This weekend F1 is back and once again the sport finds itself fighting for its survival and credibility. More and more people demand action packed sport that doesn’t take up too much time. Cricket has been the classic example, which has suffered at the hands of modern demands.
F1 is trying to respond, but no one within it can decide what is the right direction. First it was the V8s that had to go, but now there are complaints about the cost of the hybrid V6s. Then the cars had too much downforce and were too ‘easy’ to drive, so the aero parts came off, now the cars aren’t quick enough, and the gap isn’t big enough between F1 and lower formulas. Red bull dominated with a blown difuser, the best aero man won the championship, now the best engine manafacturer wins the championship, and no one is sure whether that is ok. Lastly there are the tyres, they are designed to degrade quickly so that there are more pit stops and strategy, but everyone moans they spend more time conserving their tyres than racing.
F1 is battling constantly with feeling relevant to real people, in a world that wants to reduce emissions and fuel costs. Whilst providing a fast and frantic sport to entertain the casual watcher.
So what do we end up with? Well this year it’s a change to qualifying. Qualifying is an hour long and all you need to watch is the last 3 minutes. 57 minutes is a mix of the fast guys warming up and the no hopers bumbling round scrapping for placers no one cares about. All to decide what order they actually race in the next day. It takes too long and nothing happens, is what the critics have to say. So here comes the new format:
Now the sessions will be broadly the same length but after a few minutes of getting your act together, you have to start setting quick times.This is because after a few minutes, every 90 seconds someone gets the chop. Until there is only two cars left to have a shoot out. It genuinely does sound like a great system, and one that will bring some actual interest to Saturdays. No more waiting for the last 3 minutes for someone to actually try and do a fast lap, instead it’s be quick or drop out!
Now if the same people who came up with this idea could now decide on what they want to do with: tyres, aero parts, engine costs, head protection, noise levels and general speed of the cars, we could have quite a sport on our hands.