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Opinion

Dig a little deeper before you criticise F1

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Roar Guru
7th October, 2020
21

This weekend Formula One returns to the Nurburgring, which hosted perhaps the greatest grand prix of all time: the 1999 European Grand Prix.

It’s doubtful we’ll see similar at this year’s Eifel Grand Prix, which will no doubt lead to the sort of comments we’ve been seen far too much of this season.

The cries of ‘snoozefest’ will ring out across the internet from so-called fans who quite frankly have no idea what they’re on about.

If you think Formula One is dull or boring, then that’s your problem. Formula One does not need to make the effort to pander to those who can’t take the sport for what it is.

This is nothing new. Formula One has always been like vegemite – people either love it or they hate it.

If people don’t like Formula One, they chose not to watch it.

Lewis Hamilton

(Photo by Mario Renzi – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

You wouldn’t choose to listen to a radio station that played music you weren’t keen on, would you? So why do some people watch Formula One even though all they’re going to do afterwards is moan about how boring they thought the race was?

What makes things even worse is when people pop on their rose-tinted spectacles and tell us how good it was back in the day.

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Really? So you’re telling me that despite McLaren winning all but one of the races in 1988, it was a better season to watch in comparison to this season, in which Mercedes have won all but two of the races held so far.

That’s despite this season’s coverage having every camera angle you could wish for and a neutral broadcast director who follows whatever is the most interesting battle, whether it be for first or last, rather than just concentrating on the lead drivers as the coverage of old tended to do.

During lockdown I watched the 1997 European Grand Prix, in which the Spanish host broadcaster decided to focus only on the battle for the lead and the world championship.

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This meant that, apart from the obvious exciting bit when Michael Schumacher turned in on Jacques Villeneuve, it wasn’t the most thrilling race in the world to watch.

As such, I can’t accept the view that Formula One has been a snoozefest this season.

Using the term snoozefest is such a cop-out excuse. Why don’t you say that you’re not happy that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are running away with the championship this year? Why don’t you say that you wouldn’t mind a decent battle for the race win?

These are things I’d like to see, and you don’t see me using the snoozefest line. Not when there’s still plenty going on elsewhere in the field.

What we’re seeing this season in Formula One is the result of Mercedes continuing to make gains while Red Bull Racing have been complacent and Ferrari have fallen behind in the aftermath of their allegedly illegal power units from last season.

The current set of technical regulations were introduced for the 2017 season. In 2017 and 2018 Ferrari were able to battle Mercedes for the championship, albeit unsuccessfully on both occasions.

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We saw drivers from all of the top three teams – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing – stand on the top step of the podium in those three years and we saw some ripper battles for the lead.

So you can’t blame the technical regulations for what’s going on this season. Point the finger of blame at Ferrari and Red Bull Racing if you wish.

But there’s nothing Formula One needs to do to change things apart from the usual cycle of new technical and sporting regulations, the next set of which begins in 2022.

There’s no need for gimmicks like reverse grid qualifying races. The traditional 300-kilometre-long grand prix will do nicely.

If that doesn’t interest you, do us all a favour and stop watching.