Bob McMurray: Around and around we go again
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If a race, any race, is considered by the drivers to be tedious, especially those more traditional races run on traditional tracks, should the tracks adapt to the cars or the cars to the tracks?
This is a question brought into some focus after three of the biggest races of the year were run on the same weekend recently.
After the Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte, the heart and home of Nascar, some drivers in the series were calling for yet another change to the format to make the racing more exciting.
The owners and rule makers of Nascar have regularly tinkered with formats, regulations and rules to try to make it the “entertainment” it seeks to be.
No mention of changing the tracks to suit the cars but of changing the series to suit the tracks.
The Indianapolis 500 was also considered, by some, to have been a dull race. Criticism of oval racing was to the fore. “Go fast, turn left, go fast, turn left, repeat ad nauseam” was one comment.
The famed Motor Speedwayhas been holding races for generations and has not changed much in layout.
I can imagine that each of these races, as “entertainment” would have seemed to be without a lot of the action that oftenaccompanies oval racing, namely big, fast accidents in t Nascar’s case. Many a casual watcher would have found another channel to watch.
I sat through it all, and loved every minute. I also watched every minute of every practice, qualifying session and the race, of the Monaco F1 Grand Prix. It was typical Monaco, simple as that.
Rarely does Monaco throw up an “exciting” race.
In Lewis Hamilton’s words “Thank God that’s over, that was the most boring race I’ve ever participated in.”
I say again, typical Monaco, with the first six cars finishing in qualifying order.
What else did they expect? A Moto 3 type race with upwards of 10 bikes all taking turns to lead?
What amazed me was that after the race, some drivers, Hamilton being the headline act, were suggesting that the race format or the track should be changed.
The format change I could understand, although that would require such a shift in the FIA rules as to be an immediate non-starter.
The Monaco track has remained basically the same since its 1929 inception. Some parts have changed but still it is in essence the same track.
It is the cars that have developed over those many years, the challenge of navigating the streets and barriers has not.
Drivers complain that they cannot overtake with these cars on the wide expanses of the new race tracks around the world, let alone at Monaco.
Monaco’s roads are narrow wherever you go, and it is perhaps the most demanding track on the calendar and perhaps the most exciting as far as qualifying importance goes and that performance wins, or loses, a driver the weekend.
As F1 chief Ross Brawn says “Monaco is such a special race that it should not be judged by the same criteria as the others. The atmosphere in the paddock and the town, the glamour that surrounds the event makes it unique.”
A novel idea would be to have a special “Monaco car” for that one race of the year.
No restrictions, apart from the obvious safety ones, and let the designers’ minds wander free.
What a race that would be.