We’ve spent some time on our podcasts bemoaning the current state of Formula One and the high degradation tires as well as DRS. We’ve offered opprobrium-laced commentary about the situation but to give equal time to the other side of teh argument, I offer commentary from Jenson Button and Felipe Massa from Thursday’s press conference:
“We are not going to be happy with everything in this sport, or in any sport, but I think the racing has been good fun. I was on the receiving end of it in the last race because I was doing less stops and running old tyres most of the race, but if you were doing a three-stop it seemed like it was a pretty fun race and they were able to push pretty hard,” observed the 2009 World Champion.
“In the past, we had tyres that would last the whole race and there wasn’t any overtaking. It’s very difficult to get the balance right, but we are having two or three stops, which I think is what the idea was for racing in 2013, and there are a lot of teams fighting at the front.
“I think Formula 1 is great at the moment.”
“From a driver’s point of view, for sure the situation is not always easy when you have to save tyres and sometimes our life is difficult. But when you are at home and looking, I think the race is very nice to see now – and much nicer than in the past,” said the Ferrari driver.
“Many people are complaining about the Pirellis but I think they are taking a good direction for the sport.”
There you have it. Old purists like Paul and I can just shut our pie hole an get happy with the “good fun” this racing is producing and stop comparing F1 of today with F1 of old. It’s a new era and young Gen Y’s don’t expect more from their racing. They want entertainment and we all know that pure racing such as Prost/Senna, Hunt/Lauda, Schumacher/Hakkinen and Raikkonen/Hamilton is not going to be entertaining for them. No, they need sprinklers, gold medals, short cuts and apparently spongy tires and moving wings to hold their 140 character attention span.
I say stop patronizing Gen Y’s. They are a thrifty lot who can appreciate great battles without the NASCAR-style passing or leading numbers and the cheap parlor tricks that are dragging this sport close to the point of blasting loud music over the PA when the action starts like a half-pipe at Vail Colorado at the 10th annual Extreme Winter Sports extravaganza sponsored by Chef Boyardee Pizza Shooters and Monster Energy drinks with special appearance by Gymkhana phenom Ken Block who will do a run in the snow.
And just a quick note to all the Hipsters out there, the generation and culture you are emulating are the ones who camped at Watkins Glen and loved the European sports car and would watch Hill, Clark and Stewart battle in F1…sometime with a lap and a half lead over the next cars. Those bearded men and sun dress clad women would make a weekend of the motoring event and truly enjoy it for the human element and nuance that was F1. They didn’t demand more passing and artificial anything to “spice up the show”. Just FYI.
Regardless, Button and Massa are right, this is truly the halcyon days of F1 and nothing else compares to this enticing, acid reflux inducing Spicy Show.