I’ve hinted at this in various posts and comments since the end of the 2007 Formula One season, but I figure it is about time I came out and said it straight. 2007 has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I feel as though Formula One – a sport I love and cherish – has lost its roots, its meaning. I feel sad for the sport. I can see it spiraling ever further downwards, out of control in a tiring mess of penalties, exclusions, poor decisions and ultimately, failure. This isn’t what Formula One should be about. It isn’t what sport is about. But I genuinely fear for the future of F1. And that, quite simply, is not how a fan should be feeling.
Why Do I Feel The Way I Do?
I think it is a combination of expectations in late 2006 and a chronic failure on behalf of the FIA and certain people within the sport. In the lead up to the just-passed season, I was full of joy. Fernando Alonso in a new team, Kimi Raikkonen in a new team, Renault with a potentially dodgy car and lots of key people moving around behind the scenes – Newey and the like. I was buoyant, expectant and really looking forward to 2007. Away from the event of racing, BlogF1 had done really, really well during the winter. I was proud of myself, and of course, I was really looking forward to the upcoming campaign with the site in mind as well.
Everything started well. Kimi won from the blocks, Lewis did well and the McLaren looked good in racing trim. Renault were essentially nowhere, but the title looked good for a down-to-the-wire climax. 2007 looked like a vintage in the making. Like that bottle of chianti you’ve kept in the rack for special occasions.
But it soon started to go a little awry. Sure, Formula One does that from time to time. An odd penalty here, a funny decision there. But generally speaking, it all washes out in the end. Monaco was one of these times. The press launched an attack at Hamilton’s employer – the man who has supported and ultimately allowed him to race – and thus the FIA followed up the press’s request with an investigation. It did all wash out though, and no penalty was given. The season continued.
And then it went, for want of a better phrase, tits up. The spy scandal, preferential treatment allegations, further penalties, Hungary, team in-fighting, out-of-control media, Max name-calling, Speed getting all fisty-cuffs and walking away, McLaren fair-sport marshals, appeals, appeals, more appeals than you can shake a stick at.
Why can’t eleven teams just go racing? Why can’t they just let the best man win?
I don’t mind a bit of drama. In fact, sometimes it can be refreshing to the mundane event that is plain and simple racing. A fall out within the team, a driver giving his boss the finger, down and dirty racing on the track – it’s all good for the sport and draws in audiences. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that there is little actually wrong with this in a controlled and moderate way.
But so much in one year. Combined with poor moves from the teams, people within the teams and FIA and race stewards, it really did become almost too much. McLaren shouldn’t have been investigated for the gear box infringement. McLaren shouldn’t have argued the [lack of] fuel penalties in Brazil. McLaren should have been kicked out entirely, or allowed to continue, entirely. UK broadcasters should learn that there is more to Formula One than Lewis Hamilton. I won’t go on, we’ve all heard it before.
What I Hope For In 2008
Twelve teams. I hope Prodrive can race. Ultimately, I don’t care who is using whose chassis. I don’t care how old the engines are, or whether or not the gear box is one, two, three or four races old. I want twelve teams, racing, competing, jostling for positions and actually making the sport;
- A sport.
I want fair penalties. I want them written down, in black and white, with no ambiguity. Circumstance does not come into it. If a driver commits a sin, he gets a predetermined penalty. If a team commits a sin, they too shall get a predetermined penalty. No ifs, no buts. I also want Max to keep his bloody mouth shut. In my mind, he is the president of the FIA – the governing body of the sport. He shouldn’t attend the races unless he intends to turn up at every FIA governed motor race, rally, whatever. He should be empowering people beneath him to make key decisions. After all, that is what a boss does, isn’t it? Only stepping in when things get really serious. And I mean, really serious.
I want the teams to stop fighting each other over insignificant advantages and penalties, and actually get on with racing each other. I’m not condoning cheating, far from it, but I just want the petty squabbling to stop. I want the FIA/Stewards to make decisions, and those decisions to remain. Uncontested. Uncontested because they are correct, as per the black and white rules.
I want fair coverage. I want to see a Spyker lead the race should the feat be repeated. I want to see the battles. I want to see the accident that has major ramifications on the championship, not just the remains of the car in the aftermath of the incident, driver storming away in frustration. I want to hear from drivers up and down the grid. I want to know how Sebastien will fair to the changes from Champ Car, how Brawn is doing at Honda, whether or not Nakajima has improved his pit stop technique. I want to see and hear this stuff. I want to hear Brundle, I want to see Brundle driving the cars in a bid to educate the viewers. I want to hear Murray Walker again.
This surely is not rocket science, is it?
2007 was not a vintage year. It does not belong in a wine rack or being served at that special occasion, nor does it deserve respect or space in my memory. I am proud of Kimi, he did well. He kept his nose clean and, if anything, I guess it shows the best man can still win. He didn’t get involved in inter-team battles (that we overly-heard of), nor did he open his mouth at every opportunity (typically, quite the opposite). He just raced. For that, I like him. He races. I want races filled with racers. It really isn’t rocket science.Download Original Wallpaper