Formula 1 in crisis?

JUNE 30, 1999

Formula 1 in crisis?

THE rather dull Spanish Grand Prix resulted in a rash of critical articles in the press suggesting that Formula 1 racing has become boring because it is so difficult for the modern cars to overtake one another. The criticisms followed calls by a number of F1 people - notably World Champions Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill - for changes to the regulations to make the cars easier to drive.

Last week FIA President Max Mosley rejected the criticisms and insisted that grooved tires are the way to go to make the racing more interesting. Some critics say that overtaking would be easier if wider slick tires were reintroduced, giving the drivers extra grip to play with. Mosley did, however, admit that there is a need for changes to the aerodynamic regulations because engineers are constantly finding more aerodynamic downforce and so the cars tend to be more reliant on this, which means that when they run close to another car the handling deteriorates and makes overtaking impossible.

This problem is not new and each time the FIA cuts back on wings, the aerodynamicists find new ways of producing new downforce. Mosley says that he is not against further wing restrictions but things will need to happen quickly as time is running out for changes to be made to the regulations for the 2000 season. The rules dictate that any safety-related rule changes (which covers wings) will have to be agreed before the FIA World Council meets later this month and before that can happen the F1 Commission has to agree to the rule changes.

Mosley and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone are both pushing team owners to get together to discuss the future, but to date that meeting has not taken place.

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