This week the World Motor Sport Council officially requested that the Technical Working Group (TWG) propose ideas to reduce the performance of F1 cars. For some time there has been concern that the cars are getting too fast to be safe these days,...
This week the World Motor Sport Council officially requested that the Technical Working Group (TWG) propose ideas to reduce the performance of F1 cars. For some time there has been concern that the cars are getting too fast to be safe these days, something that FIA president Max Mosley believes was underlined by recent crashes involving Sauber's Felipe Massa and Williams' Ralf Schumacher.
Engines and tyres are the main points under consideration to reduce the speed and if the TWG cannot find a solution the FIA will impose its own. There has been mixed reaction from the drivers. There is general agreement that F1 safety is very good but some drivers think that speeds need reduced.
"The cars are much safer today than in the past, but I do agree that we need to reduce speeds," said Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello. "This has always been a talking point. But I have to say I love driving these cars. I don't think we should reduce their performance by too much."
Teammate Michael Schumacher is also in favor of a speed reduction. "It must be done in a correct and sensible manner to improve safety," said the reigning champion, who is a member of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA). "It might take some drastic steps on the part of the teams and the FIA."
Renault's Jarno Trulli has slightly mixed feelings about the matter. As a driver "we all want to be very quick or as quick as possible", but, like Schumacher, as a member of the GPDA he is concerned with safety.
"I don't think any of us want to return to the time when we lost two drivers in one weekend," said Trulli. "So we want to prevent this, we want to try our best, to make Formula One as safe as possible because we want to show, to the whole word, that we are able to build quick cars, safe cars and to make a very good show."
At the other end of the argument, Toyota's Olivier Panis feels that too many regulations will defeat the point of racing. He agreed that one day the cars may need to be slower, but maybe not right now.
"For me, we need to have quicker cars in Formula One because that's why we're here, why we like Formula One and everybody else too and also we need to have some fighting, some overtaking even with drivers who perhaps take some a little bit of a risk," said the Frenchman. "But this is Formula One for me. If you need to make a rule for speed, a rule for overtaking, a rule for everything, there's no point at the end of the day."
Juan Pablo Montoya thinks that a reduction in speed will not necessarily make racing any safer. "Even if we were going slower the accidents are going to happen," said the Williams driver. "I don't think I risk my life driving -- if I thought I risked my life I would not be racing."
"I don't think the cars are too quick. The thing is every year they just go quicker and quicker. I think it's good to stabilise the speed but I don't like the idea of taking out a chunk -- something like five seconds -- just because they say we should."