F1 Winter Break
Cosmetic surgery to herald a return to more spectacular F1?
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Apr 2014   |  1:05 pm GMT  |  401 comments

Formula 1 bosses are facing up to the reality that the sport is less spectacular than it was – and than it needs to be.

Bernie Ecclestone has long argued that the changes to the F1 rules have made the cars progressively less spectacular to watch for a TV viewer or at the trackside and the quieter sound of the hybrid 2014 turbo engines is just the latest stage of that.

A study group is looking into whether something can be done to make the sound more interesting, but there are also discussions about whether other cosmetic changes can be made to improve the visual spectacle, such as bringing back the sparks that used to fly off the floor of the cars in the Mansell/Senna/Prost era. These ended with the arrival of skid block floors to prevent cars being run too low, but they gave the impression of speed which is so important to the sport.

Viewers and fans at trackside want F1 to be fast, spectacular and dramatic. The cars are the pinnacle of technology and the drivers are the best in the world. The show needs to reflect this.

This site is strongly supportive of the move to 1.6-litre, hybrid turbos as a change that needed to be made to set a course for the future of F1 technology. However at the moment it also agrees with Ecclestone that there are too many rules now and the sport has been sanitised somewhat by the cleverness of the engineers and the cat and mouse game with the regulators, as well as by the way that teams have modelled themselves along corporate behaviour lines as they seek to emulate the practices of the massive corporations who sponsor them. It makes for a more ‘arm’s length’, less visceral experience.

Team bosses say that when they are close to sealing a deal with a sponsor, the best thing is to bring them into the garage when the car is being fired up and the palpable energy, mixed with shock, usually does the trick.

Sound, speed and spectacle are just as important to F1 as dollars, new markets and new media.

As Bernie Ecclestone sits in court in Munich and everyone wonders what the outcome of his trial will be and what kind of F1 will emerge in future, it is good to hear that the F1 Strategy Group is thinking more long-term about how F1 should present itself and what kind of show it wants to be.

Bahrain was a great race, showing that it is possible to put on a great show with these cars.

But the whole thing needs to be made more spectacular generally and hopefully that will come out of this process.

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Interesting article.

I have often wondered if the average arm chair viewer actually features in anyones thoughts in F1.

It does feel to me that the "sport" takes second place to the corporate side of F1 - a corporate side that I dont see/touch.

Other sports with equal spending power (English premier league football clubs for example) - still have that personal touch between supporter and club - even from the comfort of an arm chair.

In F1 I dont feel that.

On the racing and spectacle - the illusion of speed is something the TV fan (me) needs to believe. The screaming V8's gave the viewer the feeling of speed even though its very difficult to gauge how fast a car is going down one of the long straights. Sparks under the car may do the trick? I also wonder if moving the microhpones round the track and experimenting with sound may encance that experience?

Whatever happens I will still be watching F1 - even if I wont be buying a any of the products advertised on the cars.


I remember watching a program where Pagani used a German firm called MHG Group to "tune" the exhaust system on the turbocharged Zonda and give it back its V8 sound, could this or a similar system bring back some of the V6 sound on the current F1 cars.


Agree 100%

In all honesty, has anyone seriously ever bought anything because it was advertised on a F1 car?

Did anyone ever buy a Tata car, or Head and Shoulders shampoo or deviate their course to go to an Esso petrol station just because of advertising?

To me it's just lettering, there is no connection in my mind to a physical impulse or action.


Regarding the sound racing cars make, when I purchased my first car a the age of 16 in the 60s, the only thing I could afford to modify my standard vehicle was a Lukey muffler, it may not have made it go any faster, but the sound it made, it seem to have added another 20 M.P.H.

I watched the whole Chinese Grand Prix, I also recorded it, in between watching it again, I watched Nascar and our own (Australian) v8 race cars.

I watched the F1 cars do the formation lap and the 1st lap of the recorded Chinese Grand Prix and turned it off, they don't seem to be fast and they definitely don't sound fast, compared to other classes of race cars.

Unfortunately living in Oz, I don't get to see the great races in Europe even the 4 cylinder racing in the UK, look and sound fast,


The sports needs to go back to basics. same sets of compound tyres for the whole season. Not soft and hard at track A and then Medium and hard at track B etc. Bring back fuel stops, allow the drivers to drive flat out and not in economy mode as they have been doing for the past few years. F1 is supposed to be the top of the motor sport tree, At the end of the day they are racers through and through not delivery drivers.


I don't watch F1 to see an economy run!

F1 is supposed to be the World Drivers Championship.

I want to see fast, noisy, spectacular looking cars that are difficult to drive fast!

Less technology that I can't see, and more overtaking.

So, more fuel, smaller wings and harder tyres would be a good start.


Couple of other thoughts. In slow corners they should have ground level cameras that would really show you how crazy fast and nimble these cars are through tight corners. A ground level view with the track workers in frame and two or more cars carving through the corner would make an exciting shot out of what is a very pedestrian shot from the customary overhead view.

Tight S's or quick changes of direction should be shot occasionally from straight on to convey how quickly the cars change direction and hold their line.

Give us more current speed graphics and innovations like this years ghost lap overlay. To see two cars overlayed so that you can compare their relative speed and lines on the track has been great.

Finally, perhaps steal Nascar's in track camera idea for occasional use. Not completely sold on this idea but it would definitely give you that feeling of speed and might provide you some very interesting shots. Teams might no be really happy about it though because the underside of the car would be on TV and available for scrutiny by prying eyes.


I've been saying this since 1993.

The biggest mistake in F1 tv coverage (which kills the impressive sensation of trackside speed) is the telezoom.

The 800mm zoom in on approach and the subsequent zoom in on the driveby.

To show off the sponsor logos!!!!!!

One gets no sense of the speed of these cars as there is nothing environmental in the frame as a perspective.

It has been like this forever.

For the best incar camera angle in F1 look at the 1992 German Grandprix. Patrese's car shows a single few second shot of a wide angle view that really gives a sense of speed as it is a wideangle shot.


Check out the V8 Supercar coverage from our friends down-under. They put together a hugely exciting package with the most in-depth coverage of any motor sports event.


Oh, sorry, you said "NASCAR."

You will now be sanctioned by FIA and receive a 10 place grid position loss.

Nothing so... "plebian"... as NASCAR may be mentioned in the same breath as F1.


I think one thing that would give a better impression of the speed of the cars would be an overhead camera angle on the long straights. When you are looking at the cars coming at you as they roar along at 300+ km/h you don't get a sense for how fast they are going. If you get an overhead view of the straight with the static pit lane and grand stand flashing past you'll get a better feel for how fast they are going.

Question about the rules. Is it possible in todays formula to innovate and come up with some of the crazy stuff of yesteryear? I've been reading a lot about F1 history and technical information to get more in depth with the sport. One of the things that caught my eye was the 6 wheeled car that debuted at one point. Not sure how successful it was but can someone even take a chance on those kind of radical ground breaking ideas anymore? Do you even want to see that kind of stuff? Curious as to your responses.


Six wheels were exciting because just one team dared to race with such configuration. If you make it mandatory it becomes just another restrictive regulation. The problem of cost control is that it produces cars that look very similar and the viewer cannot appreciate where the speed diference comes from between good and bad cars).

I'd love to see the sparks back, but you need very low cars and/or bumpy circuits, both things considered too dangerous these days. If they simply put a piece of titanium in the floor to make it spark constantly, it becomes a little bit too "bumper cars" tbh.


I wouldn't want to make it mandatory. I was just wondering if it's possible to do something so radical given the current rules. i understand the need for cost control and tightly written rules play into that but has it killed truly radical innovation? Not sure. I'm reminded of Stirling Moss's victory in the mid engined Cooper which revolutionized the placement of engines in f1 and open wheel racing in general. My question was more on the line of; can someone do something radical like that under the rules today, and quite frankly can they afford to possibly fail?


I can still remember the amazement of seeing the 6-wheeler Tyrell when it appeared. (There is one still being raced in the US at vintage events - saw it at Austin at the USGP 2012.) I think the regs now are so tightly written as to make such things impossible now.


why dont they just put handheld windmills on the cars,



How about extra buttons on the steering wheel. One to release oil spill to spin out the trailing car. Another to release a land mine.

Imo, make the engines loud for real, not by placing mics near the engine. The fans who come to watch live races wont be blown away.

As for sparks, it synonomous to sticking a flashy/sparking birthday candle to the back of an F1 car. Is this what it has come down to?

F1 fans get bored easily. How long before the novelty of sparks and mics wear off?


Given that the sound an engine makes is an unwanted by product, simply wasted energy, it's not surprising that in this new era of efficiency the noise has reduced. Consequently, any change to the sound for the purposes of effect will require some energy to be diverted to making a noise. And it will be artificial. They can move microphones around all they like for TV but it won't change the sound the cars make unless they use some digital SFX processing on the ambient sound feed -- which would be easy, but again very artificial.

Titanium skid plates would work to create more visual excitement.

The only other rule change I'd be for though, that would really liven things up, is reducing the nose length and the front and rear wing size some more. Already this year's regulations have started to do that and the result has been cars that slide around more and are easier to overtake, and more spectacular. I'd go further down that route: an excess of power over aerodynamic downforce.

For TV, they need to come up with more interesting camera angles. I'd like to see more tracking shots as they use in Germany and Silverstone, with aerial cameras flying along wires. They make for spectacular coverage.


There was an article in Autosport (I think) about the new engines and it pointed out that, while they are indeed quieter than the old V8 engines, they are still right up there in terms of outright volume from motorsport.

Part of the problem is actually the "perceived" volume and that is more to do with them "only" revving up to around 12,000 rpm.

The easiest way to counter the perceived loss of sound is to alter the way in which the trackside audio is recorded and processed. I've already noticed that the BBC seem to do a better job of this than Sky...put the mics closer, increase the gain on them and amplify the signal a little bit more and they'll soon be just as loud on TV as they were...but don't change the pitch - I love the new guttural growl on the V6 combined with the extra dimension of the turbo etc added in there...


Exactly. F1 uses a "World Feed" system delivering clean video and pre-mixed audio to broadcasters. Typically the contracts forbid any one network receiving any preferential treatment in terms of isolated camera and audio feeds beyond this.

As a TV sports mixer myself I applaud the F1 audio coverage. Next to the V8 Supercars it's about as good as it gets in motorsports television.


I've not been at any F1 OBs but if they're like other OBs you'll find that there's only one set of cameras and ambient mics positioned around the circuit and the resultant picture and sound feeds are sent clean to each of the broadcasters who have contracts. Then the BBC, Sky or whoever, have their own pit cameras filming their presenters and interviewers to create their own distinct coverage. So any difference in the sound between broadcasters is down to the mixing of the clean audio feeds, which might include 'colouring' or digital processing of some feeds, and the addition of their own GFX and idents to the vision.


I'm a bit surprised to hear that as in Melbourne there was a full support cast and the F1 seemed on a level with Porsche Supercup. Definitely quieter than the GP2s in Bahrain - which is a bit of a problem


The sound an engine makes is a result of combustion; the exhaust gas going supersonic, nothing to do with it's efficiency. A quiet engine is not any more efficient, it simply has more effective silencing.


I believe much of the loss of noise this year is a side effect of the efficiency changes, due to the introduction of the turbo.

This reduces the energy of the gases in the exhaust system, and therefore the noise level.

So while its not a direct indicator of efficiency generally, in this case there is a link.


F1 engines have never had any silencing. So you don't think the quietness of the 2014 engines has anything to do with the efficiency provided by energy (heat) recovery?

Danyllo Furlani

Allow me to add a little something to the suggestions above.

Rock hard tyres that work well when thrashed and only then are properly heated, would allow to some bold manuevers by the racers, would't they?


Hi Danyllo,

As with AndrewM's suggestion, getting rid of tyre blankets would be a significant step. There is a balance to be achieved though as for a given downforce level the harder tyres run at higher temperatures. That is one of Pirelli's concerns as F1 cars have much more downforce than Indy cars and so tyres have a much greater operating temperature.

If we go back to the Bridgestone and Michelin days, from what I read their longer life was not due to them being harder or lower coefficient of friction. Instead it was more that the tyre rubber chemically bonded to the rubber that was laid down previously. Pirelli chose to use compounds that didn't do that and instead has picked ones that slowly degrade as they are exposed to heat. The degradation comes from the compound hardening as it is cooked during a stint.

So with all that, if we could get Pirelli to go with a Michelin F1-type compound and aim for a three stop compound everywhere (not 4 compounds fit all tracks - bring the single best choice for every race), then its operating temperature should be low enough to not need tyre warmers.


And get rid of tyre warmers/blankets so there's a bigger performance differential immediately after pit stops.


I read some more about this some suggestions of titanium base plate to bring back sparks and clever wing designs to enable a trailing vortex, that all sounds okay why not - however what i didnt like reading was a suggestion of standing starts after safety car which is a gimmick too far! Standings starts are a little bit of a lottery, if a driver has done well/built a gap in a race its one thing losing the gap under safety car but atleast you have track position without any risk of getting bogged down from a start line...I dont think that would be fair, it will scew results and potentially not allow the quickest driver to finish


So you think sparks, and artificial vortices are less of a "gimmick" than standing starts..Unbelievable!!- Im not for standing starts ( safety etc) ..but just saying


Not atall they can change anything they like with the packaging just dont like the rule changes which create artficial racing eg double points how the cars look does not affect results


Sparks, artifical noise, anything else that goes on the car that serves no performance ,!safety is quiet frankly complete BS. Its an insult to peoples intelligence!.. Even new fans will eventually wake up to it..

Double points I agree and rules changes half way through are also rubbish because they are purposely or otherwise designed to change or effect an outcome and usually benefit teams who have resources to make the most of them like tyres last year.

I think F1 needs to stop being so contrived for marketing purposes and go back to its pure core - ultimate speed and innovation.People nowadays have access to so much information that it only takes a few events before they realise whats going on.. & this will happen if F1 trys doing a Hollywood.. Long run it will loose alot more fans.as I said elsewhere it needs to reach out & engage new fans , show them the geniune & brilliant things is has and focus on the idea of "sport" - people never loose passion for this.


I think the sparks are rather a good idea,wouldn't you say?!



Loved the sparks!!


Looks great, but if we all know they are artificial I'm not so sure. A bit like watching a DRS overtake compared to a real one. Same result but a different feeling completely.



When As a kid I got bored with my electric train set I would strip it down to the chassis and have competitions to see how far it could Jump. Just a thought.


I've long felt the SC is completely unfair; a driver who has built up a gap effectively loses it through no fault of his own. If they can put a speed limit per sector to stop drivers racing around to the pits when a safety car comes out, surely they don't even need a safety car, but can instead impose speed limits via each car's computer. It would be much fairer, even if it loses the excitement of bunching the pack up.


@purple helmet I thought the point of the SC was to bunch up the cars to give the marshals a safe period at the track side to move what ever the problem is. If everyone kept their gap would this not mean that cars would still be passing marshals and possibly even medical team who are working?


Safety car has nothing to do with the "show", the key word being "safety". It's there to bunch the field so that it gives time for track staff to clear the track or medical staff to do their job. An F1 car even at low speed is still going very, very fast.


The safety car is not there to be fair, it's there to neutralise the race and ensure the safety of trackside workers and even competitors if their are stricken cars on the track in unsighted positions.


It's an interesting thought and obviously fairer on the leader. That being said, unfortunately F1 is a sport that does tend to have more than its fair share of less-than-enthralling "fixtures". The safety car - and the threat of it - is vital as a way of maintaining or reviving interest in races.

While I think that it's perhaps not the fairest solution to resolve a post-accident situation, I think the excitement it brings far outweighs the unfairness.


@Patrick - LOL - or how about doubling the points every time there's a safety car?


Here's a thought, why not bring in double points for the last race to spice things up.


if a driver builds up a machine before the safety car, they can surely build up a gap agin after the safety car. nothing wrong with safety car as it is right now.


@purple helmet, you have a point there but the safety car is a major feature in f1 just like the flags, pit stops and penalties. they can all influence position change. all the teams are aware of them and rehearse procedures to play out in the event.


That is far too simplistic. F1 races are strategic, there are two types of tyre and you only need go back to Bahrain to see how Hamilton's race was compromised. He'd built up a time buffer on the fast tyre, knowing his last stint would be on the harder tyre and Rosberg would then be on soft. But the safety car effectively wiped that out and put Rosberg right behind him on the faster tyre. Go back to Singapore 2008 to see how Piquet's 'accident' won the race for Alonso (and stole a certain win from Massa, who was competing for the title).


3 weeks is an age!


Apart from restart excitment, the advantage of the safety car is that it bunches the pack up so that all the cars are in one spot meaning that rescue/medical crews do not have to worry about the cars.


I hope they dont mess with the sporting rules, adding sparks/noise great but please Mr Ecclestone we dont want double points or water sprinklers!!!!

Soon this sport will end up like NASCAR where if the promoter does not like the result dont they just send out a safety car or something for the sake of it...doh


The lack of noise is a bummer. All exotic cars sounds beautiful, unique and unapologically loud!


I think they should fix up the nose too. Top Gear describe it as se.x toys. It is just not right. Plus, the new noses are fliping cars over, and/or submarining the attacking car. They are not safe at all. So the original purpose of this rule (which was made due to safety reasons) has not been fulfilled.

I think F1 should be marketed like a Supercar. Absolutely exotic, so it is out of reach to normal mortals and yet everyone knows about them. I mean we all want an Aston Martin, or Pagani Zonda but can never afford one.


God knows where this is going to lead to. Knowing Bernie we'll end up with each car carrying a smoke cannon like the Red Arrows use. One use per driver per race.

Watching the Hunt movie made me think how the sport has changed. It is more corporate, more managed, less charismatic. There's no place for chancers anymore. That's sad, I think the sport was better when there was space for someone like Hesketh to have a go. Eddie Jordan was perhaps the last of the true privateers?

It's more about brands today, Red Bull, Mercedes, Honda. that's a little depressing. F1 needs characters more than sparks IMHO.


That's happened in every sport. Not much you can do with that especially with a wider audience and political correctness. Imagine a driver smoking on the podium or press conference. The number of people freaking out on message boards and comments here will be mind boggling!


Any driver that smoked would never make it onto the podium in todays extremely athletic F1. But I do think tobacco advertising was iconic to the sport and it meant there was no shortage of money which meant no pay drivers.


The entire world has gone mimimi.

Health and safety is the king.


You know, this is true with any mature corporation.

Eventually the excitement is gone. You think it's fun at Facebook today? How much fun is selling ads?


Super Mario Kart is the model perhaps...


I think that's why so many fans are rooting for teams like Williams.

They are still considered as a privater.

However they are a public company these days, with all the the corporate laws that go with it.


Agreed. They need to start being sensible: add *actual* excitement and introduce new ideas to generate real thrills instead of trying to simulate excitement with stupid ploys.

Making it appear exciting doesn't make it actually exciting



Great post. Do you happen to know of whom, what sort of persons (job wise) is composed the "study group" looking to these issues ?


Brilliant, albeit it short article, James. I wasn't a follower of f1 in the senna/mansell era, but the return of sparks and other changes would be fantastic to see - especially at a night race!


sparks will slow the cars down and the cars with the least sparks would be faster than those with the most sparks. will the cars spark?


vettel's red bull still sparks any way.


Good point. Will there be spark zones around the track? Will there be a limit to how many sparks allowed during the race?


Maybe it could be hooked up to the KERS to shoot sparks out the back!


I've got a really simple idea for them that their own working group came up with then rejected. Bring back the curtain and ground effect. Cut the reliance on aero development and allow cars to close up and overtake or at least keep trying. Coupled with the new hybrid systems, the simplest way to bring back 'spectacle' is to have cars able to close up and make multiple overtake attempts. Plus the purists who hate DRS can then get rid of it.

Sure the cars might be slower, but the costs would tumble, the drivers would be closer and the races would almost certainly be a better mix of strategic and tactical.

Plus the ground effect curtain probably throws up sparks aplenty.


There are a few thoughts I'll raise around this:

1. How important is it that the cars are fast in corners? That is what brings the lap times and makes F1 a step up from other circuit racing series. At the moment that increased downforce comes from having more powerful engines, which allow the cars to carry more drag.

2. If we bring in ground effects then the cars become much more aerodynamically efficient. From numbers I have seen the cars will go from a lift to drag ratio of around 3:1 to more like 9:1. So speeds on the straights go up and the safety conscious get worried.

3. If we remove the wings then the advertising space is reduced.

4. Do we assume the engines are pretty much fixed to allow the manufacturer's some cost stability?

Personally I'm a fan of the ground effect idea. When this subject has come up earlier here I've raised the fan car from 1978. The idea of it picking up stones as was claimed doesn't seem too difficult to solve with guards (vacuum cleaners seem to be able to let the air out while collecting dirt).

The sliding skirts (curtains) where the main safety concern as they could get damaged or stuck and the driver not realise this. Rigid skirts would reduce this risk.

The ground effects should greatly reduce turbulence behind the car as the aim of ground effects is to reduce the exit air velocity as it exits the car as close to zero as possible. With the diffusers the idea is to use the low pressure air behind the car to suck the air out from under the car. This combined with the rear wing contribute to a large air mass flow heading upwards behind the car, creating a lot of turbulence (low pressure, high velocity air trying to fill the space).

If my quick calculations are right, top speeds would go up by about 15%, so another 50 km/h. Which would provide more energy for brake harvesting if it is wanted. The cars would spend a bit less time on full throttle per lap, so fuel economy would improve too. Obviously DRS wouldn't work well in its current form, so the ability to follow will need to be better as I think it should. The fan car approach guarantees that following would be simple, but it would require power to drive it. This could come from the whole battery store system.

Ground effects - it's a green solution. In keeping with modern F1.




To be fair the ground effect reintroduction wasn't my idea - it came from (I believe) Wiiliams and Mercedes engineers before the changes to the technical working group. They offered a suggestion on exactly how it could be reintroduced in a safe and effective manner to allow overtaking and closer racing. Eventually it was vetoed by the teams that thought that their financial adavantages in aero and new engine development would allow them to dominate. Again a short term gain putting the boot into long term gains. F1 is nothing with 4 teams scrabbling for wins and everyone else bankrupt.

At the end of the day - sparks, noise, colorful cars - all good. I'm not denying the impact these things have - but if we had ground effect allowing constant chasing and overtakes at any suitable corner we'd increase audiences and have more sponsors and F1 would be healthier. We'd still see big teams dominate championships but we'd see smaller teams pull off surprise results more frequently and we'd see drivers really chasing and racing - which would please both the ardent purists and the occasional 'I watch the fun races' types alike.

I don't think ground effect is a problem as the engineers themselves have said they can make it work this time and be safe and effective. Again it was the teams with a money advantage who didn't want it.

This is why despite being a massive McLaren fan with family and friends who's livelihood is based on McLaren results disagree with Ron Dennis. You can't be cutthroat and ruthless about your own success if it leads to 70% of the field going bankrupt and quitting who will McLaren be beating? It's very easy to go 'oh they have the money let then win' but how is that exciting? The joy of most sports is that an underdog can one day (not often) pull off a miracle and win something by sheer determination. This is what casual fans will enjoy. I know most of us are hardcore fans who will watch til the bitter end but I'd rather F1 be a majority sport and have everyone watch because it's thrilling and possible to have upsets and exciting races that I don't have to explain to everyone why only one man can really win (yes! I still love it but I don't want to be the only 30 year old watching the damn thing with everyone else who loves cars telling me why it's dull!)


Nice rant man. Totally agree with you!

Andrew Armitage

Seconded. Get rid of aerodynamics and make cars find grip mechanically, so they can run closer together. Slim down the rule book to allow designers to innovate. Allow the money generated by the sport to be put back into the sport. At least German lawyers are trying to eliminate the poison dwarf, that can only be a good thing!


Agreed. We need a rule that regulates/minimises the air disturbance behind the car. Aero itself can stay - cars just needs to become much sleeker (which is also great for the industry too)


Ground effect was banned for safety reasons as when you slightly lose the curtain, ground effect can disappear completely and cars can go flying. I think they are suggesting active suspension (maybe somewhat standardised/regulated) to fill the same gap of reducing the following aero deficit, which sounds feasible.


I did have to do a double take though I thought the headline meant we were going to have drivers under the knife so that the Maldonado's of the world look more like the Rosberg's of the world...:)


You can make all the drivers look like Rosberg, but you'll still be able to tell the difference:

The Rosberg following Hamilton Rosberg will be Rosberg Rosberg, while the Rosberg picking a fight with the pit wall will be Maldonado Rosberg.


Pastor could start a fight in an empty room.

Apparently it was the way the walls were looking at him...........

PS Couple of questions if I may

Is Rusty (Greg Rust) working with Jonsey on Channel 10?

Also, what time does the Euro races start in AUS? Around 7-9 PM on average? Pardon my maths, I think AUS and NZ are around 8-11 hours ahead of us here in Blighty if I'm correct.

I've posted a comment above about an idea to have (Euro) races on a Saturday. Presumably that would be better for our mates in Oceania, no? Could relax on a Saturday evening, have a few beers (lagers? ciders?), watch the race and have a lie in on the Sunday.


Depends where you are in oz and whether you are in daylight savings, but in adelaide it is somewhere somewhere between 10pm and 1am for European rounds I think.

Yes, Alan Jones and Greg Rust are anchoring at the moment. Personally I'd take Jim Rosenthal over them any day.


Correct, it is Rusty and Jonesy.

Generally the Euro races start around ten / midnightish (give or take).

We are 8 or 9 hours ahead (depending on the blight that is daylight saving), so I'd say that NZ is a few hours ahead again.

Not sure about a race on a Saturday, but having the race on Sunday morning / lunch time would be an interesting idea.

Anyway, don't worry too much if the race is on a bit late for us on the Sunday - the truly dedicated F1 fan will just pull a sicky and have a lie in on the Monday anyway 😉


Green Ideas for F1 that don't impact on-track action. Feel free to add.

Afternoon races only - save on those electric bills for night races

Limit weight of "stuff" each team brings to the race to 107% of what Marussia brings to a GP on avarage.

Reduce and limit number of staff per team in the paddock to a set fixed number and fixed names for the weekend to avoid "rotation" by richer teams.

I bet you these 3 things alone would make a bigger impact than substituting a tanker of fuel with a buch of short life likely non-recyclable batteries.

And FYI - most hybrids had energy recovery long before F1 had it. I can hardly believe that what F1 is learning in F1 will ever be applicable to anything else but a Ferrari or a McLaren high performance car. That performance technology hardly has a place in everyday commuting cars.


Agree in the night races


Know you mention schedules, here's a bit of a wild card idea: the British GP at Silverstone, and the South African GP at (the original) Kyalami used to take place on a Saturday.

A Saturday grand prix? The drivers can a few sausages, pork chops, steaks and beers/ciders on a Saturday evening at somewhere like Silverstone or Hungary!

I say that because if you watch footage from the old Kyalami, original Osterriechring and Silverstone it seems like a carnival atmosphere for the spectators.

Saturday F1? Open to ideas?


How could I miss that one!?

You run quali and race on a Saturday and think of all the people that don't have to drive to the GP and back twice? That alone, convoys, buses, limos, copters, all of that would be a HUGE reduction in consumption.

Absolutely spot on idea. Your idea saves a lot of Gaz, Boy.


For the staff limits you might have to reduce the live telemetry out of cars so operation centres back at the factory aren't running race simulation/strategy and then the driver/engineer have to do some more of the race craft.


Move all the races back to Europe. Surely that would save the most in terms of the running of the sport.

ERS-H definitely does have a place in everyday commuting cars. That's potentially a huge difference that nobody has taken advantage of yet. Petrol Direct Injection does too, even though it's been around for a long time it's never been developed as it is now.


We can all argue about it if you want but the fact remains the engine manufacturers all say they wanted it and they are using it as a test bed for road relevant technologies. Keep saying it's not if you like but we either take your word for it or the demands of Mercedes Benz, Renault and Honda.

Again if you want to get rid of them that's fine, you want to point out flaws and inaccuracies to their boards of directors it's your prerogative 🙂

Meanwhile F1 has gone hybrid and kept itself in with sponsors and manufacturers regardless of what your guess about the green impact is or not I suppose.


again, sebee, how many road cars uses turbo nowadays? renault made a gamble in the late 70's and the fierce competition between f1 engines suppliers developed some amazing turbo engines. You think that nothing of that era is present in the turbos of BMW or Renault o Porsche? (and they're not exotic cars unless you think a Renault Fluence with a turbo diesel engine is an exotic one)



All I'm saying is that Prius has been around for a long long time running a hybrid PU with energy recovery system in a real world delivering excellent fuel economy before F1 went hybrid. Hence F1 is a follower not a leader here. We're not exactly going for a moon landing with these V6s. Tesla is proving that all electric may be the way after all. Did you hear about the new batteries from MIT with the M13 virus? Formula-E may have already passed F1 in ambition of future of motorsport.

What will be interesting is not that F1 has gone hybrid, although I agree that it has to survive. What wil lbe interesting is what we will say about it in a few years. No one can predict if we will see it as a visionary move, of if this hybrid angle is just a passing fad on the way to all electric. Sure, these are F1 cars, but you think F1 can claim "green" status with 40L/100km V6 PUs?


Though I reckon if you want spectacle, we might want the drivers looking more like Maldonado, rather than Rosberg...


I suppose we do need a few super-villains to add to the drama. Maybe Pastor should get a bionic eye and replace all his teeth with steel shark ones...


I don't think those are shark teeth just the teeth of the men his family had 'disappeared'...

Sorry Pastor - you know I didn't mean it. Please let my family go...

Alexander Supertramp

Should? I think you just described Pastor!


Or live in a hollowed out volcano?

I was going to say also have a dislike of blokes who drive a Lotus..............but he is driving a Lotus!

Still, he would make a cracking Bond villain. And he could do all his own crash stunts!


Actually, F1 has been undergone plenty of plastic surgery.

The thing about plastic surgery is, once you start, you can never stop, and you can never undo. You can be a handsome tallented African American singer, and suddenly your skin is white, your nose if falling off and you have a pet monkey. How do you fix that?

F1's face has been stretched to the point where you look at it and say, hey, is THAT the cute girl from Jerry Mcquire?

These engines will never sound like an F1 engine should sound, no matter what they do to it. Let's at least start and admit this point right up front. Acceptance, it's not always a fun step in the process, but necessary.

And I would LOVE it someone would do a proper "green" audit of these new engines. As in, is the 50kg of saved fuel a greater green savings than not having to manufacture and use the batteries. I bet you those batteries aren't all that green in the end. Someone by now surely did a CO2 footprint analysis on this PU vs. a V8, right?

Hey, anyone know how many cycles/uses these teams get out of the batteries? How often do they change? How many sets of batteries does a team have?


Seebee, you are just plain mistaken. Firstly, these engines CAN sound a lot better - the peak fuel restrictions are making them run at 12,000 RPM max, rather than the 15,000 RPM they are designed for. And it's been pointed out that the lack of RPM is THE thing making these engines quieter - rev them higher, and you will get a lot more sound out of them.

Secondly, as has been pointed out, going "green" has nothing to do with how much fuel is saved during a race. It has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that the manufacturers (Merc, Renault, McLaren esp.) have all gone to turbos in their road cars for performance at a given MPG. And the manufacturers want their F1 engines to bear some resemblance to the ones that actually pay the bills by being sold in large numbers. That's it, period. Everyone knows F1 itself is far from "green" - just the 6 jumbo jets that fly the show around the world kill that. But the manufacturers are in this to sell cars (or at least many of them), and with the exception of Ferrari they have all gone fully turbo, and even turbo/hybrid. I loved the V10s too...but in the end, F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of racing technology, and a normally aspirated engine is far, far from that these days.


Seebee, Mercedes have NO CHOICE. There is, in America - their largest market - something called Corporate Average Fuel Economy. They are measured on it, and they are penalised if they can't hit it.

Now it is true that a large number of upper-end Mercedes have large engines. But it is not clear how many are SOLD in large quantities - and the CAFE metrics reflect the proportion sold, not just how many you have in your price list. They can have 20 models with terrible fuel economy, as long as 95% of the cars they sell are models that have great fuel economy - even if that is just one model. Here in the UK, the way the company car tax laws work, economical diesels predominate in actual sales., regardless of how many bi-turbo petrol models are on the price list.

Up above, you mentioned that you didn't think that what was raced in F1 had to reflect what went into road cars. That FUNDAMENTALLY IS COUNTER TO WHAT THE ACTUAL CAR COMPANIES IN F1 THINK...and those in NASCAR, V8 SUPERCARS, etc. as well. All of them demand tie-ins between their road fleet and what is raced, even going so far as to build fake bodies that go on a standard chassis to make them look like production models in the case of NASCAR and Aussie Supercars. That is the way the people paying the bills think - and if you can't get your head around that then there is little point in discussing it further with you. It has ALWAYS been "Race on Sunday, sell on Monday"...and that demands a tie-in.


Also, I remember reading that Mercedes had the worse fleet fuel economy of all Euro car makers. If I remember right they were trying to delay fleet fuel efficiency regulations as it would hurt them in penalties. I have to search for this article.


Yes, Mercedes have gone turbo...for fuel economy.



Let's cut the BS. Mercedes wants to be green, let them commit to not selling anything bigger than a V6. Otherwise they are spitting in faces of F1 fans forcing us to have these PUs while pumping out these large displacement engines to market.



A reusable canvas bag takes the same amount of oil to produce and deliver to location as about 130 plastic bags. Therefore, if you use that canvas bag over 130 times, then you've saved a net amount of oil.

However, in the mean time, that canvas bag becomes a retainer for bacteria and mold which come into contact with any fresh produce you put in it. Should they require washing at any point during the 130 uses, you have to add the carbon footprint of the wash cycle to the 130 uses before you reach carbon neutrality, such that by the time you've actually saved the Earth of anything.


Taking that philosophy a bit further, Volcano's should be banned. Any one know Mother Natures telephone number?


Phew, it's not just me then. The reality is the material that goes into these batteries must criss cross the globe for refining etc before it can be used. Thereby abrogating the perceived environmental benefits. Green they are not. By way of example a range rover disco has a smaller environmental impact than a Toyota Prius. However, we need this tech to develop and F1 is the place for it to happen.


I was gonna type a story here but I can save that because apart from the green stuff I am 100% with you.

I do hate this "Lets try to make a show of it with artificial elements in it". Come on, this is supposed to be the best motorsport in the world !

And does the most beautiful girl you can find look better after a plastic surgery ? I think No.

I have written this before: engines, 1, 2 or 12 cylinders, can sound dramatic if they are only revved up to a certain area.

My 2 cylinder Moto Guzzi @ 8.500 rpm gives you the feeling it is gonna explode any minute.

Or watch this:


Problem is, these new V6 engines could technically easily do 20k revs, yet they are only allowed to go up to 11k because of fuel efficiency.

Make it louder and they will sound like a squadron Tiger Moths.....


I think I choose the wrong words in English yes. They can rev to a max of 15k but only do 11k because of fuel efficiency and engine life. Still 15k is nothing dramatic for these engines.


I believe that they are allowed to go to 15000 RPM but can't because of the fuel restrictions.


Interestingly, Renault has done a very thorough life cycle analysis between a battery electric and both gas and diesel versions of the same car (Fluence).

It is not the analysis of the new F1 PU's that you were looking for, but it provides a pretty thorough insight into why a major F1 supplier is pushing for this technology shift.

You can find the full analysis at...


For something that also considers hybrids in its analysis, but is really limited to greenhouse gas emissions and cost, check out...


In both reports the current mix of energy that powers a regions electricity grid provides a useful bit of insight into how battery powered cars and hybrids would be perceived locally at this time. Cleaner grids, not surprisingly, yield more benefits.

The one area highlighted as an area where the impacts of EV's might be higher is acidification, but overall the long-term benefits seem pretty well supported.

kenneth chapman

@ mathias....you might like to reconsider your 'road car trickle down analysis' in respect of disc brakes.

they were invented back in 1890 and were patented by the lanchester car company somwewhere around the very early 1900's. the first 'modern' disc brakes were introduced to the race track in 1953 fitted to a 'C' type jaguar.

the F1 to road car mythology lives on.......


...Porsche 959, Jaguar XJ220.


The Lotus Esprit was a 2 litre turbo car and was definitely classified as a super car. And if memory serves me correctly it had about half as many cylinders as a V8 and wasn't even a V configuration.


Sebee's comment is right and similar such remarks have been posted in the past as well. Even though it is true that these changes came into existence after substantial deliberations and taking every stakeholder on board but why can't these stakeholders see that these changes are making the sport less interesting. It was so cool with the fuel in pit stops and etc even with all the safety issues and less green. Road cars will never be like an F1 car. That's the bottom line. Exotic cars will never have four cylinder or six ones and 1.6 litre engines. Ah those were the days.


F1 is a tough sell on ecological footprint - because all the figures for Hybrids are based on equivalent mileage and lifetime use. Yes Hybrid batteries produce more emissions than regular car batteries and the famous (and disputed) report on the Prius being less green to manufacture than the Hummer - but in terms of equivalent driving use over their expected lifetimes, the Hybrid always wins in eco impact and more than reduces it's impact despite the higher initial 'impact' of production.

The problem with F1 is that the cars don't actually 'need' to be run at all, it's a sport, plus they have very short lifespans, are obsolete within a year at most and only run a few hundred miles before they get retired. But logically speaking so did the V8's - so a direct comparison should show a significant reduction in 'lifetime' output.

I guess the far more important thing is F1 is once again a test bed for high-tech industries when the V8 was effectively obsolete. And we still get to have Mercedes and Renault (and shortly Honda) supplying teams. These 3 have all said they wouldn't be in F1 for much longer without the switch, so then we'd have a wonderfully green formula - as there'd be no-one but Ferrari racing themselves against Marussia and Sauber I guess (a bit like achieving world peace by killing everybody on Earth...:)



No self respecting super car will feature anything less than a V8, V10, or a V12.....

Porsche 911 - only 6 cylinders.


Sebee the turbo engines first appeared in F1 in the late 70's and now they're quite common, as radial tyres, by michelin, arent' they? just give it some time.


Sigh. I will quit this conversation since you aren't listening in the slightest. Good luck on your mission to convince the engine suppliers, the sponsors and most of the planet about why they are all stupid and disingenuous - I'm not for a moment suggesting you shouldn't keep up the fight just that you are likely fighting a spartan-esque running defeat - the best of luck!


justin, oh no...you dug up that colossal sales failure? Didn't XJ220 take Jaguar down a notch? How much did that thing cost Jaguar in the end? And today a $60k Corvette will CRUSH this car anytime, anywhere, in bone stock trim right off the dealer's lot. Yes...it's a V8 in the Vette.

Hey, you think Vettel owns a Vette? 🙂


ever heard of an XJ220 sebee? take a look at the engine!



F1 is road relevant today? How exactly? What dealer do I go to for a car that looks like an f1 car? If anything it is an option package with paddle shifters a racing seat and red stripes for $4999. Yup...paddles sure make a Polo feel like a RB10.


@sebee quite the contrary, the F1 is and should always be road relevant. Think of safety measures from F1, like disc brakes, or think about gearboxes (cvt, seamless, shift paddles)Active suspensions, just to name a few. F1 is not to sell ferraris or aston martins, is for develop cutting edge technology, why would renault, ford or honda (the most dominant engines manufacturers i can recall) would be interested if F1 not road relevant?



What can I say, not one but two references to me in a post that I wasn't involved in! I had no idea you cared 😉

As for Mercedes hypocrisy - glass houses, people, stone throwing......


Alright james encore, off to the shop to buy a 10 inch TV.


Actually the biggest impact environmentally is all those TVs tuning to watch it.

Next biggest is audience going to the circuit.

Then the of getting the teams to events

Then running the R&D , offices and manufacturing, only then the Co2 of the cars going round


Yes, but by far the biggest environmental impact of sport is the fan's cars going to the event. Football is almost certainly less environmentally friendly than F1, given the number of games in the country each year.

What is good about the F1 rules isn't that F1 cars are more efficient but that the accelerated development of hybrid systems encouraged by the F1 way of working will be a useful technology for the future, in fact it already has been.


Here is the thing Aura.

F1 is an elite motorsport. It's super expensive. It is supposed to provide a halo effect, an aura if you will over the participating manufacturer's product.

V8s are not dead. Far from it. They are the minimum engine found in any super car. You put a V6 and the price tag will reflect that. No self respecing super car will feature anythign less than a V8, V10, or a V12. Sure, you may not buy a car with that engine because it's not practical, but you like the brand because they make such cars. Many even stick the C63 decals or AMG decals on smaller displacement Cs to make themselves feel like they have a V8 or an AMG car. You see it all over the place, ask C63.

I know, before you guys start quoting off supercar models that have a V6 or perhaps V4, let me remind you that all of the most desirable and exotic sports cars have V8 at the very least. And what is F1 but the most exotic unobtainium car on the planet? And it's running a V6? Like the best selling Toyota Camry? Seriously?

And who are you marketing to anyway with this V6 engine? Because if it is to Europeans, well, then it should be a small 4 cylinder diesel engine. In China it should be pedal powered. In India 50cc motorcycle.

F1 is not supposed to be relevant to a road car. There is nothing relevant about it, it's not a rolling lab, and no technology F1 has developed is relevant to a Golf or Polo. Car makers have R&D departments that work on technology that is road relevant. F1 is a marketing show, and if any F1 technology makes it into cars it is into super cars to make those buyers feel like they have an F1 car and take an appropriate sum from their wallet.

It's hypocritical of MB to talk about pulling out of F1 if the sport didn't go to V6 engines while they are pumping out V8 AMG engines and even V12 AMG engines into their product ranges for past years and even now. I call BS on Mercedes on this one. Right C63? Just wondering, Lewis will come to European races in his V8 equipped AMG MB, right?


How do you quantify what an F1 engine 'should' sound like when it changes palpably with every capacity & regulation change?

To some, the V8 was less 'proper' than BMW's 4-cylinder Turbo, the Ferrari V12 or an old Vanwell Straight-4...


The engines now sound more like a V twin Superbike than a flat plane crank, highly tuned, high performance engine.

I once had a clip of the Stars and Stripes being "played" with the old V10's. THAT's what an F1 engine should sound like.

After watching F1 for nearly 30 yearsm it's the first time I'm really disappointed with the sound and the first time I dont get any feeling of excitement when i hear one.



I didn’t notice..

Didn't notice? Did you just say that you didn't notice? You have spent all this time and effort insisting the sound an F1 engine makes is the beginning and end of everything - and you didn't notice the sound on the F1 site had changed! Too funny 🙂


dufus...I didn't notice. That's hilarious. Same with the FOM intro circles..they can't use the old sound. It's false marketing.


@Sebee - The F1 website intro/flash engine roar now seems to have been reduced to a V6 turbo sound. I miss the roar when i loaded the site.


I think that the V10s and V8 of last 20 years are the trademark sound that people associate with F1, with open wheel racing.

Key word in that sentence is trademark.

This is why to most it is something they consider vital to the F1 experience.


So, in the previous era of turbo F1, they did sound like F1 cars, not turbos ??


my first GP experience was Adelaide 1985 ... 1350+hp qualy engines (1.5 turbos).

I had been to motor races since I was in nappies - including F5000s - but nothing prepared me for the noise...

everyone said to take earplugs but I thought they were for wimps - of course I soon went a paid $10 for a pair!

The scream and volume was astounding.

The next year was a mix of 1,5 turbos & 3.5 v8s ... and the sound was still LOUD.

In contrast I found the v10's of the early 2000s had a high-pitched ear-splitting scream.

Haven't heard this years cars yet so can't compare tho.

But let anyone tell you the old turbos were quiet!!


I was a young 8 year old boys growing up in sleepy Adelaide when the turbos came to town in 1985!

Words cannot describe how good the 80's era turbos were and sounded. Pure mesmerising speed and ear popping sound. The feeling & memory will never leave me. Perhaps the only thing better were the Ferrari v12's in the early 1990's. Wow!

This is what F1 should never forget - it needs to be the pinnacle & full force brute of speed & sound. The current power units are fine in principle, but Newey is correct that the full life cycle cost comparison has not been done to prove the benefit (on an ecological footprint basis). Not that F1 should even be judged on such a parameter - it's Motorsport, not Greenpeace.

I think that the rules should be stripped back to basics and then let the teams and manufacturers find their individual solution - if the engine capacity is 1.5lt with 100kg of fuel, then lets see what the manufacturers come up with like the previous eras.


They sounded fine, and we often had huge sheets of flame and smoke pouring from them, it was most entertaining.


Martin personally I loved the old school guttural growl of a 1.5 litre Honda or Renault V6 twin turbo being driven to within an inch of its life by Senna, Prost or our Nige..........

The only one I would question is the BMW straight 4 which had a slightly bizarre raspy sound, but then must inline 4's (it was based on a production unit) sound that way.


I have to reserve judgement to what I know. I never experienced those turbo engines, including the famous BMW 4cyl 1500HP granade.

All I know is that I liked the V10s, I had no issue wtih the V8, and I don't get along at all with these V6s - sound wise. I'll pass final judgement when I hear them in person to be able to say 100% that I'm against the engine note.


AuraF1 - too funny... LOL


Sparks is a good move,

Back to 2 meter wide cars.

More high speed corners,

Ground effects.

More high speed circuits with 160mph average.

Huge rear tyres again,

qualifying tyres

Bring back the morning warm up and get rid of locked set ups after qualifying.

Tone down the stewards, to much influence.


Why not go to circuits where there is at least half a chance of wet weather?

Think of all the great Euro/Canada races over the year affected by a drop of the wet stuff!

You can't play God, but you can go to a venue when he is more likely to douse the track.....


The only problem with that is that these days the safety car or the red flag comes out. Great for the Bernd Maylander fan club until the four hour TV broadcast limit kicks in...


- Sparks are nonsense. Want to introduce fireworks on the car? Because that's the same thing.

- 2 meter wide cars make overtaking more difficult, which is not what people want.

- There's plenty of high speed corners in F1, more than ever, because downforce has always increased, and so did corner speeds.

- Ground effects, bigger tyres: we want LESS downforce & grip, not MORE to make it more difficult to drive the cars.

- Qualifying tyres: Big waste of money.

- Warm-up: what for? Nobody's watching and everyone makes 2 setups instead of one. How does that help?


A wider car will give of a bigger draft for the car behind, plus looks better more agressive.

ground effect less effected from dirty air.

Bigger tyres more mechanical grip.

High speed corners Iam talking 7th 8th gear stuff not the current 3rd 4th gear stuff that dominates.

Quali tyres and warm up, try and make quali and the race more different to suit different types of cars and drivers and setups. How many times would Prost qualify noware and then be fastest in the warm up. Or Rossi in his moto gp heyday below par qualifying good in the warm

Up and the race..


100% agree with you Jim!


Hey, jump into my DeLorean. You guessed it, we're going back to 1987!

Before we hit 88MPH, would you hand me the Alpine pull out cassette deck please? It's under your seat Jim.


Oh no, you mentioned John Z DeLorean's dream-machine!

That pie in the sky half baked "ethical" sports car cost the British tax payers/government (delete as applicable) around UK £90 million. And used about 3000 poor workers at Belfast as political cannon foder one way or the other.

Actually, there is an F1 angle to DeLorean. Colin Chapman and Lotus were involved with the development of the DMC-12, and it later turned out £17.7 million went missing from the development of the car. It turned out Mr DeLorean and Chunky Chapman had salted away half of that money to some special Swiss bank-acounts. (I should add Group Lotus sumbitted proper invoices which were all settled, and had no involvement in the DeLorean scandal).

So if Colin hadn't of died of a heart attack at the end of 1982, he would have most likely ended his days disgraced at Her Majesty's Pleasure from embezzlement. So the greatest design genius in F1 would have been eating porridge for at least 10 years..............hmm, corruption, embezzlement and bribery involving F1 personalities, that sounds quite appropriate at the minute!

And Mr DeLorean? Well, the British government wanted to extradite him to face UK justice, but good old Uncle Sam has never extradited one of his own, so why would he do that to good old John of Detriot?


PS That UK £17.7 million was at 1978 prices. Adjusted for inflation, today that is around UK £86 million, while the UK £90 million that Mr DeLorean wheeled out of the UK government is not around, inflation adjusted, about UK £290 million!

No wonder Colin Chapman would have got sent down had he lived!


Agree with some of those, but you have to do it for the right reasons, i.e because it makes technological sense. F1 needs to keep pushing forward. Its annoying when they keep banning new technologies (ground effect, active suspension, traction control, f-duct, double diffuser, ebd). Granted some of these were for legitimate reasons (see traction control), others were not. We've got to stop talking about improving the show. Its a sport, not entertainment (no wonder India taxed F1 as entertainment when all anyone does is talk about the show).

- Leave the locked setups though. The engineers and mechanics need some rest.

- I say bring back F-ducts too.

- Allow DRS all over the circuit. No more zones. Lets see who has the guts to take Eau Rouge flat out with the flap open. High performance cars have them, so there's no reason F1 shouldnt.

- Heavier car/driver limits. Drivers are not jockeys.

- No more tilkedromes, lets add some more spice.

- Bring back the old Nurburgring with double points.

- Push the top speed. Weve been stuck in the 330 kmh range for far too long.

- Way more data for fans, we need to see whats going on and its a technical sport. The simple graphics we have now are not enough anymore.


Nearly all of your ideas died with Senna.

After Senna's accident, F1 realised that the cars were getting too fast for the tracks, and that no possible safety improvements to the tracks were going to make it better. The cars simply had to be slowed down. That is why you cannot use DRS all over the circuit - it would allow way too much speed into and through the corners, with the potential for worse accidents. That is why F-ducts were banished. That is why, quite simply, top speed is stuck exactly where it is. These 1.6 turbo/hybrids would be easy to tune to well over 1000 bph, perhaps as high as 1500 bph with fully charged batteries. And that would almost certainly result in more driver deaths, and quite possibly spectators. F1 is a corporate activity now, and _people are not allowed to die_. Gets the sponsors all wound up.

Same issue with the Nurburgring - too hard to get fire and ambulances to the scene of a crash in time to save lives, which is why it got dropped.

And we are stuck with Tilke Twiddling tracks because 1) they have large enough run-off areas to be safe at higher speeds, and 2) sponsors hate to see their cars out of the race - which is why mistakes at Tilke Twiddling tracks just slow you down a little, rather than bend your car. I hate them - give me Monaco or Spa anyday - but I see why we are stuck with them.

Agree TOTALLY on the data...stuff is very complicated now, and the fans need more data IMHO.


I've been going back and looking at old races from the 80's and 90's on youtube. This is just a guess from me because I wasn't a fan back then, but it sure seemed there was more passing back in those days. And what did they have way more of then that they don't now? Downforce. I believe that's the difference between passing and not passing. The aero dependent car of today can't deal with "dirty air" coming off of other cars. If you gave back some additional means of mechanical downforce, I think that would go a long way to "spicing up" the show.


Anyone have an idea on whether the tech that flips the panel on the rear wing in DRS could also be used to flip a front panel to negate the dirty air issue? It would obviously not be as large, but some extra front downforce may negate the front wing becoming unsettled when directly behind another car.


This is a really complicated situation. I always go back to Hemingway's quote, "There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games."

Up until 1994, I believe that this was still very real - F1 was a tragic, deadly affair. There was no doubt that there was a level of insanity and recklessness and that knife edge between that extra 0.5s and certain death.

Were security protocols inadequate and downright neglectful back then? Yes. Would we want to go back to the days where you couldn't avoid the incessant replays of Gilles being ejected from his disintegrating Ferrari? No.

The reason we can't go back to ground effects is because it defied all common sense - I have read that in that era, the drivers would actually mash the pedal as they approached the corners - the downforce was that insane. Ground effect cars are danger personified, when the suction is suddenly taken away, the wall or grandstands are your next destination.

There was a naive nobility in confronting death every 2 weeks. The excitement was palpable, in no small part because, like bullfighting, you were inexplicably drawn to the insanity, the non-zero odds of witnessing disaster.

Thankfully, that era is behind us.

Just don't expect that kind of adrenaline as a spectator. You can't have it both ways.

F1 is headed inexorably toward extinction, turbos or not. Machines now routinely outperform man in the area of transportation. The idea that my grandkids will be thrilled by manually controlling a transport apparatus will be as quaint as horse racing is today. The obsession with antiquated technology in this forum (in the form of normally-aspirated gasoline engines) is mind-boggling. Pinnacle of motor sports, V8s, really? F1 is already playing catch-up with 10-year old hybrid tech. 10 years from now, I suspect that some derivative of Formula E will become F1, and the gasoline chapter will be closed. There will be umpteen driver aids, and the driver's role will be to find that extra 0.01s. And no driver will be risking their lives, with next-gen safety systems. All very PC, G-rated, sponsored today the hilt by family-friendly brands.... maybe my kids will love it, who knows?


Also, you say horse racing is quaint, yet today it's a billion dollar industry with a huge fan base (admittedly mostly for the gambling!) all throughout the world, with races around the world run every single day. Your grand kids will probably think that Grand Prix racing with its old school V8s would be something hugely exciting compared to the automated electric transport apparatus they see every day. F1 has never been relevant to Joe Public, if they wanted relevance they'd go watch touring cars and that's the appeal, just like a Ferrari is appealing to the masses. The Ferrrari is not relevant to them at all, but it sure does attract them to it.


I disagree wholeheartedly with this. I also know some other drivers would disagree with me on my next point but as a former racer myself, I had no compunction whatsoever about the fact I might not step out of the car alive. Like bull fighting, like most extreme sports, death is a possibility; if you didn't want that risk go play tennis or chess. F1 today is the equivalent of bullfighting using ponies instead of bulls. This is also why we see such lame drivers these days, not the real men we used to have. But since society currently is so obsessed about safety and keeping everyone alive for as long as possible I am not surprised. Sure I may come across as being naively noble about death as you so eloquently put it, but that's the difference between an every day driver taking a corner at slow speed to preserve their life the best way possible, versus a real racer who goes to within an inch of disaster to extract the most speed possible. That's racing; anything less is merely academic.


You need to remember the context: ground effects were a big step, but if you look at the lap times those cars are much slower in the corner than what we have now. Mashing the throttle in corners? That's just a figure of speech relative to even slower cars. The cars still needed brakes to be fast. The cars are much stronger now and the circuits greatly reduce the risk to both drivers and spectators now.


I also have been watching some races from that era recently, and objectively this period is completely overrated. Cars were so far apart performance-wise that the races were effectively over after the first couple of laps. Only on rare occasions a fight lasted longer than that.

There has been way more action on a consistent basis in the last couple of years than in the 80s/90s, just because cars have been much closer together in performance.


Short of active suspension, in one form or another, there really isn't much "mechanical downforce.” I think that what you see when you watch the cars from the 80s and 90s is actually less aero-dependence, coupled with more horsepower and older tracks. Really, cars that had outgrown the tracks of their day in some instances. The tracks were less technical back then in my opinion, and the consequences for getting it wrong were much more severe. Today's tracks are all about flow, putting corners, if not sections, together. If you mess up one corner you are hosed for the next section. Also, today's tracks have huge runoff areas, and even though they are very tight on how they regulate using those runoffs, I have to believe that changes how you drive the car... knowing you are not going to hit something. I'm all for driver and public safety, but part of racing is the danger. They've removed that to a major extent, too much in my opinion. I don't know why they did that. Really, I don't. The only thing I can come up with is that the teams have a major investment tied up in their cars and drivers, and they don't want to see their investment compromised. Not to mention that it is less easy today to just drop any good driver in any good car and have them succeed. Look at Vettel and Ricciardo. Who would have predicted the way their season has gone thus far?

Plus, it seems they used to be able "throw" a car into a corner and drive it out with throttle control more easily back then. Going back to aero and horsepower, you can't really do that now. The cars are so pitch and roll sensitive. The suspensions now are almost solid. The torque curve these days is really different and harder to manage. Then throw in the ERS...

Then you have the fact that drivers really aren't allowed to ever put themselves or any other driver in a precarious position, less they and/or the team be hit with a big penalty. You don't see the "dive bombs" you used to see. You don't see someone taking a curb at an odd angle to get past... then again, today's care are so fragile they would probably break if they hit a curb wrong. Raikkonen's car broke from a curb. Not a wall, a curb. And that failure was structural. It changed the behavior of the car to a degree that they couldn't tune it out. A curb...

... I guess you also have different drivers now, with different backgrounds. Compare the history and driving style of drivers like Senna and Prost to today's drivers. They had two completely different styles. Senna being attack, and Prost being smooth. But both were fast. The combination of cars and tracks allowed for different styles. Now, the cars are so similar that all the driving styles have to be similar by design... by regulation.

I guess I’m forgetting tire management, which rules everything today, and must go away.

Everything is just sooooo much removed from the 80's and 90's. But I guarantee that if you polled someone during that era they would make the same argument, "The cars are too fast. Too much dependence on aerodynamics," because they were not too much removed from cars with almost no aero.

To get back to your comment, I don't think we really want to see cars with huge tunnels, flexible skirts, etc. We don't want to see Andretti absolutely glued to the track, without having to lift... ever. That style of racing just is not conducive to competitive events in my opinion. Not to mention it is a recipe for disaster, which the networks believe we can no longer handle.

There has to be a happy median between the tracks, the cars, the drivers, the owners, and the fans. It is out there somewhere, maybe this committee will actually try to find that Shanri-La… but the cynic in me would not put bet a penny on it.


Interesting post.

One point on Raikkonen and the kerb. He took off and landed the base of the car on it. It was nothing to do with the wheels striking the kerb. It is nothing to do with car fragility. There are more aero pieces that break off, but in general, besides the safety structures that are always improving, the cars are about how they always were: light enough to win.


worth the read.


There definitely was NOT more overtaking in the 80's and 90's - apart from during pit stops. I remember very well how boring most races used to be. The majority were vastly inferior to todays races and nothing like this year's wonderful Bahrain race!

What HAS changed is two things in particular, you no longer get a sense of the acute danger drivers face or the unpredictability of events.

What really made F1 exciting/tense in the old days was the ever present risk of a serious crash and the fact that any race could quickly turn into a tragedy.

Like it or not, but that was what really kept you on the edge of your seat!

Of course, safety and reliability have necessarily improved and there can't be a return to that kind of racing. No kind of artificial 'spicing up' of the spectacle will ever turn the clock back!


So why we can't bring back a little bit of danger of making a mistake going wide of the track? I mean reabuilding zones of the track from asphalt to gravel? Cause now driver doesn't get much punishment from a mistake. And fire should come not from high number of overtakes, but from high number of batles - which comes when the grid is close and driver doesn't punishes himself (tyres) from pushing the rival. How to achieve latter it's clear, but on closing the grid? hmmm that is the conundrum of F1 Strategy group and teams, but of cause it's not a cosmetic thing, it is - essential thing of Race....like in all bussineses in old days where diferent, and in these days to do a bussines mean - to be in a high, harsh compettion - so I hope the same thing from batle on the track from begining till the end, from first rase to the last.


DRS and Pirelli has definitely increased the overtaking, I've no doubt about that, having been in F1 for 25 years.

I remember Spanish GPs in 1990s with maybe 4 overtakes the entire race. Now its over 10x that many even at a track like Barcelona.


There are more overtakes now but there were more quality overtakes in the 80s, 90s and even early 00s.


Frankly I still think that they all should have the same front and rear wings and the rest is up to the designer. Having lots of little winglets still looks to me very silly. Keep it simple.


So long as I give a damn, I will always be an outspoken critic of anything contrived (ie "sparks for the sake of sparks" - good grief), and have never liked the DRS accordingly. However, I would be an instant DRS convert if, for example, it was available for 100% of the circuit - whenever a driver gets within say 0.5sec. Overtakes would be up; driver skill/judgement and courage would be back on the table; disadvantage to an overtaken driver is minimised because he immediately has access to it himself.


Maybe no one puts the boring processions up on you tube!

Did you include Jarama '81 in your research? Not that it was boring mind.

We do need to remove the aerodynamics though. I would suggest something like the fuel flow meter, a downforce meter so teams could have whatever aero they liked they just couldn't have more than a set amount of downforce.


Except that it then wouldn't be the pinnacle of the motor sport anymore. Aerodynamic is here to stay, if you want to be the fastest racing series in the world, you have to have fancy aerodynamic.

The problem I see is the desperate attempts of the FIA to slow those cars down by enforcing spec rules. But that just isn't what F1 is about. I don't think we can go truly unlimited, but the fascination from the F1 of the past was all those new inventions to make the car faster and now everyone is just worried about the spectacle and what it costs the teams to compete.


Exactly good points


Interesting comments.

Unfortunately, you cannot un-invent technology such as the complexity of the front wing and floor on a modern day F1 car (which can generate 60% of the downforce if you get it right - probably where Red Bull and Mercedes advantages lie in terms of generating grip).

However, there has been talk of F1 going back a mild ground effects system, where venturis and sliding skirts could generate underbody downforce where the car is not so incumbent on the front wing, so would be less affected by turbulence in traffic.


Of course you can un-invent technology. They do it every year by making something illegal. F-duct, blown exhaust, etc.


Exactly. Part of aero was active suspension which was banned (because of fears of suddenly loosing downforce, which has always happened). If they wanted to uninvent aero and have good looks, back to the 80's noses and wings.


Yes, but those clever people in F1 create something new to maximise performance!

Perhaps I should have phrased if you can't unwind progress..........

And when you think of it, even something apparently brand new has elements of past technology in it - the turbo engine for example!


What made the sport spectacular for me in the late 90's was how narrow the tracks were, which gave a real sense of speed. On top of that, if a car ran wide they were immediately greeted by a gravel travel. As a result, it was easy to see the margin's these guys competed against..Remember the Schumacher-Mika battle at Austria 98? Absolute epic. Only tracks like Monaco, where there are walls in close proximity, generate that type of awe once more.

I ask this ask a fan: PLEASE find a solution to gravel traps that AREN'T excess run off areas! The tracks are wide enough as it is, don't ruin them even more with run off. Even if it's just a thin layer of gravel to slow them down and get their tyres dirty..that'd be enough. F1 is not a show, it's a SPORT. We want to these guys fighting tooth and nail to find every tenth of a second, watching them get closer to the edge of the track and at times just inches away from the gravel.

Also, they really do need to sort out modern track design. The mickey mouse nature of some of these tracks is frustrating...Hairpin-Straight-Hairpin-fast section-slow section....there is just no natural flow. Spa, old imola, Suzuka, Monza...fantastic tracks designed for real racing.

Sorry for the rant 🙂


Totally agree; flat curbs and runoff areas in the modern era that do not punish mistakes are a turn off.

Part of the attrition in previous era in previous Grand Prix was down the the driver's inability to keep their car on the track.


I'm looking forward to Austria...very narrow track and lots of gravel...hopefully they haven't ruined it!


Actually Anil, you've said this same point before last time we had a debate on the show. I have to agree. You don't have to go that far, I happened to watch the 2005 San-Marino GP qualifying in Imola again a few hours ago. The sense of speed was just breath taking. Especially from the standing cameras. Moving cameras and wide circuits ruin the sense of speed. Camera shots that are up high pointing straight at long straights are boring. Much like a shot of a Cricket pitch... makes the straight look smaller and the cars very slow!!!!


Finally, someone gets it. When you look back at the footage from 20-30 years ago the one thing that made it great were the camera angles; you had cars in full shot. I rarely watch a GP these days in full because I am sick of seeing my screen filled most of the time with tarmac, concrete and grass with a tiny speck of an F1 car negotiating some discernible expanse of dark surface. I can't believe no one notices this; forget sparks, most of the coverage on track is shot with long angles and this dramatically takes away the sensation of speed. Tilke circuits only exacerbate the problem due to the vast expanses of said surfaces.


The sense of speed at Imola was something else...the track was so narrow it made the cars look like rocket ships 🙂


I hope I am wrong, but I doubt that the teams will agree to any improvements to the show. The mutual distrust they have for one another, coupled with a fear of losing or giving away a performance advantage will prevent them reaching any sort of accord.


Don't worry.

Once the ratings for the year come out and show a further drop in viewers, even with formula change and double points race (which is likely to mean nothing this year), they will be open to all kinds of changes.

We may even go back to 2 engine types allowed on the grid.


The decline I bet is more to do with pay per veiw that's Bernie is flogging all round europe.



they will be open to all kinds of changes...

You reckon? Tell me one time when the teams all agreed to something because it was for the good of the sport, even if it meant a personal sacrifice for some teams and handing a benefit to the others. I can't think of an instance. All I can think of are situations like Indy, when the teams even agreed to race and not keep their points and still Ferrari would not agree to a chicane being put in place. Or the steadfast refusal of the top teams to accept a budget cap etc.


What, F1 teams are always trying under-handed and conniving ways to destabilise a rival? Put them off their food (or fuel) so to speak? Try to psychologically put one over each other to enhance their own performances?

We'll I'll be damned!


Yes, it's true! I am sorry that I was the one who broke this news to you - if only I could have warned you first, at least you could have found a chair to sit on in case your knees should give way 😉


Do you think teams get their dog eat dog mentality from a certain Mr E?????


Ironically, increasing the sound and creating sparks means that energy – no matter how little – would simply be diverted to produce ‘fireworks’ rather than being harvested to augment propulsion.

Are fans and sponsors unable to appreciate and enjoy the merits of the new formula without ‘bling’?


Bernie hasn't been interested in fans since they made him take the one off the back of his Brabham.


Btw...sound is not bling.

Let's say Mick dies and Stones hire Britney to front the band. This is what essentially has taken place in F1. Sure Britney is a newer model. But she ain't Mick.


Bad analogy . . .

Mick = purposeful growl -> new V6-Turbos

Britney = high-pitched whine -> old V8’s

Seeing’s we’re walking down memory lane . . .

How about –

Tiny Tim dies and Jagger forms a tribute band.


Yeah, but at least Britney doesn't have dinner with Nick Clegg!

And at least Britney has "experimented" with different hairstyles over the years, where as Mick has had the same centre parted bouffant mullet for over 40 odd years, so he's a rebel but in a very neat, tidy, centred parted bouffant sort of way!

Mind you, have you seen Stefan Johannson's barnet from his 80s heyday? Ughh!


How far are F1 cars from that James Bond Lotus?Transforming wings, ERS, Sparks...

We're not far from smoke screen and oil slicks. I just remembered I have a lunch appointment with Spy Hunter at the Arcade.


I am little disappointed myself to see that many people cannot see beyond the "bling" as you nicely label it.

If I was in a team working hard to squeeze every last bit of performance out of the car to end up in front of the other guys trying to do the same and then somebody comes in and asks us to make some sparks to "make it look better" it would be, I don't know... insulting, maybe.

Look at what the great engineers, drivers, and strategist have made this year: with all aero trimming, harder tires, and 33% less fuel they made a car that is already almost as fast as last year (and by the end of the season I would expect it to be as fast and then even faster) - IT IS AMAZING!!! THAT is what we need from F1. Forget the sparks.


The point is, they already LOSE that energy from when the car bottoms out - but it is hitting wood and wearing it away over the course of the race, rather than generating sparks. Simply changing the wooden plate for a metal plate would lose about the same amount of energy, and restore the pyrotechnics that used to be generated.



Look at what the great engineers, drivers, and strategist have made this year...


The FIA should be 'trumpeting' this fantastic achievement from the highest rooftops. Instead we get nothing from them and a load of negativity from those with an agenda such as Ferrari and RBR.


A very, very good point and it goes back to the issue about F1 being so good at kicking itself. What the teams have done with the new technology has been nothing short of amazing; that story needs to be told.

However, I do sympathise with some of the unfortunate side-effects of the teams' brilliance. Sometimes I wonder whether we should restrict car-to-pit radios and information during the race; it might encourage the drivers to show more independence in their racing. They may have an idea that the tyres will last 'x' laps, but without the 'real time' updates maybe some will think "you know what?! I'm going to just increase my speed, race hard and overtake this guy and see what happens!" While others might take an Alain Prost approach and leave a lot in reserve early on to attack big time at the end.

Regarding things like engine noise and, in particular, the sparks issue, I think the best way to make the racing look fast is to make it faster! Not necessarily back to 2004 levels, but a bit faster than currently so that there is a greater step up from GP2. That said, if most of that speed comes from aero then we might have more problems with overtaking. In that context, I can see why things that create a facade of speed are attractive, though personally I wouldn't like to see too many of these - particularly not the sparks. When James ran his 'perfect qualifying lap' pieces a few months back, I don't recall too many people nominating a lap "because of all the sparks that were thrown up".


Fully agree!


I remember Jenson asking for bigger rear tires like the 80s for more mechanical grip. That would help, wouldn't it? They have reduced aero this year, so we should bring back more mechanical grip.


Fingers crossed they can do something soon. One good race out of four does not an exciting formula make.

I think I went a bit Yoda there....


I agree the F1 circus needs more excitement on the track, but it is early days into a new formula, so lets not be too hasty.......but yes, recalibrating the sound from the mixing desk/soundboard would be a good start sonically wise.

In the short term during this European/Canadian season, lets all pray for rain. A warm muggy day and a few droplets of the wet stuff, add in 22 odd F1 cars with torquey engines.....and just wait for the fireworks!

Anyone remember Europe 2000, Germany 2000, Hungary 2006, Germany 2007, Monaco 2008, Britain 2008, Belgium 2008, Italy 2008, Canada 2011.............all rain affected classics from the summer Euro/Canada season. If you want a great event, just add water!

However, you can still get classic races on a bone dry during the Euro/Canada season - its incumbent on Pirelli really to provide tyres that wear out quickly, to make the racing "interesting."

Also, going to classic circuits which provide great racing such as Montreal, Austria (welcome back - don't mention 2002 though), Silverstone, Hungaroring (yes really - it has had its fair share of great races over the years), Spa and Monza helps when F1 is dominated by these dreary Tilke-dromes (including the new layout Hockenhiem unfortunately). Classic tracks or rain (or both?) = great racing.

Here's to an exciting summer season of F1.


Sprinklers? 🙂


Not a bad idea Sebee, but its too bonkers for the FIA. I mean, they would never introduce something as insane as double points at the last race, would they??????????


"Sound, speed and spectacle are just as important to F1 as dollars, new markets and new media." So true...


Bring back refuelling during the race. It'll create drama and open up strategies. Having two tyre manufactures would also help. The more variables the better.


More? Don't we already have too many?


Yes! Agree!


Hell no! Refuelling made it worse as it reduced the variable of the car changing through the race, it was pretty much in qualy spec the whole time.


I'm leary of this becoming WWF1. Let us not forget that we have more players that want to join the sport with the current rules(HAAS, HONDA and COSWORTH) as opposed to last years. So selling f1 being more difficult is a moot point.

I believe that rules are broken down in to 2 parts. 1 Saftey (rule changes that slow cars down purposely or pure safety change like this years noses. 2 Cost cutting. This 2nd section of rules has been introduced purely in the absence of cooporation. Sounds like someis trying to hijack the counter rule argument could because they are anti-cappers.


I agree. All this "cosmetic surgery" nonsense sounds like it dropped out the backside of a cow.

When I was younger I quickly learned that you can't recreate a "good night out". I'm sure we've all been in the same situation; a spontaneous night out turns out awesomely great... enjoyed by all. The next morning you're all like "we should do this again next week"... you're sure you've figured out the recipe that made the original night good and you naively go about artificially putting in place all the ingredients you think you need to recreate it - and what do you end up with? An evening that is average at best - a huge disappointment compared to what you were expecting.

This is exactly the mentality that the FIA had when they saw an amazing race (Canada 2010) amongst a bunch of mediocre ones... they tried to artificially recreate their awesome night on the tiles by drafting in a tyre supplier who were willing to degrade their brand trying to achieve the impossible.

Now they are trying to artificially increase the engine noise and make sparks fly out the back of the cars and they're just going to end up with more and more disappointment.

You want to get back to the glory days; give us back our skinny front wings and fat rear wings, get rid of the daft nose regulations, give us some tyres that drivers can make use of, increase the use of gravel traps and bring back refuelling.

The engine noise is something you can't go back on now - they're already too deep into the new formula for that - but everything I listed above can be arranged at the press of a button.


Speaking of tires - why not be "road relevant" here, too?

Make 5 sets of tires last the whole season!

"Real" cars run on the same tires for years.


Don't go putting ideas into their heads!



Mark my words, this will lead to further watering down, shorter races, more gimmicks like double points finales etc.

F1 is more "spectacular" now than it was in the late 90s and early 00s. Stop watering the thing down with the intention of making it more exciting and you would be half way there.


agreed, absolutely, this is the natural progression. Sad.


This makes me embarrassed to be a motorsport fan. I attended my first race meeting in 1976. I have slowly seen the proliferation of fixes designed to improve the 'show' throughout the sport I love.

Hence, most open wheel formulae are one make series, as are most touring car championships. In Australia, our V8 Supercar series trades on a great heritage of diversity and competition, but presents different 'makes' that are basically the same car under the skin.

The once awesome Indycar/CART championship has no incentive for creative design; the cars are the same, so all the entrants have more of a chance, and no one gets offended, and no sponsors get scared off. Some sports employ a salary cap, and trumpet how wonderful it is that more teams have an even chance to win a competition. I liked it when it was harder to beat the great sides.

I don't need fake sparks. If it's inherent to the car's design that they end up sounding a certain way, that's how they sound. And, I don't care if most of the sponsors and fans are scared off, because people in motorsport will always come up with a way to go racing, and the people who really love it will always love it.

If it's not a global monolith, I don't care. Other than oil and fuel and tyre suppliers, sponsorship was considered kind of gauche, even in F1 until, the late sixties. How can anyone with a conscience who loves our sport abide by changing rules to make the cars sound 'sexier', or create sparks.

If potential sponsors don't like the sound when they come in the garage, they should fuck off and spend their money on something else they don't understand. It's motor racing. We need to focus on what made it great. Give them a set of rules, make them build a safe car, put it through scrutineering, race it. Some races will be awesome, some will be boring.

Attracting people who aren't ever going to be real fans only benefits shareholders in the sponsors and TV networks. The essential elements are the cars and the teams that present and race them, the circuits and the drivers. We have excellent people preparing great cars in categories that don't have enough variation within the rules, being raced on some great circuits by some great drivers, and some Pastor Maldonados.

For me, changing the exhaust note or creating sparks to attract a bunch of non fans is the tipping point, and the best example of how the top series in racing has lost it's way, the way much of the sport is losing it's way.


Agreed, absolutely. As a sidebar, you mention the 'V8 Supercars of Australia'. I started going to the 1000km enduro at Bathurst's Mt Panorama in early 80's .. most exciting day's motorsport you'll ever see…. multiple manufacturers, multiple engine configurations, all on the same track… thrilling stuff. All watered down to one car - either blue (for Ford) or red (for GM). Yawn yawn yawn.

Maybe sanitisation kills all of theses sports. Maybe it's unavoidable once some low-life decides there's money to be made.


Imagine an F1 car doing a lap of Bathurst!!!


put jenson button and Bathurst into youTube. In 2011 Jenson took a 2008 car around and then a V8 as part of a Vodafone funded event. Slower than I expected, but it was a promo day.


When JB swapped cars with Lowndsey a few years back I dreamed about a race at Bathurst As Im sure both drivers did for a bit !


Mate, there are plenty of "real" fans who are very disappointed with the current formula. F1 costs billions, but runs just 19 events over 12 months and has only 22 participants; and some people earn a fortune out of it. But if it stops making grown men say 'wow' it can't justify the money spent. "Wow" is a simple combination of technology, driver and spectacle. It's up to the organisers to get it right, not blame the spectators that stump up the money.


Both very valid points gentlemen.

I guess eventually F1 will change again, as it always does. Once again some of us will like it and some of us won't.

Maybe there is an age bracket where F1 is most interesting to you, and it becomes your definition of what F1 should be. A lot like music...whatever was on the radio when you discovered the opposite sex is the music we like the most.

What is strange is that many of us, myself included, get emotionally involved in something that is basically akin to a TV show.


Now Sebee is philosophical for a change and I agree

Being an F1 fan is like the old joke about fishing:

Heaven is place where you go fishing and you catch fish every time. In real life, you go out and only once in a while you have a good catch

F1 in heaven might have close racing every time, in real life we keep following, and only once in a while there is good, close racing

I still enjoy F1 even if has never delivered consistent close racing, some changes I like, some I don't, but I keep watching, just in case

If ROS brings the fight to HAM, and RIC to VET, who cares about sparks and noise, if it is a follow the leader race, sparks and noise won't make it better either


I think it's been better than ever the last few years, and especially this year where you can see the cars sliding even more. Yes there's the noise issue; I don't mind the new noise but it's not the unique scream we had, but maybe that's something we have to accept.

But on the plus side, we have the lightning fast pit stops, which certainly are spectacular, proper slick tyres (I always hated the way grooved tyres made them look more like road cars), and I know many don't but I like being able to see the DRS flap open and snap shut - it makes it more visible from outside what the driver is doing. And droopy noses aside, the cars are all beautifully sculptured things.

Re: overtaking, sometimes those older races do seem like it was easier for one car to pass another, but it tended to be a simple pass. What we see a lot of now is drivers fighting back with battles going on for corner after corner (I don't know how anyone who watched Bahrain could think there's anything wrong with the racing in F1). That for me is much more exciting, and is in a large part down to the run off areas. Would it really be better to have a driver be out of the race every time he tried a move that didn't come off?

Sparks might be cool to see again. The noise could be louder, or certainly they could do a better job of capturing it for the TV. But don't mess with anything else.


+1 to everything you said.



Form follows function IMO, and the sound of the car is what it is. This will be a nightmare for the FIA to administer now as each team will be accusing the other of power/speed gains after the aural cosmetics are in place.


Manufacturing sparks is laughable and surely a waste of energy. I don't see how this would qualify as the "pinnacle of technology".

I agree with Jim:) about the Qualifying tyres. To qualify well is a particular skill in itself, so I say bring back the Quali-specific tyres and allow setup changes before the race. Surely this would add to the spectacle, it certainly did in the past.


contrivances will result from this corporate-jury rigging.

The reason why F1 has become less spectacular has more to do with the evolution into a truly corporate sandbox, where the corporate entities compete in their 'reality show', across all aspects of the corporate arenas.

One of the defining characteristics of corporations is their risk aversion; the way they deal with this is to insist upon all of the mitigations (read: entrenched advantages for them), rather thatn getting out there and throwing the balls against the walls to win!

Look at the current season status: Mercedes, realizing that they have to put in, BIG TIME, to actually overcome the drag of their risk averse decision making processes (in a sport where quick, intuitive decision-making has been the key differentiator, traditionally), have spent massive amounts and (as the corporations are quite good at) planned a long, long way in advance (there has been so much talk in the media of how their plan came into place in 2008!!!).

So there is no way around this dilemma: corporations took over this sport because the advantages to having deep, deep pockets was overcome with hybrid organizations like Ferrari, and then, Red Bull (though both associated with huge corporate entities).

The Red Bull model, a hybrid, using the powerful financial support around a key 'outlier' in terms of design capability, has finally been overcome by the gross 'carpet-bombing' approach of the corporate entity, the Mercedes fully corporate model now reigns supreme.

There is no going back, but additional contrivances will only make the resulting 'spectacle' seem more hollow to people, while seeming completely appropriate to the corporate entities.

Enjoy what we have now. (it ain't getting better)


I've been watching f1 since the seventies and I clearly remember people complaining about the lack of overtaking back in those days.

There were spectacular races, but there were lots of processional, lights to flag victories, with no pit stops at all.

I am not saying I dont want to see spectacular races, but there are a lot of rose tinted spectacle wearers who would have you believe that F1 in the eighties produced spectacular races every time, and it simply wasn't the case.

Can you imagine if Dijon 1979 happened today - they would both be marched off to the stewards and given grid drops for the next race.


Don't forget that back in the 70's and 80's everyone was running 'control' engines in the Ford DFV (except those red cars) so you would have expected close racing - sort of like Super Formula Ford.


well said, I remember many processional races in the 80's, luckily the cars were far more spectacular to watch.


BTW - I wasn't just referring to the seventies, but mainly the eighties and nineties.

F1 has become too clinical, and while I all for safety, if anyone does anything that results in a touching of wheels, or worse still an accident, the social media erupts into criticism and the driver concerned is usually penalised.

No one had to be told how much space to leave for another driver, and if there was an accident, political correctness didn't dictate the outcome - I know this will no doubt be frowned upon, but wouldnt it have been nice to see Guttierez chinning Maldanado, ala Piquet Salazar


Ha ha! 1982 German GP I do believe with regards to Lord Nelson and Mr Salazar. Perhaps they went to the same Bruce Lee tribute act the night before the race eh?


been a fan since the 70's, will always be a fan. problem is you're not going to attract a new fan without noise, danger and spectacle. what made the movie "Rush" and the movie "Grand Prix" so popular was the noise, the crashes, the danger. even in today's politically correct world of hybrid cars and electric cars we may drive to work when they watch racing the average fan or new fan wants to see something so different it makes him wet his pants with excitment and fear.


RE Leslie D'Amico: Do you remember the 1975 British GP, or more specifically what happened towards the end of the race when the big fella in the sky doused the track??? Crash, bang, wallop, spin, spin, spin!

Or the 1973 British GP when a certain South African tried to take Woodcote flat out and wiped out half the field????!!!

Ah, the original Silverstone...........chaos!


YES! my point exactly! the reason NASCAR is so popular in the states is everyone wants to see the "big one" at the end of the race... most fans of any type of racing have little to no interest in the technology of the cars or skill of the drivers.


I forget to mention the opening minutes of Nuburgring 2007...........spin, spin, spin, crash, crash, crash.........


Formula is in the middle of a golden era. Starting with the 2005 season and then Hamilton coming on the seen. 2008 was the closest the grid has been it terms of lap times. 2009 was good and the last few years where amazing.

All these changes are just for the shareholders, so they can see strategies are in place to make more money.

Nothing needs to change and don't shorten the races so that you can fit in more adverts and thus make more money.

We are in danger of having driver lapping tracks with advertising on their visors.

F1 in 30 years won't be pretty.


2005-2009 (well 2008) was the end of F1's golden era, not the beginning, as far as I'm concerned.


It's very subjective. My personal view is F1 has never hit the heights of 1986 - 1994 in terms of spectacle and excitment.


Well I didn't start watching until the tail end of 1994 so I can't really comment.

For me 1995-2008 were golden years, with just a couple of dull seasons throughout the period. 2009 was mediocre at best. 2010 was one of the best seasons I can recall. Best not comment on what's been happening since then! 🙂


Hey, thanks for that. 2007 and 2008 ware fun years indeed..

Here is the thing, before we make a sharp left on Green Blvd. for 2014, what would F1 look like had all the teams been developing their V8 cars for 2014?


http://www.lewishamilton.com on his helmet, the advertising is already here


they already have advertising on their visors


Yeah but I was referring to the film "Taladega Night" when he had the advertising all over the front window screen.


Just my way of saying that the American model of safety cars and TV adds isn't made for Europe. So don't bring it in here please.


Let's not forget how many exciting races have been spoiled by stewards giving penalties for aggressive overtaking. It's the rule changes that have spoiled to sport more than technology.


The stewards, just few years back!

How could we ever forget?!


Yes exactly.

Coming down the main straight fighting for the lead! and the driver in first makes his one FIA allowed defensive move to the inside and then continues in a perfectly straight line as to not annoy the stewards. The man in 2nd opens his DRS slot and drives along the outside and pulls in front. The man previously in first does not attempt to outbrake because any wheel on wheel contact after the first lap is banned.

Won't be long before drivers are also penalized for extra moves off the start or contact made in the first corner so even that excitement will be stripped away.

The saddest part is hearing great drivers whine over the radio to their daddy Charlie begging for a penalty for another driver because they bumped tires or got held up.


Not many. That's how many. The penalty Grosjean got in Hungary last year was unbelievable, but other than that, the Stewards have been a bit more restrained the last couple of years, and from outside at least, it appears the "driver steward" has made a difference.

I imagine they could have given both Rosberg and Hamilton penalties for the racing in Bahrain, had they really wanted to.


What about the penalties given for overtaking a car that has just overtaken you on a corner that were being dished out like candy a while back, can't remember off hand who were the victims but there were a few.


Put the fast cars at the back of the grid.


Too much like World of Outlaws dirt cars!

Sorry, not "classy" enough for F1.


I have to say the sport has gotten visibly less exciting when refuelling was banned. I've been watching F1 since 94/95.

I just hate knowing the fact that the drivers are not pushing close to the maximum on every single lap with the current regulations. Racing is not really racing to me if someone's not giving 100% all the time.

Tyre strategy is also not really strategy in the same way deciding how much fuel to put in the car for each stint. I remember James' calculations on ITV of how long the fuel rig was on and how many laps the stint would roughly be. That was strategy. The only problems were the challenges drivers had to overtake on the track, which DRS and KERS should now obviate.

They could still bring back refuelling with the 100Kg/race limit and just say teams can use the fuel however they like.


The only motorsport where they don't "manage" something and just go flat out from lights to flag takes about 5 seconds per quarter mile "lap" and attains speeds up around 300 mph.

And its pretty spectacular, especially at night.


And they crank out about 4000 hp which you'll never see at the 'pinnacle of motorsport'.

And the sound is just...


Spot on.

My only complaint is they won't run unless it's bone dry!


Scary enough as is, I think!


For me, the sport became visibly less exciting when refuelling was introduced (that was about 94/95), because suddenly overtaking in the pits via strategy became a lot easier than doing it on the track, something that Schumacher and Ross Brawn were especially good at. The sport's been much improved since it's gone again.

The drivers were never pushing close to the maximum on every single lap. They've always had to manage tyres, and fuel, and sometimes engines and gearboxes. That's just part of motor racing.


Agree refueling was terrible took battles of the track. think the introduction in 94 was a reaction to cart/indy wich was getting bigger and more popular. Before that sport imploded.


Leave it alone, stop meddling. Let them race. That's my change.

No wait, hang on, I want three car teams for the big teams, one pit box and no pit to driver radio. Ban boring PR speak as well and don't be too trigger happy with driver penalties. Oh and let the dev race continue as evryone is still between prototype and beta stage, so others can catch Merc. Argggh, that's not leaving it alone though is it...


If they'd just ban the boring PR-Speak (lying)that'd be awesome!


easy, slash Aero so the cars can follow each other closely and overtake in a non DRS zone! do away with DRS!

skinny front tyres and fat rear tyres so they can powerslide!

ban engine maps so there's only 1 power curve via gear ratios wil also aid the point above re: powersliding.

ban wooden plank so the cars spark again. back to the old 10,6,4,3,2,1 pts system and all races of same value (tho 10,8,6,4,3,2,1 was ok as well)

1 hour Qualifying sessions


I'd like to see an F1 team being able to run a car and their F1 drivers in Le Mans and Indianapolis as an optional race where if they finish in the top ten they get the points as if it was an F1 race. That would show a drivers and teams real flexibility/skill.

If you want excitement, ban all wings. Also I miss the era of multiple tire vendors and different engine sizes (i.e. 1.5 liter turbos or 3.0 Liter flat 12 Ferraris.


Its become a spec series. Everybody is afraid to go out on a design limb because they might lose.

Nobody designs to win, just not to lose.


all racing cars should have more power than grip!


Agreed and that's what they have right now.


what they have right now is the opposite.....


this year is better yes but it should go further still. once the work out the Engine mapping etc they won't be spinning the wheels & it'll be like last year


how do you work that one out? They have enough torque to spin the wheels in 4th (in the wet).

Last season I would agree with you, but not this season!


Get rid of the 100kg/hr fuel limit. Can you imagine what BHP they would run in qually?

This would also eliminate the need for DRS as you'd have much more max power to use when needed

Unlimited energy recovery.. lets see who can really make some strides here, why is this limited? Isn't the point in be more efficient?


This is the same group thats allegedly looking at shorter races and standing starts after a safety car if other articles are correct. Adding "sparks" will not make races more interesting though so if its just to make what we have seem more spectacular then the camera angles currently used don't show the speed/braking capabilities of the cars well at all, or the noise of the engines, which sounds much better live than actually comes across on TV - they could do a much better job all round for getting across the ferocity of the F1 cars on the TV.

Instead of these cosmetic changes the teams/FIA could try to improve the sport for fans. Accessibility for fans to F1 is incredibly low, how is the sport supposed to attract new fans? The in-season tests would be a great way of allowing people to see how spectacular F1 is that may not usually go to a Grand Prix (especially for families as it is so expensive). An effort to promote the tests (maybe allow pit-lane access after testing?) at affordable prices could make it more accessible but unfortunately the in-season tests appear to be private.


Spot on for building the fan base. That's why an Indy Car ticket is such a bargain. A Paddock pass is affordable, there is a chance to get some autographs and photos, watch the mechanics work and even after the day is done, talk to drivers who are standing around.

The lack of fan access and cost will ultimately be the killer again in the USA, not interest in F1.


Want a better spectacle then get rid of the tires that shed all of that clag. Look at China, there was a single line you could drive around the track. Also scale back on all of hte aero pieces, the cars are too efficient in the downforce department and can't get enough when they are in the draft.


To make it as exciting as 30 years ago without reducing safety I think a fair bit of the excitement would have to be artificial. Many won't like that.

As Anil pointed out, narrower tracks are more spectacular. Apart from simply seeming safer, wide tracks rob TV viewers of reference points for the cars' speed. Simply painting lines across fast sections might help. Or maybe scatter a few giant polystyrene blocks on the straights?!

More kerb- and wall-mounted cameras might help too.

Finally, TV really hides the g-forces on the cars. Is there any way to make them visible?


I wish F1 would try and be stable for two or three years. It seemed we had that in the mid 2000s but since then there seems to have been major changes every season. Yes, we want F1 to be good to watch but it feels like there's so many knee-jerk decisions being made in the sport, things aren't given a chance to even settle down before people start complaining.


I agree. No more changes.


My opinion; this (the current state of F1), is what happens when engineers run the show. I know, because I am one. Engineers are great with solutions. My car is too fast so you are reducing my diffuser, fine, I’ll use the exhaust. Ok, so now you’ve limited how I use my exhaust. Fine, I’ll change how I use the exhaust I can still play with. You’re taking that away, ok, how about I try this next, and you will regulate that out too.

My point is that engineers solve problems, that is their job for the most part. And when you also have engineers managing the regulations, you have the regulator-engineers solving their problems and you have problems being introduced to address other problems and so on and so on… IT IS ALL REACTIONARRY and you end up with F1 Rulebook v2014.

I’m ecstatic to see that F1 is putting together a committee to look at the bigger picture, but I really truly hope the panel is made of engineers, business types, analysts, mechanics and technicians, and teams, and that they all cooperate and compromise to develop a package that will useful for years to come, provide significant and powerful, reasonable regulation which also has enough room for ingenuity and development. Also, whatever they come up with must have a well thought out revision plan because even if they come up with an amazing agreement it will be totally bastardized within a year or two if they don’t have an agreement on how and when revisions will happen. The agreement must also include a procedure for openly investigating unexpected developments which hurt the sport. There needs to be defined triggers that say when an investigation can occur, a set maximum reasonable time for the investigation, a plan for reporting, feedback, and implementation. This all needs to be transparent or no one will believe any of it and we will all continue believing favoritism is the name of the game in F1.

Above all, the committee will have to put their egos aside, and I doubt that will ever happen.


Sparks look great, but I can't help but think it's not what the focus should be, especially if they were to add them artificially.

Rather like finding that the pasta dish you'd ordered in a restaurant tasted awful, so asking them to garnish it with some cress to increase the appeal - it's not really going to make a difference.

I love the theory that the engine fire-up just overwhelms sponsors - I can imagine that's how many deals were sealed in the V12 & V10 era. Shame there isn't still that 'shock & awe', but progress is progress I suppose.


If they're going to add sparks (a really stupid idea) why not go all the way and install spark makers imbedded in the track rather than on the car? They could add smoke generators and explosives too timed to go off when the car passes by.

F-1 will continue to become less and less appealing unless and until they stop telling the big lie. Listen to any of the movers and shakers. They all say something like, "Formula one HAS GOT TO BE GREAN". Do they really think that mandating KERS makes the sport somehow OK? It's a HUGE waste of energy but the fuel used on the track is only a tiny percentage of the overall expenditure. Reduce the fly-away overhead, not the on-track fuel burn. It's a SPORT for goodness sake, not an exercise in tree hugging.

Simplify and reduce the aero (especially the over complicated front wings), put on bigger tires, and reduce engine design restrictions and development limitations. And, finally, forget about being green. It makes about as much sense as wishing for kinder/gentler cage fighting.


One rule change I would love to see made that I feel would benefit F1 as a spectacle, is to remove the stupid rule of investigating every bump, bang and small racing accident that happens on track.

F1 fans want to watch the cars race each other; we want to see then challenge wheel to wheel and take the breath stopping risk to get ahead of the car in front. Under the current rules any little incident gets investigated by the stewards and the drivers stand a chance of losing any points earned or even grid positions, this makes driver less likely to take a risk and challenge.

It is car racing; let them race each other, only the outright crazy moves should go to the stewards for investigation.


after Bahrain I cannot really agree with F1 missing 'show' at the moment. We have brilliantly exciting racing right now and everybody who remembers lots of overtaking and excitement from the 80s/90s has only seen highlight reels and no complete races.

The one thing they should really get rid off are all these silly inter-race rules like limited testing, fixed gear ratios, fixed engine designs,

And especially forcing teams to use compounds in a race that are obviously inferior to the optimum is against all common sense to get a car around a track as fast as possible.

Some of these are meant to reduce costs, but if you have to do all your testing in just 3 days instead of 3 weeks, the actual advantage for the teams with more resources become even bigger. And I am not sure if using high end computer simulators is actually cheaper than just go on a track and do some testing.


Give the last 8 in quali an extra 100hp and delimit their fuel.


looking back at the earlier races 80/90s they were not really any more exciting however the commentary gave that impression because to be frank and naming no names they didn't really know what was going on. nowadays everything is micro analysed second by second and it sort of kills it .

After the race the BBC and SKY just wander round bumping into people. This is where I want some information not just bland generic questions and answers.

This is all part of the show which is getting less worth watching.

Sparks from under the car may make children pay attention for a few minutes though.


We could start with getting rid of Bernie. While I appreciate what he has done for the sport over the years but he is out of touch and is not doing his job properly (how can the CEO of a company be aloud to get away with strongly criticizing it's primary product the way he has). When he has gone it would be great if someone else could come in that has the best interest of the sport in his mind and not just about trying to increase the profit margins for the shareholders. It would be good if the promotional group actually started to promote the sport as well instead of the wall of silence they currently have and constantly fiddling with the rules.The sport is doing a lot of things right at the moment, so lets hear about it. Start shouting it louder instead of criticizing it!

A more even distribution of funds amongst the teams would help bring the whole field closer together and not hiding the sport behind a paywall or if you insist on having it behind a paywall make it more affordable (I refuse to pay £30 + pm for one channel.

The noise used to be spectacular but it was so loud that my ears hurt without ear plugs and that is not preferable. I am indifferent to be honest, I like the sound of the new engines but I was also blown away by the sound of the old ones.... I am also indifferent to sparks.

I think what Perelli are doing with the tyres is the right idea but they have not quite got it perfect yet. Hopefully this years in season testing means that they will be closer to getting it spot on next year!

These engines they have this year are fantastic pieces of technology and there needs to be more done to promote it, with more visible information being displayed to the viewers which helps tell the story of what the drivers are doing but I think that is more to do with TV companies having not found an effective way to display this information.


I was the one screaming for active suspensions on this site for the past 2 years. Looks like somebody is listening! Lets see..

And James, the teams are trying to increase the noise level as early as this season I heard by tweaking the tailpipes. Do you have any info on how they are gonna do that?? The Lotus sounded suspiciously louder in Shanghai. David Croft seems to think the positioning of the pipe was the factor.


They are discussing it at the moment


Unfortunately, this is just a ruse by the strategy group to take attention away from the proposals for a cost cap.

The idea that active suspension would add to the "show" is ludicrous.

When will the masters of this series finally understand that a cost cap is both good for competition and good for the spectators.

Whilst the people steering the sport are the ones who are the most successful and this success is borne out of having the largest budgets there will be no cost cap.

The suggestion by some team bosses that cost savings can be made through other methods is just naive. In F1 the money always gets spent.

James not Allen

My two cents:

1. Aero regs that don't penalise a driver for taking a corner sideways (tyre construction could also be looked into here).

2. I am going to get crucified for this (too soon after Easter?), but perhaps a return of manual gearboxes? The rational for this are multiple, but it would tone down some of the engineered reliability of the car and introduce an element of potential driver error that has not been present in the sport for years.


Why are we in awe of Usain Bolt? He is the fastest human being ever! As technology advances then speed must increase. Most F1 lap records were set a decade ago (please tell me if i'm wrong) which means that while the sport is the pinnacle, the speed is massively constrained by the regulations. F1 is only 5s a lap quicker than GP2, but on 20x the budget. whether we can see it or not, we need to know the machines are the fastst ever to stay REALLY interested. each year has to be more and more. we need to know that an F1 car would beat any other form of motorsport by a mmassive margin. so lets bring back big wide tyres, more BHP, more aero (side skirts?), etc etc.

oh, and while the armchair viewer might not care, hearing an f1 V8/V10/V12 at full chat is something you will never forget.....and thats why i'm not planning on heading to a GP again until i'm sure i'll come away with my ears bleeding.


Standardised front wing (or just front wing delete!);

Bring back refuelling (but keep the 100kg limit);

Wider tyres and a minimum (say 4) pitstops, although the above would probably make that faster anyway...


What made F1 great wasn't sparks or even noise, it was that which gave rise to those things — ie flat out, no holds bared, ruthless competition. These new ideas are just window dressing, they are artificial, they won't solve the problem. They will further highlight the problem.

Trouble with F1 is it became too successful for its own good. Too many peoples' livelihoods are now at stake, too much big money is involved. Nothing fundamental will change unless that changes, ie unless they screw it up so much that viewer numbers drop off the radar.


I think the "show" from the "pinnacle of motorsport" would benefit from superior camera coverage. Cameras integrated into the drivers' helmets to give true eye-level views, rear facing cams to show pursuers on the attack, etc. I think this would add more than increased noise and sparks. Honestly, it took them WAY too long to go to hi-def. There is so much more that could be done.


"Bahrain was a great race, showing that it is possible to put on a great show with these cars."

Bahrain was a great race only because of the safety car. Had it not been for that it would have been another dud. F1 could always do what NASCAR used to do - throw what were know as competitive yellows, and put out the safety car, when someone got too far ahead of the rest.

The problem with F1 today is that it is no longer really viewed as a competitive sport by many inside F1, which incorporates cutting edge design and materials, but as a test bed for road car manufacturers. Which is why all we hear about F1 today is that is has to be "relevant" to the motor industry.


I love f1, have watched it since a teenager and am now in my mid 40's, I rarely miss seeing a race and have in the last few years been lucky enough to go to a couple of races to experience the action. But in spite of that I do feel there is something very wrong with F1. I would be happy to see sparks etc but as others have said not a standing start after a safety car...this is exactly what fans hate...messing about with the fundamental basics of F1.

The bbc and sky do a fantastic job of providing commentary, pre race build up, interviews so you feel you gain some insight into the drivers and personalities in the sport and some analysis after the race which is great when you watch it all on the tv. When I then go to see something. 'Live' I want and expect a better experience than I can get at home and in f1 that just doesn't happen, it might if you can afford access to the pitlane etc or you are staying on site but for us folk who stay in a hotel nearby and get a coach to the circuit, the ordinary bit of the circuit the experience is quite a let down. The thrill of feeling the cars go past is breath taking but not enough to make a whole weekend, problems that if solved would make me want to see every race live rather than not particularly bothered if I never see another one? Better commentary at the circuit, we've been spoilt by bbc and sky and the circuit version is appallingly bad in comparison, with items on the big screens featuring the drivers; they are the stars of the show yet when you watch live a few distant images is all you see of them, decent toilet facilities, good food not poor quality burgers and chips for a whole weekend, choice please. When I pay over a thousand pounds for a weekend in Europe I want a memorable experience for all the right reasons, I want a greater experience than I get at home and don't think that is too much to ask considering the cost of going to a race.

E moment that just doesn't happen


Anyone who deludes themselves that F1 is the pinnacle of technology is deluding themselves. Everything on an F1 car has been fitted to other race cars or other equipment already. I seriously challenge anyone to name a single item on a F1 car that is totally innovative and exclusive to F1. I have watched F1 since the 1970's and the difference is simple -- too many rules now. Rules should be for safety reasons ONLY. What happened to turbine-engines, 6-wheelers, etc. Real innovation has been ruled out.



I seriously challenge anyone to name a single item on a F1 car that is totally innovative and exclusive to F1...

How about the turbo/compressor configuration on the Mercedes ICE ?

Do I win a prize 🙂


Nice try, but the basic concept of using exhaust energy to compress the inlet side is old - all mercedes have done is build it a bit differently. Their cleverness is in the packaging -- but it's still the same old technology.

Why is there a regulation to control the wheel size? Is it to control costs, or satisfy tyre manufacturers need to have more control of the outcome: It's certainly not for safety 😉

I was hoping F1 would allow bigger wheels and/or more wheels as in previous years, turbine engines as previously, etc. Tweaking aerodynamics is not innovative - frankly it is boring.

World wrestling is not as contrived as F1 is now, and F1 is talking more about the show than about the sport -- that is the real problem -- in my view.



Nice try yourself! You are either moving the goalposts or don't understand what innovation means.

The definition of innovation: make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas.

The Mercedes turbo meets both of the criteria laid down in your original post (name something innovative and exclusive to F1) and I claim my prize 🙂


Ouch!! - can we have an "edit" button 😉 haha!!


So if F1 cars can't run in 'dirty air' due to it messing up the front aero, reduce the problem by making the front wings even smaller and with a single element instead of the conceptual art monstrosities that are there now.

Manufacturers are arguing that the new 1.6 turbo engines are more relevant to modern day motors, then why are F1 cars still running on 13" wheels? Evena Nissan Micra has 14s as standard these days.

Bigger rims with lower profile tyres so there has to be some actual suspension movement instead of the tyre doing most of the work.


How about flames from the exhausts and spinners on the wheels.

Really, the complainers need to move on things evolve. The engine change was the right thing to do at the right time otherwise the manufacturers would pull out. I think the engine is sound is great, we dont all have to suffer titanus to enjoy F1.


Today's cars in my opinion are too narrow, too long and too low down. Why is it too that F1 drivers compared to IndyCar drivers never thank their sponsors - aren't they allowed to mention them on tv ?


It seems to me that F1 is doing a Gerald Ratner to itself.

With the possible exception of the noise, which I haven't heard, the new F1 rules have given good racing and, for me as an engineer, lots to be interested in, particularly the fascinating power units which are achieving similar performance to the old engines whilst using ⅔ of the fuel.

The cars require finesse again to drive because the broad power band and much reduced downforce means no-one can floor the throttle on corner exit and get away with it. This also has meant that the rookies have had less of a disadvantage to the existing drivers since they both had to learn a new type of car.

In fact the only thing wrong with the season so far has been a lot of wingeing from journalists and team pr people who should know (much) better IMHO.

Nothing will turn fans off more effectively than keeping telling them how bad F1 is.

And for anybody who thinks otherwise the fans get their opinions from these people, since it is their only way to get info.

I could always tell when talking to a fan which mag they read since they had Nigel Roebuck, Alan Henry etc.'s opinion.


The biggest part of the spectacle of any major sporting event is a huge cheering crowd. Imagine the WC final if the crowd was the size of a sunday league game. It would not matter how good the football was, it would not be spectacular.

And this is what is missing from F1 now in many races.

Bernie is the one who has moved F1 out of Europe, and into tinpot dictatorships where the attendance is less than some championship football matches get.

Sorry, but gimmicky tweaks to make the engines noisier or to give off sparks isn't going to do anything to create the spectacle of a Spa or Silverstone. The only thing that is going to do that is a huge cheering crowd.


Need some sense in this sport. The sounds of the new engines are worser than my run down Honda City.


This Honda City?


"Honda Honda Honda Honda!"



In the FWIW column and simply for perspective: Undoubtedly the "technology" available on today's F-1 cars is incredible and has clearly enhanced the cornering and line speeds/lap times. At the same time it has compromised the visible skills of the drivers.

Please, do not take the following comments as criticizing or compromising the skill sets required of today's drivers in any way. It is recognized that times have changed. Today instead of earthy driver rivalries between Senna and Prost we have lawsuits, appeals and pit lane/personality melodrama to fill the pages of scribes - such as the apparent intra-team treatment of the Weber vs. Vettle "rivalry."

To digress, however, as some of us older types are wont to do: Watching Sir Stirling Moss, Jimmy Clark, Graham Hill, Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Jackie Stewart, and the incomparably spectacular Ronnie Peterson in his March control their rockets with the tails hanging out at both entry and exit was a visual spectacle which related the viewer directly to the skill behind the wheel of their mounts. That's still the definition of "F-1 spectacle" which sits in this mind's eye. Sparks and other theater simply can not compare.

Another visible indication of skill was the "art" of drafting - which didn't require today's "flappy thing" to pull off a pass. Nor did it completely ruin your tires to pull right up the tailpipe of your competitor looking/stalking for an opportunity to reap an advantage from the slightest error.

Thank you, James, for keeping us informed and for listening.


Good post. Watch the Brunswick season reviews from the 1970s and be sad for what has happened to motor racing.


Thanks, Gary, for the kind comment. Would love to catch those season reviews, if only to recharge the memory chips. Will see if I can locate the site and do as you suggest. Hopefully, some of this sites younger generations will as well. Much appreciated.


Brunswick Films


As Brunswick Films is a UK company these are Europe-spec DVDs, i.e. won't work in US DVRs. That said, they may have them available for US. These videos are simply outstanding.


At least it's acknowledged the sport has been neutered, only when the money stream is affected will anything change.

I love this line:

"teams have modelled themselves along corporate behaviour lines as they seek to emulate the practices of the massive corporations who sponsor them. It makes for a more ‘arm’s length’, less visceral experience"

I believe that sums up Mclaren..ironic.


Lets cut to the chase. All of these ideas for cosmetic changes(sparks, noisier exhausts, DRS) are just cheap affectations to give the impression of thrills without there actually being any, much like WWF wrestling. The real thrill, the real crowd puller and the real excitement comes from the danger. These drivers aren’t heroes in the same way as your Sennas, Mansells, Stewarts were because they don’t appear to be taking any risks beyond those risks normal mortals(ie you and I) would take. The sport is so sanitised and corporate that that a contrived race such as Bahrain(last 10 laps, due to the safety car) is considered a spectacle.

For my money we should stop wasting time on cosmetic changes and invest time in guaranteeing a truly competitive formula. Having cars 3 seconds a lap faster than the rest is what is killing the excitement. What about banning radio comms between pit and driver, leaving it up to the driver to manage their own race. Ban telemetry back to the bits during the race? Bring back fuel stops. I think that making the drivers and teams life more difficult would spice up the action. Force some mistakes on the track…