F1 Winter Break
The latest on plans to improve the Formula 1 show
The latest on plans to improve the Formula 1 show
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Mar 2010   |  11:40 pm GMT  |  147 comments

Using super soft and hard tyres, the two extremes of the Bridgestone range, at every race – that is one of the proposals on the table to bring back the spectacle and improve overtaking in F1.

The start is the only chance to overtake (Darren Heath)

Currently the teams use tyres which are two steps apart, such as the soft and hard tyres here in Melbourne. But FIA race director Charlie Whiting’s suggestion of three steps between tyre compounds would mean drivers struggling to find a compromise between supersoft tyres, which might grain very quickly and last no more than 10 laps at some tracks and hard tyres, which will take time to get up to temperature at some tracks.

After a dull opening race in Bahrain, where the cars formed themselves into a high speed train after the opening lap, with little overtaking, last week’s technical working group meeting had a real sense of purpose about it. The principals have been discussing the dangers to the show of the ban on refuelling all winter, but now there is more urgency.

Everyone is agreed that it’s a real shame that the important steps weren’t taken before the season started to get the package right.

Another suggestion was to lower the rev limit to 17,000rpm and allow drivers a certain amount of time at 18,000rpm, which would be a bit like a push to pass button. Once the driver had used up his allocation at the higher level, the Electronic Control Unit would lock the engine at 17,000 rpm for the rest of the race.

Bridgestone are unlikely to go for the extreme tyres option, as they will not want the spectacle of their tyres shredding after a few laps and drivers criticising them. They would not be against the harder tyre option in principle, but logistically I’m told that the earliest they could change tyre options would be the Turkish Grand Prix as the tyres have already been specified, manufactured and are being shipped.

McLaren put forward an interesting idea which would avoid the problem of always having the grid in descending order, with fastest first. For qualifying cars would carry ballast based on their success in the season so far. Ballast is something F1 has avoided thus far, as it is more of a touring car measure, but it might work in qualifying.

The idea of two compulsory pit stops was again discussed, but several leading engineers believe that it would not make any difference to the show.

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How did they manage to let this happen? All that time and resource spent on improving the show, and they didn't see that having super heavy cars with no option to refuel would result in processional races? If I'd have spent six months pondering it on my sofa I could've seen this one coming. Sort it out FIA!


and some smart guy wants to lower the rpm by another 1000. The plan is working perfectly... destroying the sport that is.


A idea to improve the show, first a premise, the season is underway so mods to the cars or circuits, or even tires are unlikely to be passed as someone would not benefit. They should add incentive to take more risk, have a go. A championship point for a clean overtaking move, on the track, not in the pits. It would bring a short term perspective to each lap in stead if just sitting behind someone for the whole race, an incentive for the midfield to do battle and often that is where the racing is. Yes Schumacher in Brazil would have got more points than the winner but he deserved it, it was a legendary drive and we were all entertained.

It would give the back markers something to battle for when coming tenth is beyond their reach. Then the great part imagine the scenario that Hamilton fluffs qualifying and so decides to start from the back and do a passing race, 10 clean passes on track and up to 6th would mean 18 points, easily worth it for such an effort we would all be on the edge of our seats. If the drivers are to be believed 10 passes are near impossible so reaping more than the winner would need superhuman capability. It would cost nothing but it may wake up a few sitters.


Super heavy cars shouldnt mean that there is no overtaking going by this rule there should be absolutely no action on the Truck racing.

I think the problem is more with the drivers, we have a lot of Barrichello, Kovalinen and Trulli's around and the ones at the sharp end of the grid would rather finish a race than go for gold.

Get more of Montoyas, Kimis and Jacques Villenueves to the track and we may see some difference

Try all they may with the regulations but whatever is being proposed to help overtaking is more likely to be used as Blocking Maneuvers (aka KERS) unless there is a different approach to racing by the drivers themselves


Very good point. I'm sure there is bound to be some risk aversion on the drivers' part in the first half of the season at least, especially when one can still collect valuable points for finishing P9-10.

How's about a radical interpretation of the old system, with points only for the top 3 for example, say 10-5-2. Admittedly I haven't thought this through with a committee for 6 months, but it probably would inspire some wheel to wheel racing.

johnpierre rivera

true that brother, true that...


Well yes, but ultimately the race engineers always find ways to make the cars of a similar speed that overtaking is really not possible, I think it is really more of a track issue; so many modern tracks these days with large run off areas and no hard braking zones mean theres too much room for error, and no opportunity to overtake. If the tracks dont present the opportunity for overtaking it doesn't matter so much about the cars, it'll still never happen.


Heres a thought, why would an engineer want to create a design where it is easy for a car behind to stick to the back of the car so it can overtake...

Isn't the idea to design a car that can get to the front and stay there?

If you want to remove dirty air than you have to take away the part that is causing it, from what I read this is the rear wing which is there to keep the rear wheels on the ground.

Lets get radical and remove it in two years time.

In the mean time get all the team to put together a special project team (one person from each team) to design two cars without rear wings and then in November - January have every team test these cars to decide how the new cars will work with the new planned engine and the new 'no rear wing' racing.

The problem at the moment is that the rules are tweaked without any 'real' checking of the implications i.e. none knows until the cars hit the track a year later how it will work.

F1 has the chance with the new engines planned in two years time to spend this this year playing with radical ideas, sharing the costs and knowledge across the teams.

This allows for radical ideas with the new engines and then having a year to build a car that is aerodynamic, fast, environmentally friendly and the engineers have no opportunity to 'design' dirty air into the car.


F1 is normally exciting when there accicdents and car failures, rain. i use to like it when we didnt know how much fuel was in the cars, so we had to guess when the drivers were coming in. overtaking has always been a talking point every season, but when you make the cars almost the same level, there wont be much over taking if they are on the same stratregy, thats why i think it would be better if there is refuelling but we dont know howmuch is in the cars, or unless there 1st pitstop, when the fuel of that car is released

have alook at my F1 blog


Muteen Hussain


The problem is the aerodynamics. Making cars artificially uncompetitive because they are on different tyres, or introducing more stops, doesn't address the real issue. We need to see drivers in similar cars able to fight with each other.

We need to strip the aero, simple as that, everything else is false.


I completely agree, aerodynamics are the biggest problem. Bring back the rules where cars are able to follow each other without the problem of "dirty air". I'm sure if they had more open rules without all these regulations, the engineers would be able to design and develop cars that would be able to follow close behind one another, while at the same time being extremely fast and exciting, which is what F1 is supposed to be. F1 shouldn't be about politics and regulations, it's supposed to be the highest form of motor sport with the very best technologies.


The solve the dirty air problem entirely you'd need to go back to 1960s style zero wings. My interpretation of all of Frank Dernie's comments (and some are, in my view, contradictory) is that ground effect aero is the way to go. I suspect that some form of rear wing will be needed for advertising space :-). Without them the shark fin would also be unnecessary.

Robert in San Diego

I have been an avid follower of F1 for almost 50 years (That's scary!) and I have enjoyed the technical excellence of the show for ever. However I feel that the show is going down a cul-de-sac and does not know how to turn around.

After the last Grand Prix I found that I had recorded the Brazilian Indy car race. I usually try to watch the highlights to see what went on. Well I know the level of sophistication is tiny compared to F1 but the overtaking and general racing were fantastic with cars dicing each other at 175-180 mph. What a show! Horrendous as it may sound, Indy cars put on a much better show. There must be something to be learned from all this. Is such a level of sophistication really in the best interest of racing fans? After all we do want to watch racing, don't we?


Yeah it is annoying that they seem suggesting everything to improve the show aside from correcting the actual problem. From everything I've read, the problem is that the cars cannot get close enough to one another to be able to past. Reason being the dirty air off the leading car causes handling issues for the trialing car. So either the dirty air off the leading car needs to be cleaned up, or the aero on the trailing car needs to change to allow them to run in the dirty air of the car in front.

That I think is what needs to change. It's strange. You'd think that the teams hunting for any competitive advantage would already be investigating solutions to enable their cars to run in dirty air, allowing them to pass and make positions on the track during a race.


Haven't you read this excellent article?


I suggest you do because it has certainly convinced me that aero isn't the enemy.


I don't see how stripping aero will help. Car B has to be faster than car A in front in order to overtake and aero reduction won't achieve that. Every car will be aerodynamically hindered equally.

For overtakes you need a faster car behind. Fastest car at the front with everybody on equal fuel won't achieve it. All that will happen is that you might get faster cars at the end through differing fuel consumption, but they'll be too spread out by that stage anyway.

I feel a bit of an idiot for falling for the no-refuelling will increase overtaking idea, when in fact the opposite must be true when the fastest cars start at the front and everybody is the same weight.

Yet ballast is far too artificial, just like wide apart tyre compounds.

The actual format of the weekend should be changed. Change qualifying into a sprint race, with the results of that determining the grid order for the main race on Sunday.


If the aero was gone, there is less turbelance behind the car, therefore slip streaming can occur. Resulting in the car following being able to achieve a higher top speed than the leading car. Couple that with longer braking distances and you have overtaking.



The 2009 changes should have worked in theory but the advance in diffuser aero canceled out the new smaller rear and oversized front wings. The objective of lessening the turbulence and increasing front grip was not achieved.


Why didn't the 2009 aero changes make any difference then?

Crid-Los Angeles

> Car B has to be faster than car A in front in

> order to overtake and aero reduction

> won’t achieve that.

Exactly, exactly. I'm hesitant to play around with quali at this point, because Saturday has been as exciting as Sunday in recent years. I'm not a purist or anything, but they say don't "duck" with success....!

Here's the solution: Throw away the blue flags! For front runners to enjoy that advantage is like taking down the net for the final match of a tennis tournament because it annoys the contenders.

The lesser teams are there, let's get some entertainment out of them! If Hamilton knew he needed to be nice to Chandhok in order to sustain a lead in a race, the pit & paddock politics would be as much more interesting as would the track contest... And to really enjoy Formula One, you need to have excitement in both settings.


James, isn't this a little premature? There's only been one race. It was always going to take a while to adjust to the new format, from the perspective of both fans and teams - we need to be weened off 15 years of sprint racing.

Bahrain is a circuit that had this potential. We'll see the potentially the same thing at Barcelona and Spa, unless the rain falls.

Kubica had much to say on this subject this week. I understand the need to keep the show fresh, but lets wait and see what happens for a few races yet.



With regards to the rev limiter idea my response is simple: noooooooooo, please no. I know it is just a suggestion, but please no!

If I'm that desperate to see cars overtaking I can stand on a bridge above the M8 and watch lots of it. What I want to see is more exciting overtaking, formula 1 cars going side by side through 4 corner complexes, the worlds top drivers outwitting each other. Not somebody gliding past a long straight because they used a power boost.

Besides can you imagine trying to explain it to someone new to formula one? Doesn't exactly sound pinnacle of motorsport does it?


Ya know what? If you are watching F1 for the overtaking, you're not watching for the right reason IMHO. I want to see overtaking because of technological advantage not because of some allowed or contrived advantage granted by the sanctioning body. F1 in the past was about the best driver in the best machine utilizing the best technology. The focus on "spectacle" pushes the sport further and further from what made it the pinnacle of motorsport. The closer this thing comes to a spec series, the less interested I become. I would sooner see F1 go oh hiatus because manufacturers have fallen on hard times and can't spend the money rather than have watered down technology for the sake of "spectacle" and participant retention. In my mind, racing has always been about advancing the automotive industry, not simply using it to making a "spectacle".


Give me one, relatively recent, example of where F1 has advanced the automotive industry. Just one genuine, not hyped by marketeers, example.


Ok, how bout wheel spats, wait... uh... barge boards, no? I know! K.E.R.S. Damn! Well I'm starting to think that all forms of motorsport pretty much suck right now. Except maybe the Dakar Rally and maybe LMS/ALMS.


Sorry, but I thought the point you were making was that F1 had a developmental relevance to the automotive industry generally. It doesn't.


The most recent is KERS. But going back there are lots.


"KERS has been around for a very long time. Its origins owe nothing to F1 or motorsport."

Really? Where has it been hiding then?

We know of mechanical KERS in Asian commercial vehicles and of shunting the back emf as a braking aid in motors. Electric trains would seem an obvious field but then I doubt they carry sufficient batteries/capacitors, maybe they do, since weight is not a problem in trains! Dual use starter motor/generator I remember first on the NSU Prinz, a new set of brushes needed every month!

Audi's "recuperation" claims to have roots in KERS.


KERS has been around for a very long time. Its origins owe nothing to F1 or motorsport.


James can you help me out with the logistics of this stuff because I'm really struggling to understand who's actually responsible for these sort of decisions...... i.e. who exactly should have spotted the problem on the horizon and said "we're NOT doing that..." and who should now say "this is what we're going to do"? (As opposed to "I think", "we should", "why not", etc.).

Is it FOTA? But as you've explained to me before, they're just a union and frequently a fragile one at that.

Is it FOM? They certainly want a marketable show, but I don't see they have any direct control over rules.

Is it the FIA? They're custodians of the rule book and of the sport, but I'm not sure they're actually accountable for the marketability they outsourced to FOM. And as seems clear from your article above, even though they own the rule-book they can't actually say "we're doing this" because Bridgestone have every right (understandably so) to say "No, we're not doing that".

In short, there are lots of people with opinions and the ability to veto, but I can't spot anyone who can actually make a decision.

That is one hell of a hole to find themselves in if it's true.


It's all of the stakeholders. The teams are involved in the shaping of the rules, but the final vote lies with the FIA's World Motor Sport Council


Last year to went to some national meeting sfor the first time for many years. I was surprised just how uninteresting many of the races were. Even the F3 races I saw were processional with little overtaking. Drivers and cars are driven to the maximum, with little chance to overtake unless someone makes mistake.
Is this now the unspoken secret - motor racing at all levels is now just a bit boring ?


You really need to watch a Formula Ford race or it's modern equivalent.

Also the BTCC (rather than the euro series) is excellent value in terms of on the limit paint swapping. (with part reversed grids and weight penalties which work very well)


Last time I went to a hillclimb, it cost me nothing, I had a great time talking to drivers and mechanics, examined the cars as closely as I wanted, and enjoyed a great days motorsport.

F1 is now about having impressionists on the grid at the expense of important members of the team, and playing to the gallery of the rich and famous, most of whom will rather drink champagne and be seen, than bother to watch the race. F1 has been in decline for some time and the last thing that matters is the genuine fan. When they desert in droves and TV audiences collapse Eccle$tone et al may finally come out of the coma they are currently enjoying.


How much overtaking took place at the hillclimb? 😉


Not a lot, but that factor (unlike in F1) didn't detract from a great day out. I guess the obtuse point I was trying to make was that until F1 reconnects with reality the current chronic situation can only get worse.


It should be left to the teams/drivers to decide whether or not to stop for fuel or even tyres for that matter, that way you allow for strategy, driver skill and experience to battle it out for the wins. I would relish the prospect of a 3 stopping Alonso/Hamilton on fresh tyres hunting down a 1 or even no stopping Schumacher/Barrichello/Button on worn out tyres. That way, the aero issues are negated by the disparity in mechanical grip between cars on different strategies. It is the cheapest & quickest solution to the problem, requiring no modifications to the cars/tyres etc.


I disagree about no modifications being required! Your idea would require refueling to b re-introduced!

This years whole car concept and design was based around larger fuel tanks and no refueling!


The cars have the ability to complete the race without refueling, but there is no reason why they can't run with part filled tanks as they do in qualifying. As far as I am aware the teams/FIA have kept all the old refueling rigs so why not. This would add to the drama because so many different strategies could be used and you would be guaranteed overtaking as lighter cars worked their way partially through the field before pitting and rejoining to continue the process.This would allow drivers to work to their strengths - i.e. aggressive style drivers stopping whilst conservative, smooth style drivers not.


I agree with you. The problem being the drivers are only allowed five sets of option tyres for the whole weekend so a two stop race on super softs isn't really possible if you've burned through most of your allocation in qually.


Fair point Ian, I agree this could be a slight issue but I still reckon allowing each driver an extra set of tyres would be far easier than tinkering with the engine rev range or aero rules though.If they made the teams pay for them then who knows....maybe bridgestone would hang about for a bit longer??

James, do you know whats happening with tyre suppliers for next year??


Nothing more exciting than watching cars with lap times 6 seconds slower qualifying that they qualified with


You always seem to get alot of overtaking in touring cars, how do they manage it?
I think you need to limit the computers involved so it is more about driver skill. If the car will let them make mistakes like messing up a gear change, it will give people behind a chance


Touring cars have much less downforce and are much heavier. Therefore when travelling in dirty air the effect is much less. Car-to-car contact is less of an issue, so the moves don't have to be as clean. Some assistance at the exit of one corner can mean the driver in front has to lift slightly, giving the driver a run.

The only computer really involved is for the differential. This aids traction, reducing errors, but a key traction issue is that the engines are at their lowest torque level in more than forty years and the grip is now huge. Engine power can lead to torque at the rear wheels through high revs, but by the nature of being proportional to revs is very manageable. High boost turbo diesels, which would sound crap, would be more conducive to overtaking as there would rapid torque variations at the rear wheels. There would be quite average throttle response due to the turbo. The turbo diesel would be down on power, so top speeds would be down, so ground effect aero, which is more efficient, would be acceptable on safety grounds. Currently the cars are too easy to drive so there are no mistakes. A current F1 car makes about 280-300 Nm of maximum torque. We should double this as a minimum in any rule revision to the engine.

The FIA could buy plant-produce fuels from the third world and save the first world entertainment spectacle at the same time.


How the hell did it get to this? Rev limiters? Effective push-to-pass opportunities? Extreme tyre compounds? Compulsory pit stops?!

These F1 men are so hyper-clever; be it business, branding, engineering or designing, they're so far ahead of the average guy in the street that it's scary - yet they're too damn thick to realise what the armchair punters can see; that the aerodynamics of these projectiles is completely, totally and utterly contrary to the essence of racing, which is overtaking and battling for position.

The supposed ultimate racing car series on Earth, and we have a bunch of 'experts' sat around deperately trying to figure out a gimmicky 'fix' to make it interesting again. Jeez - slick tyres, reduced aero, free-for-all 1 hour qualifying, unlimited fuel stops and tyre changes...



– slick tyres, reduced aero, free-for-all 1 hour qualifying, unlimited fuel stops and tyre changes…

Amen to that, couldn't agree more, check my comment above dude!


James, what would you say is the main difference between current F1 and other open wheel series like F3, GP2, Indy, Superleague, etc?

I have seen a few races from other series this year and they don't seem to have that much trouble following cars very close and overtaking.

Is it power? aero? tires?


Well, not sure about Indy or Superleague but I know that in GP2 and F3, all the cars are _exactly_ the same - thus it is ALL about the driver.

As we know, in F1 all the cars are different.


Both Ferraris are exactly the same and Felipe could not follow too closely Alonso in Bahrain or his car would overheat...


I still see the easiest and most cost effective way (if people do insist on 'trying' to induce more racing) as the key being the tires. We know the aero is changing for next year and in all likelyhood the engineers will do what they are paid to do and find new ways to gain back some of the aero even after loosing the double-defusers, so overall the aero wake that leading cars leave and the downforce will be less but within a year or two probably just as high as it is now. Forget 'induced racing' via forced pitstops and forced tyre choice - that is like sending a football team out on the field with only left foot boots to wear.
Even going back to the races in 80's & 90's - thanks to the BBC sport pages we can now get the race highlights to some classic races here in the UK, which is brilliant! - and you hear James Hunt commentating the cars can't follow due to the dirty air off the leading car and that there is that magic 1sec gap.... the racing was great to watch then, with full tanks. However, I get the impression people are expecting some rule change that will bring about 40 odd changes in positions per lap - this is not, and has never been F1...?!

Also, the tracks must be looked at (nb pls russia/india/korea and anywhere else bernie is wooing) - give me 20 Brazilian GPs and i'll be happy - for some reason the guys go hell for leather there and always seem to pull off a few decent moves....


It strikes me changes to tyres are the only plausible option to improve the show this year.

Refuelling stops are off the table - the cars are designed for no refuelling and it would be absurd to suggest running them half empty for the rest of the year. Adding a second forced tyre stop seems unlikely to change much unless there are crew errors.

Similarly, they can't slash the aero on the cars this year. The tightening up of the rules on the extreme diffusers isn't likely to make an enormous difference.

I can understand Bridgestone being wary about having their tyres disintegrate but if that's the intention, where's the harm? Surely the firm would be applauded for making the shift which improves the season.


I wonder how they would go on corners at 17k rpm. Entertainment for sure!


"Once the driver had used up his allocation at the higher level, the Electronic Control Unit would lock the engine at 17,000 rpm for the rest of the race."


Ive been watching some of the 'classic F1' on the BBC's site and Ive been trying to remember what it was that made the races so spectacular back in the day.

I think its the cost saving measures which are hurting the spectacle, i acknowledge and understand the sport needs to be affordable, but at the same time i want F1 cars to be able to push their engines to the absolute limit, not worry about making it last for 4 more races, I want them to be able to pick any compound Tyre they want, I want to see showers of sparks as they tear down the main straight because the cars are barely above the ground, I want the teams to be able to test after every race weekend so they can understand their cars properly and develop new upgrades to help them go faster an get the best out of them and the drivers.

I want F1 to be the pinnacle of motor racing, not an example of cost efficient sensible eco racing.


it will come in the near future, when the crisis it's just a memory.

To me it is pretty simple; More power and less grip.




Absolutly !!!!


Best option would be to let the drivers do whatever they want in terms of tyres, so some would pit and some wouldn't. Was watching the highlights of the 1990 Aus GP on the BBC F1 blog, Mansell pits and then with a fresh set of tyres comes zooming up from the back - that's exactly what we need.


Yes I watched that too. I remember watching it back them.

I think the tyre compound difference is worth a go. Martin Whitmarsh suggested the same in Bahrain.


What about 3 or 4 compulsory tyre stops, with a requirement to use super-softs, hard and soft compounds (with a greater difference between extreme compounds) during the race?

Although that would take races back to something more like 'sprint' type exercises (and increase costs too), the pit stops would be still be shorter because of the refuelling ban, which means if you're behind someone, there's less time available to pass while they're in the pits, therefore more incentive to at least stay close and more incentive to put away the person behind you if you're in front.

With more tyre changes, drivers will be happier to burn up tyres for track position, and with more stops and compounds in play there is a greater number of potential strategies (i.e. more variation amongst the field), some of which would require overtaking to work.


James, do you know how easy/long it would take to limit the engines and change the ECU? Is it already prepared for such a situation? Finally, do you think the teams would actually go for this?

Out of the options, surely that is the best - I agree that 2 pit stops won't necessarily have much of an impact and if tyres is a definite no go, then it has to be implemented. At least we might then see some overtaking and some decent defensive driving to protect the position gained, even if it would only be a short term solution.

I'm really quite concerned that if nothing is done then it really is going to be a dull season!


Bernie has said that it is too late to change many things for this year. But, he has 2 spots left on the grid, since USF1 didn't make it. Wouldn't it would be smart of Bernie to give Kimi whatever he wants to fill 1 of those 2 spots in a competitive car...? There must be a top team that would want to field Kimi in a third car. He would liven up the racing! 🙂 Those races that don’t conflict with his Rally schedule.


Oh god please no ballast!!! That would put me off F1 completely in the same way as it did with BTCC. That's the worst idea yet!

Take your time guys and get it right this time. Talk to the drivers, the aero guys and the chassis engineers and tyre people and get a good solution.


Sure, first they spend years and incredible amounts of money to develop, develop, develop everything, for instance to go from 12-13.000 revs to 19-20.000. Then they start artificially limiting...well, again everything! Revs, choice of tyres, KERS usage, amount of fuel! Actually, why to spend all that money for all those fancy gadgets when at the end they will be blocked, limited, compromised?

But I have even better idea! Actually such a good idea that I could immediately become the member of the OWG Ver. 3.0 Release 7.0012754.

Let's block the amount of the steering wheel movement to the left and right, and after allocated amount of movement is spent drivers can move steering wheel only 15 degrees to the left and right! Now that would be fun and raise the level of spectacle, wouldn't it?


Why not go one further and limit the number of times the driver can use his brakes fully. After X number of heavy stops he can only use them at 75% or something, thus resulting in longer braking distances.

This way some drivers could save their brakes and outbraking would become an art form once again...


I think bringing refueling back is fine and I think the compromise of having race fuel in Q3 is fair because of the uncertainty it brings to the race, especially if they don't make the teams declare weights. It added an element, with a light car trying to get by a heavier one or gain time knowing he was going to have to pit earlier.


The 17K-18K RPM push-to-pass is somewhat interesting, like KERS was. Perhaps a twist on it could be that the teams can not put a rev-limiter at the lower threshold. It would be up to the driver to make sure he doesn't go over the limit. Anything of 17K eats in to the PTP allocation.

But, I wholeheartedly agree that Aero is the problem, specifically the turbulence created by a leading car. To the point that it prevents a following driver from taking advantage of a mistake.


Who came up with the super soft and hard idea? They need to be shot. That amplifies the current problem and guarantees all cars will be on the same strategy. Everyone will qualify on the ss, run for 10 laps, switch to hard, and that will be it. What they need to do is open the regs up to allow for more strategies.

Niall McKiernan

Overtake button: pointless if used to overtake AND defend. If the overtake button could only be used to overtake, leaving the leading driver to rely solely on defensive driving there's a possibility we'd see some good battles.

Ensuring the system is only used to overtake is another thing though. There may be a way of using some sort of detection system - in order for the button to function another car must be detected in range to the front. Alternatively telemetry and track positions could be correlated.

That's my two cents anyway. It may be a ridiculous idea but I think we need to get everyone thinking on this one.


I like this a lot.

Bring back KERS, make it a compulsory standard part, and include a rule that says it can only be used when you are within 1 second of the car in front.

I don't think a clever "detection system" would be needed. You would just need a light on the car that activates when KERS is activated. The stewards could then keep an eye on the lights.


Has anyone within F1 discussed the possibility of doing away with compulsory pit stops? This would lead to more variation in strategy surely, with drivers softer on their tyres possibly opting not to stop at all. I don't like rules that make things compulsory. How about derestricting engines completely? Since they are frozen in specification, what harm will it do? There's an engine limit for the season, so if you want to risk running at 20k, you can do so while bearing in mind the fact that it might come back and harm you later in the year. Variation in circuits is needed too - they've tried designing tracks that suit the cars to encourage overtaking but that doesn't work. Why not have circuits that are wildly different in character, like the old Hockenheim, which suit certain types of driver and certain types of cars more than others - we saw at the low downforce tracks last year some surprising results, because the cars were set up so differently for those races.


There's one way to improve the show and cut costs, LEAVE IT ALONE. If you had left the rules alone for lets say 3 years everyone would eventually catch up. Changing them year in year out does not save money it just lets the big teams stay ahead. By not changing the specifications means there is only so much you can do within those parameters and the field will then close up.


From your article it sounds like the teams are really eager to improve the show. Let's hope that they can agree on a suitable course of action for the short term.

Interesting to hear the idea about limiting revs to 17,000; would a 1,000 rev advantage be enough to ensure passing?

CJ the 2cnd, probably...

It seems that we are increasingly looking for ways to artificially make racing more exciting. The problem is not just 'the aero' or just tyre compounds or just refuelling, or probably any number of other factors that all inter-relate. F1 should be the pinnacle, the best drivers driving machines designed by designers as unfettered by regulation as possible, but of course budgets prevent that. It seems to me that there is a philosophical error here, first there was racing because drivers, manufacturers, team owners wanted to race; that drew a crowd because it was exciting to watch, but the participants were persuing their own ends (Literally in the event of a spin!). Now it seems that we are trying to design the races to pull the crowd, it needs to be approached from the other end. I've made this plea before but we need simpler, more universal, visible and enforceable rules to define the formula, not more complex rules that rely on a piece of electronics to cut max revs after a set allowance. Simpler rules that allow visible innovation. My favourite, but there will be others, is narrower tyres. Narrower tyres equate to longer braking distances and slower cornering speed, both of which increase overtaking opportunities and place more of a premium on driving skill, and therefore promote more exciting racing.


Hi CJ,

You probably saw Frank Dernie's comments on rock hard tyres being part of his solution to overtaking. Obviously the narrower front tyres this year and running on hard compounds for most of the race in Bahrain didn't lead to much overtaking.

Anyway, I suspect that you might have a slightly simplistic understanding of how tyres work. For the same tyre pressure, a wide tyre and a narrow one will have the same contact area. For the narrower tyre to have less grip it needs to be harder so that it doesn't key to the road as well. This is common in road cars as wider tyres help the tyre run cooler. This is because a wide, narrow contact patch requires the tyre to distort less than a narrow, long patch. Softer rubber heats up more and will overheat. Therefore if you fit wider tyres to your road car and drive at the same speeds you'll wear out your tyres more quickly.

In F1 the tyre compounds are artificially set, rather than driven by performance. The hard tyres appear to be able to do the whole race, which historically does not appear to be the optimal way.

The use of harder tyres will reduce the percentage which one driver needs to out-brake the guy in front, but the problem is getting anywhere near the slipstream out of a corner, and while the gap would be closer in distance, the time gap would still be the same. The one second aero gap out of a corner might get halved due to the slipstream, but that still leaves the following car to make up 40 metres under brakes.


There's no need to panic. Bahrain wasn't all that bad, and could have got pretty interesting but for Vettel's power issue.

On the proposed changes, I would give a strong 'no' to ballast. That's somewhere I really hope we don't go. Far too artificial.A big tyre gap would feel a bit better, although I could understand Bridgestone objecting, especially seeing as it's their last season. The rev limit idea isn't bad - a little artificial, but it could replicate what KERS did last season.


I really can't see what was so bad about Bahrain compared to last few races on that circuit.

Come to think of it, Bahrain only gave one good race in it's 7 years.


If they want to try & mixup the starting order, Why not Turn Q3 into a Top-10 SuperPole Shootout, Giving the top 10 just 1 flying lap to set a time?

V8 SuperCars for instance run that system & its produced some intresting results, DTM also ran a similar system for many years & it was pretty popular with drivers & fans & also produced some qualifying surprises & some great races.

The Rev-Limits & Indycar style Rev-Increase overtake button would be intresting but if there going to do that why not just bring back KERS which would likely have a bigger effect.

The Tyre idea would likely produce good races but the sofer compounds would just create more marbles offline which would prevent them running offline.


The same people who created the current problems are also the same people who now have to fix it. So, don't expect too much in the way of creative solutions. So much of the passing that took place in F1 over the years had to do with tires degrading, brakes wearing thin etc. Those things almost never happened anymore. Stripping away the aero would be a big step in the right direction.


Leave It Alone already.

Since when have one of these F1 quick fixes actually had the desired effect?

Whatever they do it will be wrong. Lock in what we have and deal with it.

...One other thing. Stop with the 'SHOW' talk, Its MOTORSPORT, not the WWE.


"One other thing. Stop with the ‘SHOW’ talk, Its MOTORSPORT, not the WWE."

You are so right. Only in the WWE do you have ugly old men parading around in ridiculous clothes and haircuts with super-models dangling off their arms.


I like the Ballast idea, when a car is out of position we always get overtaking...eg Suzuka 2005 or even Button in Brazil last year...both excellent races with faster cars coming through the field.


I like the ballast idea for qualifying. It's not the purest form of sport but it might help the entertainment side. Although that won't solve overtaking. In Bahrein Webber had the fastest car and couldn't overtake the slower ones in front. I honestly don't see a quick fix for this season. Maybe removing the compulsory pit stops and the use both tires rule would inspire teams to think more creative strategies, but it will all return to passing in the pits. We won't have much more overtaking this season, apart from the one or two best tracks (ie Interlagos).


The tyre solution is very bogus but F1 is in such a drastic state (in my opinion) that it would be the lesser of two evils.

The RPM idea sounds good.

The ballast idea is scary. What if you put the bad cars at the front but they still can't pass? Artificial doesn't even begin to describe it. That wouldn't be F1 that would be a circus.

I have a solution better then McLaren's ballast idea. Get an oil tanker filled with water to do laps of the track leaking water onto the track 10 mins before race start and get everyone to start on inters.

I will be seeing alot of you this weekend James, on One HD. It's only been 30 mins but so far so good. :p


I think the push to pass button is the best idea from these.

Why KERS is not anymore in F1? A lot of money wasted and the idea was good,I never understood why it was removed


I don't like all those "artificial" rules.

I think F1 needs less rules, rather than more. Let people's creativity work in favour of the sport.


No more artificial contrivances!! There should be certain basic limits, like restricted engine capacity (not RPM) and perhaps having to start on the qualifying tires, but no more talk of mandatory pit stops, mandatory tire changes, short cuts, or push-to-pass. Bring back the racing and the engineering.


The idea to limit the revs and give them push to pass is simple and solves the 'getting stuck behind a slower car issue' If the number of times you can boost is limited, then it creates another strategic aspect to the racing as well as offering overtaking opportunities. KERS was great for that last season. All they need to do is a quick ECU reprogram at Mclaren and another button on the steering wheel(surely there is a spare already!) and away they go. Simple. Some say that its artificial but if they all have the same number of boosts then by the time the checkered is waved you still have a valid result as to who the best driver is on the day.

If the aero issue is seen as to difficult to solve then just offset it with a simple solution like this.


I like the ballast idea, actually. Even if it is only for qualifications. At least it would make the people who are doing well already in the championship, working a bit more for their spots in the limelight.


Not thought about it too much, but I think I agree with ballast in qualifying. I think it is a good idea to level the playing field in order to determine a driver's start position - the primacy (or not) of an individual team's car can then be demonstrated throughout the entire race.


The ballast idea seems perfect for a team that is close but not quite close enough to the fastest car on the grid and will benefit most from artificial means to put them on pole for races. Wait a minute, who came up with this idea? Oh yeah, McLaren.


They are officially loosing their mind.

Why not give them all revolvers but with no additional ammunition.

Then driver has to decide on which rival will he spend his 6 bullets.

To give a strategic spin to it, he can shoot just one tire, and also he has to figure out when is the best time to use them

This way also, you're giving deciding factor back to drivers as their precision will depend on their marksmanship.

Brilliant, eh?

Not only will you see overtaking, but also accidents which always improves the show!

Bring it on!

Oh, and don't forget the traps and spikes deployed randomly across the track.


Wow, judging by the complete lack of consensus for solutions being proposed by the EXPERTS, it seems they are truly at a loss. F1, the so called pinnacle of motorsports, is in trouble when it appears the average Joe has as good a chance of coming up with a way to improve the show as anyone within F1. It's looking more and more like Raikkonen was pretty canny by staying away from the impending stink.

Soooo...having said that, those of us on the sidelines who are becoming more and more bored and jaded may as well have some fun throwing our own nutty ideas in to the hat, no matter how ignorant or far-fetched!

If they want to handicap the cars, how about sandbagging? I mean actual sandbagging, where the cars drag sandbags around the track? The sandbags could be attached to hot air balloons, so dropping a bag or two would reduce weight, but also reduce downforce as the balloon's lift increased.

Or how about this: put caster wheels under the cars. When the cars have too much downforce or when they corner too hard, weight goes on the casters taking weight OFF the tires, resulting in a sudden loss of traction.

Or why not have random oil spills, or surface the tracks with teflon, so they're as slippery as a cheap frying pan?

I could go on and on with my brilliant ideas but our parliament is waiting for me to come up with some wacky ideas to improve our government.


That sounds like a crap excuse by Bridgestone, even if it realy isn't their problem to solve alone.


well, they made those ridiculous front tyres, when, what the fans wanted, were fat rears.


what about increasing pit lane speed limit. or making pit lane shorter

that would incourage some teams to go for more stops..


would i be fair in saying that a cause of a lack of overtaking is having some drivers who are great at driving fast consistently but can't actually race / overtake? try and think of a spectacular overtake from trulli? to echo juan montoya from a few years ago, you go wheel to wheel with most drivers these days and they cry "dangerous maniac driver!"


i agree. It's so pathetic, today's f1. Or may be it's being like that for a lot longer. During the french gp, at dijon, 1979. Quite possibly the best two laps the sport has ever seen, lauda was screeming like a crazy woman, and saying that arnoux and villeneuve were maniacs, and should be banned.

Dear niki, if you could control your mouth, as well as you controled the races from the front...


Yes, I remember Montoya saying something like "But the moment you touch tires you're suddenly a monster". 🙂


I am not watching OZ race and I hope that a lot of people will not do it. Bernie and Co will not change anything until they will be punished financially.

F1 will need to win me back. Stupid change of rules like I read here will not work. How did they let it happen! No more lies, no more making idiot of me....


lucky you, that can stop watching. I decided last year that i won't go to any race track to watch f1, my money goes to motogp, but on tv, i cant help but watching. I am an adict. Like 200 mill around the world.


Right....and because of 200 min addicts FOM and FIA will not change anything. Why would they? They are getting same money....

I want to be consistent with what I say- I do not like where F1 is going and I will not watch.


The American 'Indycar' season started with what should be a familiar scenario to to F1 fans. They went overseas to a new venue and ran a race on a temporary street circuit.

But, it was very different from F1. Check out the track map. http://www.indycar.com/schedule/show/55-izod-indycar-series/1799-sao-paulo-indy-300/ . It was a temp street circuit, but it featured a mile-long straight and lots of flat out racing and passing opportunities.

The part that was really different from F1 was that the track designer showed the drivers a preliminary plan, then actually listened to their comments. That long straight at the bottom originally had a stupid chicane in the middle. The drivers said take it out, and the designer did.

The result was racing that looked like the old Hockenheimring with cars slipstreaming each other down the long straight. The result was a race that was a lot of fun to watch.

I was surprised the double-diffuser was back this year. I'd have thought they'd have closed that loophole. But the biggest problem with F1 racing is that they forget to put straightaways in the tracks. F1 loves these stupid Tilda designed tracks which twist and turn and make all the cars run single file.

F1 wants to take every track and make it even more twisty-turny ... at least that's what Bahrain and every other 'new' track seems to indicate. F1 is of course going the wrong direction.

The great F1 tracks had straights. Silverstone was laid out as a fast run around an airfield. Monza had the massive straights and only what, five corners when it was at its peak. Spa had long flat out runs on country roads between the old towns.

Make someone put straights back in the race circuits and all will be well.

And, strange as it is for F1 to consider, try talking to the drivers and actually listening to them.

If you can find a video of that 'Streets of Sao Paolo' race, watch it. Openwheeled race cars on a temporary street circuit putting on one heck of a fun race to watch.


Thing to remember about the Indycar race was that rain played a big role.

Before the rain had started there wasn't really a massive amount of overtaking.

There was some passing at the very front after the 1st caution because Simona De Silvestro had pitted during an earlier caution & was off sequence at the front while her pace was more Mid-Pace.

There were also (Like at Bahrain) some guys that had got moved back after a 1st lap crash & were moving back through the field, Something we saw with guys like Sutil & Kubica at Bahrain & something that made up many of the 19 passes we saw there.

Something to note is that just like Kubica & Sutil in the Bahrain Gp, Once Dixon & Castro-Neves got just outside the Top 10, They struggled to make any more ground because the cars they were racing with were much closer to them in terms of pace.

The Brazilian Indycar race was a great race, However had it stayed dry I don't think it would have been anywhere near as good.


The boring processional races are largely race-track dependent. The same rules that would always produce boring racing at that stupid track in Hungary would also always produce outstanding racing a few weeks later at Spa and Monza.

F1's problem is that they tend to leave or destroy the great old tracks that produce fantastic racing, and instead choose to make every new track a boring twisty-turner.

Put these cars on a better race track than the Bahrain sand-trap and you'll get better racing.


The old Hockenheim was always a highlight of the season for me, because you were guaranteed 200mph wheel-to-wheel racing. The surprise of the Arrows in 2000, when they built a very slippery car and punching well above their weight, or Barrichello storming from 18th on the grid to win (albeit in changing weather conditions) being highlights.


I've read every suggestion and every idea put forward to improve 'the show'. I have an original idea to which I would love to hear people's thoughts on. Since serious aero changes cannot be brought about this season, there is only one logical way to increase overtaking: a mixed up grid.

My idea is a simpler one. You simply ask the Top Ten Qualifiers from the previous race to use ONLY the Prime tyre in Qualifying for the next race.It is neither too alienating, nor calls for anyone to make huge changes to the system.

If you think about it, not only will the grid be mixed up enough, it will all even out over the season. It does not call for Bridgestone to invest huge money into producing radical tyres. The cream will still rise to the top, yet keep us entertained at the same time. It is a simple enough change that it can be implemented at the next race, if reason and the greater good can prevail. If anyone thinks it is a form of handicapping and against F1's ideals, all I can say is we are already handicapping in F1, by forcing the Top 10 to start with their Qualifying tyres. This proposal will just take forward that idea into the next race.

Please pass this along to the relevant people if you think the idea has merit.


That's a pretty good idea. (many others on a previous post had suggested a reversed grid).

Either version of a similar idea of shaking up the grid is not alien to sport. In World Cup Alpine Skiing, after the first run of slalom or GS, only the top 30 get a second run, and then the start order is reversed with the fastest skier in the first run going last.

When this change to the rules was first implemented some years ago, it created outrage amongst the skiers who felt that by having to ski after many other racers on a chopped up course, they were being penalized for skiing fast.

But it soon became evident that the best skiers still won on a regular basis, and that the real radical change is that the races have way more drama since the race is never decided until the very last skier.

I am sure shaking up the grid would also ruffle some feathers at first but it would eventually be embraced by drivers and fans alike.

Just one more suggestion: if the grid was shaken up, would it not be prudent to also give points for passes?


The problem with radical solutions like reversing grids, ballast, points for qualifying etc., is the lack of historic context. Will it still be F1? It still has to be the pinnacle of technology, the best teams have to win, and we still need our hero drivers.

My idea will give us enough overtaking, along with the intrigue and strategic elements that we love so much. There will be too many variables for the teams to optimise their strategies, resulting in drivers having to do some racing for a change.

The drivers and the big teams will hate it initially of course, but this is the kind of thing Bernie Ecclestone should force through for the good of the sport, till the day we can have cars that do not lost performance when following closley.


Too complicated I think. I think it's best not to toy with the regs again. Simply ask Bridgestone to bring one of their compounds to the race - a soft one which would require at least one pitstop. OR have them bring the extremes. They already have the tires designed for the season so I don't see any investment issues. Plus, if it works out, we can keep the idea going forward. ONe more thing, if they only brought one compound to a race (and maybe reduced tire allocations), it would reduce costs for Bridgestone or any other tire manufacturer coming in the future.


An interesting idea Rory. Some comments for your consideration.

With the half second gap between the tyres there would be a group of possibly 12 cars that would oscillate from the top ten from race to race. Based on Bahrain the Ferraris and Red Bulls would in the top ten consistently.

Whether this is good would depend on how many place the harder tyre Q3 cars could make up. They would stop later, as they are starting on the hard tyres (would they have a choice?). If they make up little ground, then it may pay to win in one race and then be a non scorer in the next (25+0) as this is better than two fourth places. You could end up with drivers aiming to come eleventh in q2 to favour the next race.

It would give the commentators something to explain. Given McLaren's current unusual attributes, we could easily have Lewis and/or Jenson dominating one week and then crawling along in ~15th the next. Do they blame the car or the qualifying rules?

Given the field is 24 and there are four quick teams, the top eight qualifiers is a possible refinement. This would give a great reward for being able to sneak into Q3 on the hard tyres.


BRILLIANT idea, waow.


Nice idea. I'll send it to FOTA



I think the problem is in development and the boundaries of it. If you are going to downgrade and then freeze the engines, then you have to freeze the brakes, downgrade the tires, downgrade the aero. Either you upgrade everything or downgrade everything. If the average speed of a modern day formula 1 was 300kmh, they would have to brake sooner with today's brakes. The problem is that they want to make safe something that isn't safe. formula 1 is too safe. it became a non-sport. The only way to put formula 1 on the track back is to let it become what it is supposed to be. Every team trying to build the baddest, fastest car ever. These people are drivers. A person who cannot cope with the fact that he might die i next race shouldn't be doing it


Here's what I'd do...

There are two tyre compounds and two cars in every team. Each team has to elect which driver they're going to start on the hard, the other has to start on the soft.

They then have to do the opposite in the next race, switch back for the next, and so on.

Half the drivers would end up compromised by a duff strategy in every race, but it'd equal itself out over the course of the season. It'd make things very unpredictable, and the best man would still win the WDC.


I think F1 needs a better racing environment, not "more overtaking". Do not use ballast or other phony measures!


I just wonder if, in this age of number crunching and simulations, it's fundamentally too easy for teams to find the optimum strategy.

Look at Bahrain; every team seemed to reach the same conclusion about which tyres to use at which stages of the race, and something which could have been an interesting strategic choice having major impact on how the entire weekend unfolded turned into a pretty meaningless formality (though I expect Nico Rosberg might disagree).

I'd like to see F1 return to a greater level of uncertainty, though it's difficult to do this without sacrificing safety I suppose. What impact could reducing practice time or limiting usage of simulators have?

I am opposed to mandatory pit-stops but I would like to see more pit-stops encouraged organically (softer compounds I guess. Perhaps allow teams 1 stop to adjust certain aspects of the car which they normally are not allowed if that's even something feasible) because there's one place which is difficult to predict; do you risk pitting your car where the stop might have an error or simply the driver gets stuck waiting for an opponent to pass his box for a lap time bonus or do you limp around the track on worn tyres?

I also think pit crews should be reduced so as to increase pitstop time. 3 second tyre changes just aren't exciting for spectators! I really do miss watching two rival drivers pit together and seeing the comparative pit-stop times shown. The tension of waiting to see who emerges first was great!


This is PATHETIC! the "lead engineers" obviously will say what will suit their own teams, since their cars are designed for the BORING new regulations. Two pitstops would at this moment add the unknown and it is needed DESPERATELY!


I have a solution which takes maclaren's idea of ballast in qualifying to a less artificial level. As long as the fastest cars are at the front then no matter what tyres, fuel, aero they run the natural order of things in a dry race will be for the field to spread out and for me to doze off and crick my neck. The solution is simple and will cost nothing - run the cars that qualify in top ten in reverse championship order. So in Australia, provided Alonso qualified in the top ten he would start tenth, and so on. But doesn't this make the last qualifying session redundant I hear you ask. Again the solution is simple - award points for the top ten quali positions.


Actually I like your idea. I have long thought about giving points for quali, and then reverse the grid for the race - but always got stuck on the problem of how stop people just flunking quali on purpose to get the best start position.

Your suggestion stops this problem- plus it means the guy on pole will not be hopelessly slow.


Love the RPM idea - especially with a limit set per race, not per lap. Ballast sounds terrible.


Extreme differences in tyre compound will most likely force everyone onto the same strategy... so that won't work.

And the 'push to pass button' idea will become the 'push to defend'... so that won't work either.

I am surprised that no one has seen a dull race before. If the teams are looking at improving the show, then I would suggest the first place to start is the TV coverage - because there was actually quite a lot happening in the back half of the field. The statistics show there was more overtaking in Bahrain than in the average GP over the past few years.

We do need to change the aerodynamics of the cars - and we also need to change the scoring system to one that does not make consistency so critical.

And we also need to look at circuit design. There is a reason why overtaking occurs at Brazil but not Barcelona

For quick fixes, why not just spray water onto the track 15 minutes before the start? Requires no changes to cars or tyres.

In the US, they have a way of dealing with dull races - they put out a full course caution (safety car)because someone has spotted some "debris on the track". Of course F1 is well above such 'fake' measures isn’t it.



Just let them do what they what with tyres and strategy.


When the teams have very tight constraints to work under they all come up with the same optimum solution. As they are all on the same strategy they all go the same speed and stop at the same time. Dull. The same would be true on the super soft/hard option. Every team would have to qualify on the soft or they would be too far back, nurse that tyre as far as it will go, nurse the hards for the rest of the race.

Let them do what they want, no carry over from quali, all four compounds available for each race. Pick your strategy and go racing.


Stupid; ridiculous; joke.

Wait 4 races, please.


This is extremely disappointing: they keep the obligatory pitstop, which could be easily done away with via a rule change and one of the proposals is to add a weight penalty, which effectively killed off touring car touring car championships.

Puzzling to me why tire options can't be limited: just agree to use the hardest one and leave the other one alone. Give it to the new teams in extra testing sessions to get some mileage or for promotional events.

The whole areo debate (less wing induced grip) is completely absent, and so is widening the front tires (and the rear ones while you're at it). This would be for next year at the earliest, but if a meaningfull future is sought for the sport this should be on the table as well.


James, let's reward drivers in the top 10 DURING the race for overtaking. Big time rewards - say 3 points for each top 10 car overtaken. There should be NO added points for overtaking during the 1st lap. Then we can sit back and enjoy wheel to wheel action!


I don't like the idea of this 17k RPM limit.

My idea instead is that you *remove* the rev limit in 7th gear, so that the car following, getting the slipstream, gets more momentum and is not hindered by the rev limiter.

It's less artificial and ensures that the driver behind gets an advantage in straight line speed.



Much has been made of the cars. But do you not think some of the blame should be apportioned to the tracks? Let's be honest the middle of the Bahrain track resembles a multi storey car park with all those tight twisting corners. And when was the last time you saw someone overtake in a multi storey car park? It's no real surprise that the likes of Spa, Montreal, Albert Park, Silverstone and Monza consistently produce the best races.


Yes I do, the tracks are at least 50% of the problem


I strongly agree with Bernie Ecclestone's remarks recently that the teams should not be making the rules. What is needed is leadership from the top down. We need radical changes. If the teams agree to do something, chances are it's probably not going to be a good idea because they are hedging their interests while trying to appear to be "thinking about the common good.

So whatever it is, it should be forced upon them.

By the way, if F1 ever starts using ballast, I will stop watching.


Ballast is the worst idea for "racing", just ahead of mandating strategy (e.g. mandating pitstops by running on both tyre compounds).

Just open up the tyre rules, let the drivers decide and that will produce good racing in itself by allowing some drivers to be the tortoise (hard tyres, smooth style) and others to be the hare (soft tyres, many pitstops).


I was watching some of the classic GPs on red button on BBC last night, and particularly enjoyed the 1990 race. What strikes me from that era is when watching the on-board footage the driver appears to be working so much harder at the wheel. Now I don't know whether this is down to the camera positioning perhaps, but the onboard from Mansell was great to watch.

Lets face it guys, F1 is the technical pinnacle of motorsport, so for us to suggest stripping back innovation is, certainly for me, nostalgic wishful thinking. The days of missed gears and fluffed starts are long gone and we'll have to accept. And let's also not been blind to the fact that aero has always caused problems for the followwing car.

So what's my suggestion? Well, I agree with some earlier comments that in fact we've got too many restrictions. Here's my solution for what its worth:

1. Q3: the top 10 at the end of Q2 go out for a 1-lap qualy run in reverse order (10th to 1st). Any mistake is punished, and it will ramp up the pressure on what are supposed to be the best drivers in the world. And before we all say that screws Jenson - well, imagine if JB hits a nice clean lap, no mistakes, even if he's 0.2s off absolute top speed, and then Hamilton runs wide in the final sector after being half a second up to that point? Would spice it up a little.

Also would be a great marketing idea - "let's hand back to Martin and Jonathan for the 1-lap TOp 10 shootout"

2. Two tyre compounds at each race but a bigger gap between compounds to extend the performance gap. Then have no compulory pitstops. If the cars have a tank big enough to run the race (whoops, Virgin!) then if someone had poor Q3 they could fill the tank and try and be the tortoise that catches the hare. The key to it is tyres - in order for this to work, you need a full race on hard tyres to be roughly equivalent to a two or even three stop race on softs. And also don't insist on using both compounds. Picture it now: Alonso drops it in Q3, decides to run the race on softs and needs to get past cars on the first lap to try and build a gap for later.

I know its not perfect, but F1 never has been. To make this work, no-stopping on hard must be about the same as two-stops on softs. And of course, circuit to circuit there will be variations, but there needs to be a way to encourage differing strategies that brings the cars to the same point by the end of the race. We all must recognise that overtaking is most exciting when it happens at the start and towards the end: what us fans love in the middle is working out the srategies, seeing someone being chased down and the race building towards an unpredictable climx.

Steve Greenwood

Lets get one thing straight!

While most of us who are interested enough and feel strongly enough to contribute to this debate, enjoy the Constructors championship as much as the Drivers championship. Appreciating the innovative and at times pure genius of the F1 designers and engineers, we have to concede that to improve the "show" technology HAS to take a hit.

For the "show" to thrive and continue the huge TV audience has to be entertained and satisfied ergo cars have to overtake each other and there has to be close racing. If the masses turn off their TV's advertisers leave budgets decrease blah blah blah.

I suggest that we should work towards increasing the braking area, reduce downforce, harder tyres and (I'm afraid)a step back to traditional discs and pads. Unless someone can prove to me otherwise, I can't see how we'll ever get any overtaking with todays incredibly short braking zones.

Yet again, another brilliant debate James.


All this tweaking seems to be missing the point. Again, look at other racing series; why is it that they can overtake?

The dirty air is a long term problem to be designed out in the regulations for next year. A simple solution, that can be safely implemented with the teams' agreement immediately is this:

No blue flags.

There is no need for blue flags. If the leader is truly faster than the back-markers, then let him overtake them. It'll spice up the action immensely, especially with the new teams finishing a number of laps down on the leaders at present.

It is a safe solution, easy to adopt and will immediately ensure that there is overtaking action AT THE FRONT.


Amen. Get rid of the blue flags. It'll back the pack up, and in order to be a race winner you'll have to be good at overtaking.

The blue flags were a reaction to a couple of controversies in the '90s. I think it was David Coulthard holding someone (probably Schumacher) up to help Mika Hakkinen win. Have I remembered that right?

Anyway, they can always keep the blue flags in reserve for that sort of blatant cheating but a race winner should be able to pass back-markers without anyone's help.


The ballast in qualifying is gimmicky and silly. I don't mind the extremes of two compounds idea - I don't see why it would matter to bridgestone as people would use the soft for short period and to lay down their fastest possible laps (either at begining or end of a race) and then use the hards for the balance. OR they could just bring one dry compound to a race? And let the teams and drivers figure out how best to use them (as long as the tire isn't too hard they would have to pit at least once).


The ECU thing is just KERS by another name only without the benefit of being able to market F1 as 'green'. Not a bad idea but achieving it by making the cars slower for the most part (by lowering revs yet again) is unappealling.

Ballasting is a horrendous idea. Artificial nonsense.

Who on earth cares to watch a race decided by which driver is lumbered by the most excess weight? Shall we start making strikers carry ten kilo weights every time they score a goal?

At least they've realised more compulsory pit stops wouldn't improve matters.

There are some small things they could do in the short term to make things better: getting rid of the Q3 tyre restriction, getting rid of the requirement to use both sets of tyres, and potentially relaxing the blue flags rule so the front runners have a tougher time getting through traffic.

But we all know the real solutions lie in the technical regulations - cutting back aero has to be top of the list.

They also need to put some thought into whether teams should be running with their cooling so critical they can't follow other cars, as we saw in Bahrain.


more power, and less down force. Is it that hard to achieve?


These guys need to watch an Indycar race. The push to push doesn't mean people "overtake on the straights" in Indycar and it DEFINATELY wouldn't be like that in F1 because the aero keeps the cars further back into a corner.

The push to pass gives the guy behind a CHANCE to get side by side to go into the braking zone. It's not a sure thing. It just gives him a chance, if he exits the previous corner well. Push to pass works well in Indycar.


All the stuff they are suggesting is total crap.

NO mandatory pit stops. NO mandatory tire change.


Why don't we just give the 3 new teams 5 minutes headstart and then let the rest of the grid chase after them? 8)


1) 3 pedals and an h-pattern gearbox

2) Strip all aero appendages from the car..no barge boards, sharkfins, wings an top of flaps on top of wings...just a single plane front and rear wing

3) tire war

4) bring back refeuliing and kers


Is all this "ballast" nonsense just being tabled as an emergency measure for this season, or are the grey little wannabe-marketing executives like Whitmarsh seriously thinking this is the future for F1?


James, I have a few of my own ideas for really spicing up the 'show' Perhaps these could also be forwarded to FOTA?

-Naked women (or men if you are that way inclined) dotted round the track to distract drivers.

-Fans given water balloons to chuck at the cars as they pass by to keep the drivers on their toes.(F1 branded of course)

-B*strd Button which shoots oil/chaff from the rear of the car (Only 5 deployments per race for safety reasons)

-Top 10 punch out-Drivers given 10 mins on the grid to knock 7 shades out of each other before race starts. (Will encourage more pitstops to mop up any bloody wounds & test drivers' mettle)

-'Ox-cart' design wooden wheels and tyres for more sliding/overtaking (Also good preparation for when F1 has NO tyres in 2011 and will be racing on their wheel rims)

-Sabotage Points for teams who succesfully infiltrate rivals and can demonstrate tangible results on track (eg. potatoes wedged in exhaust pipes causing engine failure)

I'm sure that if these regs are adopted, things would certainly improve in terms of a show for the crowd. Failing that, just let F1 get on with it and provide hi-tech racing as it always has with the faster car/driver in front of the slower one.

Oh, and mandatory enemas for folks who repeatedly post on websites suggesting their genious ideas, and thinking the rest of us are interested in them!

Just my 2 Bob


Its simple. Bring back turbos with variable boost. Car behind can ramp up the boost to get passed car in front. Howver because of the increased fuel consumption you can't just turn it up all the time so the drivers have to THINK about when to use it. Get rid of the diffuser completly or drastically reduce it. Get rid of the barge boards. Allow driver controlled ride height settings. Allow Large width slicks to give more mechanical grip and/or banked corners....but not silly. 1 point for each lap lead and an extra for the most laps lead. Like the idea above about giving points each time you pass. Single element rear wings with central support and remove the side supports aka indy car and while im on about indy car why dont the FIA tak a closer look at how the rear ends are designed on them i find odd that in indy you can travel literally inches away from the rear end of the car infront at speeds approaching 200mph and they have very little "Dirty Air" effect....theres got to be somthing there that F1 can learn from



I was at the Australian Grand Prix on all four days as it is in Australia. The Formula One teams practise for 4hrs before things get serious with qualifying, which was late on the 3rd day of action for us diehards. Meantime every other category got on with racing after short practise and qualifying sessions with no real impact on the expected order or quality of the racing.

I know F1 is far more complex, but I felt that 1 hours practise on Friday and another 1 hr session on Saturday was enough. To replace the other 2hrs of practise I thought two 1hr races, one starting in reverse championshop order and one starting in normal championship order, plus normal qualifying could all contribute to the starting position for Sunday's race - based on best aggregate positions. Least that way the fans at the track get some racing from the F1 boys and builds the excitment heading into sundays race. The quick guys would have advantage over the slower guys (expect them to qualify higher and race better in the normal championship order race) and would still start close to the front on Sunday unless they didn't do enough overtaking or crashed out of one of the earlier sessions. Obviously they'd need extra engines - but I think the world has reliable combustion engines down to an art and F1 is only saving costs on rebuilds.

Don't think the narrow front tyre helps them overtake, least a wider front tyre counted the sensitivity to the larger front wings.

Anyway my 2 cents on improving the show.


Two mandatory pit stops? Extreme tyre selection? No thanks, post-2002 F1 is already WAY too gimmicky. They should get rid of the stupid two-compound rule (one of the things that made Australia so good wasn't just the rain, but the fact that the use of rain tyres nullified this and introduced a bit of unpredictability).

The tyre supplier (although there REALLY needs to be more than one!) should bring their entire inventory and allow the teams to run what they want, when they want to run it. Three-stopper on super softs? No-stopper on super hards? And everything in between!

Standardisation and homogenisation in the technical rules, sporting rules and circuits leads to standardised and homogenised racing. You would think that would be a no-brainer.

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