Formula 1

What has to be done to revive Formula One?

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Lewis Hamilton’s world championship winning season of 2014 was consistent to say the least. He won 11 races on the calendar with a podium finish in 16 drives from a total of 19.

British fans were ecstatic with the first British world champion since his previous title in 2008; the rest of the racing world however, was losing interest.

In recent years F1 has become very repetitive with German driver Sebastian Vettel winning the world title four consecutive times from 2010-2013. He came top of the podium in 34 out of 77 races.


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Refuelling was banned in 2010 just before the Red Bull Racing dominance. The fact that drivers could now not push their cars to the absolute limit when fighting for crucial points took much of the excitement out of the sport.

It was now a test of who can preserve fuel the best, not who is the best racer.

Formula 1 seems to go through eras. There was the Michael Schumacher era where Ferrari dominated winning the drivers’ and constructors’ title six out of seven years with Schumacher winning five consecutively.

We have recently emerged from the era of dominance of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing with four consecutive world titles. This is a long way even from the 1990’s where there were seven different winners in 10 years.

The major difference now being that it is far too complicated and, as a result, too dull.

F1 during the 80’s and 90’s was much simpler and more captivating. There weren’t as many rules and regulations as there are today.

This being said there are suggestions of regulation changes which include bringing back refuelling which can have a massive influence on the sport.

If they have less fuel it means that the drivers can push the cars to go faster and put their skills to the test. Faster cars mean a more exciting and open race; no one wants to see the same driver win five times in a row.

Pit stops will also be a greater occurrence taking drivers from a current one stop race to even a three stop race; tactics, along with driver skill, would play a bigger part.

What does this mean for tyres? A lighter load on the tyres will also mean that they can last longer and be pushed harder. The current F1 tyre supplier, Pirelli, have come under much criticism with fans and drivers alike saying that they don’t last long enough and that they are slower.

Current McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso is one of the more outspoken drivers saying that the tyres 'will not do 5km' and are 'not good'. With Pirelli’s contract running out in 2016 it gives F1 bosses a chance to possibly rethink the supplier.

Although none will openly admit it, many F1 bosses secretly want a move back to Michelin who are deemed the best in the business for developing durable, grippy and consistent circuit tyres.

Despite the changes that would come from the return of refuelling it seems F1’s plans are 'dead in the water as the teams have unanimously rejected the plan' 

One thing we don’t see nearly as much these days in F1 is the bitter rivalries between drivers. It’s well known that Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel weren’t all too fond of each other at Red Bull.

This perhaps fuelled Vettel’s desire to win but it’s nothing on the rivalry between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost or James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Teams today are too keen to showcase a good image to the public which means hiding, as best they can, friction between drivers.

One thing fans like is a bit of drama off the track which makes things more interesting when the drivers strap in. Pushing for more rivalries in F1 is not the way forward but it may be in a team’s interest to show the public a bit more of what the drivers think of each other.

With TV broadcasters having lost nearly a third of their viewers in six years, it is clear that a huge number of people have lost interest. The move away from free-to-air (FTA) TV has lost companies 30 million viewers in China and 16 million in France alone.

So what needs to be done? If the FIA focused more on the integrity of the sport and less about the commercial side of it we would see a big difference.

F1 is riddled with multi-million pound sponsorship deals and the slightly questionable figure of Bernie Ecclestone. The sport needs purifying and if it is stripped down to the basics then we will see what the sport is really about, pedal to the metal, wheel to wheel, pure racing.

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