It’s that time of year – or at least it soon will be, depending on which calendar you adhere to. Hopefully you’re recovering from the festivities and returning to a normal rhythm without too heavy a heart. Have you steered clear of chocolate, booze, cigarettes, Facebooking, big game hunting or whatever else you have self-proscribed for 2012?
If so, congratulations! And if not, I made no such pledges this year, so well done for at least trying.
So, in that spirit, allow me to instead suggest five F1 resolutions for 2012 – better to whine about desired change elsewhere over which one has no sway than to strive for self-betterment. I’m sure that’s a wise old proverb, right?
Here, in no particular order, are five things I’d wish for in the coming season. It’s just a pity I’m not confident about any of them becoming a reality.
Politics, but only in moderation, please.
It’s Concorde Agreement year, and you know what that means. Sadly, it has nothing to do with supersonic passenger air travel, focusing instead on some healthy off-track, inter-team bickering.
Negative Camber wrote about some of the latest rumblings in the German press here, and while we have nothing concrete as yet, let’s just say the timing of Red Bull, Ferrari and Sauber’s FOTA exit is at least intriguing.
Dress it up any way you like – you might discuss track testing, engine regulations, the race calendar, spending limits (or not), three-car teams, or sponsor visibility in places like the paddock – these debates are all about money. And they’re only about money.
While undeniably important, it’s also unbecoming of the teams, disillusioning for the fans, and a poor attempt to keep F1 in the news cycles during quieter times.
Remember all the hot-blown and cold-blown diffuser nonsense midseason? Let’s put the actual handling of the event and Ferrari’s early Christmas present at Silverstone to one side, even though it was pretty darned risible, and focus on the teams’ bickering over semantics throughout the entire affair. My single greatest recollection is that I found it all incredibly tedious. And I just hope – probably forlornly – that similar tedium doesn’t dominate debate this season.
F1 occasionally forgets that it’s the racing we tune in for. Here’s to an amnesia-free 2012.
Calmer stewards, fewer penalties
Under the current rules, any contact (with the exception – I believe – of lap 1 incidents, where it’s not mandatory) must be investigated by the stewards. Fair enough. But that doesn’t mean that it also has to be punished by them.
Was Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa’s turbulent season exacerbated by the seemingly pathological need to assign blame (and to penalise on that basis) almost every time they came together? I would say so.
I’m not advocating anarchy here. Rubbing is not racing (not in the civilised world), single-seaters are exposed and dangerous, on-track respect is important and I would even argue that there are worrying signs that it might be waning among the current crop of drivers – who are greater strangers to danger than any of their predecessors due to the laudable improvements in safety standards.
And yet, punishing minor incidents and accidents with such reckless abandon often serves only to inflame such situations. It can intensify the feeling of being wronged, draw attention to the spat between two drivers and sour the mood further.
Also, while I’m ranting about stewards – unless it’s truly irrelevant (say the car in question has already retired), please STOP delaying rulings until after a race. If a sensible decision cannot be reached in the moment, no decision is warranted at all. Post-race penalties are a sure-fire way to jeopardize the (already fragile) sporting integrity of the business that is F1.
Eyes on the action, please, FOM TV!
My sincerest apologies to Poppa Button, Jessica Michibata, Anthony Hamilton, Eduardo Massa, Dario Franchiti, Norbert Vettel, Nicolas Hamilton, Sir Paul McCartney, the Singapore skyline, Prince Harry, Buddha, Joan of Arc and Shaft, but I just don’t want to watch you or your paddock reactions. This is especially valid when a race is running, but the comment stands more generally.
I’m not particularly fussed about the pit crew’s reaction to an event or Christian Horner’s jiggling foot either, but will at least grant that these images are less irrelevant.
No more (or at least far fewer) pointless pit-lane pan-away shots, please!
Reappraise tyre allocation rules – I’m looking at you, Q3!
The ten pole position shootout cars should be on track in the pole position shootout. There’s got to be a simple solution to this one. In fact, I think there are several – but here’s the two simplest:
My preferred option is to give those who reach Q3 an extra set of fresh softer/option tyres as a “reward”, but with the caveat that they can only run them in the race if they also run them in Q3. In other words, “banking” the extra set for Sunday would not be permitted, you use it, or you lose it.
The other solution would be to scrap the regulation calling for drivers to start the race on their Q3 tyres. That would all-but remove the incentive to keep one’s options open for the Sunday. There would still be some incentive to save rubber (if tyre-allocation is limited and tyre-wear high, there always is), but it would be far smaller.
Ditch Ridiculous Stuff (it’s all about the abbreviations)
Donkey Racing System, Don’t Ruin our Sport, Despicably Risible Silliness, Destroying Racing’s Spirit, Dumbass Regulation Snafu, or simply, Don’t Run that Sh*t!
I won’t say too much more – for I know there are those who love it, and also because we haven’t hidden our Distaste Regarding Systems like this one in the past.
Still, once more with feeling:
Abolish (or at least fundamentally alter) the abomination that is DRS in its current guise!
PRETTY, PRETTY PLEASE!
There you have it – five things (among many others) that I’d personally welcome in the 2012 F1 season. What would yours be?