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?
In this social media age, a controversy gains momentum quickly. The first spark in this season’s title tussle came in the form of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s Baku bust-up and is one such controversy that has sent the internet into meltdown.
Yesterday evening, following a meeting between the FIA and Vettel in Paris, the sport’s governing body decided to refrain from issuing further sporting punishment to the German, opening a can of worms and a frenzy of activity from keyboard warriors and armchair pundits.
Many including Hamilton, have seemingly been outraged by the verdict. In reality, however, the FIA has indeed made the right call.
Well, that soggy Sunday in Brazil has had some ramifications. Following a meeting of employees at the Banbury base on Friday morning, Manor Racing have once again been placed into administration. Once again, they will need to initiate a great escape if they are to make the grid in Melbourne.
It’s a stark reminder of how F1’s small teams are feeling the pinch under the current regulations.
One of the frustrating elements of an otherwise excellent 2016 season has been regulatory inconsistencies. The rulebook has been evolving over the year, with modifications coming on a near-weekly basis.
Unprecedented levels of tinkering have given way to stewards decisions that more often than not set the precedents as opposed to following them. They have been redefining the goalposts week in, week out.
The Mexico Grand Prix featured inconsistencies within the same race and I can fully understand Max Verstappen’s frustration at being stripped of third place when all things are considered.
F1’s political war over qualifying looks set to be resolved, as the governing body seem poised to return to the 2015 format. Fans, media and the teams have been lobbying to scrap the much maligned elimination qualifying format after two hugely unsuccessful sessions in Australia and Bahrain. Despite two weeks of political gridlock, common sense has prevailed and it seems that Saturday’s will once again end in a crescendo.
After a month where a political power play has seen F1 qualifying beaten from pillar to post, it seems that a return to the popular 2015 format is now a prospect off the negotiating table. Instead, Sunday’s meeting of F1’s bigwigs saw a new aggregate qualifying proposition formulated as an alternative to the much maligned elimination format.
While it is yet to be voted upon, it has already added yet more fuel to F1’s latest controversy, with Sebastian Vettel stating “It’s a good idea if you want random things to happen, but Formula 1 should be about racing. It’s a s*** idea.”