Back to basics

There has once again been a lot of talk within Formula One on how it can become more entertaining.

The FIA Strategy group believed that reintroducing refuelling to the sport could be a solution. The teams however aren’t so keen. Others would like to see a change in the tyre compounds, not least Michelin who have recently tabled a proposal to become the sport’s sole tyre supplier from 2017.

Naturally, like many fans, I have ideas of my own. To me it revolves around bringing the sport back to basics. To me this means banning pit stops as well as radio communications from the pit wall. I also feel, despite having initial reservations about the idea, that Formula One should shorten the length of races. The way in which a tyre operates during a race should also be changed to allow a driver to push harder. Lastly, DRS could also be banned as well, or at least give the drivers a limit on how many times they are allowed to use it during a race.

The idea behind these changes would be to put greater emphasis on the action taking place on the circuit. By banning pit stops and radio communications, you put more decisions in the drivers hands, allowing them to show their abilities off, it would also mean that engineers would no longer be able to guide drivers through a race. It would bring the action further back onto the circuit, rather than the pits which is where most of the action takes place currently. By shortening the race distance it makes it easier to preserve tyres as well as enable cars to be fueled lighter without having to create rules or directives to bring about such a change. This would naturally make cars faster as less fuel is required to complete a race distance, it would also free drivers to push harder for longer during races, which can be helped by having tyres that still degrade, but allow a driver to push the tyre. Lastly, by banning DRS you put a greater emphasis on the driver having to do the work to get an overtake done, this often sees late braking overtakes which are often entertaining to watch. However if DRS was limited to only being allowing to be used a certain number of times during a race, this would also put another decision solely in the drivers hands as to when during a race they deploy it.

I feel, contrary to some people’s belief, that there is overtaking and entertainment during races currently, the problem is that the overtakes happen when a driver pits for tyres compared to their immediate rivals, and the entertainment comes via the radio discussions between the pit wall and driver, which the audience only hear a fraction of and can also be hard to understand, both in what has actually been said as well as being able to get a clearer picture of how the race is developing.

A basic approach to racing can be seen in sports such as MotoGP where they don’t have pit stops during the race, having to rely on tyre choices prior to the race to give them any sort of strategic advantage, the rest is up to the skills of the rider. Although there is tyre and fuel preservation in MotoGP, it doesn’t dominate the racing as much due, in part, to their being no radio communications between the rider and pit wall. This makes MotoGP quite basic in terms of racing as it is thirty plus laps of pure on track racing, this means the spectator doesn’t have to worry about pit stops and can follow the action easily.

Perhaps at a time where many people are trying to think of adding more strategic variables within the sport in a desperate attempt to make it exciting, it is time to wipe the slate clean and start with a very basic format, with cars simply going round a circuit, with nothing but the drivers and their skills deciding the outcome of a race.

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