So what did we learn from the 2002 season? Well, if
you hadn’t gathered, the Ferrari Team was totally dominant. Their
drivers came first and second in the Drivers Championship with Michael
Schumacher being the only man on every podium for the year and the
team won the Constructors Championship with more points than the rest
put together. The media proclaimed that Eff Wun had become boring
because one team and its number one driver won everything - and they
were right - up to a point.
So the Eff Wun head honchos, Messrs Ecclestone and
Mosely came up with all sorts of crazy horse ideas to make the
“show” more interesting. Like make the drivers rotate through the
different teams. In this way you could have Michael Schumacher in a
Minardi, for example. Could he then win from there? The answer is not
difficult to predict - no, he would not win. Put the best guy in the
slowest car and he’ll still be down the back of the grid. But this
is cloud cuckoo land. Are Marlboro going to pay 30 million big ones to
see Michael Schumacher racing at the tail of the field? Of course not.
A dead-set stupid concept from the so-called “brains” of the Eff
Another of their ideas was weight penalties. After
all, it works in horse racing, so why not in car racing? You don’t
have to be a rocket scientist to work out that you let your competitor
win the three rounds leading up to the finale and he will have so much
weight to carry they’ll have to fit a tow bar and dog trailer to
carry it all. Another totally impractical situation.
Another lulu suggestion is that teams are only
allowed to use one engine for the whole weekend. If that were the case
there would be a number of ‘no-shows’ on the Sunday, after all the
Saturday explosions! This idea is a great way to make sure there are
not enough cars on the race grid. From where do the legislators get
these crazy ideas?
Polls taken throughout the world, by web sites such
as pitpass.com (best F1 website), show that the average punter out
there has a much better concept of what’s right and wrong with F1,
than the legislators.
Stop Driver Aids is the first call. Why should the
Ross Brawns of this world (Ferrari’s pit-wall technician) be able to
get read-outs from the cars as they race and artificially reset the
rev limiter from the pits? Surely it would be better to see M.
Schumacher and Co change their own gears? For that matter, it would be
nice to see the world’s most overpaid parking jockeys have to get
the cars off the line themselves, control the lack of traction slides
themselves and read their own instruments. With the pit-wall
technicians, it is more and more like electric slot car racing every
The other aspect that the race watchers want to see
is a reduction in aerodynamic grip and more reliance on mechanical
grip. Get rid of the giant advertising hoardings (aka wings) and let
the driver control the car in the corners, be able to pull out of the
slipstream without getting the car upset by “dirty” air, and do
something that has not been seen for some time - it’s called
While talking about wings, one interesting proposal
was to keep the wings the same size, since they are adverts, but turn
them the other way up. In this way, the faster the driver went, the
more “lift” he would generate. Only the brave (foolhardy) would
attempt Monza at full noise!
One other interesting proposal was that in pit
stops, the driver should change his own wheels. Instead of 10 second
pit stops, 10 minutes would be the order of the day! It certainly
would keep them out of pit lane, as well as put the small army of pit
lane mechanics out of a job. One wag has suggested that this be done
with a side lift scissor jack, using the fold-up bent wire handle as
supplied by most manufacturers.
Ah well, we shall see what has eventuated by 9th March next year
when the Aussie Grand Prix kicks off the new season. Another Ferrari
What the FIA and the F1 race teams
did agree upon!
Here, in plain language, is what came out of the
meeting. Remember, these proposals are to make the “racing” more
Firstly Qualifying will be done as one car at a
time for one flying lap. Fridays will be used to give the order for
the Qualifying flying lap on the Saturday. The fastest from Friday
goes last for the timed run for the grid positions on Saturday. (The
final runner has the advantage of most rubber on the track.) OK, this
does mean that the fastest guy will not necessarily be on pole.
World Championship points - from 2003 points will
be awarded down to 8th place on the scale 10:8:6:5:4:3:2:1 (previously
to 6th place on the scale 10:6:4:3:2:1). This will still do nothing to
make the racing more interesting, in my book.
Team orders - team orders which interfere with the
race result are prohibited. A step in the right direction, but
impossible to police. All the team has to do is bring the other driver
in and have a “long” pit stop.
Tyres - each team get its own choice of two
different dry tyres at each meeting, rather than the same selection
for all teams. I doubt if this will do much, to be perfectly frank.
So it’s back to the same thing - can the other
teams get their act together and challenge Ferrari? I hope so!