CTA's F1 Popularity Working Group

Chad Stewarthill

Champion Elect
Generally soccerman17 I agree with you. But on the question of run-offs (which I myself have previously argued would be better if they were gravel) I have recently been impressed with the way some of the non-gravel ones have been working. Yesterday for example, did not Perez and Vettel perfectly demonstrate the effectiveness of the kerb/astroturf/tarmac combination? And if the run-off at Hockenheim had been grass or gravel, perhaps Massa would not have been quite so safe from serious harm.

Yes, the FIA need to get more consistency into the administration of penalties for exceeding track limits, but I was impressed with Charlie Whiting's explanation of the issues to Martin Brundle in the Sky F1 pre-race coverage yesterday.


Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
The astro turf thing yesterday only stopped Vettel and Perez because it was full of water!

Simple answer in run off and safety for me. A car and a half width if grass around the outside of the track. After that you can have as much run off as you like. They'll be no advantage on putting a wheel on tbe grass so drivers will stay within track limits but if they do get it all massively wrong they have road area to apply the brakes.
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Avatar for sale to the highest bidder
The problem with grass is that it gets cut up quite easily, hence the reason for the kerbs being there to protect the edges of the grass.
I agree that they need a low grip surface off the edge of the track to stop cars gaining an advantage but what would be a suitable material for both wet and dry conditions?

An ideal solution would be to have constantly wet astroturf at the edges of all tracks, that would make the drivers steer clear of the edges but as Vettel & Perez proved it's not the best solution either when it comes to driver safety.

The other alternative is as already mentioned any transgression of the track limits at any point on any circuit should mean time deleted in practise/qualifying sessions & Black and White flag shown during the race. Consistent breaking of the track limits except when taking avoiding action should lead to the Black flag.


Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Valued Member
The first thing I'd do is stop inventing new groups specifically designed to shut the stable door after the horse has long since buggered off into the sunset.

Secondly, you have to return the unpredictable nature of F1. To do that, you can't limit the engines and rev's. Half the reason (for me) why F1 was so good is that once upon a time, you may have had the best car light years ahead of the field but there was always the danger that it would blow itself to bits in a fiery wreck of metal and parts. I remember praying in the last few years of the original Team Lotus for just one more car in front of Mika or Johnny to pull up to enable the team to score one or two more points.

Apart from a slight up turn this season, mechanical failure is almost a thing of the past. How many cars finish a race on average these days?

As well as finishing in one piece, the tracks are also designed to prevent drivers from spinning out and as discussed above, the track limits are nearly always very fluid. This is because the mobile advertising hording that is an F1 Car, can't sell too many products if it is only seen spinning it's wheels in a gravel trap at the end of lap one. Doesn't do the sponsors who pay to come and gawp in the Paddock Club any good to see that sort of thing.

I totally agree with Bro that a clean sweep, start again approach is needed. The trouble is, we've got to wait over 90 years for that (even with the little fella out of the way), thanks to Max giving the rights to something that was never his to give away in the first place. (I'm betting that within months of Bernie moving on the first legal challenge will be issued to contest that anyway).

Here's a few starting points.

1) Mechanical rules should be simple, easy to enforce, issued from a single source without "team assistance" regardless of how many years a team has been in the sport.

2) There should be a single and clear voice in all racing matters relating to mechanical design that doesn't suddenly change his mind halfway through a season or issue vague statements relating to what may or may not be legal depending on whose winning at the time.

3) The money should be distributed openly and fairly without a mix of rules designed to favor the haves every time.

4) The cost of hosting a race should not be so disproportionate that every punter who goes gets fleeced just to meet the promoters demands. It shouldn't take the backing of countries to host a race.

5) The design of a track should not involve Herman Tilke

6) The sport should be about pushing the limits of what's possible (within all the available safety measures) and the rules should reflect that. Allow imagination and the pushing of the engineering envelope to flourish and let teams and engineers think for themselves.

7) Use common sense and regulation to control the safety aspects of the sport but don't try and control the racing by layering rule on rule in the hope of making everyone equally as quick.

8) The driver should have more power than grip and less Aero grip than mechanical grip. It should require skill, guts and guile to drive an F1 car not your ability to program team instructions into your steering wheel while waiting for the next set of orders to come in.

That'll do for me for starters.
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Pole Sitter
My thoughts, aware some are repeated:

1 - Bring Back big fat rear tyres.
2 - More Aero, yes more Aero, but also reduce DRS to 1 zone and also look to remove DRS at tracks like Monza & Spa .
3 - Less run off tarmas areas - I know they are safer with the Massa accident in Germany. But can we not go with a foam like surface like they have on playgrounds then gravel, so there is no room for error, they can;t use the run off as pseudo track & cars wouldn't 'dig' during an accident....okay I'm not too sure if they would bounce :ok: and how it would fare in a fire, but it is first thought, maybe not very well well thought out.
4 - Controversial - How about relegation to GP2 and a GP2 team promoted to F1 with funds to run for x number of seasons.
5 - Better F1 scheduling around other World Sporting events.
6 - Reduced ticket prices, a given.
7 - Tidy up the aesthetics of tracks, for example Hockenheim is a cracking track, but looks like it's been coloured in by a 4 year old! Call me a traditionalist but a circuit should be Grey/Black Tarmac, Kerb of a variety of 2/3 colours, run off area of gravel with the same colour of gravel all around the track, then grass or barrier where relevant.
8 - Balast vs points gained.



Race Winner
Some interesting ideas there. I like a lot of them, not sure how I feel about more aero. GP2 relegation and promotion is a great idea but the economic/financial side just isn't going to work. As for ballast vs. points gained I'm torn on that issue. It evens out the playing field which is great for competition but it also punishes teams for getting results. I think maybe a small ballast would be good but its effects would have to be marginal for me to approve.


Super Hero And All Round Good Guy
The run offs do need to punish drivers. Not sure we need a new surface to do that ATL11

If I were god/Bernie every corner in F1 would be; Kerb, 3 meters wide Astroturf, gravel trap, tyre wall.

If that was implemented we could ditch the whole track limits bull crap. No one would dare risk going wide.

Penalising drivers is a turn off, we should make it that the cause of the penalties are removed where possible, such as 'track limits'.
Nobody wants to see drivers going massively wide on a sea of tarmac. How did that even happen in the first place. Gravel traps worked just fine.



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It was accidents like this that triggered the move away from gravel traps. Admittedly he was in trouble before he hit the gravel but as soon as he did the car flipped.



Actually it seemed to me that, that shunt could have been worse without the gravel trap what with it spinning like that it could have hit something solid at speed whereas the gravel trap did it's job and slowed the car down...


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Here's another example. Skip to 1:10 for the incident in question. This at Eau Rouge, a corner which now has tarmac instead of gravel.

The point I'm trying to make is that cars have a habit of digging into the gravel and flipping as a result. It may just be something that's an issue for single seater open wheelers.
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