The once great Monaco Grand Prix and F1 in general is supposed to be about fast cars and fast drivers racing each other but is now sadly reduced to a travesty of tyre degradation management. This is because the control freak autocrats who run the sport have created thousands of pages of strict F1 regulations which don’t allow teams to innovate.
This causes near identical cars that go at near identical speeds which creates boring follow the leader racing. F1’s solution to this is to make them use bad tires to “make for exciting racing”.
FIA justification for F1 regulations
The International Automobile Federation (FIA, the acronym does not work because it’s French) say the F1 regulations that limit innovation are necessary to keep the team’s development costs down. If you had a free for all companies like Ferrari and Mercedes would spend millions of dollars finding ways to make their cars go faster and smaller teams like Force India and Toro Rosso could not afford to compete.
Oh no! Don’t tell me it would be too expensive for airlines, mobile phone companies and soft drink makers to have teams and F1 would lose them to be replaced by actual car manufacturers like Toyota, GM and VW group.
Red Bull and Williams made some innovations called active exhaust that saw the car’s exhaust fumes directed onto spoilers to create down force instead of just going into open air. What a cracking good idea! It was insta-banned by FIA because it would be too expensive for the small teams to implement.
Commentators estimate that F1 drivers go flat out as fast as possible for only 5 or 6 laps per race and the other 90% of the race managing the tires!
So teams have to compromise what would be faster designs to meet arbitrary F1 regulations. If they come up with anything new and clever FIA will disallow it and the drivers can only drive at 90% speed because they have to use bad tires that the F1 regulations mandate to “make for exciting racing”.
Oh I forget to mention F1 regulations stipulate teams can only test their cars for a certain amount of time and distance per year, again to save money for the smaller teams.
No wonder Toyota, Ford and BMW left F1! These teams were into designing and developing technology for the race track that can cross over to the real world not just selling ad space for watch and computer companies like the smaller teams are.
A better solution for F1 regulations
The only F1 regulations should be that the cars can be a maximum of x millimetres long and x millimetres wide, meet driver safety and environmental standards and have no remote controls. Now go as fast as you can! Then we would have the great manufacturers back racing in F1!
But how do we stop the costs getting out of control and stop one team making a breakthrough that sees it win every race of the season by 3 laps? Make the car designs and specifications public knowledge. Every month make every team submit their cars details for FIA to make available to everyone on their website.
It’s not the cost of physically building new innovations that the smaller teams can’t afford it’s the development and testing. This would solve that problem.
You might think this would make all the cars identical and remove the incentive to innovate because any advantage would be copied. Not so, for one thing on the 1st of the month teams have to submit their information for their car of the previous month so anything new they come up with is theirs alone for a month.
Also most speed advantage is from the adjustment of adjustable elements. For example the specifications the teams would submit would say the front wing angle is adjustable from x degrees to y degrees not what actual angle they use in any race.
They would have to make their engine mapping software open source which would reveal what settings they have at their disposal but not what values they set the setting to.
Each team would also still have to work out optimal brake and tire temperatures and so many other variables that work together. As such good innovation with new designs, such as Red Bull and Williams’s active exhaust, would still be well rewarded with race wins.
Benefits for society
Imagine how much this open sharing and collaboration with an element of competition would advance technologies and improve vehicles in ways that would benefit all motorsports and eventually benefit society as a whole with better and more advanced vehicles.
For example F1 would be at the cutting edge of energy recovery where heat energy from the brakes, engine, exhausts and fluids is put back into powering the engine again. Such technologies have clear uses in everyday transportation, including public transportation, which would benefit everyone.
F1 should lose the dinosaur technocrat Bernie Ecclestone and his regulations. Get the excitement back by letting manufacturers make cars that go as fast as possible and let’s have some racing instead of artificially creating “excitement” by forcing them to go slowly because they have to manage the tires.
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- James Canning
- James Canning
- James Canning