With the FIA set to decide on how to change Formula One for the better next month, Jaguar Racing driver Eddie Irvine gave his opinions on how to improve the sport. Many radical ideas have been suggested in the wake of Ferrari's dominant season but...
With the FIA set to decide on how to change Formula One for the better next month, Jaguar Racing driver Eddie Irvine gave his opinions on how to improve the sport. Many radical ideas have been suggested in the wake of Ferrari's dominant season but not all of them have met with positive responses.
"They have to do something fairly quickly and they have to overrule the interests of the big teams," said Irvine. "But I don't agree with the weight penalty. Why give Ferrari $30 million of the TV money compared to a team like Minardi which they then spend on testing and aerodynamics to make their car go quicker, and then put 30kg of lead in to take away that $30 million of investment? It's just stupid."
"Spreading the TV money more evenly would help," explained Irvine. "Why give Ferrari most of the TV money? It doesn't make sense. They are only one eleventh of the show or whatever. The whole thing is about making the rich richer and the poor poorer and wrecking the TV show as much as possible. It's not just a case of reducing costs, it's reducing the amount of money that certain teams have.
"The TV show could be better if you just ignore Ferrari, because they're not racing, and concentrate on the guys who are racing -- McLaren, Williams, Jordan, Jaguar. Forget about Ferrari, they're about trivialising F1. Just take them off camera and Marlboro, Vodafone and all those people will soon alter the team policy. Probably within an hour you'll get results!"
The outspoken Ulsterman is also of the opinion that the sport badly needs a big personality to draw in the crowds in the mould of a Senna, Alesi or even an Agassi!
"A lot of the drivers don't have anything to say. When you think about last year, F1 got rid of Jean Alesi, who was one of the biggest names in F1 ever, even though he'd only won one race. He was a huge draw and they just let him go and recruited a whole load of youngsters who don't really do a lot for the sport. Some of them are good, but who's going to go to Wimbledon if there's no Pete Sampras or Andre Agassi? It doesn't take a lot of working out. People are interested in names."
"Maybe there should be a one tyre formula, although in a lot of cases the racing might be better with two because sometimes one company has a big advantage in the race compared to qualifying," said Irvine. "It can spice the racing up. But it would be more of a level playing field if one tyre company pays to supply the tyres for all the teams and the money is divided. Taking off the electronics won't make any difference because it didn't help the racing before. The big problem is you can't follow the guy in front because of the aerodynamics."
Irvine's final suggestion is to restrict the amount of testing that teams are allowed to do, limiting everybody to the same mileage.
"I would give everyone 3000km of testing, or some other agreed figure, and that's for the year. Ferrari did three times as much testing as us this year, so you take away the advantage of someone being able to run three test teams. Limiting testing reduces their ability to buy performance. I would also limit the number of people teams can bring to a race. If you do that you also limit the amount of stuff they bring, because there's not the people to operate it."