Friday, 31 January 2014

Put the brakes on, F1

As I do every year, I looked forward to the revealing of most of the F1 cars ahead of the new season this week.

The rule changes for the 2014 season have been a talking point for a long time now and represent one of the biggest changes the sport has seen in decades. And what a change it proved to be when the teams (apart from Lotus) turned up in Jerez, Spain for the first test of the year.

After day one of the test, Roger Benoit, one of the most experienced correspondents in F1 circles, was quoted on the website that the initial day of testing was ‘embarrassing’. Most cars only completed a handful of laps, with some not even managing that. 

Looks only a mother could love? 2014 noses are causing a stir

Before the cars even took to the track however, it was clear that in most cases the beauty of an F1 car's design has now largely been ruined by the odd and really quite stupid noses sections that have resulted from rule changes. They also look dangerous and as I write this the governing body is seeking reassurance that the designs of the noses will be safe, even though the cars have passed crash tests.

When I was growing up, F1 cars looked fantastic - they were beautiful machines and they sounded amazing too. Now their designs and sounds are not driven by passion, more science. But passion is the essence, the origin of F1. Not science.

Whilst the ‘glory days’ of expensive launches involving the Spice Girls and unlimited testing are now long gone (unfortunate but understandable), F1 really needs to re-invent itself to the fans, especially after the latter part of last season which was to everyone apart from Vettel's fans, really bland. These new rule changes have so far worsened my ever fading view of the sport I grew up loving and always wanted to be part of. I cannot imagine that F1 will attract new fans in significant numbers at the moment. It is also obvious by the lack of sponsors on cars that companies aren't that thrilled either.

It's surely time to revert back to a simpler way of thinking and to stop messing around with the rules every 5 minutes.

It will be interesting to see how the season pans out. All I can say is that the racing better be good...otherwise F1's future will surely be questioned.