Changes to Formula 1 in my opinion

Recently I watched a few Formula 1 race from 1995 (20 years ago) and those were a lot more fun to watch then there 2015 races I have seen so far and with the discussion the last few months about the future of Formula 1 I thought I might add my 2 cents about why the 1995 races were a lot more fun and what the changes to formula 1 should be.

First of all the sound. In 1995 there were 8 types of engine in use, the V8, V10 and V12 and those were all very LOUD. I do understand that 3 types would be a bit of an issue to run, so 1 type would be OK with me, but make it sound great. V12 is great of course, but I would settle for a V10. A little example of what I mean in the below video.

A very fast pitstop was ~8 seconds (“8 seconds, one of the best we have seen today!” according to the commentator) back then and that was all because of the need to refuel. This gave you a nice view into the strategy of the teams and gave you the opportunity to do some math and figure out when the next stop would be as the fuel went in at 12 liters a second and you knew how much fuel each car used for each lap, so easy math.

Tires, well the 2015 rule is stupid, I don’t care about bad tires, just put on a piece of rubber and drive your ass of until it goes bad, get a new set and repeat. This is an artificial way to bring more excitement (which failed if you ask me). Get more tire manufacturers into the game and let them make the best tire they can, bring back the tire wars !

pirelli_tyres

A blue flag you say? Well those were not there in 1995. Drivers just had to pay attention and try to get passed. Sure you would eventually get a little sign, after about a lap of blocking, that it might be a good idea to get out of the way. I remember a few “international signs of friendship” coming out of some cars when it took a bit to long.

DRS, never really understood that one as it is an artificial way to make cars pass each other. In 1995 you just had to be smart, use a slipstream and try to pass the guy in front of you. Seems to me that in 1995 cars could run much closer to each other too, without much trouble, which was probably because the aerodynamics were simpler. It might be that there were less actual passes, but drivers were trying for lap after lap to get past and to me the TRYING to overtake is much more fun then the actual overtaking.

Had a couple of examples where drivers just drove along with a smoking car, obviously there was something wrong with the engine. But the car stayed on track as it might just make it to the end and the engine would be replaced if it didn’t. This caused another piece of excitement “will the car hold until the end, or will it blow up?” So make simpler (and cheaper) engines and let teams use more of them.

A little comparison between the 2015 and 1995 number of engines manufacturers:

2015
01. Ferrari
02. Mercedes
03. Honda
04. Renault

1995
01. Ferrari
02. Mercedes
03. Honda
04. Renault
05. Yamaha
06. Hart
07. Ford
08. Peugeot

Might this be a part of why the 1995 races were much more fun to watch?

Spare cars, yes we had those back in 1995. During a crash at the start the race was red flagged (no there were no safety cars back then) and drivers would get out of their crashed car and run back to the pits to get in their spare car. There was just 1 spare car per team, so you might end up in a car setup for your team mate, but at least you could drive. This was only permitted with a start crash, you could not get into your other car when you crashed at any other time during the race.

“Formula 1 needs to have more danger” that’s what Kimi Raikonnen said this week. By this he did not mean people should get hurt more, but the game is just to safe these days. I think achieving this can be done my getting the stewards out of the picture and not penalize everybody when they misjudge an overtake and crash into someone. We are racing here, stuff can go wrong.

So what should happen to the F1 if you ask me?

They are shouting ‘reduce cost’ for years now, but to me it looks like they are just making it more expansive, a few examples:

DRS

Expansive system to make the rear wing move, has all sorts of mechanics and electrical stuff that can break, go back to the fixed rear wing and make it simpler, so just 1 level (for both front and back)

KERS

Batteries, electrical systems, stuff that breaks, extra gear for the pit crew to wear because of the risk of electrocution.

Different tire compounds

Seems to me that making just 1 compound and a rain tire is much cheaper then making 6 different types.

 More engine manufacturers

I really believe that if the engines would be simple (and cheaper), so lets say a V10 without KERS and turbo’s and other stuff, more engine manufacturers would join. I’m not really into the engine specs myself, but I’m sure some rules could be made to make the engines simpler, but still very fast and without all sorts of ‘driver aids’. They would also just have to make the engine and maybe gear box and don’t have to build a car. So just get as much power out of that thing as you can and still make it reliable for, lets say 2 race weekends and all of that with a reasonable fuel consumption, as more fuel means more weight , means slower car.

Less/no factory teams

When looking at 1995, but also at the 2015 GP2 championship, you do not see any factory teams (except Ferrari in 1995), which means less influence of those manufacturers. This alone would make the sport a lot cheaper as private teams just don’t have the cash to spend as Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda and because they all would have less money to spend the sports gets cheaper. Just buy the engine you want and build your car around it.

Get rid of the steward that ‘investigate’ every little incident on track, scaring the drivers to try and overtake. Misjudging the situation is part of racing and so are crashes.

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2 Comments

  1. Blue flags and pace cars were there, i watch since 1994. Check Wikipedia

  2. Robin Deurloo

    Hey Ronald, thanx for visiting my site and taking the time to comment on an article.

    I checked wikipedia and the F1 site to see if you might have been right:

    Introduced in 2001:
    Blue flag: driver must allow a vehicle behind him to pass when the blue flag is shown for the third time, otherwise a ten-second stop-and-go penalty will be imposed. The marshals are better protected thanks to stricter safety standards. Headrests must be mounted in accordance with FIA standards. Cockpit walls at driver’s head level must rise to the rear at a slope of at least 16 degrees. The speed during lateral impact tests is increased from seven to ten metres per second.

    The sport officially introduced safety cars in 1993, so it seems you are right there, can’t remember seeing one that early though. Will need to look into that for sure. (there was 1 safetycar in 1973, but that was not official and not in any rule book

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