How to Fix Formula 1

The power brokers who run Formula 1 are finally beginning to realize that the sport is going in the wrong direction. It has recently been reported that the sanctioning body is working on new engine rules to increase engine noise and to reintroduce refueling. Additionally, there is a survey for fans: Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) Fan Survey 2015.

Before I make some suggestions, let me repost a video that shows F1 at its best. Gilles Villeneuve Vs Rene Arnoux – 1979 French Grand Prix:

This is the ideal. Any reforms should be such that this type of racing action is much more frequent. Here are my suggestions.

  1. Two races instead of one, each about 30 minutes long. This is the format and race length used in the World Superbike Championship (WSBK). Split sprint races will keep the drivers fresh, allowing them to push hard the entire race, and teams will be able to make adjustments before the second race to improve the performance of the cars. All such effects would increase close racing.
  2. Eliminate pit stops except for changing tires for rain. This is the format used in WSBK and MotoGP. Pit stops are boring and dangerous and should be eliminated from the sport.
  3. Eliminate open wheel cars. You knew that this was coming. I have never understood the fetish of open wheel racing. Covering the wheels allows for closer racing and significant contact between cars that does not result in enough damage to induce retirements. Also, hard contact does not have the all too frequent dire consequences for open wheel cars. For F1 traditionalists, never forget that the great Fangio drove a closed wheel car during part of the 1954 F1 Season.
    Juan Manuel Fangio (Mercedes-Benz W196) leads Alberto Ascari (Ferrari 625) in the 1954 Italian Grand Prix at Monza

    Juan Manuel Fangio (Mercedes-Benz W196) leads Alberto Ascari (Ferrari 625) in the 1954 Italian Grand Prix at Monza

    Closed wheel F1 cars would probably look like the prototype cars in the Tudor United Sports Car Championship. See the car in the upper right of the photo.2015_TUDORChampionship_Rolex24_Practice_15

  4. Create car specs that will allow cars to race in dirty air (tail to nose). Some combination of ground effects and lessening the role of the front of the car in producing down force would accomplish this.
  5. Review all existing race tracks to determine if there are enough zones for possible overtaking. Most tracks should be fine, but some may require modifying a couple of corners. Note that I realize nothing can be done about Monaco and that this race will always be on the F1 calendar.

As a fan, I want to see more F1 races that provide the same excitement as the legendary lap in the 1979 French Grand Prix.

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