with the amount of power on tap, that’ll be “real” again. Until then, anything proposed will be just as artificial as what it’s replacing.
    F’rinstance, one of the proposals above is “ditch paddle shifting”. Fine, but there’d always be the knowledge in the back of some people’s minds that it would be possible for the cars to go faster if paddle shifters were permitted. And many people believe F1 to be about technological races between constructors as much as what goes on out on track between drivers. You can’t artificially take the sport back to the 1980s, tempting though this is.
    All that said, I agree that changes to the rules which say that teams must use each of two tyre compounds, and the top ten must start on the tyres they qualified on, are necessary. And DRS is an abomination and an affront to proper racing.

  36. John W, 28 October 2013 16:51

    with respect, you might be better off dropping the “Justin Bieber fan” cracks until you’ve stopped reacting like a frightened terrier whenever anyone criticizes Sebastian Vettel.

  37. The Original Ray T, 28 October 2013 16:55

    Coulthard is out-dated.. finishing third after starting 17th is not the big deal it used to be with the fake passing implemented by DRS. We’ve seen Vettel do this over and over.

    Vettel was told to cool it because they were worried about the alternator.

    DRS ruined DTM as well.
    Success ballast is fake racing, and punishes success instead of rewarding innovation.

    While we’re add it, “1571″ means nothing historically in terms of career points.

    I’ve been hearing this now for _30 years_, when the answer was given by drivers in 1980 -they need to eliminate the massive downforce in the current formula and go back to wider tyres and mechanical grip of the mid-70s. They need to eliminate all telemetry. They need to reintroduce throttle cables, as there is wayyy to much marginal manipulation of traction by throttle-by-wire.

    F1 does not care about the fans -just look at the pitiful turnout in India. Weekly Cricket matches see far greater numbers.

    Unfortunately, F1 seems in denial and will ignore the issues until TV revenues dry up due to massive boredom.

    Grand Prix racing needs a breakout formula, centred in Europe, away from FIA and F1 Inc.

  38. PeteH, 28 October 2013 17:13

    Tyres so hard that they could be used for two races (not that I’m suggesting they should in fact be used for two!). Should result in a reduction in marbles.

    Single element wings with max/min limits on: pitch, span, chord, camber, and mounting height/method. Could be used by the ‘authorities’ to increase drag quite easily.

    Unlimited KERS/HERS

    Limited fuel for the weekend – thirsty, and thus probably more powerful, engines might not have the fuel to qualify highly and have to reserve more fuel for the race.

    Virtually unlimited engine design – could be pricey but might encourage some manufacturers to enter the sport.

    Constructor points penalties, rather than grid demotions, for mech failures resulting in engine/gearbox changes. Will also stop teams breaking seals to manipulate the grid.

    Big ‘wing’ mirrors

    Manual gearboxes

    More practice running allowed for teams that fail to score points in the previous race.

    No pre-season testing at circuits used for races that year.

    In-season testing at circuits that have already been used – possibly on the Monday after the race.

    No Friday practice

    Run off areas that penalise pace, allied to narrower kerbs or no kerbs at all.

    No pit to car coms apart from pit boards

    No car to pit coms apart from the driver on the radio

  39. Bill, 28 October 2013 17:16

    @ John W. I take your point. Why on earth try to reason with Vettel/F1 critics, and argue with facts like adults, when the whole point of this article and some comments seems to be to have a great ole Vettel bash. Carry on.

  40. PeteH, 28 October 2013 17:16

    Oh, one more thing:

    The races should start when the lights go GREEN.

  41. PeteH, 28 October 2013 17:30

    Bill, the problem is that your method of defending Vettle is simply to have a dig at Hamilton and McLaren. Now who comes across as a Bieber fanboi?

  42. Jim Sheldon, 28 October 2013 17:32

    What Simon and John said.

    We need cars that overpower the drivers. Get rid of all of the electronic crap. Remove all ability for the teams to communicate with the driver during the race. Get back to real racing.

    All I can say about Ferrari and Red Bull is that over the past 15 years they have taken all believability out of the word “World Champion” Two drivers who have won championships with these team are not in the same league as drivers pre Schumacher. In the far past drivers, teammates raced each other. Vettel and Schumacher have proven openly that they are unwilling to race on equal terms with there teammates and that makes them lesser champions in my eyes. This is the pinnacle of racing, what kind of crap is it when you can make a driver fall behind you even though he is as fast or faster than you. What in the hell is that??????

    Seems to me that the only way to make change in F1 is to to actively boycott the sponsors products. The only thing that will work is to stop purchasing Red Bull and any other F1 products, force Bernie and his clan to listen to the fans and stop this dumbing down of F1 racing.

    We get it Bernie, your in it for the money. For gods sake man, give something back!!!!

  43. N. Weingart, 28 October 2013 17:34

    To my way of thinking making F1 a show is to lessen it as a competition or even as a sport. The core purpose of F1 must be a passion and motivation to be the best when measured by a fair set of rules. To entertain is irrelevant and the efforts to treat F1 as entertainment have led to far more problems for the sport.

  44. The Original Ray T, 28 October 2013 17:41

    “You can’t artificially take the sport back to the 1980s”

    Why not? F1 has banned a plethora of faster technologies since the 80s, how is aero downforce sacred, when active suspension, super fuel and TC, ESC, ABS was not?

    The formula can be adapted for high speeds without relying on aero, for the sake of real, close racing. The current designs are ridiculous, where the slightest touch shatters the front wings or suspension, small wonder, they aren’t even visible to the driver.

    They need to de-regulate KERS and HERS, to make f1 technology useful for society and bring back the auto manufacturers. Chop the data connection to the cars. Try ideas like electric-only zones, using energy recovered from 2/3 of the lap into one third.

    F1 has had radical changes to the formula since the 1950s -this was ruined by the Concorde agreement and the increased power of the big budget teams, who want to avoid a driver-centric formula at all costs.

    I like Vettel and RBR, but this is bloody boring.

  45. The Original Ray T, 28 October 2013 17:47

    “Vettel and Schumacher have proven openly that they are unwilling to race on equal terms with there teammates and that makes them lesser champions in my eyes.”

    Most world champions are not racing on equal terms with other drivers. There has never been a World champion in a lesser car, with the exception of Hunt. People talk about this, but I do not see millions tuning into Formula Ford Racing, or even F3.

    Jimmy Clark’s Lotus was not on equal terms with anything in F1.

  46. Pat Kenny, 28 October 2013 17:52

    The first thing to go should be the current tyre philosophy. I would go as far to say let there by tyre competition again. DRS is embarrassing, the top drivers should have to work for a pass. I would stick with energy recovery and the notion of a fixed amount of fuel to finish the race but let engines develop within that with very little restrictions. I would ensure that drivers can be normal weight and still compete. I think that aero is the area that has to be tightly regulated. Again rather than regulate everything why not just set a max amount of downforce that can be generated at a particular speed, so that improvements in one area require compromise in another (if that can’t be done issue simple spec front and rear adjustable wings). The tracks need to be less forgiving without becoming dangerous, if you leave the track power is automatically turned down for a number of seconds – a light could indicate this to other drivers. As has been mentioned Fridays should be open testing with restrictions on the more successful teams if they use race drivers. Strict rules on drivers defending positions and stewards that encourage proper, safe clean racing. Large driver penalties for repeated failures in this regard. Move the races back to countries where people actually care to turn up. Move the money generated back to circuits, grass roots racing and the teams.

  47. MTGR, 28 October 2013 18:11

    The last thing F1 needs is more rules and more gimmicks. The reality is not every race or season is going to be monumental. That is true with all sports. How many Superbowls are even close? 1 in 5? 2? But that doesn’t mean they change the size of the field or number of player after every season. Teams go back to drawing boards with what they learned in defeat and come up with something different that might work better. Alternate ways, new approaches.
    But in F1, short-sited people have limited the teams ability to find alternate ways to success to “level the playing field”. Spec tires and locked-in engine designs to save money in a sport filled with multi-millionaires? Intentionally leveling a playing field in a sport presenting itself as the pinnacle of world competition? Ridiculous.
    Allowing multiple engine designs and tires designed to work with them would automatically produce different approaches, meaning different strengths, meaning different weaknesses as well, meaning no sure winner in every situation or environment. AKA – Competition. That is racing, not contrived situations to force one car to go around another slower one.
    Plus, it would mean improving the technology, rather than just rather than having everybody showcase the same thing in different colors.

  48. Rich Ambroson, 28 October 2013 18:42

    “I hate it when Vettel is told to stop going for the fastest lap of the race. I think it should be encouraged”

    Agreed. Forza Vettel!

  49. Rich Ambroson, 28 October 2013 18:44

    I do agree with Keith and Martin re: strategy. F1 should be more about racing on track, and less about strategy. I’m not saying strategy doesn’t have a place in racing, but let’s save it’s predominance for endurance racing, and let’s have proper Grand Prix racing (which F1 isn’t anymore) focus on the on track exploits of the drivers.

  50. Mikey, 28 October 2013 18:48

    As expected, a large response to this piece. We all like putting the world to rights and agree with many of the suggestions. I’ve posted on this rather too often so will not bore you further. It seems to me that the FIA should “man up” and take the matter in hand. The President is too hands off, his touch, too light. One could be forgiven for suspecting that he is seeking re-election merely for the free tickets. Post FISA/FOCA war the balance of power did shift away from the governing body but it needs to assert itself once more. A firm hand on the F1 tiller is what is required. It could be argued that there is one but perhaps it is time for a change of emphasis.

  51. PeteC, 28 October 2013 19:15


    If you want to make Formula 1 more competitive have a look at Gordon Murray’s article in the September 2012 edition of Motor Sport. A lot of good ideas there that would do away with the need for artificial gimmicks.

  52. Nick H, 28 October 2013 19:50

    An awful lot of common sense spoken here – it needs simplifying, not over complicating – the trick is to keep it entertaining, without using artificial methods, and without penalising excellence, which is why I’m against things like success ballast and such like.

    As has been said It needs to be more about what the bloke in the car is doing, and not the people gazing at computer monitors.

    You, know it’s easy to get rose tinted about the past – I can remember plenty of dull races in the 80s-90s, but I’ve been watching a lot of 70s F1 races on YouTube, and the balance between technology and driver input looks spot on, the cars had plenty of grunt and grip, but it’s really noticeable when a driver is leaning on them, they twitch and move about a lot. OK they still do today, but you only tend to notice it on slo-mo replays. The whole balance between aerodynamic and mechanical grip is wrong now. You don’t need overtaking on every corner of every lap if the cars themselves are exciting to watch.
    Shorter answer: Slower cars, faster circuits – put the Vettels and Alonsos in something like a carbon fibre Lotus 72 or McLaren M23 and let them get on with it. Entertainment guaranteed.


  53. Colin Scrivener, 28 October 2013 20:59

    Great ideas. ReducE downforce by 50%, so that cars can race like Formula Ford. GP grid to be in reverse order of championship positions so that designers and teams have an incentive to agree with regulations that permit cars to race and overtake I.e. Vastly reduced aerodynamics. Sprint race to entertain spectators on Saturday.

  54. Rich Ambroson, 28 October 2013 22:02

    “You don’t need overtaking on every corner of every lap if the cars themselves are exciting to watch.”—Nick H

    A lot of interesting ideas, and the above is a very true statement.

    It was also noted that Gordon Murray’s proposals for F1 would be an excellent starting point. Couldn’t agree more. As with the notion that the sport needs simplifying, not more complications. Save the 20-sided dice rules for other endeavors.

  55. Jan, 28 October 2013 22:50

    think they should just make it a 2 day event, one hour practice on a saturday morning followed by quali in the afternoon then the race next day, it’d mix up the grids a bit and give a chance to mid field teams who maybe get on top of the tyres better than the top teams occaisionally.

  56. John Read, 29 October 2013 01:22

    I agree the DRS and KERS boost have to go because us mug punters can not be sure whether a button has been pushed or not in the case of KERS.

    Of course reduce the downforce and get ‘em sliding but there would also need to be some top speed reduction or they will be doing 400 clicks at the end of the straights and the circuits will become too unsafe for spectators.

  57. John W, 29 October 2013 07:20

    Part of the problem – and the reason I say that you can’t artificially legislate the sport back to the 1980s – is that in order for it to be “real”, the cars should go as fast as current technology allows. This, as pointed out by John Read, would be dangerous for spectators (and drivers, come to that), and that’s been the case since, what, the early 1980s. Once you start artificially limiting the cars’ capabilities – whether by reintroducing stick gearshifts, fitting grooved tyres or limiting the maximum revs – you’ve lost the thing that made it racing. I’m not proposing any solutions to this; in fact, I’m not sure there are any.

  58. John NZ, 29 October 2013 07:26

    F1 will continue in it’s present state, if it’s run by clowns like the official who said, “if a driver has all four wheels over the white lines but does not gain an advantage, they will no be penalised”.?????????

  59. Mike Obermaier, 29 October 2013 08:32

    Andrew, I like some of your idea. I have often heard that the grid should sometimes be reversed, so that pole would be on the back row. Doing it sometimes would prevent sandbagging. But the whole business of Formula 1 needs a root and branch overhaul. It needs simplifying. I want to see the aerodynamic clutter banished. The Indy cars have simple rectangular fins and low noses. F1 cars should have the same. The chassis should be flat bottomed along the silhouette as seen from the top. Get rid of the artificial aids like KERS and DRS. Prohibit tactical/strategic pitstops, and have the cars fittted with tyres that will go the distance, and which can be nurded back to health if they are overcooked. Of course retain pitstops for punctures, changes to wet tyres and the like. The other thing is to return to some better circuits. Some of the great old circuits have been eradicated, which is a tragedy, but I would prefer to see one race at a circuit like Clermont Ferrand, Montjuich Park or Brands Hatch, than a thousand at India, Korea, Abu Dhabi or all these other new anonymous lagerdromes. For those who say that the sport has progressed from such days, I would say that it has regressed, and the lack of spectacle is the proof. For those who say it would be more dangerous, I would counter by referring to the words of the great Stirling Moss. Ecclestone has sold F1 to the wide world, sold us out at the same time, and given us a pantomime in place of an exhilarating sport. I too find McVie’s bass riff more exciting that the “motor racing”. It can be saved. It is not too late.

  60. Guy Wrench, 29 October 2013 08:57

    The biggest issue in F1 is distribution of funds, specifically TV revenues. How can it be right for one team to get £100M while another gets zero. This is DAFT in the extreme. If revenues were better divided, the teams would become closer, they wouldn’t be dependent upon pay drivers (some excellent, some not so good) and the competition would become closer. This in turn would generate on-track spectacle, leading to greater TV viewership and consequent enhanced sponsorship revenues for all involved. F1 will never be a level playing field but much could be done to even the odds.

  61. John Read, 29 October 2013 09:49

    To summarise, I think most of us would be happy if they just ran Formula 5000′s……..

  62. Terry Jacob, 29 October 2013 09:53

    My joy would know no bounds if they ran F5000 ………………

  63. steve Bostock, 29 October 2013 09:57

    IIt makes the cars ugly, too fragile to withstand anything Arnoux and Villeneuve got up to, and mitigates against driver balance and talent. Ask JYS. Get rid of all the diffusers, barge boards etc. Develop wider tougher tyres and lets go RACING.

  64. Andrea Barbolini, 29 October 2013 11:18

    What are you actually complaining about?
    I follow directly F1 since 1973 (and I read a lot about earlier years). My opinion is very simple: racing in F1 has NEVER (i underline NEVER) been better that it is now.
    It happens this year that we have a dominant car. So what? it has happen already, it will happen again because the name of the game is that the best ones win and the others have to catch up.
    There is no need for any quick fix.
    We may need some structural changes to make the teams (especially the weaker ones) more financially stable and therefore more capable of mounting a serious challenge to each other. Too much money generated by formula one are wasted (CVC) and the amounts avalable to the teams should be divided more equally between teams.

  65. Dave Sharples, 29 October 2013 11:54

    But what a difference the season would have been if the Pirelli tyres had actually worked and not been changed half way through
    Mercedes Ferrari Lotus Caterham et al all worked with the tyres, Red Bull did not, the design was wrong. They would have caught up later in the season, but the other teams would also have improved. As for McLaren it still would have been a disaster!

  66. Dave Cubbedge, 29 October 2013 15:51

    Many years ago while attending a USAC Sprint car race, I wondered how F1 would get by with heat races to determine starting order…. In USAC events, qualifying sets up initial order followed by heat races where the top six are inverted based on time. Thus the heats are usually very good with the faster guys trying like crazy to pass the slower cars up front. Top four from each heat make it into the ‘feature’ (the Grand Prix) and the rest get to run in a semi-feature to get into the main event. Lots of action for everybody and a lot of rare results as sometimes the fast guys can’t get by the slower guys…. Points awarded for all.

  67. Colin McArthur, 29 October 2013 18:36

    Not sure I agree with your recommendation but heartily agree with your premise. Something HAS to be done. Vettel is certainly a great driver but how great we will likely never know. Until you have such as Vettel, Alonso, Grosjean, Hamilton, Kimi and the like all in relatively equal chariots we will never know. How to get there? Short of having drivers draw weekly for the manufacturer they will drive for (Hey, now that’s a novel thought!) or all in similar cars as we once tried in here in the US (Race of Champions – - can’t possibly make sense for F1) ) I can’t see it happening. Certainly we are at a point where, more than ever before, the car is the most critical ingredient.

  68. John, 29 October 2013 18:46

    Madness, yes. You pretend that your problem is with the process, when in fact it is with the outcome. The current gimmicky tyres were designed for people like you, who want to see different drivers leading at different times. The tyres functioned exactly as designed in India, they forced the drivers on the sharp end of the grid to pit early and then fight through traffic.

    People claim to be unhappy that Vettel wins after starting on pole, but they’d be twice as unhappy if he won after starting 15th on a randomly generated starting grid.

  69. Lewis Lane, 29 October 2013 21:08

    Even if F1 was radically changed, you’d still get the same people at the sharp end… Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s what i’d like…
    DRS: Ban it, or restrict it to a small number of uses per race. Either way, the zone goes, because that’s where the real issue is.
    KERS: Likewise, a number of uses only – and not in conjunction with DRS.
    Tyres: Two compounds to use as you wish. Even mixed sets.
    Pit stops: Limit the number of people working on the car, and reduce the speed limit to increase stop times dramatically. Stops should be a last resort, not a first option.
    Radios: One way – car to pits.
    Telemetry: Banned during qually and races.
    Diffusers: Removed.
    Wings: Reduced to Monza spec.
    Floors narrowed so that the sidepods function as little more than crash protection and cooling pods.
    There’s probably more, but that’ll do for now. Let’s get the cars sliding around, and the drivers having to show their technique more obviously than they can now. Small errors caused by lack of downforce will create good racing.

  70. vibjorn mathisen, 29 October 2013 22:31

    I attended your evening with sir stirling in fulham and used my time with the microphone suggesting something should be done with qualifying in F1 in fact sir stirling said in response to my suggestion, he had suggested the same thing by letter to someone. beeing fastest isnt rewarded enough.
    I suggested 5,3,2,1, points for the first 4 in qualifying that would get every team/ drivers attention on saturday and we would get to see drivers flat out going for thoose extra points NO more hanging around in the pits for strategy reasons given of course that teams have enough tyres and most importantly dont have to start the race on the tyres used in q3. that only makes for strategy. i sent a similar email as this to the lotus team now just before the forthcoming strategy group meeting. Its a no brainer to me, a win win, Its strange the drivers isnt pushing for this, its such an easy way to sprite up the “show”and surely increase public interest. I asked nigel roebuck about this the same evening. who in f1 does not want this. Do YOU know ?? I am absolutely sure the drivers would love it beeing a kart racer myself. there is not much that can match the feeling you get when you really nail it on a good clean uninterupted qalifying lap. or maybe they should even do 2 laps in rwo attempts or together and calclate the average. with only 3-4 cars on the track at the same time to avoid blocking incidents it would be easier for us fans to follow and apreciate the effort of each driver. Just prolong qulifying to 2 houres.dont do away with my favorite day. what do you think ??

  71. Bruce Kearns, 29 October 2013 23:17

    Like many have suggested, reducing downforce is key and especially the deficit of following in a lead car’s wake. DRS is merely the ugly bandaid admission that there is a major problem here. Kimi’s and Schumi’s exchange of positions at Spa a classic example. Schmuni’s pass back under DRS led to the most amazing unassisted pass by Kimi but it should never have been needed.

    As a one time fervent Chapman/Team Lotus fan it pains me to say this but the whole aero grip development is what has ruined F1. It is totally out of hand. I believe F1 must severely limit aero grip and reinforce mechanical grip in order to return to true on-road battles for position without the need for contrivances like DRS. Earlier someone suggested no bodywork extend past rear or front wheels, I would add nose cones but no wings and no extensions to the central tub.

    Truth is F1 has over engineered itself into vehicles which no longer even need drivers. The technology exists to turn F1 into giant “real scale” RC race series these days. Why should anyone care about it? I’ve pretty much given up on it and now focus on MotoGP where a pilot is still required… though barely.

    F1 needs to get the technology back into scale with what we know as consumers as “cars”. And hence the value equation Andrew mentions. Aero such as we see in F1 will not in the immediate future be applicable to automobiles as we know them. Let’s start there and let our automobile manufacturers get back to racing advanced cars and cease the need for constant and expensive wind tunnel tuning of remote controlled ground planes.

  72. John Read, 29 October 2013 23:48

    The points for quali idea would not change much at the sharp end in my opinion, but if it was in place this year Vettel would probably have been the champion months ago.

  73. Jay Menon, 29 October 2013 23:58

    Can you share your cool aid with me?

  74. Bonedwarf, 30 October 2013 01:16

    I’ve stopped watching most of qualifying these days. The Q1, Q2, Q3 debacle is just pointless. Since I have to DVR most races I skip forward to the final minute of Q1 and 2. Since they’re all but meaningless I can’t be bothered. And I skip to five minutes left in Q3.

    So really I watch probably 10 minutes of qualifying, if that. It’s just tedious and dull, not to mention incredibly wasteful at a time when the sport is trying to go “Look, we’re green… ish!”

    A qualifying race or something would be nice, or SOMETHING to make qualifying interesting as I’m pretty much done now. It serves no purpose. 45 minutes of driving in circles for little more than grid order, a grid order that, as Grosjean shows, is largely academic.

    Not to mention this ridiculous tyre situation. Having to run BOTH compounds is only there so someone can talk about the tyres. I miss the old A, B, C and D days where you could mix and match.

    Frankly the only reason I’m still following F1 is in the hope that next year the new rules will muck up the status quo.

  75. Steve W, 30 October 2013 10:06

    How about simply leaving it alone?

    In the Grand Scheme of all things racing – Worldwide, F1 seems to be doing very well. Look at IndyCar. That series just had one of the most competitive seasons in a good while, but nobody noticed. Or cared.

    Maybe things could be better in F1, maybe, but I say unless there’s a really alarming decline, it isn’t broke so don’t try to fix it.

  76. phil, 30 October 2013 12:55

    Im sorry but F1 now is a total farce ….. strip ALL THE DAFT GIZMOS OFF THE CARS …DRS , KERS , SEMI AUTO GEAR BOX , THE £25000 STEERING WHEEL , THE ABSURD FRONT WING ….. Go back to steel discs and normal brake pads , manual gear boxes , big fat slick racing tyres for mechanical grip and ban pitstops !!!! I can’t ever imagine going to watch a horse race and 1/2 way through they bring the horses in for new shoes …… Pirelli should be banned as its very clear to see they make up every excuse going about tyre blow outs !!! Another way of reducing costs is ban those multi multi million pound motor homes ……what have they got to do with going racing ??? Lets see the drivers race their balls off and not be told to slow down after 5 laps to conserve this that and the other !!!

  77. Tom C, 30 October 2013 13:18

    Steve W,

    F1 clearly remains very popular and is doing very well but I don’t think that is a reason to leave it alone.

    Apart from those in favour of the ‘you’re standing in the way of progress’ and ‘F1 should be at the peak of technology’ arguments (to which the response must surely be that no truly cutting-edge vehicle should be an open wheeler), there seem to be few who dispute that the current state of F1 aerodynamics hands a huge disadvantage to the overtaking car. Hence all the devices introduced by F1 to lessen the disadvantage.

    I agree with the suggestions to ban protuberances ahead of the front and behind the rear wheels. Ban wings altogether. Introduce flat bottoms. Why not?

    Is there any truth to the rumour that sponsors like wings because they are particularly effective advertising hoardings?


  78. Tom C, 30 October 2013 13:30

    Re. John Read “Of course reduce the downforce and get ‘em sliding but there would also need to be some top speed reduction or they will be doing 400 clicks at the end of the straights and the circuits will become too unsafe for spectators.”

    As one in favour of the a ‘zero downforce/unlimited engine’ formula, this is a good point I hadn’t really considered.
    Would the answer be to raise the minimum weight of the cars? Zero downforce in combination with higher weight should lengthen braking distances, minimising the length of the straight over which full throttle could be applied. Zero downforce also means that cars are exit-ing the final corner before the straight at a lower speed & have less traction on initial acceleration than a current F1 car, all of which makes it harder to reach maximum speed.

    If you wanted to apply more rules I suppose you could limit further the size of the brakes or wheels (seems a bad idea). As a last resort I suppose you move the spectators or add a speed limiter.

    The higher weight limit might also help address the current concern about big drivers being penalised.

  79. Terry Jacob, 30 October 2013 14:58

    Like I said earlier in the year , licence all teams a set of engineering drawings to the Cosworth DFV engine and the Hewland DG300 gearbox ……………….

  80. paul semnacher, 30 October 2013 17:44

    Interesting ideas here but surely if the guys at Woking had got it right this year it would be a different discussion: the qualifying times are generally close for the top 1/3 to 1/2 of the grid and the racing is pretty good, from 2nd to 10th. As far as Vettel and Newey are concerned, they can’t be blamed for doing a better job.

    That said, I feel the main issue is money that is being spent by the teams and the distribution of funds. Specifically, the difference in spending and prize money made by Red Bull and Sauber is surely measured in millions and for Marussa, perhaps 10′s of millions. Is it unfair ? Perhaps, but F-1 is a meritocracy in the extreme and those at the blunt end of the grid are well aware of this. The contradiction is if Max, the FIA and Bernie wanted to open up F-1 to smaller teams, all 3 of them, they have been given the tools to compete. They should be included in the funding mechanism to enable them to compete and close up the grid instead of the current shootout for the 10th paying slot, they should all be given the travel money and money for R&D to level the playing field. The culprit is not the grid it is the agreement Bernie made with CVC and the distribution of funds back into the sport.
    Best regards,

  81. Christopher Wigdor, 30 October 2013 19:00

    From the early 1950s to date, grid positions for most motorcycle club racing in this country has been drawn out of a hat. The best riders always do well, and by the end of the season the results reflect the talent and quality of competitors and their machines. So doing away with qualifying as Mr Frankel suggests would not affect the final results, in my view, and would certainly reduce the boredom for those of us who can remember proper racing.

  82. Robert Hart, 30 October 2013 19:17

    Well Andrew………..that certainly stirred up a hornets nest,
    my own suggestion is as ever………. re-introduce the manual gearbox with clutch pedal inter-action…..see how many of the drivers can rub their tummies and pat their heads as well as drive a car fast at the same time………loving the other suggestions from everyone

  83. Christopher Dinnis, 30 October 2013 19:25

    An interesting idea and worth giving it a go. My thoughts would be to scrap all the extra aerodynamics and instead rely on the simpler body work design to handle the aerodynamics back to he Jaguar D type days and also reintroduce real gear sticks etc to ensure the driver has to really drive as against this low level flying that is now the norm. The speed of the cars would be greatly reduced but there would be far greater spectator value and enjoymment of seing the real driver win. Also consider using engines that are used in raod cars to add further actual dimensin to the sport. Lotus after all started with the Austin Seven engine and did amazing thisngs with it. I just feel that it ia all far to specialised and beyond the public in the street. We ned to see and feel the connection between the F! car world and everyday life. I am not sure about the involvement of electric motors but perhaps that could then make the real connection to everyday life as this form of power is coming whether we like it or not and thus my idea of using the noraml engine could help develop this whole new field, which is still at a very early stage.

  84. Neal, 30 October 2013 20:26

    I think all the technology needs to be toned down or better yet removed. Let’s go back to basics. There it too much reliance on telemetry and monitoring systems. F1 now bores me. It used to be the driver and car, man and machine against the track. The likes of Jim Clarke would baulk at the amount of extraneous rubbish attached to it all. Just get in the car and race!

  85. Peter Allen, 30 October 2013 20:43

    I have been watching Grand Prix racing since I was five years old in 1950 so have seen so many changes to the sport.
    I know it will never happen but here’s one way to liven up F1.
    Keep all the safety feature, that is paramount. I’ve seen too many drivers die. Get rid of semi-automatic gearboxes and flappy paddles. In their place bring back sequential gearboxes with a short, stubby lever. Also, three pedals like there used to be. (Good enough for Moss, Brabham, Stewart and Senna).
    This would not only sort the men from the boys but make the gearbox side cheaper and make for more exciting racing. (The occasional missed gear).
    I know the engineers wouldn’t like it but everything is so streamlined and technically efficient nowadays that the teams have to keep in line with so many regulations that they cannot have freedom of development as of yore. There is such a small difference between the fastest and slowest cars that it has become necessary to have DRS and KERS to enable drivers to overtake rather than pure skill.
    I am certainly not a luddite, I love technology as much as the next man but come on, lets get real and get our sport more exciting.

  86. John B, 30 October 2013 23:16

    For F1 to be exciting to watch, and less predictable, we need to have more importance attached to the drivers’ capabilities – I don’t mind who wins provided they are bloody good. So, we need cars which are much more difficult to drive really fast – plenty of power, less downforce, no DRS, only 2 sorts of tyre, wets or drys, and they should be capable of lasting a full race (we want the racing on the track, not in the pits) and above all, MAXIMUM TYRE WIDTHS 6″ FRONT AND 8″ REAR. This way drivers are more important than cars, and there will be more overtaking as mistakes are made due to hard racing in less stable cars. The best man will tend to win, but perhaps not every race. And if you think modern F1 is exciting now, well you can always go and watch some paint drying somewhere…….

  87. Rob Burns, 31 October 2013 05:17

    Have to agree with most everyone’s contributions here. Foremost is the reduction in aero downforce…it used to be exciting to watch drivers work the wheel into the 130R at Suzuka…it now looks simply boring. Get rid of all the ugly winglets…just two wings one for front and one for the back.
    No DRS. No KERS…any press button to pass gimmick really has little to do with actual driving skill.
    Pole position should give some points, as should fastest lap.
    No remote controlling of the car in any manner, no engine management, let the driver do that.

  88. Robert Mansfield, 31 October 2013 11:44

    I often enjoy qualifying more than the race, but it needs all cars to run in each session on any tyres. Start the race on any tyre of choice.
    Remove front and rear wings – all aerodynamics to be part of the fixed bodywork.
    Reduce tyre and car widths
    Remove DRS as overtaking is now too obvious/pre-programmed.
    Keep KERS- good technology
    Start some races in the second half of the season with the grid in the reverse order of the driver’s world championship position
    Allow new drivers more qualifying time
    Give three-two-one point to the three fastest qualifyers
    Give 2 points to fastest lap in the race

  89. howard, 31 October 2013 15:49

    The driver is just the last few percent of the end result – the real heoes of F1 are the engineers who design the cars, but they are increasingly being restricted by the rules. So I would go back to the old days when designers were much more free, with a free tyres choice and only limited by restrictions on aero. A minimum 100mm ride height for example, and maybe a maximum area to aerofoils. But one most important restriction – a financial one which prevents the mega coprorations like FIAT and MB and Red Bull hogging the limelight.

  90. Tiger Al, 31 October 2013 17:50

    Formula Frankel would indeed be madness. Keith’s comment is more on track. And I would add that GP racing should strive to appeal to actual motor racing fans, not video game players and bored TV viewers.

  91. Edgar F. Kapp, 31 October 2013 19:59

    I agree with nearly everybody on this page and this seems quite a topic. I’m glad so many petrol heads feel the same way.
    -skip the daft gizmo’s: DRS, KERS.
    -skip the equally daft format of qualifying. Back to qualifying on Friday and Saturday for an hour each please. No restrictions on laps or tires.
    To spice up the action on Saturday: have F1 drivers race in a one-make series. The incredible Alfa 164 springs to mind.
    -skip the absurd tires as made by Pirelli today. Back to tires that will maybe last a complete race, but that’s up to how a car and driver handle them. Bring back a second or even a third supplier. I totally agree that F1 races should be won on the track and not on the pit wall.
    Harder, longer lasting tires will also go better with the aerodynamics and more power (see below). In the sense that drivers will have to be skilled to handle the package and that the cars won’t be on rails so much anymore.
    -Back to 3.5 liters normally aspirated or 1.5 liter blown engines. Make them more powerful, so they can keep up with modern aerodynamics. How can it be that an F1 car will go too fast? They should be the fastest racing on closed circuits, I think.
    -award drivers and teams with points for fastest lap, laps lead etcetera.

    Who is up for this?

  92. Andy Chapman, 2 November 2013 15:26

    ‘races should be won on the track not the pit wall’. To extend that, they shouldn’t be won during pit stops by the team with the fastest tyre change, either. Allocate a statutory 5 seconds for a tyre change. It will ensure safe tyre application, and it will compel the drivers to overtake each other. They should also reduce the number of mechanics involved in the tyre change. When several cars pit together, the pit lane looks like Leicester Square at rush hour. It’s an accident waiting to happen.
    Oh hang on, that accident has already happened. Webber loses a wheel and the hospitalised victim and his camera-carrying colleagues are banned from the pit lane. Justice, FIA-style…

  93. davido, 3 November 2013 18:20

    If there is to be a “show” in F1, the drivers must be given primacy over the engineers. Limit or eliminate aero grip (zero lift as a goal?) and increase mechanical grip. Make the cars pass a zero lift test in the same wind tunnel at the beginning of the season, then freeze body work development. Save loads of money on aero and let the engine boys go to work again.

    Make the tires durable enough to eliminate ‘marbles’ and create more lines through the corners, unlike now when passing possibilities are foreclosed by the narrowing of the racing line throughout the weekend. The cars should drift through corners, not go around on rails. If you want to make grid positions a lottery, fine. But let’s make the cars more about who the best drivers are first.

    As it is, the sport is dominated by it’s engineers, none of whose work we get to see while it’s being done or get to hear them discuss after it’s done. The ‘sport’ has become an intellectual delight up until the races begin, at which point it is an unmitigated bore. That’s why I read about the races now instead of watching them. All sorts of gimmicks have come in to attempt to deal with this when the way forward has been clear for a decade at least.

    I understand the idea that F1 is supposed to be the technical pinnacle of the sport. But let’s face it, technically the cars could race without drivers in them at unimaginable speeds and never crash. As such the sport operates at a level far below what is technically feasible, so let’s stop pretending otherwise. If we’re going to have drivers, let them drive.

  94. davido, 3 November 2013 19:43

    @N. Weingart,
    Sport IS entertainment for its spectators (excepting you perhaps). Once it is no longer entertaining, no one will watch and the sport as we know it will die. It may continue as the America’s Cup does, or air racing, or as mountaineering does. Just don’t look for the races on your television every couple of weeks. No advertisers will support them.

    With respect to a few other comments:
    Usain Bolt doesn’t win because he has the best shoes.
    Sebastian Loeb appears to be the best rally driver, not the one with the best rally car designer.
    The notion that Rossi always wins on bikes is to say the least, out of date.

    The Super Bowl is sometimes a bad game. But it’s one game. Would we watch the NFL if points were awarded in a way that let us know who the NFL champion would be after say, twelve (of sixteen) regular season games, in a league where certain teams always had far more money to spend than others?

    Less aero grip means slower corner entry and exit speeds. There should then be no problem then with top speeds on the straights. At any rate, opening up the engine formula doesn’t require raising rev limits or lifting the limits on engines per season. It would allow a return to multiple designs using the money that now goes into fluid dynamics and wind tunnel testing.

    Finally, if cars can race nose to tail at 225mph into turn one at Indianapolis, then surely some rule set can be found that will allow close racing in F1 at speeds through corners that are 75mph slower than that.

  95. Graham MacKenzie, 4 November 2013 19:21

    So all the other teams cannot compete with Vettel, they put millions into there teams and not one of them is able to come anywhere near, Close it down declare Seb the greatest in the world go home and race peddle cars.
    Its a JOKE

  96. Mick P, 9 November 2013 11:54

    How about these ideas?
    One set of tyres only allowed, except for punctures.
    No DRS
    All aerodynamic devices to be an integral part of the bodywork
    Start position to be the reverse of finishing position at previous race (first of the season to reflect the last of previous season)
    Minimum ride height for all cars.
    Bottom of cars to be completely flat, including at the front, so no ‘upswept’ noses
    Exhausts to exit 10cm behind rear of car and at a standardised height – to nullify ‘exhaust blown’ aerodynamics.
    Cars that go over kerbs to be penalised 10s (they’re not part of the track surface but the edge)
    Drivers that force others off track to have at least a 20s stop-go penalty
    Practice and Qualifying to be three sessions, P1 and P2 to allow checking, setting and development testing. Q1 to be all cars and all must be within 10% of fastest with bonus points awarded only to the fastest driver & team.
    Bonus for fastest lap in race; 5 for fastest, 4 for second fastest, etc
    Points awarded to all cars that complete the race distance based on finishing order (if 22 cars, then 1st gets 22, second gets 21, third gets 20, etc.) No points for not finishing.
    Gearboxes sealed and no ratio changes allowed. Box must last for at least 50% or races. Any replacements must be identical spec to original unless change required for safety and approved by FIA Tech Com.
    Fuel to be standard ‘pump’ fuel of country hosting the race. No exotic additives allowed.

  97. Phast, 19 November 2013 18:05

    Reverse the grid based on the results from the previous race. 1st race of the season reversed based on the end of season standings from the previous year.

  98. Tony Bowker, 20 November 2013 18:57

    I agree given the sad state of the various teams, F1 needs a little spice, at the front on Sunday there was ONE passing move, Webber on Hamilton. A random grid would be one idea, another would be a stop at half way and a reverse starting order. Even then I think Vettel would still win, but at least he would have to work for it. I like the return to a point or so for the fastest lap.

  99. Colin Smale, 21 December 2013 23:38

    Remove the wings, simple as that. How often do we hear commentators saying “overtaking is virtually impossible on this track”.
    Remove the wings, still allow all other development and watch drivers racing in real cars.

  100. hk, 16 March 2014 15:48

    first time i have ever switched off a race boring leave the sport alone. i want to here v8s stop changing the rules it motor sport who is running it the a f l

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