DRS has killed my love of F1 and now I’m saying goodbye

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    F1 is just boring now. Especially when you watch every other series of motorsport and pretty much every one has flat out racing all the way through the field.

    Lucas Wilson

    F1 is just a few rule changes away from great racing.


    I actually think that was a very good post, @John-H.

    As much as I appreciate how you feel and can relate in certain ways, I actually felt much more like you do now back in the Schumacher domination days of 2004 – and I’m still here! Never left.

    As predictable as this season has become, I still really enjoyed the race today because we had plenty of action, fighting and unpredictability throughout the field.

    Now that the inevitable has finally happened, I hope we all start to look forward to 2014. I’m really excited about the potential for a big shakeup next year and I can’t help but think that I’m going to enjoy 2014 immensely.

    Fer no.65

    Well said, @John-H You had the coconuts to say enough is enough

    I’ve been up and down with Formula 1 through the years. Starting in 1994, not taking much interest until 1997, and then a big slump between 2001-2002. But it’s much more of a “tradition” for me these days to check the news, check the weather, see the laptimes after practice, and watch the race (qualys have become less of an issue for me, I’m missing a lot of them… hardly anything happens anyway).

    The gimmicks of current F1 is very frustrating, so is the tracks, the penalties. I agree with everything you say. I’m a lot more frustrated by all that, than I was with the traction control, the loss of the V10 power, the tyre wars of 1998 and 2003-2005… It’s, as you say, a part of me that goes away.

    It goes away because I remember all those sundays with my dad (big petrolhead aswell) watching the races. He usually said “this is very boring” but I was at the edge of my seat, waiting for something to happen.

    But that waiting for something to happen was also very, very boring. I didn’t like Trulli trains, it was more out of the cars not being able to follow each other, rather than defending well. But at least it was a “natural” thing to happen.

    I wouldn’t say other series are having it good either. Well, not those I watch. Rallying, a lot of the touring car series I follow too…. the good old times seem long gone, and it’s all become, as you said, very “robotic”.

    It sad how things go, really. Sometimes you really feel like closing the door behind you, locking it up and throw the key away. But we all just cannot help it. It’s within ourselves, and it’s hard to quit passion.

    Roll on 2014 !


    I’m pessimistic about next year – the new engines might shake up the order, but limiting fuel will kill the racing even more: drivers won’t be able to fight for position if it costs them too much fuel, or will have to bring the pace down at the end of the race–a driver running on fumes, falling backwards in the closing laps might count for a lot of “passes” but it sure isn’t exciting, any more than a DRS breeze-by pass. The short-lived tires are just dreary, too. I think I liked the ones that lasted the whole race better. Seriously – what on earth is the point of perfecting a race car that is aerodynamically perfect, then hobbling it every which way? Who’s grand idea is it that fans want to see tire- and fuel-saving races?
    There are so many things to like about F1 right now, a lot of seriously talented drivers and fairly even teams (red bull excepted), but it’s all for nothing if they can’t race against each other.

    Joseph Angers

    A pretty relevant topic given today’s events and Vettel clinching the Championship. I’m not sure if I can truly say I’m ready to give up on F1. A little bit of background. I’ve been a fan since 1987, when I saw highlights of the 1987 British GP on Wide World of Sports on ABC (F1 wouldn’t be shown live here in the States until 1989). I saw Mansell fake a blocking Piquet to pass going into Stowe at over 200 mph after putting in qualifying laps to just catch him. For a 14 year old raised in a NASCAR household, this exotic brew of sparks, speed, and courage had me hooked. Looking back on it, it makes me wonder if F1 will ever see anything like that ever again. My fear is that we won’t. Which gets to my first point, and that is that F1 has become to a certain exten to “wussified”. That is to say, that with so many sporting regs outlining what kind of driving is acceptable on the track, there’s no way that that amazing pass by Mansell would not have resulted in both drivers being hauled to the stewards office and Piquet being sanctioned. All too often, actions on the track that should be chalked up to racing incidents are now worthy of inquiry and sanctions. Mario Andretti, always considered one of the toughest drivers to complete a pass on who gave no quarter, would probable have his super license stripped under today’s standards. Driver’s nowadays are too coddled, not just by the FIA, but by their teams as well. Could you imagine Vettel complaining to Patrick Head about being held up by Webber?

    Secondly, and the thing that really grinds my gears, is the total lack of innovation currently in F1. Formula 1 loves to bill itself as the most technically advanced form of motorsport, but I just don’t see it. From spec floors, spec ECU’s, rev-limited engines, and to relying on gimmicks to produce racing, F1 has lost any sense of being on the cutting edge of racing technology. Frankly, it’s a duplicity I can’t stand, because to a man, everybody in the paddock will tell you that F1 IS the most advanced form of racing in the world. Yet when truly innovative thinking crops up, there’s a mad scramble to have it banned immediately (see the double diffuser). And while I have nothing against KERS, the ideal would have been that it be introduced by the teams rather than mandated by the governing body. I would argue that F-1 was at it’s technical peak in 1992-93, with 2001 to 2007 a close second. I would also argue that LMP-1 racing is more technically advance that it’s open wheel brethren.

    Say what you will about Max Mosley, but a budget capped F1 with technical freedom would have been brilliant. I’ve always been a believer that true innovation comes from having to deal with limited resources than being hobbled by restrictive regulations and unlimited budgets.

    Lastly, I want t touch on Vettel and the current atmosphere in F1. Whether you like or dislike him (and count me among the latter), he’s a product of the current F1. Those who boo him do so, I believe, not just as a reflection of their dislike of him, but of their dislike and frustration with the product being presented to them every other Sunday.


    It’s almost a heretic view around here, but I don’t really have a problem with DRS. I don’t find watching drivers make easy passes on defenseless opponents more boring than watching a driver trapped behind a backmarker for an entire race, or waiting for a strategy pitstop to unblock the problem.

    What has stopped me watching the last 3 races (or only watching bits of them) is predictability. What’s the point in watching qualifying when you know who is going to be on the front row? What the point in watching the race when the winner is going to start from the front and have a 2 second gap after the first lap? Then stretch that lead by 2 seconds for 5 laps, then sit there until his engineer tells him to speed up? Where’s the possibility for competition when success is determined by 3 factors: money, staff and time; and one organisation has all the budget it asks for, owns not one but two teams, one of those teams only exists to provide staff training, work experience, driver development, and act as a “soak” for restricted resources on behalf of the other team? When all the other teams who attempted to level the playing field have been sabotaged by some big hitters who were picked out by machiavellian politics on behalf of the commercial owner?

    Effectively, that’s what we’ve been watching since 2011. It’s very, very, very boring at this stage. Throw all the statistics and teamwork quotes at it you like, there’s nothing in it for the viewer. Vettel on Pole, vettel wins from pole. Vettel not on pole, Vettel has massive speed advantage. Vettel does not have massive speed advantage, deficit will only last a couple of races. Is Vettel a great driver? Yes. Has Red Bull done a much better job than everyone else? Sure! Is it boring and predictable at this stage? YES. Is there any reason for most viewers to spend their time and money watching it? I can’t think of any.

    With murmerings about customer cars and 6 teams being given a “seat on the board”, you can expect these situations to only get worse. The top team (Red Bull) will continue to dominate with its budget and organisational structure, until the owner gets bored, or Helmut Marko manages to sabotage the whole thing with his ego. The other top teams will put up a semi-credible defense. The rest of the teams won’t even be glorified backmarkers, they’ll only exist to ensure the commercial owner isn’t in any breach of contract about putting on a “series” as opposed to a two-team event.

    It’s boring. It’s not worth my time.

    DRS didn’t make it that way.


    My first few seasons of F1 were relatively boring, having started to really watch in 1998. I still loved the sport to bits, because there was always something to follow. A driver scoring his first points of the season, my big favorite Schumacher, Verstappen, following the Minardi team. The races weren’t that exciting, but I really felt there always was something going on.

    Something really changed for me at the Hungarian GP in 2004. I had missed races due to going to races at Zandvoort, but I actually turned off the TV after 15 or 20 laps. I still loved Schumacher to bits, but much like 2001 and 2002, the competition was just going to bits, making it even easier for Schumacher. At the time, I didn’t feel much for the likes of Button, Alonso and Raikkonen. (I guess I was a young nostalgic.)

    I still watched whenever I could, but the magazines were gone and I wasn’t checking the internet daily for F1 news. Albers and Doornbos came along, but I didn’t really care. I missed a lot of races between 2006 and 2008, mainly because I still didn’t feel much for the new generation of drivers and tracks.

    With the rule changes, I decided to spend more attention on F1 again in 2009, which was a fun season, and I think that reeled me back in. 2010 was a great season, even if overtaking was still difficult. 2011 had its merit, behind Vettel. 2012 perhaps was the best season I’ve seen.

    But this year, with the double DRS zones, inane Pirelli tyres (I have long given up on blaming a party, I’m simply done with them), insane reliability, strategic driving in a bad way and Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes flailing as hard as McLaren and Williams were in 2002 and 2004, it’s just not all that interesting. Strategic driving used to mean conserve some fuel, make the tyres last 5 laps longer by going 3/7 tenths a lap slower. Now, we see nearly as much difference in laptimes due to tyres as we used to do because of refueling.

    I still watch and will continue to do so, but it is more frustrating now than between 2001 and 2004 for me. Regardless of being a massive fan of the world champion then, the problems with F1 were pretty simple; a lack of overtaking. Now, there’s so many things wrong on so many levels with so many things. Even when you see a great race (Japan 2013 would have been an instant classic if it took place between 1998 and 2006) there are still things that can leave a sour taste.

    On a personal note, with Schumacher winning those titles, I think I was more at ease with him denying others titles. I even have more respect for Vettel, because seeing guys like Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton and Webber struggling to keep up with Vettel in the standings is perhaps more impressive. While I feel Vettel deserved all his titles because he was the one with the most points at the end of them; I feel a lot worse for those 4 other drivers I listed now, than I ever did for the likes of Coulthard, Montoya or Ralf Schumacher.


    @John-H It is sad to see a fellow fanatic lose his way. I completely understand, and your story is incredible, because my F1 fanaticism started really in 1991 as well. I had been to Adelaide GP in 87 and 89 previously but was too young to really enjoy it. When Schumi hit the scene in 91 I fell in love with both his talent and the sport.
    I have been an F1 supporter for many years and what I can say is, everyone has different reasons for following the sport, however, I find some people fall out of the sport because the things that annoy them just grind their gears (sorry for the pun).
    Just a couple of observations about your comments, not saying they’re wrong, everyone is entitled to their views, but perhaps an alternative perspective is needed:
    * Drivers never go off the track pushing hard.
    With the removal of ABS and Traction Control, they go off a lot more than they did in the 90’s and early 00’s. We see drivers make late braking attempts and get re-passed by the driver they just passed. Look at last nights Indian GP where many drivers were trying lunges at that tight right hander after the straight.
    * Run off areas do not punish drivers at all.
    I agree with you wholeheartedly on this point, bring back grass on the edges to actually slow drivers who push past the limits, not reward them.
    * Apart from the odd occaision (Hulkenberg for example), the art of defensive driving is dead.
    Defensive driving has changed, Hulk has proved it can be done, even Schumi in his return to F1 showed that you can defend with DRS. I was pleased to see that GRO didn’t get his wish and GUT’s (i think it was GUT) effort in holding him up last night wasn’t penalised.
    * F1 is now a time trial, because everything can be calculated in advance because DRS means that it can be.
    Ok, this is one of the big points I want to make. F1 has always been about calculations and strategy, refuelling, special qualifying tyres of the 80s/90s. Tyres that destroy themselves far too early and DRS contribute to the strategy game of the modern age racing. However, back when M Schu and Ferrari dominated in early 2000’s it was widely believed that Ross Brawn was a tactical and strategic genius behind the pit wall, however, he isn’t the one who is making master strokes these days. I think its accurate to say that Brawn was the pioneer of true tactics and strategy mid race, it probably helped that he had a gifted driver that could make 2 different strategies work. Look at Vettel last night, he had to push very hard on his strategy even though to my mind Webber’s strategy was probably faster, as demonstrated by GRO and a couple of others. However, as much as the teams try to calculate as much as possible, and they have computers that calculate holes in traffic so that drivers can pit and come out without dealing with traffic. However, it all goes pear shaped when someone else does something unusual or not predicted, or like Alonso last night, had an issue with his tyre being punctured by contact, or something completely random like a disgruntled Mercedes worker running onto the race track midrace. As with all sports, the moment it becomes predictable, then it is no longer a sport. I remember even back when Schumi was winning everything in early 00’s, I was always hesitant to put down a bet on him to win, because, reliability or strategy might not mean he would win.
    * DRS is manufactured overtaking. I would take a Trulli train any day over a DRS pass.
    Now let me continue my above comments on strategy with the DRS comment you make above. I firstly can’t believe that you actually would prefer a Trulli train, I for one found it very difficult to stay awake for the Hungarian GP, and only the atmosphere at Monaco kept me awake (races run 10pm-12midnight for me in Australia) for the most prestigous go kart race of the year.
    DRS was introduced at a time when Trulli trains were regular because faster cars (ie cars that had a performance advantage over the car in front) could not get past because of turbulance on the front wing and extremely short braking areas where you needed to brake 15-50metres later, which just isn’t feasible when the braking mark is 100metres or less.
    I think we can all agree that DRS is implemented poorly at some races and great at other races, however, everyone gets the same rule, no one is penalised by not having it, its great to see a feature that is equal from the #1 team RBR right through to the last team on the grid a Caterham or Marussia. It is also great to see that DRS allows drivers to overtake and then cars that have similar performance, the ability to retake that car at the next lap.
    DRS is similar in respects to the aero/mechanical/electrical advantages that teams get when they invent something like Double Decker Diffusers or Active Suspension or any other advancements that the teams come up with, the great thing is, its not just 1 team with the advantage.
    I think its helped to stem the type of domination from teams, similar to what occurred with Williams early 90’s, McLaren late 90’s and Ferrari early 00’s, and the domination we are seeing from RBR at the moment while its definitely in RBR’s favour, sees it only marginally ahead of its competitors, up until the last handful of races, Merc and Ferrari were really pushing RBR hard.
    * Tyres mean drivers do not push or are encouraged to sit back 2 seconds (forget about any overtaking like Hamilton on Kimi at Monza 2008… just forget it).
    The tyre situation does not sit well with me, the tyres are at a point where 1 team rolls the dice on which way they’ll go and seem to end up with a result from sheer luck, more than out of any ability, especially early on this year and early 2012 we saw a number of strange victories or close dices with drivers who were challenging for podium positions, Sergio in Malaysia will always stay with me. However, if you look at the ratings on F1Fanatic, fans seem to enjoy those races more than the older style pass at pit races. I for one don’t like those, but I think if there are more fans in F1 because of this, then I can bare with it, because ultimately the WDC and WCC of 2013 was won by probably the best driver/car package on the grid, which means that it isn’t impacting too much on the overall results. Yes we might get some strange names up the front from time to time, but that helps young drivers make the jump, look at Perez, had he not had a blinder in Malaysia, would he be at McLaren this year? I’d say not. Hulk is also in a very similar position and he would not be linked to a Lotus drive had he not had some of these great results, which I’m sure is something that Sauber has gotten right in terms of making their car work with the tyres better than others around them.
    * Team radio telling drivers how to drive, because of advances in telemetry. Drivers are turning into robots. Maybe getting rid of team radio is the answer, but it’s never going to happen.
    I disagree, the chatter on the radio is all helpful messages, and with so many dials, things going on, a driver of the ilk of Schumacher who use to think about the race from a strategic/tactical sense while sitting in the car is probably a day of the past. There is just so much going on, if you watch an onboard lap now, drivers are changing car balance and setup from corner to corner to get the most out of the car. I can’t see them having the capacity to do more than figure out how to take the next turn and at best think about how to try and overtake the car in front. We saw the Toyota of McNish have a completely stupid accident in Suzuka where he was busy fiddling with knobs and dials instead of turning the car after negotiating the chicane at the end of the lap, the corner isn’t hard for modern f1 cars to take flat out, but it is hard to take if ur focus is on the knobs and not outside the cockpit.
    * The FIA not running any races without DRS after the introduction of degrading tyres and no refuelling.
    The FIA sees each of these as small components that make up the complete package. Its not a case of replacing one idea with another, its about introducing many things to make it an overall package.
    I think refuelling is a bad idea, and anyone that thinks that refuelling can be done safely should read Steve Matchett’s book. He was the guy at the back of Jos Verstappens benetton that was engulfed in fire at Hockenheim in 1994.
    * More and more pay drivers because of teams like Red Bull not even attempting to make a version of the RRA to work.
    In all honesty, name drivers outside of the big top 4 teams in the last 22 years we’ve been watching F1 for that didn’t pay for their drive? Pay drivers have been around since the 1950’s, and only very few get paid to drive, F1 is the most expensive motorsport in the world, so a driver that can pay the team has always been around. I think a RRA is not going to solve the issue by itself. Traditionally any money teams save by cost saving measures introduced by the FIA have been redeployed into other areas, the whole reason for banning mid season testing was to stop the likes of Ferrari having 2 test teams operating throughout the year, instead Ferrari spend the money on Windtunnels, CFD and Simulators.
    * The quality of the circuits and the poor atmosphere at a lot of races (due to FOM and oil money).
    I’m not a fan of the Bahrain GP, however, I see the need of making sure that F1 is not just a European based sport and realistically the only markets untapped by motorsport is the Middle East and Asia. I think its tragic that the Indian GP is going to be dropped next year, I think watching on TV last night the empty grandstands don’t tell the whole story, how many GA ticket holders were there! It was nuts to see the amount of people stream over to Mark’s stricken RBR to try and take a photo, I think the issue is perhaps that the ticket prices are not quite right, or perhaps its a cultural issue, not sure if the Cast system is perhaps an issue at this one event. However, give it time and I see no reason why the Indian GP and the Chinese GP can’t be as popular as the Malaysian GP, Japanese GP or Australian GP. It takes years to build up the interest, but if F1 is willing to tough it out, then it will reap the rewards in years to come.
    * Too many penalties for next to nothing, meaning drivers are scared to race.
    I think the FIA are getting it right in terms of consistency, while everyone was agast at qualy in the Indian GP, at least the FIA clarified their position. It comes down to just making sure the rules suit the situation, rather than 1 rule fits all. The Mark Webber situation where he picked up a lift with Alonso was probably handled incorrectly and I think the FIA should have some leeway to make judgement calls on those misdemeanors. I’m not sure that I like the grid drop penalties, however, there needs to be some sort of stick to keep those who want to push the boundaries beyond the allowable limits, so I don’ think there is any better way quite frankly.
    * Half of the race commentary and team radio being about tyres.
    Tyres have always been a topic of concern, I remember Michelin pulling out of the US GP, or the old Bridgestone vs Michelin battles, where there was 1 tyre that was clearly better and teams were making exclusive deals with the vendor to get premium tyres for their team, while others were left with seconds. I’m not a fan of the current tyres, but to say that the talk of tyres is new, is a phalacy.
    * This: as I write this in the background I hear Button’s engineer team radio: “Don’t worry about being overtaken by Vettel” because it might destroy his tyres.
    Vettel overtaking Button was clearly a faster car out of position due to the strategy and nothing to do with Button driving to protect his position, because the different strategies mean that at the next pitstop that neither Button or Vettel would be around each other.

    @John-H I completely see and understand where you are coming from, but thinking that F1 will be the same as it was back in the 90’s is probably not the best either. From my recollection, there are only a few memorable races per year and I am a Schumi fan. 1994 remains for me the most emotional season I’ve ever watched for reasons most on this forum will understand. However, the removal of active suspension in ’94 and the introduction of refuelling all contributed to what we remember today.
    Again, I’m not saying you’re wrong to have your views, as everyone has their own, but perhaps you can see from another point of view that there are some positives from some of the negatives you’ve highlighted. And the series we see today will be different to what we see in 10 years time.


    oh god, that ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated… o.O


    I agree with many things being said here. Defending and overtaking has become more of a mechanical matter as opposed to an art.

    Races and seasons seem to be a roll of the dice. Lots of people applauded Perez last year at Malaysia and he literally did NOT make a single pass to reach podium. Today Grosjean took P3 from P17 and Raikonnen was in P2 (or P3) out of nowhere while doing 45+ laps on the tyre that Pirelli advised not to exceed 15 laps:-) I think Raikonnen is fantastic but occasionally he seems to pop out of nowhere on the podium…

    I’m waiting to see a matchup between Webber and Vettel and it just won’t happen.

    The tyres, the tyres, the tyres. You can’t qualify on them, you can’t race with them, you can’t stay close to another driver with them, you can’t look at them without taking 5 laps off them… They belong in a museum, period!

    A talented driver like Hulkenberg can’t find a good team…

    Every driver out there turning into choir boys with the exception of Raikonnen and Hamilton…

    The FIA being the partypooper of the century handing penalties out for drivers giving rides to other drivers and celebratory donuts.

    Red Bull running 2 teams… I love when Horner complains of unfair advantages:-) I really want to reply “Don’t you see the other 2 bulls on the track that you are using as mobile roadblocks after pitstops for the other teams?”


    The rules on the sport are absurd, but bar DRS, the racing has been OK despite the one-team and one-driver dominance.


    Sad post @John-H, but it reflects my thoughts on this era of F1. Admittedly I’ve only been watching the sport since the end of the 2007 season, but since then I’ve immersed myself in F1 from a variety of periods. I’m not ready to give up on it, but 2013 is most definitely the season I’ve enjoyed the least by some margin.

    Alongside the points you’ve mentioned, one of the biggest problems for me is how “easy” the cars look to drive. By that I don’t mean I’d be able to climb in and start pounding out decent laps(!!!) but watching on TV you just can’t really tell when a driver is pushing hard. Mistakes are incredibly rare. We know that there are drivers out there who are not in the sport on talent alone, yet there’s no way you’d be able to tell the difference between a Vettel and a Chilton (sorry Max) if they were in identically liveried cars and overalls. The cars really do look like they’re on rails. It takes a the drama and awe out of watching a driver like Vettel drive a flawless race, when in reality you’ve got 21 other flawless races (traffic and a fundamentally slower car being the only difference).

    I’m sure tyre saving has something to do with this, but I also suspect that all the teams know the current formula so well that they’ve more or less settled on the optimum solution for making the cars as easy to drive as possible. I’m hoping that next year will bring the challenge back to driving F1 cars.

    This contributes to F1 becoming an exercise in risk management. The fallible driver is less of a factor, so the teams can more easily calculate their optimum race and instruct their drivers to drive within that optimum plan.

    Since 2007 I’ve also started getting into all sorts of other motorsport, and I have to say I am currently enjoying most other series more than F1. Indycar, GP2, NASCAR, WEC, F3, the BTCC finale the other week – they lack the on and off track clinical feel of F1, the drivers are there to push hard and race rather than driving within pre-calculated lap times.

    Personally, I’d get rid of DRS as well as the fragile tyres. But I’d also love to see more changes like more engine power and less aero downforce (Eau Rouge and 130R should be a challenge again, I’d make them the benchmark for not being taken flat). Changing the layouts to create a better slipstream effect. Reducing the number of crew allowed for a pitstop. I’d even be tempted to introduce points for pole position and fastest lap. And there must MUST be something done about costs, and soon.


    Have to say I agree on all levels, I’ve been a motor racing fan since the mid sixties (I was young). Watched my first F1 in 69 and it was really easy to separate the wheat from the chaff back then. In the early 70’s the design of open wheelers began to change and we lost sight of the driver ‘working’ behind the wheel. In the 80’s computer technology ground affects and turbos began to appear but still it took a bloody good driver to control one of those 900hp* beasts. Now I think there is too much input from outside, drivers don’t seem to race after the first couple of laps. After that decisions are made outside of the drivers knowledge and control. It’s more like a game of chess with the grand masters sitting behind the pit wall directing their pieces on the track to get the best possible result for the business.

    *in race trim


    ^^ There was time then we had refueling and two-way telemetry. What decisions came from the driver back then?

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