At this year’s Goodwood revival, which is a yesteryear motorsport event for fancy dress enthusiasts, there was a truly fabulous race between various former racing drivers, all of whom were in identical Austin A35s.
For those of you who are too young to remember Austin, it was an awful company that employed a useless workforce to make badly styled, badly engineered cars badly.
And yet there was more drama in that five lap wet race than I’ve seen in the last five years of Formula One. And it made me think: why not force all the current crop of watch models to do a race in crappy old cars before the F1 race? That’d be a great spectacle.
But what about the main event. Formula One. How on earth could that be made more exciting?
At the end of one dreary procession this year, Lewis Hamilton’s race engineer went on the radio to say “Well managed Lewis”.
And that’s the problem right there. The team has built a computer and then paid someone to “manage” it for a couple of hours.
In another race, the young hard charging Max Verstappen was told by his engineer to stop trying to overtake Nico Rosberg and again, I found myself throwing stuff at the television screen.
Formula One is a mess. You have the drivers who want fast corners. They are exhilarated by such things. But sitting at home, we have no sense of the pressure. And we can’t tell whether one driver is going through the bend faster or slower than the next. What we want is overtaking, and for that, you need long straights followed by hairpins. Which the drivers hate.
Then you have the teams. They want to use tech and aero to gain an advantage but again, we don’t care about how the KERS system works or how the air flow is managed round the front wing. They think the sport can be reinvigorated by bigger tyres and more speed but as the Austin A35 race proved, that couldn’t be further from the truth…..
Happily I have an idea which will change everything.
If Lewis Hamilton qualifies on pole, then his team mate starts at the back. If Verstappen is second, then his team mate starts in second to last place, and so on.
This will make qualifying electric because beating your team mate will become extremely important. And it will make the race exciting too because the fastest cars will be at the front AND the back. The slowest cars, meanwhile will be in the middle where they will spend the entire race being obstacles.
And you’ll never have two team mates running in line astern, being told by the team not to hit each other.
That way, the sport can continue to be the technical tour de force that it wants to be. But the racing will be immense.
There will be many accidents and as a result, the cars will have to be toughened so the front wing doesn’t shatter whenever it is lightly brushed by another car’s side pod. Which means the drivers can keep going for longer.
If you can find a fault with my plan, do let me know.