On Tuesday morning, the FIA announced that changes will be made to Formula 1’s technical regulations ahead of the 2019 season in order to promote more overtaking. At face value, this proposition is mouthwatering to fans who enjoyed the novelty of seeing Daniel Ricciardo tear from sixth to first in a frenetic 10 laps during the Chinese Grand Prix.
However, could an early step towards the new-look F1 of 2021 be a dangerous distraction that could ultimately devalue the art of overtaking?
Sustainability. Defined as the ability or capacity for something to be maintained, featuring an element of futurity. Having started in 1950, F1 has proved to be a sustainable concept for years, yet the GPDA’s shocking letter, directed at the sport’s governing body, has highlighted the questions beginning to emerge in regards to sustainability. Former F1 driver Bruno Senna has backed the letter and himself questioned how the sport, in its current state, can be considered as future-proof.
Christian Horner called for Strategy Group productivity earlier in the week and in Wednesday’s meeting at Biggin Hill, Horner was seemingly granted his wish. The Strategy Group have announced a number of changes to the sport, some of which will have an impact on the current campaign. One of these “quick-fixes” will come in the form of reduced driver aids, largely centered around the electronic systems which help a driver launch the car at the start of a race. The FIA have stated that the changes have “a particular emphasis on race starts” to ensure that drivers are “back in full control of the car”.
As Pirelli and Michelin prepare to do battle to become F1’s tyre supplier for 2017 and beyond, after submitting their respective tender’s, FIA President Jean Todt has acknowledged that two and three stop races, promoting dynamic strategy and adding an element of unpredictability to races, are essential as F1 looks to regain the element of blockbuster entertainment.
F1’s Strategy Group reconvened earlier this week and the six teams incorporated in the body certainly had a productive meeting, with a number of proposed changes for the 2017 season securing column inches on Fleet Street’s back pages. The most notable proposal will see refueling return after initially being axed at the end of 2009 – an announcement which has divided the sport’s fanbase. In addition, allowing the team’s to choose their own tyre compounds before the start of a race weekend and the introduction of higher revving engines, are both accompanying proposals. However, it is the aforementioned refueling return which has fueled current debate.
Just weeks into a new season, talk of the next campaign has already begun in earnest – such is the pace of life in the fast lane. While provisional calenders in recent years have been largely a story of continuity as oppose to redesign, 2016 is a very different affair. With the Australian Grand Prix organisers confirming an April 3rd curtain-raiser, the season is set to be “compressed” and will feature several back-to-back rounds. However, not since 1988 has the season launched in April and many analysts are harboring concerns as to whether the anticipated 21-race schedule will be as stacked come confirmation in December.
Its common knowledge that F1 is a sport where the headlines often deviate from sporting affairs and instead focus on political matters and over the past 24 hours, this has most certainly been the case. Unfortunately, the headlines have been a story of negativity, as Manor have been denied entry to the 2015 season, with the Strategy Group vetoing their use of a 2014 chassis. The verdict has provoked a vehement response for fans – for me, it is more a sigh of disappointment.