APRIL 8, 2004
Is it all about F1 safety?
Experienced Formula 1 observers tend to be very cynical people because of the games that they have seen played over the years in Grand Prix racing. Thus when there appears to be a flash-bang grenade of news, the cynics tend to look elsewhere rather than concentrate on the news being broken because, like all good magicians, the F1 bosses are probably up to something less obvious than appears to be the case.
The Formula 1 cars are a lot faster than they used to be but is the increase in speed sufficient to have any real worries about safety? The FIA has very advanced computer modelling techniques which can predict the point at which things need to be changed but on the race tracks we have seen no obvious evidence that the cars have become too dangerous and need to be slowed down. We have not had a serious accident so far this year, in fact drivers are so worried about damaging their cars these days that the number of crashes has reduced considerably because the need to get through the weekend to race day without drama is vital. And the pressure is on to finish races as well because of the need for points.
Thus there are no obvious signs that safety is an issue, beyond the fact that the lap times are reducing.
This inevitably leads to the question of whether or not there is more to this than meets the eye. Clearly, from his comments, the FIA President Max Mosley has something in mind and knows that the Technical World Group is unlikely to agree on anything. Might his be a lever to get the teams to agree to something else? Or perhaps it is even more convoluted than that and the story is breaking because the FIA wants to draw attention away from other stories.
At the moment there is a lot of talk of crisis in F1 circles and throwing a new element into the picture may serve to draw attention away from the real problems and create debate on other matters.
Those who look at F1 in this light are often accused of being conspiracy theorists but, generally-speaking they are the ones who get closer to the truth rather than those who get dizzy chasing around after every scrap of meat thrown out by the big players in the sport.
Right now, it is impossible to judge what is going - but time will certainly reveal more.
We await developments with interest...
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