Driver’s Seat: Throwing it all away

With this latest batch of Pirellis, we have heard a number of complaints that the driver doesn’t have a lot of influence on the life of the tyre, it is basically just a product of the cars set up and design and the driver just pounds out the laps to a set speed parameter or lap time. This may just be the last piece in the puzzle to complete madness that has been set upon us since the DRS/ degrading tyre era began.

I do love endurance racing and a big part of that discipline is, or was, making the tyre last while trying to not compromise lap time as much as possible.

In this day and age it seems the Michelins and Dunlop’s of the world are creating endurance tyres that can be leaned on lap after lap while our F1 heroes are driving on eggshells to make the tyres last 10 laps!

Now as you all know I’m not a big fan of fake weighted passing of DRS but I was ok with the tyres as I enjoy a good battle of ultimate speed vs. vehicle sympathy. Now if that equation is taken away I wonder what we are really watching these days?

One of my favourite years of all time in F1 was 2010, I know the last race was hampered perhaps when Alonso couldn’t get by Petrov in his fight for the Championship, but that was at least borne from a bad pit call which is all still a part of racing no?

With all these gadgets and “Spice it up” theories installed in the rules I’m finding it hard to see through all this to find the sporting side. I could still deal with a tyre that perhaps can’t last all race but I don’t see a need for 4 stops per race, I don’t think a jammed wheel nut makes me excited, or a mechanic being bowled over in a botched pit stop either—you play the percentage game and the speed and panic of these pit stops is going to bring this more and more.

I’d much rather see a race run on 1 compound that can be made to last ½ the race if treated well and then we could actually see and follow who was doing what and how well, and watch a thrilling chase down as the 2 stopper tries to make up that time, right now we just sit and wait till the last 10 laps and see who’s where (kind of sounds like NASCAR doesn’t it).

More than all this though, I am afraid we are taking away what could be the best and most competitive era F1 has ever seen.

We have, right now, such a deep talent pool at the front of the pack and some great teams giving all these very skilled pilots a chance to make use of them. I wonder every week what we would be seeing if all these add-ons were taken away? I have such a deep passion for this sport and in the 35 years I have been following it I have never seen it this good in terms of star power and it makes me sad that we are not giving these drivers a chance to fight it out properly, and sad that we are not able to see it. How many classic duels have we missed over the past 3 years? Sure we’ve seen cars go by each other way more often, but have we missed some god almighty out-braking moves or thrilling heart in your throat maneuvers because of it. I hope not, but I really don’t hope so much anymore.

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