Voice of the #F1 Fans: Longing for real racing

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor GregP

As a youngster I was naturally attracted to cars. In the mid seventies my dad took me to Kyalami, there was a GP taking place and we went to watch practice. I had never heard of or seen any F1 prior to this visit[ no TV or Internet].

We arrived at the track, parked the car and walked straight into the pits. The sight and sound of the cars absolutely blew me away! Watching the drivers blast out of the pits [no speed limit then] and then come flying down the main straight, braking and changing down for Crowthorne, I was both terrified and excited. When the car returned to the pits everyone made their way to the relevant box.

The driver climbed out and people stared at this superhuman with little regard for his own life. Needless to say I have been hooked ever since. My favourite time has been from then through to May 1994. I loved the innovation from men initially in a barn and later in purpose built factories.

That period brought out more genius and greats than present times. Nicki Lauda, Colin Chapman, Gordon Murray, Harvey Postlethwaite, Ken Tyrrel, Sir Frank Williams, Ayrton Senna, Gilles Villeneuve the list goes on and all still recognised.

I have also watched F1 change, not more dramatically as now. One thing I have noticed in all 4 wheel racing is that as soon as the car manufacturers arrive the privateers are squeezed out and the entertainment factor is killed with bucket loads of money being thrown at the cars for a gain of a fraction of a second. Once the manufacturer has won a couple of titles they pack up and go.

I understand technical advancement is vital and inevitable however I don’t believe F1 should be a test bed for road cars. It must remain a prototype series with teams inventing stuff again, not a bucket of money doing the inventing. Introduce car manufacturers to GP2 or the new F2 series and it to will become garbage.

I don’t like all the buttons on the steering wheel, I see them as driver aids which I thought were banned. I don’t like the radio coaching either, I grew up watching drivers have problems mid race and then trying to drive around the problem.

I understand the complications of a rival series but I think F1 has to die in order to re-emerge as the leading formula of motor sport. The powers that be are just treading water and this is evident from their decision to hand over their power to the car manufacturers. If F1 is handed back to the privateers there wont be a need for cost caps because you wont have Mercedes out spending Honda to sell more cars on Monday.

Those are some of my thoughts I’m sure you can expand on them.

One point to ponder… What do you think John Force would say if the NHRA said to him “John as of 2016 we will be running 1.5 turbo motors with some electric  motors and a pile of batteries

32 responses to “Voice of the #F1 Fans: Longing for real racing

  1. John Force would probably stub out a great big Cigar on the forehead of Jean todt and then he’d tell him to get off his land, (..shotgun at his side of course)

  2. Hi Greg

    I went to Silverstone in 2013 and it was still an epic day out. It’s the top tier of a popular sport. We can’t expect pit lane access for everyone. I took my son to Silverstone for the WEC and there was pit access. But if WEC becomes the most popular then that will disappear. I don’t think we can blame F1 for that. Maybe we should become better at being motorsport fans in general and treat F1 as the showcase for it and not the be all and end all of racing (hands up totally guilty myself).
    If you go to Colchester United for a match you’ll get much better access to players but you’ll get better football watching Barca. (up the U’s)

  3. Formula 1 can’t go back to only privateers because of the sheer economics of the cost of even the most basic chassis, basic motor/power unit, etc. and the costs of putting together a series of races today. There aren’t as many people today with the level of disposable income to finance race teams like years ago and trying to get sponsorship with the manufacturers involved in the series might be difficult because the sponsors want global brand exposure. They may or may not get that if a series was set up privateer style. From the film and video that I’ve seen of the old races, the racing was good but even the most basic parts were cheaper because materials and labor costs were cheaper back then.

    • I think his point is a good one, look at the mid-2000s manufacturer overspend. Post-2008 there was the revival of privateers like Sauber, Williams, Force India, Lotus.. 2012 is a prime example. Sauber was so competitive on 1/3 of the budget of a big team, RBR was even pinching ideas off them! Reduced budget spends = free to air = sponsor exposure. If costs are higher now, then spending can simply be reduced in other areas (e.g. wheel air guns).

    • Mr. GregP – “…in all 4 wheel racing is that as soon as the car manufacturers arrive the privateers are squeezed out and the entertainment factor is killed with bucket loads of money being thrown at the cars for a gain of a fraction of a second. Once the manufacturer has won a couple of titles they pack up and go.”

      Ms. heidiwf1″ – “Formula 1 can’t go back to only privateers because of the sheer economics of the cost of even the most basic chassis, basic motor/power unit, etc. and the costs of putting together a series of races today.”

      The root cause of today’s excessive costs are the hybrid power units, which are ~2x the costs of the prior engines. This hybrid technology has added excess cost and excess weight.

      The smart solution will be to remove the hybrid technology from F1 as soon as possible.

      Hybrid technology could return to F1 when it is less expensive and lighter, but not before then.

      The traditional, and more appropriate playing grounds for manufacturers to explore technological developments on the race track has always been sports car racing, either prototypes and/or GT cars.

      • @Vortex Motio

        The root cause of today’s excessive costs are the hybrid power units

        I disagree. Issues of cost were on the agenda ever since the exodus of manufacturers in 2008-2009. Small teams were desperate for development funds long before the hybrid PUs hit ’em in the eyes, leading to tragicomedies ranging from Mansoor Ijaz to the rise of the pay-drivers (Lotus, Force India, Sauber and even McLaren with their Checo stint).

        The root will be the absence of some form of effective cost control and/or lopsided revenue distribution (towards the scarlet end of the spectrum). The latter point concerns both how the revenue is distributed among teams, and how much is available for distribution (as opposed to how much is sucked by FOM/CVC).

        • Removing hybrid technology would be an important and obvious step in the right direction for cost control.

          Excellent point about the revenue distribution.

        • @landroni & @Vortex Motio

          Unfortunately Bernie is correct in saying that all the teams will spend every single cent that they can. Small teams are just a dream of a bygone era, or club racing. Red Bull/Ferrari/Mercedes are each alleged to employ about 900 people. Multiply that by a reasonable salary for an engineer and the amount is eye watering. Of course that is before they even leave the factory or build anything. Like it or not, some form of cost control has to come in. If we believe the customer cost of these engines, then they are the people paying for a large chunk of the development cost. $20M for 10+ engines for a season is excessive. Even if you add in 3/4 embedded technicians, transport costs, hotel and travel, it’s still too much.

    • @heidi

      I think getting privateers back on the grid wouldn’t be that big a problem if they knew that they’d get the fruits of their labour year on year. If I had a spare F1 season’s worth of money hiding behind my sofa, I sure as hell wouldn’t invest in the current climate simply because I’d be a little annoyed if my staff worked all the hours God, Allah or Buddha sends, built a car that was instantly competitive, finished ahead of established teams in the first season but know the team isn’t gonna be recompensed accordingly. Due to Bernie’s little deals during the divide and conquer period of FOTA to keep the ‘teams that matter’ (read – teams that complain) happy, it means that there’s a glass ceiling in effect for any newcomers to the sport. if the contracts with all the extras currently in place with Ferrari, RB, Merc etc are ripped up, and there’s a fair distribution of prize money based solely on performance and nothing else, more privateers would be tempted to join the party. The playing field would be level, what you put in is what you got out. Let’s be honest, you’d be annoyed if the kid next to you in the office was paid more than you because he threatened to leave a few times and the boss caved in to keep him sweet, wouldn’t you? F1 has many issues at the moment, but until this one is remedied, the rest won’t follow.

      • I think that the contracts with the little extras that Bernie negotiated to keep teams happy won’t be gone until both Bernie and CVC are gone. Those teams are the ones that sponsors want to be associated with because their global brands with global name recognition. Right now, unless a privateer can get a couple big name sponsors with global brand reach and name recognition to help with the costs until the team starts getting prize money, it won’t be able to effectively compete at the front of the grid.

          • I think that right now the only hope is that either the mindset at CVC changes and they gently force that new way of thinking on Bernie or somehow the manufacturer’s alliance truly develops and they are successful forcing Bernie into retirement. Once that happened, the manufacturers could work with CVC on ways to keep the smaller teams on the grid which actually are development teams driver wise, staff wise, etc. for the bigger teams. It benefits the manufacturer teams to have the smaller teams on the grid.

    • @heidi

      I think getting privateers back on the grid wouldn’t be that big a problem if they knew that they’d get the fruits of their labour year on year. If I had a spare F1 season’s worth of money hiding behind my sofa, I sure as hell wouldn’t invest in the current climate simply because I’d be a little annoyed if my staff worked all the hours God, Allah or Buddha sends, built a car that was instantly competitive, finished ahead of established teams in the first season but know the team isn’t gonna be recompensed accordingly. Due to Bernie’s little deals during the divide and conquer period of FOTA to keep the ‘teams that matter’ (read – teams that complain) happy, it means that there’s a glass ceiling in effject for any newcomers to the sport. if the contracts with all the extras currently in place with Ferrari, RB, Merc etc are ripped up, and there’s a fair distribution of prize money based solely on performance and nothing else, more privateers would be tempted to join the party. The playing field would be level, what you put in is what you got out. Let’s be honest, you’d be annoyed if the kid next to you in the office was paid more than you because he threatened to leave a few times and the boss caved in to keep him sweet, wouldn’t you? F1 has many issues at the moment, but until this one is remedied, the rest won’t follow.

  4. f1 (or grand prix racing) has seen several evolutions throughout it’s existence. in the beginning it was dominated by large manufacturers (mercedes and auto union, alfa romeo then mercedes again), when they left, smaller manufactuerers took over (ferrari, maserati) until the british garagistas started to pop up in the 1960’s. From the 1980’s onwards we saw the best of these small teams evolve into large enterprises, employing hundreds of people and operating on larger and larger budgets, until the costs of operating a successful (and even an unsuccessful) f1 team became so expensive, that we now have a situation were only large corporations are able to invest the necessary resources. the solution to this problem wouldn’t be rule changes, but cost caps, since no, or a very limited amount of rules would still mean that the large corporations could invest more into technical innovations than smaller private teams. i’m pretty sure that if the large corporations leave f1, we will see another evolution. there will be less money in f1, thus teams will have smaller budgets and the sport will become dominated by smaller teams again.

    another thing we cannot forget is, that the current structure of f1 is largely due to the way the privateers operated. they were bad at acting unified and at reaching agreements on important issues and only ever saw their own narrow self-interests. that is what provided bernie ecclestone with the opportunity to become who he is today. he in turn was mainly driven by money and power and so he started selling out the sport. in the end, i don’t think there is a simple solution. cost caps and redistribution of funds would be the obvious way to go, but the big teams won’t agree to that. so we’ll have to wait and see until the large manufacturers loose interest, which will then trigger the next evolution of f1.

  5. The driver aids were always theoretically banned in the sense that if the wheels start to spin there’s no computer braking the slipping wheel; this has been banned since before Senna complained that the Benneton has traction control. I guess it depends how you define traction control.
    Look at Kimi’s spin, they say it’s becasue his pedal was softer (or something along those lines) than it would have otherwise been in the first lap after pitstop because the tires are cold. Make no mistake, it is a form of traction control – the pedal travel is adjusted in such a way as to prevent a driver to floor it easily while the tyres have no grip. If only Kimi wasn’t sleeping during debrief.
    From what I know the cars are undrivable today without all those knobs and switches. Since real traction control is banned, the pilots by hand change the pedal mapping, engine mapping, brake bias, I mean all of that in a road care are taken care of by the ECU. I hate seing the F1 pilots pushing more buttons than Lucas Ordonez on the Playstation, but the sad truth is they are alowed, while traction control and ABS are banned (in the classical ECU-controlled sense) – the workaround is to use the pilots to compesate the lack of ABS/ESP. Moreover they have to this for every corner or close to, and drive, and pass, and save fuel… I swear the next champion will have 7 fingers and a huge head just to do what a 5$ microcontroller can do today. Oooor, why not detune the cars, ban buttons, knobs and any way to modd the maps during the race, so in a sense make them less bespoke and more drivable – just leave one button to switch between rain/dry maps.

    /back to work, good points mate

    • @drago

      Thoughtful post. THanks.

      “I hate seing the F1 pilots pushing more buttons than Lucas Ordonez on the Playstation, but the sad truth is they are alowed”

      Whenever I see Lewis or Nico or Pastor fiddling on their wheel it reminds what FIA’s message seems to be: “Lads, look how these drivers can play around with gizmos while driving ultra-fast cars, so don’t worry, it’s just as fine when you play around with your smartphones behind the wheel. Perfectly safe!”

      While at the same time they keep missing corner entry, spin, stall engine, etc., etc. when playing around with all those controls. This is just as silly as for the FIA to allow Williams alcohol-branding cars drive in circles round and round and round the dwarf’s: “Bernie says: Think before you bribe… ahem… drive”.

      Not a very coherent safety message, eh Monsieur Todt?

  6. Last year i telt people were whining just to whine.

    But now im swinging around aswell. Why?
    Well my biggest gripe is that not only does merc finishes 1-2 every race, Ferrari finishes 3-4 and Williams 5-6 basically. And Renault and Honda teams are out of the equation. There is hardly any competition up and down the field, unlike the past 5 years atleast.

    • to me at least, McLaren has been NOTHING since the Bruce and Denny show in Can Am…

  7. I think something that people have forgotten in the transition of garagistas to car manufacturers, is the disappearance of the big tobacco sponsors, no other sponsors could replace them and this opened the door to the car manufacturers to exert their influence more and more.

  8. I bow to thee, Judge13!!! more true words have not been spoken in eons!

    let me add, if I may: motorsports is called RACING, not PASSING. I am no more bored that Lewis dominates a win at Canada than Jimmy Clark unlapped himself TWICE at Monza.

    I have been since 1962, a fan, club board member, a corner worker/marshal/timer and scorer for many a club and pro race and 5 and 24 hour motorcycle races, and a kart racer/autocrosser/soloII/hillclimber/time trail/ rally driver n navigator/and track racer in my younger days… even did some USA dirt oval stock car racin’:)

    my points are 1. that I wanna see some epic battles such as Massa/Erricson or 2. a beat down like Jimmy did in the ’65 Indy. (actual passes are often not really that impressive)… or 3. a whole crap load of drivers who can win on any given day! 4. motorsport today is WAY too civilized, commercialized, dumbed down and sanitized to spark any real sustainable interest. (stand on the outside of turn 8 at Mosport Park while Jockin Rindt savagely saws away at the wheel of his twitchy Lotus at 160MPH for dozens of laps with nothing but a chicken wire fence and 100 feet between you and him). stupid – yes. adrenalin rush – hell yes. forgettable – never!!!

    • @titanracer69

      Should consider WRC then. Some weeks ago I stumbled upon a WRC event, with Kubica et al., and I was stupefied. The car control, what those drivers are doing there to squeeze a fast time and not bin it in the first wall or swamp is absolutely incredible. For each and every driver I was on the edge of the seat to see if they would make it out in one piece… All felt so much more natural than F1… (The last part applies to WEC too.)

      • For me the WRC guys magicians, I learned to drive on the gravel and ice roads of Scandinavia, but when you are on the limit and only thing you see in the mirror is a VOLVO or SCANIA logo from a 24 meter timber truck having a bit fun on the way back to load, you just know that rally is not a bread winning ticket.
        So when I had survived to be 18 and got a driving license, I concentrated on to keep it.

        Difference between WRC and F1 for me is the WRC is like Scandi movie visa hollywood mega production with budget big enough to run Finland for a month or two.

  9. I think Joe Saward is right: there’s so much wrong with the presentation of the sport and the regie and commenters during the races, that the negative sentiments are amplified.

    Still, I can list lots of problems – and solutions for that matter – but the way the ‘show’ is presented is definitely a big factor.

    I’m dreaming of a collapse of FOM’s 100 year deal. That’s where it all started. What trademarks are under control of CVC by the way? I remember that Bernie owns GP1 for example…

  10. I’ve been trying to get my son to watch F1 forever. The other day he asked me to go with him to watch amateur drag racing at the local drag strip. He enjoys that much more because it’s ‘unpredictable’. I think this is largely why F1 fails to thrill these days. Gone are the days of the leading car overcooking the corner and getting beached in the gravel. Instead we have drivers that are constantly being instructed how to adjust the car via the steering wheel knobs and buttons, being told about their brake wear and fuel situation.
    I full agree with other posters suggestions that radio communications to the drivers should be banned except in emergency situations (car on fire etc). Bring back gravel traps and remove the enormous expanses of paved run-off.
    Let the drivers drive the cars and pay a price for not staying on the circuit. Safely of course, but a driver who exceeds track limits should not get an automatic pass to rejoin.

  11. “I disagree. Issues of cost were on the agenda ever since the exodus of manufacturers in 2008-2009. Small teams were desperate for development funds long before the hybrid PUs hit ’em in the eyes, leading to tragicomedies ranging from Mansoor Ijaz to the rise of the pay-drivers (Lotus, Force India, Sauber and even McLaren with their Checo stint).

    The root will be the absence of some form of effective cost control and/or lopsided revenue distribution (towards the scarlet end of the spectrum). The latter point concerns both how the revenue is distributed among teams, and how much is available for distribution (as opposed to how much is sucked by FOM/CVC)”

    Spot on Landroni. The teams will never agree to looking at reform on the distribution of revenue because manufacturers like Ferrari that got more revenue than Mercedes did for winning the championship last year would never agree to it. Yes, I know there are ways around Ferrari’s having to agree to it. The drama it would cause. The minute money is involved the claws come out.

  12. Let’s not place all the blame for boring show on the manufacturer teams. What about the corporate Red Bull that dominated the racing before 2014? Despite all the talk about manufacturers, for a few years we have been having only one manufacturer team in F1, Mercedes, and from 2010 through 2013, Mercedes hasn’t accomplished much besides being “best of the rest”. With the departure of tobacco sponsors, it’s only logical that manufacturer teams and the likes of Red Bull will eventually take their place. What makes the show somewhat boring is that Hamilton is a tier above Rosberg, but then again we have seen several times Vettel and Schumacher win championships in a dominant car, and without much competition from within the team.

    • But let’s face it, not every race between HAM and ROS has been boring. Far from it, they’ve had a few real crackers. The answer as to why not more should truly be the subject of an article I don’t have time to write, or a comment on the PC that my gin soaked brain rebels at remembering. Basically it will take more research than I have time for but the answer lies in plain sight.

      • Rosberg is doing is better job, than say Webber in 2011-2014. At least, the Mercedes cars normally finish 1-2, unless bad luck.

    • “Let’s not place all the blame for boring show on the manufacturer teams. What about the corporate Red Bull that dominated the racing before 2014? Despite all the talk about manufacturers, for a few years we have been having only one manufacturer team in F1, Mercedes, and from 2010 through 2013, Mercedes hasn’t accomplished much besides being “best of the rest”. With the departure of tobacco sponsors, it’s only logical that manufacturer teams and the likes of Red Bull will eventually take their place.”

      I agree that all of the blame for the boring show should not be shouldered by the manufacturers. Formula 1 needs the manufacturers and their economic resources since tobacco sponsorship has been banned. I think that the blame for the “boring show” as people are calling it rests with Bernie and CVC. Bernie is so out of touch with what other activities could be paired with the normal grand prix weekend activities in order to make sure that the weekend has something for everyone. Until that gets remedied (I has some ideas), the show will appeal to certain people instead of trying to appeal to a wide range of people and age groups and experience the growth that the sport needs.

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