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F1 debate: is Fernando Alonso right to hail the 2000s as the sport’s most popular era?
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XPB.cc Fernando Alonso Kimi Rakkonen 2005
Posted By: Editor   |  09 Jan 2017   |  4:22 pm GMT  |  214 comments

Double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso has triggered an interesting debate by asserting that the 2000s era of the sport was its most popular and – effectively – the peak.

In a recent interview, the McLaren driver outlined his thoughts on why he ranks that period – during which he won back-to-back titles for Renault in 2005 and 2006 – above the era of the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, another period that many consider to be a golden age for F1.

Giving his thoughts on the earlier era, when the likes of Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell fought for the championship, Alonso said: “Formula 1 at that time, it was very boring. If you see a race now from ’85, ’88 or ’92, you will sleep through the race because it was two McLarens, the fourth guy was lapped and there was 25 seconds between each car.

Ayrton Senna Monaco Grand Prix

“There were 10 cars DNF because the reliability was so-so. Television figures, spectators are going down [in 2016], like it was in these boring years in the ’80s where Senna, Prost and these people were saving fuel, saving tyres and things like that, so it’s exactly the same boring as it was at that time.”

But when talking about the 2000s period, Alonso highlighted the interest in F1 through high TV figures and new races joining the calendar.

He said: “I think Formula 1 grew up a lot. A lot of manufacturers came into Formula 1 in the 2000s – BMW, Toyota, and there were many people coming. Television figures and the spectators were at the maximum.

Fernando Alonso

“We opened Formula 1 to new countries – we raced in Korea, we raced in India, we raced in Singapore, two races in Spain – and that was the maximum. And we didn’t understand that situation, probably. The costs were very high, technology was very high, some manufacturers pulled out.”

During the 2000s era, a several major manufacturers entered the sport as team owners or engine partners and many of the lap records at tracks that have remained on the calendar since 2004 were clinched that season.

Ferrari and Michael Schumacher, who swept the board between 2000 and 2004, dominated the first five seasons of that decade. Then Alonso and Renault won their titles before Ferrari and McLaren fought over the 2007 and 2008 campaigns.

Fernando Alonso 2006

The final season of the 2000s era, 2009, featured a significant regulation change as F1 moved away from high downforce cars and reintroduced slick tyres. It followed the global financial crisis, which caused a number of manufacturers to pull out of the sport.

In the years that followed mid-race refuelling was banned and Pirelli’s high degradation tyres became the control rubber from the start of 2011.

In 2017, and for the first time in a generation, F1 is changing its rules to make the cars faster, not slower for safety reasons. The aim is to improve the show via aggressive-looking cars, lower laptimes and testing conditions for the drivers.

Esteban Gutierrez 2017 tyres

So we’re handing the discussion over to you. What do you think of Alonso’s comments? Was the 2000s the most peak era in F1? Or was the Senna-Prost-Mansell period better supported? And why? Or, conversely, do you think the upcoming season could herald a new shift in popularity for F1?



Please complete the polls above and then leave an explanation of your choice in the comment section below. We’ll collate your comments later in the week and pick out the highlights in an analysis of the discussion.

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214 comments

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1

IMO the 1980s-1990s was the most fascinating for me. What Alonso says is true, that many races were not classics and two cars would romp away at the front, but it was an era where the cars were both powerful and fragile - there was a real sense that F1 was pushing the boundaries of what was possible which was often resulted in mechanical DNFs. The cars were beasts to drive, and drivers would often finish a race in a state of exhaustion. The drivers were men, not the boys that half of today's grid represent. and above all else, there was still a very real sense that F1 is was a danger sport where mistakes were punished by more than a stop-go penalty.

2

I was drawn to the sport by the power and danger in the Prost/Senna/Mansell era's, but lost interest when Schumi started to dominate. The catalyst for me was the free to air coverage, and that's enabled the sports popularity. We can all bang on about V10, V8, Hybrid Turbo era's....these definitely impact the aesthetics, but before all of that comes into consideration, you need to make your product ACCESSIBLE. If you take away free to air TV rights, you take away interest from mainstream media, and you won't attract new fans without that gateway.

3

you have a very good point. F1 needs to be accessible to the public that can't afford pay TV. maybe they need to have a short race on Saturday that can be broadcast on public or local TV stations to get people hooked.

4

Do we not think that if pay per view and subscription based services were bigger during this era, the sport wouldn't have gone sooner?

While i accept your point, the movement of the sport away from free to air is only happening because that's the way most television has gone. The majority of the largest shows in the world are all produced for subscription based services.

And the sad fact is, the teams won't argue, Becuase regardless of the discussion around the fairness of the tv money distribution, the teams will still receive a larger amount of money because Subscription based services are prepared to pay more.

5

another thing you have to consider is the teams had more sponsors then. I don't know but maybe the cigarette or tobacco money was also what allowed the sort to be broadcast free to air well I know for sure the teams got alot of money from them. Ferrari ran that bar code logo for Marlboro and got money despite the ban

6

Yeah, I agree Luke. The subsrciption based viewing is obviously better quality, and once you're into your chosen sport, you want your detailed expert analysis and no ads -you don't get that from FTA. But the subs fees are a big turn off to new fans and you need the FTA as "the gateway drug".
F1 in particular has a big issue looming, in that it's base is shrinking and ageing (much like Bernie). It desperately needs to broaden and "youthen" its fan base. It seems that the Liberty Media play is aimed directly at that, but I don't imagine that we'll see more FTA anytime soon, as most of theit target market (the US) is already on cable.

7

But FTA isn't the root of the problem, surely?

F1 is full of fans that want the sport to return to a period they grew up in. Which can be argued hinders any modernisation of the sport as a whole! We all look at futuristic cars and think they're amazing and then go "but the sport was better in the 80s"

It has a decision-making system where publically everyone wants to improve the show but behind closed doors, they vote in their own interest.

And that's just a couple of things. I don't personally believe FTA is a barrier of entry to new people wanting to come into F1. I think the sport has much bigger problems.

8

I tend to agree & 80's-90's was a more pure & brutally fast F1. Plus the greats of that era were/ are real personalities.

The 80's/ 90's had the added benefit of the first real global free to air TV coverage & intense media coverage not seen before. It was a glorious period.

The 2000's were good also, and the V10's provided something special during that time. It also had the emergence of two big names ALO, HAM plus the height of Schum & Hak

9

Chose the "Other" category because as Dad would often remind us: ". . .where you stand is where you sit. . ." Grew up being hooked on F-1 in the '60's reading about Moss, Hill, Brabham and Clark before Clark was unfortunately killed at Hockenheim. Sir Stewart was just growing up while Clark and Sir Jack Brabham were writing the whole book and you always wanted to see the film of Moss at Monaco with the side panels off the side of the Lotus 18 -- not a lot of TV coverage in those days.

Alonso's comments, based on the measures he's using, may make a lot of sense, too. But like a lot of folks, it seems that perspective is relative and Dad's reminder prevails.

Vano's comment's above pretty much relate to the '60's and '70's as well, when we all did the flagging and first response corner duties from the edge of the track with the "significant" protection of hay bales at the airports and pretty much the purpose-built venues as well. My oh my, how times have changed.

10

For anyone who might be interested: Jim Clark; and how he got there – 25 wins in 72 starts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0fMoPgsA3M

11

Garrett Bruce, totally agree!

Of course the 2000s were the most popular, the numbers back that up.

But the "best" era has got to be either the 60s or 70s. The cars looked and sounded beautiful, the driving style was insane - tail wagging, 4 wheel drift, tire smoking - and the tracks were immense.

The funny thing is though, if you go through enough old footage, you can find people back then complaining that the sport was boring.

12

i would tend to believe him.
I wonder if anyone will offer a reasoned response without resorting to personal insults and blah blah about a driver/era that was a 100 times better even though they never personally experienced it.

13

Did you not read the first responses? There was nothing unreasonable or petty there. For mind the great racing was in the late 80's - Senna Mansell wheel to wheel in Adelaide then Mansell's tyre goes BANG at a zillion MPH and he saved it down the straight. Fantastic driving

14

Well, Alonso says "popular", not "better".

To my mind the popularity of F1 is based on how how many people actively watch F1, so if you base that solely on the viewing figures then yes, the 2000s were the most popular, but there's more than one reason why the viewing figures have declined (I'm looking at you Sky).

Of course there were some good races and championships in the 2000s, just as there was in every decade before that going right back to the fifties, but we shouldn't forget about years like 2010 or 2012 either.

In short every decade has had it's highs and lows, so I think in the end it just comes down to personal preference.

15

Wow Alonso is talking a lot of sense recently.

16

DC, "so Mr Alonso, please explain to us why you think 2005 and 2006 were the best seasons of Formula one...."

17

Wisdom gained through age may be.

18

I think every season in F1 has an argument for being boring and interesting - it depends on the viewpoint.
Too loud - can't bring the kids to watch unless they have ear defenders
Too Quiet - But then the whole family can enjoy it without loosing 2 pints of blood from their ears!
Too Expensive - this, in every aspect of F1, is the killer reason for TV figures and track attendances going down. Why on earth would I fork out £700 camping in a field in Northamptonshire to watch a race when I can Hire a cottage in the Borders for a week and have cash left over for spending?

I voted the mid 80's to Mid 90's as that was when we had 4/5 world champions at similar performance levels all duelling together, in cars that, at certain tracks, could win if they were reliable. Plus the development of active ride.

19

I don't recall anyone complaining that it was too loud. In fact, I still remember taking my earplugs out as a 16-year-old to hear those v10s and v12s in their full, unmuffled glory.

I've been reading the numerous debates about how to improve F1 and I've read countless opinions from drivers, engineeres, team bosses, and fans on the various social media channels, and I've never heard anyone say," Gee, you know what would make F1 rally great? If they had to save fuel and couldn't go flat out and if the engines had a quitter more muffled sound." Never. Not once.

20

I wouldn't argue with your claim regarding sound but as a point of fact; the cars have never, not once, been driven flat out from lights to flag in the entire history of the sport.

21

C63; F1 cars may never have been driven flat out from lights to flag, but there have been cases where they nearly were.

Actually it's more about perception, and the current cars look and sound as though they are being taken for a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive. And that didn't seem to be the case during the V10 era.

22

totally agree the cars are just basically strolling around the track...it looks lmore like driving in a motorway than an actual race....they've certainly taken the edge of F1

23

it's more about perception...

I wouldn't argue with that - it's because we have access to a lot more information than we ever did in the past. This has created the impression that fuel and tyre saving is something new when it isn't. It's simply quicker to under-fuel a car and then conserve fuel at some points in the race than it is to pay the penalty for carrying more weight but drive harder. Can't argue with the laws of physics I'm afraid 🙂

24

LukeC, you have hit the nail on the head, it IS about perception. But perceptions can be wrong, people perceive things to have been superior in the past, when in fact they were not.

25

As ever - a lot of folk wearing rose tinted spec's. As Alonso mentioned in the original interview - people will look back in 10 or 20 years time on this era and say how great it was, remember Bahrain 2014, Monaco 2016 etc...

26

C63, remember the good old Autosport letters page? Plenty of doom and gloom on there about F1 going to hell in a handcart, whatever the era.

27

TimW; when you hear an engine screaming it's head off as if it's about to detonate, you automatically perceive the cars to be going flat out, even if they're not.

When you hear a low revving, droning, muffled engine, you do not get that perception. It's as simple as that.

28

Luke, do the engines really sound like that? I don't think so, 12000rpm is not "low revving".

29

TimW; they sound kind of "meh" to me. The Australian V8 Supercars sound more impressive and they only rev to 7500. I think it's not just the revs, but also the muffling from the turbo and energy regeneration gizmos.

In any case, they just do not compare to the old19000 rpm unmuffled v10s. That was something else.

30

Luke, No they don't compare in terms of in your face wow factor, but I guess it depends on how high up your list of priorities that is. I don't think it makes any difference at all on TV, but when I went to the 2015 British GP, it was surprising how quiet they are. The volume needs to be turned up a few notches, but I think the actual tone of the V6s is quite pleasant. To be honest I always thought the high revving nature of the V10s and V8s meant the tone was lost in the decibel count. The V8 Supercars you mention sound fantastic because they only rev to 7500, meaning you can actually hear the engine.

31

TimW; I think "wow factor" is a good way of phrasing it. When you go to a race featuring the fastest cars on earth you expect to be blown away.

The v10s, and to a slightly lesser extent the v8s, delivered exactly that, as they were over the top.

These current PUs, not so much.

32

LukeC, yes that is true, I guess it comes down to wether or not you think there are enough things left to still wow you. I think there is, I think a huge amount of what drew me to the sport still remains, and I still enjoy it immensely. Engine noise is important, but it has a different level of importance for different people.

33

TimW; of course there are still things about F1that that have the capacity to "wow", there's just fewer of them.

I saw the many dissapointing faces leaving Albert park after the first race with the PUs, I saw the subsequent ****storm on social media where fans were basically saying that F1 had lost its uniqueness, I saw the numerous polls where the majority of those polled wanted the naturally aspirated engines back.

I think that's a shame. It's a bit like a circus refusing to have elephants in the show, and nearly everybody wants to see elephants.

34

Luke, I think when the FIA got press ganged into having the PUs by the manufacturers they didn't realise how expensive, heavy or quiet they would be. If they knew that at the time, then maybe they wouldn't have done it, but it's done and they just have to make the best of it don't they? I think the Pus are interesting technically, and if they could trim a few kgs off and turn up the volume a bit, then people will grow to love them, a bit!

35

Indeed, lessons have been leanrned, hopefully, so let's hope they make the right decision with regard to PUs in 2020.

36

Really? Come on C63, sober up. V10s with refueling were pushed to limits all the time, weekend after weekend. Drivers had a fresh V10 engine each weekend till 2004, so what was there to save? I won't make list for you, becuse since you say "never, not once", I only need one example to prove you wrong.

I give you the 2004 French Grand Prix, Schumi and Ferrari decide for the first time ever to win a GP with a 4 stop strategy to entertain themselves. Requirement will be for Schumi to do a GP worth of balls to the wall quali laps. Thanks for playing C63.

37

Totally agree, the refuelling era in the nineties and start of 2000 was the greatest. It combined strategy and pushing flat out perfectly as tyre-degredation wasn't too much of a factor.

One team would push flat out and add another pit-stop while another team would go for longer stints. The beauty of it was the fact that the speed-difference between the two cars when they bunched up on track was not as big as it is now. The short stinters had better tyres but were also heavier due to more fuel. The cars were generally fastest towards the end of the stints so the long stinters could defend. Nowadays any driver and car on a long stint is totally defenceless when caught by a car on fresher rubber.

That meant the race was rarely decided before the short-stinter had completed his last pit-stop AND passed the long stinter. It was not a foregone conclusion that he would be able to pass.

I miss the twitching movement of the cars and the sound too. It really showed how hard they were pushing the limits, it looked much much faster than today when the cars are as stable and predictible as a Toyota Prius on a shopping trip. The spectacular show has been gone, let's hope and pray it comes back in 2017. No more tires made of chewing gum and no more fuel saving and engine saving please!

38

Don't blame Pirelli for the fattest heaviest F1 cars ever. Blame the PU formula for putting all this extra weight on these tires, for complexity sake.

39

Sebee
I give you China 2012 Alonso Ferrari Win with a 4 stop as well and Alonso said he worked it out during FP2
So we are in agreement that Schumi and Alonso are the greatest

41

Sebee - you're talking nonsense. The Ferrari of MSC was not driven flat out for the entire race. It simply wasn't - the quali lap for MSC was nearly 1.5 seconds quicker than his best race lap. QED
Oh, and thanks for playing 🙂

42

C63 totally agree
Sebee is on one as usual ! 🙈🙉🙊

43

And if you still don't like the fact that I nominated Schumi for the 2004 French Grand Prix, consider Alonso, also at the 2004 French Grand Prix, whom Schumi was chasing. You think he had a moment to breathe?

Watch it, it's on youtube. See if you can find 1 ounce of coasting by Alonso as he goes airborne and uses everything he has to trade fastest laps with Schumi and try to win for Renault on home turf.

44

Also, do you know how we knew they were pushing the V10 cars?

WE COULD HEAR IT!

Also, we could see it, because they showed the RPM in the onboard.

45

I love how you pretend be ignorant and claim not to know what it takes to push for 1 quali lap vs. push for 70 GP laps. Physics variables, like fuel weight variations, and tire wear variations make pushing over a 70 lap distance at a constant pace impossible. What Schumi did that day was surgical precise driving on the absolute limit of what the hardware allowed. And he did it for 70 laps. 4 stops allowed for freshest possible tires as much as possible.

Speaking of Schumi's best lap that day in 2004 - it is the official fastest lap record at Magny Cours, still standing today. And on that day Alonso and Schumi traded fastest laps back and forth the whole GP. 2004 French Grand Prix was without any doubt pushing to the limit of the hardware entire GP distance. It is what was necessary in order for Schumi to win on a 4 stop strategy and snatch it from Renault at home.

46

Indeed, that was what racing is, or should be, all about.

47

For goodness sake Sebee, you are like a boxer that has been on the canvas and is trying to get up even though the referee has ruled the fight over. You have lost the argument. Give it up.
The car was not driven flat out for the entire GP - remember this was the original argument - it was pushed hard, no doubt, but it was not flat out for the entire GP. It was completely stationary for approx 20 seconds of the GP for starters (leaving aside any debate about how hard it may have been pushed when under way).
Thanks for playing though 🙂

48

Problem with that argument is fairly obvious surely?

Even in the Bridgestone refuelling era, the cars never raced with 1 lap of fuel and brand new tyres.

Each portion began on fresh rubber and a number of laps worth of fuel and as the fuel burnt off the tyres degraded generally.

There were times that as the track rubber ed in the tyre performance would improve - we have to allow for the grooves wearing away as well but the cars never ran in qualifying trim during a race.

With that in mind, a gap of 1.5 seconds between respective laps, isn't shabby

49

@HWS
Problem with that argument is fairly obvious surely.......

Ok, let's do some maths. The French GP was 70 laps in total and MSC made 4 pit stops meaning the race was broken up into 5 stints .
70/5 = 14 laps/stint.
150kg of fuel for the entire race = 2.14kg/lap x 14 laps = 30 kg of fuel/stint.
10kg equates to around 3/10second per lap as a time penalty. Therefore 30kg costs around 1second/lap. So, what accounts for the other half a second?
It must mean MSC was pacing himself to ensure the tyres and fuel lasted and wasn't driving flat out as claimed 🙂
Btw - I'm not saying that 1.5 seconds difference is shabby - but it does mean he wasn't flat out all the way. Which was the original claim.

50

V8s took 150kg. V10s needed a bit more for GP distance I would guess. There was traffic. There was tire wear. Car was never light on fresh rubber in GP. And in what imaginary world in your head can a tire put in fresh quali lap time for 70 laps?

And while you're here pointing out a reasonable 1.5s gap between pole and fastest lap in 2004 V10 that had all the fuel it wanted, all the tires it wanted , and a new engine every GP - hence no reason to save a thing, why don't you explain the 5s gap between pole and fastest lap in 2016 with Mercedea PU cars? They coast and save so much, I swear I saw Lewis clipping fuel, tire and [Mod] cupons in cockpit TV shots.

51

Sebee, as ever you are seeking to blame everything on the Pus. There are a number of reasons for the pole to fastest lap discrepancy, but by far the biggest factor is the tyre. These Pirelis need constant wet nursing, and so cannot be pushed hard throughput the race.

52

TimW, can you stop it already? Just stop. It's not the tires. You think cars that keep getting heavier and heavier have no impact on tires? 50KG? 105KG? 122KG? This is nothing, right? Surely it makes no difference at all to tire wear, right? I mean, you can't see weight on TV, so out of sight, out of mind. You blame Pirelli for having to deal with fattest heaviest F1 cars ever?

53

Sebee, you say it isn't the tyres, but James and every other expert I have heard speak on this subject says that it is, who should I believe? Clue, not you. The cars got 50 kg heavier in the Bridgestone era, and it had no effect on the difference between pole and race times, then Pirelli turn up in 2011, (two years before the Pus) and suddenly the gap grows. You always claim to be a big fan of facts and data, so below is a list of the gap between pole position and fastest race lap for some comparable races in 2010 and 2011 when both qualifying and the race were run in dry conditions. Same weight cars, with no refuelling, Bridgestone tyres in 2010, and Pirelli in 2011.

Race 2010 2011

Spain 4.4 5.8
Monaco 1.3 2.7
Turkey 2.3 4.6
Canada 1.8 3.8
Valencia 1.2 4.9
Italy 2.2 3.9

54

STOP! Just stop. Stop providing data that is completely out of context and just helps to make you look silly and prove other people's point.

2011 DRS was introduced. Unlimited use of it was allowed in Quali. Aero saw huge changes with height of defuser cut quite a bit, double defusers and blown defusers banned, F-duct banned. Other various other aero changes that impacted lap time significantly.

And then the classic ignorant point that makes me not reply to you and will make this the last reply to you. Comparing outgoing Bridgestone after so many seasons in F1, so much knowledge, so much understanding to a first year effort by Pirelli. Really? Would I expect a first year effort to not be on par with an effort that was in place for many many years? Of course I'd expect some drop off.

Take this reduced aero drag, unlimited DRS in quali and a FIRST year effort by Pirelli, and I think you'll find the difference is more aero than just tires. Thanks for including Monza to prove my point.

55

Sebee, the usual nonsensical response to hard data. All kinds of things change every year in F1, the facts are this, the gap between pole position and fastest race lap remained stable for many years under Brifgestone and Michelin, and then increased significantly in 2011 when Pirelli became sole supplier. They have had 5 full seasons to get to grips with F1, and yet the lap time difference is still there, and still the same as it was when they first came in. the gap did not change when free DRS use in qualifying was restricted, it did not change when the PUs were introduced and it did not change with all of the myriad aerodynamic changes across that period.
Unless you are going to come up with any actual facts and data to back up your point, then my opinion will remain firmly in line with the expert view, and you might as well keep your promise not to reply to me anymore.

56

The only nonsensical thing here is your hard data. Without context, the data means nothing. You know what they say, there are lies, lies and statistics.

You blame Pirelli, I say you are dead WRONG. The cars got 20KG heavier for 2011 because of KERS, lost all kids of aero advantages for 2011. Plus they could use DRS in quali in 2011. The fact that with all those changes Pirelli delivered the tire performance it did in first season in F1 is quite impressive actually.

Now you argue they had 5 season, oh really? And each season the cars get fatter and fatter, heavier and heavier and again you're in some denial that it makes no difference on what is asked of the tires.

PUs are heavy pointlessly over complex pieces of junk that will be laughed at in the near future. "Look son, this is how stupidly complex an F1 engine needed to be when marketing took over F1." PUs cars are over weight, and are turned down in the Grand Prix to preserve the fuel, make the distance, and make the 4 or 5 PU per season allocation last. THAT is why they are so much slower. I can explain away 1.5s difference of Schumi pushing for 70 laps on 4 sets of tires in traffic. I CANNOT explain 5s with these PUs.

I'm done with you and your tripe.

57

Also, how could I forget...cars DID gain 20kg for 2011 due to KERS!

Completely forgot that one TimW, didn't you? How convenient?

Do a bit of research before you post on here TimW, you do everyone a disservice when you don't.

58

Sebee, Kers was introduced in 2009, the weight limit was 605kg, but teams with Kers complained their cars were overweight so the FIA introduced a 620kg weight limit for 2010, when this was deemed not be enough it was raised again to 642kg for 2011. It is worth remembering that the weight limit is the same for qualifying and the race, and that the tyres Bridgestone produced had to deal with car weights of between 600 and 700kg due to fuel load. Quite why you see a list of pole position times and fastest race laps as "out of context" in a discussion about the difference between pole position times and fastest race laps is frankly beyond me, but if you have some actual data to add, then I would be happy to look at it. Until that point there really is no point continuing is there?

59

yay! give 'em hell Seebee!

60

Sebee, we all remember that French GP, we all remember what a big deal it was that Michael had to do the whole race flat out, but you say that they were doing that every week? Why the big fuss then? If he was doing quali laps, then why was his fastest race lap nearly two seconds slower than the pole time?

61

Fresh tyres in qualifying with 1 lap of fuel whereas in the race the only time you'd have fresh tyres was at the beginning of a stint with 15/20 laps of fuel in the car. So the race times are never going to match the pole time.

62

NickH. There are numerous reasons for the lap time discrepancy between race and qualifying, one of them is the drivers leave themselves a margin in the race. The fact remains that Michael's Ferrari was not being driven as fast as it could go for the whole race, the car would have had a different set up, a different fuel map and was being driven as fast as Michael could go without risking binning it. This is only one of the points I raised, the other was "why all the fuss if they all do that every week?".

63
Mr A. (Melbourne)

To C63: " the cars have never, not once, been driven flat out from lights to flag in the entire history of the sport."

I beg to differ on that! What about Aintree 1957 (I was there) and Mike Hawthorn's great races? The late Jean Behra and Luigi Musso too were true, flat out racers in their era.

64

You were at an F1 Grand Prix in 1957?

James Allen, I'd like to immediate donate my 5 stars to Mr. A please!

65
Mr A. (Melbourne)

Sorry Sebee, but yes, as a young apprentice I cadged some holiday and rode my moped from Bristol to Liverpool. During practice I managed to get into the Vanwall pit and, like all the rest present, gasped at Behra's lurid spin on the corner after the pits straight during the battle for pole position!

66

Amazing to have that memory and that experience in your head. Just amazing. I know how I feel when I see and hear a V10 car. I can only imagine your goose bumps when you see old school F1 footage. 🙂

I have 2 decades of experiencing the commercialization amd sterilization of F1. For you to have been there when it felt as I imagine it, open and free, for lack of a better words...well, as I said...amazing.

67
Mr A. (Melbourne)

To: Sebee and Random, closer than I would wish to sixty years since, it is still in my memory as if it was last week! Also, well remembered is seeing a BRM sitting on the pit roadway with a large blue-print spread out on the road across its front, with three engineers/mechanics kneeling and looking from the blue-print to the BRM's front suspension and then simply shaking their heads! See such today, no way. The great DSJ wrote at around that time, about interfering officials at some Continental Grand Prix events, even then.
Tony Vandervell pointed at me and said, "Who's that?" I quickly handed a mechanic a wiper cloth and the mechanic, bless him, said, "My helper." Matter closed, and purest enjoyment continued!

68

He only needs four Sebee - Keep one for a rainy day 🙂

69

Man went to an F1 GP when F1 was a baby. He should be in the 6 star club.

70

Fair point 🙂

71

It's simply a matter of physics. It has always been quicker over a race distance to under-fuel and then drive slightly more economically than it is to carry more fuel/weight and drive harder. Them's the facts I'm afraid.

72

Hmmm...so you're not as ignorant. So you realize that in France 2004 Schumi maintained the leanest package with the freshest rubber to be able to push the hardware to the limits the entire 70 lap GP distance.

73

Ah, now you are changing the debate - he may well have pushed as hard as he dared, given the constraints placed upon him by the hardware and the need to pace himself and the tyres/fuel to last for each stint. But he did not drive the car flat out from lights to flag which, let me remind you, was the original debate and your claim.
Thanks for playing 🙂

BTW - How's that comments restriction you placed on yourself a couple of weeks coming along?

74

He had enough tires and fuel to last the stint. As you say he drove as fast as the hardware alowed - which is the limit. Does it entertain you to say this because you enjoy the prodding? Or is this just a diversion so you don't have to admit that you were dead wrong about 2016 and Mercedes not managing the outcome?

As for my comments, this is my last to you. Been fun.

75

Sebee, in other words, he drove as fast as he could, within the constraints of the tyres and fuel he had available, just like today then, and not flat out.

76

Schumacher is a vanilla character.
Some like him some don't. Never been a fan when he took out Hill.
When he tried his park it crossways on the track move to stop everyone doing a fast laps. Dodgy driver.
Some championship he did not earn. But I assume Sebee has a whole temple in his garden shed to him.

77

Schumi isn't perfect. Wasn't a perfect F1 driver. Neither is Lewis. Neither is anyone. No such thing as perfect.

But whatever he did, and however he did it, it put 7 stars on his helmet.

78

Not me I'd put 3
The rest Are dubious.
Will always you can sing his praises till the cows come home but he is not one of the legends of F1 not in the league of the Hawthorns Clark Hills Fangio Senna Prost Hunt Hamilton Lauda of F1 to name but a few.
Schumacher just doesn't float with me and alot of other F1 fans.
Though I wish him a speedy recovery from his accident. He is still a great driver.

79

@C63 That is true but in the mid 2000's there was certainly less 'economy driving' going on and the drivers looked like they were closer to the limit most of the race. Think of Alonso and Raikkonen charging through the pack at Suzuka 2005, that seemed a lot more like flat out racing than what we have now. I will admit however that the 'economy driving' didn't seem as bad last year than in 2014.

80

this is why I feel the V10s in 05 was one of the best era an F1 maximum. I think we only needed to tweak the qualifying rules to today and races would have been perfect!

81

NickH,

You can be sure, Mercedes has been turning down the car once in the front to a setting that preserved the car in 2016. They have to preserve because they have to finish the GP on 100Kg of fuel as a starting point.

You can be sure that we'll see it in 2017 as well. Not only because of the fuel limit, even at 105Kg, but because of the 4 engine limit - they need to save and baby those engines. This is the first F1 season ever for each car to run on 4 engines. You'll see silliness on saving engines this year, I'm quite sure of that.

82

Sebee, in your beloved V10 era, if Michael was 20 seconds in front, do you think he turned the engine down to increase his chances of getting to the end of the race, or did he keep going flat out just for a laugh?

83

Sebee,
There are only a couple of races where they start using the maximum fuel allowance - the rest they under-fuel as it's the quickest way to run a GP. So the 100kg fuel allowance has no bearing on the overwhelming majority of races.
On your second point - 4 PU's - can't argue with you there. It's rubbish and should not be in the regulations. Let them use 4 PU's/race weekend if they want too and can afford it. But then there would be a lot of whining about how unfair it was to the smaller teams. I guess you can't make everyone happy.

84

'Let them use 4 PU's/race weekend if they want too and can afford it.'

Yep, totally agree. Yes it's very impressive from a technical pov but it does very little for the fans. And this is the main contributor to the 'economy driving'.

85

The wild extravagance was part of F1's allure for me. On a conscious level I realise the teams spend far more than they ever used too, but it somehow doesn't feel like that. Having to eke out engine life doesn't feel right to me. Not very F1.

87

I wouldn't argue that there was perhaps less economy driving in the 2000's - I was merely taking issue with the claim that the races were all flat out.
Anyway, enough of this bickering over fuel economising - where is the smart money being placed this season? That's what I want to know. Might even have a flutter myself if the odds are right 😎

88

The odds at this stage are quite interesting actually! Hamilton unsurprisingly has remained the bookies favourite priced at just over evens, but Max has been installled 2nd favourite ahead of Bottas and Ricciardo (all similar odds 3/1-5/1). Alonso is as low at 15/1 which I feel is too short given the fact we have no guarantee that Honda will come up with the goods. But if McLaren do miraculously produce a competitive car I'd rather have a punt on Vandorne at 100/1!

89

Vandorne at 100/1 is tempting - apart from the fact he has no chance of securing the WDC. I guess that's the problem with betting 🙂

90

Haha you never know! Vandorne may pull a Lewis and topple Alonso in his rookie year.

The odds are likely to change dramatically once the bookies get a sniff of the pecking order during testing. A pre testing gamble could really pay off this year. Ferrari and McLaren drivers odds look the most attractive in that sense.

91

NickH, I think that's true, they were closer to the limit in the races than they are now, but they still were not on it. Perhaps if Pirelli deliver the "racier tyres" they have promised for this season, then we can go back to that.

92

Fingers crossed! Pirelli have come out and said the tyres will have lower degradation to help with them overheating when in the dirty air of another car. As they haven't actually used a 2017 car yet we'll have to wait and see.

93

NickH, We live in hope that Pirelli will keep their promise, with a single supplier, tyres shouldn't be a talking point at all.
Max second favourite with the bookies? Wow, they are impressed with him!

94

Agree Luke -but it wasn't anyone connected with F1 that made those decisions...it was the stiffs in the boardrooms at MB and Renault that wanted to connect F1 with their hybrid road car marketing plans. More proof that the more business you put into sport, the worse the sport gets.

95

LKFE, that's true, but at the end of the day those in charge of F1 should recognise that there are some things that are sacred and should not be meddled with.

I'm not privy to the going-ons behind the scenes, but it seems to me that the people in charge of f1 succumbed to the wishes of a few manufacturers way too easily, and now we are all paying the price.

96

I'm inclined to agree with him. Whilst the cars and characters of the 80's/90's were more 'attractive', the racing was typically dull and predicable for the most part, but you only realise that when you try watching those races today.

For me, the best time in recent history was the mid-late 2000's - 2008 always stands out for me - a period of relative stability in the rules meant the grid was pretty close.

Every time there are major technical changes, we end up with huge gaps between the teams - we *need* stability in the rules to close up the grid and (hopefully) improve the racing as a result. Even the small teams will catch up eventually.

97

I though the racing in the late 80s and the 90s was great. Yes there were some dull races, as there are today, but what do people expect? I mean this is unscripted reality, so you can't expect a Hollywood flick type drama each and every time.

Also the overtaking was rarer, but the quality of it was much better than what we have today. Plus drivers really having to sweat to effect an overtake was really exciting, I thought, even if their endeavours ultimately resulted in a broken wing or a puncture.

98

"...this is unscripted reality..."

Not according to many posters on this forum 😉

100

2005 is the year that stands out for me.
But Alonso is only making this assertion because that was when he won his two titles

101

Still you agree with him, don't you?

102

Finally someone said it!! Alonso is obviously saying this because that's when he won!

103

I think that's far from obvious.

104

It doesn't seem that Alonso is specifically stating the mid-2000's when he won his titles as being the best, he is stating 2000-2009 as being the best era, which I don't disagree with.

I've been watching since 1996 so can't comment on the times before. 2002 and 2004 aside, the fight for the championship in the 2000's were more than just an inter team battle, which is what most people want to see. 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 were all excellent, close fought seasons - there was less overtaking but the racing was close and the quality of the overtaking in this era was much higher, meaning better racing in my opinion...

105

It's been said many times by pretty much all the recent WDCs.

>
"That is just ridiculous," Hamilton said when told about plans to make the cars heavier. "They were great at 600 kilos. It was easier for the tyres.

"The heavier you make the car, the more it's forcing the tyres so the tyres will feel even worse and there's more pressure on Pirelli to produce better tyres. And then more downforce..."

Weight problems

Hamilton has long made it clear that he is not happy with the feel of current F1 cars, and especially the tires.

"In the last few days I've been driving with these tyres and thinking to myself "Why is it so difficult? What are the physical challenges for Pirelli? And why is the car sliding the way it goes?

"I'm just realising when I got to Formula 1 the car was like 600 kilos, and now it's 100 kilos heavier. I think that makes a big difference.

"They don't have to change the regulations much to make the cars three seconds quicker, just make the cars lighter. They are super heavy."

106

Why do you listen to Hamilton
he cant develop a burnt toast let alone an F1 car
the extra weight is down to the battery and compensating for the taller driver
Hami is talking because the Mercedes has it to a T and rule changes mean that maybe Maclaren or Renault might be as quick so bye bye 4th WDC
Remember vettels comments on why hes Champion because hes not in the pool splashing but hard working
so wheres he now that Newey is not designing his car
Dam did ferrari not tell him to stop giving feed back to Adrian

107

Bye bye 4th championship in your dreams bread bin Mike. Waffle on all you can. Red Bull still do not have a an engine that can match Mercedes. With regards to Renault they've just lost Vassuer instead they have a bloke from Caterham in charge talking up . While the French papers are calling it a big loss for Renault. The only one team who may usurp Red Bull is Mclaren.
Ferrari are just moaning and will continue to in 2017. Marchionne already talking of early retirement.
I see all Mercedes engine car teams doing better than Renault engine cars. Maximum power heavier cars = Mercedes Power . Forget the aero especially when Mercedes will be way ahead ...once again.

108

What on earth are you talking about
Burnt Toast Bull! !!!!!!
Dubious codswallop Mike.
He knows more about F1 cars than you do arm chair engineer 😄
Ask Brawn (ask Vassuer when he was racing for him before he got his drive at Mclaren). He is the one that sets his car up, he is the one who gets it around a track fast and on grid one.
What can you do sit on your stool and talk piffle. Most F1 drivers can help build a great car. It's how you use it and develop throughout the season on the track that's what counts.
Enjoy your burnt cardboard Mike.

109

Batteries are still very heavy and non-ecological in the end bcs to produce a battery you consume a lot of natural resources.

110

Absolutely! Hybrid is not green at all.

I calculated a while back that if each F1 host was obligated to plant 2000 trees, it would easily absorb the CO2 of V10 engines for the full GP weekend.

111

[Mod]
...
IMO F1 died in 1994 when Senna passed away.
Since then the racing series only took wrong decision.
Comparing F1 with Movies, Disney had record breaking audience and over the recent years several movies scored more than $1B in revenues.
That means middle class is bigger around the world and F1 is not taking advantage.
...
IMO the best of F1 happened among 1982 - 1994.
The drivers had more and contrasting character.
The cars were beautiful.
The regulations were more open, accepting engines with different configurations [Atmo x Turbo x #Cylinders x Volume] at the expense of some handicap in other areas [fuel tank, weight].
So it caused some medium teams to challenge top teams in specialized races.
F1 had race discards to compensate for DNFs, so drivers could be more aggressive on races.
F1 had cars with special lightweight qualify trim.
Etc.
...
[Mod], nowadays F1 cars still can open 25 sec to each other.
It happens that they must save the drivetrain.

112

Hypocorism or Nickname, ex:
Robert => Bob [Eng]
Fernando => Nando [Esp]

113

Stop living in the past Alonso.
You sound like an old man wearing carpet slippers and smoking pipe remembering the good old days.
You made your bed by picking bad teams with bad cars to race. The glory days are behind you. Time for your soft bread sandwiches and a nice low impact yoghurt. Now how about we turn on The Waltons for you....😂

114

This article is about a comment and if you are agree with the comment. It is not about to blame Alonso as soon as you have a chance.

115

Seriously I'm not having ago at Alonso. But he seems to be doing a Prince Charles on a regular basis.
Talking about the good old days the Halcyon days the Salad Days yabba dabba do days.
It's 2017 he has got his wish, cars will be faster, though overtaking will still be a nightmare and Mercedes and Red Bull will be ahead of the game. But it seems Mclaren and Honda are going to do similar designs to the top teams. So he should just get on with the here and now. Not hark on about yesterday and his 2 champ victories. Which he deserved but the old driver needs his rest bless and a cup of Horlicks.

116

He might also like Dallas [soap about Texan oil folk]
Green Acres [comedy about city folk relocating to country]
Mr Ed [comedy about a talking horse]

117

-Bonanza (he can be the Spanish mexican dude)
-Golden Girls (be the gran)
-Car 54 (the operator at HQ)
-Iron side (His assistant)
-Streets of San Francisco (The guy with the port riddled conk).

118

Yes [Mod], it was better when you were winning in summary.

Everything has got better in f1 from the perspective of coverage. SOO much better But the tracks are billiard smooth and the cars are too easy to drive so they could be in space doing 16000mph and it would look rubbish. Of course no one is going to bumby up their track but someone needs to turn down the engineers. Sick of hearing them Maths teacher the driver. Whi9le theyre at it they could turn the computers off as well.

We have some fabulous drivers at the moment and the ordinary ones are so close to them cos its too dam easy. I think the early 80s was the best era myself, but then I was 10 then and it was just a thrill to see an f1 car.

119

Funny how so many people have twisted what Alonso said in order to attack him.

Alsono claimed that the 2000s were the MOST POPULAR. He didn't say "the best," as far as I can see. "The most popular" is easily checked by looking at viewing figures, race attendance figures etc.

I'm no particular fan of Alonso, but I do think he deserves to have his words treated fairly.

120

I'd believe it. I haven't attended a race since Indy 2008. My first race was Montreal in 2001. Man, the sound of those v10s.

'92 was quite boring, Mansell almost lapping the field. Conversely, it made anytime Senna won that much more exciting.

121

Everyone thinks the times were best when they were in their heyday.
As many people here know, it is difficult to compare eras, for a lot of reasons.
It's just because we've had one team do so remarkably well in developing their technology and processes to utterly dominate for three years, that we harken back to other times.
I remember the 2000, when everyone was complaining about the grooved tires, etc., etc., etc....
I think the 'sport' may be going in the right direction, but we'd only know 10-15 years after the fact, wouldn't we?

122

It really comes down to who's doing the watching - a Taylor Swift fan or a more traditional F! fan with some modest technical interest. Certainly, earlier eras with lesser regulation and more obvious diversity of thought were far more technically interesting than the later eras of heavy regulation and homogeneity of design.

123

Yes, I think you hit the nail on the head. The further back you go the more scope their was for differing design philosophies, but nowadays with the advance of technology everything is computer modeled and optimized so everyone ends up at the same solution, and the differences are all in the fine detail. I still remember thinking of the stupidity when the FIA regulated that everyone had to have the same number of cylinders in their engine.
Alonso's era was also the time where the romantic idea of F1 being about a bunch of guys who wanted to build a car and go out and race it as hard as possible... gave way to the big manufacturers who used F1 as a tool for their businesses; BMW, Renault, Honda all came.. and then left, and F1 lost a little of its sole during that time.

124

I think he's right. The decade started with a truly immense battle between Hakkinen and Schumacher in 2000.

F1 was blessed in the 00s to have four great seasons in a row between 2005-2009, in addition to the decade being kick started by a tremendous battle between Hakkinen and Schumacher, concluding with an iconic and memorable championship double for the team. The on and off track drama that occurred throughout 2007 remains, in my opinion, the peak of the sport, a season that played out like a Hollywood drama. I don't think we should underestimate the sheer complexity and physical nature of the cars throughout the 00s.

To me the cars and the sport as a whole seem much more forgiving today - the idea of a 17 year old entering the sport during the era of screaming V10s would have been a non starter. No disrespect to Verstappen but I think he would have found it a lot more difficult to assert himself where the name of the game was pure sprint and aggression as opposed to the tame and rather pathetic 'conservation formula' that it has become today.

125

First it's Verstappen is too agressive, now he wouldn't have been agressive enough to deal with the conditions back then?
Guys, take your pick. It's one or the other.

126

Formula 1 as a whole package was the most exciting with the cars, engines, tyre wars etc in 2000's. So yes, totally agree with Fernando that it was definitely a highlight.

Still giving a chance to the new 2017 regs, so let's see how that pans out. All my fingers are crossed that it won't be a one team domination like we've had recently. Otherwise viewing figures will take another dip and only the hardcore F1 fans or fanboys will put up with it.

127

The 1980s gave good racing, unpredictability, and varying competitiveness. Even in the 1988 season, when the McLarens had such a dominant car, there was unpredictability about who was going to win.

In the 2000s, almost all of that had disappeared. Unreliability was consigned to history, as was being punished for errors.

The best era (in my memory) was clearly the 1980s and 90s (up to the end of '93).

128

1988 had unpredictability? McLaren won 15 of 16 races, and led 97% of all laps, the highest ever. It was only in Italy where Prost retired and Senna ran into a backmarker, that we got a different winner.

I would be fine with greater unreliability, if there was a Best X of Y Results system in place, as there was back then.

129

In terms of racing, I consider drivers being on the edge more or less through the race distance as a key reason. 2005 was really it for me. There were blockbuster races imola, Nurburgring Suzuka come to my mind. We had a lot of reliability issues clearly the team and drivers were really gunning for it. Atleast in case of Kimi because he had to make a huge point game. The cars and engine were monstrous and there was an equal fight between two different chassis. Except for the stupid quali rule and Michelin stupidity I wouldn't change a thing out that season. That was high octane f1 racing without drs or fading tires as an excuse.
I recently watched some gp2 races and they don't seem to be that slower than f1 cars infact they seem a bit faster probably cause of the noise. Over the years with hybrid drs and pirelli f1 has definitely gone backwards! Something to take a note of

130

@Tarun. Agree with your post, 2005-2008 was probably the best for me. The cars were just plain more aggressive and exciting. 2005 epsecially with those urgent V10s! Great memories of some stand out races between the top teams and drivers during those years.

131

My answer is very biased. I was McLaren's (Mika, Kimi, Lewis) fan since 1997. After the joy of 1998 came hard 1999, then disappointment of 2000, and all 2000s with the exception of 2008.
My personal favorite era is 2013-2016. Hope 2017 will be the same.
Will 2017 changes make F1 more popular? No overtaking in any race, stupid tires and engine war?... How do you think? For me it is a resounding NO!

132

I'm huge Kimi fan and lost my interest in F1 when Kimi left ferrari.. Did watch couple races but something was missing.

But the year he got back in lotus omg that was amazing year and next year was even better. Also had good laughs with Grosjean's sloppy driving and Kimi's radio.. golden age for Maldonado too omg.

133

In the 1980's you could win with a car that was not the best. There Cars could slipstream better and more teams were fighting for wins. Also small mistakes would take you out of the race. It seems that in 2017 aerodynamics are going to be very important and because the speed in the corner will be higher it will be more difficult to follow someone in the corners and that will make overtaking more difficult.

134

Yeah, but interestingly there will be more mechanical grip with the wider tires and more downforce generated from the floor so hopefully the can follow other cars more closely than 2016.

135

I don't recall whether the Australian GP was broadcast live in those days. But when Nigel Mansell's tyre blew out at Adelaide in 1986, the event was a memory that sticks.

That tyre blow out represented the unpredictability of the era. Cars, tyres and engines were fragile. Driving a car was physically tough. And, holy mackerel, how did John Watson win two North American street races from the far end of the grid?

My standout memory of early 2000 F1 racing? Indianapolis 2005 with cars pulling into the pit lane because nobody could agree new racing rules.

136

I think for me 90s were the best,Williams cars from that period were absolutely fantastic.
Probably depends on what era you started following f1 to determine what era you consider the best.
Can't wait to see the 17 cars and hope we have exciting racing.

137

While you can understand Fernando's a bit biased considering his successes in the 00's, the 70s, 80s and 90s GPs were generally won by large margins and the field was generally spread out by large margins too. Because of this, team mate rivalries were an even better way to judge performance than they were in the 00s. Having said that, at least cars were more recognisable and designers had more opportunities to try new things out in the 20th century.

138

Personally I found the 2012 season to have been the absolute best I've ever watched, and I first started watching f1 as a 13 yr old around the year 2000, having been intrigued by it in there late 90s.

Why was 2012 so good? 7 different winners in the first 7 races, a close, ultra competitive field up front with five teams (Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus and Mercedes) duking it out over the course of the season. Plenty of overtaking. Huge rivalry between Alonso and Vettel. Season going down to the wire. Upset results coming weekly. Räikkönen winning in his return year to the sport. Williams (Maldonado FFS!) winning a race then burning down their garage! It was truly the season that had it all! Also V8s.

If F1 was like that every single year no one would be writing articles like this as we would actually be inside the golden age of the sport.

139

2012 was the year I stopped falling asleep during the races so I would have to agree:) It was such an incredible start to the season and when I stopped falling asleep I suddenly found out that there was more to racing than going fast...it was the strategy that intrigued me...and has kept me watching every race ever since...even the ones that are on at 3 am!

140

Yes, the cars were absolutely bonkers but yet not so savage that there was a very real probability of death every weekend. It was a good balance of speed, noise, and outright insanity, even the V8s, that makes the new formula seem some docile by comparison. Even at 5 seconds a lap quicker, I just dont see the races being as exciting. Turn 19 in Austin is a good example of this. In the early years when they were still running the V8s, I loved spending quali there just to be deafened by the cars as they went wailing through there and then banging and popping as they just ever so slightly lifted as they went through. The turbo cars are probably faster but they seem so sterile as they buzz through there. The Porsche GT cup cars were louder through that section of track. The only cool sound you get is the "woooooooooooo" and the whining of the gearbox as they slow down for turn 20 onto the front straight.

141

"The final season of the 2000s era, 2009."
No; James; the final season of the noughties would be 2010, just as 2000 was the last year of the 20th century. Hence that decade started in 2001. Every decade starts in ***1. The very first decade in the C.E. started in the year 1, after all – not in the year zero (which never existed).
Your readership comprises of speed- and tech-freaks; it's probably best to keep such things very clear.
That tiny little slip is nought; thank you for an excellent and informative site, free of all sensationalism. All the best for 2017 (the SEVENTHth year of this decade 🙂

142

So you're seriously arguing that the last year of the 90's was in fact the year 2000. I think it's pretty much globally accepted that when you talk about "The x0's", you're referring to the period x0 - x9... Not the nth decade.

143

Yes - it doesn't make much sense to claim that 2000 was not in the 2000s...

144

To clarify, and in anticipation of the arrival of Rafa's comment - yes, strictly speaking Max is correct. The calendar we use started at 1, not zero.

Nevertheless, when talking about the 60s, 70s, 2000s etc it is generally accepted that 2000 is in the 2000s. I can only speak for myself, but I suspect New JC had the same point: it's unnecessarily pedantic to try to correct a colloquialism like "the 2000s" that everybody understands, just to make a point.

And I should know, because I'm often unnecessarily pedantic 😉

145

Actually he's right: the calender we use started on the year 1 not 0; hence the start of the 21st century was 2001 and not 2000. Many ignored this on the basis of asthetics, hence Jim's comment... but it's Max who's right I'm afraid

146

"The x0's" is an abstract concept designed to describe a period of time between the first day on the 0th and last day on the 9th year. It is totally unrelated to when the calendar started.

147

Ahh, Alonso is just crying cuz he doesn't have a winning car. That's his only problem.
If you want to know which car will be the winning car, just ask Alonso and pick the opposite.

148

The "opposite"? How exactly does one define the opposite of a race car. Is the McLaren the opposite of Mercedes? Was Ferrari previously the opposite? Of course, that means Ferrari have also previously been the opposite to Red Bull, too...

149
Thesle Williams

Is it any wonder that as F1 gets more expensive to watch on TV and attend live that less people are doing it? If fans are provided with good value access to F1 then you might find them coming back. If it continues to get more expensive don't be surprised when only 1 percent of the old fanbase is left.

150

Take a successful product, make it worse, and charge more for it... What could possibly go wrong...? 😂

151

I guess it depends on what you want from racing. I've never been keen on a million overtakes per race; I'd watch Indycar if that was my priority. I loved the 80's but then, that's what I grew up with. Big gaps between cars do not bother me, it's about the bigger picture for me, the story of the season. It was before my time, but I think the 60's was probably awesome. Great looking and sounding cars, swashbuckling drivers, glitz, glamour, danger. That said, I'm REALLY looking forwards to the new season.

152

I think 94, 95, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008 2010 to 2014 were amazing. Loved every race. Last 2 seasons dreadful. First time in 15 years I did not attend a race.

153

I'd never thought about it, but I think Alonso is probably spot-on. I remember lots of F1 parties from about 2004 onwards, a lot of my peer group followed it to a reasonably high degree and it was easy to introduce it to new people (such as my now fiancee). That started dropping off in 2013 and hasn't really stopped since - following F1 is now, IRL, a very solitary experience.

On the point of whether the 2017 regs will improve the sport's popularity - it seems like the wrong question. The regs may help, but if no-one can watch the sport then it's going to have no chance either way. Getting rid of the TV paywall has to be the first step to rebuilding F1.

154

I don't believe what I'm seeing in the votes casts the early to mid 2000s was terrible for F1 with Schumacher domination and even when Alonso broke that sequence the racing still wasn't great until car width was reduced in 2009 from which the racing has improved year on year in my opinion . I don't care about whether the cars in the mid 2000s were better to look at , sounded better or challenged drivers because higher corner speeds I just want good racing and we didn't get enough of that in dry races from 2000-08 cars and it will be an identical story with the wider cars as the downforce the cars will have will create even more turbulence and that's bad if you want to follow another car closely .

The 2017 rules James have gone the wrong way and we can expect more processional races next year in my opinion because of what I think is a deluded fantasy of an idea from the Strategy Group that more downforce will improve the racing - it'll make it worse if you ask me. should have given the 2017 cars less downforce than 2016 ones whilst still introducing wider tyres. Less downforce would mean lower corner speeds but higher top speeds still giving the drivers a challenge with a car thats more twitchy whilst having tremendous mechanical grip from the tyres . Less aerodynamic grip and more tyre mechanical grip = better racing

155

Yes.

The drivers could push flat out, there were more manufacturers, and the teams could develop more on the cars during the season - that meant less predictability.

156

Most popular? Or best? I enjoy F1 now, just as I always have done, there have always been things about it I like, and don't like. I started watching in the eighties, the TV coverage was patchy, there was an element of amateur hour occasionally, and the politics were much worse than today. It wasn't as slick as today, but it looked more fun and there was a real sense that the drivers were doing something incredibly difficult. The cars were real beasts!
In the 90s TV coverage improved, the cars became less 'beastly' and the drivers became more corporate. Politics was less damaging with Max than Balestre, but still grabbed far too many headlines, talk of breakaway championships damaged the sport, and Max's divide and conquer tactics grew tiresome. The "gizmo" laden cars were often unspectacular to watch, technically interesting.
Tv coverage really came of age in the 2000s, slick programmes with detailed analysis, and all on free to air! The cars were very fast, despite the FIA's attempts to slow them down with silly grooved tyres etc, but I really didn't like that they had traction control.
Today? Traction control has gone, the cars a bit too heavy, and the control tyres are dominating the races when with one supplier they shouldn't feature at all. Politics is much less of an issue and the paddock seems like a less cut throat place. There seems to be a will to improve the show, which can only be a good thing, but there doesn't seem to be much of a will to recognise the contribution the smaller teams make, which is a bad thing. The TV coverage is excellent, for those willing to pay through the nose for it, but poor for those who are not. The Internet has given us all a chance to talk about the sport we love, but this has its up and downsides!
The quality of the racing has always been up and down, we forget the dull races from twenty years ago and compare the last race we watched with a select few from an entire decade! Nothing new about drivers saying "it was much better in my day" either....

157

At last, another topic that will allow Sebee and me to bring up the subject of engines again. (Although Sebee is seemingly able to bring it up at any time regardless of the topic being discussed)

Yes, the 2000s were fantastic until 2009. The v10s sounded amazing, the cars had real downforce, they looked like jet fighters on wheels, and there was a general ambiance of extravagance, which I think people found stimulating. The racing wasn't bad either, despite the domininace of Ferrari and Schumi during this period.

But at some point the people in charge of f1 seemed to have lost their grip on reality and made a number of fundamental mistakes that mangled the sport almost beyond all recognition.

First they banned the v10s, and replaced them with v8s, which was quite tolerable as the v8s still sounded great.

Then they lost the plot completely and forgot that the sound adds a massive element to the drama of the sport and is actually a big draw card, and brought in the fuel rationing PUs.

The battle with downforce was another mistake, as it not only made the cars less exciting to drive and to watch, but it also made them so ugly, that frankly I don't know how these cars were even allowed to be shown to the public.

Then there were the sundry artificial "show enhancing innovations" like tyres that degraded excessively.

Luckily 2017 will rectify a lot of those mistakes, such as aesthetics and boring to drive and unspectacular to watch cars, which only leaves the PU situation to be addressed and #F1 will be great again.

158

Why does this question even need to be answered? I don't see football or tennis getting all self-reflective... the solutions to the future are not in the past because there has never been multiple teams that could win. The only way to achieve that is to go the Indycar route and have a standard chassis , engine and aero. Reduce costs , give some scope for ingenuity , drivers can be more comparable and make the difference.

159

There's definately a hint of rose tinted specs on the go here from all parties. I wasn't around to see races in the 80s / early 90s but from what I have seen, yes the races could end up as being very boring, people remember the good bits, the sounds, the beastly cars and the larger than life drivers.

The 00s I do remember, strangely like Alonso I hanker for them too but when I think back properly it was usually just a boring Ferrari led procession, very little overtaking, waiting for pit stops to mix things up a bit. However the cars were spectacular to watch and listen too and some of the overtakes (on those rare occasions) were stunning. I thought it was boring then but strangely I don't think it was boring now.

However what both of these periods had was freedom in the rules to innovate and push the limits of aero, engine and tyre technology. We don't have that now.

For me the best period in F1 was 05 - 10, each of those years the championship was a genuine contest with contenders from different teams, think of the drivers at the top of their game in that period; Schumacher, Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vettel, Button, Massa, Webber, all won many races during this period.

160

This time I disagree with Alonso. Yes, there was 25 seconds between top 3 and others were often lapped in "85, ’88 or ’92", but that is normality in sport. Faster cars drive away from slower ones, simple logic and nothing wrong with it. And when I watch older races from 80-s to early 90-s, I always get that "wow, look at that!" reaction, even when the competition is not that tight. These races seem worth participating, worth winning. There is never doubt that there are brave men going around the circuit. And mentioning the circuits, not every straight ended with a hairpin back then:)

I think in some ways F1 peaked in first two races of 1994. The cars were fast, the circuits were still circuits, expensive and grid spreading gimmicks were just banned. After the big shock maybe some of the charm was lost(which is easy to understand and forgive), but it was still a strong and credible racing series for many seasons. Then came the 2000-s, that Alonso hails...

2001-2005 were the wasted years of F1. The cars had the mighty sound and power of V10-s, but were sadly dulled by traction control and other unnecessary driver aids.
2008 the driver aids were gone, but by then other diseases were spreading. For some reason, the circuits and all surroundings were covered with asphalt and more and more often even the stewards had no idea were the actual track was supposed to be. And this leads to probably the most important factors, why the 2000-s can never compete with earlier decades. Too often there were weird, uncovered, baldly corrupt decisions made by the stewards.

Will the 2017 rule changes improve F1's popularity? Probably the cars will look better and for many it is important. Increased cornering speeds probably have less effect, since most of the tracks are very wide these days and walls quite far back so that it is difficult to sense real speed.

161

Alonso is starting to sound like a whinging middle aged man when everything was better back in my day.

Whether it's music, films, football, boxing or motorsport people can always point to their "best era". It's all complete rubbish - everyone has different views and reference points so no one is right and no one is wrong.

But bleating on about the past suggests you struggle with accepting the present.

Maybe Johnny Herbert had a point about Alonso after all...

162

It was boring when Schumacher was winning everything but 2005 to 2012 were awesome years, give or take the one or two duff season.

163

I think he's right. Those machines were truly something to be amazed at (I recall several drivers saying you were in the middle of braking when your brain actually picked up what was happening).
I agree some fans didn't like the sprouts and wings and winglets, but form followed function, and in high downforce cars, that was the optimal form.

The cars were fast (the fastest if track records serve!), they were menacing, they made the devil's noise, we had lots of manufacturers and privateers. F1 was certainly the pinnacle of motorsport, a qualification that sadly has lost (cars today are slow, sound like a grass mower, are driven by spoiled kids, are ugly, and have ridiculously sized wings).

So yes, I think he's right. Aside from the original turbo era (late 70s, early 80s) when cars were unbeatable beasts (as in, no other F1 car ever will be this awesome) like the 312T and RS01, the 2000s were a blast.

164

Here is your shot at glory Sebee!

165

Thanks. But this article shouldn't ask for input, it should just state them.

We know 2000s V10 were peak. We know this by race attendance and TV viewership. By F1's popularity. F1 was reported on by even small town local evening news each GP weekend.

We also know that V10s made many people fall in love with F1. Have you ever seen a PU car do F1 demos to try to bring fans to F1? V8s maybe. But never a PU car.

We know all this. We know it was peak F1. We know it was awesome. We know the records stand. And it will take 122kg worth of extra junk in these PU cars to match the lap times posted by those nimble 600kg V10 beauties. 13 years later, and we'll finally match that speed. PU cars, at 122kg extra weight will try to claim some legitimacy against V10s. Funny.

166

And there's the money shot. That's a wrap, people.

167

Alonso is totally wrong. I remember the 2000s as an era where passing was mainly done in the pits. Refuelling and the lack of passing made for boring races. My favourite era definitely 1984-1993, when drivers could still make the difference with the development of the car and you had rivalries between Piquet vs Mansell and Prost vs Senna.

168

oh I don't know about that! I seem to recall some incredible wheel banging between Schumi and Nando!

169

That was for only 1 yr though with Fernando racing a Schumacher past his prime. 2007 was my favourite season of that era. My problem with that era was passing in the pit stops, which made races boring. In the 80s and early 90s, what made races exiting for me was watching Senna passing or Mansell doing a dummy on Piquet. There were lots of memorable races in that era: Monaco 84, Portugal 85, Spain 86, Silverstone 87, France 88, Belgium 88, Suzuka 88, Brazil 89, San Marino 89, Belgium 89, Hungary 89, Portugal 89, Japan 89, Belgium 90, Italy 90, Brazil 93, Doningtom 93...all memorable races, for me at least, even after all these years.

170

This is always going to be a matter of opinion... Who is your favourite Dr Who, or your favourite James Bond? It usually depends on your age - and I'm in my early 30s, which probably explains why I agree with Alonso!

I've watched a lot of races from the 80's and 90's, and I think a lot of F1 fans have rose tinted glasses about the past. F1 races have always been pretty boring to watch from beginning to end, unless you're a real fan. Alonso is correct, the famous overtaking manoeuvres that get replayed from decades ago were rare. Look at qualifying times from decades ago - the difference between the front running cars, the middle, and the back markers was often quite comical. Most drivers on the grid these days are all champions of some sort, whereas backmarkers from decades ago were often amatures (albeit extremely brave).

I love the history of motor racing as much as the grey haired brigade, but I worry that many "fans" knock the sport too much today. Yes, F1 has serious problems (mostly financial ones, because it is too expensive for circuits teams and fans) but with drivers like Ricciardo and Verstappen etc I'm still looking forward to 2017.

171

I don't think fans have rose tinted glasses at all. I watch reruns of f1 from the 90s almost on a daily basis and I really fail to see any improvement to F1 since then.

In fact, I think the contrary is the case. F1 seems to have degenerated in many areas such as sound, aesthetics, car performance, circuit design, quality of overtaking as opposed to sheer quantity etc.

172

I think the 1990s (or late '90s since I started watching, at least) were equally good, up until 2008 maybe.

I suppose Fernando's current frustration with F1 (along with many followers) is that the regulations have become more and more restrictive/stifling, since the financial crisis hit the sport at the beginning of 2009. Since then, as the years have rolled on, it wasn't only the teams' budgets/development resources that were being curbed, but the ability of the drivers to push the cars to/beyond the limit as well (hello, Pirelli fast degradation tires and fuel saving!).

In the 1980s, I imagine it was similar in terms of the driving; where the gaol was to manage the car through the race, especially fuel (tires probably not too much of a concern back then, though). Compared to the mid-1990s to late-2000s, when refueling (and durable tires) allowed drivers to effectively treat the races as a series of sprints, rather than a marathon.

If anything, I'd like to see more pre-season and in-season testing (the latter can maybe be limited to 20-30 optional days per year) in order to allow the teams to develop their cars; as well as for the FIA to junk all regulations that limit development (e.g. the now defunct PU "tokens"). I would also like to see the drivers supplied with more durable and high performance tires (as for refuelling, I'm on the fence really). Finally, I'd like to see the return of the spare car, so that drivers have the option of rejoining a race whenever they are involved in a race stopping accident. While they're at it, why not return the 30-min sunday warm-up? So that teams and drivers can fine tune their cars to be as efficient and fast as possible for a race, rather than compromising between one-lap pace versus a 70+ lap race?

173

Need more teams that are competitive... As long as it's Merc on pole and controlling the race, it's gonna be dull. Need Ferrari RB McLaren to get on with it - golden age will start!

174

Alonso is spot on about 85, 88 and 92. I'm old enough to have followed them and I know the past wasn't all that great all the nostalgics tell us. Many times the racing was really boring. On the other hand, the act of driving the car looked more interesting for the cars were that much worse. And there were less of these 20 meters wide tracks around. I mean somehow a quali lap at Imola looks that much more exciting than a quali lap at Sepang. Still, I don't want Imola back. You couldn't overtake there these days.

I must say all years in the 00s weren't pure gold either. In 02 and 04 Ferrari was too good and only one driver was allowed to win - more boring than Senna vs. Prost. But most of the 00s was pretty good. But so was early 80's and late 90's.

So, I guess I'm a bit on the fence as to the racing. But driving the car definitely looked more interesting in the past. Modern cars just are technically too good and I'm afraid no regulation change can make that go away.

175

sure it was more popular in the 2000's as there was internet access for fans to keep up to date with the sport. having been a fan since the '89 season (i was 6 yrd s old & didn't know about the sport prior to that tho have done a fair amount of research on the sport before then) the only way to keep up was to watch the races then there would be a race report in the paper on the tuesday after the race (in Australia).
as for the sport being better in the '00's i am not overly sure, there were many bemoaning the lack overtaking in that era & the majority of it was via pitstops...
having Manufacturers in the sport all at once is great but the problem is the sport isn't financially viable for them & if they are not winning within 4-5 season's they leave the sport & go racing elsewhere. even since the 2000's interest in the sport for many has declined due to artificial & stupid rules where they want cars to "race" each other (DRS) yet if you touch another car you get a penalty & if you even look at the seal on your engine/gearbox it's an immediate grid drop.
sadly the sport isn't as "pure" as it used to be & i now find it more entertaining watching the old season reviews as opposed to the current live races....

176

Nobody knows better than Alonso how great the post 2000 era is in terms of safety. He walked away from one big time rolled up ball of a McLaren-Honda in 2016. In what I would call the very exciting era of the early 1970's in F1, Alonso would most likely have been little more than an organism conforming to the shape of the accident. Looking at it, it's hard to fathom how that would have been survivable in an early 1970's car.
Probably the most significant aspect of the post 2000 era. Safety has taken the front seat, and these cars have to pass the crash tests as the first step to production. In that regard, I would say that the post 2000 era is the best era. Jackie Stewart would likely agree with that 100 percent.

177

I agree with Alonso to a point-- the best racing came before all the cost control measures. Teams and drivers (with money) and tire manufacturers when multiple were involved were pushing any and all directions and looking for every advantage. Competition was real and fluid-- that said-- drivers still had to face the same things, they had to protect the tires, they had to protect the brakes, they had to protect the engines, they had to keep an eye on fuel levels all at the same time as trying to go as fast as they can. In that respect the job of driver has not changed in 50 years of racing.

178

two words: Pay wall

179

The new regulations are going to make the cars faster and look better but make overtaking (and the spectacle) harder and thus less exciting. I'm a bit worried tbh. F1 needs to work out what it is before it changes things again imo. Does it want to be the absolute pinnacle of motor racing with a strong ethos of delivering technology directly translatable to the road (thus attracting much greater manufacturer input) or does it just want to be 3 secs quicker than gp2? Whether F1 likes it or not Formula E has stolen a March on F1 imo. Despite being painfully, embarrassingly slow compared to F1 it has many ingredients right. I want F1 to be the pinnacle. I would love it if Liberty Media just shout a little louder about the amazing things F1 already achieves (50% thermal efficiency etc) but they've got to work out what F1 is first. There also shouldn't be compromised racing due to tyres, drs etc but that's a whole new topic!

180

Alonso definately has a point here. Most of us who have been watching F1 for 20+ years will all relate to a particular era, depending on driver and/or manufacturer alegiance. But the late 90's - mid 2000's were spectacular in a lot of ways. Very loud, obnoxious cars, some overtaking, more pit stops, high downforce levels, tyre wars, and most importantly, more competitive cars up front. Williams, Mclaren and Ferrari were not seperated by the margins we se today, and the same goes for Renault from 2003-2006. The V10's may not have been the most dramatic DESIGN but they were for me the most dramatic sounding overall. Wailing, popping, spluttering and screaming - pure sex. Lastly I think next year will surprise the nay sayers and we may enter another spectacular era.

181

In my opinion the 80's were the most popular as well as the best period for pure racing technology vs technology for technology's sake. In other words, since around 1990 when the first semi automatic gearboxes came in, there has been a shift from pure racing with (relatively) simple engines and gearboxes to a push to ever more complex tech for no gain in 'the show'. This led inexorably to a technology race with huge and ever growing costs.

Furthermore, modern F1 seems obsessed with 3 things that (IMHO) should NOT be driving F1:

1. F1 as the pinnacle of technology (rather than the pinnacle of racing)
2. F1 should be seen to be green.
3. F1 should have some road relevance.

None of these should be driving F1.

Who cares of F1 is not green? 20 cars racing for a few weekends a year are a tiny drop in the ocean compared to even 1 day's motor vehicle pollution world wide. If anything should change it should be the monstrous transport carbon footprint moving everything around the world.

Road relevance? I can see that this is important to the big manufacturers as a tool to persuade the shareholders that the costs of F1 will have some benefit. However, F1 should be seen (as in Ferrari) as a marketing tool more than a road car development tool.

Pinnacle of technology? This is the most relevant reason I chose the 80's. Cars with powerful simple engines, with a foot operated clutch and a manual gearbox. This is one of the reasons there was a big spread in the field at the end of races. The better drivers simply drove away from the lesser drivers. Of course there were better and worse cars too, and that had a big influence, but a really good driver could drag a poor car to good performance levels. People say that Alonso has done that this in 2016, but it's really hidden from the general public because the technology driven culture means that for the most part we get 2 Mercedes followed by 2 Red Bulls followed by 2 Ferraris (or vice versa), followed by a bit of a mix where driver ability (or pit side strategy) makes a difference. We should be able to see the driver difference throughout the field.

So.... 80's rule.

182

If I read it right the question was which era was best supported. That's not the same as best races or best spectacle. But for me the support and passion of the Mansell Senna era was the stongest its ever been. As a Toleman/Benetton fan you would be crossing everything to qualify, pre qualify sometimes let alone finish. Sure the races of today are closer in time terms but I don't think we see the Supercommitted overtakes that I remember.

Personally I think this has a lot to do with the new blue flag rules. Back in the day you had to be able to overtake because folks wouldn't just jump out of your way. If you couldn't pass a backmarker or midfielder on your own your race could be destroyed.

The other big factor is that the standards of race engineering, set-up and strategy were much lower. Cars were rarely optimised to the extent that they are now. Set up relied much more on the drivers and hence open to mistakes.

Just my two penneth.

183

I personally don't remember a single race "back in the day" where a backmarker would deliberately impede a lapping car. Sure, they wouldn't jump out of your way the next corner most of the time, but they would co-operate and politely feather the throttle on the next straight, etc. It was an unwritten rule of F1, and I'm not sure that today's blue flag rule is an improvement, just as I'm not sure that the other dubious rules such as "one move per lap" are any improvement on the code that drivers used to operate by. That is why I personally hold previous eras in higher regards, regardless of the racing - it was conducted by men who acted like men, not go running off the the race steward whenever someone moved 2 inches onto their racing line.

184

I don't feel like I can give a good answer to this polls. I've been folowing F1 since 95 or 96 ... either way the year Damon Hill took his title for Williams. I've seen every race after and saw JV, MS, MH take titles. Due to buzzy life I didn't get to watch all races after FA took his titles. Looked with a half eye tho, seeing the Massa drama unfold (being champion .. noowp, make that vice champion) .. then followed more closely again the years SV came to the top step.
What I've noticed over those years is that .. what I like to see is, for starters, things happening for the first time. I'm always cheering if some driver is having a good run towards his first ever victory. Or some other towards his first ever championship. Or even some other team or driver towards its first ever point. Besides that, what makes F1 exciting to watch is when stuff happens like with Max this year in Brazil. The moment when you feel like someone is doing something out of the ordinary. THAT is when you wake up. When you feel like a driver is taking a car WAY over the edge to a whole new level. I guess Senna did that a couple of times before I was watching. I've seen MS do it. I've seen other drivers do it. For me, the very reason why some races in the last couple of years were labeled boring, is because we felt .. that the cars were taken to the limit .. and that there was nothing beyond. If you see 2 mercs doing almost identical lap times over and over again ... then you just know .. this is the limit. You can't push it to another level, it just won't. You loose your intrest in drivers because you feel like you could put any type of decent driver in that car and he'd be going equally fast. We need machines that CAN be pushed to levels even the engineers are baffled. And we need drivers that CAN. THAT is what makes great races. THAT is what makes F1 worth watching.

185

Only things I'd bring back from the past would be loud turbo-free engines, refueling and more tyre manufacters..

And ofcourse McLarens red-white coloring! Most beautiful cars in f1 history..

186

All Alonso is saying is just how incredibly great he is, as ever. The man is a deluded egotistical joke who believed his own fawning journalists narrative about how the plucky little Spanish bullfighter took on the whole world and beat the greatest ever. Forgetting to mention how his [Mod] manager/team boss ran illegal cars and that he had different tyres to Schumi.
[Mod]

187

.. and Schumi had different Bridgestones to the other Bridgestone runners. Doesn't take away from his achievements though,which are more than the sum of their parts.

188

And this is the thing with F1, 100 people have 100 different opinions on how it should be, the rule makers have no hope.

I've given up and will just try to enjoy whatever form of F1 we get for however long it lasts.

But the 97 season was the best:)

189

Very hard to cast a vote for me : I really started to watch consistently GPs in the late 90s(97/98)...and I remember the prost vs senna mosty because , as a Frenchman, we had a lot of exposure and TV time about " finally a sport where a French dude is winning".

Concerning Fernando's point of view, I think he does miss mostly the 2000's because it was good for him, that when he was "rising" whereas the 2010's have been mostly desapointing.
I will accept that as a driver, maybe it was more fun to drive the cars in the 2000's (i don't know, I am sick after 1 lap in a junior cart.....)
As a TV spectator, My feeling is that it is mostly dependant on competition rather than "era" : 2002, 2004 , 2011 and 2013 and 2015 were boring because there was (almost) no competition for WDC
What makes F1 interesting is also the popularity of its starz...in taht respect, I think Senna is still way more of an icon than Schumi or Hamilton....Vettel RBR was not a star and that showed (audience falling in Germany ? )
2017 will be good if no one is too far ahead at barcelona. and will be great if there is a real battle for the WDC until brazil between VES/RIC/HAM/ ???

190

I don't really think it's really the noise, or the actual speed that's missing when we watch the races on TV at the moment. It's the *perception* of speed and a sense of it being spectacular. Some of this might be down to how the races are shot. Perhaps controversial, but I think the production values for F1 on TV are too good. The sound levels are really well engineered (no crazy peaks/sudden changes, nothing that could seem unpleasant or give you a fright) so don't 'feel' loud (otherwise you could just turn up your volume and bingo, it's loud enough!) and the visuals are made to look smooth (super stabilised on-board footage, loooong telephoto zoom shots of the cards travelling down the straights) so basically makes everything appear slower than it really is. They even do lots and lots of slo-mo. Why on earth are we slowing down footage of a sport that's all about speed? It is (figuratively and literally) not cricket.

Case in point - if you watch footage of someone riding a bicycle at Redbull Rampage or at a UCI downhill race (especially the on-board/helmet cam footage) on Redbull/Apple TV, it can be breathtaking and is usually more exciting to watch than an F1 pole lap. And it 'feels' really fast. But why? Downhill bikes don't even have an engine, so make barely any noise. They're also going a lot slower in terms of absolute speed. I wonder whether the lower production values of 'extreme sports' stuff (think of all the GoPro vids you've watched over the last couple of years) and from older F1 coverage (all those shaky, not-wide-angle-enough onboards!) might actually be a bit more to peoples' taste.

What do you think?

191

Strange comments and I think he is just trying to cement his legacy. What makes it worse is that the season reviews are easily available and the evidence is out there. Whilst I enjoyed the early 2000s in terms of seeing an absolute great driver perform with the absolute best machinery, there can be no doubt that the races were utterly boring processions.

Interesting too that Alonso cites reliability as a factor ruining the 80s for him when both his titles were won in large part due to the reliability.

The 1980s had amazing cars to look at and listen to, incredible and iconic liveries, amazing characters, absolute classic circuits, and some of the most phenomenal races you can imagine.

192

Just saw this picture from F-1 in the mid 70's in Interlagos:
http://flaviogomes.grandepremio.uol.com.br/2017/01/foto-do-dia-651/
So hard to compare eras as they simply feel like completely different sports... Take a look at those guard-rails... lol

193

Yes and no. 2002 and 2004 had to be the most boring seasons of all time for the spectators, although you have to admire the accomplishments of Schumacher, Brawn, and Byrne with Ferrari.

Notable 2000s seasons for me, which provided great racing:
2000, Mika vs Schumacher. Who could forget Spa!
2005, Kimi vs Alonso, forgetting the disaster that was the US GP (6 car start).
2006, Alonso vs Schumacher.
2007, 4-way battle between Lewis, Alonso, Kimi, and Massa + Spygate!
2008, Lewis vs Massa & Vettel's and STR's first win + Crashgate, which didn't emerge for nearly 12 months.
2009, JB's WDC and Webber's first win.

However, outside of the 2000s, for me, 1976 was a cracker with the Hunt-Lauda battle very well depicted in the 'Rush' film. As well, many good memories of the turbo years of the 1980s, and the Mansell, Piquet, Prost, Senna battles of the 1980s and 1990s. 1994 was another great season (leaving aside the disastrous Imola weekend) Hill vs Schumacher. Plus the mid to late 90s with the emergence of Mika, DC, and JV.

As a spectator, the 1970s were fun when you still had relatively easy access to the paddock, such as at Mosport Park near Toronto. Wondering how on earth Niki Lauda could even contemplate driving in state he was in after his near death at the Nurburgring. He looked in dreadful shape. Overhearing Colin Chapman giving Gunnar Nilson a bollocking for crashing the Lotus 77 at the 1976 meeting. Seeing James Hunt chain smoking before the 1977 race. Meeting Alan Jones in the greasy spoon concession grabbing a hamburger and fries. All great memories!

194

Massa? 2007? I don't recall that the cheerful Brazilian figured much in 2007. Possibly a year later?
Sorry if that was a touch pedantic........

195

Hi Phil,
You're probably right about 2007 points wise, but until Kimi took his two wins at the end of the season to increase his win total from 4 to 6, Lewis, Alonso, Kimi, and Massa were on 4 wins apiece. So I included him on that basis. Of course, Massa was much closer in 2008 to the point of nearly becoming WDC as we all know!

196

I completely agree with Fernando. For me the best period of F1 was 2005 – 2009, the 2005 season I mark as the most exciting, still to this day I cannot believe Kimi didn’t win that championship, and the tyre & suspension failure at the end of the race at the Nurburging still lives long in the memory. For me it ranks up there as one of the most exciting ends to a Grand Prix alongside Brazil 2008 and Canada 2011.

For me though the season that really summed up how Formula 1 should be is the 2008 season. 7 different drivers winning in 5 different teams – nearly half of the F1 teams that season won a Grand Prix, and that variability of multiple teams being able to turn up on a certain weekend and in be in with a shout of victory if the conditions played to their favour is where motorsport should be.

In F1 2016 we had 4 different winners from 2 different teams. In the 2016 World Rallycross Championship there were 7 different winners from 6 different teams over just 12 rounds! That is what motorsport should be and highlights where Formula 1 is failing.

197

I still fail to see how giving the best drivers in the world better tyres and a lot more grip will improve the overall show. It just means the drivers will make no errors and that Saturdays will become even more important again

198

With the exception of 2002 and 2004 the 2000's was a fantastic era for the sport. It certainly felt more successful commercially than it has done in recent years.
I fail to see how anyone thinks anything from 2013 to now even comes close to some of the fantastic seasons prior. 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, and 2008 all spring to mind to me.

If Mercedes still hold the same advantage as they have since 2014 this coming season I can see myself stop watching F1 live and I will likely just record then fast forward a lot of the qualifying sessions and races.

I would just like to see different teams get pole and win again. instead of Mercedes every weekend unless they crash or retire. That's what F1 needs in my opinion.

199

It can be argued that nothing is by 100% true, and you can find an opposite option but in some part, Alonso is right in his statement.

in 2000s cars looked very nice, especially MP4-20 would be my favorite. Engine sound accompaniment was just awesome (V10s), in this regard particularly I'd like to emphasize - Ferrari 2001 year. Not the sound but a pure symphony.

200

Interesting comments from Lewis and Fernando about today's cars.....

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=e5yoldSte64

201

Okay, so let's take Alonso's comments at face value, rather than trying to twist his words to mean it was better when he was winning.

In terms of popularity, that is defined by race attendance and viewing figures, right? Both of which have dropped off at least in part because of the ridiculous cost of both. So there's more to the stats than just the racing. So the statement is meaningless, although not wrong.

Interestingly, now Sky has lost Premiership rugby and football to BT Sport, its overall value proposition has fallen. Its cost, so far, hasn't. But surely the football junkies must be deserting Sky? So they won't be watching F1 any more either. Viewing figures will continue to fall, just due to the loss of incidental viewers.

So will Sky compensate by increasing their costs further, or by dropping them? Fewer people paying more. or more people paying less?

Answers on a postcard.

202

What the sport is missing is another epic intra-team battle between to established world champions.
Even though what Fernando says it's absolutely true, the 80's era marked an entire generation (despite boring racing) because of one of the most iconic team mate battle ever witnessed in Motorsport.
If Vettel, Alonso or Ricciardo were alongside Hamilton in the past three years at the all conquering Mercedes, no one would have deemed the last three seasons boring.

203

For me it was the late 70s to the 80s. Huge power. Blow ups. Villeneuve, hunt, lauda, Arneaux........

204

No! He's just desperate. That's all.

205

As usual the man knows what he's talking about

206

I always felt that after growing up watching the 2000s that I have some bias looking back with rose tinted glasses. So I decided to watch the entire 2005 season again (Qualifying and Race) all races every lap that was broadcasted to test this theory: And Fernando is right in respect to it being better to watch than now. A few things that really stood to me are these:
1. The sound: No doubt there were some boring races in 2005 but the V10 engines were a joy to listen to and is a real reminder of just how bad the V6s sound. I could never tire of listening to them.
2. The Cars: Visually they were stunning. Their liveries were superb and very diverse. The Mild seven Renault livery is possibly the greatest thing I've seen in F1. Not only that but the McLaren MP4-20 was gorgeous and one of my all time best looking F1 cars. They were sleek and looked "fast".
3. Gravel: the gravel and lack of run off catches a lot of the inexperienced drivers out and makes you take for granted how easy the tarmac run offs have made it nowadays.

Now I haven't mentioned any of the things the top dogs think is wrong with F1. E.g overtaking, Action, entertainment. 2005 didn't have much overtaking but the single lap qualifying did provide some epic moments. Especially at Monaco with Alonso vs Raikkonen. The single tyre rule was abysmal in a way similar to the Pirelli tyres and the downforce rules brought in started the "dirty air" issue, and Indianapolis was an absolute shambles. But I don't care because the look and sound was and still is enough for me to sit and watch 2 hours of it again and again.

So what that tells me is that Formula 1 needs to get its looks and sounds right. The base instincts that draw us fans before worrying about action. You can't guarantee action or a spectacular race every time but you can guarantee sleek, loud, screaming machines. That's my two cents, take it as you please...

207

I think Alonso is correct. For me the 2000's were the epitome of F1 racing. What originally attracted me to F1 was seeing the limits pushed, seeing cars just having the necks wringed every weekend. In the 2000's we were watching the drivers pushing over powered and extremely technical engines over 22,000RPM (sounding AMAZING as they did so), quick dash refueling, we had the Max/Bernie soap opera just putting things over the teams time and time again just to give you something to read about during the week, Renault Vs. Ferrari, Schuie Vs. Fernando, Michelin Vs. Brigestone - it just all worked so well.

I have lost alot of interest in the last few years as i dont like the idea of just saving this, saving that, let them go hard and give them the tools to do so and make them sound 'next world' by doing so. The turbos just sound pathetic compared to what we had and the whole hybrid thing was a bit of a misstep.

208

I just feel that for some reason the TV broadcast makes all the new cars seem so slow, even in cases when they are faster than the old 2000s cars.

209

In reality, it is down to the broadcasting. Stop putting it behind a paywall and allow people to get hooked into the full show of the season.

210
Clarks4WheelDrift

For me, era nostalgia aside, it still boils less down to what eras are better and more down to what tracks are better.

Spa, Suzuka, Brazil, Silverstone, Monza etc!!

The only other thing that adds to classic memories is variable weather on a wet-dry-wet race, as at so many Spas, Brazil, Canada 11 etc.

Of course it still helps if there isn't massive domination such as the specialist tyred dominant Ferrari 04 or miles better hybrid packages on Merc 14,15,16 more recently.

211

When i was a young boy we were hungry about sport, didn't matter what sport. Races where not live and only 5 minutes at evening in TV. But we listened live to the radio. A good speaker could comment a boring race into the greatest of all times.
Sport in TV was around 7-8 hours a week. Now you can watch sport 24-7 on 20 different channels. Kids are not hungry any more, they are satiated. And nothing can change that.
Even if it is not on TV, its on a play station, xbox...

Visiting a race track with your dad is no longer the only way to watch a whole race.

212
Im not in the habit.

It's always come down to rivalry of two greats; Senna Prost, Senna Schumacher, Schumacher Hakkinen followed by Montoya and then Alonso.
Personally I reckon Montoya Schumacher was pure popcorn munching stuff.

213

It's subjective. Given that most readers of JA's blog are in their 20's / 30's, most don't remember, or have looked at the earlier years. The early Turbo years (BMW 'grenade' engines), The DFV years that gave a fairly level playing field, the ground effect years that produces blistering cornering speeds, the pre-aero years where slipstreaming produced incredibly close racing (Monza '71)... I could go on. Alonso is referring to what he knows, but to make a general comparison is like comparing apples with pineapples.

214
Cédric Baumgartner

I really enjoyed the late 90's- early 2000 and in particular the rivalry between Michael and Mika. It was before Ferraris dominance era and both Ferrari and McLaren we're both very close performance wise. And who remembers Schumi's controversial team mate Eddie Irvine who despite being a nr2 wouldn't have a bar of it!

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