Is Formula One Beginning To Steer Off The Road?


It seems over the last weekend following the Canadian Grand Prix at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit in Montreal, Canada, that the sport of Formula One Racing came to a head. For week’s there was speculation by a small bunch that disagreed on the future of the sport that has the opportunity to change as early as 2017.

However, following this race, there is not only complaining from the media that cover it, but also from mechanics, team principals and drivers. When it gets down to more individuals making noise like this, then it is not just one thing going wrong, but many things.

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The real problem has come first by the smaller teams like Sauber, Force India and Lotus. Their problem lies that their budgets are small and there is no way that they can ever challenge the top four of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull and Williams because their money is barely just paying for engines and other items, by becoming simply a customer. In order for their teams to run and stay alive, more pay drivers are in to cover their costs and this has come in handy with Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson for Sauber, and Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado for Lotus. These four depend on their sponsors to drive, but Grosjean does have a little help from French oil giant Total in comparison to others, who go to not only just use oil companies, but banks as well for a free drive.

Because these smaller teams are facing bankruptcy, the main cause of this are the brand new engines that were put in new usage in 2014. The hybrids are supposed to be quieter and more fuel efficient, but now that they are run, it is a dull, useless and completely expensive product, with too much technology to back it up. With the exception of Mercedes, many other teams are finding it too much of a challenge to try and beat the Brackley, England squad with the Stuttgart, Germany engine. Nothing to take away from the success of the team, because they are doing well. But there is no challenge in the race, and when you hear that Canadian race winner Lewis Hamilton had it easy, and Sebastian Vettel who drives for Ferrari, states that he could not see how anyone could enjoy this type of racing, it makes you think.

Renault and Honda are struggling tremendously with the new product and one is possibly in a quit threat if engine regulations are not changed. The other is in their first year, but cannot even get close to finishing at a power circuit. The new rules, which will occur at the end of February, 2016, states that after the teams are given tokens this season, they have to use them up until that deadline and then, the engines no longer can be changed at all.

All this is how things are currently, but as what has been written in the past, can be said again: What is the most important item for formula one? The fans. There is no other possible thing that can cure this problem the sport is facing, because if there are no fans, there is no show. Already, the Grand Prix Drivers Association is running a fan survey that will decide what the fans want and this could give a good indication of what needs to be fixed and what does not.

So, let us become the critique artist and view how can formula one change when it gets a chance to be renewed in 2017. So what can be changed?

We can start with the engines. If the teams want to keep the engines, then fine. But they need to be able to fix the engines at any time, not a certain amount of limited maintenance. Otherwise, go back to the V8’s-this is getting dumb. It probably will not cost more, just less.

Make the engines louder—you almost don’t need any earplugs anymore. Plus, increase the testing more by having it during the winter; at least 16 days of it before the first race of the season. There will not be a grand prix first raced next year until the first week of April. So if for example, if this could take effect early, you have three months; plenty of time for testing.

If the teams do not want refueling because of safety reasons, then good. But if everyone is changing tires only, then for goodness sake, let us have more than one manufacturer—Pirelli cannot do it alone.

Then the fans—do you think that paying a lot of money for expensive tickets will gets more fans in? What do you think? Of course not. You see the tracks beginning to be emptied, and even worse, the circuits are now beginning to be eliminated because of low attendence. Look at Germany; it is off the calendar. Austria is the next race, and it is losing momentum also. Mexico is a sell out this year, but it is a new race. Will it be just as good next season? Probably not, if the ticket prices are too high. The formula one individuals that are in change should give discount packages for fans so more can come to the race at a reasonable price and start filling up seats. The entertainment value is certainly going bad, all because the racing is beginning to be too much technology and not enough real racing with some technology.

Finally, if the truth is being revealed to say that even the dominant Mercedes team is concerned, then things should start to change. This is a show, and a show should have things that are good to the drivers, the media and above all, to the fans.