Poll Do you agree with the idea that driver speed counts for less now?

Do you agree with the idea that driver speed counts for less now?

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Race Winner
Many various people have said that in 2011 and especially in 2012 an F1 drivers speed counts for significantly less than in the previous seasons of 2000 - 2012.

Do you agree or disagree with this theory? why?
Speed is the distance covered divided by the time taken. It might be a different sort of speed but it's still speed.

I think the driver actually has much more influence now than during the early 80s (fuel restrictions), late 80s and early 90s (active-everything) and 00s (massive downforce). There is so much more to finding the right balance of everything. I think it's much more skillful now.
You have to define 'speed' a bit more precisely here, I think, otherwise it feels rather pejorative.

If you mean "Is it now more or less productive than it used to be for a driver to drive his car to within an inch of its life on every lap of every session and think of nothing else" then I would say, less.

But for me, the fastest driver is the one who completes the race in the shortest time. I think traditionally that has been the measure, as well.
Okay I define speed as a drivers all out sheer pace. I would say Vettel is faster than Webber because he can drive a lap in less time. Hence always beating him in qualifying
I think driver speed does count for a little less however I also think driver skill matters even more so now albeit in a slightly different way. So far this season the pole sitter has managed to have a strong finish ending up at least in the top 3 in every race, so I still think driver speed matters. If it didn't, teams would be finishing 2 by 2. In previous years with worse reliability drivers were able to push the tyres whilst trying to manage the engine etc. Now we have a kind of reversal with much better reliability so drivers are able to push the car but they have to manage the tyres.
I would define the speed of a race driver as the measure of the time taken to cover a distance. In the same car Vettel tends to keep his right foot planted to the floor for a longer amount of time than Webber over the same distance and is therefore a 'faster' driver

So for a given car the driver who can extract the most performance, take corners fastest, remain at the performance limit longest, and backs off the accelerator least is the fastest

This is a different proposition to being the driver who can get the car around an obstacle course the quickest. This type of driver who can get around a track say with the least mistakes or with the least deviation from a delta or conserving his equipment the best might win races by being the quickest around a track but is not necessarily the fastest driver outright. For me that sheer speed is correlated to bravery, the ability to drive as fast as the car can go for as much of the lap as one dares is the most highly coveted attribute of the race driver and is why they get the big paycheck

So to cut a long story short, I think that nowadays the playing field is somewhat levelled in this respect. The fastest and bravest drivers are no longer able to use this as a trump card as the current regime does not reward this ability. I think this is what MS has alluded to recently, those drivers less able or willing to max a car no longer have any disadvantage as there is no longer any advantage to maxing a car as much as ones nerve can hold
I've gone with 'yes', having interpreted the question as written (maybe wrongly) - speed is very important but not the only attribute that a driver needs.
Yes being the fastest over a single lap is no longer as important as it used to be, now as long as you're consistent you can string together a bunch of fast laps and overall be more successful than a do-or-die driver.
Being fast and being quick are two completely different things as any race driver will tell you, being fast or having speed is a one lap thing being quick is a total race thing which comes about through a number of different skills including race craft knowing when and when not to push, overtaking prowess and knowing when and when not to pit.

There is a saying "power is nothing without control" and the same thing goes for speed..

All the great drivers were also the ones with the most race craft but not necessarily the greatest speed, this has always been the case and always will be..

So to the OP's question no nothing has changed..
I voted no due to all the reasons I gave on the "Which tyre and fuel format is best" thread which is should really dig out and quote but I'm too lazy. The jist of it was that racing is about managing your speed. You wouldn't say an 800m runner was one of the best runner's if he sprinted the first 100m in record time but ended up last at the end of the race, you'd say he was a prat who should have paced his speed over the distance he was running not that the format should be changed so his pace over 100m means more. Why is F1 any different? Its always been about pace over 200 miles not over 1.blah blah miles.
Without a doubt, yes. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. The top form of motorsport should require the drivers to adapt and adjust to any obstacle thrown at them.

It is more fun to watch guys giving it the full business though. The thing that attracted me to Mr. Keke Rosberg was his ability to push the car to the absolute limit, which didn't always bode well for his results. We rarely see anything like this today.

edit - Just to clarify, my conclusion is that pure quickness is not rewarded with Pirelli rubber when compared to Bridgestone.
While I agree 100% with TBY, I do think that raw speed is less important now than before. The dearth of true passing areas, without the artificiality of DRS, makes late-braking and having more balls than a Christmas tree not nearly as important as in days past.

As with all areas of life, required skill-sets change over time. And it is the incorporation of the now-needed skill sets that constitute "speed" in the modern era.
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