MARCH 9, 2005
How good is F1 circa 2005?
The criticism around the world of the latest F1 regulations has been growing quietly in recent days. Several of the Formula 1 drivers expressed their opinions in Australia with David Coulthard being particularly dismissive. He is not alone in his opinion. The Australasian Motorsport News magazine in Australia has come out strongly against the rules. In an open letter addressed to Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone the magazine said "Shame you couldn't get down here to experience the result of your latest handiwork" and went on to call the new qualifying "appalling" and "a complete farce".
The magazine asked: "Is that what it's come to - a pathetic, artificial, manipulated earner? Whatever it is, it's not Formula 1 as it should be." and went on to question "what kind of motorsport encourages a team to pull its cars in with a lap to go? In what other sport is non-performance rewarded - in this case with a fresh engine for the next race? And you made all these changes for 2005 under the guise of safety. Safety? Rubbish. The record suggests that F1 is safer now than it's ever been - safer than many, many other motor sports."
The conclusion was equally inflammatory: "You're at the top; it's your responsibility, your duty to fix it. If you can't then maybe it is time for some new blood, with some fresh ideas."
Back in Europe, there has also been some serious criticism in The Guardian.
"Aspects of the 2005 regulations threaten to confuse the audience at a time when Formula 1 should be bending all its efforts towards the reintroduction of sheer excitement. Once again this season, the word 'strategy' is likely to wear out its welcome as the teams try to make the most of the rule that, in the name of saving money, requires them to make each engine last two race weekends. On Sunday, with a dozen laps still to go, we had the ludicrous sight of the world champion driving straight into the Ferrari garage after a mild collision with another car. It was obvious that Schumacher could have opted to continue to the chequered flag. But he and his team knew that, having started at the back of the grid and made only limited progress, he was unlikely to make it to a points-scoring position. Hence the decision to bring him in and retire the car, in the knowledge that retirement would allow them, under the new regulations, to install a new engine for the next race in Sepang on Sunday week.
"Grand Prix racing has never been about equality of opportunity, but it is already too complex for its own good. As usual, the new regulations will confuse fans while inviting the competitors to exploit loopholes in a way that can only invite further disrepute."
"The next time Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone frame a new set of rules, perhaps they should first try them out on an intelligent 10-year-old. Then we might get some sense."
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