F1: A Declining Sport

Over the past few years I have become increasingly disillusioned with Formula 1 as a sport, more so this season. We are only eight races into the season and my will to sit down and watch races live has all but disappeared, in fact I completely skipped the Canadian Grand Prix, which turned out to be a complete snooze-fest as it happens, if Canada does not provide good racing, we know that F1 is in deep trouble.

I think that the direction that F1 has gone is a mistake, fast degrading tyres plus the requirement to use both tyre compounds during the race, the drag reduction system and the new 1.6 hybrid V6 turbo formula with fuel usage restrictions all make the sport feel so incredibly artificial. Many drivers have been complaining that they are not being challenged because they can not run flat out most of the race because of tyre and fuel conservation and the fans of F1 have picked up on this and switched off.

There has been talk about having 1,000HP engines which could be achieved by relaxing the fuel-flow regulations, free choice of tyre compounds, although both compounds would still need to be used, refueling was slated for a return but teams pooped on that idea citing cost and safety concerns.

But I think the biggest issue with F1 is that it is run by committee, i.e. the top six teams, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Williams plus the team that finishes sixth in the constructors championship, leaving the bottom four teams out in the cold. Each team is going to want rules that give them the best chance of success, e.g. forming rules based upon their own personal agenda, which I find crazy!

The sport’s rules should be set by the governing body, the FIA and teams have two choices, either compete or not compete under those rules. Half the time teams can’t agree on a way forward because it does not suit their personal agendas. And while they squabble over the rules, the sport loses more and more of its fans, even the long term hardcore fans that get up at ungodly hours to watch races live.

I am not saying teams should not have a say in the structure of the sport, but it should be a “say”, not a blocking vote and all teams in the sport should be allowed an equal say instead of just the big six teams.

The funniest thing I have heard is that the FIA has opened up entries for new teams 2016/17, I don’t see a lot of teams wanting to risk F1 with costs being so high and the instability in the rules. Many of the lower rank teams, from sixth down are struggling to survive, Marrussia/Manor barely survived to make it onto the 2015 grid while Caterham and HRT have fallen by the way side and USF1 never made it to the grid.

My personal view is that massive changes need to happen to rescue F1 from its current self destructive path. Will it happen? Probably not! But it’s clear that the current regime is not working, drivers are unhappy and unchallenged, fans are disillusioned, it’s definitely time for change, no question about it!

3 thoughts on “F1: A Declining Sport

  • sagi58 commented on June 22, 2015 at 06:27

    You make a number of valid points, Jason!! I haven’t been following F1 as long as you have; but, I can see that in the last few years all these rules and regulations have done nothing for F1. It actually has become a “show” that is contrived to entertain; but, falls quite short of that.

    Here’s hoping that the powers that be do take into consideration some of your suggestions!!

  • Andy commented on June 22, 2015 at 17:11

    You make some good points but I do not think that the sport being run by committee is the issue. In fact it is probably the best system available to them. Short of the FIA making up the rules and if the teams don’t like it they can leave. I do not feel the sport is that attractive to teams to push that one.

    Distribution of wealth is where the main problem is. Teams need to be making a living wage out of the sport. Something Manor and others are not getting. I think each team should get enough to run a team on a shoe string from the sport. Things like sponsorship should bring in all the nice stuff for the team.

    Which brings me to the point that Bernie knows his time is coming to an end in Formula 1 and is running the sport to suck it dry and is not keeping it on the even keel that would make it sustainable business.

  • You’re right, distribution of wealth is also a big problem, but i disagree that it’s best for F1 to have the teams run the sport. If we allow teams to run the sport, there will never be any progress and if people continue to turned off by the sport, then what’s the point of said teams being in the sport if they get little exposure from Formula 1. I feel that F1 is going down a very self serving and destructive path.

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