F1 Winter Break
Changes under discussion to spice up the F1 show
Changes under discussion to spice up the F1 show
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Jan 2010   |  7:10 pm GMT  |  312 comments

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has revealed today that the meeting of Formula 1’s Sporting Working Group (SWG) to discuss how to spice up the show, is imminent. It is thought that nothing radical is on the table, but a revision to the new points system and some method for retaining race strategy without refuelling is to be discussed.

Drivers may have to start the race on qualifying tyres (Photo:Darren Heath)

Drivers may have to start the race on qualifying tyres (Photo:Darren Heath)

“There’s going to be a meeting in the next couple of weeks to reconsider some items of the regulations, among which is the scoring system,” he said.

“In the agenda we do not only have the fact that we have to re-seed the scoring system, but also there may be other issues that may be important, linked to the use of tyres, linked to the number of pitstops. This is going to be defined by the end of January.”

At last December’s World Motor Sport meeting the SWG, a sub-committee of the F1 Commission made up of the FIA and F1 teams, was tasked with going away “to develop detailed proposals to improve the show.” The meeting will take place late next week and there will be discussions about making the new points system more interesting, along the lines that many of the JA on F1 readers suggested, by making a bigger difference between points for first and second and more points for mid-pack finishes.

Instead of what was originally proposed, 25-20-15-10-8-6-5-3-2-1 it is being proposed that second place would get 18 points, fourth would get 12, fifth would get 10, sixth would get 8 and then the points would tail off steeply down to a single point for 10th place. This will reward the winner more and will give the established teams more points for a top 6 finish pro-rata compared to the minor placings.

The idea of changing the points system is to reflect the fact that the grid has grown to 26 cars and to give the new teams a greater chance of scoring at least a few points. They are also talking about a couple of points for pole and fastest lap. This last one could be fun as a team like Lotus, or even a more competitive runner who is out of the points, might stick a set of soft tyres on late in the race to grab a couple of points – the equivalent of a ninth place finish.

Perhaps the more interesting topic however for next week is the use of tyres and tactics in the race, now that there is no longer refueling. As the rules stand, a driver just has to use both tyre compounds at some point. The obvious problem here is that this will mean that drivers will do a very long, dull stint on the hard tyre and then make one stop around 3/4 distance.

One suggestion is that they have to start the race on the same set of tyres with which they qualified. It’s a good idea, but on its own, that will just present the same problem in reverse – a short first stint on softs and then a very long and boring stint on hards.

So the question is, can they make a rule that a driver has to make a minimum of two stops in the race? It might work but seems artificial. Or maybe the desired effect can be achieved by asking Bridgestone to bring more marginal tyre compounds so that more stops are needed anyway?

I’m all for keeping a tactical side to the sport, something to keep people guessing, to involve the team and its strategists in the outcome, rather than leave it all to the drivers.

The SWG’s findings will need to be approved by the F1 commission and then by the FIA World Motor Sport Council – this will probably happen by fax vote in February, as their next scheduled meeting is not until 11 March in Bahrain, three days before the first race.

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Isn't Bridgestone pulling out soon?


The problem with formula1 everything has got to good, people say they like to see technology but its the technology that has spoiled formula1.

Braking is far to good now, suspension is far to good, engine mangement, aerodynamics, the tyres are way more grippier than they use to be the realibilty is to good,

wot they should do is take all the knobs of the steertin wheel to stop to drivers playing around! lets increase braking distances and get wheel spin and smoke bk into the sport!! the fans wood cum flocking bk!!


Have they found someone else yet?


personally i don't think Bridgestone have been great for the sport, they've been pretty inconsistant but i do think that's as much down to the rule changes as anything.

it should be simple: hard tyres that can make it through an entire race (just about), mediums, softs, inters and wets.

i know the tracks wear differently etc but i'd prefer to see this kinda thing, especially now tyre stratagies will be so much more important now.

i personally think they need a bit of competition regarding the tyres too to promote progress. we all know they need more mechanical grip.


Maybe, Goodyear again


Then the fun will start as the only other company that has relevant tyre data is Michelin and it's not likely they will come back to F1 with the way they were treated by the FIA ❗


Am I the only one who thinks this multiple tyre compound rule is asinine. Why not just engineer the best tyre? I have never even heard anyone complain about how unnecessary this rule is...


You are by no means the only one! I agree entirely. The two-compound rule is a feeble-minded attempt to try to force some fake excitement; half the time it's counter-productive and destroys what could have been interesting races by forcing teams to run on less than ideal tyres for part of the time.

It symbolises everything that's wrong with the current attitude to rule-making at the FIA.


I think multi tyre compounds is ok, but there should not be any rules to say that you have to use both in a race.

Let the teams decide what to do. You could choose to use only soft compound and make more stops or vice versa. This make it more difficult to guess other team's strategy; thus will make a more interesting race.

It could repeat the drama between Senna and Piquet.

Also, I am all for points for Pole and Fastest Lap. This incentive is good for racing.


Rest assured you're not the only one, I'd get rid of this stupid rule yesterday ❗


Completely agree, one tyre compound, let the teams choose how to use it. Eningeer you car to be gentle, to do less stops.


I have a deep and brooding hatred of the multiple-compound rule. Bile boils in the pit of my stomach when I'm confronted with its banality and artificiality. It is one of the worst and most unnecessary rules in F1.

Unless you are an engineer working in the field of tyres, or have some strange rubber-fetish, tyres are dull. They're the black round things at the corners of the car.

I don't mind hearing about people using their tyres well (or not), but attempting to create such an artificial performance differentiator spoils any pretence that F1 is a serious competition. What's next? FIAT kick-up a fuss because they're not getting enough coverage; so the rules are changed such that all cars have to complete 20 laps towing a small family-hatchback?


Calm down, it's only a sport


No (s)he's right. It's a SPORT not entertainment. You should know better. It the same with the ludicrous idea of points for fastest lap or pole. That your condoning such ideas makes my blood boil.

Sport is pure no gimmicks.


Hah ha ha...I like it James. It is just a sport after all even though I somewhat agree with bar4eva


Come come it's hardly a real sport is it?

If any other global sport was run like F1 is it just would be stood for.

For F1 to be a sport first we need fair and honest rules and decisions and these we have not had for many many years if ever.


completley agree, one tyre compound (be it perfect or not for those conditions)run by all cars for the full race and stop these boring stints on a tyre that is slower - its f1 for christs sake.... maximum speed at all times


Absolutely. Let the drivers race it out! and James, I completely disagree about the pitstops, the 'team' produces the car, that should be their imput!


No, you're not the only one. Just another example how little those who make the rules really know ❗

If all races were raced on tracks where overtaking was possible for the drivers other than the likes of Hamilton we'd have better, more entertaining races and there'd be no need to mess with the tyres (I recall a great race years ago where Senna went the distance on the same tyres whereas al others had changed theirs, he was either in a Toleman or Lotus can't remember which).


It was a classic race - Italian GP 87. Senna was in a Lotus. The only chance he had of beating Piquet in a superior Williams was not to stop. Ultimately his worn tyres let him down as he went wide at Parabolica and Piquet went through. Incredibly, though, Senna caught Piquet again in the closing laps on the same worn tyres. It was a great race that rarely gets a mention considering how great it was.


The fix is easy...

Eradicate any changes introduced under Max's regieme...

All the meddling of the FIA over the past few years has dulled the sport to death...

The only excitement I've experience since 2004 is the knowledge that Mosely has been binned, and Michael Schumacher is back, to provide geniune competition to Hamilton...

Only the FIA can do something dumb now, to screw up 2010... like a new interpretation of some long standing rule (e.g. double diffusers)...


would that include the much increased safety regulations that max has brought in?


The only excited you experienced since 04 are 3 things? [mod]




is that comment specific to f1 or a more general statement on life 8)


Surely the best way to make the races more tactically exciting is to remove any constraints on pit stop strategy? I don't see the problem with trying to do the entire race without pitting.

More flexibility will lead to more options, which will be more interesting. What is the advantage of making 2 pit-stops compulsory?

If drivers had total control of their tyre choice and stopping strategy then we could see some really interesting hard/tortoise style battles. Imagine seeing the leader of the race having to defend 1st place for the last 10 laps on worn tyres that have done 50 laps against someone who has pitted 10 laps ago and has softer tyres and more grip. If you qualify poorly why not slap on some soft tyres and drive all out to make up track position before pitting and settling down for the remainder of the race?

The continual narrowing of regulations in F1 is actually making it less exciting. If we had a variety of technical solutions to the same problem we would see much more interesting racing.


Here here..!


ummm, i agree, but i think it's 'hear, hear'...


No... I mean; here here...

This is where its at. It all happens on JAOF1.



agreed - the motion is carried then - please note Jean and Bernie


Agreed! The best racing is when everyone is evenly matched overall but with different solutions (strengths/weaknesses).


Yes I agree 100%. The rule of using both tyres should be canceled.. If someone wants to do the whole race on a single set of tyres it would be really amazing against different strategies.


Agree 100%. Most of the racing in thr 70/80's was fantastic. We had a driver getting in the car and driving to win without contrived pit stops, fantastic.


Sorry James, one more point, you say "I am all for keeping a more tactical side to the sport." Your article seems to imply that to do this it will necessary to mandate a certain number of pit-stops? Am I misreading you? I think freeing it up totally (the compulsory pit stop rule is, after all, only there because of Bridgestone insisting on the totally artificial two-compound business). What would you say to no pit stops as an option?


i have to agree with you james. Just think a driver going hell for leather on a one stop and with 3 laps to go his tires go to the dogs and we have a lotus hunting down the leader, and then passing on the last lap.

sends shivers down my back thinking about it 🙂


I don't like the idea of compulsory stops, I do like the idea of tactics being part of the game.


The concern in my opinion is that in the early 90s Senna (McLaren) or Mansell (Williams) would qualify on pole then build up a lead of 20 seconds and control the race from there. With no pitstops there was nothing to disturb what would have been a monotonous race.

The pitstops have to be for genuine reasons, though. If tyres are marginal then people will have to pit.


Tactics would still be part of the game if it wasn't mandatory to change tyres, in my view it would but the onus onto the person that matters most, i.e. the driver, when to push etc.

Watching Prost chase Senna on new tyres whilst Senna had old was much more entertaining than what we get most of the time nowadays.

It would also show us all who really is the best overall current driver in F1 and is that person also the fastest ❓


Well said mate, getting rid of stupid rules would put the real skill back in the hands of the driver then we'd see who really is the best 🙂


I would rather the SWG focus on improving the on-track racing - how about getting rid of rear diffusers and carbon fibre brakes for a start. They might also consider forming the grid by reversing the finishing order for the previous race. Finally they could look at some of the circuit layouts and the lack of any overtaking places.


Tracks tracks tracks, will the FIA listen ❓ Fat chance ❗


Keep the technology, just give us decent race tracks and al your wants will come.


I fully agree. We've seen so many times that when racing on a decent track passing happens.


A points system giving 25-18-13-10-8-6-4-3-2-1 would give a fair points difference between places.

Have no mandatory pitstops but give the teams a defined number of tyre sets vith 3-4 different compounds to use as they please over the race weekend.


3-4 compounds being available sounds good. the problem is that bridgestone would need to take a reduculous number of guys to fit the tyres as they would hae to fit several sets of each compound for all thirteen teams to trial on friday. They would then have to strip them all and re-fit the required sets for saturday and sunday. Also you have to take into account that the estimated value of these tyres is over £500 each, and once stripped, even if unused, they are slashed and destroyed. This is VERY expensive, especially with Bridgestone quitting at the end of 2010.


No, the idea is that each driver gets say 12 sets of tyres with 4 sets of 3 different compounds or 3 sets of of 4 different compounds.

The total allocation of sets should not be more than all or almoast all would need to be used.


you are still almost doubling the number of tyres to be fitted per weekend... meaning Bridgestone would need to supply more guys to do the job, more trucks to transport the tyres and a substantial increase in spend... something they are not going to do in their last season..

Also as I said, every single tyre fitted, even if it does not go near the car, gets stripped and destroyed after the race. Tyres, once fitted, whether used or not are NOT transported from race to race.


or they could just bring back refueling and not worry about all of these artificial rules to try to make something that was already interesting interesting again.


100% agreed!


I remember re-fueling was introduced to 'spice up the show' after many slow-to-unfold races. i.e. the action was in the last few laps (when the worn tyres/marginal fuel/new tyres equation unfolded) with not a lot happening in the middle. Allegedly - was all interesting to me.

Worries about people's attention span lasting the whole race prompted refueling I think. It was always artificial and I'm glad it's gone.

It turned F1 into a series of two or three stint sprints rather than the ultimate challenge of balancing fuel/tyres/conditions over 200 miles. Fun but effectively it stopped a lot of overtaking. James Hunt always used to say you need a 3-4 second a lap advantage to overtake effectively and you don't get that when everyone is in optimum trim all the time.

Incidentally, some of my best memories are of the Prost/Senna battles when Senna would go off like a hare (couldn't help himself) and Prost would nurse his car along, saving tyres and fuel. In the closing stages he'd be taking chunks out of Senna's lead, very exciting to watch and would often win. 'You only need to be in the lead when you cross the line' he'd say.

Took Senna a long time to modify his driving style even though he was the best driver by far.

I wonder who will be the first driver to run out of fuel this year?!


I think it should just be left to the teams to decide whether they want to change tyres or put fuel in, let's get rid of al these stupid made up rules and get back to real racing.


Agreed 8)


The problem with only having one tyre supplier imo is that any solution will be artificial unfortunately. Having two pitstops makes F1 too much like DTM and will not improve the show nor will it help different race strategies. Although I'm all for the refuel ban, I would actually have no mandatory pitstops at all.

Still, all these new rules are worthless as long as we have these dull Tilke circuits 🙁 No disrespect intended the the person of Mr. Tilke, just don't like his "work".


Agreed, if we can all see it then why can't the people that make the decision as to where we have F1 races ❓

Silly me, follow the money - Ecclestone ❗


I do agree that tracks like Spa consistently produce overtaking, and there's no coincidence about that.

However, there are so many circuits that are signed up to multi-year deals which will mean the best you can do is phase them out, perhaps over the course of a decade. We don't want to wait that long, do we? If instead changing the cars is prioritised, we might see changes much sooner than that.

I'm convinced that the rules should strive to make the cars evenly matched over a single lap, but over the course of a race produce large performance differentials. THIS is what will produce overtaking. Key in this equation, as mentioned elsewhere, will be the tyres.


Totally agree, it's the tracks that make dull races. If we can see it why are we still served races at rubbish tracks ❓ What's being done about it ❓


Agreed - the tracks have to be the priority


Not sure I do agree with that. Cars are easy to change, and tracks are not - at least not in the short term.

It is possible to develop a set of engineering rules that facilitate overtaking on the current set of circuits. Isn't this proven by the GP2 series?


Scott, did the changes make no difference? If they appeared ineffective, it's because they didn't go far enough. But KERS can certainly be thanked for several moves that would not have otherwise have taken place.

As usual, in the self-interested and self-destructive F1 manner, the teams are going to shelve that system for 2010.


For GP2, the current racing circuit configeration provides long enough straights or other passing stretches. But F1 cars are so much faster and braking distance so much shorter. I think F1 needs much better circuits which were ruined some years ago by adding all the chichanes to reduce speed and hence the possiblility of passing on a long straight.


If the cars were the problem and that changing them would solve everything, then why did the changes made specifically to allow overtaking and encourage last season not work? Granted the double diffuser issue didn't help, but if you can't overtake a bad car with a good car, then the car clearly isn't the only issue. If there is only 1 line into and out of a corner, then where is that going to encourage overtaking?

Its the classic tracks and corners that encourage and allow overtaking and spectacular races, and again that much was proven last season - not the bland identikit Tilkedromes


This is where Flavio would have been a great asset...


Re points. On the one hand, it is nice that we are finally to do away with the stupid 10-8 spread at the top. On the other hand, I don't like the FOTA proposal so much either. Here's a comparison of point spreads, the good old days on the left, then the current system (The let's glorify 2nd place system), then the two proposed systems:

Finish old cur FIA FOTA

1 9 10 25 25

2 6 8 20 18

3 4 6 15 15

4 3 5 10 12

5 2 4 8 10

6 1 3 6 8

7 2 5 5

8 1 3 3

9 2 2

10 1 1

Now think about the points available for finishing in a given position as a percentage of the total available points:

Finish old cur FIA FOTA

1 36 26 26 25

2 24 21 21 18

3 16 15 16 15

4 12 13 11 12

5 8 10 8 10

6 4 8 6 8

7 5 5 5

8 3 3 3

9 2 2

10 1 1

Now look carefully at the percentages. In the old days, you were awarded 36 % of the available points for winning a race. So, the race winners really were the only drivers in the competition for the title (um, do you remember this, Bernie old chum?). Currently, you are awarded only ~ 1/4 of the points on offer, and for 2nd place, you get only 5 % fewer points. Thus, the championship rewards reliability. In fact, it is not until you get to _5th PLACE_ that you earn less than half the points of the winner! Where's the incentive to win there?

Now, look at the FIA system. There's NO CHANGE in the relationship between first and second place! in the "new" system, you get MORE POINTS FOR THIRD than in the old system. Astounding. At least you get less than half the winner's tally for finishing 4th. FOTA's system is worse - the winner gets a smaller percentage of the available points and while he does better compared to the 2nd place guy, there is very little incentive to try and pass the guys in front of you if you are as far down as 5th place.

Think about this - there will be NO RACING in the final third of the race among the points finishers - excepting that exciting battle between 1 and 2 (maybe), and between the guys in 5, 6, and 7th. No other positions are worth fighting for.

This is sheer silliness. I propose the following (should I suggest this to Mr. Domenicali, whom I have a lot of respect for, btw?): I call it the "Nuvolarifan system:"

1 30

2 20

3 15

4 11

5 8

6 6

7 4

8 3

9 2

10 1

In this scoring system, the 2nd place finisher is awarded 2/3 the points of the winner, third place 1/2, fourth 1/3, etc. There is now a real reason to win the race - like in the old days. If you look at the old system, 2nd was awarded 2/3 of the winners tally, and third about 1/2, fourth about 1/3, just as I have proposed.

What do you think? Do you want to have a closely fought championship where in each race every team places finishing above fighting for each position, or do you want a championship in which, IN EVERY RACE, the top five positions will be fought for desperately. How many races, using my system, will see the drivers in positions 1, 2, and 3 snooze to the finish? No, mates, the driver in p1 will be looking in his mirrors and pushing as hard as he dares.


How about:

1. 24

2. 19

3. 15

4. 12

5. 10

6. 8

7. 6

8. 4

9. 2

10. 1

This will partition the top 10 drivers into 5 groups: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th-8th and 9th-10th since the percentage difference for gaining an extra position would be:










Basically the percentage differences represent how difficult it is to gain a position e.g. to go from 10th to 9th gains you 4% of 24 points, to go from 9th to 8th gains you 8% of 24 points which implies it is twice as hard to go from 9th to 8th than 10th to 9th.

In the 2008-2009 system, we have

1. 10

2. 8 20%

3. 6 20%

4. 5 10%

5. 4 10%

6. 3 10%

7. 2 10%

8. 1 10%

which means the 'partition' splits top 2 and the rest where it is 2 times as hard to gain points when you enter the top 2.

Another proposal could be to partition 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 4th-8th and 9th to 10th. This would be:

1. 25

2. 20 20%

3. 16 16%

4. 12 16%

5. 10 8%

6. 8 8%

7. 6 8%

8. 4 8%

9. 2 8%

10. 1 4%


Couple of replies. I look at the percentage of points available because at the end of the day, there are only so many points available for the WDC, so the amount available in a given race compared to your rival is what counts.

I think winning needs to be rewarded - second place should be a significant drop. The difference between 10 and 6 is huge, while the difference between 25 and 21, the same _number_ of points, is minimal.

I like my proposal because it makes each position significantly more valuable than the one below, while still allowing the minnows a shot at a point or two during a race with a lot of retirements. If you're in the running for the WDC and you retire out of a couple of races, win a couple and you're in the running.

Not so in the last decade. Thus, NO OVERTAKING.

(simplistic, yes, I know.)


If reliability was more of an issue then I'd more strongly support your argument.

With really closely matched cars that are dominated by aerodynamic grip, passing opportunities are rare. My solution would be a huge increase in engine torque, preferably through turbocharging. Make throttle modulation more difficult and there'd be drivers getting a run on the guy ahead. Variable boost, limited by fuel tank capacity, would be an option to consider. High torque increses the likelihood of wheelspin, wearing out the tyres, increasing the action. The current cars have too much grip relative to the engine power and torque levels.


This is much better, the points difference opening up the nearer you get to the front of the pack is what's needed.


I like your idea, but it has one flaw: The percentage of the total points awarded doesn't matter at all. The only thing that matters for the driver is the amount of total points since the points are going to be spread out over 10 drivers and at least 5 teams. A driver can't score more points than he can get for the win - but if the guy in second place can get almost as much as him then it won't matter if the winner gets 20 or 40 percent of the total amount of points. What matters is the difference.

I'd suggest a points system where 10th place (or some other place, depending on the size of the grid)gets one point and the next best placed driver gets (for example) 50% more. The numbers will be rounded up to the next full point to avoid confusion. The points distribution would look like this then:

10 1

9 2

8 3

7 5

6 8

5 12

4 18

3 27

2 41

1 62

This way the smaller teams will have something to fight for and the guys going for the championship will have a real motivation for attacking the guy in front because they'll get quite a few points more.


My tables are messed up, sorry. Here's the first:

Finish old cur FIA FOTA

1 9 10 25 25

2 6 8 20 18

3 4 6 15 15

4 3 5 10 12

5 2 4 8 10

6 1 3 6 8

7 0 2 5 5

8 0 1 3 3

9 0 0 2 2

10 0 0 1 1

the second:

Finish old cur FIA FOTA

1 36 26 26 25

2 24 21 21 18

3 16 15 16 15

4 12 13 11 12

5 8 10 8 10

6 4 8 6 8

7 - 5 5 5

8 - 3 3 3

9 - - 2 2

10 - - 1 1

and the third:

1 30

2 20

3 15

4 11

5 8

6 6

7 4

8 3

9 2

10 1


I had a similar idea weeks ago on another forum, although I left 4th at 10 points... My vote goes for 30 points for first!


I don't think I agree James although perhaps I am missing something - I can understand that we might not want to watch a processional fuel economy/tyre preservation run(although surely skill comes into that a la Alain Prost in the past/Jenson Button this next season perhaps). I am probably thick but found it very confusing in 2008/9 to work out who was doing what when and why and what the outcome that some supercomputer predicts will be


Enough with the "show" B.S. It's racing.

I'm getting really tired of the gimmicks and artificial rules. I don't want F1 to become NASCAR. Personally, I'd rather see less regulation of the race management (i.e., tires, pit stops) and let the teams use strategy to come up with potential advantages.

How about having Bridgestone supply each team with X sets of all four compounds and let them use them however they want? No required changes. Period. These mandatory tire stops are really just a way of getting people to talk about tires during a time of a single supplier anyway.

And, stop playing with the rules constantly. A tweak here and there is one thing, but sheesh...do some homework before announcing changes that then get changed again before the season even starts.


Get rid of most of the regulation and just let the teams and the drivers race and give them decent tracks to show us what they can do.


or, let's take it one step further and do like we do with the engines: X sets of tires per year, a grid drop penalty for using more. only one wet tire compound and one dry tire compound. all teams must pick at least one wet set of tires. because there's only one compound of each, make them very hard/durable.


Excellent idea! Strategy not just for the race, but for the whole season! Brings in the environmental aspect too, as it could reduce the amount of tires used over the season. The only part I would differ on would be the hard compound. It shouldn't be a rock... it needs to still perform well. I would suggest a compound that is somewhere in the middle (just hard enough to last sufficiently well in the hottest races, if the driver isn't abusive).



First they ditch refueling because they "come to conclusion it doesn't bring anything interesting to the sport" and now they think it won't be interesting without refueling!



The Tower of London would be a good place to send them 🙂


And get the opinions ot the spectators/fans!


Why not just not make it compulsory to use both sets? Ie, Piquet stays out on old tyres, Mansell pits and catches up...?

Call me old but fashioned but that is what I would do!



Well it already is compulsory to use both..


I think he means that you could use one compound only if thats what you want. So doing away with the compulsory rule


thanks for putting it better than I could Ross!


And it's wrong ❗


Yes I know, but wouldn't you like to see this rule scrapped?


At last December’s World Motor Sport meeting the SWG, a sub-committee of the F1 Commission made up of the FIA and F1 teams, was tasked with going away “to develop detailed proposals to improve the show.”

Awesome! Can you point us to where they're trying to get the fans' opinions on how to improve the show?


Absolutely right Brian. I bet FIA dosen't circulate a questionair to the fans asking their/our opinions! That'd be too easy!



Well they did twice around three or four years ago, if you remember. The AMD FIA survey - got about 90,000 replies.


I helped put that survey together in my old job. We were sent the questionnaire and I was asked for feedback on the questions but we were not allowed any input to add any new ones. It seemed to me as if the questions were already set up to gain the answers the FIA wanted to hear. The other problem was that the people managing it were not really F1 fans. Generic sport fans yes but not really right for pitching the questions of the fans. Executives who though the 39th Premiership game was a golden opportunity. Said it all to me and I discounted that survey from the off.


And they did not listen to any of us

the results of the survey suggested definate paths to go down and they all but ignored us the fans


To get the right answer, you need the right question. There was very little of those in mentioned survey.

I remember discussion where fans protested about not being asked some of the biggest questions.

For example, I clearly remember everyone wanted to revert to the old qualifying format (12 laps each) and that simply wasn't there.

To add insult to injury, they did have a question about quali format, but all of the offered answers were crap.

James, please, next time you see one of the big wigs, sends them to comments area on this site. Should give them some clue as to how wrong they really are.


I remember that one - although i don't recall much in the way of published aggregated findings nevermind firm implementation plans coming out of it. It just sort of went away quietly. The words 'token' and 'gesture' spring to mind.


Maybe drivers could run to the grid like the old days, or swap cars part way through the race.

I know, last lap in reverse gear!

I don't know about others but I get so tired of all these rule changes, go back to the mid 90s rules, after the new safety steps I say.

The last few years worth of rule changes seem to have have cost more than they produced.


Added spice! Drivers will be blindfolded with large bandannas which they are not allowed to remove until finding the correct car. Pit crews will shout instructions.

All drivers must drink one complete bottle of Graham Hill memorial champagne the night before the race and smoke two cigars.


Yes marginal tyres would be a good option rewarding the crafty who have the skill to look after them 🙂


The majority opinion here seems to be that we either want one type of tyres or leave the tyre changing rules out altogether ie back to the good old days when driver skill was to the fore.

All the great circuits have been continually modified making then into gokart, tight twisty slow types.

Change the tyres back to the compounds of the 70s, which wore down without creating sheets of "marbles" and only one usable line. Tyre dust could be cleaned up by driving over it clearing a line until it was usable, modern compounds make this impossible.


Why O Why do they have to mess around so much, as far as I’m concerned it was much better sport when it was 10, 6,5ect 10 laps for qualifying in an hour that gives lower teams some TV time and it’s just more fun, let them use as many engines as they want maybe put a budget cap on engines, or limit wind tunnel time. and finally get rid of the stupid tyre rules, let them use any tyre they want with a limit per weekend. just let them get on with interfered racing like it was in the late 90's


With regards to a point for fastest lap would a rule such as that in GP2 be introduced whereby only a top 10 finisher is eligible. This removes drivers who pit near the end with the only intent being scoring a point for the fastest lap.

I agree that something needs to be introduced so that two pitstops have to be made. The only option would appear to be marginal tyres. We do not want anything fake.


James Im surprised you think extra tyre stops are a good idea...what next success weight?! All the F1 forums I frequent and massively against this idea, in fact most are in favour of the total opposite and having no compulsory stops.

Whatever happened to FOTA asking the fans about the "show" (this term should be banned...it is a sport) I have never ever seen or heard of anyone being involved in a survey. FOTA seem intent on pleasing fans that only exist in their heads. Real fans want real racing and are happy with F1 the sport!


I think perhaps the better question would be "Whatever happened to FOTA once the breakaway fell through"...

I'm sure they would have listened to the fans had they broken away, but they've come back into the fold again, and seemingly have no want or stomach to go against the existing system.


Wish it was a sport but alas with the way the FIA run things it is hardly a real sport.

Real sport is fair and one only has to look at F1 during Mosley's reign to see in black and white fair it was not.

One example that sticks in my mind was Lewis's ultra fast thinking in overtaking Kimi after he'd given the place back, this was electric viewing and with Kimi loosing it and chasing Lesis only to spin off was magic so what do the FIA do ❓

Penalise Lewis.....................better stop here as I doubt further comment on this would be published 👿


*Whatever happened to FOTA asking the fans about the “show” (this term should be banned…it is a sport)*

Agreed - if I wanted to see a show, I'll go watch Avatar. I watch F1 to see motor racing, not pretty lights and impressive architecture.


Rubbish boys. If this were the case you'd be found most weekends down at the local cart track.

My point being; what precisely is it that separates F1 from Carting if it isn't 'show'?


I asked about that and they didn't get round to it yet.


And why not like in the late 80's?

Whoever wants to do a complete race distance in 1 set of tyres ...

Dont see a problem in that.


It was only then that true rounded driver skill came to be known.

Yes ban tyre changes. but remember back then we had special sticky quali tyres and quali engines.

Quali was over two days not two hours.


James, what do you think if they just ban the rule that make tyre changes mandatory, like it used to be until 1993? I guess there will be a lot of strategical decisions options, allowing teams with the option to make three agressive stints in softer tires or making a more balanced race with two stints, or the real challenge of one stint situation with the same tires for the entire race? (Bridgestone could develop harder tires to last the entire race). I remember that this also allowed different driving strategies during the race increasing the overtaking opportunities, like someone using softer tyres trying to overtake a driver in a harder compound struggling to conserve the tires. And this permitted to some low profile drivers to achieve good results using an average equipment, (like Thierry Boutsen managed to do during the eighties).


Why not handicap the cars live during the race? Cars should have to pit and add ballast depending on their position every 25 laps or adjust the engine revs available based on position. Lead cars get less revs available in effect closing the field up all the way through the race.


You'd end up with everyone vying to be last at the final change so they can sweep up the field - just look at WRC with cars crawling slowly so they're not first across the line and so dont have to sweep the road clean on the last day


So however great a car you build, or well you drive, you lose all that advantage? Silly idea my friend.


I am very glad they are looking at tweaking the points system that was proposed last month. I can get used to 25 points for a win, but it would definitely be beneficial to "The Show" if winning paid more in points terms - and some of the points in the middle didn't make a whole lot of sense, so it would be good to iron those out too.

I'd really like to see a single compound tyre. I don't like the two-compound rule. Give everyone the same tyres. People who are harder on their tyres can try and make an extra pit-stop and make the time up by driving harder if they want, but having the two compounds seems a little artificial. I think we need more freedom in that respect in F1.


I think the point for pole and fastest lap is a very good idea. In A1GP and other lower formulas the idea has worked very well. And starting the race on the same tyres from qualifying would make up for the fuel being carried over from Q3 in 2009. But as you say, there are problems in both of these areas. I guess, much like the new aero rules last season, we will not know who will do well, but we can guarantee a great season


Yes I go along with a point for pole and a point for the fastest lap, this will encourage drivers to go for it instead of plodding to the Finnish.


Why don't grids for the following race be determined by the order of fastest laps of the existing race? This will throw up anomolies that will make grids interesting at all times e.g. Hamilton retires early and only has fifteenth fastest lap. This is where he will start at the next race. This will prevent plodding during the final few laps. In effect we will have two areas to concentrate on:- this race and the grid for the following race.

The only problem is that this will make Saturday final qualifying largely redundant.


I think the best way to deal with this James it to remove the rule saying they have to use both tyres. Let me explain. Drivers will have a choice 1. Stick on a hard set and try to do the whole race without a stop, 2. Do a stop at say half distance and put on a set of hards. 3. Do a stop at 3/4s distance and put on a set of soft.

This will really create a cat and mouse style race and could result in some dramatic finishes. Australia this year was good as you had slowing cars in 1st and 2nd (Jenson and Vettel, with Vettel catching Jenson) and 3rd (Kubica) was catching them both... we would probably get a lot more of that and it's not artificial... making people do stops is a bit GP2


If the eighties are a good example, the optimum stopping time is likely to be around 1/3 distance. This was usually explained in terms of the fuel weight being a large negative for tyre wear. Track effects associated with rubber going down weren't mentioned. Drivers that stopped late in the race usually didn't plan to, but they wore out their tyres. The gaps in the fields were much larger, often with only five cars on the lead lap, and overtaking was easier due to the power/torque:grip ratio being the other way around to what it is today.


That would do that, yes


Excellent analysis.
I concur your proposal will preserve the fighting spirit of F1 races while giving new teams a chance to score.


Has everyone forgotten how bad 1994 was compared to 1993? Apart from the beginning of the scandal-era (Benetton and Schumacher in trouble a few times) there was no overtaking as YOU COULD WAIT UNTIL THE PIT STOPS. This is a reason for taking away compulsory pit stops, not adding more.

My suggestion: if you change tyres, you must change compound. I'd even suggest bringing MORE compounds than two (call them A, B, C and D if you must).

The pitstops will also be more exciting than 1994-2009 as the really good crews will be able to shave seconds, not tenths, off the times of their rivals.

PS - I'm under 25, so was quite young when refuelling was introduced. I still regret its introduction - there was a reason it was banned in the first place.


how about one dry compound per race, and that compound is calculated to be marginal, thus drivers choose whether to nurse their tires for the whole race, or go aggressive and make a pit stop (or two)? this is basically how it was in the mid-late-eighties, without being "artificial."

and i'm all for a point or two for pole and fastest lap. both create a reason to watch the show. even if it's a dull race (can you imagine?!), there's still the fastest lap to keep an eye on.


Regarding tyres, you nailed it. One compound per race that degrades over the course of the race, but will make the distance if you nurse them the whole way.

Wouldn't this make the last 1/4 of the race come alive as the teams that made pit stops rapidly close on teams that didn't?


Tactics have always been a part of racing.... even before pitstops. What's changed? GP2 has compulsory pitstops. A1GP has compulsary pitstops. F1 is on the verge of a golden era and they can't help but try and stuff it up by fiddling before the season even starts!


How about a point or two for the person who sets the most fastest laps in a race? That might encourage drivers to attack rather than looking after their tyres.


Bernie is quoted by autosport...

"I honestly believe that one or two of these new teams that are now coming in will be much better off running one car which is supplied by any of the other teams,"

Call me picky, but I could have sworn that customer cars were illegal under the 2010 regulations...


He knows this, I think Bernie was in favor of customer cars and feels these new entrants would have been better served by them over having to build two new cars themselves.


Ecclestone should retire and play with his money, the guy no longer, if ever he did, do what's best for F1, I mean just look at so many of the racks he takes us to -- enough said 8)


I agree, Bernie should retire, he's nearly 80, but who is going to run F1 day to day? I know its the FIAs championship, but Bernie organises the circuits, promotion, TV and media.. do you think CVC, a bunch of bankers, could organise that? I think Bernie has been selfish in many ways, but mostly in that he has not organised any kind of succession for when he does go...

Maybe thats why he seems so happy that Flav's ban has been overturned by the french courts, maybe, since they are great mates, he want Flav to take over from him...


What he means is that the customer car ban is ridiculous and customer cars should be allowed, as should single-car teams. I also happen to agree with him. Don't have the resources to build your own car? Buy one. Don't think the customer cars are good enough? Build your own. If it meets the regs, run it!

Beyond that, I think teams should be allowed to run third cars and I can't see why 26 cars needs to be some sort of limit (why not 30 or 36?).


Is the customer car ban ridiculous. Take the example of Prodrive trying to enter a McLaren a few years back. For relatively little cost they could enter a car which would be faster than anything other than the works team or the Ferrari. Is that fair on teams like Williams or Force India? If it was allowed, then very quickly these teams would disappear or start using customer cars. Quickly you'd have a situation where there are only a small number of cars made by the big teams and the customers would never be able to win.


Its only faster on paper though - team, drivers, tactics, luck, etc would still matter! I don't think the issue would have been as bad as you have suggested.

Who says the customer wouldn't be allowed to win? Surely that would have been the same for engine manufacturers, so Brawn wouldn't have been allowed to beat McLaren, etc (Hmm consipracy theory brewing here... did Mercedes nobble McLaren in the knowledge they were taking over Brawn? heh!)


What's wrong with that? If Williams can't build a better car, then buy it. If they think they can get an advantage somewhere, then build your own. It's even for everyone. It didn't seem to be a problem historically when smaller teams like Williams and Tyrrell ran customer chassis.


Malcolm, The infrastructure of F1 could not cope with more than 26 cars now... OK in the late 80s and very early 90s there were up 32 cars in F1, but the circuits were very different, the main problem now is garage space, lots of the circuits do not have enough to accomodate more than 26 cars, and Monaco for one will struggle with that.. have you ever been in the paddock or pit lane in the principality? I have, and they'll manage somehow, but it'll be a nightmare. Also, you'd have to go pre-qualifying etc again, and teams going bust as they can't get the sponsorship if they fail to pre-qualify, which means they can't develop the car, so they struggle even more as the season goes on.. 26 is a good number, tried and tested, lets stick with that...


This season is going to tell us the truth about the quality of the car changes...but sadly are worthless until Tilke circuits are replaced with REAL racing tracks ...


YES YES YES YES are you hearing this FIA ❓ 😕


a.Ban all mechanics at the pitstops

b.make the drivers change the tyres

c.keep both compunds compulsory

Now that sounds like entertainment to me!


😆 Good one, can see Webber changing his tyres as I type 🙂


How about limiting the crew at the stops to 7.. 1 for each corner, 2 for the jacks, and one for the driver (clean visor, swap steering wheel etc..) this would allow for more variation in pit stop times due to more for the wheel guys to do (and possibly screw up).

Mandatory pit-stop, but NOT mandatory to use two different compounds, leave that bit to the teams..


I absolutely hated A1 for that reason. Their pit stops came across as simply... ameteurish. I say, keep the drivers as the deciders of race order change, build corners with multiple lines, and get harder tyres on the cars (to take away the marbles off the racing line(s).


To me, it is extremely important that qualifying and the race are not linked-the years of racing on qualifying fuel were dreadful. I want to know who is the fastest over one lap in a car optimized to go fast.

The sole reason for the 2 compound rule is to save Bridgestone money- this way there are no tires left over.

I think the best solution is, as a previous poster said, give the teams x sets of each compound per weekend and they can do as they wish. Allowing this amount of freedom will creat the largest number of viable strategies. Could be a no stop race on the hards is fastest, or a 3 stopper on all softs, or any variation in between. They would also need to consider how they allocated tires during qualifying so as to have enough to suit their race strategy.

Finally, they need to modify the parc ferme rules to allows for set-up changes if it rains. It is ridiculous to see cars hydroplaning all over not on their tires, but on the bottom of the car.


I agree with your first comment for a different reason: when drivers qualify with "race ready" cars, the first stint is bound to be bland because all the cars will go around in the order they formed during qualifying. I see the logic in the "different strategies shaking up the grid", but it didn't really work, maybe because once the field stretched during the first stint, strategy played a less important role(?)


2 compound rule does nothing to save Bridgestone money, it is to add an element or strategy due to the differing compounds. If they took 1 or 4 compounds, they would still use the same number of tyres as the teams are allocated 7 sets per car..

Parc ferme allows the teams to get the cars back 5 hours before the formation lap, with a limited amount of changes allowed. If the race is going to be wet, when quali way dry, (or visa versa)then they are allowed to do more changes, which will include ride height, but they will only lift the car by a couple of mm, as the wet tyres lift the car as well due to the larger tread. they cannot go lifting the car by cm's as they would have no downforce from the floor, especially if it dried up...


How about the first 10 on the grid being the first 10 finishers in the previous race but in reverse, a lucky 10th place would put a Lotus on pole say great for sponsers! Timed qualifying for points 3,2,1 to keep that interesting and a 30 lap race on Saturday for the ones not in the top 10. This decides 11-26


I don't see the point in playing with the grid order artificially (random, drawn, reversed, etc) when its so difficult to overtake...

once it IS easier to overtake again however...!


It is good to see that finishing first will be rewarded again.But I don´t think it is good idea to give points for fastest laps.Mostly it would benefit guys with faster cars,the same drivers that are most likely to score high points anyway.

Also,lets say that a driver(probably de Cesaris) hits something hard soon after the start and limps back to pits.When 2 laps down,rejoins the race and drives a steady race only to change into softer compound 5 laps to go( on a light fuel load),and sabracadabra, "the idiot of the race" takes the same number of points, as the guy who just pushed,say Simtek, to the line on the last point scoring position.

The frontrunners that did not overcook may not have the luxury to switch for another fresh set of rubber to beat the best laptime,because making an extra stop would probably hurt them more. Fair?I don´t think so.

And the tyres...

Wasn´t it interesting in early 90-s,when some drivers made no stops at all and caused headache for the ones that were faster but pitting?I think they should not re-invent bicycles for every upcoming season and consider looking back for a second...


As another poster said, bring in the GP2 rule that only the top 10 are eligible for the fastest lap bonus point (or in case of high attrition, the rule could be changed to allow only the top 50% of the classified finishers to be eligible).

This would prevent ridiculous last-minute hot-laps by back-markers or would-be retirees to get that bonus point.


I've been racking my brains here about the tyres.

How about only hard tyres being available for qualifying and then the same hards and a fresh set of softs being available for the race, with the use of both compulsory?

That immediately knocks 20 or so laps off the life of the hards and reduces the lenth of the 'long boring stint'.

A car which is gentle on the tyres would get more life out of the worn hards, but may well have trouble getting the softs up to temperature. So the length of the stints would be different for each team depending on their car's characteristics.


I really, really like the idea of a couple of points for fastest lap and pole position - maybe the right split would be 3 for pole and 1 for fastest lap. That coupled with a steeper decay rate from 1-10 should reicentivize teams to go all out to finish in the top 3. Any idea how likely it is for the proposals you listed to make it for the 2010 season?


I would like no restrictions on pit stops. Think about Raikkonen, Alonso, nurburgring 2005. Old knackered tyre against charging through on fresher ones... awesome prospect.


James, Are there any changes to the start fuel state? Will it still be start on fuel left in car at end of Quali 3??


Roger, the cars will run in Q3 on low fuel, then be filled up before the start of the race, as James said.

Personally, I'd hate to see any points given for pole or fastest lap. If more points are to be awarded, give them to the winner.

Anyone remember Mark Webber's emotional outburst in Germany last year? That's how much a race win means to these guys, and how hard it is to get one (ask Nick Heidfeld, for instance). It's about time that was reflected in the points system, if you ask me.

And about mandatory pitstops to stop boring racing, I'd like to quote what the Ferrari team said on many occasions last decade - "if the other teams can't build a faster car, that's not our fault."

Let's leave it up to the teams to challenge each other, the drivers to race each other, and try to tell these "Working Groups" and FIA/FOTA to get on with fixing the circuits, the points system, the aero, the ticket prices, the race fees, the stewarding and the choice of new teams allowed into the sport, instead of fixing the races (pun intended).


Absolutely! It's start the race on full tanks - approx 240 litres


Will we see fireworks from the undertrays like the old days?!


Oh. I hadn't thought about this properly.

So that means at the beginning of Q3 they have race fuel + fuel for say 10 laps. wow, that's heavy. The switch from Q2 to Q3 is going to be mental isn't it. In the first 2 races I would bet that 25% of the field will totally screw up their Q3 lap by going off or crashing out.

James, what's the difference in braking distance do you reckon between having virtually no fuel to having 240 litres + Q3 fuel?


Assuming you start on 240kg and finish on zero fuel and 3kg=1/10 sec/lap. then its 8 seconds different in lap time start to finish, however that wont happen, because of tyre wear. If your car is 10% more fuel efficient than the others, Then you will need carry maybe 24kg less at the start, this means you could be 8/10 sec per lap faster at the start. If only it were that simple, its all hypothetical and will vary with lap length, temperature and altitude, even before any "car" attributes are taken into account.


...or Bahrain even!


I think the plan is to do all 3 qualifying sessions on fumes and then brim the tanks before the race... still, it's going to be an interesting first corner in Melbourne as a collective 6.25 tons of race fuel tries to stop in time.


Good question. I'll find out


James - Sorry for the dumb question, I just realised with no refuelling it is obvious.. One question though, is it mandatory to start with full tanks, or will actual fuel on board be calculated by distance/predicted consumption? With varying length tracks, and varying fuel consumption, I am guessing that there would be a good time advantage to the teams that can accurately predict fuel burn.


Well you have to start the race with enough fuel to get to the finish, basically. That may vary depending on how thirsty your engine is. Every 3 kilos you carry more than your rival is worth 1/10th of a second. So low fuel consumption is VERY important this year.


For me the critical thing to improve F1 is to improve "racing". My spouse is a casual fan who watches the start and the first lap for the side by side action, then leaves the room knowing that there will almost no further siginficant racing.

So how can racing be improved? For example, how can you get two cars into a corner racing each other and get two undamaged cars out of the corner? Maybe something as simple as mandatory larger mirrors would help.


I've been working in F1 for 21 years now and this same debate has gone on in every single one of them!


James, can you please get a message to those in power that we the F1 fans want a sport and not a "show". If the sport provides a show, then so be it.

I want to see competition, not a spectacle.

I want technical brilliance, not creative restriction.

I want combatants, not superstars.

I want reality, not reality TV.

I want F1 to rock, not "F1 Rocks".

I want racing, not gimmicks.

I want passion, not corporate droning.

Give us F1 back.


I can only speak from a personal perspective rather than "for the good of F1 worldwide" but I think I COMPLETELY agree with your statements.


Agreed. But there are many millions of people out there who might be attracted to watch the sport if some changes were made. It's the classic purist versus moderniser issue. The key is to get the sport to the point where it attracts more women (F1 Rocks does that) and kids. It has to do that. Don't know if you have kids but they see things through a gaming prism as much as anything else and they want entertaining racing.


Yes, but do we castrate our sport to attract new (paying) customers, or should we be educating these new fans by giving them better access via internet and new media etc?

We don't need to dumb down the sport to attract fans and we don't need to dress it up like a tart to get bums in seats. Remove the bariers to access to the sport and let the fans in.

Sport is entertaining, however manufactured excitement fades very, very quickly. Viewers will quickly look elsewhere for ther fix while F1 will be left with a shade of its former great self.


Unfortunately that's exactly what you have to do.

There's a critical mass of "fans" out there who'll watch a grand prix warts and all - and F1 has probably been at saturation point with those individuals. So if you want to increase the fan-base further, you have to do other things.

Some of this will annoy hardcore fans, but in the end most of them carry on watching and just grumble about the old days - so no one "in charge" really cares as long as they see the bottom line numbers increase.

Sad but true. It's not only F1; completely different sport but Snooker is currently going through a similar process where they're introducing boxing style walk-ons to music and different tournaments - all in the interests of broadening appeal to a new fan base.

And do you remember the days when footballers used to travel to the ground on the bus and clean their own boots? Business minds took over and turned football into today's incarnation - love it or loathe it, it's hugely successful in financial terms for a select few.

Hopefully though in F1 some of the change will be delivered through new channels and media and not by changing the core product beyond all recognition. But I'm getting older now so I fear the change!


I think they should be allowed to pit when they want and race what tyre they want without any restriction. But they should have a limit on the number of tyres they can use over the weekend.


I don't think they should make teams pit for tyres, I personally think they should ditch the 'Must use both compounds' rule.

I think they should have it as it was prior to refueling in 1994 where teams/drivers had the option of if & when they wanted to pit for tyres. Back then we had some intresting races caused by different drivers doing different things with tyres.

Mandatory pit stops & also pit windows have been tried in various other series & for the most part ended up making things less intresting.

I love the fact refueling is gone & actually thnk that F1 without refueling could bring in more intresting & less predictable strategy's providing they don't start adding mandatory stops Etc... I say that based on watching F1 prior to 1994 when I found the racing more intresting & the strategy's with tyres to be less predictable, more varied & generally more intresting.

Back then you had different cars/drivers using tyres different ways & also different teams/drivers setting the cars upto work at different points in a race.

Something to consider is that the car that qualifies on pole & was fastest on a low fuel setup may not be as fast with full tanks while a car that wasn't as good on low fuel may be setup to work better on heavier fuel.

BTW there is some intresting overtaking stats here which show that the level of overtaking went down quite a lot in 1994 when refueling came back & never went back up.



There was no need to overtake when your opponents pit stop lap number could easily be calculated.

With tyre stops however its much more difficult to calculate. Let us not forget that tyre and BRAKE wear will be much more significant early in the race on full fuel loads. (and again at the end when tyres are down to the second canvas.)(for younger viewers, tyres used to be made with two canvas layers and you could buy second hand tyres when you couldn't afford new ones, if you got a puncture you just put an inner tube in and kept the tyre going a few thousand more miles, slicks worked well in the summer)

I foresee brakes becoming a big factor this season, expect red disks and clouds of eco carbon.

I also agree with most posters that the both compounds rule should be abolished and that pit stops should not be compulsory.


Love the idea of marginal tyre compounds. Some of the best races are fresh vs old tyres, such as Senna against Mansell at Monaco '92. To me it's the silver bullet for overtaking - it creates that big performance change that allows two otherwise evenly matched cars to swap positions. Unfortunately, it won't happen because of the negative perception it can create of the tyres - I feel certain Bridgestone won't do it.

I HATE the new points system. More points makes things confusing - if you've seen the Australian Touring Car Championship points (150 for a win, 138 for second etc) you'll what a complicated farce this approach can be. Also let's not forget that the current system has brought us final-race title deciders in 3 of the last 4 years. Much less likely to happen with this points gap.


To Be honest I would neither ban refueling nore allow tire changing, but rather allow refueling as many times the teams deem necessary but in total only by the amount of Fuel the tank actually holds. So 200ltr Tank 200ltrs allocated for the entire race. Then I would ban tire changing for good.


James, I think there is a factual inaccuracy in your article.

If you look at the pre-refuelling era you’ll see that no one could wait until 3/4 of the race for the first stop. That’s because with the huge fuel load at the star, tyres could simply not last long enough, so drivers tended to stop at 1/3 if on a one pit-stop strategy, or even earlier if more tyre changes were required.

Personally, I believe F1 should not try to artificially “spice up” the show with dumb rules as compulsory pit-stops.

What about allowing drivers to mix and match the two current compounds as they wish. I remember in the early 90s when cars would run with a harder compound on one side and a softer one on the other. That was strategically interesting, totally dependent on drivers' style and tactic and certainly not artificial.


You raise an interesting point, though I'm not sure mixing tyre compounds on the car would make much difference to the performance.

I agree with you though about tyre strategies being an interesting aspect of F1 in the 1980s. Hopefully that will occur this year also.


Asking Bridgestone or whoever to produce new tires completely goes against common sense economy-wise add to that the fact that F1 is trying to be (Seen as) greener and cheaper. I think:-)

Stephen Kellett JAF1

The tyre compounds brought to the race should be decided in a private 8 sided dice toss, with two faces of each dice relating to one tyre compound.

The teams should not be informed prior to Friday 9AM what tyres they will be running. Some races the compounds will be 1 & 4, others they may be 1 & 2, 1 & 3, 2 & 3, 2 & 4 or 3 & 4.

Complete chaos, but it would shake things up.


Max Mosley once made a remark that Formula 1 should have strategy in it like chess, lots of other people pointed out that not many people pay money to watch chess.

I want to see a driver come up with a strategy to over take other drivers on the road, I don't want to see the teams come up with a strategy of how to other drivers the pits.

In the 80's and early 90's the racing was excellent, lets have those rules again!

in the 80's some drivers were careful with there tires and didn't stop at all where as others stopped once or twice for the advantage of fresh rubber, lots of overtaking ensued!


Tom, the racing was better in the 80s due in a large part to the aerodynamics..

The cars were able to follow VERY close to the car in front and use the tow, as a much larger part of the performance cam from the underside of the car (not affected by the car in front) and the tyres which were much larger than now. The problem now is that too much of the downforce is produced by the wings and bodywork which is affected by the airflow from the car in front.


Totally agree with you, I think they should restrict the aero further and have fatter tyres


Only problem with that would be it would slow that cars down,to the extent that they gould end up slower that gp2 etc. would it still be the pinnacle of sport?

Imagine, you are a driver, and you spend 15 years through karts, ff1600, ff200, f3, gp2.. the cars are gradually getting more powerful, faster, and have more downforce. then, finally, you make it to F1, and find the cars are much more powerful, much more technical to set up, BUT you're sliding around, and slower than in GP2...


True, but cycling, rugby, American football and cricket to name but a few have very strong tactical elements and are very popular.


Hi James,

maybe I can help fota. I run an online Market research agency and as a massive fan would be more than happy to offer some help for free! Oh and it would not be boring surveys either, more like focus groups and dedicated communities. Finding participants for this judging from what I see here won't be a problem either.


Spray all the rubbish tracks with water at the start of the race.

There you go! Problem solved. Maximum entertainment.


drivers will cry like little girls, if you forced them to do that.


It would only take 2 or 3 laps for a field of 26cars to dry the racing line, then change to slicks. You then have the issue that no-one can overtake as they cannot go off-line to pass without going onto a wet track with slick tyres... not a good idea..


You have that anyway in the dry, with tyre rubber "marbles" everywhere round each corner. The tyre compound needs to change to one that wears instead of the surface disintegrating into soft blobs. (you can just tell my scientific rubber knowledge is vast 🙂 )


How about awarding first-place points in all three quali sessions?

Might keep some teams from throwing down a 'quick enough' time and sitting in the pits for the remainder of the session - although that tactic did backfire a few times last season.


I am 100% positive that the collective commenters on this blog could come up with a better charter of F1 rules and regulations than this "sporting working group".

Anyone find that pathetic?

Good tracks and telent without constraints or boundaries (beyond those regulating safety). That's all F1 needs. Sadly, it is lacking both.


The last thing we want is artificial racing, so suggestions like mandatory pitstops and shortcuts(Really?)are just desperate and ridiculous.

The most logical thing I've heard is, "asking Bridgestone to bring more marginal tyre compounds so that more stops are needed".

A point for pole and fastest lap is long overdue.

A 5pt margin between 1st and 2nd is way too much.

...who wants too see it wrapped up before Monza?...not me.

Here's my 2 cents...
















No.everyone has this all wrong!

To increase competition, the points need to be closer together, not further apart. 10, 9, 8 etc.


You Knou, You might be onto something.

It makes sense, but I do think the win deserves more reward, maybe 12pts for 1st 10 for 2nd 9/3rd etc.

My idea was more of a happy medium between what we've had and what has been suggested, spread the points a little further down a 26 car grid.

....and I am a big fan of poles and fastest laps.


Thanks for keeping us updated James!

As I've commented before, I believe that 25 points as the victory score adds unnecessary complication. Anyone who follows MotoGP knows that its scoring system is more complex than F1. Therefore we should stick with 10 as the base points for victory. But we also need to be in accordance with desires for a larger differential between 1st and 2nd, and something for position 10.



So 5th and 6th both get 3 points each, and so on. Or if we want to differentiate every position we can use half points.


And we can also add 1 point for fastest lap.

Surely these are better solutions, it also means career points still means something for historical purposes.

What are your thoughts James? Or are you happy with 25 points per win and the silly and unnecessary overcomplication.


By introducing decimal points you may as well multiply everything by 10... it'll be no more or less complicated.


We are talking about half points here and not tenths of points. Therefore what you say is not actually true. Besides, half points have been used in F1 if a race does not go full distance. Think Malaysia last year, or the famous Monaco 1984, which meant Prost lost the title by half a point!

We would also lose 10 points as our traditional basis for a victory however, and the historical value of points would be completely lost.


I like the points system in Moto GP it forces the rider to say I'm not settling for 2nd place I need that extra 5 points, I'm going for the win, thats what we need in F1. I get tired of whole I'll take 2nd, I need the points to help the long game, Only Alonso and Hammy in opinion go for the win everytime (providing they have the car!)

Its high time you got awarded more for winning the race! the days of watching two ferrari's scamper off into the distance 'unfortunatley!' are gone hence why the point system was made so tight early last decade.....

I like the idea, its the right way to go..


Hi Flintelli,

Thanks for your thoughts - however I suggest you think about what I have to say; it will be useful to you in many applications if you can improve your mental mathematics.

Your comment about MotoGP is about as informed as Jenson Button's was when he heard about the new point scoring system. You both need to learn some primary school maths: 25 points for winning and 20 points for coming second is the identical ratio to 10 points for winning and 8 points for coming second. If we were to use the flawed logic you express then to give more incentive to chase the victory we could say let's give 150 points for a victory and 140 points for coming second, because there is now a 10 point difference. Think about it... you'll get it.

My suggestion of 10 points for the victor and 7 points for 2nd gives a bigger incentive to go for the victory.


You deserve credit for acknowledging your error. More worrying is someone like Jenson Button making exactly the same error as yourself. It brings into doubt his ability to setup an F1 car and analyse data if his maths are that poor. That's my concern about complexing the scoring system; it becomes harder for the average person to decode the overall scores and we lose all historical value with the points.

Agree with you on MotoGP. Motorbikes are a lot thinner than cars and that obviously helps with the overtaking in that there is more space to move.


I only ever got a D in Maths! I feel so stupid! Thankyou for pointing out my very silly error.!

Have you seen Moto GP as an aside. Theres overtaking and everything but I dont think that is down to their point system.

I get it now.....


I haven't decided whether I like the new system yet. It seems so removed from 60 years of history.


I don't think they will change the system for the new season. Its the same as last year or the year before. The PR teams are generating interest in the off-season.


I agree with you on that.

As I've said before, I think best 13 results from 18-20 races would be really good for the drivers championship. It's a good compromise between points and incentive for wins in my view.


We had a period where the worst two results over a season were dropped.



Thanks for the continued news updates - it makes the off season much less boring!

On the topic of spicing up the show - don't you think that the answer lies in less standardization and more technical freedom? I think that if teams were allowed to find innovative solutions under a blanket budget cap it would all get much more interesting. At the moment the intension seems to me to be to give as many standard parts/regulations to all the teams to save money. IMHO this is very silly in a technologically driven sport like F1. Who cares how many times you make a pit stop? If you think you can go the distance without it shouldn't you have the freedom to try? I feel that the sport is continually being held back and dumbed down by adding more and more restrictive rules. No testing? No engine development? Isn't that against the spirit of the sport? Just give the teams a maximum budget and let them spend their money however and in whatever area they see fit. Surely this would result in a much more technically diverse field of cars, resulting in much more interesting and varied strategies specially designed for each team. For goodness sake, don't tell an F1 team how many times it has to stop - it's supposed to be racing, after all.


Got to keep an eye on costs. We are operating under the Resource Restriction Agreement now, remember. Technical freedom = expense. Best to specify some areas where they can be free and standardise plenty of other areas to keep costs under control.


True, but what if they didn't have any standardisation, but introduce a budget cap for Development. so there would be a control on costs but you have great technical freedom where cleverest wins.


Malcolm's Rules for 2010:

1) Spec rear diffusers, designed to reduce turbulence and to not shed excessive vortices (also, a volume around the diffuser to eliminate the possibility of a Williams-style extension under the crash structure or other such similar methods). This would also eliminate the double-diffuser.

2) Single-element wings only, and back to the 2007 width, but at the 2008 height. This reduces downforce, increases drag, reduces the up-wash of the rear wing (since single element wings cannot run at high angles of attack), increases aesthetics, and even creates sponsor-friendly advertising space. Win-win-win-win-win!

3) Make the front wings 5 cm narrower on each side, partially for aesthetics and partially so they're not so likely to get knocked off.

4) For the race, each team is allotted 4 sets of tires: 2 hard compound, 2 soft compound. The tires should be designed that the hard compound can make it to the end of the race with no stops, but has a steady drop in performance over the race distance. The soft-compound tires should be consistent for 1/3 of the race distance, but then drop off considerably in performance.

This would allow for the following possible strategies: (a) no stops on hard compound; (b) one stop at mid-distance, switching from hard to hard; (c) stopping at 1/3 or 2/3 distance, switching from soft to hard or hard to soft, respectively; (d) stopping at 1/3 and 2/3 distance, with any combination of hard and soft sets.

5) Spec sequential gearboxes. Honestly, who cares if they can make a gearbox with a carbon-fibre casing, twin-clutches, and all sorts of crazy technology? They're nothing but fancy, hidden money-pits.

6) Steel brake rotors. It will marginally increase braking distances, reduce costs and even increase pedal feel (they worked well for Zanardi!).

7) Change the points spread to 30-20-15-10-8-6-4-3-2-1. This allows more finishers to get points, but increases the percentage spread between first and second to 33% (same as the 9-6-4-3-2-1 system from '61 to '84, and close to the 10-6-4-3-2-1 system from '91 to '02).

8) One bonus point for pole. None for fastest lap (It's a race, not a qualifying session, so it shouldn't be rewarded).

9) Ban Hermann Tilke from designing any further circuits. His sanitized, boring tracks are killing the sport. The mix of constant radius corners and tight corners onto straights into tight corners clearly doesn't work. Good tracks have idiosyncrasies: variable-radius corners, positive and negative camber, elevation changes and corner complexes where each of the corners are linked in their approach. Tilke's tracks go from CAD to creation with almost no variation, leaving little room for interesting idiosyncrasies.

Also, he hasn't seemed to realize that the best passing opportunities exist where two corners of opposite directions where either running wide out of the first corner or entering the second corner would be quicker up until the apex of the second corner, but would not be the line of choice when alone on the track. This allows the second car to either intentionally run wide in the first corner (higher exit speed) allowing the second car to run up alongside the first car, or not switch back to take the ideal line to the second corner (shorter distance to the apex of the second corner) again allowing the second car to run up alongside the first car.

These are tricks most good racing drivers know about (one commentator called the former the "Swedish Shuffle" after Rickard Rydell after he passed several cars at Thruxton by intentionally running wide on one corner to get a run up the inside of another car into the next corner); Mr. Tilke, or any other designer for that matter, should know about these sorts of things and incorporate them into his tracks.

The draft-by pass is the most boring pass possible - there is no out-braking, just merely driving alongside, braking evenly and taking the position because you have the inside line. That's all Mr. Tilke designs for, and the racing becomes boringly predictable because of it.

There. I think that just about everything I've wanted to get off my chest... for now! 😉


A lot of good points there Malcom.

But again you cannot go offline because of the "Marbles", the tyre compound will have to change as well.

If one wants to see overtaking then the BTCC is the best series to follow. Pity Channel 4 seem to insist on showing it a 2am.


Well, marbles only develop offline if offline isn't used. If cars are passing more, the marbles get swept to the side more.

I live in Canada, so BTCC is off the radar as far as TV is concerned. I remember as a kid my father bought me a VHS tape of the '93 season where Winkelhock and Soper battled it out in BMWs... must have watched that whole season 100 times.

Again, just goes to show that a series with more mechanical grip than aero grip produces tighter racing (like BTCC, MotoGP, Karting, etc). When will the FIA learn?


Someone posted a link to a bunch of spreadsheets here earlier with data on the number of overtakes per race.

It shows that there is a lot less overtaking now, but it doesn't show the Tilke work to be the cause.

In fact if you look at the data for the past 5 years (to limit the impact of regulation changes), the tracks with most overtaking on average are:




Each at least partially designed by Tilke.

Least overtaking is on Catalunya (a classic right?), Hungary as expected and Valencia.

The tracks are not the main problem, technology is.


Please also refer back to my comment about the method of overtaking. Drafting up on someone, driving alongside and ruining their line is hardly exciting to watch.

Don't forget that he ruined Hockenheim and the old Osterriechring, Abu Dhabi was terrible, Valencia was even worse, Shanghai was boring, his modifications to the first-turn complex at the Nurburgring hasn't achieved anything, and while Fuji (not Fiji) yielded high overtaking numbers, this is in major part to the pre-existing design of the circuit, not the overhaul in adding roughly 10 corners where the last corner used to be.

I agree that the Hungaroring and Catalunya are terrible tracks, and the latter is FAR from a classic. Circuits like that should be removed from the calendar, and real racing circuits like Spa, Silverstone, Monza and even Imola and the new Portimao circuit should be kept at all costs. F1 should not be seeking the highest bidder with the fanciest garages, but they should be finding the best circuits for "the show". These circuits would be a challenge to the drivers AND yield overtaking possibilities. The current circuits may yield some overtaking, but certainly do not challenge the drivers very much.

Therefore I respectfully disagree, and maintain that Tilke's effect on F1 has been overwhelmingly negative, and while a few of his tracks have yielded some comparatively high overtaking numbers, it still adds up to a boring race due to the overly sanitized nature of the circuits he designs.


Sorry, let me add the following to the list of good circuits: Interlagos, Suzuka and Monaco (all three of which have nice elevation changes, challenge drivers and provide exciting races).


PS. Only 4, 7 and 8 would be possible for 2010; the rest could be for 2011, along with wider tires. 🙂


I'm sorry, James, I don't agree!

Your proposal is against the principal of racing. Since all racing drivers first started driving Karts at 8, 9, 10 years old, they went as fast as they could and if they didn't their father would get angry, so it dosen't seem right to tell them to drive slower now that theyré in F1! And let's face it, nobody wants to see drivers going around a corner at 8 tenths when he (and I mean HE) should and could be going 9.75 tenths, (or even 10.5 tenths!) just to make tyres last longer!

Same aplies to fuel, I can see 2010's going to be a fuel economy season. Some teams will start on min. fuel to make up positions in the early laps, then slow down, block and conserve fuel to the finish. Others will have plenty fuel for the race but they'll have to drive slow to conserve tyres! Others will run out of fuel! Personally, I think the season will be a f/up!

Another thing, PASSING, that's the main thing the spectators need to see, but it'll never happen untill the wings are seriously redused in size! Ground efects are OK because they're not effected so much by slipstream turbulance, but big wings rely on uneffected direct air flow to work efficiently and the percentage falls off quickly as the air flow is disrupted, so restrict downforce available from wings so the drivers can rely more on mecanical grip then we might even see cars exiting corners sideways, and the occaisional four wheel drift like we used to see with Moss, Fangio, Hawthorn, Brabham and their mates!

Oh yeah, and we don't need traction control, launch control, computor controled limited slip diffs, active suspension and ABS! Anti-stall's good because I'd like to see cars continue if they've spun off.




One stop on the soft v all the way on the hards would bring in the tactical options we'll lose with no eefuelling.


I remember back in the mid-80s quite a few great races where Mansell would pit for new tyres and throw everything back into a fight with a Prost or Senna trying to make their rubber last to the end. There was a good race in Detroit like that and I think the really close finish in Jerez was due to that as well.

Before he thought crashing second cars to win grands prix was a good idea, Pat Symonds had some interesting thoughts on this. He called them "performance profiles" I think. The best racing occurs when car A and car B have alternating periods of speed or lack thereof. Essentially formula 1 is no different to other games/sports in the sense it is about attack and defence (and did Bernie really suggest shortcuts this morning?).

Encouraging diversity in driving style and race tactics should be the lesson to learn here. Not compulsory this and that, attempting to contrive better racing. Frentzen nicked a French GP once by fueling to the end way before half distance and Mika Salo got a wet 5th place at Monaco not stopping at all. Make stops compulsory or certain tyres compulsory and eventually simulations will all spit out the same strategies and the racing will be dull.



Totally agree with you!



This is a bit off topic but anyway...

There was talk of engine equalisation being allowed again for this season, but only by means of bringing the more powerful engines back to the others.

I've been trying to pay attention, but havent heard if anything happened with that.

Do you know what the story is?



Ridiculous! ~You may as well make them all use a standard engine, then call it A1. Just have a fuel limit and use any size engine you want.


Still under discussion last time asked.

Alistair Blevins

I read somewhere - most likely within the comments on this blog - that from 2010 cars will be fitted with built-in air jacks.

Is that correct?


They (air jacks) are not in the regs.

But KERS, wheel covers and double diffusers are all allowed under the current regs in spite of what has been said. In fact the tech regs were hardly changed at all from last year's.

Many parts of the regs are subject to one's (and the scrutineer's) interpretation of the clauses. Parts are written to confine and exclude or insist, but most innovation is from the bits that are not written simply because the writer never thought of them or of any other way of reading them.

Alistair Blevins

Thanks. I thought more would have been made of them had they been included in the regs.

Not sure how much they would have spiced-up the show anyway. They're hardly an innovation, given they've been used in other forms of motorsport for many years, and the pressure cooker environment of human performance under pit-stop conditions is much more exciting.

I think someone was getting their F1 and Indycars mixed up.

Whether they're allowed or not I can't see them ever being used unless mandated by the FIA. They're clearly self-defeating because of the redundant (when on track) weight they add.

I think the biggest challenge for 2010 lies in creating a car that can remain balanced with 240 litres and 0.24 litres of petrol, and treat its tyres sympathetically...


Bang on. They are like two different cars


Ecclestone has proposed that circuits should be modified to enable drivers to take a short cut to enable them to get ahead of cars.

Quote“It would be very easy for us, on each circuit, to have an area where you could gain a lot of time, so you could overtake,” he said. “You can imagine a short cut if you like, which a driver can use five times during a race, so it will stop people getting stuck behind somebody.It would be great for TV and good for commentators, who would talk about one driver with three [short cuts] left and another with two.”

Would you James?


That was on a kids TV programme over Christmas - my five year old liked the idea. Is it F1? I'm not sure Bernie is being serious


It was also on The Times Online today!

Good to see them up to date with their reporting?


No it's not F1, all F1 needs to put it right are 3 simple things: 1) fair honest governance (fat chance I fear), 2) less not more regulation and decent tracks to hold races and 3) not the shite new tracks we are being served (even fatter chance).


I've always assumed Bernie would deliberately wind up journalists (and to a lesser extent fans) but inventing random proposals in the off-season. The "medals for winners" thing leaps to mind.

It feels like Bernie believes any publicity is good publicity, and he'll do anything he can to keep F1 stories appearing in newspapers.

So long as you don't take him seriously its fine.

My moneys on him proposing the use of monorails in F1 by 2013


I agree, we can expect a major row or preposterous claim from Bernie just before the season starts, simply to grab media attention. James, you guys fall for it every time and blow it up so that it gets international above the line coverage.

I think Bernie must pay Eddie Jordan as well, to keep the media on the boil.


Did you see me blowing it up? I don't recall posting on it at all...?


I think you've summed it up pretty well there!


James, making the tyres more marginal sounds like the best option, but how reliable would it be?

I mean, even on circuits that F1 has been in for years, an unusually hot or cold race day could redefine what the ideal (or, if we want them to wear out quickly, the less-ideal) tyre range will be!

Whatever happens, I don't think the spectacle will necessarily be dull. Even if there is a largely-boring long second stint, in the Prost Vs Senna glory days, it wasn't uncommon to see the driver running in 1st place, 20 seconds clear of the rest, struggling on worn tyres, 10 laps from the finish, with the guy placed 2nd making consecutive fastest laps.

I wouldn't find that boring!


If the FIA insist on keeping with messing with what the teams do regards tyres they my not allocate teams with the season tyre allowance at the start of the season for the whole season, this would be a serious challenge for the teams to manage over the course of a season and would likely give us some excellent racing towards the end of a season.

I'd also like to see the same do with fuel, this would force the teams to become more fuel efficient and relevant to today's world as well as offering us some fantastic tactic as teams chose when to use most fuel, can't see a downside on this one 😕


James, with Bernie's talk about shortcuts, do you know if there has ever been any momentum or consideration for a much easier solution--implementing a version of Champ Car's old "white line" rule?

Starting in 2007, at some of the tighter street circuits, Champ Car began painting a white line down the middle of braking zones that the drivers were not allowed to cross. They didn't extend into the corner themselves, merely create lanes in the braking zones to eliminate weaving and blocking into corners. A driver under attack may defend by taking the inside braking lane, but that leaves the other free to attack on the outside without fear of being pushed into the barriers.

The result was that in 2007 at San Jose, a notoriously tight 1.44 mi street circuit that had previously had only Valencia-esque processionals, passing broke out all over the place and Robert Doornbos won the race from 15th on the grid. I would love to see F1 adopt this at a few corners at Valencia and Singapore. It's a fair rule, it's not outlandish like Bernie's ideas of shortcuts or a split track, and the cost of implementation is only that of a bucket of paint. Perhaps even better, given F1's recent history, is that it's simple to understand and visualize and therefore makes enforcement by the stewards much easier and unambiguous.



I'm not sure which race you're thinking of, but there was no rain at San Jose in 2007. You're right that the white line was originally Servia's idea and intended as rules clarification, but everybody agreed afterwards that increased overtaking opportunities was a happy byproduct. I was googling around for some media coverage of it, but given that Champ Car was on its last legs, there wasn't much--here's the only article I could find that mentioned it, an item by Dave Phillips at SpeedTV.com:


If anyone wants to see it in action, here's a highlight reel of the race:


Servia himself passes Neel Jani for the lead at 2:35-3:35, Doornbos gets by Jani for the lead at around 5:00, and Dan Gommendy passes Simon Pagenaud further down the field at around 7:00.

It's certainly not a cure-all or a substitute for improved technical regulations, and it should never be necessary at any properly designed road course. But for the new slew of street circuits, which to me are exercises in contrivances to begin with and would otherwise be processions, it seems that it wouldn't hurt in giving the drivers a fighting chance to move through the field.


Mark Z, Your right about there been no rain at San Jose in '07.

I read your post & then for some reason thought you had mentioned Toronto (The only place I remembered them running the white line) so commented on the Toronto race which did have a mid-race rain shower.


The Toronto layout had always been a good one for overtaking, thats one reason why it became such a popular circuit. Last year's Indycar race (Minus the white line) also saw a lot of passing.

And don't forget it rained during the 2007 race there which is why there was more overtaking than normal.

Also that white line was only brought it because the drivers wanted clarification on what they could & coudn't do. ChampCar had brought in the silly 'can't deviate off the racing line to defend' rule & it was been implemented a bit inconsistently so Driver Oriol Servia suggested the white line to make it easier for the drivers to know what they were allowed to do.

One other point about Circuits.

I think Tilke gets a bad rap at times. Tracks like Bahrain & Istanbul are 2 circuits that often provide some of the best racing & that feature more overtaking than a lot of others. Sepang also produces overtaking & is also generally a nice layout which some nice fast, sweeping turns.

And don't forget that Tilke's A1-Ring & Hockenheim redesigns also produced a ton of racing.

Of his circuits I'd say Shanghai & Valencia are the weakest. Abu-Dhabi isn't great but I don't think its too bad & the GP2 Asia & Porsche Supercup races there last year showed it can produce a fair bit of overtaking.


That is seriously the most sensible solution I have heard to liven the overtaking up a bit


That's not a bad idea! I can see there being lots of tight calls in the stewards office that are unpopular but it helps without making overtaking overtly artificial.


Agreed. Great suggestion Mark.


Not heard that, but now is the time to suggest anything like that. I'll fire that one in to the SWG.


Interesting idea, but I'd only want to see it at one corner per track where overtaking never normally takes place. When cars get side by side, half the fun is the the tension you feel from whether they're going to collide or not.


I still don't understand the need to change the points system. If this is about money for the smaller teams, just pay them on the finishing positions with out messing with the world championship points. All this will do is devalue the idea of scoring points and also make a mockery of the historical records.

The same with the tyres. Keep the two compound rule if you must, but don't have compulsory anything. I think it is obvious that most people will start on hard tyres and switch to softs as the weight decreases. It is the timing of that change and how the tyres are managed to the end of the race that will be the deciding point. We don't need an extra stop being imposed as this will punish the cars/drivers that are kinder to their tyres and can run on the faster tyre for longer, and remove the possibilty of a front runner staying out longer to gain track position, or a guy making 3 stops and racing through the pack.

When anyone talks about the "show", what they mean is overtaking. All the stake holders in F1 need to realise what is plainly obvious to almost everyone on the outside. If you have F1 tracks where there are no overtaking opportunities, then there will be no overtaking.

Here's a radical idea: why doesn't the overtaking group design 3 corners or complexes where overtaking is easy and then have Bernie insist that any track wanting to host a GP install them. At the same time the FIA commission a non F1 manufacturer to build a generic F1 car around the current rules and have a couple of test drivers go to several tracks and evaluate which corners work and which don't and how the aero is affecting things.


"When anyone talks about the “show”, what they mean is overtaking."

I disagree. The show encompasses more than just overtaking. You need to take into account the character of the circuit (elevation changes, good mix of fast and slow corners, etc) as well as how race strategy can develop.

If you mandate that there must be two pitstops made, where you use the soft-compound tire at least once, you end up with very few variables, and subsequently teams will find the optimum strategy in very short order (think about Schumacher in the Ferrari days; start with a high fuel load, after everyone else pits, bang off several blistering laps, pit, and instantly you're ahead of everyone). You need way more variables to make strategy interesting again (ie. no mandatory pitstops so you can choose to do a full race with no stopping, stop once, twice or however many times you want...). Then it is far more difficult to find the optimum strategy, and the "optimum" may change over the course of the race and give teams the ability to change their strategy to suit (ie. tire wear is unexpectedly high, so switch tires earlier, etc).


I definitely agree with your point in the first paragraph.


Totally agree too. Read my comment above for the solution.


Surely the solution here is quite simple? Silverstone '03, Suzuka '05, Interlagos '09 - what do all 3 of these races have in common? Not only were they 3 of the greatest races of the last decade but they contained mixed-up grids, with many of the fastest drivers starting at or near the back of the grid. Why not award points for qualifying, then reverse the grids on Saturday night?

It would guarantee close racing with the field getting closer the longer the race went on, rather than the current system whereby the fastest cars start at the front and pull away quite quickly causing dull processions.

If this is too artificial why not introduce a 45 minute race on saturday to determine the grid for sunday's main race - drivers would start in reverse championship order and have to overtake cars in order to get the best starting slot for the main event on sunday.

Not only would this double the amount of starts (undoubtedly the most exciting part of any race weekend) but it would also keep the championship close, as it would give the chasing pack an advantage over the leader. I can't see any drawbacks with this system - it would be pure entertainment. What do you think James - surely a commentator's dream?


Interesting...this and going back to single lap qualifying could really spice things up!


Unfortunately, i think the idea of reversing the grid would not work.. what incentive is there to drive hard for 1 point, if it means the drive has to start last, when he can drive slow, start first and run away with the date, getting a 5 point (or more) advantage over his championship rivals?

I think you would have REGULAR fictitional qualifying issues, to explain why the championship contenders were qualifying slowly..

Quick Nick Rules

I didn't mean just award a point - why not award the current points system ie 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 for top 8 qualifiers? That means Pole is worth almost half of what a race victory is worth. Before this season I would have said it's ridiculous because drivers will have twice the points they would in previous seasons and thus make them look better in the history books, but since we're scrapping the current system It doesn't matter anymore. Guaranteed entertainment every time.


Why would they want to qualify slowly though? I thought Nick meant the result of the 45-minute qualification race will determine the grid on Sunday so if they qualify slowly, they'll end up in the back of the grid.


There are less variables these days, particularly in the engine department which allowed the Renault's and McLaren of Raikkonen to overtake.

Quick Nick Rules

Fair point, but then again, look at how many cars Jenson passed at Interlagos last year, and the Brawn was probably only the 4th or 5th fastest car that day.


We could just go back to single lap qualifying. That did seem to mix things up.

Also it gave you a chance to compare the cars and dirvers more, and it gave more camera time to the smaller teams, which must help with sponsorship.

Quick Nick Rules

I really like the current Qualifying session, but feel that Q1 and Q2 are usually a fair bit more exciting than Q3 - how about keeping Q1 and Q2 as they are but make Q3 single-lap qualifying in reverse order of Q2 placings - this would guarantee the drama ramped up as Q3 went on and also that the pole lap was shown fully on TV - something we rarely get in the current Q3 format.


Actually, why not have the first 2 sessions replaced with single lap, with Q3 being a low fuel top 10 decider.


There are conflicting demands, people want overtaking and yet they don't want to introduce gimmicks to improve the show as it would lessen the integrity of the sport (oh the irony).

The technical regulations need to be changed to vastly reduce the disadvantage of following a car around a bend so that drivers can get slipstreams on straights and will be close enough to attempt overtaking under braking. So less aero downforce from the bodywork, front/rear wings. But we don't want F1 to be like formula ford either, it has to be the fastest, the ultimate race series so perhaps there is a way of substituting the downforce with "good aero", such as the re-adoption of active suspension/ground effect/skirts?

The engineering performed by all the teams is of such a high standard today that they will all arrive at near enough the same solution sooner or later. If that solution means you cannot pass like performance cars then you get processional racing. Fundamental reform of the technical regs is the way forward, not gimmicks.


I agree that the best way to get the cars overtaking would be re-introduction of ground effect floors and skirts, and a dramatic limitation on wings, however, the floors and skirts would very quickly end up so powerful, the with the almost rigid suspension that would require, they would end up with drivers passing out in races from the effects of the vibration.

The only way around that would be to allow one on Colin Chapmans great ideas back, the twin chassis concept, with the driver, engine etc, separately suspended within the aerodynamic chassis.

Unfortunately these concepts were banned as they were making cars too fast, and with all the improvements in design now, I think the cars would be massively quick, great for overtaking, but seriously dangerous..


It's not beyond the collective brainpower of some of the best engineers in the world to create cars with ground effect and isolate the driver sufficiently that they can still perform their driving duties. Many trucks have both chassis suspension and suspended cabs on top (a sort of twin chassis?). Some tractors have independently controlled seat suspensions too (a triple chassis?!). Concepts can be unbanned just as easily as they were first banned. The question is how can the technical regs be changed so that we get exciting racing in F1 cars with cutting edge technology without resorting to silly gimmicks? I think it's worth re-looking at ground effect/active suspension.


Alex, I have marshalled too. I wouldn't advocate changes which would make marshalling demonstrably less safe. If reintroducing active suspension was part of a package of measures to permit grater overtaking by allowing one car to follow the other around a bend, whilst keeping lap times about the same, I see no problem with that.


Gary, the concept of twin chassis was banned for a reason, speeds were getting too high, and this would be a problem now, as they would be able to hone the concept so much better. Ok so the cars are alot stronger now, so the driver would be ok in an accident, but the problem is circuit safety.. If something fails, and with the staggering suspension loads you would have that is a distinct possibility, and the car goes off, it will be travelling a hell of a lot faster, and is therefore much more likely to hit the barriers.

Every time a car does that there is a good chance that marshals and spectators could get hurt, and as a former marshal at the British GP, I know how the guys feel. Unlike the drivers, they are NOT paid, and they ARE risking life and limb for the sport they love, I have known several marshals injured at meetings, and I would not want to be there when an F1 car went off at speeds much in excess of that which they do now, and alot of marshals feel the same..

Yes, we want better racing, but NOT at the expense of safety, especially of the people who make our sport possible. without drivers or teams there would be no F1, but equally without marshals there would be no F1 either.


I had this idea a few years ago,

The length of the race would only be decide after 60 minutes of racing,

race length could be 60 laps or maybe 72 laps.

seems to me the one variable which the teams can't prepare for.

good idea ?


I'm not sure the television companies would be too thrilled at that idea... they have to sell advertising slots and the more the merrier. If you shorten a race, you shorten the viewing time... and thereby reduce the ad breaks.

I'd go back to the shed and work on another plan.


Those stats go back to the late 70s though, and show a continual decline from around 1982. I think the main issue is the aerodynamics of the cars are rubbish in concept, with the OWG's efforts simply not being radical enough. But that's another topic...

I think the idea of rewarding pole and fastest lap with points is rather silly. It doesn't actually act as an incentive to create better racing (why not instead award points for overtaking moves? It's equally heretical and at least that way they'd have some incentIve to go for it). The current tire rules and mandatory stops are similarly poor ideas which accomplish nothing. As others have said, a tire which can marginally go the distance, with grippier, but less durable alternatives, makes far more sense.

James, has no one within the paddock ever voiced these points, or actually interacted with the fans? F1 decision makers do seem colossally ignorant of both what the fans enjoy about F1 and racing, and of what actually twigs the interest of potential fans.


You have some flawed logic with your criticisms of incentive points for pole and fastest lap there Duncan.

Not necessary for pole in my opinion. For fastest lap however, it will create some interest, and those with no chance of points can get some new rubber on and see how they go with light tanks. You describe it as heretical, yet in the 50's a point was awarded for the fastest lap.

However you then compare them with points for overtaking - how would you police that? Drivers could simply overtake and reovertake each other to get them both points.


Legend, I know that it was awarded in the past, but I don't see a bunch of backmarkers attempting to go for fastest lap late race to be all that interesting. It also doesn't actually address the core issues creating tedium in F1. To me it seems like a meaningless change that simply gives points to something of no value.

Which is why I compared it to giving points for overtaking. Yes, that would be impossible to police, but such a change would actually directly impact on the major criticism laid on F1 (dull races). My point is that these changes are not really useful, or meaningful in terms of addressing the actual issues faced, and are not really where F1 should be looking.

As a side note, while typing this, a solution occurred to me for how you could police overtaking. Simply give the points to the driver who over took the most. That way, everyone would have to try, but at the same time, couldn't game the system through cooperation with other drivers.


Cheers for the response Duncan. Your describing of points for fastest laps as "heretical" is what initially provoked a response from me.

Fastest Laps are noted down in career statistics. There is a third party award for the driver who gets the most fast laps in a season. Last year Vettel and Webber tied, but Vettel won on whatever method they used when drivers tie.

Drivers like Raikkonen loved going for the fastest lap, so he could add them to his career stats. But no one else was really going for the fastest lap. That's why Alonso has relatively few. So Raikkonen was able to pick up dozens of relatively 'cheap' fastest laps.

By giving a point it actually means something, and will be coveted to a degree.


But James, Tom is referring to tactics, just of a different sort. Rather than just picking an optimal pace though, it's about how can I go fast enough to beat my rivals, based on their strategy and driving style vs. my own?

That is a tactical game, just a different one from the current style.


I think one of the easiest ways to improve the show AND reduce costs is to replace the expensive carbon brakes for steel ones. Braking distances would be increased, drivers would have to manage their brakes over the course of a race, and they would be less costly.



Carbon discs are way more expensive than steel, back in 2000 they were $4000 each! I doubt that they are cost competitive with steel. Steel would definately increase unsprung weight but if everyone used them that would be a wash. It sucks that the tech regs are so restrictive that they can't mount inboard brakes, a bit too NASCAR for me! But the tech regs. are another thing FIA needs to overhaul, isn't it.


Trouble is, there is no room for inboard brakes on current f1 cars, epsecially at the front, even if they widened the chassis to allow the brakes, the drivers would only be able to do 2 laps before their legs blistered with the radiated heat (even with steel brakes), and the rear wouldn't be that much better.


George, with modern metal technology, "steel" brakes are pretty close to carbon ones in terms of outright power and durability. The difference wouldn't be dramatic, and wouldn't probably differentiate performance all that much.



Can you provide any proof of your statement from reliable sources? It's commonly held that carbon brakes are vastly superior to steel brakes in deceleration performance.


that commonly held belief is based on the face that when F1 started using carbon brakes they were massively better, but that is not so now, and hasn't been for a while...

The advantage is weight and price not power or durability, thats why F1 uses carbon.

With the minimum weight increasing, and budgets decreasing, you might find that steel comes back, but probably not, since the rules say that the brakes most be outboard, none of the teams are going to want that much unsprung weight on the car, then they can use ballast in places that they can use to improve balance.


Patrick Head & Mike Gasgoine have both said in the past that steel brakes woudn't increase braking distances.

Frank Durney of Williams contacted the BBC coverage of a practice session early last year via text after the commentators had been discussing steel vs. carbon brakes & said that it was the grip the cars produced that had more of an effect on braking distances, all the material does is effect weight & Steel brakes fade more obviously than carbon one's.

Something else is that Alex Zanardi tested with Steel Brakes while at Williams in 1999 & I believe ran them at some races because he prefered the feel they gave him & his braking points were no different to those of team mate Ralf Schumacher's.


Not a bad idea actually.


I do think that having a round number for the winning points is a much cleaner and simplier solution - by that I mean ten, twenty or thirty points for a win.

Tyres do need an overhaul - if we have a control tyre we should be having large working temperature ranges and no marbles.


Hi James,

What about every driver has to complete a drive-thru at some point in the race. Maybe even say it has to be taken with at least 5 laps remaining!

This would throw a strategy mix into the race and have unpredictable results.



I just think we have to steer clear of artificiality. If you can create unpredictability with the assets F1 is known for, it's much better.


But it already is with the FIA rules as they are. I say let' get back to pure racing letting the teams and driver sine with their skill and reading of the race etc and give us this on decent tracks, better to have two races in Brazil, Japan and the UK rather than the dross Ecclestone serves us ❗


Just summing up all thoughts I read, my proposal as follows:

1. Let 13 out of 26 drivers score points in order: 30, 20, 15, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

2. Back to one type of the tires with unlimited number of the pit stops (including zero)


2a Implement several types of the tires with limited number of sets for the WHOLE SEASON.

3. Implement extra points for the pole-position (3 points) and the fastest lap (2 points).

4. Implement extra points for the fasted pit-stop for change of the whole set of the tires (2 points for driver or 1 point for each driver of the team).

All above sound sexy to me 😉


Haven't posted for ages... belated New Year wishes to all 🙂

Here's my tuppence...

However the rules are "modified", the teams will quickly adapt to those changes - that's the nature of the F1 beast these days. Last season saw the biggest shake-up (in tech regs) for years and those were soon gobbled up.

It would be great to start with the fast cars at the back and the slow 'uns at the front... yet fast teams could sand-bag in qualifying, thus improving their starting slot.

Now that the points for winning look like they'll be much greater than before (with a wider range between them)... you could look at the concept of taking the finishing positions from the previous race, reversing that... et voila, there's your grid for the next race. Yet, that has complications... some teams (struggling in a specific race) will make sure they're last to aid the following race's start spot. And of course, you'd lose qualifying sessions too! The only opportunity to see the cars flat out.

It's a tough ask to "modify" the rules to make everyone happy. I'm not trying to give solutions here... my point is this, whatever happens there are always pros n cons... and the teams will quickly identify the "loopholes" and the way to take best advantage.

[Stevie P puts on his cheeky hat...] Has anyone suggested a sniper in the crowd? Numbers drawn randomly... and that car number has a tyre shot out!!?!!?!! 😉 Yes, I am joking.


Has there been any explanation for the strange anomaly of 7th place being awarded 5 points instead of 4?

Consider the last 6 point scoring positions in the suggested system:


What possible reason can they have for having a larger gap between 7th and 8th (5-3) than between 6th and 7th (6-5)? Surely the gap between positions should decrease or remain the same as you go down the field, not increase??



Re-introduce KERS on ALL CARS but this time the KERS magic button is such that it gives the Driver Electric Shocks everytime it is used and they can use it as many times as they please. Kind of "Here it is boys, Touch it at your own peril" magic button....that would sort the men from the boys.


LOL love it!


why doesn't the FIA ask the fans what they think about all this? and why is there a need to use different tyre compounds? Don't tell me that a company like Bridgestone can't manufacture a racing tyre that can go a GP distance!?


How much could F1 learn from MotoGP or is that a crazy suggestion?


MotoGP has 100% mechanical grip, and 0% aero grip. F1 needs to learn from this, increase tire widths and reduce downforce. 1992 tire widths would be an excellent starting point.


The thing I can't understand is why they banned refueling altogether.

Why didn't the FIA just lift the restriction on the size of the fuel tank and let the teams decide if they want to run for longer with a larger tank.

This would naturally mix the grid up without the need to be concerned about tyres and extra pit stops.


that would solve nothing, no team would increase their tank size to allow any less that 1 stop, as they would be too slow, hence the reason that 1 stop seldome gets used by race winners now, the 3 stoppers would be 4-5 seconds a lap faster than someone trying to go the distance.


I wasn't talking teams running less than one stop. I am talking about flexibility for the teams to decide.

One stoppers used to be common for the backmarker cars years ago but aren't anymore. I also recall not so long ago different cars having different sizes of fuel tanks which did play into the strategy(the R24 for example was known to have a smaller tank hence why they went with more agressive strategies).

With maditory pitstops being discussed and compulsory tyre compounds it removes the need to have a larger sized tank and run for longer.

If you give the teams more choice then you are more likely to see divergance in car design and race strategies. As soon as the FIA increased stricter rules then the race strategy possibilities also reduced, which is why we are now seeing artificial rules introduced to try and spice things up.


The R24 ran woth refuelling, which is now banned, therefore teams can choose their tank size, but I believe there is a maximum of about 220Litres per car for the race, so most teams will have a tank large enough to take this. Several races, ie Monaco and Hungary wi probably not require full tanks but others... GB, Bahrain probably will. The main difference will be in fuel economy, and here the Cosworth teams will probably have an advantage.

Therefore your comment about differing tank sizes is largely irrelevant since refuelling will not be happening.


There was the suggestion by Bernie to let all drivers have 5 'shortcuts' in the race. What is this meant to be? Super Mario Kart?


Similar to what you have in Rallycross I suppose. In Rallycross nowadays you have a Joker Lap that must be taken once by every driver in every heat and which is actually longer than the regular track.


How about making the points system proportional to gap on the track? Say 1 point per 1 second lead over the car behind. Start at p10 and count forward.


Not seen it asked, but how would any of these revised points systems (including contributor suggestions) have affected the last 5 or 10 or so championsip battles? it would be interesting to see who and when someone would have won the champoinship...! Although i do know that drivers will drive to the points system in place, so any comparison will be partly artificial...


Some very good opinions here, which is precisely why they'll never be implemented by FIA. I especially enjoyed F1ART's idea re no mechanics, and I'd like to expand on that.

Instead of banning refuelling outright, I propose that adding fuel during the race would be allowed but only by the driver himself from 10L cans. Allowing smoking during refuelling would add an extra spark.

Allowing smoking during the race as well would add a further element of excitement with burning fags flying all over the cockpit and inside the helmet, seeing as there isn't much of a windshield.

In all seriousness though, I wouldn't be surprised to see the FIA introduce a system of points based on a phone-in, the results of which would be closed to everyone but Santander who would oversee points distribution.

Further complication could easily be caused by generating the number for the phone-in randomly and not telling anyone what it is. Add medals to the mix and we'll be in for a thrilling season of utter confusion.


Here's a simple idea,

Why not force the teams to use the same compound of tyre for quali and subsequent 1st stint that was used by any given car for the last stint of the previous race?

If teams are tied to ONLY 2 stops, and therefore 2 different compounds per race. Any car with a late advantage wouldn't possibly be in the same position next race.

Gives everyone something to deal with, drivers, team stratergy for that race, taking into account strength and weakness for the next race.

Engines have to be carried over, gearbox etc why not tyre compound. Does any of this make sense?


I think it makes a mockery out of F1 to contrive tire rules to "make the show better" It rightfully should be up to the drivers to get to the finish line 1st. This type of thinking is what is wrong with racing (especially F1) today. Grand Prix racing should not be degraded to the level of some disgusting reality TV tripe! Bring back open competition among tire-makers and make the sport relevant again. All this tinkering with the rules continually, shows what a mistake it is to let the teams in on rule-making. It just costs more money and has given us the dullest racing in decades. The powers-that-be in F1 just aren't that clever are they?


I don't know what to say.... The line up could only be bettered if they brought Senna back from the dead and put Mansell in the Williams!!! Crazy. It's the ultimate ultimate showdown and all depends on peoples development of their cars. Brawn/Merc & Red Bull are taking forward last years cars so they should be quick out of the box. I think McLaren had the momentum at the end of the season and will have got it right this time. Ferrari could be the disappointment 'cos they've had to design from scratch - i hear they've copied Red Bull's ideas quite a lot... However Alonso is amazing at taking cars forward so they'll get up to speed pretty quick.

As for the racing - i simply don't know... Fierce is the word. Hamilton would have hammered Button except the new fuel regs should favour Button - that's your Seena vs Prost. Rosberg is gonna be hungry to beat Schumi and it's his first quick car so he's a complete unknown. Alonso will destroy Massa i'm afraid as Vettel will Webber.

I think they should remove the mandatory pit stops but it looks like they're gonna force two stops per race - a bit artificial. I think if u can get to the end of ur race on one set of tyres while someones catching you thats just had fresh rubber - that would be exciting...

Lewis or Seb Vettel my tip i think. But, you can never write off the old master as much as hate to say it...


I disagree, I honestly think Schu could take it, as long as Merc can keep up the momentum, question is, can Nico keep up? However, on the flip side, Schu does have a reputation for nicking his team mates setup at times, so will they work out?

Alonso and Massa will be very close as long as they are treated equally.

Vettel/Webber, over the season are well matched. Ok Seb is a shed load faster, but much more prone to mistakes than Mark.

Hamilton and Button.. mmm, hard one, as you say, Button is better suited to the regs in the sense of looking after the tyres, but if they do mandate several stops, then that is not the issue, the issue will be whether they put enough fuel in, since obviously, they will make the tanks big enough, but will put en the amount needed to run out about 1.5 laps after the end of the race, so will it last>


I had a brainwave reading, um, another F1 site. What about a _dual chicane_?

Create a round-about shaped "corner" whereby the drivers can go either left or right, no difference in time, but the driver of the faster car, maybe with fresher tires, can get right round the slower driver with little drama - and whomever's front tires are in front at the exit of the dual chicane wins the position.

This is brilliant, because it's not artificial, it's two different but equal lines through the corner, really equal.

What do you think?

LOL I agree the powers that be in F1 aren't that clever _about racing_ but they are very clever money grabbing old sots!


James, I am reading your book at the moment, and I have a slight issue with your post about Pat Symmonds and hisability to make new teams into winners.. (post from 15/9/09)

What is a new team? To me a new team is USF1, Lotus, or Virgin.. Not Brawn or Merc..

You posted how Pat worked with Senna at Toleman, Schu at Benetton and Alonso at Renault, turning the latter two teams and drivers into Champions. To my mind, neither Benetton, nor Renault were new teams, they were, in turn Toleman, bought and renamed and Benetton, bought and renamed.

I have the same argument with everyong going on about Brawn being the first team to win there first race in 40 odd years and the first new team the win a championship since no team to win a championship has EVER been in their first season of racing in the top category. Brawn may have a different name, engine and Onwer, but the TEAM, to me is the people, the factory, the history, not the name.

If USF1, Lotus or Virgin win in Australia, then we have a victory by a new team, and well done them...


I have just finished reading Eddie Irvine's comments to the BBC regarding Bernie's latest crazy idea; the 'shortcuts'. I have never thought of Ervine's as a voice to be listened to particularly but what he said was bang on.

"The problem with Formula 1 is that they keep changing things to try and make it better when really there was nothing wrong in the first place," said the former Ferrari and Jordan driver.

"At the end of the day, the whole sport has been destroyed because they've changed qualifying, they've changed the points system.

"The fans could see the history, but nothing is relevant to what used to happen, it's all changed, it's all rubbish.

"They just need to say 'right, the sport was great back then, let's keep it like that'."

Irvine was talking about the changes brought about over the past ten years and I agree 100%. It all started to go badly wrong at the end of 1997 when the formula changed to the new 'narrow track' cars. Up to that point the formula had remained largely unchanged since the end of the turbo era. Yes, electronic driver aids had been banned and refueling re-introduced for '94 and then engine capacities had been reduced slightly along with various other safety measures following Senna's death, but by and large the formula had remained unchanged for ten years.

What you had by 1997 then was a formula providing terrifically exciting racing where Williams, Ferrari, Mclaren and Benetton all won races.

You had a simple hour long Qualifying session on saturday where the fastest lap in that hour acheived pole, and what a format that was. Some of those sessions were blinding; I think instantly of the championship deciding, final race in Jerez where both championship protaganists Villeneuve and Schumacher along with Villeneuve's teamate Frentzen recorded the EXACT same time to the thousandth!!! How could you improve on that.....

The problem with what the governing body has done since is twofold. Firstly they attempted to control speeds in the most overly complicated ways. Laptimes were getting frighteningly quick again by 1997 due in no small part to the tyre war between Goodyear and Bridgestone but rather than take the simple and most obvious solution of making it a single tyre formula and thereby have the tyre manufacturer control the speeds of the cars, they decided to rip up the formula completly and introduce narrow track cars and those dreadful grooved tyres for '98. Have the FIA not heard of the moto "If it aint broke don't fix it"? We instantly had less overtaking, less close racing and as teams tried to claw back the grip they had lost, we had more and more of those aerodynamic appendages sprouting that only served to make the racing worse.

Secondly in the early 2000's as Schumacher and Ferrari were dominating the sport the governing body felt the need to change the rules again, this time not for safety concerns but to try and spice up the show in the face of this domination. This in my mind was when the rot really set in. Now the whole purpose of the sport began to change form 'sport' to 'entertainment'. Cue the endless and futile tinkering with the qualifying format firstly to single lap, then to knockout, neither of which in my opinion added anything over the 'purity' of the old simple one hour session.

Additionaly you had the changes to the points system in a clumsy attempt at regning in Schumacher's dominance by in effect making the win less valuable when compared to the lesser placings....and what do we hear just five short years later now that the sport is no longer being dominated by one man? Bernie wants to make the win ALL important by awaring the championship to the driver with the most 'Gold Medals'. I'm sorry the guy's a nut job. What other world sport changes the rules every time a player becomes too good? Have the FA changed the Premier league points system because Man Utd win it too often? No of course not. Like Irvine said, fans want to be able to compare drivers and teams with era's gone by, in football you can, in F1 you are no longer able to.

When I heard about the bringing back of slick tyres and the banning of refueling I honestly began to believe that the governing body had finally seen sense and done what I have been calling for for a decade. But just as possibly the most promising season in a decade is about to get under way it looks like they are intent on ruining it before it even starts. I am furious to hear that this stupid compulosry use of both compounds rule is still in place and as for the rest of the talk I dont even want to think about it.

James, if you have any influence at all, then please say something before they screw it all up again. Somebody mentioned it earlier; all that is needed is for Bridgestone to either bring along one tyre that is marginal in terms of lasting the race distance and alow the teams to choose whether they want to stop for new rubber or perhaps bring two compounds one softer than the other and let the teams choose their tactics accordingly.

Its simple; if driver's can't rely on using the pitstops to get a jump on their rival then they will have to do it on the track, it worked in the 80's, why not try it again.

In summary then, I propose:

1. A retern to 1990's style one hour Qualifying.

2. A return to 1990's style points system.

(10, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1.)

3. Pitstops for tyrs only if teams feel they need or want to.

4. A continuation with the present narrow track formula only because it would be too expensive to return to the pre '98 wide track.


Ashley, Great post, I agree with most of that, but I would a couple of things..

Since most people are agreed that having a single supplier allows the tyres to me more marginal, and lower the amount of grip available from the tyre..

I would give the teams back the flat bottomed cars... This is for one simple reason, it will massively increase the proportion of total downforce that the floor produces, and this is not affected by following another car, therefore allowing cars to follow each other closely through corners and increasing overtaking

I would also change back to the 2008 style rear wing, (lower and wider than 2009) simply because the cars looked much better like that in my opinion, also, I don't think the downforce produced is any different and with the flat bottom, the effect on a following car is lower in proportion.

I would disagree with one thing, the points system.. my personal feeling is that since the points system have changed so many times over the 60 years of F1, that another change would not be a major thing. I feel that with 26 cars on the grid, points down to 10th would be good, as there have always been teams that have only scoed points duet to unreliability of bigger teams, but regularly finished in the top 10, so to reward them is a good idea, but this poits system goes bact to rewarding a driver for finishing first.



James, how about the drivers have to nominate which tyre compound they will use in Q3, from which they must start on the same compound? This, of course, is assuming wet tracks not declared.

This would be a subtle change, a bigger change, one which I would favour, would be Q3 run as single lap qualifying.


Well, how about that then? 🙂

They must be reading this blog James!!!

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