We just report them as they happen, folks. And while we all know Bernie Ecclestone says things (“short cuts,” “gold medals”) just for dramatic effect and then might float his true intention, over the weekend he did offer up the following as a way to spice up the Formula 1 show:
“Actually why not just get a beautiful girl in and draw out the drivers for the top 10 [on the grid]?”
That quote, courtesy Tom Cary at the Telegraph, comes toward the end of a useful column about the ongoing debate about F1’s interest level.
The jury’s still out, the thinking goes. While we had a dry race in Malaysia, the wet qualifying turned the race start mostly on its head (minus Red Bull up front), creating all the passing by the McLarens and Ferraris as they worked through the obviously slower cars. As Cary notes about Lewis Hamilton: “However, as soon as he came up behind a car capable of matching his straight-line speed, Adrian Sutil’s Force India, he found his progress impeded.”
At the front, once Sebastian Vettel passed teammate Mark Webber, there wasn’t much jockeying there, either.
Or so the thinking goes.
The question, I think, is whether the battle between Hamilton and Sutil, which never resulted in a pass, was really less exciting than Felipe Massa and then Fernando Alonso getting around Jaime Alguersuari.
The answer, and F1’s problem, differs depending on who you ask.
A true fan, a fan of racing, strategy and the innovation of F1, will say: Both were equally awesome.
The more casual fan, and the one I’d suspect Bernie has his eyes on because they are the ones through whom F1 grows or maintains its 50 million or so “viewers” per year, will say: Massa and Alonso passing Alguersuari.
Is there any way to cater to both fans?