Formula 1 - For Better or Worse

This thread is not meant to be taken seriously, but I think it would be interesting to hear your views regarding how the sport could be made better (or worse), and also your thoughts concerning regulations recently passed that have influenced the sport positively or otherwise. To get the ball rolling, here are a few of my more rational proposals. I'll follow this with some less feasible ideas.

1) The resource restriction agreement needs to be reconsidered.

Before I am drawn and quartered, let me explain my statement. I am of the opinion that some form of cost control needs to be maintained in Formula 1. However, I do not believe the best way of achieving this aim, for the betterment of the sport, is achieved by attempting to control the fiscal resources of the participating teams directly.

For one thing, fiscal limitations are not attractive to marquee members of the sport, those members that drive the sports viewer-ship, so good luck obtaining unilateral consensus from participating members in this regard. For another, creative accounting could obscure real expenditure. Even listed companies are able to exist, sometimes for years, in the full view of dedicated analysts without being found out (Enron et al). There are a number of other limitations but to summarise, the fiscal cap is largely unappealing, and difficult to enforce.

My proposal would be to consider a human resources restriction instead. I.e. a Formula 1 team can consist of no more than 'x' members, all inclusive. Quite what that number would be I am uncertain, much as I am unable to provide a suitable fiscal limit value, but in my opinion this would represent a parameter of business that is far easier to police than pure cash expenditure. By way of example, a team would declare a list of 200 employees for the season, and all communication associated with development would need to remain confined within the bounds of the list of declared personages. It's a simplistic example, but I use it for the purpose of illustration only.

Why do I like this approach? While the number of employees itself is arbitrary, I would view it as being less arbitrary than limiting money spent. If companies want to spend great truck loads of cash on hiring the best staff, they can. If they want to hire 50 aerodynamicists at 1 million per head, they can. But they might not have enough spare people to lift the jack on the car in the pit-lane, so resource allocation would be critical.

And that is the entire point for me actually. I am not so obsessed with the amount of money that is or is not spent in Formula 1. Granted, the amounts of money that some choose to spend are obscene. Ultimately F1 is a form of entertainment, and in a world with massive disparity it is massively ironic, and some would argue sick, to see F1 cars whizzing through the dirty atmosphere of New Delhi. But the way the money is spent, that I definitely take issue with. F1 can say what it likes to market itself, but it really isn't an efficient environment to produce new technology, not at this point anyway.

So I would far rather curb the number of people a Formula 1 team has at its disposal than the money they elect to spend. This would ensure Formula 1 operates in a manner designed to achieve operational efficiency, optimal resource allocation, and would allow for a new level of strategy with teams moderating their tactical resource allocation in a way that they deem best fit to the regulations. This could also allow for reputable employees to command higher salaries, and perhaps yield a better spread across the grid of the available resource pool.

2) Three car teams.

I love underdogs, don't get me wrong, but what is the point of having 3 teams on the grid that are essentially useless, and a fourth that serves as a test bed for future Red Bull talent? In my opinion, there is no point. Within the confines of the current regulations, there is not enough money, or enough available technical resources (including legitimate, non-paying racing drivers) to adequately stock 12, make that 11, teams. And this is not a new phenomena either; its been this way since for ever. Long ago it was easier to have aspirations of 'making it' in F1, but that sort of attitude is a pipe dream in this day and age. I'd have more chance of trying to list myself on the London Stock Exchange than some of these 'venture capitalists' have had in running a successful F1 team.

F1 has shown itself to be a sport that requires capital to really be able to compete, and there is a limited amount of capital willing to be spent on pipe dreams. Rationalise that money away, either by streamlining the sport, or by redirecting it to fewer existing teams. From my estimation, F1 in its current guise has walked a very uneasy balance between manufacturers and professional racing teams, and no surprises that the professional racing teams, the ones that have acquired the domain knowledge through hard work, are the bedrock of the sport (read Ferrari, McLaren, Williams). They are the dinosaurs that have survived the extinction events, and will probably long outlive the Marussias and Caterhams, and possibly the Mercedes too. Corporate money would far rather back these teams as well as they have brand awareness, a corporate profile, solidity.

Technical resources would be better allocated amongst fewer teams. How many aerodynamicists are there in F1 capable of developing race winning cars? More to the point if Marussia were to have produced an amazing designer in 2012, where would he be working this year? I think the answer would be "not Marussia". Small teams are conduits for everyone to ascend to a higher level. Drivers, designers, engineers; as soon as any degree of success is achieved they migrate away and the small teams momentary competitive advantage is immediately eroded.

3 car teams would mean a more competitive grid. For all of the above reasons the average field spread should be narrower with fewer teams on the grid. This should result in closer racing and while I'm being crazy and irrational, no need for the blue flag rule. Each team could designate two constructor's points finishers on any given weekend. Each team could have two fully fledged drivers and one rookie; rookies to be given a two year grace period after which they have to secure a drive in a 'main' team role or lose their seat entirely. The possibilities are numerous, and in my opinion, the viewing would be more compelling. We would also get a far better gauge of who is faster than whom, as more drivers would be directly comparable as there would be a relatively greater number of team mates than before.
the one they ought to sort out but won;t unless more cars do it

Qualifying tyres so everyone starts with the same compounds for the race
At the moment anyone in Q2 and Q1 has an advantage of fresh rubber worth sometimes 2 seconds a lap faster than those who used the set in Q3

Until more cars win from 11th or 12th position they won;t change this
Here are a few of my less reasonable and less feasible ideas.

1) Driver rotation.

This idea will probably fly about as far as a chicken with most of you, which is to say not very far or very well. I understand that F1 is a team sport, that the combination of driver and team and the relationship they share is critical to determining the overall success of the partnership. All very nice. All very boring. OK, I am being very sarcastic now, but why not make this sport a lot more interesting by not having drivers contracted to a team?

Suppose rather that every driver were centrally contracted or independently contracted. Corporates would sponsor drivers as individuals, and teams as teams. The 20 Drivers that secure the most backing, possibly because they are the best drivers in the world would secure the 20 available entries offered by the FIA. These drivers would be contractually bound by whatever deals they make with their respective devils, and not by the brands associated with the teams.

Drivers would then be allocated to teams in a balanced manner. I.e. each driver would drive for each team the same number of times. If there were seven teams, each driver could represent each team three times in a 21 event calender year.

This arrangement should result in a more equitable understanding of 'who is the best driver?' and 'who is the best team?'. I understand that part of the mystique of the sport is trying to work this out based on little beyond personal preference, and some acknowledgement of driver achievement. The uncoupling of driver and team would go some way to resolving both of these issues though, while still preserving some element of uncertainty.

2) Points structure.

I see few reasons for not awarding points for every car that finishes the race. Points systems are arbitrary in some respect, so why not create a system that provides for a more accurate means of assessing performance than the one currently in existence. Quantify the performance from 1st to last. It's more easily understood by the viewing public and less volatile.

3) Tiered races.

Why not have races that are more important than others from the perspective of scoring points? Why not award double points for the races that are:
- historic
- financially lucrative
- create the most exciting races
It seems rather strange that a completely new event, with no heritage, can have an equal percentage stake in the outcome of the championship as a place like Monaco or Silverstone. It's not an open secret that the majority of the grid would pick 5 or 6 common tracks as their most desirable to drive and win, nor that Bernie could name several that are the most lucrative. So reward these races accordingly. It will change the way teams approach these weekends as they suddenly will become even more important to everyone.
Some interesting and extreme views you have there!

Resource Restriction: Your idea is an interesting one that in an ideal world may well be a good solution but in practice I think it would be impossible to police. What do you do about unpaid 'consultants' or sister companies, for example? Also, communication and sharing of information between F1 and more day to day applications is key for it's commercial viability in my opinion and placing a restriction on workforce like this would seriously compromise this in my opinion.

3 Car Teams: I like the variety of the grid, even if it does mean a spread in performance. I'm also not convinced that having three car teams will result in a more competitive championship as I suspect the majority of teams would still have a reasonably clear number 1. I'm fairly indifferent to the idea in general though, although I would say I'd prefer three car teams to be an option rather than compulsory if it were to be introduced (with a suitable adjustment of the way constructors score points to account for having a mixture of two and three car teams).

Driver Rotation: It would certainly be interesting to see the result of a championship in which all the drivers drive for all the teams, although it still wouldn't give everyone a level playing field due to the development of the cars throughout the year. However, you seem to be suggesting that driver ability is proportional to the amount of corporate sponsorship. That's not strictly true and I think having drivers funded in this way would make the issue of pay drivers even worse. I don't think the big manufacturers would be very happy with the idea either, as they can currently use the drivers for their brand, and F1 really depends on them staying in the sport.

Points: I agree! In reality you have to try very hard to create a points system that influences the outcome of a championship, but awarding points down the order means every place counts which gives the likes of Marussia and Caterham something more tangible to fight for.

Tiered Races: Bit of a gimmick and not one I'd like to see personally.
Get rid of Parc Fermé
Let cars be as fast as they can on Saturday AND Sunday!
This also takes care of the pathetic scenes we get every time a raindrop falls and the safety car has to come out because they can't raise the ride height by 2mm.
Good thread.
I've always been an advocate of points scored for every car that finishes. It would help us supporters work out who was leading in the back of grid teams instead of having to remember who got a 12th place in the third race etc. and the points matter hugely to the 'lower' teams.
I also think Parc Ferme should be either wholly applied, i.e. no changes really mean no changes & not have a convenient loophole to change the set-up like Red Bull did last year (quite within the rules) or Parc Ferme should be scrapped so cars can be set up optimally for qualifying and race. They could certainly begin by taking note of the weather. Take Silverstone last year, Saturday chucking it down so lots of cars went with wet setup then Sunday bright & sunny, result: a crap race because most cars had the wrong setup.
My frivolous rule?...make the drivers wear the same helmet design all year. Then we can tell the buggers apart.
Having said that I can't wait for this season with Nico R and Lewis both in yellow helmets...good luck commentators!
The RRA is a tricky one.
Without it those teams with the biggest pockets are always going to rise to the top (we see the same thing in football, generally).
However, it's not mandatory and at least two of the top teams are already ignoring it anyway.
I'm not sure what the solution is.

Three car teams is a subject we discussed not so long ago and there are some interesting points on the other thread:
I'm still undecided as I like the variety of 12 two-car teams but if in reality some of them are nothing more than mobile chicanes then they serve little purpose and perhaps 8 decent three-car teams would be better.
And so if Red Bull and Ferrari are ignoring it and considering Ferrari get a nice little lump sum each year from the FIA this just proves that the RRA is a pointless waste of time and probably costs money to try and police it and so should be scrapped as soon as...
Definitely don't agree with RRA. Spend as much as you want. If you really want you can be like Man City and win the league while still losing heaps of money. The employee idea is interesting but as somebody already said there is a lot of cooperation with other teams and outside providers it would be just as hard to enforce.

As for third teams I think if one more team drops out then it would be interesting to give teams the option to run a third car either the whole way through for no points or maybe even allow them a handful of races with a third car, points scoring or not. Or maybe combine them and let them run all of them with a third car but only count a handful towards points. I dont know. Lots of options but no matter what I think somebody will have to drop out first, besides HRT of course Im already counting them as out.

The driver rotation would never work and I think we all know it, as interesting as it is. Car development, reliability, etc. Imagine Alonso in a Marussia in Brazil fighitng for the title with Vettel in a McLaren. Dumb. Also drivers who get crashed while in a fast car would be royally screwed over.

Tiered points. Interesting. But no. IndyCar doesn't even do this with its one clearly more important race. Formula One has many signature races and I think we all know it would turn into amount of points being based on how much the organizers paid Bernie.

Get Rid of Parc Ferme. Yes Please. With different setups I feel we would see much more passing, as a much more massive difference will come into play between race pace and quali pace. Plus I think we would see some pretty crazy balls to the walls quali laps from some of these guys to get the most out of it with very little downforce.

Just my thoughts. I definitely don't have all the answers though.
My opinion on the RRA is torn but I am against three car teams and more points for drivers.

I think the moment we get three car teams we really will have killed the little teams completely because they'll have an even smaller pool of talent to help haul them forward and will be even less likely to earn money based on performance so have to revert to more pay drivers. I think we'd be on the slippy slope to having a 4 team grid and frankly the variey of teams has always made F1 stand out from other motorsports.

As for points. I think the current system hands out too many points and was only introduced to keep big car manufactors happy. Now Merc can report back to base saying "we scored 3 points sir" instead of "we came 9th and 10th". Plus once again its an enemy of the small teams. In days gone by if a team like Sauber had scored two podiuns they'd have been much higher in the constructors championship than they finished this year but they were overhauled by teams with bigger budgests consistantly scoring 8ths and 9ths. Bring back points for just top six I say.

As for changes. I'd like to see a more variety of challenges circuit wise. How about an old style road race? 4 laps of a 50m long course or something. Dare I say it, how about an oval race?(I know the safety implications though). Its suppose to be a world championship and I'd like to see who was the best at driving over a season of changing situations not just over specially made street circuits and Tilke tracks.
How about a NFL (American football for the uninitiated) style draft system for new drivers to provide an element of parity? There would be a crop of eligible candidates each year from the feeder series such as GP2, F3.5 etc. and the team which finished bottom in the preceding season would have first pick of these new entrants.
Chad Stewarthill that would produce some good racing but ultimatly would lead to the crap drivers being in the better cars wouldn't it?

I like the idea that there has to be a place for those that win in lower catogries though. Feel a bit sorry for Valsecchi not getting his chance (or is he?)
Great OP Raikkonen&Redbull=PartyTime !

I may well be in the minority, but I am with Max Mosley and Adam Parr on resource restriction and the need for a budget cap. I bought myself Parr's book the Art of War for xmas* and it struck me how insane F1 was pre-RRA (and is becoming again) spending vast sums for small gains.

Without those gains (without spending the vast sums), you don't have a chance. I don't see RRA as necessary to protect Caterham though. Yes, they would trundle around 5 seconds off the pace, but that wouldn't change much. It is actually the midfield teams that would suffer the most - Lotus, Force India, Williams and Sauber. Right now they can fight the big teams. With unlimited spending, they might as well not bother.

For me it is about creating an environment where all the entrants can compete. It is also directly linked with the 3 car team argument in a circular argument. Without RRA, only the biggest few can afford to be on the same circuit as Ferrari. No RRA means less teams which means you need 3 car teams. Conversely, with an RRA, more teams can compete so you don't need 3 cars per team.

Ferrari & Red Bull want 3 car teams because it increases their brand exposure, that is why the oppose RRA.

But, if you give them what they want, you will probably end up with 4 and maybe even 5 car teams in order to make up the minimum grid of 20 cars below which Bernie is in breach of contract with the FIA and circuits.

As for the "you can't police it" argument... I disagree. You can't police it if the rules aren't in place to open the books. Again a circular argument, I'm afraid. If you wanted to police it, you could mandate open books and introduce the death penalty (a racing ban) for those who break the rules.

The problem is that the teams set the rules. Turkeys won't vote for christmas and Ferrari / RBR won't vote for a proper RRA.

Selfishness is hurting F1. Twas ever thus.

* bang goes my chance of ever working in F1. What comes out of the book is just how much Bernie hated Parr!
Here's another wacky idea - keep the points as they are but only allow a team to have one lot of points per race.
It's supposed to be a team sport foremost but certainly top teams would have a dilema.
For instance, say Mark Webber wona race near the end of the season - worth 25 points to him and the WCC, Seb Vettel came in a lowly 8th - worth 3 points to him & the WCC but Seb is fighting with Alonso/Hamilton/Perez* for the WDC. Does the team chose the 25 points towards the WCC or the 3 points for the championship contending driver??
All silly & never going to happen but hey we're here to speculate :)

*apply name as apropriate
RasputinLives I'm no expert in the detailed workings of the NFL parity rules; for instance I don't know if the same drafting system applies to coaching staff, or what other rules are used. But I guess to make it work it would have to be part of a wider parity strategy to provide the infrastructure to enable the less successful teams to climb up the ladder. Some form of resource restriction would no doubt be required to play an integral part.

The NFL system does allow teams to trade their draft picks, and it doesn't seem to stop traditionally strong teams staying (or at least returning) to the top - like my old favourites since the 80's the San Francisco 49ers, who have just reached the Superbowl after an 18 year gap.
How about team radio penalties. Every week an independent commission decided which phrases are not allowed to be uttered on team radio for a 1 second penalty for each utterance.

My suggestions:
  • Yes, baby, that's what I'm talking about
  • Box
  • Felipe, baby
  • I've got no grip
  • Charlie
  • Good lad
  • Frickin
  • I love you guys
  • Tyres
  • All the time you have to leave da space
  • Leave me alone, I know what I'm doing
  • Sector 2
Some chosen to target certain drivers, some just to make communication really difficult!
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