Qualifying row and 2017 rules among drivers’ concerns – Rosberg

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Disagreement over Formula One’s qualifying rules and plans to overhaul car design in 2017 are examples of the concerns which motivated drivers to openly criticise the sport last week, according to Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg also claimed all F1 drivers support the letter sent by the GPDA last week despite not all drivers being members of the association.

“We’re all united on this opinion because we love the sport and we can see that the fans are criticising some aspects that we could do better,” he said during today’s FIA press conference.

“We could become even more exciting as a sport. So we really want to question whether the F1 governance cannot review the process in which decisions are made and all these things to try and get it to a point where we can get some better decisions done and become a more exciting point.”

Rosberg cited two recent disputes as examples of why the drivers should be consulted more. “There’s recent examples with this qualifying where the fans are just at home and they’re not happy with it,” he said. “We’re racing mostly for the fans so that’s the examples that are now the recent cases.”

“Even the rules for next year – we’re putting on more downforce although actually we should be trying to help overtaking. More downforce is known for making overtaking and following other cars more difficult. So it’s not necessarily the right way, and all these things. We’re really trying to say that we’d like to be more involved, have more of a say, us drivers. Let’s see where this takes us.”

Rosberg added the drivers did not intend to single out any particular person for criticism. “It wouldn’t be appropriate now to mention any names or criticise any individuals or even compliment any individuals,” he said. “We know that it’s not perfect the way it is. It could be better. It needs to be reviewed, that’s what we’re trying to encourage.”

Fernando Alonso also gave his backing to the letter.

“We love the sport. We love so much that we think maybe the last couple of years we’ve been a little bit moving left and right with not a clear direction. And we want to help in any of the things that the fans want, the drivers want, the sponsors want, that are quite clear in some of the things we’ve been searching in the last couple of years.”

“So it’s just a supporting letter form all the drivers that we do care about our sport and we will like to get involved in some of the decisions and some of the things we could help, somehow. It’s the way the sport is moving in the last couple of years, maybe we don’t see it completely right.”

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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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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    21 comments on “Qualifying row and 2017 rules among drivers’ concerns – Rosberg”

    1. Yes Nico and Fernando, yes. Even if it has zero impact on events, it’s better to say ‘look, we told you so’ instead of watching on silently whilst seething inside. I’m loving this!

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        31st March 2016, 16:52

        I don’t think they have to go ‘watching on silently’, @unicron2002.

        Or actually I think they SHOULD watch on silently during Q on Saturday.
        And if they all agree as Rosberg said, then they should act during P3 as if it were quali.
        Because when not participating in Q, then P3 will define the gird.

        That would be ‘putting your money where your mouth is’ GPDA!

        1. Wow @coldfly , imagine that! Drivers boycotting part of or all of qualifying as an an of protest and sign of their displeasure. When you look at it like that, I’ve never realised just how much power the drivers hold – if they don’t race, there is no race! Drivers on strike. I bet there are contracts and penalties in place for a scenario like that though. For what it’s worth I’ll be boycotting qualifying.

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            31st March 2016, 21:24

            They can actually do it without being penalised, @unicron2002.
            Just don’t mention it is a strike/boycott and just experience technical problems during Q. They could even leave the pits and enter after one lap and it would still be P3 ranking as grid.

            And if they make clear to us fans that they ‘expect technical problems’ during Q and will race their heart out as it it were qualifying, then we would support them even more.
            Imagine a 1 hour qualifying session Saturday morning.

            1. Very interesting. So in theory they could sit out sessions unpunished. But it would have to be agreed on by all drivers for it to work, which could be tricky. And yes as long as they don’t throw the race then I’d happily see qualifying sacrificed so that the drivers can make their point .

            2. They could even leave the pits and enter after one lap and it would still be P3 ranking as grid.

              @coldfly Actually they can’t. When a driver enter the track, they will put above drivers who doesn’t enter the track, according to the order who enter the track first. So they need to enter the track according to the FP3 result to achieve what you asking for.

              And as I argued few days ago, I don’t think it would happen because it’s prisoner dilemma and the team stakes are really high.

    2. Oh good god. Every time F1 has this problem.

      Right lads, in four years lets have these new rules, everyone agrees? Good.
      Three and a half years later: Absolute pandemonium.

      I remember writing rants about this ages ago. Why only now does F1 start debating it? I wish I could tell them all to pull their heads in. Why does F1 hate itself? This, the qualifying, killing mods for games, only showing on pay tv.

      I can predict right now, that for the next big rule change (after 2017), the same thing will happen. Anyone want to bet against me? Seriously I’m happy to take your money.

      1. Since the loudest critisizm of the sports current rules came from inside, and it came before the racing had even started, I think its quite safe to say that indeed, the ones who expect not to be the winners (they will know from testing) as well as Bernie if by then he won’t have gained more influence as well as a larger part of the money will defenitely be talking it down again before the first race finishes.

        And we migh have sky jump on that bandwagon as well, like they did last in 2014, before even Brundle realized that he was hurting his own job there.

        1. Rosberg and Hamilton have been talking it down but they have the best car?

        2. Vettel’s name is on the GPDA letter. Hamilton and Rosberg have both come out against the rule changes. Those three won all the races last year and are looking to pic up the majority of wins this year.

          Alonso and Button may not win this year but, they are both champions and veterans of the sport. They have the right to be heard.

    3. When you hear someone like Rosberg saying more downforce makes overtaking more difficult, then it adds credibility to your own belief as a fan, which makes you wonder why there is this desire to increase downforce. Obviously someone wants it, but why? People want to see a race, not a parade!

      1. That’s the main strength of Red Bull, they desperatly want more aero.

    4. GET RID OF BERNIE!!! Then we might get a sport back.

      1. Sounds like it was moreso the FIAs -Todt – fault this time around. You finally get agreement from all the teams for once to revert back to 2015 qualifying and then FIA doesnt even give it as an option to return to? So what gives?

        1. Bernie was the one who wanted to change qualifying in the first place. The guy is an old fool with no respect for F1 as a sport.

    5. Alex McFarlane
      31st March 2016, 18:44

      Formula 1 is a strange one, a definite case of no matter how many things change it seems to stay the same, and not in a good way.

      I remember watching as a younger the tail end of the 1994 season up to around 1997 and drifting away for a decade because the racing had become sterile even back then. I remember reading comments from both fans and detractors through the late 90’s and early 2000’s saying more or less what we’re still saying now, that Formula 1 had simply become boring to watch, gimmicky and predictable.

      I only regained interest when I shared a house with a friend who was into Formula 1, around 2007, and though I’ve stuck with it since I still feel that I’m watching it more for what it could be than what it currently is.

      My biggest concern for the future of the sport though, is that everyone has a different idea of what it should be, it covers so many bases, or tries to cover so many bases that everyone you ask will probably have a different idea on what it should be.

      For me, I agree with the concerns Senna voiced in the early 90’s that technology would ultimately detract from the drivers’ ability to showcase their driving skills. For me personally, the constructors’ championship has always been an irrelevance and the technology an interesting but not entirely welcome distraction. I like to see the competition between drivers and their personalities on and off the track, I’m not so interested in new winglets or new bits hanging off the chassis.

      Get back to basics and see where it goes from there.

    6. We need to get back to the essence of Formula 1, and that, quite simply, is driver, simple, powerful race car. The End.

      F1 in many ways is a victim of it’s own success. That fundamental formula of driver and car on the ragged edge around a race track is so attractive it brought huge numbers of fans into the sport, and of course, where you have huge numbers of fans, everything else very quickly follows suit.

      Because of the huge numbers of fans, road car manufacturers are naturally interested in putting their products in front of that massive audience. Road car manufacturers bring their social, political, ideological and technological ideals, and as you can see, things very quickly become much more complicated. Manufacturer involvement sky rockets the monetary value of F1 and then we get the likes of CVC interested in owning the sport, and the whole thing is a vicious spiral.

      F1 wasn’t built on road car manufacturers. It was built on the likes of Frank Williams, Ken Tyrrell and Colin Chapman. It was built on the Cosworth’s of this world supplying engines, and we need to get back to that.

      For F1 to work, we need things kept simple. We need simple racing cars, where the drivers are left to get on with it. We need to get back to that original fundamental formula, and then F1 bosses have to be strong enough to stand up against anything which threatens that.

      I agree with the drivers entirely when they say F1 has the ability to be the greatest sport in the world, because every single one of us as human beings can appreciate the worlds best drivers, in the worlds fastest racing cars, putting it on the limit of ultimate lap-time vs barrier on the best circuits in the world. That’s what they want, and dare I say that’s what we all want aswell.

      F1 needs to get back to the essence of what it is and what made it great in the first place, and drop all the stragglers on it’s picked up along the way.

      1. But F1is also about technology. We won’t go back to the 70’s technology, despite it providing great races in the past.
        And technology nowadays is more complicated than it used to be. So will be the sport.

        1. Not originally it wasn’t. F1 BECAME about technology, it was never designed to be ABOUT technology, and that is a very subtle, yet crucial difference.

          Again, with the huge number of fans F1’s fundamental formula brings in, this brings in the manufacturers, and THEY bring in the technology, F1 has NEVER made it a pre-requisite.

          There’s also another important point here, and that is, over the years F1 has had technology brought into the sport because it really was the only motorsport available to manufacturers with any sort of global appreciation. Today, that most certainly is not true, with the advent of the World Endurance Championship and Formula E, both specifically designed to further the develop of hybrid and electric powertrain technology respectively.

          I get that a lot of fans love the technology aspect of F1, but it’s one of stragglers on that it’s picked up along the way simply because there were no other alternatives around at that time. Yes, we’ve helped developed tech such as ABS, traction control, e-diffs and what have you, but what we have now with hybrid technology is a fundamental shift in the way we power and stop a motor vehicle, and as much as you may love technology in Formula 1, you can’t say that F1 was ever really intended with that kind of remit in mind.

          Seb spoke out against the hybrid technology yesterday, Lewis has already passed comment on how heavy the cars are now, the race lap-times are slow, the drivers generally not happy with the cars, the writing is already on the wall in many ways…

      2. @thef1engineer I don’t agree about F1 car must be simple. F1 at it’s core is the most advanced car the team can make and the driver can handle. There’s never a simple F1 car for it’s era. In ideal world, I’d say F1 shouldn’t be bothered about cost at all, every team should do R&D on every aspect even if it only translates to minimal improvement on the track. Then the rest of the world can enjoy those inventions for more practical areas. But alas, we can’t do that in this money oriented society we lived in.

        1. 2 problems with that.

          1.) We don’t live in an ideal world (as you allude to), and;

          2.) The number of people who actually care about the technology (as a global audience figure) is dramatically less than those who just want to see a good race.

          If we can have the technology for the hardcore fans, and not have that affect the race experience for the casual fan, then no problem, but unfortunate fact of the matter is that opportunity doesn’t exist.

          You can’t be “the pinnacle of motorsport” and “the pinnacle of technology.” The 2 simply just cannot exist in the same space.

          And since more people want to be enthralled by an exciting motor race then care what’s going on under the engine cover, F1 will always eventually (after some in-fighting) settle on the side of simple.

          Complexity = cost, and the FIA/FOM have made themselves quite clear, they want a simplification of the power unit and for costs to come down, or we’re getting a V6 twin-turbo. Either way, simpler wins ;).

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