FOTA's Victory: A Chance To Improve The Formula One Show

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FOTA's Victory: A Chance To Improve The Formula One Show
(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

During the British GP, the outpouring of support for FOTA from the fans was staggering to me. That proved what my point was all along, that Formula One fans don't care about rules, commercial rights, or governance. Racing fans care about racing to every one's shock. So Mr. Montezemolo and Mr. Briatore, don't waste the good will you have built for yourself.

More now than in a long time, FOTA has a real chance to affect some change in the structure of Formula One, or to put it in Mr. Briatore's words, "to improve the show." So Mr. Montezemolo, what is the association's plan to do just that?

I have some suggestions to try and spice up the racing for 2010 and beyond.

Get rid of KERS. I think FOTA can agree with me that KERS as both a technical and competitive adventure has been a failure. The system makes the cars more unreliable, less balanced, and most importantly, is against the spirit of cost cutting that Formula One will go into for the following few years.

  1. The competitive intent of KERS was to encourage overtaking by giving drivers the power needed to make passes. But the opposite has occurred in slow, fuel-heavy cars that use KERS as a defensive weapon that impedes overtaking.  So scrapping KERS is a must for making Formula One more interesting.

FOTA must lobby the FIA to ban all of the reliability and longevity rules, and more importantly, the engine development freeze that is in place until the 2013 season. I understand these are all essentially cost-cutting measures implemented by the FIA, but it's a heavy-handed approach.

If teams are interested in saving money, isn't it their prerogative to make components more reliable? So to that effect, FOTA must implement these rules.

  1. Reverse the engine development freeze, making the cars more powerful will undoubtedly make racing better.
  2. Reverse the mandated powertrain reliability and longevity rules.
  3. Ban rev limiters or raise the limit to an agreeable amount over the current 18,000. I think 20,000 would be a good number. 

The new 2009 chassis regulations have been a failure as there has not been more overtaking as advertised. The 2009 regulations also limit the amount of technical freedom the teams have with the aerodynamic configuration of the cars. Standard wings and other parts go against the spirit of Formula One.

  1. Rear downforce has been lacking in Formula One this year. So for the 2010 campaign and afterwards, the FIA must enlarge the rear wing or make concrete plans for the implementation of the controversial "double deck" diffusers for all teams.
  2. There are to be no standard aerodynamic parts or otherwise. Technical freedom and competition are key to the Formula One show, different approaches create drama and makes the racing better.
  3. Massive amounts of downforce also make overtaking harder. So a compromise between the 2009 and previous regulations have to be found to create the best show and the best lap times.  

In-season development and testing are key to a successful Formula One campaign. If teams are limited to only wind tunnel and straight line tests, it makes it nearly impossible for teams to make significant improvements.

  1. In response to this, FOTA must try and reverse the year-round testing ban. 
  2. Reinstate the third driver program for Friday testing and maybe even expand Friday testing to three sessions to allow for more development of the cars.
  3. Engines used for testing and practice should not count against the teams in case they have to be replaced. If engines were regulated, that would discourage testing and development.

Knockout qualifying is a great show, but it's kind of sad that more often than not Q3 is the most interesting part of the grand prix weekend. So FOTA must remedy this by changing the qualifying procedure. FOTA must also try to reward drivers success during the entire race weekend

  1. Instead of three rounds of qualifying, there should be two, allowing for more drivers a chance to qualify on pole.
  2. Q2 should be a low-fuel qualifying session, allowing drivers to set the ultimate fastest lap time as the pole position time.  
  3. Winning pole position should be rewarded with points, as should setting the fastest lap of the race and leading the most laps.
  4. Pole would be worth two points, fastest lap one, and leading the most laps one.
  5. The new scoring system should be 1:12, 2:8, 3:6, 4:5, etc.

So Mr. Ecclestone, Mr. di Montezemolo, and Mr. Briatore—apply some of these rules to spice up Formula One to the future.

Thank you,

A Formula One Fan.

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