I’m an F1 fan, I have been since I was a child. The sport has changed quite a lot over the years, but recently the world of F1 seems to be more consumed in technical/ political controversy, rather than actual racing!
The latest hype is surrounding the dramatic failure of the tyres, made by global brand Pirelli. At the recent British GP a number of drivers were seriously compromised as their tyres spectacularly blew up.
In recent days, the whole sport has been pointing fingers it would seem. The drivers and teams are blaming Pirelli and calling on the FIA to take action. Pirelli, having undertaken a ‘forensic review’, have now blamed the teams for not following their guidance. Also under fire are the FIA for not having tighter regulations on tyre use. Finally, the Silverstone circuit has been blamed for not maintaining its corner kerbs to a high enough standard. The whole thing is a shambles!
The FIA it seems are the Architects of this situation as the root cause, as they wanted Pirelli to develop tyres which would degrade heavily. This is to help balance the racing field out more and to reduce the dominance of the leading players who continue to plow huge funds and technical solutions into winning races.
F1 racing is not so much ‘racing’ these days. The races and championships are lost and won through the teams strategists who continually seek an edge on every aspect of the race planning and technical development of the cars. The FIA have an ever increasing rule book of technical guidance designed to indirectly balance the field out. This isn’t working.
I think there is a simple solution to stop all this strategic and technical racing. Maintain the technical rules, provide tyres which are fit for purpose (!) and don’t compromise the racing or safety of the drivers, and introduce a Success Ballast requirement. Drivers leading the field, are required to carry success ballast, on a sliding scale in terms of weight vrs position. I have no doubt that the drivers/ teams would still try and act strategically if this were to be imposed, but its an entity which in theory cannot be manipulated and tweaked in any way to gain technical advantage again.
The FIA did consider this option around ten years ago, but it was felt that this would be too much of a direct influence on the racing. I think direct action, in a simple and hopefully effective way, would be better than the current situation. The sport is once again compromised, as I’m sure Pirelli are too! All this global coverage of their tyres blowing up cant be good for their brand and sales!
The British Touring Car Championship have been using success ballast for a while now click here to see how it works.
As a lifelong supporter of F1, my main interest is in seeing on-track racing action to determine who the best and fastest driver is. I’m not interested in pit-lane/ back-room strategy racing which is led by the biggest budgets and technical design solutions designed to push the limits (and beyond) of the regulations.
If teams budgets can’t be capped and the cars cant be identical, then success ballast surely seems a pragmatic way to encourage better on-track racing action?