More New Rule Changes for F1

Tuesday, 17/03/2009 ≅10:41 ©brainycat

The FIA has changed the rules for winning a championship. The driver with the most race wins gets the championship, ties decided by points. This is basically a flip from the former system based on points and ties decided by victories. The constructor's championship still works strictly on points.

I feel mixed about this. I'm afraid we'll see more wrecks and more accidents in the paddock during pits. The new FIA rules will encourage more aggressive behavior at the front of the pack, and with the new noses that will get knocked off during any kind of wheel to wheel racing, I foresee more collisions, more pit stops and more altercations in the pit as drivers take the chance on zipping out in front of oncoming traffic. Additionally, this will put more stress on pit crews. I sincerely hope that the Ferrari crew has been practicing their procedures; the new rules will put even more pressure on the pit crews to get the cars back out as soon as possible.

I like the strategic element of F1. I like the chess game that takes all season to play out. I like the development strategies and the racing strategies and watching teams go all out to win the home race, sacrificing some performance at the previous races to make sure they're optimized for their track. Now that strategy is second place to victory at all costs, we'll see less strategy and more tactics. The same sort of racing tactics that the FIA management says are "invisible". So the FIA has create another rule ruining the chess game in favor of dumbing down the sport: teams must release the final weights of their cars after qualifying. No more anticipation at the beginning of the lap, wondering who has the car to stay out in front and who's light and needs to come in early. The only results-changing surprises we'll see in a race is who gets their nose knocked off and has to come in for a replacement.

There's some new rules about letting drivers test during the off season, though the drivers have to be new to F1 and have less than 4 days in a car in the last two years. This doesn't bode well for the next generation; a driver might have the quickest hands and biggest balls, but if s/he takes a few more laps to get used to the car... Too bad, back to minor leagues for the next two years. How are these drivers supposed to line up sponsorship money when they're condemned to the smaller leagues for years at a time?

On the plus side, the FIA requires drivers disqualified during testing or failed out of a race to make themselves available to the media immediately after returning to the paddock, and the drivers need to be more available to the fans on the first day of practice. As long as that post-fail interview footage makes it to TV, I think that's great. Even better would be to post those interview on the web so we don't interrupt our view of the quallies or race.


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