Saturday, June 20

Formula One no more!

The news hasn’t sunk in yet. In fact, it refuses to sink in. A formula one race featuring Williams, Force India and a couple of entrants, is simply not acceptable. It is not the Formula 1 that I am so familiar with, having watched the likes of Benetton’s, Jordan’s, Minardi’s, McLaren’s, Renault’s, BMW’s, Ferrari’s jostling for positions at the first corner.

I am still hoping that the FIA and FOTA would put aside their differences and continue racing. But that would only satisfy my greed.

Watching cars trundling around in a procession is not exactly exhilarating. At one point in time, certain manufacturers with deep financial pockets had achieved so much of technological development on their cars; they were ahead of others at least by two years. This resulted in the same old teams racking up podium finishes while the rest were just also-rans, filling up the grid. This made Formula 1 boring. In order to bring parity, the FIA continued introducing fresh rule changes almost every year, thereby reducing the technological gap. It almost paid off this year where the Brawn’s have dominated along with the Red Bull and a couple of other manufacturers putting in competitive performances.

But at what cost? The regulations have made the F1 races less thrilling to watch. Technically speaking, the engine size has been constantly whittled down. The cars are no longer as fast as they used to be in the 70’s and the 80’s. Simply putting it, it is no longer the driver stomping on the gas pedal and going as fast as possible, harking back to the old adage: better the driver faster the car. Just look what technology has done these days. There is no point having a supremely gifted driver driving the car because the car is the limiting factor. There is so much of electronics aiding the driver these days; one does not need to be a Senna or Schumacher.

Formula One is supposed to represent the ultimate, to be the most advanced and most competitive racing formula. However, with budget caps and regulations it is no longer Formula One. High end sports cars these days almost match the performances of a Formula One. That should say it all. Formula One is supposed to be “the next level” that is very difficult to reach. Sadly they have it all screwed up.

I have never seen the yellow helmet race, having tuned in to F1 when the red one was making its mark. We will never see them again. I will probably stop watching Formula One as it has come to embody rules, regulations, budgets and restrictions. It is not about racing anymore.

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