Motorsport: F1 digging another hole
Formula 1 has lost sight of what's important, says Bob McMurray
Formula 1’s season ended last weekend with a whimper rather than a bang.
This weekend the V8 Supercars’ season will end, hopefully with rather more of a bang than a whimper.
F1 continues to give the impression it wants to shoot itself in the foot at every occasion.
Fans, TV companies, sponsors, drivers and pundits have been lobbying for years about the main problem facing the sport — the lack of pure and simple racing.
Even three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said last weekend: “I know they’re talking about giving us more aerodynamics, which for me is the worst idea. It just shows that they don’t really know what they’re trying to solve.
“[Drivers] want more grip from the tyres; we want less wake coming from the car in front so we can get closer.”
Talking about the 2017 F1 car, Williams’ technical chief Pat Symonds said: “My belief is that the more downforce you have on a car, the harder it is to follow. And this car has more downforce.”
The blindness of those charged with making the sport more appealing is exceeded only by their own selfishness.
They are not willing to give up the gains they think they have achieved by spending millions on ridiculous front wings and other meaningless aerodynamics developed in extravagant wind tunnels.
The fans need to see a true contest, not the car in front having an advantage given to it by the very thing that is giving the following car a disadvantage.
At least the V8 Supercars series has the fans more in mind. The developments they seem to be encouraging — although forced on them — look to be a lot more TV-audience and fan-friendly.
V8SC seem to specialise in TV production of the racing, on a fraction of F1’s budget. Cameras from every angle, in-car cameras, slow-motion replays and much more make the series a very good watch.
At the beginning of the season I was concerned that, without Mark Larkham, the technical and tactical information would fade away. But Kiwi Greg Murphy has proven to be a revelation. A recent driver with intimate knowledge of the cars, teams and drivers, Murph excels in the role.
“I still had a contract to do endurance races but that was only going to be three races a year. Then I was presented with a multi-year deal to go into the media role, weighed it up and thought, a chance like that doesn’t come along every day,” he told me.
“So I decided to take that opportunity and it has been an interesting change having to stand and deliver questions.
“Some weekends are quite easy when there is a lot going on but some can be quite tough. You are always hoping for things to give you fodder for questions and when races are simple and straightforward, then it can be difficult, quite stressful.”
Murphy certainly adds enormous credibility to what is already a good TV production.
I can only agree with him about the F1 situation:
“Formula 1 is not thinking about what allows Formula 1 to exist and that is the fans.I struggle to comprehend that they can’t agree to do things for the good of the sport, and they don’t seem to be able to see and do the things that will make it better.”