Forget surveys, here’s what F1 can learn from Monaco


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An amusing development, though one which said a lot about Formula One’s crisis of confidence, occurred during the run-up to last week’s Monaco Grand Prix when not one but two major surveys were launched to canvas F1 fans’ views on the state of the sport.

One even had the backing of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association. The very men who are supposed to be our racing heroes are now asking why, while they give their all on the track in pursuit of glory, viewers are switching off in their millions.

But anyone who gave up on the Monaco Grand Prix before lap 64 missed one of the most dramatic moments of the season so far.

As someone far wittier than me once said, the Monaco Grand Prix makes a nice change from motor racing. Sure enough, the first 63 laps of the race ran to the usual script: a pretty parade for the mega-rich.

Then the unexpected happened.

That’s right: something unexpected happened. That’s a rare occurrence in Formula One.

Murray Walker used to say “anything can happen and in Formula One it usually does”. Today it usually doesn’t. We’ve become accustomed to seeing drivers make their routine couple of pit stops, drone past each other in DRS zones, mumble PR platitudes about how hard ‘the guys’ worked and go home.

But in Monaco Mercedes stunned everyone. They missed a one-foot putt. They had an empty goal and put the ball over the bar. (Yes, I had to research these analogies.)

In F1 terms, they threw away a 19-second lead in the Monaco Grand Prix by making an unnecessary pit stop. Not since Bjorn Wirdheim has the principality seen a more shocking squandering of a certain victory.

It was a tough break for Hamilton and no one expects his supporters to have enjoyed what they saw. But as a piece of sporting theatre you couldn’t fault it – a professional team made a big mistake and paid a big price. That’s partly what we expect to see when we buy a ticket to a race or turn on our televisions – brilliance rewarded and errors punished.

The surprising outcome to the Monaco Grand Prix proved that, well-intentioned though these fan surveys are, one simple observation goes a long way towards explaining why the sport is struggling and what needs to be done to reverse its decline. It has become too predictable.

Formula One prides itself on the professionalism of its competitors with good reason. But that expertise, allied to sky-high budgets (and the prize money system that sustains them) allows for the steady elimination of every variable that might produce a surprise.

Let’s turn our attention to how that can be remedied – without resorting to the kind of naff gimmicks that cheapen the sport.

If the FIA and FOM want to inject more excitement into F1 they need to bombard teams with variables and strip away the means for them to spend their way to success. Here’s a few thoughts on how to make F1 more unpredictable:

More competitors Yesterday’s announcement that a new team is being sought for next year is welcome news. The more cars there are on track the greater the opportunity for anything to happen
Smaller teams Lower the existing limit on the number of staff each team can bring to a race and keep bringing it down each year, which will also reduce costs. Cut back pit crew numbers to a bare minimum (which also makes sense from a safety point of view)
Trim back the rule book For example, let everyone have a free choice of what tyres to start on and which they use during the race – the more choices teams can make, the more choices they can get wrong
Make tracks harder Revise run-off areas and penalties so that drivers cannot leave the track without losing time
Ban tyre warmers If IndyCar and GP2 drivers don’t need their tyres pre-warming, nor do the F1 elite
Get rid of DRS Overtaking moves used to be an unpredictable occurrence. DRS has made them predictable, formulaic, mundane
Accept that some races will still be predictable Because without those races the unpredictable ones could never excite us

Over to you

Do you think F1 needs to become more unpredictable? What’s the best way to achieve it?

Have your say in the comments.


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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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121 comments on “Forget surveys, here’s what F1 can learn from Monaco”

  1. Great points, especially the last one.

    1. exactly. you can’t have a great race without many non-great ones. not every race has to be a classic (indeed, that would be impossible). however, making the tracks harder would go a long way to improving the general, overall spectacle.

      1. @frood19 that’s why I think Strategy Group would suggest different “fixes” if the meeting was held right after Malaysian GP…

      2. It’s interesting, my dad and I were talking about how tracks aren’t punishing anymore but how the stewards room is always full.
        Something perhaps @Keith Collantine could agree with me maybe.
        On the basis of that from a safety view they took away gravel to prevent rolling cars are so on but lower noses on the cars seem to bring that back last year. If I recall though, the latest death in F1 (Ayrton Senna) died due to having a fully paved run off section at the San Marino GP and hit the barrier, so I think safety is being flipped on it’s head here.
        I think drivers should have nothing but the curbs and white lines for track and maybe a bit of astro but the rest should be barrier or gravel (within reason).
        That would stop driver complaining like last year with vettle calling out drivers track limits and ultimately would reduce the in my opinion silly penalties for going over a white line too many times.

    2. Indeed @hadws, if every race unexpected things happen, than that becomes what’s expected, and that’s okay.

      It is a bit like with ever bigger budgets for movies that combines with them tending to be sequels, prequels, and reboots as the ‘machine’ that makes them tries to eliminate any surprises.

      It succeeds in making ever more money (but needing it with those bigger budgets), but also means positive surprises for viewers become more and more unlikely, and usually only happens when a movie happens to actually have story (in f1: sport) rather than ‘show’.

      These points read like they outline a good strategy to improve F1.

    3. Agreed, and I would like to add one more: let’s make the drivers race again. I really enjoy the opportunistic racing style of Verstappen, even though it ended in tears. Something Hamilton/Vettel had in the early years, but they somehow lost this, probably they are now at the front of the field. I want more real battles in the midfield, and yes, let them clash sometimes. But please stop all those penalties, and remove the fuel saving mode. We want to see a race!

    4. Yes, but Keith forgot one aspect. Diminish the total aero surface in order to make aero less overpowering/Boost mechanical grip in order to lessen the power of aero.

      I ashamed of going through the GPDA poll. The poll was riddled with the answers GPDA wanted to here rather than having a broad range and an option for manual inputs, there’s no human touch on that poll, some bad people are going to use the results of that poll to justify their means because they’ve simply fabricated the answers, not to mention that 50% of the poll was not about racing at all, and there was only 2 objective more or less open questions the cars tracks and racing.

      1. Overtaking made possible you said? I’d be glad to see that!

      2. I thought the autosport poll was better than the GPDA poll. It was not quite so busy putting words in your mouth by making you choose from a list of bad options. It did it a bit as well, but not as much.
        Anyway, I totally agree with the aero discussion. But I think it’s more a matter of the front wing dependence for downforce which washes out so easily. They could switch to more underbody tunnels and other ground effects and be able to actually get up close to each other and race….or even pass each other without DRS!!!

    5. Agreed. Lets all be lemmings.Processional races are to be looked forward to.Nothing else ever needs to be done.And of course no dissent.

  2. Yes I agree with most, although the removal of tyre blankets will probably also remove the ability of one driver to ‘undercut’ the driver ahead, Although it should force the overtake to happen on track (warm vs cold tyres).

    I don’t watch Indycar and rarely get the chance to watchGP2. Ignoring Indycar (not relevant), do we see many warm vs cold tyre (on track) overtakes in GP2 after successive lap pit stops?

    1. why would you say Indycar is not relevant? that is your loss, you are missing out on better open wheel racing. indycar has often been better then f1 in racing, and f1 can learn from it. i have never understood this anti-american racing series snobbery by racing fans, but like i said, it is their loss!

    2. @asanator Not sure about many but they do happen, both in GP2 and Indycar(why is it not relevant by the way?). Point is, if it’s safe for Indycar and GP2 it’s safe for F1 too. And it’s better than having drivers hang back from the car in front at 2sec distance so god forbid they are not in the dirty air, then up their fuel mixture and do a fast lap after a pitstop. What’s exciting about that?

    3. Well- written piece with suggestions on what could be done rather than the usual complaints we get to hear from nearly everyone.

      Tyre warming, as little as the costs may be, should simply go. Nothing to worry about especially concerning ‘undercutting’ as you mentioned, since everyone will be on the some cold tyres.

      I agree with all the areas suggested by Keith especially on cutting back the number of staff and pit crew. Having one person change tyres will add how many secs? Currently pit time is 3 secs on average and since changing of tyres by a single person in Indycar or Nascar, takes about 5-6 secs, with re-fuelling aside, pit time in F1 will only increase by 3-4 secs. Nothing wrong with that. Afterall some teams are already spending that amount of time during pitstops.

      But I am yet to see the benefits of having teams choose their own tyres. That is going to create chaos during races in my opinion as teams try to extract the maximum from tyres that are washed out. If other teams realise that a particular compound is optimal, everyone as it happens, will switch to that compound and design their cars to run on that. What do we get afterwards? Procession.

      – They missed a one-foot putt. They had an empty goal and put the ball over the bar. (Yes, I had to research these analogies.)

      Nice line. I am wondering whether @keithcollantine watches football at all, is a football fanatic or just a passive viewer.

    4. Tire warming is one of those ridiculous things– When teams are losing money by the millions, the focus is on something that costs a few thousand pounds each. Sure, it’s a way to save money– but combined with standing starts, removing them will lead to cold tire collisions at turn one. Or a very boring turn one.

      Any rule change should ask three questions:

      1) Does this rule make the cars more, or less, safe?
      2) Does this rule change lead to better on-track racing?
      3) Does this rule save money, or cause the teams to spend more money to compensate?

      For tire warmers, it’s “Less”, “maybe”, and “not really”– It will save money, but lead to more crashes at the start, which leads to less interesting races, and ultimately, the amount of money saved isn’t really that significant.

  3. I am with you 100% Keith! Especially the point about making tracks harder. Days are gone that a leader or driver beaches the car and ends his race. Deivwrs to longer walk a tight rope to failure, except now they walk on the sidewalk.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      29th May 2015, 13:35

      Gravel traps also make it far more likely we see the SC and the field bunches up while they remove the stricken car.

      Its not something I would ever condone increasing unecessarily, but a healthy amount a necessary SCs in a season is no bad thing.

      1. I think the SC should be replaced by red flags — it’s just safer and less messy. Also, make the Red Flag restarts happen without the benefit of changing tyres (incident happens, VSC immediately (with pit lane closed) and then Red Flag in that order of events — restart in race order at the time of the Red flag from the grid – or possibly pit lane).

  4. I think half of F1’s problem at the moment is that we’ve had one period of dominance from Red Bull replaced immediately by another from Mercedes. On top of this the Hamilton/Rosberg dynamic is looking more like Webber/Vettel each race even taking Nico’s two latest wins into account.

    This lack of competition up fron is compounded by the fact that Ferrari seem secure in second, with Williams most likely third. We’ve had three people share the podium in all but one of the races so far, usually in the same order. I’m not saying that there aren’t things to enjoy in F1, and I along with many who read this site will watch every race intently regardless of dominance. However the more casual viewer is more likely to be turned off by the predictability of race results so far this season, especially for the top places. No amount of banning tyre warmers, less pit crew or no DRS (however much I agree with their removal) will negate the fact that we have one team a second ahead of the pack, with one driver in that team looking to dominate the season. We didn’t have most of the things Keith wants removed back in 2002 or 2004, but it still didn’t stop most Sunday’s becoming a parade led by Michael Schumacher.

    It just doesn’t make for as compelling viewing as, say, the four way title fight of 2010 or the great duels for the championship we’ve seen down through the years.

    1. Totally Agree with this

    2. @colossal-squid While I agree with what you say, there’s no good writing three paragraphs merely pointing out an issue. Do you have any ideas to remedy the problems you outlined?

      @keith Another stellar article. There’s far too much “X is wrong with F1, and Y is bad” without people attempting to come up with solutions. Good on you!

      1. @timi Thanks very much :-)

      2. @timi nobody forced you to read my three paragraphs. I’m pointing out that while Keith raises some issues, there are other issues at play in how exciting F1 is at the moment.

        Just because I point something else out I think is relevant doesn’t mean I’m obligated to give a solution.

        1. Sorry that’s a very bad reply. My apologies. You’re right to call me out on waffling.

          A better reply would be – is there a solution to one team simply doing a better job than the competition? Should there be a way to fix or prevent periods of dominance happening in F1?

          In my view there’s an issue that it would go against the interest of the sport. I don’t think artificially restricting competition will give us the racing we want, and I don’t think teams should be penalized for being excellent. So it’s a problem we have a dominant driver in a dominant team, but I think in the interim we have to put up with it.

          1. Should there be a way to fix or prevent periods of dominance happening in F1?

            No because that defeats the point of there being a Constructors Championship awarded to the team that built the best car. Periods of dominance occur in all sports and drastic actions taken to eliminate them are either ineffective, anti-effective, or worse than useless.

            In time Mercedes will lose their lead when everyone else becomes better.

    3. I agree with both @colossal-squid and @keithcollantine. There’s definitely things that can be done to improve the show and Keith points out many great suggestions on this front. However, as Colossal Squid says, having one team – and particularly one driver – dominating is always going to limit how good the show is.

  5. I agree with many of your recommendations. I think the best and easiest to implement is giving teams free reign over their strategy. Run on any tire you want and re-fuel as many times as you want or not at all. The freedom to pick a strategy will help to mix things up and we may see the smaller teams grabbing decent points more often as they can better leverage the strengths of their car and team.

  6. Reduce the turbulence off the car, especially it’s rear wing by re-introducing ground affects. The original ideas to remove these were correct but on today’s circuits with all the run offs they can bring it back.

  7. I expected something that is directly a Monaco-related lesson but only the free tyre choice comes remotely close (in that “the more choices the teams have to make, the more they might make mistakes”). The others – to me – are just another list of the same mantra most of the media repeat over and over again and I feel like bringing up the late-race turn of events at the Monaco GP to justify another opportunity to provide exposure for this list is a bit poor.

    1. Arguably, ‘smaller teams’ also played a role in Monaco @atticus-2, though from the apparent miscommunication, perhaps a smaller crew to decide on pitting would have stopped the mistake from happening :)

  8. I think the racing is fine. It’s the presentation that needs fixing.

  9. Very good points, Keith, though I can imagine Bernie pointing to his madcap sprinkler idea as the logical answer to injecting more unpredictability into the sport.

    I’d quite like to up the stakes on Saturdays by giving each driver just one timed lap to qualify for a sprint race an hour later, the results of which would determine the starting grid for the main event on Sundays. It might see the usual order shuffled around a bit, and could mean more wheel to wheel racing. Just my two cents.

  10. I say be careful what you wish for. When they announced that there would be surveys done, asking what fans wanted, I baulked at it. Because I think most fans don’t really understand why F1 is sometimes so good. It’s like the old addage about football vs basketball – in basketball, the teams score all the time. Each time a basket is scored, there’s very little excitement generated. But in football (soccer) there are comparatively few goals – when a goal is finally scored, it’s always exciting. I think it’s like that with F1. Not just with overtakes, but with all of the elements which make F1 exciting. So yes, before Pirelli joined, there was one exciting race because the tyre had higher degredation than expected. Everyone said “this is brilliant, we love this, F1 should have more of this!” so Pirelli designed tyres to try and generate that every race. And you know what happened? People hated it. Because it wasn’t special or unusual, it wasn’t exciting any more. it was frustrating seeing race after race dominated by tyres. Something which had caused so much pleasure and excitement in one isolated race, became a source of annoyance to fans when they saw it too often. If the unpredictability becomes predictable, then it ceases to be attractive.

    Think about a delicious curry. You need just the right amount of spice. No spice, the curry is bland and boring. Add a bit of spice and suddenly it’s delicious. Now your average F1 fan mentality is to say “hey, a little bit of spice made this delicious! Let’s empty the spice pot into the pan next time and then it’ll be amazing!” and what thye end up with is an unpalatable, inedible mess.

    So what I’m driving at is this. When you have the odd race where something spectacular happens, it’s exciting and we love it. But we love these things because they are rare. When tyres lasted a whole race, fans said this is boring, we want to see races where the tyres fall apart and nobody knows what’s happening. Then they got exactly what they wanted and now they say, this is boring, we want to see races where the tyres last forever and the drivers can go flat out. That’s what people will be saying in these surveys. They’ll be asking for more of the things that happen very rarely, unaware that it’s the rarity of the occasion which makes it so good.

    1. You are largely right in what you are saying @mazdachris, and I think that’s why I agree with the list @keithcollantine made – they are all measures that help more different unexpected things happen, and the last one, importantly, notes that as you say, we shouldn’t strive to have every race be a show of surprises.

      Ideally, I think we’d want races where people try 4 stoppers, and races where some can do without stopping at all, ie. variation, and different cars/drivers to be strong in the one or the other. That was fun about Perez’ Sauber podiums in 2012 (and Monaco 2015 drive?), for example – it didn’t always work. But all races having surprise winners might feel a bit like a lottery (we had that in early 2012 I guess), which isn’t fun all the time.

      1. @boysber Thing is, F1 teams hate unpredictability. Almost everything about how they go about their operations is geared towards the relentless acquisition of data, so that they can eliminate any possible areas on uncertainty. That’s why unpredictable races are such a rarity, and why we were all left scratching our heads as to how a team could get something so spectacularly wrong.

        Unpredictable things happen when either the teams don’t have the data they need to mitigate uncertainty, or when the data is misleading. The latter was certainly the case in Monaco for Hamilton. If you want to make races more unpredictable then the best way to do that is by limiting the amount of data at the teams’ disposal, to increase the level of uncertainty. There are plenty of ways you could do that. Currently they have very sophisticated GPS tracking systems which give an almost constant feedback to both the driver and the pitwall. You could do away with that for a start and just go back to a basic sector timing system, perhaps even limiting each team solely to data about their own cars, so they don’t know what the gaps are like or what sort of times others are doing. Of course you could always go back to the good old fashioned stopwatch but that would be at the very extreme end of the scale. But certainly, limiting timing information could be a good way of increasing uncertainty.

        Then you also have all of the telemetry systems on the cars themselves. There are sensors on just about every single part and system so the teams know exactly what every bit of the car is doing at any time. They know what the G loadings are like, they know the levels of downforce, they know exactly how much pressure is in every tyre, and so on. Again, you coul cut a lot of this out and go back to having data just on crucial systems like oil pressure, engine temps, etc. You wouldn’t, of course, want to introduce anything that might make things dangerous, so maybe you’d need alert systems which activated when certain things happened, like brakes getting over a certain temperature or a sudden drop in tyre pressure. But you could definitely introduce a little bit of guesswork, so that teams might not have quite the understanding of how the car is working that they do now.

        Weather radar systems have also become very sophisticated over the years. The old days of having to actually look at the sky to know what the weather is doing are long gone. Perhaps that’s another thing that could be restricted.

        You could look at communications too. Not just pit to car, but also communications between factories, technical teams, and the pitwall. So you end up with a dedicated team of people on the pitwall who are restricted to only speaking back and forth to the driver, and limited solely to the data which appears on the screens in front of them.

        All of these things would be horrifying to a modern F1 team, which has become used to having a very complete understanding of everything that is happening at just about every moment of the race. But races were happening long before all of this data was available. Not only that, but a lot of it would be a driver for genuine cost reduction, while also ensuring that there is a lot more uncertainly and unpredictability in races.

        But of course, as I say above, you do all of this and no matter the outcome, people would likely not be satisfied, would call it artificial, and moan about how it’s not proper F1 any more.

  11. @keithcollantine surely decent(-ly designed) tracks would go an awfully long way to making F1 a bit less predictable?

  12. 100% agree on the tracks. Racing is about being on the limit, on the edge. Most tracks don’t even have an edge these days…..

    Imagine if tennis just allowed you to keep playing the point because your shot was close enough. Or if to many players kept missing their shots they made the lines wider….

  13. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
    29th May 2015, 12:37

    Very good points indeed, but I still genuinely think that, besides predictability, there is a second major issue that made F1 less exciting to me than it was some ten years ago.

    This is that I don’t feel that I am watching sports(wo)men at their very best throughout every corner of every lap of every competitive session of every race weekend in every season.

    I have the feeling that back in the early 2000’s, for example, everything was pushed to the boundaries: the speed, the tires, the drivers. I genuinely had the feeling that I was watching (in awe) things that are sheerly impossible. Compare that to today, where drivers are asked to lift and coast, to save fuel, save brakes, save tires, to not take any silly risks, and (a recent example) to take ‘free’ pit stops just to be sure.
    If F1 can do anything to restore that sense of pushing the boundaries, than I might stick around for longer. There are only a very few reasons for me to keep watching now, the most salient is Max Verstappen. Seeing a 17-year-old with hardly any car racing experience compete gives me a (sort of) sense of pushing the boundaries again.

    1. +1 totally agree

    2. +1. I still get that from MotoGP but not from F1 for years.

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        29th May 2015, 15:42

        Exactly! What still puzzles me a bit however is that in MotoGP there is some tyre management going on too. How often have we seen a late surge by Rossi because he managed to save his tires a bit better in the first 10 or so laps? But somehow I still get the feeling that there is much more ‘man and machine on the edge’ to MotoGP than there is to current F1.

    3. @hanswesterbeek I actually think that your comment is another perfect example of what @mazdachris was getting at above. The fans wanted to hear the radio communications, the channels were opened up to improve the show. Now we get to actually hear what is going on in the cars and we don’t like it. People complain about not wanting to hear about drivers being told to save fuel or tyres. Tyres and fuel had to be saved 30 years ago but this was acceptable because we didn’t get to hear about it. Now we hear about it we complain that we don’t think the drivers are pushing the boundaries – it’s actually more about perception than reality and that’s the conflict with F1 as a show versus F1 as a show.

      1. *F1 as a sport

      2. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        29th May 2015, 18:42

        So, @jerseyf1 you mean that they are just as much on the edge as they were 10 years ago? How come we hear so many drivers now complaining that F1 isn’t as physical anymore? That the tires destroyed it? Is Mark Webber all wrong?

    4. Michael Brown
      29th May 2015, 19:55

      And then the FIA imposed a limit on rookies, which would have meant that drivers like Vettel and Hamilton would have had to debut later.

  14. Smaller teams Lower the existing limit on the number of staff each team can bring to a race and keep bringing it down each year, which will also reduce costs.

    Reducing costs by sacking people? Great.

    1. @hoshino Haha! Yeah, Keith wants to ban everybody involved in F1, starting with grid girls, then the team personnel, then the drivers?

      I don’t agree with him on this point.

      1. Well the same money would still be in the sport. all these sacked people would have the opportunity to create their own team and increase diversity.

        Rather than have a team personal limit, i’d add weight to cars for teams over a certain staff number. Jordan Grand prix built safe exciting cars all through the 1990s with staff under 100.

        Id rather see 8 teams of 100 than 2 teams of 400 any day of the week.

    2. @hoshino You raise a good point – no one wants to see people losing their jobs. And the big teams are resistant to cost controls partly because they don’t want to be laying people off.

      But I’m talking about reducing the number of people who are allowed to come to the races. It doesn’t necessarily follow that because there would be fewer of those roles, the only alternative is to sack those people.

      And as I also say, F1 needs more teams anyway. The arrival of Haas next year will create employment opportunities for F1 personnel, and hopefully the new team the FIA is seeking will do the same.

  15. Essentially, going back to 2010 in some sense. I can get behind that. I don’t have an anti-DRS stance, but neither am I unconditionally pro-DRS.

    1. What was wrong with 2010? Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. I think a snap decision was made with DRS, by listening to the complaints from races like those (although DRS was announced before Abu Dhabi.

  16. Agree with most points Keith, however not with the anti-DRS stance. Remember what races used to actually be like before DRS? Remember the Trulli Train? Remember Alonso unable to fight for the 2010 title thanks to being held up behind a slow car? There was occasional passing on old-school tracks but on most of the tilkedromes there was precious little if any actual on-track passing in the top 10.

    The only way the actual Racing Will be better without DRS is to reduce the effect of the turbulence-prone front wing on cornering performance. Give back some ground effect, maybe even a ground effect front wing, that will allow cars to follow one another closely through corners and then give the attacking driver a fighting chance down the next straight.

    However the last few years of the pre-DRS era showed that it was relatively easy to defend against even a dominant car. Think Alonso v Vettel on Hungary 2010. The Red Bull was utterly dominant that weekend with both Vettel and Webber being 1s+ ahead in quali, yet Vettel could not pass.

    Without changes to the cars and aero performance, is that what you would like F1 to become? Again?

    Would we have seen Perez’ charge at Canada and Monza 2012 without DRS? Or Vettel charge from the back in Abu Dhabi in 2012? Or Ricciardo at the same track last year?

    To me at least DRS allows cars to pass on track. Better there, regardless of the alleged artificiality of the passes (although Webber v Alonso at Silverstone 2012 shows that not all DRS passes were bad) than as a result of pit strategy if refuelling comes back.

    Fix the ability of the cars to follow one another and sure get rid of DRS. But not before that.

    1. DRS turns races into a time trial, with the art of defensive driving lost. Its also one of the reasons teams towards the back of the grid can’t luck into any points due to only pitting once for example and holding up the field. Such ‘unexpected’ events are exactly what the article talks about.

      Agreed with your last point, but its so simple as people have been saying for the last 5 years since DRS was introduced… increase mechanical grip and reduce aero.

      It doesn’t matter how we do it, wider tyres, ground effect, smaller front wings (seriously, why do we need these ridiculous gillete razor blades in front of the front tyres). The solution is so simple but nothing seems to happen because Adrian Newey would be upset or something. It’s an absolute mystery to me why we don’t have wider rear tyres and less aero.. has been for years

    2. @clay

      Remember Alonso unable to fight for the 2010 title thanks to being held up behind a slow car?

      I remember another team making a big strategy mistake and paying an even bigger price than Mercedes did. That’s the high stakes world of professional sport.

      That finale was exciting and memorable because we spent every lap not knowing if Alonso was suddenly going to spring a pass, or if Petrov was going to make a mistake, whereupon it would have been ‘game on’. There was huge tension. And, just like in Monaco on Sunday, there was the agony of knowing Ferrari had brought their plight upon themselves.

      With DRS Alonso would have jabbed the button, cruised past and no one would have given it a second thought. Leaving aside the question of who deserved to win the title that year, as a sporting spectacle I doubt it would have been improved by DRS.

      1. @keithcollantine With people suggesting a reduction on aero as cars aren’t able to follow each other what’s really the problem, is it the aero or the exhaust pointing directly at the car behind?

    3. Fix the ability of the cars to follow one another and sure get rid of DRS. But not before that.

      I completely agree that the main thing which needs addressing in F1 is the huge reliance on aero for downforce. Without this, cars could run closer together and passing would be easier without DRS. Personally, I believe ground effect should be allowed: It is more efficient (something F1 is, and IMHO should be, pushing for), and does not suffer from the huge problems with close running.

      However, I still think that DRS is a good thing. What is not good is the implementation. I don’t know the best way to implement it but, to achieve it’s aims as things stand, I would reverse the rules: Allow it to be used everywhere, except in set zones if there is a car closer than 1 second behind you. This would require much more driver skill in it’s use, and increase unpredictability.

    4. @clay:
      Completely agree. DRS has probably been the saviour of F1.
      Someone above remembers fondly the early 2000’s. My gut reaction was: really?? The racing today is so much better than what we had to sit through most of the 1990’s and 2000’s. You already mention the Trulli train. Racing those days meant cleverly making an extra pit stop, driving through gaps in the traffic and never even attempting to pass on track. And when a driver wouldn’t comply, he was hugely controversial (I remember Montoya being criticised like Maldonado today, for example). So DRS and the ban on refuelling really livened up the races.

      About the general subject, we don’t have to look far for ‘better days’. 2012 was probably one of the nicest (I don’t say ‘best’, but surely most fun from a spectators perspective) seasons in the history of the sport. Unpredictable all the way through. Thank you, Pirelli. But don’t go reading too many forum/blog entries from that year: so many people complaining (about DRS and tyres) you almost think it was waste of time.

  17. Agreed with all except allowing different tyre choices. I won’t enjoy a race where a driver won/passed because he had better tires than the other driver(s). With the current tires rules any tire advantage can only be gained through one driver using the same compounds better than the other which is what I prefer.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      29th May 2015, 13:41

      I disagree. Some drivers are heavy-footed 1 lap tyre shredders, and some are light footed gentle conservers. A free tyre choice allows these two styles to have real competition by running different strategies, say 3 super-soft stints versus 1 hard stint.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        29th May 2015, 13:47

        The example that always comes to mind is Sauber 2012 with Kobayashi and Perez. The conservative rules dictated that the only way this car could get up in the points was by eeking out a 1 stop. This suited Perez and his gentle style, and did not suit Kobayashi’s ultra-aggressive banzai style.

        The next year Checo was in a McLaren and Kamui was out of F1, simply for having a more aggressive (I would say better) driving style.

      2. You don’t need a free tire choice to fix that, the FIA should just tell Pirelli to make longer lasting tires. Same regulations choices but tires that allow drivers to push hard for much longer periods than we are seeing now.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          29th May 2015, 16:04

          Wouldnt this be likely to lead to the opposite situation though @earmitage? Rewarding the Kamuis and punishing the Checos?

          I agree with Rob Fernley of Force India who said at the weekend that the aim should be to increase variables. Increasing the number of variables increases the number of possible strategies and thus possible race outcomes.

          If Pirelli made a more enduring tyres whilst keeping the restrictive 2-set rules, this would just lead to even more processional results that we’re seeing now.

          1. Those that save their tires won’t be punished because they will be faster at then end of stints opening up possibilities for them at the end of races. The reason we are seeing a procession is because tires are going away sooner if you are too close to the car ahead so drivers that have a chance of passing are deciding against making any attempts to save their tires. That would go away with longer lasting tires.

    2. @earmitage by that reasoning is it also not acceptable to celebrate the success of a winner who overtook his rival as a result of having a better car? Isn’t that part of motor racing?

      1. It’s not the same reasoning, the teams do not make the tires.

  18. I agree with a lot of the points Keith brought up. All of his suggestions are suggestions that I would make too, however I would add a few other suggestions on top of this:

    Wider variety in circuits: Whilst F1 does visit both Monaco and Monza which are polar-opposites to each other, a lot of the other tracks are far too similar for my liking. F1 needs a much more diverse range of circuits, and this would go some way to making it less predictable as different cars perform well on different circuits. IndyCar does this very well.

    Double Monaco’s race distance: As somebody who watches the WEC, IndyCar and F1, I have noticed that Monaco no longer feels like a marquee event, whilst the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans well and truly do in their respective sports. I believe that doubling the length of the Monaco Grand Prix (and therefore doubling the points on offer – don’t all throw rotten fruit at me in one go) would help to make it feel ‘special’ again, and would add more unpredictability as at just shy of four hours, it becomes a true endurance event. I believe it would be doable even on 100kg of fuel, so no major changes to the cars would be required.

    Allowing for more diverse concepts: It’s something the WEC does very well, and it allows for phenomenal racing as those who watched the Silverstone and Spa rounds will probably agree. It also allows for all kinds of crazy concepts to come about, as we have seen with Nissan and their FWD car which will make its first start in just over two weeks.

    1. @craig-o

      Wider variety in circuits: Whilst F1 does visit both Monaco and Monza which are polar-opposites to each other, a lot of the other tracks are far too similar for my liking. F1 needs a much more diverse range of circuits, and this would go some way to making it less predictable as different cars perform well on different circuits. IndyCar does this very well.

      I agree completely. I would especially love to see a few F1 races on ovals, but I know that’s an unrealistic hope.

      1. @keithcollantine Imagine F1 cars racing on Indy Oval! Button with a wingless Honda – 250 mph+. I wonder if a trimmed out F1 car would be faster than an Indycar at Indy?

  19. I’ve thought for a while that mandatory 5-second-minimum pit stops would be one stroke of a pen that would cut out masses of cost, remove some advantages the major teams have, increase safety and not impact the quality of the racing. So that’s my 2p.

    1. PS “remove some advantages the major teams have” is why the Strategy Group must go before anything can happen.

    2. That would remove one of the few variables left in modern F1.

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        29th May 2015, 18:43


  20. ColdFly F1 (@)
    29th May 2015, 13:10

    great article!

    1. I dislike DRS as much as the next person, but it is the only thing they have come up with to get (some sort of) slipstreaming back.
    My point: make slipstreaming possible again!

    2. Monaco was quite exiting a few laps before lap 64 as well. There was this young sneaky daring driver hiding behind Vettel and surprise-overtaking both Sainz and Bottas. And subsequently the good move by the warned Grosjean to make sure he would not become the next victim.
    Thanks Max!

    1. @coldfly I don’t dislike DRS, and I also think its great that its brought back slipstreaming. My problem is the way it is implemented, I think there must be a better way of making it work better e.g. It should be setup in a way that allows a trailling car to bridge only part of the 1 second gap that exists in the dirty air, so that we can have a car try to slipstream, instead of have a car either easily sail past another car, or just get no where near the car in front. Ideally I would like to see a car pull half way alongside the car, so we can see some outbraking, that way the defender has a chance of fending off a challenger. But it requires a mechanism in which more of an advantage is gained at tracks like Monaco so that DRS actually does something, but can be tuned down for tracks like Spain where it looks like cars can not only overtak, but almosst lap a car with the DRS advantage they gain down that straight.

  21. I agree with every point you made but i would like to add one more, although it can’t be changed. The rulemakers understand that predictability exists and that is why they use gimmicks.

    One more thing that we could see once more from the Monaco GP is the excessive reliance on data. The only time the GP became “exciting” was through human error (also the fact that teams can gather other teams’ data, like radio com, strategy etc removes even more). Be it Verstappen’s or Mercedes’. Formula 1 is more science and efficiency than racing. Efficiency isn’t supposed to produce unpredictability. The more responsibilities you take away from humans (mainly the driver) the less errors will happen. It’s turning into watching two algorithms playing chess. I would turn the TV off, throw it in the garbage and go watch the sea. It would be more exciting.

  22. Last point is great. Whatever changes you must accept not all races will be classic or every other one. Trying to manipulate unpredictability on makes things predictable. They tried to replicate Canada 2010 tyres at every race and thats daft. If tyres were made to be as fast as can be durability will suffer due to physics not fine for a while then just fall off the cliff. Making cars faster but allowing them to follow….easy more downforce from the floor less from the wings. Interfering with natural conditions will only bring about a sense of fake so just let the cars be the best they can be and let nature run its course. Some will say it is boring but these are the voices that led to DRS, Tyres etc. Real F1 fans want this and will accept not every season goes to the wire, some races are great others not and that this is better than trying to force it with gimmicks.

  23. It seems we (F1 fans) are asked a lot nowadays how to make the sport better when what they really mean is how can they increase the number of viewers but asking fans who have probably ended up forking out a reasonable amount of money every year to watch F1 seems a pointless waste of time. I believe it would take something spectaculary stupid from Bernie for me to stop watching F1 so I’m not the audience they are losing.

    F1 is losing viewers because its not accessible, when it was free to view in the past people could watch on a rainy Sunday afternoon if they wanted to and probably understand good deal of it. Now we have different tires, electric and petrol engines, DRS, mandatory pit stops, drivers driving to a delta (this very phase is complex enough for some) because of fuel limits or tire life, a massive amount of information and detail on tactics, “the undercut”, we even have drivers being told or asking if they should race the person behind or just let them past or holding back from racing the guy infront because they don’t want to damage their tire life. As an F1 fan I understand this and the majority of it makes the sport more interesting, a casual viewer will be overwhelmed and switch off.

    F1 needs to decide what they want, do they want to make F1 better for the dedicated racing fans, if so they need to accept that the numbers of viewers will drop, stop introducing gimics and let the teams race. If they want more viewers they need to put it back to free to air and simplfy the whole thing.

    1. Good point if you have a pay wall less people will watch. As the years go by behind a pay wall people will turn off as they were used to following when free paid to watch behind a pay wall but then slowly realise unless they watch all races they might as well cancel the subscription.

  24. How about instead of getting rid of DRS, just let teams use it whenever they want. That way it makes the cars quicker, adds a degree of additional strategy, and since anyone can use it anytime it gets rid of the predictable passing.

    1. @prupp89 They won’t let them do that on safety grounds – that used to be the case in qualifying but the rules were changed at the end of 2012.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        29th May 2015, 16:15

        What about this solution @prupp89 @keithcollantine ?

        Give them each 10 DRS uses of say 300m or 5 second per use, to use whenever they want in the race (except lap 1). This way we would have drivers risking it on long corners, getting on the DRS to defend, saving a few presses for the last lap etc. Much like we see with the much less powerful push to pass in Indycar.

        Lots of different uses than the current format, and could really spice up the racing!

        And if someone goes flying off heading through Eau Rouge with the flap open, theyll have no one to blame but themselves.

        I’d be interested to know what others think about this idea.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          29th May 2015, 16:20

          I appreciate this goes against Keith’s safety point from above. But in these quali sessions all drivers were using it all the time in dangerous situations, because you had too to remain competitive.

          Giving them 10 presses would mean they would have to weigh up the value of risking it round a corner, rather than having it open around any high speed section. This would eliminate a lot of the danger argument.

  25. Many comments on F1fanatic like Keith call for DRS to be abandoned, but this alone would make the overtaking problem worse. The only solution is to allow ground effect to allow following cars to get closer and to reduce their tyre wear. It does come with the danger of cars flying off when the effect is broken, this could be a serious problem at bumpy road tracks like Monaco. However, without GE we’d be back to the processional races that were common before DRS.

    1. Active suspension could be brought back to keep the ground effects in check.

  26. 1. Engines: I was all for the new engines when they were announced, but frankly I must admit that without more power output the formula feels flimsy.

    2. Tracks: a major contributing factor to predictability is the increasingly Tilke-dominated calendar. All his tracks mostly have the same feel, the same types of turns, the same length and the same lack of price to be paid for going off them. What’s that definition of insanity? …doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?

    3. Tires: there has to be a better compromise between durability and wear. If drivers regularly change tires 2 times a race yet still coast to preserve them, something ain’t right. Scrap the mandatory changes, give free choice of compounds and/or trim the number of compounds.

    4. Costs: in the long run, you can’t have an interesting formula without smaller fish challenging the big ones. But this is never going to happen again unless the gaping chasm between the top and bottom of the grid is bridged. Trimming expenditures has to be on any sane agenda for F1. Cutting some equipment and personnel is one good place to start.

    5. Goes without saying: mutha@?%!$%?&g DRS. But it was brought in for a reason, right? Wing specs need to change somehow too, but how is beyond my understanding of aerodynamics.

    In no particular order, those are the main areas F1 needs to address I think.

    1. 1) Power to grip ratio is key: I think teams are getting the “traction control” programming together and the cars are exiting the corners too reliably. More torque is needed to create a more difficult corner exit.
      2) 100$ agree. Play F1 on the PS3 and what tracks are the most fun? Canada, Spa, Monza, Suzuka. What tracks are a bore? Korea, China, Abu Dhabi…
      3) I’d increase the compound choices, limit the teams to free tires for practice, 2 sets for qualifying and 3 sets for the race. Qualy and race tires need to be pre-ordered weeks in advance for logistics. Teams gamble and get it right or wrong, but it is their choice.
      4)100% yes, but make sure the payment schemes are equitable. What happens now is embarrassing.
      5)DRS is a reaction to a problem that should be solved other ways. I don’t like the implementation either.

  27. Mustavo Gaia
    29th May 2015, 15:12

    A major problem is that the track is already too “hard”, in the sense that most tracks only allow one line of running.
    Watching other series, even some oval circuits allow lines’ variations. The aboslute majority of F1 track hugely penalise, in terms of time, alternative lines. This, added to the difficulty of drafting, makes overpassing improbable, if not impossible. Within this context, the race strategy is set by track position – you are where you are, and cannot make any progress by racing.
    The real problem, maybe the fundamental one, is that f1 as aerodriven prototypes, somehow departed from the concept of a car. F1 racing concept is near to a sail race – taking advantage of fluidflow, occasionally harming opponent’s ability to do so. How much difference would it make if the car suffer very little aero interference? A racing car is a beast which transfer engine power to the track thru rubber.
    Those are the tenets of autoracing – power and transmission with little intervention from fluid(air) flow. Even worse is that one cannot enjoy aero action in the venue. On can feel the power by the noise and the transmission by the traction – of the lack of it. It appeal to the senses. One can only imagine the effect of aero in the car.
    In today’s f1 regime, makes no sense to try to overtake. Unless you are 2 seconds faster than the overtaken, a hot pursuit is senseless, because on risk much more than the single position he is disputing. (no, harder tyres doesnt solve this, just give the chance for more downforce).
    Make f1 cars able to follow from close and you have a race. Make that and you can get rid of any gimmick. It is not aceptable that Indy cars can follow each other close to 200mph and the curves of barcelona prevent any competition.

  28. Great points Keith! All of them!

  29. I believe the only way to generate real unpredictability would be to ban radio communication between the driver and the pit wall, only allowing it for safety reasons. Without the radio drivers would have to rely on there on own judgement. As we saw with Hamilton, drivers don’t have the same level of information as the team, therefore often make incorrect assumptions. I would bet my bottom dollar that drivers would drive faster, using more fuel and tyres, without a race engineer holding the leash.

    1. Drivers might drive “faster”, but those that do so will simply be penalized by either not finishing the race or being overtaken by rivals who have a better grasp of how to win a race. In the end drivers would have to learn to drive exactly as they do now but without the same engineering output from the pit wall. Drivers unable to do that might be popular with fans but ultimately will find themselves out of an F1 race seat.

  30. Another example of how to make F1 more unpredictable: Stiffer penalties for drivers who cause yellow flags in qualifying.

  31. AJ (@fifthlion)
    29th May 2015, 16:12

    Formula 1 has been predictable for a while now, that isn’t the issue. The reason the numbers are falling is because the more and more countries are going to pay-per-view and its fast becoming a joke. Why oh why do we get people in high positions scratching their heads as to what is wrong when it is sooo obvious!! Bernie is just money hungry and that now means we, the fans have to pay an arm and a leg to watch it. It had been broadcast for years on free to air tv and what’s happened is the likes of sky have offered bernie more money and he has taken it, Bernie and Blatter belong together!

  32. Wise words, @keithcollantine. Wise words.

  33. For me, it says a lot about the sport when the only ‘shock’ victories we’ve had in the last couple of years have been when the second-best car has beaten the best car.

    To add to Keith’s very good points (especially the last one), and without trying to sound too much like a broken record, I think fairer distribution of money to smaller teams will do a world of good to the racing itself. For instance, look at IndyCar. What they’ve got at the moment is fantastic. The top teams and drivers are strong enough to dominate some races (and that’s good because it gives the series some credibility), but the smaller teams are good enough that they can keep up with the Penskes and Ganassis and spring a surprise every now and then. Obviously that’s not a realistic hope since that’s a series that all use the same car, but at least if money was distributed fairly to all F1 teams there’d be a better chance of smaller teams fighting at the top every now and then.

    I can tolerate a championship battle fought exclusively between Mercedes and Ferrari — but it would be nice if once in a while we had a Sauber fending off a Ferrari for a podium, or a Williams hounding down the race-leading Mercedes. That just never seems to happen anymore.

    I also think that DRS has had a major part in making the race results more predictable. Easier overtaking means it’s easier for the faster car to get past. And the fastest car finishing first is surely the most predictable thing that can happen.

  34. Hedley Thorne
    29th May 2015, 16:22

    Strip back F1 to bare bones – let’s have naturally aspirated engines, KERS or turbo. Open up the rulebook- but specify a maximum bore, displacement and fuel tank size (NOT fuel flow rate)- and let the teams do the rest. Use more less and more durable tyres, remove obligatory tyre choices, remove tyre warmers. Once the dust settles we would have great racing. Now get rid of DRS, restrictions on radio communication and increase tyre size and downforce. Oh yes- and let’s have some engine scream to make it at least SOUND exciting again.

    1. Hedley Thorne
      29th May 2015, 16:23

      (I meant NO Kers or turbo!)

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        29th May 2015, 18:45

        Ahh, that’s a shame. I thought (hoped) you meant that manufactures could go for whatever model PU they want.

  35. Robert Jones
    29th May 2015, 19:16

    I could never persuade my board to invest in F1 while non professional managers try to run it with obvious difficulty.Everyone at the top needs to go asap.A new board of professional MBA’s with no financial interests should decide with the stakeholder groups a future strategy for the sport.

    The longer you leave it the harder it becomes…I have seen it in a lot of ailing companies I advise.Guess if no one is on the bridge the vessel ploughs into the rocks !

  36. Bring back ground effects, but limit them so that they don’t get out of control. Also bring back active suspension to help with maintaining ground effects.
    I think F1 could be more road relevant if suspension development became a lot more crucial.

  37. Great points… agree with it all…

    I’d add removing (or at least reforming) the blue flag rule. If a front-runner can’t get past a slower car and the cars behind catch up, how exciting would that be ?!

  38. Yes, too, too many rules, one that I have commented on before are the fuel rules, especially the rule on fuel flow restriction or rate, give the teams the fuel and let them decide how much to load into the cars and how much to use whenever they want, LET THEM RACE… helmet rules, the rule makers are just way out of control and this is the crowning issue as I am concerned………… helmet rules!!!! Thanks, Norris

  39. Let’s say we remove DRS, trim teams’ sizes, ban tyres warmers and even let teams choose their own tyres in Canada a week from now. I can still confidently “predict” that Mercedes will be leading the race, then comes Vettel and maybe Raikkonen, then the Williams and then the Bulls.

    The “problem” with mundane, “predictable” races recently is that the differences between teams are too much. Drivers can influence the teammates battle, but that’s about it. As an example, I think we can all agree that Vettel is a better driver than Rosberg, but except for Canada he couldn’t pass his country-man.

    And unpredictability isn’t all-good, say if teams were able to pick their own tyres, I’m sure McLaren would always pick an unique/extreme/peculiar choice. On a regular race, they may get stuck behind then grid, but if conditions get weird, they may be able to snatch an undeserved podium. It’s just not fair!

    Any sport has ups and downs, there are times that 1 team dominates and times that competition is super high. Tennis, football, golf, you name it. Look at tennis, there were times when Federer literally won every trophies, then Nadal took his place, and in 2011 Djokovic dominated the field. Yes those were boring times, but I didn’t see any tennis fan whining that the sport was “dead”.

    Formula 1 fans are always criticizing how the regulations of the sport change every year, but they are also a part of it. After a boring season, or just after a boring race, there are opinions every where about how the rules should be change to save a “dying sport”.

  40. Accept that some races will still be predictable Because without those races the unpredictable ones could never excite us

    Exactly! It baffles me that after every dull race, rather than just accepting that this particular race was poor, journalists and commentators nearly always question the very basics of the sport. You don’t get a complete reappraisal of the rules of football after every 0-0 draw nor the rules of Test cricket after a dull Test.

    As any cricket fan will tell you, some of the best moments in sport are those you have to wait for; those where you have to invest time and effort in understanding what’s happening and enduring the dull parts. While there’s a lot to be said for spectacles that are instantly accessible with thrills a minute; I think it’s infinitely more satisfying to have to understand the intricacies, invest your time and concentration and then reap the benefits when you get truly incredible moments happening on track.

  41. Paul (@frankjaeger)
    29th May 2015, 23:39

    If only you wrote the rulebook Keith, one can only dream for a better F1

  42. In defence of the DRS in the absence of a complete redesign of the aerodynamics of F1 cars, they simply can’t overtake at most tracks once they get within the dirty air.
    I actually quite like the battle to stay ahead and out of the DRS activation, once caught, isn’t it right that the fattest car should overtake? That would happen if the cars weren’t so sensitive, so in a way DRS is evening the playing field for the faster car.
    In an ideal world I would prefer it wasn’t necessary, however, until that day…lets enjoy what we have.

    1. or fastest !!!
      damn new glasses.

  43. if your going to get rid of DRS then get rid of BLUE FLAGS,
    why should a driver be made to get out of the way just because he is being lapped?
    you want to see more forced passing then also get rid of the stewards that deal out some stupid decisions at times,
    yep lets go back to yesteryear, you want boring race? you sure will get them back again if that is the case.
    DRS needs to be looked into, different track need it but most do not, it makes no difference because they can not pass anyway, getting rid of it totally is stupid, ive watched too many races “500 odd” to know it has made a huge difference in not holding up your winner,
    if you have to sit there and watch your favorite driver get blocked lap after lap after lap after lap after lap after lap you will hate it just as i did back then.
    yes so just watch out for what you wish for..

  44. In 2010 there were neither DRS nor degrading Pirelli tyres but there were still much more overtaking than in the previous years ( The numbers have started to decrease in recent years probably because of tyre management despite the DRS. But the number of overtakes is not everything. I think it’s part of F1 to be stuck behind a slower car if you can’t overtake. And a great battle of position is much more exciting to watch than a dull straight forward DRS pass.

    However I’d like to see drivers pushing to the limit and not lifting and coasting.
    Solution: More durable tyres (and no DRS). Drivers could pressure the guy in front without the fear of destroying their tyres. That would lead to more driver errors since the drivers would be closer to the limits of the car and not the tires.

    So basically jump back to the 2010 to see that maybe the racing back then wasn’t so boring after all. Or in other words analyze the factors that led to the increase of overtaking in 2010 and try to implement them to make overtaking possible but not as easy as with DRS.

    The biggest problem in overtaking is the turbulent and dirty air behind the cars. This could be solved by reducing the aerodynamics and I think the possibility of ground effect should be explored. But I believe this is a long shot and GE is probably not coming back.

  45. Keith, I respect your opinion on most things and I think the ‘increasing variables’ concept is a good one. However I think a few of your suggestions are the best ideas to do this with..

    Trim back the rule book

    I don’t think teams should be choosing their own tyre compounds weeks before the race. A big part of a Pirelli weekend is working out what tyre to be on. If you get it wrong, you do pretty much ruin your race, and nobody really wants to see that. They want to see the cars competing, and put the unpredictability on track rather than off it. The idea of a team throwing away their race weeks in advance seems almost unsporting to me

    This applies also to tyre-warmers and gravel traps – Nobody should want to see unpredictability caused by hot and cold tyres – this is because the Pirellis are fussy, and getting them in their working area requires arbitrary adaptation, and not driver skill. I can think of a few reasons why overheating one’s tyres is in fact a sign of good car control and skill! Until thermal degradation is handled/eliminated, it’s not really fair to create a tyre temp lottery

    With gravel traps, I would actually prefer to see as many cars stay in the race as possible. Keep the unpredictability on track. Perhaps an automatic system linked to race control, where if particular speed limits are breached off track it is a recommended 5-second penalty? With GPS and the marshalling system this is plausible, and depending on the speed limit (perhaps even pit limit speeds) it would really penalise drivers for running off!

    1. Sorry for the awful formatting…

      “However I think a few of your suggestions are not the best ideas…”

  46. It’s interesting, my dad and I were talking about how tracks aren’t punishing anymore but how the stewards room is always full.
    Something perhaps @KeithCollantine could agree with me maybe.
    On the basis of that from a safety view they took away gravel to prevent rolling cars are so on but lower noses on the cars seem to bring that back last year. If I recall though, the latest death in F1 (Ayrton Senna) died due to having a fully paved run off section at the San Marino GP and hit the barrier, so I think safety is being flipped on it’s head here.
    I think drivers should have nothing but the curbs and white lines for track and maybe a bit of astro but the rest should be barrier or gravel (within reason).
    That would stop driver complaining like last year with vettle calling out drivers track limits and ultimately would reduce the in my opinion silly penalties for going over a white line too many times.

  47. I the main thing is to get more cars on the track. For that, the sport needs to be incentivised more fairly and costs need to come down…

  48. I would really expand on the “trim back the rule book” point. We’ve almost gotten to the point where the rule book designs the cars. F1 used to be about technical creativity:

    * Tyrrell’s 6 wheel car
    * Renault bringing back turbos
    * Lotus’s introduction of ground effects and later the dual-chassis Lotus 88
    * Mclaren introducing carbon fibre monocoques
    * Ferrari introducing paddle shift transmissions
    * Brabham’s fan car and later the pneumatic suspension
    * Williams developing a fly-wheel KERS instead of battery

    There are many more examples as well, but I think the point is clear. We don’t see innovation like this anymore because the rules are too tight.

    The WEC is proving you can open up the rule book and still get close competitive racing. F1 obviously would not adopt their rule book, but I think it would benefit from allowing a similarly broad degree of latitude.

  49. Max Verstappen is my hero – really thank him for making the mistake and enlivening a race during which I considered switching off the television due to the boredom.

    The depressing fact of F1 is the propensity for one team to keep dominating and the other teams to be helpless about it. This needs to be rectified. They have to be the best teams in the world, so how is it that they aren’t able to prevent one team from dominating?

    1. F1 is about and always will be about dominating the field, these are manufacturers who spend billions on dominating others, other teams need to catch up quick and they are not doing that, progress has been slow for other teams, they created the situation we are in right now by finding loop holes to introduce tokens, token’s of which Mercedes’s are not using but look out when they do dominating will be once again the name of the game,
      if it was Ferrari would there be so much moaning about dominating? no because you would have a no1 and no2 driver that would be holding your interests.
      it is part and parcel of F1 to have one team out front and others doing the best to catch up, get over it.

  50. Apex Assassin
    30th May 2015, 21:01

    Great article! You know what I saw during the Monaco GP?? I saw Pirelli perform the exact top argument that others have against the Tyre War return – namely that only a few teams can extract performance from the tyres leaving the rest of the teams to flounder on useless tyres.

    1. yes that was incredible Apex, did you notice some could have gone the whole race without a tire change as well?

      DRS had no effect on this track, cars banging each other to try and make a pass, cars right on the tail of others, bugger all run off areas all the things people want to see yet if it wasn’t for the Safety car and a poor pit decision the race would have been a boring event for most viewers.

      like i have said time and time again watch what you wish for, right at this moment we have some great racing there is no need to change, this is not a Video game with continual action, it is real life and will never have full on action as people think it should be.

  51. Agree with most points on here apart from DRS, as artificial as it is, i recall a few races in the pre DRS days where a slow car managed to qualify high up the grid then became a moving roadblock (Trulli springs to mind), ruining the race for anyone stuck behind. I’d prefer a review of cars aero packages to ensure they can get sit within 1 second of a car in front on most corners, giving more opportunity to pass on a straight.

  52. All sports are a series of random events. Skill narrows the distribution, meaning the result is more predictable but still not certain. Even Ronaldo misses some penalties, but his skill ensures that it is not many.

    F1 used to have hay bales to delimit the track, so deviation from the plan was highly punished. The demand for more safety brought gravel traps, and then tarmac run-off. Now drivers who do not keep to the track are not heavily punished, so skill is not so greatly rewarded. Similarly the huge investment in the factories ensures that cars are more reliable (read predictable).

    To be interesting, a sport needs unpredictability. At the moment in F1 that comes from human error, often not the driver’s. Strategists make bad calls, mechanics fail to bolt wheels on, and soon we will bring back the excitement of sending cars out of the pits with fuel rigs attached. Is that the kind of unpredictability we want? Or do we want to go back to punishing drivers for their mistakes and rewarding the consistently skillful ones? If so, can we do it at an acceptable level of risk for competitors, marshals and spectators?

    Unpredictability makes sport interesting, but in motor racing it makes it dangerous.

    1. here is another reason why its near impossible to pass another car on track,
      So good are the brakes that the regulations deliberately discourage development through restrictions on materials or design, to prevent even shorter braking distances rendering overtaking all but impossible.
      i copied and pasted that here as another reminder why we have cars following one another without a chance to pass,
      we forget about all the small changes that have been made to the cars over the years and how it all effects their ability to pass, DRS is only good for a car that has an equal or better than top speed than the car it is trying to pass.

  53. I think we need to ban the playstation steering-wheels. No engine modes no nothing. The engine has one mode and that’s it. Just two three buttons for drink, pit limiter etc and over.
    This will also reduce cost since a lot of unnecessary complication will be removed from the electronics the car needs and from the engine software.
    Also we will avoid silly stuff like “The other guy used better engine mode than me” that we had last year with Merc drivers etc. If you want to control your speed etc do it with your foot, not with some engine mode.
    Another is everyone having the same wheel-nuts. So no smart costly solution for 00.1 gain in the pits. This will help the small teams too since they will all buy the same product at more fixed and lower prices and won’t have to compete with big team in such useless details.

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