MAY 21, 2015
Alonso says slow F1 took a wrong turn
Last decade, F1 took a wrong turn.
That is the view of Fernando Alonso, as at Monaco on Wednesday the topic of whether 'the show' is delivering for the fans was front and centre.
In 2015, a series like GP2 is now nipping the heels of its big brother in terms of laptime and driving challenge, and the 'junior' cars are definitely louder.
It was not always so, as Jenson Button recalled the heady days of the mid-2000s.
"We had V10 engines, three litre, 900 horse power, they revved to 21,000 rpm, we had a tyre war. It was great," said the Briton. "But times change."
Times, however, may be changing yet again, as the Strategy Group has met and decided that laptimes need to be slashed by up to 6 seconds per lap for the future.
To do that, Alonso thinks F1 needs to bring back "some rules from seven or eight years ago".
"Which means that, in the last four or five years, we were going in the wrong direction," the Spaniard said in Monaco.
The Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA), essentially an independent drivers' union, is launching a global fan survey in Monaco to understand F1's problems and how to fix them.
But as far as Alonso is concerned, the fans have already spoken.
"I think the grandstands tell us," he said. "We cannot run one second quicker than GP2 cars because the grandstands are empty."
Around the paddock on Wednesday, from Kimi Raikkonen to Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo to Romain Grosjean, the refrain was similar.
"Obviously something has to change for the future to make it more interesting, to make it more challenging for us also," Raikkonen, not normally outspoken on any issue, said.
Quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel, a GPDA director, is not so sure there is a silver bullet, such as the proposed reintroduction of refuelling.
"A few years ago it was abolished and now we want it back, I don't know," he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"But I think anything that makes us faster is welcome."