Rain = Passing – 2010 Australian GP
By Kevin Gordon
I live in a very small minority in the United States of America, sharing a passion with the limited number of people who love watching, and being a fan of, Formula One. I can understand why the average red-blooded American has a hard time understanding and appreciating this sport.
And yet, I cannot seem to grasp how many of those same people in this country can have an intelligent discussion about BCS rankings in college sports.
With that being said, this year in Formula One (F1), rule changes have caused even less passing and eliminated even more excitement from the sport. Despite this, and the world press generally disparaging F1, I believe it is still the most important spectacle in motor sport.
After the Bahrain Gran Prix drivers up and down the grid called for rule changes to remove some of the boring from the regularly schedule Formula One processional. The largest change is that this year F1 cars start the race with a full tank of fuel. During the race the only need to pit is to make the required change between tire compounds. This resulted in the top placed cars running very similar lap times and the field generally finishing in the order that they started. Could the F1 race in Australia be saved? Yes! The recipe involved a dash of light rain and impatient drivers. The real question remains, during the next dry race will we revert to your regularly scheduled parade of carbon fiber at 18,000 RPM?
My guess is coming right up…
Much to the average viewers chagrin, I would be willing to bet that if Malaysia is dry, passing will be limited and people will go back to crying for rule changes. (Looking deeper into my crystal ball, I would guess that Red Bull takes an early lead, and then has some sort of technical breakdown due to their fragile cars, leaving a handed victory to Fernando Alonso for his second win of the season.) But does F1 need to make a major change? I would prefer they didn’t. I think what F1 has done is truly allow manufactures and drivers to showcase their talent. No longer can a bad guess at fuel load strategy take a driver or team out of contention. Now, if your car is faster, you are faster. If you are the faster driver on a team, you are going to out pace your teammate.
This, to me, is the entire point of Formula One. I don’t want falsely manufactured excitement. I want to see the best automakers in the world, with the best drivers behind their wheels battle to be the quickest. The suspense of watching a driver taking fractions of a second out of the driver in front of them keeps me on the edge of my seat and keeps me getting up in the middle of the night to watch the races live. Am I crazy? Possibly, but I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you think changes are required? Does F1 still matter to you?
Stay tuned for additional F1 coverage through the 2010 season.