Should F1 purposefully become more dangerous?

We’ve heard this comment before from legends like Stirling Moss, Emanuele Pirro, Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Gerhard Berger, Eddie Irvine, Anthony Davidson and many, many others. You can now add Kimi Riakkonen to that list.

In an interview with Jean Alesi on Canal+ and referenced by AUTOSPORT, Raikkonen feels the sport has lost its appeal and that a little danger would help:


“When I first arrived in F1 it was more exciting for everyone,” said Raikkonen

“It really was the top, it was a long time ago.

“You would have thought cars would have become faster, but with rule changes they have tried to make them more slow.

“We must do something to make watching F1 more exciting, to appreciate the speed and to make it a little more dangerous. It is part of the game.

“We don’t wish to see anyone hurt, but it makes things a little more exciting.”


Are these drivers advocating the act of purposefully making Formula 1 more dangerous or are they merely suggesting that the sport should be faster and that will naturally make it more dangerous?

There is a fine line and this is not typically a topic that sits well with many fans who feel that safety should never be compromised and the series should always strive for more safety regardless of the impact it has on the racing itself.

They recall such icons as Sir Jackie Stewart and his crusade to get the sport to stop killing drivers in an era when many died each year. The feel the sport is dangerous enough.

How do you feel about safety in F1? Let’s dispense with the immediate reaction which is to say that the sport should always put safety first but perhaps Mike Rowe solidified the alternative side of that argument when he said “safety third”. Common sense has a place in the equation.

Safety is a trump card and for a host of reasons, it should be. The sport has saved a lot of lives since 1994 with the initiatives it has ushered in under the safety banner. The sport also has ushered in a lot of penalties, run-off areas and other notions that have been exploited and some say abused without punitive action—running wide and keeping your foot in it due to expansive run-off areas for example.

Should F1 be more dangerous? Are we seeking a danger element because all other elements in F1 are producing a series that fans are starting to lose interest in so bring on the danger?

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Paul KieferJr

Response to Mr. Raikkonen: If I purposefully make something more dangerous and someone dies as a result, does that make me guilty of Murder 1? I don’t think my conscience could live with that, so I hope you won’t mind if I say “heck, no”.


What Paul said. ^^^


60 years to the day after Le Mans 1955, the timing of the remark could have been better.

Meine Postma

I would say it’s very good timing.


Irrelevant. If the drivers are too scared they should leave. They always have this option. This was the most extreme sport on the planet before> Hence the incredible popularity. Now its a joke. F1 should be dangerous, and fast. Get over it.

Paul KieferJr

So, if I deposit you in a gladiator arena and tell you that you have to fight this lion that’s about ten feet in front of you in order to live to see the next day, are you okay with that?
(BTW, the “get over it” comment doesn’t quite make the “decorum and civility” standard. Back it down a notch.)


No it is not like that. If you gave me choice as to whether I had the right to fight the lion or whatever then it would be fine. THe drivers have the choice. There are hundreds of other categories. If they don’t like it they should just go. They should not compromise f1. Its an extreme sport.

dane herbst

Mate when he says more dangerous km sure he is referring to it being more thrilling , on the edge, challenging etc etc , the language barrier has made it sound like he would want a pit of lava at the edge of every corner; F1 has to be more challenging for the driver and entertaining for the fans, else in 5 years this sport will be dead

Meine Postma

Face it man, life is terminal!


But not today. Happy birthday bro !


It doesn’t have to be more dangerous. It just has to be more interesting. Current F1 is boring. It’s really as simple as that. It’s just mind numbingly dull. As tedious as watching paint dry. As mundane as luke warm tea.

John The Race Fan

As a race fan (or THE Race Fan, as my screen name implies…), I don’t find F1 boring.
If your measure of excitement is passes for the lead, then I can certainly see how you’d be bored with F1. However, there is much more to F1 than what happens on the track. Granted, if you’re not into drama, engineering rivalries and battles fought around finze zebrawood conference tables while sipping 17 year old scotch and noshing Beluga caviar.


No, F1 is boring because the cars are slow. (Up to 5 seconds a lap slower than in 2002). F1 is boring because it is full of gimmicks like intentionally terrible tires, DRS zones, and ridiculous fuel rules where races are nothing but fuel economy runs. A parade of boring mid pack runners that see success as not finishing last. But what’s worse, is that Mercedes and Renault threatened to leave F1 if they didn’t get their V6/hybrid power units. These terrible engine units (that no fan EVER asked for) have reduced the field to Mercedes and everyone else. And… Read more »


“Mercedes and Renault threatened to leave F1 if they didn’t get their V6/hybrid power units.” Yes, I recall Toto Wolfe saying that just a few months ago. Formula H(ybrid) is not F1. “Hybrid power units” are not “engines” as 99.99 percent of the car-driving audience understands them. FIA, FOM, and the teams have willingly accepted the green agenda and have thereby disconnected F1 from reality. No gearhead or racing fan associates an MGU-H with the reality of his own car. Am I the only observer who recalls the experiment with a megaphone-like device at 2014 Malaysia due to the horrible… Read more »


Without the danger the current WDC isn’t really a champion.


Danger + speed = f1. Its always been a blood sport when it has been at its best. Deal with it. Raikkonen and Alonso are men among boys in this glorified computer game they call Formula 1.

John The Race Fan

I’ve said this before and it bears repeating…

FiA : Motorsport Safety :: TSA : Air Travel Security

They don’t really care if F1 (or any other racing series they sanction) is truly safe or not. They only care that it appears safe, aka “Safety Theater”.
Next thing is drivers will have to take their shoes off before entering the car…

dane herbst

F1 between 2001 and 2008 was incredible, yes for a period it was dominated by Ferrari but we had Michael, kimi, Fernando and alonso all as champion, with massa and montoya providing huge challenges for the other drivers, those cars and drivers were spectacular to watch, now of course drivers can’t stay forever but I tell you what, let me watch the mclaren Ferrari Renault and Williams of 2004 – 2007 battle it out for a next 5 years and it’ll be great!!! That is racing!!!! If the teams didn’t have to upgrade cars ever couple of months costs would… Read more »


My memories of the period are slightly different (it must be my age playing tricks). In the middle of the tyre war we had Bridgestone developing tyres for Ferrari (well Schumacher specifically) and Michelin developing tyres for McLaren and then Renault. Everyone else had to make do with tyres that weren’t suited to their chassis / driving style, so we had domination. Costs were going through the roof as the preferred teams / drivers were constantly testing to keep ahead in the tyre war. At best we had a two horse race for the championship, and at worst it was… Read more »


To be fair, Sauber and Manor are working with a shoe strong budget and Marussia still owed money to Ferrari for last years engines. You have to pay to play. Manor doesn’t even have a 2015 chassis, just an updated 2014 chassis to pass the new regs. Just because a supplier makes a better product doesn’t mean you’re entitled to it. Everything has a price.

I would still like to see what these engines (power units) can do with unregulated fuel cell size, unrestricted fuel flow rates and max revs.


Hi MIE, I think your memory is just fine, and along with Todd in a recent podcast I think that the exciting close racing F1 that ‘we used to have’ is a bit of a myth.

Nigel Cass

Okay, as a driver, we need to clarify what we are saying here. There is a big difference between increasing the speed and power, and as a result F1 becomes more dangerous, versus taking the safety fuel cells out of the cars so they explode when they hit something. This is why the safety debate goes nowhere.


Good comment Nigel, I think Kimi’s choice of word was a poor one. Cars that are more challenging to drive don’t have to result in more liklihood of physical danger to the drivers , marshals and spectators.
So move it away from being a ‘safety debate’ and there is a chance for some ideas that could benefit racing.

Meine Postma

I think he choose the words which said what he meant:F1 needs more physical danger.

Or is that just my interpretation?

But I don’t know what he meant to say, so I take his words instead.


Hi Meine, thanks for the reply. You are correct Kimi probably used the word he meant, however as Nigel points out, this results in a ‘are you against safety’ debate rather than a ‘yeah, how do we make physical courage a bigger part of racing? ‘ debate.
So how do we make physical courage a bigger part of racing, without harming the drivers, marshals or spectators?

Joe Mama

So we’ve managed to pour so much engineering and safety into F1 that screaming around at 200mph and pulling 4-5 Gs in the corners looks mundane, and apparently is even boring for the drivers…huh. We’ve instituted so many artifical rules in the name of keeping the spectacle fresh that the uninitiated are left wondering what the heck is going on; what does a “maximum fuel flow rate” rule have to do with pinnacle motorsport again? Why doesn’t F1 sound like F1 any more? Perhaps it’s time to stop looking for new ways to jazz up the show by artifice and… Read more »


“Why doesn’t F1 sound like F1 any more?”

Because it’s now Formula H(ybrid). They just haven’t told the fans yet.

The drivers knew it by the third race of 2014.

Paul KieferJr

I once said “If you think NASCAR isn’t a sport or is a stupid thing for red-bneckers, then you try driving a 1-ton vehicle at 200 MPH.” I’ll now ask you to do the same: If you think F1 is too slow, then you try driving that car at about 120 to 200 MPH. I don’t think I’ll get any takers.

Meine Postma

Me me me!


If you guys want to see danger, check out the Isle of Man TT racing that is on at the moment. That’s impressive and those lads are brave as hell, but I don’t believe that a risk of physical harm to the driver would make F1 a better sport, and might not attract a bigger audience (the fan base of MotoGP, road racing, and WRC are much smaller than F1, despite their higher risk of physical harm. Better communication of the challenge of engineering and racing the F1 cars might make a difference, at least to peoples perception of the… Read more »


I don’t think any reasonable person would advocate making the cars less safe just for the sake of being more exciting. We all know the current drivers are puttering around at maybe 75% (some drivers have said 50%), trying not to burn up their tires and making sure they’re not using too much fuel, like so many Prius drivers. I’m sorry, but that’s not exciting. I get that it’s a technical challenge, but there are many technical challenges that don’t make for entertaining viewing. I want to know that drivers are on the ragged edge. Keep the cars safe. Keep… Read more »

peter riva

1. There is a language translation thing here. Kimi was NOT speaking French, and Autosport is taking his English words, to French and then back to English. This is like playing telephone.
2. I listened to the Canal Plus found here
And he says it should have more risk. Big difference from danger.

Andreas Möller

Good call! To me, F1 doesn’t need more danger in the physical sense (increased risk of harm), but the danger of not continuing needs to increase. If you make a mistake, you should be penalised for it. That’s another kind of “danger”, which would be better called “risk”.


Good comment andreas, I think you have expressed it well, the ‘danger’ should be that driver mistakes are penalised – preferably not by 5 sec penalties or drive throughs, but directly on track. So if a driver ‘exceeds the track limits’ they lose KERS power or DRS for a period, with similar penalties for driving offences


Thanks Peter, that makes more sense and should encourage a better debate.