Formula One drivers should be freed from excessive regulations on their driving and encouraged to be themselves, according to F1 team bosses.
Asked during today’s FIA press conference about Bernie Ecclestone’s recent comments on livening up F1, Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost argued the sport has become over-regulated.
“We should get rid of all these penalties and all this nonsense, if a driver touches another driver that he gets a penalty,” said Tost. “What we need is interesting races and if they crash into each other, they crash into each other. This is what people also want to see, F1 is also entertainment.”
“Currently we take too much care about all the safety issues. Formula One is dangerous, we know this, but currently at the race track if you look, nothing happens any more.”
The FIA issued its latest clarification on defensive driving last weekend, warning drivers against changing their racing line in braking zones.
Tost also argued the gap between the teams needs to be reduced. “Some friends said to me ‘I don’t watch F1 any more – you have the two Mercedes in front, if they don’t crash on the first lap the race is gone, I can sleep’. And this is absolutely wrong.”
“First of all we need to come up with parity between the different teams. The ideal case would be that two, three teams fight until the last race for the championship, constructors’ championship as well as drivers’ championship, not as in the last years where everything is decided a couple of races to go before the end.”
Manor racing director Dave Ryan pointed out it is within Ecclestone’s power to address the performance disparity between the teams.
Penalties since 2011
“We do need close racing, for sure,” he said, “but if we had a fairer distribution of funds our cars would be closer together so that would be a start.”
Ryan also agreed with Tost’s views on the extent of regulation in F1 today. “The drivers are over-regulated on the track,” he said.
“Some of the recent decisions and points and reprimands personally I think is just too far. The drivers are discouraged from actually racing and some of the incidents I’ve seen that have been penalised I just don’t get, it’s just racing, and you’re not allowed to do it now.”
“The blue flag situation is also frustrating and I’m not so sure that the blue flag adds much to the racing. For sure it aids the lead car but it really disrupts the racing for the guys at the back.”
“Lewis gets criticised. Well, why?”
Ryan also said F1 drivers should be “allowed to be themselves”.
“There’s not many drivers who aren’t more than the corporate figurehead of the company, they’re not allowed to express opinions or they’re discouraged from it,” he explained.
“And I can understand that part of it but it would be nice if we had a few more personalities. Like Lewis [Hamilton] gets criticised for what he does. Well, why? He’s just out there doing his thing. If we had a few more drivers doing that I think it adds to the sport.”