Formula One – Pinnacle or Circus

Posted by batman on May 26th, 2011
2011
May 26

It has been a long, long time since the Formula One season has been this intriguing, with something happening all of the time andredbull1.jpg no opportunity to get up and quickly grab a beer – you WILL miss something. I remember years gone by where one could get up and get a haircut at the local mall – and not miss anything. This year there has been an abundance of overtaking and pitstops – and it is almost unheard of for a faster car to be stuck behind a slower car for more than one lap, or two at the most.

But I find myself questioning it all – should Formula One be a circus primarily designed to entertain the crowds, or should it be the pinnacle of motorsport designed to determine who can build the best car, and then drive it to glory?

Lets examine a few sports a bit closer…

TENNIS

When a guy like Rafael Nadal (or Roger Federer, or Pete Sampras) is good enough dominate, then they are allowed to reign for five or ten years – regardless of how boring or uncompetitive the sport becomes. The concept of having to play a match with only seven sets of tennis balls that are designed to degrade faster, forcing the players to adapt to a soft ball towards the end of its life just to spice up the tennis – is quite frankly ludicrous. Would you force tennis players to have to wear two different brands of tennis shoe during a match, or carry water on their backs as a penalty for their world ranking? Of course not – it would be absurd.

GOLF

Nobody complained when Tiger Woods was winning everything in sight – in fact he has been the biggest drawcard golf has ever had. Could you just imagine if these same self-serving puppet-masters could randomly remove a club from a players’ bag? Or have degradable balls that only last eight holes – a player would need to derive a strategy for getting around the course with a soft ball, or else incur a penalty for taking a new one. That’s just not golf, and the purists would simply stop watching the sport.

CRICKET

OK, nobody can dispute that the IPL Twenty20 is a circus – just close your eyes and swing, with dancing girls, colour and music. But lets rather look at “proper” cricket – the limited-overs game, and good old-fashioned Test cricket. Patience and , classic strokes the order of the day. Third umpires and review systems, while not yet perfect, are certainly the way to go. There is no glitz or glamour, and they don’t change the game – all that happens is that a player is almost guaranteed of just getting a fair decision – and nobody can ask for more.

I do dislike the “free hit”, “super-subs”, on-field microphones and other such gimmicks. Imagine how one could desecrate this game into a circus – 11 batsmen get to bat – they then get substituted with a combination of 11 Jonty Rhodes (in the field) and Dale Steyns for bowling. The argument for this is that the public would get to see 11 of the best batsmen, facing the best bowlers – after all – who is entertained by watching a bowler try to bat? But then it would no longer be called cricket – as has been played by gentlemen for decades, if not hundreds of years. If a sport has survived unchanged for this long – then leave it be. If not – then it’s probably not that much of a sport to begin with.

BACK TO FORMULA ONE THEN

I think reports of randomly causing artificial rain on a track is crazy – teams and drivers are doing their very best to win races, and the puppet-masters are continually looking for ways to make the race more unpredictable and more difficult in the interests of amusing the spectators.

The current KERS and DRS also seems artificial – to see the slowest car on the track potentially blast past the fastest (assuming he was within one second at some arbitary corner before the straight) somehow just doesn’t gel. Having cars (tyres) by design degrade by large margins after 5-10 laps, and then have to pop in and get a second, third, fourth or fifth set is cheesy, and very “Playstation-like”. In addition – isn’t it just over-complicating something that should be quite simple? Who is monitoring if drivers use their DRS (or KERS) in places where they are not allowed to – and what are their penalties if they do? Would they really give race-leader Fernando Alonso at the Spanish Grand Prix a 10 second “stop-go” because he inadvertantly opend his rear wing at the wrong place? Or do they need to develop new systems to only allow DRS to be activated between two specified points on the track? If they are serious about cutting costs, then stop requiring teams to develop silly little tricks and gimmicks like this!

What’s next – having remote-controls (in the hands of the puppet-masters) that can cause an engine to blow, wheels to lock up, engines to lose KERS ability and then have it re-instated, gearboxes to “lose” a gear – the mind just boggles, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Formula One lost more followers than it ever did during those “monotonous years”.

THE GREAT ECONOMY RUN

I agree that costs are high and need to be curbed – but I strongly disagree with anything that makes Formula One look like a cost-saving, budget-orientated economy run. Last week at the Spanish Grand Prix the teams reduced qualifying to a farce by only doing one run (some not at all) in the interests of saving their tyres. Surely that’s not what Formula One is about?

I accept the eight-engines-per-season rule – that is fine, and reasonable – a team that can’t make do with that deserves to be penalised. But when restrictions and penalties “remove the race from the race” it is taking something away from the spectator – everyone wants to see the fastest ten cars and drivers thrashing it out in “Quali 3” – with no restrictions of fuel or tyres.

Everyone wants to see the fastest car at the front – the current approach seems to throw as many curve balls at the teams, and whoever has the best strategy will win – and that just plain sucks!

Powered by Zoundry Raven

Technorati : , ,
Del.icio.us : , ,
Zooomr : , ,
Flickr : , ,

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • laaik.it
  • Technorati
  • Google Buzz
  • Slashdot
  • Reddit
  • Live
  • motoring , sport
  • Comments Off on Formula One – Pinnacle or Circus

What happened to Juan-Pablo Montoya

Posted by batman on Jan 26th, 2009
2009
Jan 26

montoya.jpgHis time in Formula One was aggressive, confrontational, and in-your-face – and that’s why so many people loved him. He was a breath of fresh air in a staid and stuffy environment, where no-one was allowed to say or do anything that would cast the sport in a bad light. He was relatively happy during his time with BMW-Williams – he had some measure of freedom to be himself. But his time at McLaren Mercedes was just a disaster – way too formal, too strict and with far too many rules – Juan Pablo would unfortunately never survive under Ron Dennis’s dictatorship!

He left the McLaren-Mercedes team midway through 2006 to pursue a career in NASCAR, and after two years away from the sport, appears to have no regrets about leaving Formula One. “Formula One drivers are convinced that they’re so much better than anyone else,” Montoya, who races for the Chip Ganassi team, said. “When I was in F1, every week I was on the podium. It was cool, but is it satisfying? It wasn’t, because it was the most boring races. The guy who started in front of you would drive away from you and the guy who was behind you would drop away from you, unless you messed up in qualifying and then you need to have a different pitstop strategy to beat them.”

Whereas Formula One revels in the romantic notion of presenting the zenith of style and grace, Nascar delights in being bold, brash and loud. The supercharged road cars steam around predominantly oval tracks, with hundreds of overtaking manoeuvres per race. Fans park their motorhomes on the track infield, barbecuing and drinking as the drivers race around them. At the end, the race winner does not spray Mo√ęt et Chandon, but Budweiser.

“It’s boring,” Montoya said. “It’s a shame because the technology these cars have and the amount of companies that are involved is unreal. I don’t know how big companies do it for such a long time without results.”

In Nascar, there are more than 40 cars racing wheel to wheel for up to three hours. “It’s harder here,” Montoya said. “When you run fifteenth, sometimes you think it sucks. But look at the big picture: fifteenth here is like sixth or seventh in F1, because there are twice as many cars. The incredible thing is here I run fifteenth or twentieth on average and there are four or five weeks in the year where I have a chance of winning. In F1 if you run sixth or seventh, you run sixth or seventh the whole year.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re running for the lead, or for 30th, you’re always racing somebody. That’s much better.”

Juan Pablo Montoya’s Pedigree

1998 – Won Formula 3000 Championship
1999 – CART Rookie of the Year
1999 – CART Series Champion
2000 – Won Indianapolis 500
2001 – Joined Formula One
2001 – First Formula One Win (Italy)
2002 – Finished third in Driver’s Championship
2003 – Finished third in Driver’s Championship
2007 – NASCAR Cup Rookie

His 2008 record

During 2008 he competed in 36 races, completing 96% of the laps. He had no wins or poles, and ended with a ranking of 25. He had two top 5 finishes, and three top 10’s. His best result was a 2nd place at Aaron’s 499 on April 27.

I just don’t get oval circuit racing

What is it about oval circuit racing that grabs the imagination of the American’s? Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking it – its just that I don’t see the attraction for seeing 30-40 equally matched cars, stuck in top gear an at maxuimum revs, following each other around a small oval track. There are no corners, no driving skill in the traditional sense (although I realise that it must take some pretty awesome car control to keep a car at high speed on banked circuits), no real overtaking – just the slipstreaming behind the cars in front. In a 200 lap race, the pace car can come out several times, bunching the field right up to where they were when they started. What is the point then of trying to break away and establish a lead? I just far prefer the European Formula One series instead of the American IndyCar series, and for instance the Australian V8’s instead of NASCAR – there’s just more to it – high speed straights, slow corners, heavy braking zones – and it just seems more like racing.

Technorati : , , , , , ,
Del.icio.us : , , , , , ,
Zooomr : , , , , , ,
Flickr : , , , , , ,

Powered by Zoundry Raven

Technorati : , , , , , ,
Del.icio.us : , , , , , ,
Zooomr : , , , , , ,
Flickr : , , , , , ,

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • laaik.it
  • Technorati
  • Google Buzz
  • Slashdot
  • Reddit
  • Live
  • sport
  • Comments Off on What happened to Juan-Pablo Montoya

The Lewis Hamilton Roadshow

Posted by batman on Sep 23rd, 2008
2008
Sep 23

Lewis HamiltonIs it just me, or does anyone else experience the same level of frustration when watching Formula One these days? Doesn’t it make you think you’re watching the US Open Golf major, or at least Tiger Woods playing in some golf match? You can be watching Tiger leaning against a tree, or walking down a fairway – not even in contention, but perish the thought that the broadcasters would actually focus on anything else, for instance some guy actually leading the event…Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren Mercedes

These days the result can be summed up not as “Massa wins the race”, but rather something like “Hamilton fails to finish”, or “Poor race for Hamilton”, or even “Hamilton goes to court to sue for race win”. Its all about Hamilton – never much about the other guys – the current world champion Kimi Raikkonen, or contender Felippe Massa, or even twice former champion Fernando Alonso.

He is admittedly brilliant, with supreme car control, but let us not forget that this is only his second year, after failing to win the championship last year (which is of course something special in itself). It is perhaps inevitable that he will become champion, more than likely several times, but there are other guys out there. Sebastian Vettel is sensational, Robert Kubica has huge potential, and of course the new crop of Kovaleinen, Piquet and Glock are just waiting to show their colours.

I do feel he was hard done by at Spa – yes, he did pull a stunt at the chicane, and I don’t feel he gave “enough” back – he still had the advantage of the slipstream, and was past again. But given that, in the wet, he was in a class of his own, he probably could still have won had he received a drive-thru during the race. Raikkonen didn’t finish, and there was no-one else even close on the track – Massa had “second” written all over him on the day. He deserved the race – in the big picture, and the marshalls just seem to be enforcing more and more rules and regulations – which are having the effect of taking away the pleasure and excitement of Formula One. They could take a page from the books of MotoGP or SBK as far as exciting racing is concerned!

No, it’s because he is British, and the commentators are British. It was the same thing with Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill – the fever takes over in Britain, and the rest of us have to endure some British driver driving a race, accompanied by the never-ending Hamilton hymns and praises. Come on guys – lets just make it a little less biased – it is a global sport – not just a British one!

Technorati : , , , ,
Del.icio.us : , , , ,

Powered by Zoundry Raven

Technorati : , , , ,
Del.icio.us : , , , ,
Zooomr : , , , ,
Flickr : , , , ,

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • laaik.it
  • Technorati
  • Google Buzz
  • Slashdot
  • Reddit
  • Live