The first thing to understand about Formula 1 (F1) racing is that there’s more to it than just who can go faster.
Many other racing series go fast by using proven technology that’s been around for quite some time and it’s a pretty safe bet that you can strap that tech onto a car and it’ll go faster.
F1 is a different beast altogether; it’s all bleeding edge and every part is purpose built within extreme tolerances. When a team puts on a new part, they are never really sure if it’s going to work or not. They will do as much testing as is allowed but in the end they still aren’t really sure whether there will be a negative or positive impact to the overall performance of the car.
F1 is the pinnacle of motor racing and almost all of what they do is by its very nature, experimental. Much of what they do trickles down to production car lines in one form or another. For some teams like Mercedes and Ferrari, winning may even be secondary to proving out some new technology that will eventually trickle down.
So why artificially limit what they can do from a technology standpoint?
I think F1 has moved away from its original intent, which was producing the most technologically advanced race cars in the world, to one where they are trying to create fair racing for all the teams involved.
For example, the Williams team produced a car back in the 90s that had technology taken for granted these days; active suspension, traction control and anti-lock brakes. And what happened with that car, it was promptly banned in the name of preventing the racing from being too artificial. It was more than likely banned because it was beating the big teams like Ferrari and others. If those three types of technology made the racing artificial, then where does the completely software driven F1 car of today stand.
The justification for many of the restrictions today is to prevent the big teams like Mercedes and Ferrari from completely dominating the sport, however Williams and other small teams have proven in the past that they can compete with the larger teams so is there really justification for the restrictions.
So restrictions are put in place in the name of fairness but who is still winning? The teams with the most money. Nothing has changed except they have made the racing less spectacular and limited the technological advances we used to see more of from this racing series.
To be honest I think the restrictions actually hurt the smaller teams more than it helps them. I mean Williams came up with a spectacular car that could beat the larger teams and it was banned. Barring the ban, the larger teams could have copied Williams and their technology.
My suggestion for the powers that be in F1 is to just leave the teams alone and let them innovate and make technological breakthroughs that let them produce a car that goes faster, handles better and wins races.
Stop fiddling with the rules every time a team starts to dominate and let the natural course of things play out. As one team dominates, another will come up with something, probably tech that is unrelated to the current dominating team, and they will start winning. The constant modifying of bad rules only makes bad rules worse.
F1 seems to want different teams winning all the time so let them win on their own accord instead of constant rule modifications. F1 needs to get back to letting teams innovate without constraint and use those innovations to win races instead of the current formula of trying to innovate within a confined set of rules.
It’s good to see with Liberty Media taking over and Ross Brawn back in the mix that they recognize that smaller teams simply do not have a fair chance of winning races and staying viable in today’s F1. Manor F1 just went bankrupt and barring some miracle we will only have 20 cars on the grid come the start of the new season.
When all the small teams leave, who are Ferrari and Mercedes going to race? It won’t be very exciting with 4 cars on the grid.
Again, let the teams compete within a small, basic set of rules and see who can innovate the best.