Team bosses say F1 needs to spice up the action as soon as possible
16 March 2010

Formula One team bosses have called for immediate rule changes to liven up the sport, after a lacklustre first race at Bahrain.

Nick Fry, CEO of Mercedes GP, said teams should make it a priority to improve the spectacle.

Alonso wins in Bahrain - pics

“Formula One risks being damaged if it does not respond to the criticism it has faced for the lack of action in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix," he said.

When further questioned as to whether the season-opener was bad for F1, Fry replied: "I think it would be bad if we didn't react.”

Fry is not alone in his views of the season opener, with McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh calling for new tyre rules to be introduced, forcing teams to stop at least twice in a race.

"I don't think it was a massive spectacle but I do think it is capable of swinging from one event to another," he said.

However, not everyone wants change. Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said: "We've only had one snapshot today, so perhaps we should review it after the first three or four races.”

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali also suggested it was unfair to judge the season after one race.

John O'Brien

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Comments
21

16 March 2010

have to agree! it was a terrible a race opener i hope the season gets better! very boring for the watching public! infact i watched the first few laps and lost interest

16 March 2010

It wasn't even that interesting.

Now that the FIA is under new management perhaps there will be a some fresh thinking and just maybe the body will actually deal with the need to have more overtaking and closer racing - unlikely to please the aerodynamics specialists, but then if that is the only way to achieve then do it and save the sport before its too late.

16 March 2010

As ever they have brought out new rules designed to liven up the racing, but failed to so so because there were not major cuts in downforce. Without that change, the cars cannot corner closely enough to race properly. My method would be to reduce the width of the front wings, only allow 1 element to the rear wing, and reduce the size of the diffuser. The car must go in a wind tunnel without those elements in place and cannot produce any downforce. This method means that many bodywork limits in place to attempt to control downforce can be removed, resulting in more varied looking cars.

16 March 2010

+1. I watched the first few laps, enjoyed a relaxing bath then returned to see if anything exciting had happened. It hadn't, then the only really note-worthy incident of the afternoon occured in the form of Vettel's car slowing down a bit, and back to soporiphia.

What can they do to spice it up? Introduce wider front tyres and refuelling? No wait, I've got it... What about some sort of electric power boost system?? Nah, it'll never catch on..

Seriously though, something has to be done to shake F1 up in a big way. A couple of years back on these pages, and admittedly in the wake of the Belgian Hamilton vs Stewards fiasco, I suggested F1 getting rid of the FIA, and still think it would be the best thing for the sport. And yes, I am fully aware of how and why that is'nt going to happen for the foreseeable future.

I don't see Jean Todt's election to the FIA presidency making a lick of difference either. I see being a member of the FIA's hierarchy similar to being in the IAM, being known as an awfully decent chap by a load of other awfully decent chaps. FOTA seem to be impotent as the teams were in persuading the government body in to staging Interesting Racing(TM).

Last season there was much to anticipate, as mentioned: KERS, slicks and adjustable wings, with the added interest of fuel stops and strategy. And yes, when fuel stops were introduced I was as vehemently against them as everyone else, but now I must concede that as well as pitlane fires being a useful talking point for commentators when the race fell flat (God forbid), they did add to the interest of the race.

Please, if anyone out there is listening or can put this to the FIA, please suggest either of the following. Either stick to a known formula that works in terms of entertainment (ie KERS option, fuel weight optimised cars, front tyres that seek to minimise understeer etc etc), and leave this in place unmolested for an even field.

Or, just start again, from scratch: Change the wheel/tyre sizes, change the minimum weight, engine rules (turbos?), change the aerodynamic regulations and allow broad scope in the rules for innovation... On the basis of Sunday, do anything and everything.

Alas I fear, my pleas will fall on deaf ears. The awfully decent chaps are far too awfully decento suggest anything beyond the pale,( and pale certainly it is), and Bernie is too busy gleefully grabbing money from his developing markets with their shiny new circuits, to care..

Although the amount I've just typed somewhat belies this, I'm beginning to wonder if I do...

16 March 2010

I too was totally bored after the first three or four laps - when it started to become obvious that no major change would occur unless cars 'broke' in some way. But unlike in 'Turbocharged days' they don't do that much now!

My way to fix it...

BAN ALL WINGS, AERODYNAMIC DOWNFORCE AIDS, AND AIRFLOW MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS. SPECIFY (MUCH) NARROWER TYRES AND ALLOW REFUELLING. OH! AND ENCOURAGE OVERTAKING...

"Simple!" as that darned Merecat says...

If not I will switch to watching saloon car racing.

16 March 2010

Martin Brundle's piece on the BBC website is very good. Essentially he says that all the changes need time to bed down and that the benefit of the rule changes will be evident next season when double defusers are banned. Close running in double defused air is almost impossible and apparently the teams had moaned about it all through pre season testing. I must have missed that one.

That's the problem though with F1, it's always next season isn't it and I can't say I'm all that inclined to bother waiting for another season again.

Perhaps F1 is just an irrelevency now.

16 March 2010

"....totally bored after the first three or four laps...."

Given that the initial starting laps are the most interesting, perhaps the answer is more starts. Divide the races into three or four segments.

p.s. I switched over to the finish of the Paris-Nice race (there were riders actually trying to overtake others...shock), and came back for the last few laps and hadn't seemed to miss much.

16 March 2010

There are only a couple of people who've vaguely got a clue here, but that's to be expected on an Autocar discussion about Formula One.

This reminds me very much of the hollow cant of Gordon Brown claiming no one could see the collapse of the financial system coming.

Anyone with more than half a brain who gave a toss has been saying for months, even years, how destructive the FIA's meddling has become.

It is now critical. The moment the rule about smaller front tyres was announced, it should have been denounced by anybody with his wits about him. But where were you then? Prattling on ignorantly as usual. And it's particularly worrying because Autocar's encouragement of the ignorant and disinterested prattler actually helps to form a body of influence.

This idle lobby has got the FIA twisting in circles trying to define itself as a robust governing influence in the sport, and at the same time appeal to an audience that will never really be there wholeheartedly.

Here's what's gone wrong technically.

The narrower front tyre was only necessary for the sort of driver who likes a bias towards rear-grip, which tends to lead to understeer. Interestingly, this suits Alonso more than any other driver, as, unlike Button, Alonso maximises an understeering car. What suits Alonso suits Ferrari. Of course, Formula One is the last place at which to target accusations of conspiracies, as that simply doesn't happen.

What the FIA should have done to compromise and still promote superb driving skill (displayed by drivers who like grip at the front and a moving rear) is make the rears more robust by introducing a wider tyre. This, combined with 2009's 270mm front tyre would offer two advantages: a car that real drivers could exploit without the oppressive fear of degradation that now exists, and a greater bias towards mechanical grip. Mechanical grip means cars can run closer, and that seems to be what quite a few Autocar housewives want.

The berks who are now screaming haven't stopped to think what was causing the drivers to handle the Bahrain race in the way they did. They have to use an engine for up to three races and a gearbox for four races (incredibly); this means that in the intense Bahrain heat, cooling issues caused by close running wouldn't just effect the the current race, they effect the next two events including their qualifying sessions.

If the idiots at the FIA weren't so obsessed with arbitrary and absolutely needless cost-cutting (that allows teams like the useless Virgin to enter the sport and pootle around Sunday driving, while Hispania states, "Of course, there's no point trying to overtake anyone in a race, since we just want some time driving the car.") then the racing would be unshackled from the things that cause utter despair for those wanting to see the greatest teams and greatest drivers pitted against each other, free to give their best.

If drivers didn't have to worry about the rule that forces them to use Q3 tyres to start the race (introduced by some or other perfect retard within the FIA) they could qualify properly. The Grand Prix would start with free racing.

With the status quo, we will, at some point, see a potential winner's race ruined by having to start on destroyed rubber. We may see teams sitting out final Qualifying!

If there wasn't now a pit lane regulation that gave a huge advantage to a car that comes in to a pit-box situated behind a competitor, the natural progress of a fairly fought race would not be scuppered by this idiocy, as it was on Sunday. Again, the drivers would be free to continue racing with some spirit.

If teams were allowed to test, the cars wouldn't regularly blow-up whenever the rightful Champion-in-waiting presents a sniff of what a rightful Champion-in-waiting should do.

You notice (if you are a real fan and bothered enough to watch) that Schumacher, genius that he is, dropped off of Rosberg's pace for a large portion of the race. He did that because it put his pursuers into his dirty and heated air (causing them problems not only in that race but in future races) and also because he didn't want the effect of Rosberg's wake overheating his engine. He's thinking two races ahead.

Now, the fact that this intelligent, strategic thinking is actually quite interesting is lost on the sort of dolt who will sit here and encourage more and more regulation from on high. All that does is scuttle any progress made through pioneering technical skill and consistent driver talent.

If teams didn't have to worry about the engine for the next race, they would race freely. If every nut and bolt ends-up homologated, teams and drivers won't have any reason to compete freely, as there'll be nothing left worth competing for.

If we pander to crappy, two-bit teams because we believe that the issue is money, we will end up with the majority of teams being the (albeit temporary) disgrace that was HRT. If you find it fascinating to watch a driver sawing at the wheel for five minutes then jumping out of a car that's consumed in a foaming ball of its own coolant, you'll love the way F1 is headed at the moment.

Everyone said Lotus did well, and within the confines of the sport as it stands, they did, but for the sake of seeing some artificial reincarnation of the past running around in last place, do you really want to prevent the great teams and drivers from truly racing each other?

Of course, when you were told this would happen six months ago, you never kicked up a fuss, did you? No. You like to make meaningless noise now, but you don't really know what you're talking about. Don't be hurt by that, just realise that if you're one of the new squealers or a journeyman journalist, you represent a witless racket that, unfortunately, has an effect. Again, now, it's that shrill noise that could create a huge muddle of deregulation and re-regulation this year.

After so many 'ifs' - here are the solutions:

Immediately remove the rule forcing teams to use Q3 tyres at the beginning of the race. It's as easy to do as it is to say. Also, the returning of tyres after Practise sessions should be rescinded.

Do not secure cars in Parc Ferme after Qualifying: Now more than ever, it is utter madness that the teams cannot adjust the chassis and settings in order to adapt the car for a race after optimising it for Qualifying.

Increase both front and rear tyre widths. 270mm at the front and around 365mm at the rear. This will inevitably enable drivers to race more closely and drive more spectacularly - the more skilled a driver you are, the greater freedom from overly-vulnerable tyres you require.

Of course, come the next few races, a relentlessly determined and punishing master of strategy like Schumacher will be using the current rules to his advantage, despite the fact that they stifle his natural driving style.

Reintroduce active suspension for the sake off efficiency as the car unloads over the course of a race. Also, if the refuelling ban remains, they should allow a wider chassis to aid stability, downforce and agility.

Allow all teams to use completely moveable aero-devices (effectively replacing the fixed wings) front and rear that can remove their downforce and drag at the driver's discretion for greater straight-line speed and efficiency. This will be a fascinating technical innovation, a demand on the driver's skill and judgement, and a massive aid to economy.

The cars could run maybe a 25% lighter fuel-load at the beginning of the race and al

16 March 2010

[quote VirginPower]drivers who like grip at the front and a moving rear[/quote]

The ideal woman ?

16 March 2010

I agree that the tyre sizes should increase, by a lot. When they ban the diffuser next year, they should simplify the front wing too.

Therefore it is mechanical grip over aerodynamics and the cars can run closer together.

[quote VirginPower]he didn't want the effect of Rosberg's wake overheating his engine. He's thinking two races ahead.[/quote]

I disagree, he was slower than Nico all weekend.

[quote VirginPower]Schumacher, genius that he is, dropped off of Rosberg's pace for a large portion of the race. He did that because it put his pursuers into his dirty and heated air (causing them problems not only in that race but in future races) [/quote]

That is pie in the sky James Allen stuff.

I do think all of the top drivers were trying to save the car, they had no real idea of how these cars work in the heat, which is a problem when you start the season in Bernie's desert cash cow .

As Martin Brundle has said, it should improve when things bed in.

When ever the FIA try to "improve" the show they mess it up.....

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