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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It's quite disappointing really...

Believe me when I say that I remain an avid fan of F1 no matter how much I complain about it.  I say this, of course, to preface some further remarks which will cast further aspersions on the sport and those involved in its day-to-day operation.

It seems to be okay for the likes of Bernie et al to voice their concerns about the direction in which the sport is moving but I've noticed that few, if any, of the reputable journalists deign to provide their own opinion on these matters.  What I read tends to parrot the comments of Bernie, Alonso, Kimi, etc. without ever straying into the realms of how they themselves might institute changes to improve the formula.

I understand that their fates and their futures are tied up in the sport and it is not therefore in their interests to be seen to be partisan towards one rule change or another.  It is also true that there is not much point in them being seen to criticise elements such as degrading tyres, fuel management, or DRS, as these things have now taken root in the sport and as such must only be reported upon.

Journalists would say that it is their job to report the news as it happens, to be impartial and that criticism of the sport is outside their purview, only relevant to the likes of columnists rather than serious journos, and technically, I guess they would be right, however wouldn't it be interesting were some of the journalists to mention, in their race reports, what percentage of overtaking was carried out under DRS or how many laps in the race were run by each team on "fuel-saving" mode?

Last weekend's race was a little more exciting than anything we've seen to date because there were quite a few non-DRS overtakes carried out, primarily on the final corner into the DRS zone.  So, whilst the overtakes were carried out without DRS they were completed with the DRS flap wide open and I wondered if that would be counted as a DRS assisted overtake?

I do note Joe Saward's position on giving time to the "new" formula and perhaps in another situation I would agree with that practice but it is my belief that if F1 is to retain its crown as the peak of motorsport it must be the situation that the drivers and cars are racing 100% of the time.  I believe that it is anathema to have a race situation where they must lift and coast in order to save fuel, except where in-race refuelling is allowed and the team are working to a particular strategy.

Racing at 100% tests the driver, tests the engines and tests the team and it is ridiculous to find a team in the situation where they are given a 25 place penalty on a grid of 20 cars because of engine changes.  I'm all for creating a robust engine that serves 3 race weekends at a time, but the sanctions imposed by a 4 engine rule are way out of proportion and serve only to penalise teams unfairly.  Do they not realise that such penalties could drive smaller teams into liquidation because it would impact upon their TV coverage and thus their advertising potential?

Of course those are other matters which you know I can gripe on about but this one is all about those professions that rely on the sport for their income.  It is vital that they start opining more if we are ever to see real improvement.  For the fans and for the good of the sport I formally request F1 journalists to publicly give their two cents to the ongoing discussion on the future of the sport.