APRIL 26, 2006
The last great record
Formula 1 records long since ceased to have much importance, if only because of Michael Schumacher's domination of the sport in recent years which has made all previous records fade into insignificance. The one record that was left was Ayrton Senna's amazing total of pole positions. At Imola Schumacher equalled that record. Sadly for the German the honour of claiming pole position has lost its real value since the advent of different fuel loads in qualifying, as any driver can now take pole position if he decides to run on very light fuel tanks and does not worry about what happens in the race. It is no longer about being the best of the best.
Although the new system has dented the value of the record it is not impossible for the credibility to return as many in the F1 paddock think it would be a wise move for the rules to be tweaked slightly so that teams would declare their planned fuel loads at the start of the race to the FIA before qualifying but then qualify on light tanks.
This would get rid of the current system under which cars circulate in the first part of the third qualifying session simply to burn off fuel which they are then credited with by the federation. This makes no sense at all in terms of image as the FIA has, on the one hand, championed the cause of efficiency and alternative fuels, while on the other hand is forcing teams to gratuitously burn fuel (admittedly only very small amounts in the overall scheme of things) so that there will always be cars out on the track for the TV commentators to talk about.
A simple rule stating that cars must run at competitive speeds in the first 10 minutes and the final 10 minutes of the session would keep the action busy enough and might even create a new dimension for commentators as they would then be in a position to analyse first runs when there was a mid-session pause in the action.
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