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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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Great, interesting article. F1 for the win.. 🙂

David Murdoch

How about allowing DRS to be activated at anytime rather than just in the allotted zones and when in the 1 second window? Or would this be deemed too dangerous?


James, slightly off topic but I can not find anywhere else to post this. In regards to the current cost cap debate, why doesn’t the FIA enforce a limit on employee numbers in an F1 team?

This would obviously reduce the cost somewhat, but it would surely even up the amount of development that each team could focus on during a season….hence bringing the midfield teams closer to the teams with infinite resources?


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

I think a significant part of that was the fact it was a night race and the two gleaming silver arrows fighting it out!

It was like a world class demonstration race. felt…..surreal nearly. for night races bernie! 😀


more even..


I actually quite like the sound of the new v6 engines and do not believe that increasing the sound level will improve the spectacle. Only racing will improve the spectacle as we all saw during the recent Bahrain event during the closing stages, that was due to everybody having fuel (energy) after the safety car stint and could have a go at it. Therefore, i would like to see only 2 things change:

1: keep the total fuel limit (kg/race) and remove the fuel flow restrictions

2: let them recover all the energy they can and use it as they wish, why restrict the use to only 4 MJ per lap and the harvesting to 2 MJ per lap?

This will give “unlimited energy” only influenced by the efficiency of the PU and we will have a formula similar to previous years, but energy efficient.

My two cents


They seriously need to do something about the muffled engine exhaust note. The engine noise even from the onboard cam shots during the race is barely audible – a far cry from the high pitched note we have been used to. A flat-out qualifying lap just doesnt sound like it – a flat-out lap – anymore!


I would like to see more use of the helmet cams. I have seen them used once in a while quite often in practice but not much on the live race feed. The view is awesome, much better than the car attached views, as you get to see where the drivers are actually looking (to a point)



No pay drivers.

Sponsors that are not pre-occupied with a squeaky clean corporate image and dictating the sanitised show that are happy or even encourage a wild edgy image.

Cars with the looks of the brutish 80’s turbo cars i.e huge tyres, minimal aero and massive horsepower.

I know I know.

Not going to happen.


kenneth chapman

just as an additional point, i currently drive a 4cyl 2 litre turbo [TFSI] engine that puts out 225HP. because it is coupled to a multitronic gearbox the RPM very rarely exceed 2500. subsequently great acceleration but a very flat sound.

when i engage S mode the computer generated electronic engine maps mimic a sportronic [double clutch] gearbox allowing the engine to rev freely up to 5500 at times. the sound is great, reasonably loud, crisp with burble on each electronic shift. there is a vast difference which i put down to simply more revs.

kenneth chapman

@ W head…. i am not sure where you’re coming from. are you saying that the sound would alter considerably if the per/cyl capacity was identical to the previous iterations in 8cyl form?

my limited understanding of the technical issues are that firstly the turbo robs the ‘energy’ and the sound that is left is due to the reduced energy of the exhaust gas outflow and secondly, the reduced RPM of the ICE.

even if the turbo was left as per current installation the scrapping of the fuel flow meters and increased RPM would go a long way to restoring some semblance of aural desirability.


@ kenneth chapman…I am coming from the symmetry of the ml/cylinder and theorising with an increase in capacity an increase in sound would follow.

I am no mechanical engineering expert but a step further would be to have four of the cylinder exhausts go to the turbo whilst the other two cylinder exhausts exit next to or around the central exhaust they currently have.

On your additional point I imagine they would need to increase the fuel capacity to 110 – 120kg/race to sustain the higher revs and finish with fuel to spare.


Here is a simple idea.. go back in time to when races were exciting… when overtakes were breath taking… even look at exciting GP2 races…

Then roll back the rules to that level…

We want a formula that shows us the greatness of drivers… and not the ability of some fake WDC to push a button and drive to deltas…


Hi James

Do you know what the thinking was for the 1.6 V6s in respect to the capacity of the engine or specifically the cylinder. The 1.6 is approx. 267 ml per cylinder where as the 2.4 V8s and 3L V10s were 300 ml per cylinder. Where I am going is that a 1.8 V6 would sound better and keep in line with the previous ml/cylinder ratios.


Interesting point thanks


Look at lower categories. I like watching Aussie V8s (home series for me) and NASCAR too. These offer a greater on track fan experience. Watching a replay of Daytona the other day, rather than a driver’s parade behind the fence, the drivers walked down a catwalk and slapped hands with fans – real fans!! Some even carried their kids. I’m not always so keen about that, but what it says is that it’s more than just corporate responsibility at play. I also love the graphics that NASCAR in particular show on screen, especially live tags on dueling cars, that give the drivers’details as well as speed differentials, closing gaps etc. I suspect that oval tracks help, but still, it’s about delivering for fans. And another thing, which I’ve said before, is the burn out. Let then do it!!!!!!!! Just watch NASCAR; one lap post race everyone’s off track on by the finish line, the winner’s doing circle-work on the main straight. That’s entertainment! I think for me the problem is that the show is just what FOM are prepared to put out there, rather than design for the fans. There’s no reason a minimum package for each country’s promoter and telecaster to deliver – for the fans!!


Get rid of the rule that means drivers must use both compounds in a race. It’s a gimmick.

Sort out the circuits. It’s no coincidence that many of the best races happen at older tracks such as Spa, Montreal, Suzuka etc.. Most of the modern tracks are boring and featureless.

Ban team/driver radio outside of the pit lane. That would mean drivers have to use their pit board and make their own decisions, and most likely no team orders. The driver and team could still communicate via radio whilst in the pit lane.


Hi James,

Agree with your post; what’s going on with the FIA press conferences? The drivers look thoroughly depressed just going by their body language and responses (despite your best efforts at times). Not sure if this part of the “corporate behaviour” you’re referring to – but it is not a great image for any sport.

And add to this, in more recent times, some of the drivers are so disinterested they are carrying on conversations in the background whilst other drivers are trying to answer questions!

Most of the questions being asked by you and your peers are excellent, but even if they weren’t that’s no excuse.


The big problem is the engine sound since there’s no longer a real reason to go watch in person. It’s like going to a concert where the volume and bass has been turned down. It’s such a disappointment now.

Maybe if you’ve never seen the cars live you’ll still enjoy it, but they’re visibly slower and the quietness of the engines seems to amplify the slowness of the cars.

I thought they had it right over the last 5 years. I liked driver activated KERS, DRS, soft tyres (3 stops were enough), the V8s were effectively a control engine. Yes, the second half of 2013 was one-sided but that was more due to team committing resources to 2014 and cutting their losses on 2013. 2011 was dominated by Red Bull, but McLaren were still competitive and able to win races on merit. That’s the nature of F1. You will get one sided seasons every so often, but I thought F1 had done a pretty good job of ensuring parity at the front of the grid in recent years.

Then they throw all that out of the window by ditching the control engine and instead making the engine the biggest determinant of car performance.

F1 and the FIA got so focused on giving incentives to big manufacturers to stay in the sport that they forgot they are in the entertainment business as well. That’s not to say you focus on the entertainment factor to the detriment of the integrity of the sport, but it should be a major consideration when formulating the regulations.

I have also noticed that they don’t like showing how fast the cars are going in the on-board shots. I assume that’s because the cars are slower this year and they’re trying to hide the fact and not let people make comparisons.

Instead we’re constantly fed with data about how much fuel each driver is using, which is more or less useless information because no driver has been marginal with fuel.

kenneth chapman

james, i have a point to put forward. why is it that F1 poses as the pinnacle of motorsport when technology that improves the performance is routinely banned by the FIA.

to a very large extent F1 has been eviscerated by those who seek to dumb it down. the new engines are an obvious improvement regarding new tech but items like the blown diffuser and many many others are/were technical breakthroughs but as soon as they are introduced they are banned.

to truly be at the pinnacle, they, the FIA need to loosen the reins and let the creative spirits free. seriously, F1 is fastly becoming a spec series and that is the antithesis of what F1 should be. it would be better to revert to the ‘formulae libre’ nomenclature and then we would see teams really at the pinnacle and not just ‘wannabes’.


It’s harder to argue that point in a year like this one where variety in hybrid technology is so clear

kenneth chapman

@james….yes, i have acknowledged that very point but what i was really saying was that this, new ‘to F1’ technology, is masking a deeper underlying trend that we have witnessed over the preceding years.

homologation and blatant gimmickry have the robbed F1 of much of the pure essence of racing. just ask yourself this, were the tyres ever so proscribed? why have one supplier? brakes are manufactured by various suppliers as are engines and many other components have multiple manufacturers.

fuel flow metering is another item that should be freed up.the opponents of this say that the subsequent amount of unleashed power would be undesirable. why? twenty years ago teams/drivers were using, at times, well in excess of a reputed 1000HP. with todays cars they should be able to cope with this level with no trouble. LMP WEC racing cars compete with cars that have large variable power outputs!

james, there are many many more items that one could put up as being debatable. i am just disappointed that the FIA are even considering more fakery in an already ‘tricked up’ championship.


How about REDUCE the number of people allowed to service the car in the pit lane so the pit stops are not so predictable in speed.


Get rid of the mandatory use of both compounds during races. Many times as a viewer you loose the thrill because you know that the car in front HAS to pit. Let them choose between having slower stints or faster ones with more stops.

It is happening now, but to a lesser degree.

kenneth chapman

yes, cole…i do agree. making the use of two compounds compulsory is another useless invention to spice up the show.

the teams should be left to choose whatever tyres they want and to change them whenever they want. surely this would spice up the show as all teams would be using the compounds that made them individually fastest or at least fastest during the race. they may choose to run either both compounds or just one. does it matter at all?


Oh God, I have to shut up now!

This thread is more exciting than the races!


How about some of that active suspension like you see on the Mexican guys’ low riders??

Visualize the post race donuts with that!



Jonathan Powell

I have been an F1 fan since the mis 1980s and was gripped in that period by the sound and speed of the cars that was just something else.

In later years such as the late 19902 the cars looked incredible,were a work of art in terms of attention to detail and sounded amazing. However, the racing was not exciting,although when it was it wasnt artificial though it needed damp/wet conditions for this to eb the case.

Now it seems in recent years we’ve got better racing,albeit artificially at times, but with cars that are definitely not a work of art and do not sound amazing! They also have significantly less sponsorship on them.

Also fans are really being treated harshly. They have to pay an extortionate amount to attend a grand prix and in some countires now have to pay to watch every single race live.

In terms of the manufacturers they,apart from ferrari,have always come and gone so whilst I appreicate what they bring to the sport, they are not why I love it.


What about water sprinklers?!?

No, seriously. Let’s keep it pure racing.


I think we already had our fairly share of comestics devices with the indtroduction of the DRS and KERS. Enough with that.


To paraphrase Ross Brawn, F1 has become an exercise in watch making. The rules pin all fundamental engineering decisions down so all that is left is to find micro optimizations. Engine ECU – locked, Engine cylinder count -locked, Engine cylinder angle – locked, turbo size and count – locked, ERS storage size – locked, ERS power added – locked, etc ad nauseam.

About the only place where I see a lot of innovation is on the aero side. Which for me (and I spent 3 years in college studying aero engineering before switching to computer science) is boring. It makes the cars processional. And since the engines all have similar performance envelopes there are fewer “good track /bad tracks” for a team. Remember when we had v8s, v10’s and 12s all at the same time. Michael Schumacher was able to take his torky v8 stuck in 5th gear and nearly win the race, today he would have dropped through the field and maybe come home with a lonely point.

The stated reason for locking down the rules is to control costs – but the reality is that if a team has money they will spend it. We just see millions dumped into aero because that is where the cost benefit lies. If the rules were loosened, but teams were required to homologate parts for a certain number of races you would achieve the same cost savings. I.e if a small team stumbles into a performance advantage the big teams would not be able to dump millions into a frenzied week to replicate the part for the next race, they would still have to race their existing designs. The other small teams would have a better chance to keep up because the wouldn’t have short integration times for the new idea.


James, I know the new engines sounded different. But how come the TV directors not turning up the volume a little. The commentary & radio communications totally drowned out the engine sound! The TV directors should learn from the football people.


For the most part (MOST not all!) commentators should just stfu.

In Canada I used to catch the races on Quebec tv (or whatever its called now) and you *literally could not hear the cars for hearing and *seeing these cretins banging on about god-knew-what.


It’s a no brainier. The wooden plank was a knee jerk reaction to the goings on in 1994. The titanium skid blocks should have been brought back years ago.

Bring back the sparks, sort out the spec exhaust pipe to increase volume. Done.


Maybe if they put a mike IN the exhaust pipe we could hear the damn things!


F1 has really lost the plot.

What’s next – whoopee cushions at the post race briefings?

Tom in Adelaide

I’d really like to see the drivers put under more pressure.

Sure they are busy pressing buttons and tweaking dials, but really they are just doing what the maths geeks and engineers in the pits and back at the team factories are telling them to do. Cut off the communications and let them work it out for themselves. Sure we’d miss the occasionally entertaining comment between driver/race engineer, but we could have that and more by introducing team mate comms where the two team drivers could speak to each other directly.

“Seb, it’s Daniel. I’m faster than you, move over”.


A siren! They need a siren to sound to make the guy in front pull over!

And maybe flashing red/blue lights!

And a HORN!


Beware WWE


The cars don’t have to be noisier..,that is nonsense. Were the cars too quiet in Bahrain? Was the duel between the Mercs wrecked because it was too quiet? Of course not.

This ridiculous notion that the cars must be so loud that they damage your unprotected ears (and the old ones did – as I can attest first hand) or the sport will suffer is lunacy, IMO.

Now, I grant you the sound they do make now is a little strange…but they do not need to be louder..just a little different maybe.

And I could care less who disagrees with me, they are wrong on this and I am right…period.

Others do not agree..guess how much I care?


Take a wider view. If gate receipts fall because less people are inclined to see the cars in the flesh, we have a problem.


Come on now…so people are actually going to stay away in large numbers for NO OTHER REASON then the cars are quieter?

No chance.

Some fickle fans might…but no true fan would. And the fact that people will not need as much ear protection saves them money and annoyance. I know a guy who was in the main straight for the Montreal race and he forgot his earbuds and could not buy any.

He said the entire race he had to have his fingers in his ears as it was just too loud otherwise…that’s ridiculous. And I have been to a few races and felt the same way.

Plus, f1 will have an easier time securing street races if the cars are quieter…like New Jersey.

NOBODY who stops watching F1 because the engines are quieter is a true fan…period.


Well, I understand what you are saying and no, I have not yet heard them in person. But I have heard them many times on TV and yes, they sound weird.

But my point is the decible level. The notion that engines must be so loud as to damage unprotected ears seems ridiculous to me. So, are these people (and I am not saying it is you) seriously suggesting that if these motors were just ear-damagingly loud that they would be okay? Because that seems absurd. That’s not quality anymore – that’s just pure ego/silliness.

Now if they want to change the type of sound they make – I am fine with that.

But if they want to make them ear damagingly loud again, I TOTALLY disagree with that. If they are desperate for noise, just crank the TV sound up to ear splitting level.

But the future is greener – that means less pollution, including noise pollution.

I guarantee you that for every fickle fan F1 loses because his hearing is not permanently damaged every time he goes to an F1 race – they will gain at least one fan who things the New more environmentally friendly F1 is now cool and not a dinosaur sport.

Frankly, if the only way F1 can survive is having ear splitting engines – let it die. If such a silly and unimportant part of it is mandatory to F1’s health – massive decible engines – then the sport is too full of idiots and let it fade away.

Change the engine note – fine. But do NOT go back to the insanely loud engines for no other reason then audio cosmetics. That is just silly and regressive.


I half a agree with your point about true fans still going.

I’m a true fan and I’ll still attend my home GP each year, quieter cars or not.

However the spectacle that is F1, needs to appeal to a broader audience then just the hardcore fan.

There is no doubt to me that the ambiance of f1 is largely lost with quiet engines. Have you heard the new cars in the flesh? I was at Albert Park on pit straight for all 4 days and I can tell you people were getting disengaged with F1! That’s over 100,000 and majority of what I heard was dissapointment with the engine sound. The most exciting part of the weekend was the ultimate speed comparison, with redbull pulling out last years V8.


some examples of rule restrictions causing innovation to be retarded just came to mind.

the constant velocity transmission that Williams came up with in the 80/90s

and active suspension.

there’s abs brakes, and traction control plus lots more innovative ideas that were thrown out because of rules, and look what we have now, all of those ideas are only just being used some 30 years later and still being developed,

F1 has the potential to fast track everything

imagine where these things would be now if they had been allowed in F1 and not ruled out.

like I said before they need to loosen the rules !!


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again [and get shot down for it, as I have before :-)].

If “the show” really needs to be improved:-

1, Give “constructor points” for Quali positions. Fastest car gets max points. Gives the team the incentive to be at the pointy end.

2, Then reverse the grid. Thus, fast cars at the back and slow ones at the front; and give “driver points” for Race positions. Gives the driver the incentive to get as far up as possible.

Yes, I know, it’s contrived and has flaws.


I’m afraid F1 is under a much bigger cloud than some people might think. Take away the noise and you take away one of the fundamental reasons fans pay a lot of money to go to the races. It’s that simple.

In the 90s and 00s fans could experience the most extraordinary V10 sound. So loud in fact that earplugs were absolutely essential within 40 metres of the track! For those who never witnessed these 20,000 rpm, 3 litre, V10 machines in the flesh, it is impossible to get the experience across. Then came the less exciting 18,000 rpm, 2.4 litre, V8 engines which, while softer and nowhere near as engaging as the V10s, were still pretty inspiring.

Now we have these low revving, 1.6 litre, V6 hybrid machines that sound so soft and un-exciting that the passion has gone. Yes, they are an embarrassment!

And, just WHY have we been inflicted with these boring new, ‘green’ engines? Apparently so an F1 car can complete a 90 minute race using just 130 litres of petrol, instead of last year’s 230 litres. Yep, that’s it…we’ve saved 100 litres of fuel per car in a race and around the same during practice! And, the drivers can’t even go flat out if they have some fuel left towards the end of a race…the F1 police have regulated that as well with these ridiculous fuel flow meters. Just ask Dan Ricciardo!

As I noted earlier, while the entire F1 grid uses some 6,000 litres of fuel per race meeting, EACH cargo aircraft used to transport the F1 cars from say Europe to Melbourne will burn over 200,000 litres of fuel. Yep, >200,000 litres! And, the same again on the return run!

For the first time in my memory (and I’ve been attending worldwide F1 races for nearly 30 years), the F1 administration has totally screwed up and is now panicking and trying to figure out how to fix this fiasco (which has been entirely created by them). Well, I don’t think it can be fixed and I suspect we’re about to see a major revenue loss at the F1 event gates, followed by a consequential serious loss of interest by the television rights holders. Which is where much of the F1 money comes from.

Take away one of the key ingredients of F1 (the noise) and people will simply stay away in their droves! It’s that simple and it’s already started. Just watch the next few races…the whole world’s watching this!




I started watching F1 back in 1972 when I was 7 years old and I was hooked from the first time I saw it, just seeing all the different looking cars and styles was fascinating and it still is to me today, however I think

they have to take away the idea of parity and make the rules more loose and less restrictive, so that it encourages the engineers to try all the ideas in there heads like they use to in days gone by.

with the way it is now, all we have is 22 cars that are clones of each other with different nose and paint jobs, and the driver who gets his head around his tires and pit strategy is the winner.

F1 really has gone like indy car !! and that is one of the most boring open wheel class’s on the planet !!

with so many rules and politics in the way the engineers have forgotten what they are doing this for, and that’s to design and build a RACE CAR that goes as fast as it can physically go. that’s the inspiration for them(and for me) and with that comes innovation and progress.

we still do get some progress with all the rules that are imposed on the teams but it retards the innovation and the only time we see progress is like now when there is a major configuration change.

kenneth chapman

having waded through 99%of the comments it is clear. no one wants any more gimmickry to get a foothold in F1. it is bad enough now without grasping outrageous concepts that fool no one and degrade even further what once was a truly dangerous and exciting spectacle.

there are so many individual ideas that have merit. it is a very long time since i attended a GP but i can recall the sounds and that was only a precursor. waiting to go through the turnstiles and listening to the high pitched wail of engines is certainly an experience that should not removed.

i have often wondered why a small impeller,with a helix profile could not be positioned within the exhaust and driven by the exhaust,which would help scavenge the gases and at the same time provide a very high pitched whine similar to a jet engine. that would be interesting to hear and may be enough to provide a signature sound for the new engines. small and well balanced it should have no back pressures at all. just an idea.

back to the main thread though. the element of danger has become non existent and whilst driver safety is a core element it seems as though it has gone too far. run off now seems to be such that in the case of driver[s] error they are not punished and run off is almost a track extension at times.

the other main element that is missing is the ability of the drivers to really push and drive hard as often as they need. bahrein was a thriller when all the cars were unleashed to an extent and they all went for it. fuel wasn’t a major issue and we were entertained for ten laps like i haven’t witnessed for a very very long time.

i personally would like to see this 100kg/hr fuel flow scrapped entirely. let the drivers off the leash. they are the best in the world, let them prove it.

finally i would love to see the drivers given more autonomy insofar as they are now a group of ‘puppets’who only perform to the pit walls instructions. this is not racing. listen to pit to car radio dialogue. the instructions are ludicrous.i recall button asking his minder, ‘who am i racing’? i mean, seriously, is this is what has come to?

sorry to be so long winded but it is important to understand that F1 should not be subjected to the current restrictions that take away the element of excitement. i recall that on the back of the race day tickets it used to be printed, ‘motor racing is dangerous, enter at your own risk’. slowly but surely homogeneity has flourished and taken over the sport that we all cherish. it is quite a shame and an indictment of all those who control the outcome.


If they want unpredictability, refuelling should come back.

Start the race with the amount of fuel from qualifying and at least one obligatory refuelling during the race.


What about branching out for the Tilke tracks and taking F1 to a couple of oval races a year? I know this is F1 and not Indy, but if it’s the pinnacle of motorsport then it should be able to do this and put on a good show whatever the circuit demands. One short oval and one super-speedway in the calendar would mix things up nicely.


Been watching F1 avidly for over 20 years and I’ve never been less excited about it than I am right now. Featureless bland tracks, cars and personalities. Rules that have turned edgy monsters into some kind of enduoi fuel saving thing. A gulf between one team and the others – seriously no one can beat Merc on merit now. It’s a 2 car race.

Dull dull dull.

Ban high noses, greatly restrict aero, big fat tyres on, and make the whole thing look less like a NASA technology conference.


Now with the reliability of cars being so much greater, drivers are very harshly punished through a single DNF; this itself promotes a safety-first approach at the expense of all-out racing.

With this in mind, I personally would like to see a return to the rule that drivers should only be able to count their best results from a maximum number of races. Over a 19 race season they should be limited to 16 or 17 race towards their WDC total points. It gives more of a chance for the “fast but unreliable” package to stay in contention for the WDC title over the course of a season.


One simple solution. Bring back Murray Walker.

He made the dullest of dull Hungarian And Spanish Grands Prix seem exciting!


Sparks!- really ?- Has this sport crept so low that it needs childish gimmicks to attract people.It is the pinnacle of motorsport it just needs to show people through facts and they will follow- the good example is Usain Bolt as someone above stated.

What F1 needs above all things is real fan engagement!. Get the teams and cars out to car shows explain their product around the world. More demos for the kids, more interactive games and videos. Some incentives such as garage time and track days- maybe FIA funded open days.

The cars themselves only need a few little tweaks nothing game changing and F1 has always done this anyway. I really do like the sound/ tone of the current V6 PU- they just need a bit more..Maybe twin turbos /exhausts, more revs – in time efficiency will overcome the increased engine speed. We have to remember that we are still in the early phases of the most significant changes in F1. The single biggest change that can make differences is the tyres. Every tyre should last a min 25 laps but the performance differential between compounds should be enough to allow different strategies (1-1.5 sec) If not , bring in another tyre company. Competition brings about better products and more variety.

Budget controls must come in if we want to see different teams actually standing on that podium. If not then technical regs will just continue to strangle innovation & keep the same players winning year in / out — This is the main thing that is killing the spectacle of F1 to fans.& as a sport its unfair!


I think today’s F1 has become more of a don’t do this and can’t do that, too many rules and too technical, where everything has a clamp-down leading to a new loophole, exploited by one dominant team every year.

The spirit and purity of racing as a sport is well and truly lost. We do not need more noise, or flying sparks when deep down we will know its going to be artificial. What we need is less of technology and more of automotive engineering. What we will love to see if drivers go all out to race each other worrying less about fuel flow rates, tyre warmers and DRS zones (leave it to nerds, crunching numbers in the telemetry room).

The true spectacle of racing is a driver killing the field because he can drive fast outright.


Couldn’t have said it better…

I hate cars that drive on rails… I hate cars that have to be driven to deltas… and most of all I hate the lack of feeling with DRS.

I want to see a driver thrash and fight the car – that is where the feeling comes from.


Your first para could have been written by Bernie!


Thank goodness they realise something needs to be done. I usually attend two races a year, but have no plans to whatsoever while the cars sound so lame. I feel sorry for first timers going to a race this year, as they have missed the true LOUD sound of F1. Imagine going to a rock concert and the volume is turned right down?! Not going to work is it.


As a spectator, F1 is first and foremost a sensory experience for me. Sound, smell and visual appeal.

If you asked anyone who’d attended their first GP between 1989 and 2013 what the best thing was about their weekend, they’d tell you 9/10 times about the noise knocking their head off.

I was in Melbourne for the first race, and absolutely no one preferred the quieter cars to the RB9 doing the speed comparison show against the Red Bull V8 Supercar and Mercedes road car. The new breed of cars sound OK, and actually sound better trackside than on TV, but it just didn’t turn on spectators the way it used to.

F1 has been at the forefront of technological advances through gaining a competitive advantage rather than in a prescribed manner, which I think need to be reserved for safety and cost issues.

Ferrari wasn’t force to come up with the semi-automatic gearbox in 1989. They invented it because they thought they’d make a gain. The same goes for Williams’ active suspension, etc.

Some commentators will tell you that the current F1 followers are getting older and that it is time to engage the younger generations. That said, I’m not sure diluting one of the key aspects of the sport/show is going to attract a younger audience. Showing it on free-to-air might be a better starting point.

I can also hear those who agree with the new green credentials for sponsors and car manufacturers alike. But there must be a way of doing so without silencing the cars. Anyone who heard the Porsche 919 turbocharged 2.0 litre V4 hybrid engine would probably agree.

Let’s hope the new exhaust design they’ll be testing after the Spanish GP will help making the car sound more F1-like.

I also look forward to the noses being more visually pleasing than the current crop.


It seems rather obvious that all they need to do is strap a big set of Dolby surround sound speakers to the car that are hooked to a fairly decent amplifier with some high quality sound samples of the circa 2004 engines and then play them back on max volume (preferably with the extra bass button enabled) as the cars race. Robert will then be your mothers brother.


The moment they started changing the rules to stop Schumie from winning, is when they started cocking things up.


hahaha sums it up nicely.


Engine sound and sparks are my first great memories of F1 as a kid. Bring them back please!!


Well, having been to the opening GP in Melbourne, I can confirm that the lack of sound and the character of the noise was downright embarrassing. The passion and excitement of F1 had suddenly gone. I am absolutely certain it will lead to a MAJOR drop in crowd levels next year.

And, when the F1 event crowds drop off, so too will the television rights dollars. As sure as night follows day. Which has clearly panicked the F1 leadership into trying to figure out what to do…after bringing this fiasco on themselves!

The shift to small capacity, low revving, V6 turbo hybrids has ripped the heart out of F1. To apparently allow the sport to claim ‘green credentials’ as a car now uses just 130 litres of fuel per race compared to the 230 litres it used last year. So, over a typical race weekend, the entire F1 field burns around 6,000 litres of the stuff. Compare that to the 200,000+ litres of fuel used by just one cargo aircraft to freight the cars from Europe to Melbourne and one might start to doubt the overall legitimacy of the green claim!

I have no issue with being green where appropriate and have been following the Formula E developments with great interest. I also drive a Toyota Prius. But, and it is a huge but, I do wonder why F1 felt the imperative to go down this path in 2014 and ditch the pretty good sound of the previous V8s, after ditching the far more magical, far louder noise of the V10s in 2006?

In the current panic to find a fix I suspect they will probably play with megaphone tail pipes which, according to my calculations, MIGHT lift the sound level by 3 dB or so. And MIGHT also improve the character of the low revving sound a bit. But, overall, it will remain quiet and boring and the crowds will drop off as a result. Just watch and listen!




I attended Top Gear Live in Sydney this year with a friend who’d never heard an F1 car live before. They had Dan Ricciardo there in the RB7 and my friend was blown away by the engine note. He was instantly talking about going to the GP! A perfect example of how that works. The same went for the Ferrari Racing Days in April. They had V8s, a V12 and a Turbo from the 80s which still sounded great. The new Turbo is a mistake from an engine note perspective and these experiences proved it to me.


These are 200mph cars, yet FOM makes them look and sound like they’re pottering around town (all to show a big sponsor hoarding that no fan cares about). Notice how fan videos from the circuit make the cars seem so fast and raw? I think some fresh ideas into camera positions/style of shot would be a huge benefit and long overdue. Some proper helmet cams (like in Indycar) wouldn’t go a miss either.

It’s unfortunate what’s happened to the sound this year (F1s calling card for most people for a long time) but this should only further efforts into capturing and reproducing it a whole lot better. So much of the audio experience is removed for TV viewers.

James, with a tonne of ideas in this comment section, would you propose some suggestions you think would be beneficial to the sport to the F1 big-wigs? As a fan at home, we feel powerless to do this.


[Notice how fan videos from the circuit make the cars seem so fast and raw?]

For those who have not been to the tracks this is the feeling for practice starts. I still prefer the V8s.


I can always turn the volume up on my TV if I want more sound. Seriously.

I don’t need to SEE sparks.

But I think ONE major problem that should be easy to fix is the crappy camera work. It’s boring. You know when they film movies that the cars aren’t really going that fast but LOOK like they are? It’s camera work.

Honestly, whoever the team is that does all the videography for F1 it’s boring and makes the cars look slow. NASCAR does it better….and I am no NASCAR fan. But when you’ve got a track-embedded camera with a wide angle and a car comes zipping over it you honest-to-god experience the speed. F1 cars are MOVING….they’re bloody fast. The way the video is done makes it seem like a sunday afternoon drive. Fix THAT. And put some microphones at track level so you can hear the doppler effect as the cars go by….it’s almost un-noticeable in F1, which is silly.

They don’t have to change the damned cars. They don’t have to make fake sparks. Fixing the videography would help a LOT.

Oh, and pit stops are boring. Do something different with them to stretch them out…..there’s too little time involved to make them dramatic. Taking away the fuel stops made the pitstops incredibly dull and anticlimatic. It was for safety and cost. Fine. So since they won’t bring back refueling and the risk of a fire (and, sorry, but that DID add to the dramatic tension of watching them) then do something ELSE to make pitstops interesting. For INSTANCE, you could only allow 2 tire change guys (well, whatever half the current number is), so they’d have to scramble to do the tires first on one side, then on the other. THAT would make pit stops more interesting AND increase the odds that a driver’s race would be screwed up. Again, dramatic tension.

So, two ideas. Fix the camerawork, make the pitstops more exciting and a bit lengthier. Two reasonably easy to implement things at reasonably low cost. NO REASON TO NOT DO THEM then eh? Get to it folks.




I believe F1 has become to politically correct.

They moved to the new era too early, should have had some trial runs at some GP’s first to properly gauge crowd reactions and TV audiences. They only did it because of the way the world thinks now with climate change. Fair enough, and I actually think some of the new technology is fantastic, but there is no doubting it is no where near as exciting as the ol v8’s.

I agree artificially trying to create excitement is not the way to go. Maybe they should look at the actual Turbo, get a bigger one? Bigger wastegate or something so when they all back off we here these massive pops. How about a sound relating to DRS or ERS? But the sound MUST be from a performance related angle otherwise it’s just crap.


Just clean the cars up again. Simple front wings, no appendages all over the body. This was supposed to be a result of the 2009 regs, but has been slipping back ever since.

Cleaner cars means less development costs and closer racing, leaving more to the driver’s skills.


Absolutely second that!


I always found refuelling to be spectacular. As an armchair viewer, you could help but think “wow, I wish the pump at my local Shell had a hose like that & I could refuel in 7 seconds!. Also the risk of a stuff up with the fuel hose was always fun like Massa in Singapore. Also the guys would sometimes struggle getting the elephants trunk attached to the car, then it was funnier when they couldn’t get it off! And when it all went to plan, it was still amazing.


I think it’s fair to say that this season has got tongues waging and keys stroked more than we all thought. I say give this formula more time and resist the mop top goblins attempt at razzmatazz for as long as possible. The chances are that the big teams performances will converge more as time goes by and the second half of the season will see more variety on the top steps of the podium. In my humble opinion.


How about if flames shoot out the back when DRS is open?


Even better, how about if the car in front, which is enabling DRS for the car behind, has flames shooting out the back.


Funniest thing I’ve heard all day. Lol.


To make it more exciting I think change the Qualifying & Race format. How about this idea of 3 stages:-

Qualifying: All out 10mins to put in a qualifying lap.

Race 1: 20 laps, fastest qualifier starts on pole. Points awarded for top 10.

Race 2: 40 laps, result of race 1 start Race 2 in reverse order (ie. winner starts at the back). Points awarded for result of race 2 are DOUBLE.


Speaking of the spectacle, I noted the comments from Justin Wilson and Takuma Sato in Autosport today regarding a race at Long Beach.

To summarise, they said that Long Beach is not at F1 standard because it’s too bumpy.

I say: if it’s good enough for IndyCar it should be good enough for F1! Why can’t F1 cars cope with bumps?


You do realise that the energy of sound waves is ridiculously small. The only reason they are quiet is because it’s being muffled by turbos and heat recovery systems. Heat is actually a big source of energy loss so it’s understandable why they make efforts to reduce energy lost through heat. It will be interesting to see what they come up with re changing the exhausts. I still think they need to explore different mic techniques, the frequency range of these engines are much harder to pick up than the old v8s.

I agree with you about the tv shots, those tracking shots they use at Silverstone and Germany are amazing. I also like that one amazing camera position on the inside of the fast corner towards the end of the lap in Valencia. You could see the cars sliding at incredible speeds.


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

We seem to have forgotten that Bahrain was the only weekend without rain, and the only race that teams were forced to start on tyres from Q2. I think this played a role in Bahrain.


The work of the study group has been done right here in this comments section!


We can’t really tell how fast these cars are going with these super wide Tilke tracks!!

If it were up to me i would have them all in Identical cars but with their own Power trains.

The Viewing figures would double after 1 race.

Oh and 3 cars per team please.


All this is very interesting, but…. could we bring back the 70’s monsters without the danger… somehow?


F1 only needs one thing to shake it up – a tire war.

Allow teams to choose their own tyre manufacturers and compounds – Damon Hills achievement on Bridgestones all those years ago in an Arrows prove tyres can make a back marker onto a winner or at the very least competitive with the front runners.

Allow Caterham and Marussia to use blown diffusers and grippier compounds.

Let the big teams work to the restrictions of today and use Pirelli ‘s.

Hamilton and Rosbergs battle in China proves all is well in F1 we just need the playing field to be leveled. The current regs. hurt the smaller teams spreading the field out – close the gap I say.


Well v8 v10 and v12 sounds very good just for starters, bin all the infuriating driver penalties, never go back to refueling (oooh overtaking in the pits cor!)

I am not that daft to expect any of this to happen, but one can dream, or at least watch old clips on you tube and remember what was, which was not always exciting, but at least had the spectacle and wow factor that has been lost to some degree.


Just a question james ive recently been watching indy car on espn in the uk i think im correct but arent the 2014 spec indy cars using 2.0 v6 turbos but they sound great to me is it just exhaust design or the extra 0.4 of a litre


They don’t have ERS on them I think


The drone of the engines put me to sleep during the last race. They need some track side microphones to pick up some sounds. It’s too quiet.



Well, I think there are some practical changes that could be brought about to improve the “show” but one must take great caution to not introduce completely artificial elements into the sport. This to me is what makes F1 so great; it is pure. Pure in the sense that given a set of rules– you will have one team build a fantastically quick car and another team produce an absolute dog. Pure in the sense that if you switch to 1.6 litre hybrid turbos, the end result is a quiet engine. (We can save the discussion of pay drivers for another time).

Is it something to lament? Yes, I do believe the lack of sound and fury is lamentable, but then again, let’s not start fiddling with the acoustics to bring an artificial element into the sport. Then what is it? It’s fake. No one wants that.

Sparks? Well that’s fine and dandy, but as the article states, there’s a logical reason why that went away. F1 evolves.

As for the actual, physical cosmetics, I do believe this year’s noses need to go. We can talk about safety until we are blue in the face, but this is clearly a situation where the rules outdid themselves. It was an unnecessary change and it’s an easy decision to reverse.

If you want to add more appeal to the show, without adding artificial noise or fireworks, try enhancing the TV production. Add more sweeping boom cameras in the corners. More onboard shots and pivoting cameras. How about some high-speed pacing cameras that are mounted to a track or cable, like in speed skating? This would enhance the visual experience (on TV only of course) without going down the slippery slope of adding to “stuff” just for the sake of doing so.


Very well said.


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…


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.


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.


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!”



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.


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.


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 ?


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.


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.


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!!


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


“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 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.


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.


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…


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.

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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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?


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!


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.


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


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!


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.


Put the fast cars at the back of the grid.


Too much like World of Outlaws dirt cars!

Sorry, not “classy” enough for F1.


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.


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?

169 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.


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………


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?


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)



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.


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.


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


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.


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!



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.


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


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??????????


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 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.


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 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?????


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’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!


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 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…….