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Debate reaction: How F1 fans would reshape the sport

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Debate reaction: How F1 fans would reshape the sport
Feb 8, 2016, 7:25 PM

This weekend's debate around the idea of Force India mirroring Leicester City in football and challenging for the 2016 Formula 1 world championship...

This weekend's debate around the idea of Force India mirroring Leicester City in football and challenging for the 2016 Formula 1 world championship got strong engagement and raised a number of interesting fan perspectives regarding the state of the sport.

In their 110 comments to date, readers of this website identified areas where F1 had gone wrong and, after a slightly wayward tangent to debate the precise definition of football, they suggested ways in which the sport is failing and where it could be improved.

The JAonF1 team has picked out some of the most interesting suggestions:

Stable rules leads to closer racing:

Lewis Hamilton

Freeman said: “1999 was the end of a long period of very stable rules. The result was that a lot of teams had caught up and had become competitive. New rules with new specs benefit large budget teams and leads to boring seasons with no competition. Why no lessons were learnt from 1999 I have no idea.”

Although the F1 rules package that were being used in 1999 had undergone some changes for the start of 1998 – narrow cars and grooved tyres – they were largely the same for a long period between the early 1990s and 2009. This is the period that is regularly voted as fans’ favourite era of F1.

Keeping the same rules does allow F1 teams to close the gap as there is only so much potential development to be found in every area of the car. Regulation changes shake up the competitive orders because one team (or more) gains an early advantage by adopting the best approach before everyone else.

F1’s regulations are again on the agenda as the sport’s stakeholders struggle to agree on what to change for 2017. While most teams' are hoping to reel in Mercedes, it remains possible that the German outfit, or any other, could adapt better to any new rules and pull further ahead.

Niki Lauda, Maurizio Arrivabene

Teams writing rules:

Daniel M said: “Manchester United, Liverpool, etc don’t sit on a strategy group and decide the rules for their own games, and they don’t get to veto the rules if they don’t like the sound of them. Neither should Mercedes, Ferrari etc have this power.

“Even out the money. Separate the competitors from the rule makers. Then the likes of Force India – if they do everything right – might just have a chance.”

Stuart said: “More interesting football comparison for me isn’t EPL or Aussie Rules but the NFL – TV rights are twice those for the EPL, all 32 teams are in Forbes list of top 50 richest sporting teams, and matches regularly top US TV ratings so by any standards seems to be being run successfully.

“The NFL is effectively run for and by the teams – no commercial rights holder siphoning away large amounts of cash – and the money that comes in is shared out equally between the teams regardless of last seasons results and history. Salary caps are in place to prevent teams spending their way to the top (and – something that couldn’t apply to many other sports – they let the worst teams from last season have first choice of the best new talent for next season).

F1 team bosses

Daniel M's point is similar to the suggestion of keeping F1 rules stable – the teams behind Mercedes would be in favour of changing the rules to catch up, but Mercedes have the right to stop that from happening and so agreement is rare.

Then there are situations like Ferrari’s historic veto. It was given to the team in the initial Concorde Agreement of 1981 and has been a part of all the following F1 contracts, although there is no current Concorde in place. FIA president Jean Todt recently said the regulator was in no place to challenge Ferrari’s veto and it will remain a part of the sport for the foreseeable future.

The idea of separating the teams' and the commercial rights holder is popular among commenters, but it would take agreement between all the constructors to agree on the regulations and how to divide the sport's revenue.

Manufacturers want success:

Lewis Hamilton

Goferet said: “Okay, the problem F1 has that perhaps football doesn’t is it’s a sport that deals with big brands which give the sport credibility as the most technological advanced motorsport series.

“Therefore to keep these big brands happy you have to give them bigger prize money and bonuses to keep them interested.”

While most F1 fans would favour a more unpredictable series, the fact remains that manufacturers want to win to demonstrate their technology is the best on the market.

Do you agree with these suggestions? Could F1 be changed to get unpredictable results? Are excessive team budgets the root cause of all ills? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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