Overtakes? More than that, what Formula One really need is unpredicitability.
In the recent rears, Formula One haven't been a surprising spetacle and this fact kind of made the entertainment less entertaining, so what can be made to change it?
The near future:
After quite a trilling season in 2017 and an average season start in 2018, a subject that have been discussed quite a lot were the lack of overtakes and track fights and just in the right time, FIA introduced a change in the rules that promises to correct it in 2019 and it is basically a review on the aerodynamic rules, where the cars will have less winglets, a larger front wing and a deeper rear wing, promising to reduce the aerodynamic turbulence, what will (in theory) increase the overtakes, but the polemical DRS keeps on there, what I hope, will be there as a safety feature, a plan B just in case to maybe, be removed in the following season or a bit later… but I don’t think that this is something that we will see that soon…
In fact, some big changes already happened in Formula One for the 2017 season, when (basically) the chassis, tires and wings became wider, but there are still other two regulation changes for 2019 and 2021, that are in the aerodynamics, while the mechanic changes for 2021 consists mainly in the removal of the MGU H system, the increase in the MGU K power and also in the engine rpm’s, that will go from eleven thousand to forty thousand to benefit the engine noises (and hopefully, make the fans happier) resulting in power units that are less complicated, noisier and cheaper as well and the plan is that those aerodynamic changes will help to increase the number of overtakes, what is great but not the only factor in a “emotion recipe”, what is proved after a exciting British GP and a great Austrian GP and what both had to highlight in a season that had mainly, lukewarm (to not say “boring”) races? Surprises.
The recent history:
To begin, another “one-two” result from the silver arrows in Austria wouldn’t to be a surprising result if both cars could at least, see the checkered flag, what in fact weren’t the case for Bottas and Hamilton as mechanical failures in both cars forced the Finnish and the British driver to retire from the race, what is a surprise, considering that the last time that the German team had a mechanical failure in one of its cars were in the 2016 Malaysian GP, when a break down in Hamilton’s car took him out of the race and reduced his chances of another World Title considerably, almost to none actually (what in the end, resulted as “none” as his teammate and long-time friend - until that year - Nico Rosberg took it deservedly), and even before that situation, there weren’t many mechanical failures or even dual retirements for the silver cars in a single race in the recent history of Mercedes F1 Team so, two at once? Wow!
A Bittersweet result for Red Bull at their home GP as Ricciardo had to retire while Max took the first victory of Red Bull at the Austrian GP (photo credit: The National/Formula 1).
When the championship arrived at Silverstone to the following GP, the fans already had surprises when the lights went down. Hamilton, that emotionally celebrated the Pole Position after the Saturday Qualifying section, received an accidental touch of Raikkonen and with that, went from first to last to then, make a recovery race, climbing the grid positions one by one to finish in second place while the Ferrari driver received a polemical ten seconds stop-and-go penalty and still ended the race in third place in a race that had at the same start, the Force India of Checo Perez spinning out of the track into the direction of the pitlane exit just when the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin (who were starting the race from the pitlane just in front of his teammate, Lance Stroll) and two Safety Car entrances in a short time period as it had to be deployed after the crash between the Haas of Romain Grosjean and the Renault of Carlos Sainz just a few laps after the massive crash of the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson (who also managed to came out of his car in safety although the force of the impact), what resulted in a interesting race in the second half of the Grand Prix.
Both the Austrian, the British and the Azerbaijan GP (that happened a few months earlier this year) are remembered by the fans as some of the most exciting GP’s of this season so far and all of them have one thing in common, unpredicitability. Yes, track fights happened in all of them, but not in a big number, what isn’t a surprise in the actual F1 period and have been the focus of a lot of discussions between the fans and also in FIA, who decided to introduce those new aerodynamic rules to at least, try to fix the problem.
I’m not celebrating Mercedes failures in the last races and I’m not suggesting that the drivers should crash against each other by purpose to put Bernd Mayländer to work a bit more In his AMG GT-R or even that foolish rules should be made to move the things more frequently during the races, but maybe an review on the punishments that have been deployed so far that already turned into a cultural thing inside the sport and believe me, into a real problem. A solution? Simple, If two drivers are fighting with each other for a race position and one of them ends running out of the track a little bit by any chance, but without taking any advantages for that, just returning to the track lines still in that fight, don’t give to that driver a stop and go, a drive through or even a time penalty in the race end. That just kills the thrills of the race and even more, the action of a race fight even before it starts because of drivers being aware of that penalty possibility.
My thoughts and views:
Other thing that I point the finger is the cars sizes. As we can’t see how they increased over the years, normally we ignore it and puts the fault of boring races at Monaco in the track instead of paying attention into the cars, but they in fact increased quite a lot in the last twenty years and when I think about it, the cars from the first half of the 2000’s worked just fine as they were narrow and small enough for the narrower tracks like Monaco and still had advanced aerodynamics for the time and in that way, there were competitivity enough (or almost enough) and emotion in sharp tracks like Monaco and also in wide and fast tracks like Monaco and Spa Francorchamps.
The size of the Formula One cars has increased a lot over the years, mainly after the regulation changes for 2009 and later, for 2017 as this photo with the Ferrari F2000 and the F16T from 2016 shows (photo credit: unknown).
Notice that I’m not saying about going back in time, but making a comparing and yes, there were some considerable difference between the teams at that time (as always), but that’s other thing that Liberty have their eyes in and hopefully, they will fix it with more equal profits distributions between the teams instead of paying the big ones three or four times for season “just” because they’re big, competitive, historical and world champions. In fact, Formula One are already an exciting sport but the question are how the managers and marshals deal with it, how they deal not only with track situations but also how they defines the rules knowing the wright way to make both teams and public happy and more than that, how to sell it to their public and attract new public.