F1 - science or spectacle?



There are soon to be curbs in F1 racing. In the past the rules have been changed along the years, usually for safety reasons or to encourage progress in design. F1 is the highest form of motor racing, even if Mansell has turned against it. It seems a sorry thing for rules to be applied to it, just to make it more exciting for TV viewers and the spectators. instead of for technical benefit. The level of technology and electronics in modem F1 cars may seem a bit extreme, but speeds will always creep up, whatever curbs are applied.

Remember for instance how, just before the war, Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union overcame weight limits intended to kill speed?

Williams and McLaren are against any reduction in scientific improvements to their cars, the latter pointing to the benefits racing confers on their widespread technological products, profits from which benefit this country. Reducing tyre widths and aerofoil areas may make cornering more spectacular. To me it smacks of the pioneers saying wheel-steering must not be introduced because it would spoil the more lurid control with tiller-steered racing cars. Should any sort of design progress and experiment be stifled? As for a course car to bunch up the field should one driver get too far ahead – sheer nonsense! How can you seek to deprive a top driver/car combination of a well-deserved lead, which it may well forfeit in an artificial bunch-up for TV producers’ satisfaction? The idea stems from Indy racing (need we always follow the USA?), where you have a pace car to start them rolling and to control the field after an accident at very high-speed tracks with no run-offs. Fair enough! But if the proposal to use a pace car to get the aforesaid artificial bunching that might make an F1 race that much more lurid hadn’t been dropped (which, thankfully, it now has been), I foresaw a time when such a car would be used, as at Indy, after an incident, and then, by employing it for every incident, however slight, it would be sent out frequently enough to ensure a bunch-up for the TV cameras should a driver of top calibre have gained a useful cushion over the rest of the field.

You must make up your own minds whether or not you would want this sort of F1 racing.

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