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Author Topic: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares  (Read 1174 times)

Offline Monty

F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« on: December 13, 2021, 01:55:18 PM »
I have said many times I am not a Hamilton fan - I am a racing fan and one of the sports I love (loved) is F1.
Enthusiasts like us, have suffered some bad years in F1. However, this year the cars were becoming equal and we had two drivers (in different cars) that were head and shoulders above the rest of the pack.
IMHO Vertsappen is a 'dirty' driver and had cheated his way to being level with Hamilton but that is just opinion. The facts were, that Verstappen and Hamilton went into the last race on equal points. I was settled with the potential of 'letting the best man win'.
Verstappen used a fantastic piece of team work to help him get pole but in fact he looked every bit as quick as Hamilton.
Hamilton got a fantastic start. Vertsappen tried his best to crash into Hamilton but Hamilton avoided the crash. Hamilton's driving to avoid the potential accident was amazing but it is true that he gained an advantage by cutting the corner. He did let the gap (advantage) reduce but there were strong arguments that he should have let Verstappen pass. Let us be frank - is there anyone out there who does not believe that, even if Hamilton had let Verstappen pass, he simply would have blasted past on the straight, or got him during the stops because Hamilton was clearly on the best tyre choice?
So the clear facts are - on the day; Hamilton/Mercedes were the best driver car combination. Hamilton, got the best start, was on the right tyres, was much faster than Vertsappen and could manage the gap even when he was on worn tyres and Verstappen was on new tyres. Hamilton was going to win - fact!
Safety cars and virtual safety cars have ruined races before. The need to slow a race down is all about 'safety' and an accident on track is clearly a safety issue. Therefore, under all 'normal' conditions the Williams crash required a safety car. Under 'normal' conditions that would have disadvantaged the leader hugely. However, in this race, the normal safety car rules would have run the race laps down to the end. Perhaps a bit of a 'flat' ending but at least it would have been fair.
If the real concern was to offer a TV spectacle then they should have red flagged the race. This would still be within the rules and fair (I think Hamilton would have still won because he would also have been on new tyres).
However, we all saw what actually happened. They introduced a change to the rules on an ad-hoc basis. something that has never been done in the history of Grand Prix racing and something that was totally unfair.
They did not introduce a spectacle. They introduced a farce. They have irreparably damaged the F1 brand. I have not spoken to; or read a forum entry from, a single true enthusiast that feels what happened was right. Shumacher's reputation was tarnished when he won one (of his many) championship by punting Hill off. Verstappen will have no credibility as World Champion because, quite simply, he didn't win the Championship!
But as I said; does F1 care? Vertstappen has loads of fanatical fans. They know nothing about F1, they just wave their orange flags and cheer when he wins and post lots of vile conspiracy theories when he loses - fully supported by Marko and Horner. F1 may be dead; RIP F1.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2021, 02:14:14 PM by Monty »



Offline Jericoke

Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2021, 02:24:54 PM »
I don't disagree with what you've said.  Max has the skills and the team to win the championship 'cleanly', he simply has been allowed to drive like a maniac, so why wouldn't he?  Earlier in his career he was proud of his reckless reputation, so that opponents would think twice about passing him for fear of a crash.  It's not too late for the FIA to start coming down on him.  He can learn to drive safely, before the next generation of drivers, in series that don't spend billions of dollars on safety cells and SAFER barriers, think the Max way is the best way.

Formula 1 is a spectator sport.  As a sport, there are rules to follow.  As a motorsport, the rules aren't just about fairness, but safety as well.  However, the spectators must be considered.  F1 doesn't exist to put on a fair competition, it exists to put on an interesting competition.  In an ideal world a fair competition would be an interesting one, but F1 is the furthest thing from fair.  Giant corporations can spend garagistas into the ground to gain an advantage.  Engineers can bend rules that are far beyond the breaking point, and yet still fit the letter of the law.  While the job of the FIA is to keep things 1) safe 2) fair 3) entertaining, it's sometimes hard to keep those straight.  As long as safety comes first... 'fair' can become relative.  Is it 'fair' for Max, Red Bull and the fans that there is no opportunity for a race to end as a race?

The FIA has a lot of damage control to do.  There have been a lot of questionable calls in 2021.  The off season is the perfect time to sit down, with the FIA, the teams, the drivers and go through each incident and decide collectively what SHOULD be done going forward.  The past is the past.  If everyone decides Max's style is cool, then everyone can do it.  If we're going to follow special safety car rules at certain phases of the race, then everyone can prepare.  Perhaps there's other scenarios that haven't come up that might.  Latifi had a Mercedes powered car, what if his crash had favoured Mercedes?  What if Max hadn't set a better time on soft tires and had to start the race on damaged mediums?

My point is, the FIA has the ability to sweep 2021 under the rug, say if you liked the racing, come back for more, but if you think it was a farce, we've taken steps to make sure 2022 is the fairest season you've ever seen.

The other sport I watch is NHL hockey.  In the 90s they had a real problem with the quality of game deteriorating by allowing hooking holding and generally not allowing the star players to put on their skill. Then they decided to start calling penalties according to the rules, the interest in the game went up, the amount of money the league made skyrocketed.  They didn't change any rules, they just made sure everyone was on board with how they would be enforced.

Offline rmassart

Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2021, 02:54:57 PM »
For me the problem is partially that we have stewarding still being done like it is the 60s with a bunch of garage teams scraping by on whatever funds they can find, but we have teams with budgets of 100s of millions / year who have to answer to their shareholders and their investors. Probably we're talking a billion dollars for the entire field. There is no way Mercedes can't appeal this decision given the financial side of F1 nowadays. It's simply not playing to an agreed set of rules. Why should anyone continue to invest. It's a complete farce.

Lot's of interesting commentary here:

https://www.racefans.net/2021/12/13/f1s-midfield-runners-left-speechless-and-confused-by-controversial-late-restart/

Quite a few ruined some fights further down the field. But especially it ensured Max had no one chasing him (ie Sainz), but Hamilton did. How is that fair? There were other battles further down too and lots of bemusement. Basically Masi ruined the race of 20 drivers in order to have a one lap race-off for the championship.  This is not drag racing.

I hope Mercedes take this all the way to the top court of arbitration on sports. And I wonder whether they will get support from other teams in any eventual court battle. Certainly Ferrari might wonder why Sainz was not allowed to challenge Verstappen.

Offline Ian

Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2021, 03:08:41 PM »
Totally agree with you 100% Monty, as soon as they made that 2nd ruling that the cars between Lewis and Max to unlap themselves I thought straightaway they just don't want Lewis to get his 8th WDC crown, that was NOT F1 racing in my book as Lewis had done everything to earn it.
An aircraft landing is just a controlled crash.

Offline Andy B

Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2021, 09:13:38 PM »
I too agree with Monty and have watched less F1 this year than I usually do I have yet to watch this race although I have seen clips and read a lot.
We never the controversies under Charlie Whiting that we are having under Masi so is he up to the job? Is the system wrong? should there be full time stewards?
Something has to change and for sure the rules need to be adhered to but they need to be clear but what will change?
I should add that watching anything live here in NZ means 2 or 3 am and I'm not willing to do that.
Once you have retired every day is a Saturday!

Offline Jericoke

Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2021, 09:44:13 PM »
I too agree with Monty and have watched less F1 this year than I usually do I have yet to watch this race although I have seen clips and read a lot.
We never the controversies under Charlie Whiting that we are having under Masi so is he up to the job? Is the system wrong? should there be full time stewards?
Something has to change and for sure the rules need to be adhered to but they need to be clear but what will change?
I should add that watching anything live here in NZ means 2 or 3 am and I'm not willing to do that.

I don't think it's fair to compare the Whiting/Masi eras at all.

F1 has worked incredibly hard on safety, after some calls that Whiting made that weren't great.  (I have all due respect to Whiting).  Masi deploys more safety cars in a single race than Whiting did in entire seasons, and he's not wrong.

Certainly Whiting was in the position long enough that any team principles would have seen his word as law, while we have principles who came up dealing with Whiting and still think of Masi as the 'new kid' they can push around.  Now, to be fair, it seems like they CAN push Masi around.  I don't know if Masi is the right person for the job, but I also feel like the FIA really has hung him out to dry.  He should be able to make a call without being second guessed by the rest of the F1 world.  (Red Bull did get a few piddly fines for calling him out, but obviously nothing that makes anyone think twice.)

Could Masi do a better job?  Sure.  Would Whiting?  Maybe.  Find me a sport where the referees never make a mistake.  Or even find me a racing series that hasn't had any serious injuries in the last three years. 

Offline Monty

Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2021, 11:54:47 AM »
I think Masi will have to go (resign or get fired) but I do not really blame him. The system of letting Principles contact him during the race is ridiculous plus I am sure he is under massive pressure from Liberty to provide TV worthy 'entertainment'. However, he completely overstepped his authority at the last circuit, breaking his own interpretation of the rules from earlier races and making an ad-hoc rule change for the first time in Grand Prix history. The damage to the F1 brand will be significant and long lasting. The debacle will rear its ugly head for years to come - the year that the wrong driver was crowned World Champion!

Offline John S

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Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2021, 04:35:34 PM »
Not sure I go along with the headline that F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts. History of F1 is littered with controversies over not only race wins, but championships as well.

A lot of diehard fans swore they'd leave the sport after shenanigans of Prost v Senna era, and then again after Schumi suppposedly stole the title in 94. However I believe most carried on their viewing, & even race attendance, regardless in the following seasons.
 
Much has been said and reported about Masi and his decisions during F1 weekends and particularly races, but not many mention the endless complaints & pot stirring - from teams & drivers alike - over his attempts to police most aspects of F1 racing.

They all seem to forget that Michael is responsible for all aspects of the circuit, pits, sessions and ultimatley the race, he is effectively a facilitator, safety co-ordinator and general advisor as well as referee. In most motor race series those in similar postions are regarded as the authority, not just the butler.

The thing I find most abnoxious is the drivers, along with teams & pundits, claiming they don't understand this ruling or other from Michael or the stewards, when as time served single seater drivers/teams/followers they know perfectly well most if not all the ways rule books can be - and are - twisted, metaphorically and actually after events, rather than properly intepreted, in pursuit of their own particular whims and aggendas.

Think the best quote over radio from Masi about the race and the outcome to Wolff was "it's a motor race, Toto". I totally agree that viewers/fans were better served by trying to finish the championship as a live motor race rather than a carnival procession.

Now if the F1 race director can't be allowed some executive power when juggling all the many balls he has to keep in the air I reckon F1 is finished anyway. The corporates/lawyers will have really taken over and us old soldiers should leave.  :(

As an aside - trying to compare the job of race director now with his predecessors is pretty much the same as trying to measure greatness of drivers from different eras, IMHO it's plain impossible to be really objective.   
Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline Jericoke

Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2021, 05:34:50 PM »
I think Masi will have to go (resign or get fired) but I do not really blame him. The system of letting Principles contact him during the race is ridiculous plus I am sure he is under massive pressure from Liberty to provide TV worthy 'entertainment'. However, he completely overstepped his authority at the last circuit, breaking his own interpretation of the rules from earlier races and making an ad-hoc rule change for the first time in Grand Prix history. The damage to the F1 brand will be significant and long lasting. The debacle will rear its ugly head for years to come - the year that the wrong driver was crowned World Champion!

I don't have information to back this up, but 'Chair Bear' claims that the teams and F1 agreed, before the race, that all steps would be made to ensure the race didn't end under a safety car if at all possible.

While I think that Masi made the wrong call to let the lapped cars through, his MAIN focus was on making sure that the crash was cleaned up, the marshals were safe, and the barrier was ready for another crash.  Ensuring a 'fair' fight was down his list, given he already had a mandate to get a 'restart' in.

If Masi does have to go (I don't disagree with this, he might be a scapegoat, but sometimes scapegoats are needed), is there anyone in a position to take over?  Is the F2 guy ready to step up?  Does Masi have an understudy?  (Certainly in the Covid era, there must've been plans for if Masi wasn't available)

Does anyone have any suggestions?  I'll go with Damon Hill.  We'll never see another car touch in the corner with Hill handing out penalties.

Offline lkjohnson1950

Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2021, 05:53:57 PM »
Don't care who runs the show. I'd just like the "leave a car width" rule enforced in all situations, especially for Max.
Lonny

Offline John S

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Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2021, 05:58:01 PM »


Does anyone have any suggestions?  I'll go with Damon Hill.  We'll never see another car touch in the corner with Hill handing out penalties.

Whilst I realise this is meant as humour Jeri, Masi doesn't hand out any penalties - that's the preserve of the Stewards.

Damon is quite entitled to put himself forward to be driver steward at a race or 2.

Guess it might screw with his income from punditry though as stewarding is an expenses only gig.  ;)

Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline John S

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Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2021, 06:01:30 PM »
Don't care who runs the show. I'd just like the "leave a car width" rule enforced in all situations, especially for Max.

Nice pipe dream Lonny, they have enough trouble keeping them inside the white lines at most corners already, we'd end up with slot car racing.  :D
Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline Willy

Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2021, 07:39:19 PM »
I agree with Monty and my comments on Heroes & Zeroes show that.
The issue when you have humans making quick decisions on rules is always going to be subjective and prone to interpretation.
If the rule says you can't cross the white line, then you penalize whomever crosses the white line. Period.
But as soon as you start to let some infractions go and nail others you might as well throw out the rule book.
A timed event cant be called in question as the clock determines who has won and who has not.
As it stands with different stewards making decisions about race infractions on a case by case basis and showing preference here and there as is obviously happening, you now have Olympic Figure Skating Judging going on. We all know what a joke that is to watch.
Well, I did know but haven't watched that debacle for years.

Offline cosworth151

Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2021, 07:57:01 PM »
Right now I can't see myself pulling the plug on F1, but then, I could never have imagined pulling the plug on NASCAR the way I have. I guess everything has its limits.

The WDC this season was a flat out fix. Period, end of story.
“You can search the world over for the finer things, but you won't find a match for the American road and the creatures that live on it.”
― Bob Dylan

Offline Andy B

Re: F1 may be dead to true enthusiasts - problem is; nobody cares
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2021, 08:27:12 PM »
I too agree with Monty and have watched less F1 this year than I usually do I have yet to watch this race although I have seen clips and read a lot.
We never the controversies under Charlie Whiting that we are having under Masi so is he up to the job? Is the system wrong? should there be full time stewards?
Something has to change and for sure the rules need to be adhered to but they need to be clear but what will change?
I should add that watching anything live here in NZ means 2 or 3 am and I'm not willing to do that.

I don't think it's fair to compare the Whiting/Masi eras at all.


I think you are being unfair to CW as he was juggling many balls and not just the Race Director roll that MM has and with F1 evolving CW would have evolved with it. I cannot believe that by unlapping the cars between LH and MV with MV on new softs and LH on old hards he wasn't aware that LH stood no chance.
With that said I'm not expecting or wanting a change of result but I am expecting the rules to be refined to ensure there is not a repeat.
Maybe there should another thread of what we as F1 fans want to see going forward?
Once you have retired every day is a Saturday!

 


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