Steve at Formula One Update has some about Bernie’s why Formula One is actually boring. I’m with him. Let’s get some overtaking. The most exciting thing I saw this season (well, other than way too many carbon-shard tire explosions and blown engines) was Montoya’s passing Schumacher at the bus stop. That was some exciting racing.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — let’s bring back turbochargers, ABS, launch control, slicks, two-way telemetry and ground effects in F1, and screw off all of the slow-us-down measures and see what happens. Screw all of the restrictions in fact, let’s just provide minimum weight requirements, require four wheels, everybody runs the same budget, and go hog wild. Screw safety and speed concerns; if these cars are doing 250 mph and 7g turns at Monte Carlo, Formula One is going to be damn exciting. I guarantee it.
But that only gets us so far. Once a year I think we should add a large figure-eight track to the formula one circuit. Playing chicken with million dollar carbon fiber buckets with 75 mph per second of deceleration would be unbelievably exciting.
Ok, back to reality. I think formula one is fun to watch, but it’s more of a chess game than a race, and it has to be treated as such. The only thing that really deviates from the chess game aspect are the occasional wheel-to-wheel contacts and the all-too-common blown tire (On the topic of regulations, something needs to be done about this — either we need to red flag any race that involves a damaged car until the track can be swept, or we need to require kevlar-coated carbon fiber components, that would prevent the nasty shards and 200 mph blowouts) WRC is awesome for watching clips of cars flying sideways through the air, but it really does not make for interesting television. I want to like NASCAR, I really do, but … I still have to get past the lack of technology, the bumper car nature, the fear of rain, and the fact that 96% of the season involves turning in only one direction. I know it makes it easier for somebody in the stands to see the action, but try telling me the people camped around the Nurburgring aren’t having a blast. Touring cars are pretty cool, but they’re not very mainstream. Endurance racing, while really exciting, suffers in two directions — it’s not fun to watch in a summary sequence, and it gets tedious to watch for 12-24 hours straight.
Which is why, in theory, formula one is perfect — races just long enough to be satisfying, drama, politics, really fast cars, really spectacular crashes … there just needs to be some actual racing involved if they want to keep it interesting.