Wednesday, 6 April 2011

New Disease: F1-N1 - The Malady of Formula 1

What is wrong with Formula 1?

In one word: boring.

Most people blame overengineering, the ridiculous rules, policy, etc. I agree most of those except 'overengineering'.

Let's think about this for a minute. Yes, Senna was awesome with the manual gearbox, clutch, and there was tremendous excitement on the track - overtakes, crashes, battles, you name it. It was all about racing, competing head-to-head on the track.

But would you really want that back? It may be exciting, or may not be. But sitting in your car on a Monday morning after a race would you realize that your Hyundai is equipped with more advanced technology than any 'F1' car out there.

And then it wouldn't be F1 anymore, would it?

Any stepping back in F1 technology is like Neil Armstrong saying 'Sorry guys, this is just ridiculous, I'm going back' on the Moonlander's ladder.

F1 is 'Formula 1'. The loud science lab of car manufacturing. It would be a huge loss of prestige if all that was taken away.

You want open-wheel excitement? Well, this is what GP2 and IndyCar about. Especially IndyCar. Identical cars with not so advanced know-how behind it. Cheap to enter, cheap to run. No big deal if you crash by 200mph in the 3rd turn of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

On the contrary, F1 is the sport of geeks. Where off-season developments are as 'exciting' as Sundays. Yes, the drivers are great. They are bred to do this. But indeed, it is the battle of engineers.

So here's an idea. Since I hate drivers playing Kraftwerk songs on their steering wheel during races, let's just get rid of all the buttons and let them do the driving. Meanwhile, engineers back in the paddock could do all the work the drivers were forced to do up to this point, through a reinvented two-way telemetry system.

There could be a seperate point system for the driver-engineers, judged by a committee. Whoever does an excellent job with bad drivers or cars by pushing them more to the front with their cunning aid, could get points. Or whatever.

The thing is, there should be a separation: drivers should do the driving, engineers should do all the background tricks during races in addition the incredible job they have been done, and what the viewr gets is almost pure racing, where you don't need a calculator to decide whether the race will get exciting within 23 laps or not.

In fact, you don't go to a restaurant to learn all the cookery tricks. You go there to enjoy the product, regardless what the ingredients are, but knowing it is high class. That is the difference between a self-help and an exquisite restaurant.

So Bernie, let us just enjoy the meal and you guys do the cooking, is that a deal?

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