F1 bigwigs worry at ‘random’ results

Tue, 29 May 17:00:00 2012

Even if Formula One fans are revelling in the joy of an unprecedented six different winners from six races, some of those closer to the action are beginning to feel uneasy.

Pastor Maldonado - 0

Before Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber won from pole position in Monaco on Sunday, retired triple champion Niki Lauda was expressing the view that the championship might be becoming too random.

"It was very interesting in the beginning, we all were surprised," the Austrian, who chased the title in 1983 when the first five races had five different winners, told Reuters of the unpredictable nature of the races.

"But if this continues...then we will lose spectators or interest because the main public wants to see the world champions winning.

"We need two races with known winners and then the crazy stuff can start again."

The only problem with Lauda's logic is that there remain three champions on the starting grid who have yet to win this season - McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes' Michael Schumacher.

If they were to win the next three races in Canada, Valencia and Silverstone - not an impossible scenario given the potential of their cars - the sport would be staring at a sequence of nine different winners in nine races, albeit mostly champions.

The 'crazy stuff' has not even been that crazy in a season that started with six champions.

Nico Rosberg has taken a long overdue first win with Mercedes - at the 111th attempt - while Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado put former champions Williams back on top for the first time in nearly eight years.

Yes, Maldonado may have been a 500-1 bet before Barcelona but he was on the pace all weekend at a circuit that the teams know better than any other.

France's Romain Grosjean and Mexican Sergio Perez have made first appearances on the podium for Lotus and Sauber but their teams have considerable form and both are recognised as being quick drivers.

The uncertainty has been largely due to the Pirelli tyres, and how teams and drivers have got the most out of them, but errors have also contributed.

Maldonado might not have won in Spain had McLaren not messed up with Lewis Hamilton's fuel, sending him from pole to the back of the field.

Monaco might have been a very different story had seven times champion Schumacher not lost pole because of a five place penalty carried over from Barcelona where he had crashed into Bruno Senna's Williams.

"I think it's an enthralling sport at the moment," said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

"A few years ago people were talking about processional races, and the fact they were so predictable, well, we certainly haven't a predictable season. I think an unpredictable race and an unpredictable season is what fans want."

"You want to go to each event not knowing who is going to win," added the Briton. "You want to go through the course of the weekend not sure what is going to happen in each session. Every one of our races this year has been very exciting."

McLaren's Jenson Button, winner of the opening race in Australia, agreed but suggested the sport could have too much of a good thing.

"Everyone is excited about so many different winners, which initially was great for the fans and great for the sport," the 2009 champion told reporters after failing to finish in Monaco.

"But there will be a time when the fans will say 'So anyone can win a grand prix, everyone can lose a grand prix like that'," he added, snapping his fingers.

"I think they're finding it a little bit strange now. I don't know, but hopefully a pattern will emerge after the next couple of races and we'll understand the teams and drivers we need to beat to win the championship."

Reuters

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  1. re probablygraham #10: i also agree with schuey, more­ common in my own case, about the tyre conservation­ which has become the norm this season, and i would love­ to see the drivers going flat out from lights to flag­ but still keeping this year's level of­ unpredictability about who would be fastest each time­ out and as many in title contention as possible. it­ probably won't, probably can't, happen like­ that but there's nothing to stop us wishing.

    From ronthedog, on Fri 1 Jun 16:37
  2. Only two things are certain in life - Taxes and death.

    From JUNIOR, on Fri 1 Jun 11:47
  3. Agree RS and its time the big wigs did something about­ the WRC as I gave up watching it years ago because of­ Loeb domination and the uglier smaller cars.

    From Mick, on Fri 1 Jun 9:56
  4. I really like how unpredictable F1 has been this­ season. It's normal for fans to want their­ favorite drivers to win or at least do well, but the­ racing has been very exciting--more exciting this­ season so far. The advertisers, who sponsor teams,­ probably don't like the unpredictability, but­ it's rejuvenated F1.

    From Elfama, on Thu 31 May 12:17
  5. i agree that qualifyings almost redundant this season,i­ think instead of handing out grid positions they should­ drag race to a holt,climb out and choose and stand by­ the tyres they want,that would be funny.f1 needed a­ shake up,thats what it got,maybe its to much like what­ evry1 wanted.but no1 can say its a bad thing because­ its bloody good tv at the moment.come on jenson

    From Matthew, on Thu 31 May 11:14
  6. I am a mclaren, and Lewis Hamilton fan, But i will say­ its a pity lewis hasn't made it into the top two­ places yet. But it is a good championship having so­ many different winners. F1 was getting boring having­ the same driver or team winning every race. At least­ now you can't predict how the season will be, and­ its nice to see how many of the teams now have a car as­ strong as the usual top teams have had for the last few­ years. Come on lewis get back where you belong, On the­ podium. You can do it . .

    From Andrew, on Thu 31 May 10:55
  7. What bothers me is that the outcome of this­ "unpredictable winners" are mostly due to the­ Pirelli Tyres. The tyres issue takes away the pure­ logic of racing, fastest car + fastest driver = win.­ That was the case last year with Vettel and Red Bull,­ with one team setting the benchmark and the other­ contending teams have to play catch up, as an­ expectator you anticipate who will challenge Vettel and­ Red Bull the next race, you have that certain curiosity­ or anxiety. As for the sports media they have the­ luxury of hyping up the grand prix with "Who can­ beat Vettel?" last year, and that was good for the­ sport. Now its all about who can race better with their­ tyres? and its becoming too predictable with how the­ race was lost or won. My suggestion, have two Tyre­ manufacturers going against each other, like the way­ they did with Bridgestone and Michellin, and it will­ all be better again for F1 because then the F1 teams­ can concentrate on developing the best car with the­ best driver. Just PURE racing as it should.

    From Paul, on Thu 31 May 8:01
  8. I posted a reply to no 15 Yahoo, when there was only 15­ posts....where is it?

    From achilles, on Thu 31 May 7:17
  9. I feel like ranting on about the tyres giving­ artificial 'racing' results...but that's­ already been covered by 100's of comments recently.­ But, what I will say, after watching F1 for over 30­ years...I have found myself not being bothered about­ watching the qualifying for the last 2 or 3 races.­ Maybe in the same way some of the drivers/teams­ can't be bothered to take part in Q3...the whole­ qualifying hour seems slightly irrelevant as the season­ goes on.

    From KEITH, on Thu 31 May 0:37
  10. Screw Lauda. I love the unpredictability. It makes the­ races more interesting. We have no idea who's going­ to win the next race and that's the way it should­ be.

    From Put Rose In, on Wed 30 May 22:31
  11. I'm a very reluctant convert, but I have to finally­ give Alonso the respect he deserves. This year at­ least, he is just the best. I actually like seeing­ someone outperform the potential of their car a bit­ like Michael did back in the late 90's and early­ 2000's That's the mark of a true champion -­ not someone who drives a dominant car home to routine­ wins. I respect Button more for his wins last year­ than I did for his cruise to the 2009­ championship......

    From JOHN, on Wed 30 May 22:31
  12. This is the most exciting season I can remember. Only­ execs. would want predictability.

    From Scuderia Conti, on Wed 30 May 20:21
  13. Comment hidden due to its low rating. Show

    Off the presses: In a fresh sign of the weakness in the­ U.K. Economy, figures suggest the U.K. is heading in­ the direction of Greece, Portugal, and Spain –­ countries at the heart of the euro zone’s economic­ crisis that have seen a rise in their already high­ percentage of stay-home adults, and is marking a whole­ generation of Brits ..... the Office for National­ Statistics said nearly 3 million British adults aged­ between 20 and 34 were living with one or both parents­ in 2011, an increase of almost 20% since 1997 even­ though the size of that section of the population has­ been largely stable … In 1997 a quarter of men aged 20­ to 34 and one in seven women lived with their parents.­ But by 2011, with the U.K. economy struggling to grow­ as the euro-zone crisis deepens, that had jumped to one­ third of men and one in six women …U-PIGS !!!!

    From U-Brit-pwrless-paupers-R-finishd, on Wed 30 May 15:48
  14. We all know that Vettel and Hamilton are the two best­ drivers on the grid and they should be fighting it out­ up at the front somewhere, not lagging in the middle­ because they can't get the flipping tyres to the­ exact degree of temperature to make them most­ effective.I'm a big F1 fan but even I am getting a­ bit fed up not seeing my boys challenging. Monaco was a­ terrible "race" by the way!

    From Andy, on Wed 30 May 14:59
  15. This is why i like Alonso as a thinking driver, althou­ I am a Hamilton fan I do like Alonso for his constant­ thinking in a race. The very last paragraph in the­ above statement , I think Button was mentioning that­ the fans are finding it strange now with all these­ different drivers winning, saying that a pattern will­ emerge after the next few races and we will know what­ teams to beat to win the championship..........Quote ­ " I think they're finding it a little bit­ strange now. I don't know, but hopefully a pattern­ will emerge after the next couple of races and­ we'll understand the teams and drivers we need to­ beat to win the championship." After watching the­ Monaco Grand Prix last week, interviews with Alonso, he­ was already talking about who ever is ahead or close to­ him he is racing, if it's Hamilton then we're­ racing him if it's Vettel the same. That kinda­ consistency and thinking is what I like about Alonso as­ a driver. He was thinking like that ages ago.­ That's why he is Great, and will always have my­ respect not only being the best all round driver.

    From F1_Faithfull, on Wed 30 May 13:21
  16. I will agree that the racing is getting a bit­ interesting as its not blatantly obvious who is going­ to win but to make it really interesting why can’t they­ actually run F1 like a sport……..and not a bloody­ business!!!!

    From Mike, on Wed 30 May 12:43
  17. This is what is making F1 exciting not knowing who is­ going to win does anybody want to go back to the days­ when Schumacher was always winning this is why apart­ from his cheating why F1 lost a lot of support it got­ so boring It was getting that way again when Vettel was­ on pole and winning race after race but now it is­ exciting again this season so far has been a breath of­ fresh air long may it last.

    From yahoo user, on Wed 30 May 12:05
  18. Yes - it's good to see that races aren't so­ predictable any more, but no - this isn't F1. At­ the moment you might as well give the teams lottery­ tickets for the tyre allocation. I agree with­ Schumacher (which I very rarely do) that F1 racing­ cannot be all about nursing a set of tyres home to the­ finish.

    From probablygraham, on Wed 30 May 11:45
  19. What he's really saying is the major sponsors want­ the cars displaying their adverts to win. I can't­ imagine many true fans are objecting to the situation­ and the great racing.

    From Ray B, on Wed 30 May 11:16
  20. The last few years have been, lets be honest, boring at­ times. This year the teams and drivers are having to­ work harder to get the same results. The tyres seem to­ be the thing that the teams have not quite grasped how­ they work with their cars. You have got to remember­ that the loss of the double diffusers mean that the­ cars now need to get the grip from the aero and­ mechanical grip sources. Both of these affect the wear­ on the tyres. I think that once a team has got it­ right they will advance in leaps and bounds. Look at­ Lotus warm weather they are outstanding when it cools­ down then they are off the pace. Vettel and Button are­ both blowing hot and cold as well. Practise sessions­ and they are getting good times but come the important­ qualifying the weather has changed slightly and down­ the grid they go. It is going to be which teams­ gets the grip right for each weather condition and­ consistant results. So far only 2 drivers have done­ this.

    From andy, on Wed 30 May 11:04
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