F1 is supposed to be about fast cars and fast drivers racing each other. It is now sadly reduced to a travesty of tyre 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 then 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. F1 would lose them to be replaced by actual car manufacturers like Toyota, Ford and VW.
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 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. Drivers can only drive at 90% because they have to use bad tires that F1 regulations mandate to “make for exciting racing”.
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.
Simplify F1 regulations
The only F1 regulations should be
- Cars can be a maximum of x millimetres long and x millimetres wide
- Cars must meet driver safety and environmental standards.
- No remote controls.
Now go as fast as you can! Then we would have the great manufacturers back racing in F1!
Open source the cars
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? Open source the car designs and specifications so they are public knowledge.
It’s not the cost of physically building new innovations that the smaller teams can’t afford, it’s the research, 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, most speed advantage is from the adjustment of adjustable elements. For example, the specifications the teams would make public would say the front wing angle is adjustable from x degrees to y degrees, not what actual angle they use in any race.
Each team would also still have to work out optimal brake and tire temperatures and so many other variables that work together. Good innovation with new designs, such as Red Bull and Williams’s active exhaust, would still be well rewarded with race wins.
Manufacturers don’t make these innovations just to win races, they also do it help them make better road cars, which brings me to the next point.
Benefits for society
Imagine how much this open sharing and collaboration with an element of competition would advance technologies. It would improve vehicles in ways that would benefit all cars and eventually benefit society as a whole, with better transportation.
For example, F1 would be at the cutting edge of energy recovery, where heat energy from the brakes, engine, exhausts 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 technocrats and their regulations. Get the excitement back by letting manufacturers make cars that go as fast as possible and let’s have some racing. Doesn’t that sound better than artificially creating “excitement” by forcing drivers to go slowly because they have to manage the tires.
Betting on Formula 1
We can add excitement by putting some skin in the game and making some money. The best places to bet on Formula 1 are Nitrogen Sports (review) and Betcoin (review). They have the best websites and you can bet live in-play, which mostly involves predicting how the pit stops will play out.