Following the concerns about the spectacle of Formula One from McLaren chief and FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh yesterday, Mercedes Grand Prix CEO Nick Fry has added his voice to the discussion, mirroring those of Whitmarsh. Fry believes the teams need to all get together to discuss potential changes to the rules in order to spice up the races and avoid the grands prix turning into one-stop processions.
Yesterday evening, Whitmarsh stated his desire to look at mandating pitstops, improving the tyre situation with Bridgestone and making the cars better able to race closely together on the track.
I personally believe that more challenging tyres will help the spectacle of the show. I also personally believe that we should have two stops mandated because we want to stop this. Today, if we had had a safety car on lap five, we’d have all piled in [to the pits] and we’d have all gone on the prime tyre and run to lap 49 without a stop. That was a real danger.
We do need to look at mandating stops, we do need to look at the tyres and make them more fragile, and we do need to work on making the cars capable of racing close together and easier to overtake. Martin Whitmarsh.
Today has seen more team bosses speak up over the less-than-exciting opening race in Bahrain and concerns over races becoming processional with little-to-no overtaking. Nick Fry believes the technical regulations cannot be changed now because of the costs involved with updating the cars would be excessive. However, Fry is willing to take a closer look at the sporting regulations to see if something can be done here to add excitement to the grands prix.
I think we have all seen a race that was far from the most exciting that we have ever seen, and what we now need to do is between us have a look at it and establish what we do need to do.
Technical changes are obviously very difficult to make, and expensive. But I think we should look at both the technical side and the sporting side, with Bernie and the FIA, and see what we can do about it. Nick Fry.
Fry went on to say that he believes the teams should look again at mandating pitstops in order to prevent the drivers completing just one stop and driving most of the race on one tyre. Of course, this idea was discussed prior to the season’s opening race in Bahrain, but agreement between all squads was not forthcoming and the idea was quietly forgotten about.
[Mandating pitstops] is the one of the things that we should look at. We decided against it before, but is something that clearly could be done. I don’t think it would provide a particular advantage or disadvantage to anyone as far as I could see, but I am sure it is going to be high up on the list. Nick Fry.
Elsewhere in the paddock, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner echoed the feelings of most others, saying that he believes it is crazy that his staff “train like hell” for just one pitstop per driver. Horner though does believe that an immediate reaction would be ill-thought and would prefer to wait until the fourth or fifth round before implementing changes.
I think we should consider whether we do two mandatory stops. It seems ridiculous that the guys train like hell for one stop.
We’ve only had one snapshot today, so perhaps we should review it after the first three or four races. Everybody thought I didn’t want it because of tyre degradation, but I think we have shown today that tyre degradation isn’t a problem for Red Bull. Christian Horner.
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali also thinks it would be prudent to wait three or four races before making decisions and changes to the rules.
Let’s wait. I can understand his [Whitmarsh] point but let’s wait and see how the other races will develop. It may be a different situation in different conditions, so I would like to tell you my opinion after a couple of races so we can at least have a different scenario that we can say, [whether] this is the real situation or not. Stefano Domenicali.
It would seem that the team bosses are in agreement that the issue should at least be discussed and if the Australian and Chinese grands prix continue in similar vein to Bahrain, then consider making changes to the regulations. It is interesting that there has been little comment on the Bahrain circuit and the additional loop after the fourth corner. The extra length in the track reduced the total number of laps raced and added no extra overtaking possibilities for the drivers. Admittedly, I don’t think McLaren or Ferrari would want to annoy the Crown Prince of Bahrain, both teams receiving funding from Middle East companies. However, from a personal view it would be desirable to see the Sakhir circuit return to its traditional configuration for next year’s event.
And for the last word, I think I’ll leave that to Mark Webber…
Wow! New rules, not sure huh? Why do they keep dicking with it? Followed Mercedes power for the whole race, no chance to overtake – again @AussieGrit.
Image © HondaF1.