Opinion: F1 needs to be boring in order to thrill

Opinion: F1 needs to be boring in order to thrill

20 June 2014 – "The show has not been good enough at some races this year and with one team dominating, the spectators want more excitement."

Those are the words of Fernando Alonso with regards to the 2014 Formula 1 season. There's an assumption that Formula 1's fans are underwhelmed with the spectacle provided by the new regulations and a concern that Mercedes's dominance is causing people to switch off the television.

It's true – to an extent. Television audiences have been dwindling in the sport, although that's partly down to its baffling reluctance to properly embrace new media and its transition to pay-per-view in the unending quest for more money. If fewer people are able to watch the programme, of course audience figures will drop…

The sport faces several other issues – none more so pressing than the financial problems being encountered by a worrying amount of teams – but 'the show' is not one of them.

The boom of social media and the reportage of every tiny piece of information mean that Formula 1 is in the news 24/7. Every minute of every practice session is shown. No stone is unturned. Coverage now in leading nations is brilliant, but it also has the down side that it is far easier to criticise less interesting events. You'll hear talk of how races have been 'underwhelming' or 'failed to live up to expectation' – part of this is down to people hyping up every single event as if it's the best thing in the history of the world, rather than just another round in a championship approaching its 1000th event.

This season, there have been a couple of outstanding races – in Bahrain and Canada – while Monaco was also an exciting race. Some have had some moments of intrigue and suspense, especially if you know where to look, while a couple featured little engaging action. Rose-tinted glasses lead people to believe that past seasons featured non-stop swashbuckling racing in every event, which was far from the case. Certain periods of history rightly have iconic status, but there were some races in which very little happened.

But that's not a problem. In fact, it's rather a good thing.

There's a false assumption that Formula 1 must be consistently engaging – it's just not possible. No sport is exciting all of the time. People remember the epic Tennis matches between top players, but for every one there are several straightforward games. For every controversial 4-3 football match, there's a draw with a couple of wayward shots on goal.

But those less interesting events only serve to make the properly exciting ones even better. It's just the way sport works and to change it in favour of artificial non-stop action (a direction in which Formula 1 has teetered towards across the last few years) would be completely wrong. Such as the proposal, set to be approved by the World Motor Sport Council, for standing restarts after Safety Car periods rather than the current rolling restart. It's a ridiculous concept that reeks of a sport ignoring its prevalent problems and proposing answers for questions no-one asked. Such as double points. Football doesn't propose wider goals after 0-0 results, so why does Formula 1 consistently propose ludicrous ideas to 'spice up the show'?

Besides, the most vocal criticism of Formula 1 this season has come from a leading team whose glory days are becoming increasingly distant, with little hope of improvement in the short-term. The leading team, Mercedes, hasn't been complaining. It's up to everyone else to aspire to their sort of dominance, rather than criticise the regulations that have led to it.

Spicing up the 'show' solely in the pursuit of entertainment is synthetic and the antithesis of what Formula 1 is about.

Phillip Horton
Twitter: @PHortonF1


Do you agree? Join in the discussion via our interactive Facebook panel below...

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Sunday 19 April 2015

  2. 15:46

    Follow the Bahrain Grand Prix live!

    F1
  3. 14:58

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday at Sakhir

    F1
  4. Ecclestone happy with V6s if costs controlled 14:55

    Ecclestone happy with V6s if costs controlled

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said that he would be happy for the sport to continue using the current V6 turbocharged…

    F1
  5. 14:21

    Starting grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix

    F1
  6. Video: Drivers meet the fans at Sakhir 14:16

    Video: Drivers meet the fans at Sakhir

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, and Ferrari pair Sebastian Vettel and Kimi…

    F1
  7. Haryanto secures first GP2 win in Bahrain 13:05

    Haryanto secures first GP2 win in Bahrain

    Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto claimed his maiden GP2 victory during the Sprint Race in Bahrain, passing Julián Leal early on…

    GP2
  8. Bell to make return at Indianapolis 500 11:15

    Bell to make return at Indianapolis 500

    Townsend Bell will return to IndyCar at next month's Indianapolis 500, driving for Dreyer & Reinbold Kingdom Racing. Bell has…

    Indy
  9. Video of the Day: Verstappen vs Sainz Jr. 05:12

    Video of the Day: Verstappen vs Sainz Jr.

    Toro Rosso drivers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. go head-to-head in an autograph battle.

    F1
  10. Saturday 18 April 2015

  11. Castroneves takes record Long Beach pole 23:29

    Castroneves takes record Long Beach pole

    Hélio Castroneves will start on pole for tomorrow's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach after breaking the track record in…

    Indy
  12. Daly to replace injured Moran Jr. 20:34

    Daly to replace injured Moran Jr.

    American Conor Daly will fill in for Rocky Moran Jr. this weekend at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Moran Jr., 34, would…

    Indy
  13. 19:54

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday at Sakhir

    F1
  14. Button senses improvement despite problems 19:42

    Button senses improvement despite problems

    Jenson Button is adamant that McLaren is making strides despite the Briton being plagued by problems so far this weekend in…

    F1
  15. Márquez dominates to take Argentina pole 18:57

    Márquez dominates to take Argentina pole

    World Champion Marc Márquez took a dominant pole position after controlling qualifying at the Río Hondo Circuit in…

    MotoGP
  16. Vettel: Ferrari will be closer in the race 18:52

    Vettel: Ferrari will be closer in the race

    Sebastian Vettel is confident that Ferrari will provide Mercedes with an even greater challenge in race conditions in…

    F1
  17. Rosberg says he 'got it wrong' with strategy 18:17

    Rosberg says he 'got it wrong' with strategy

    Nico Rosberg has admitted that he "got it wrong" with regards to his qualifying strategy in Bahrain after ending up third on the…

    F1
  18. First Bahrain pole pleases Hamilton 17:58

    First Bahrain pole pleases Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton was in high spirits after securing his first pole position at the Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday…

    F1
  19. Vandoorne elated by perfect start 17:42

    Vandoorne elated by perfect start

    McLaren young driver Stoffel Vandoorne says his GP2 season could not have started in better fashion as he followed up pole…

    GP2
  20. 17:09

    Bahrain Grand Prix: Qualifying results

    F1
  21. Hamilton beats Vettel to Sakhir pole 17:08

    Hamilton beats Vettel to Sakhir pole

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton maintained his 100 per cent pole record for the season by outpacing Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel…

    F1
  22. 15:47

    Follow qualifying for the Bahrain GP!

    F1
  23. Márquez tops third session in Argentina 14:51

    Márquez tops third session in Argentina

    World Champion Marc Márquez set the quickest time during the third practice session at the Río Hondo circuit in…

    MotoGP
  24. 14:37

    Latest GP2 photos: Saturday at Sakhir

    GP2
  25. Video: Pile-up during GP2 Feature Race 14:35

    Video: Pile-up during GP2 Feature Race

    Norman Nato, Arthur Pic, Raffaele Marciello and Pierre Gasly were all involved in a pile-up during Saturday's GP2 Feature Race…

    GP2
  26. Nato penalised for triggering pile-up 14:25

    Nato penalised for triggering pile-up

    Arden rookie Norman Nato has been handed a grid penalty for causing a multi-car pile-up during the opening stages to GP2's…

    GP2
  27. 14:06

    Bahrain Grand Prix: Full Practice 3 results

    F1
  28. Hamilton edges Vettel in final practice 14:05

    Hamilton edges Vettel in final practice

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton narrowly outpaced Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel during final practice for the Bahrain Grand…

    F1
  29. 12:48

    Follow final practice for the Bahrain GP!

    F1
  30. Vandoorne recovers to take Bahrain victory 12:25

    Vandoorne recovers to take Bahrain victory

    McLaren junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne opened his 2015 account in perfect fashion as he recovered from an unfavourable strategy…

    GP2
  31. 10:47

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  32. New Manor Marussia expected in August 10:31

    New Manor Marussia expected in August

    Manor Marussia team boss John Booth hopes that the outfit's full 2015 Formula 1 car will be ready for the sport's summer break…

    F1
  33. Video of the Day: Sakhir braking demands 10:02

    Video of the Day: Sakhir braking demands

    Learn more about the braking demands at the Sakhir circuit with this Brembo video guide.

    F1
  34. Friday 17 April 2015

  35. 20:33

    Latest F1 photos: Friday at Sakhir

    F1
  36. Räikkönen reprimanded for pit infraction 20:31

    Räikkönen reprimanded for pit infraction

    Kimi Räikkönen has been reprimanded by the stewards after they deemed that he drove in a potentially dangerous manner in the…

    F1
  37. Mercedes fearful of 'really strong' Ferrari 19:29

    Mercedes fearful of 'really strong' Ferrari

    Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are wary of Ferrari's long run potential after the first day of practice in…

    F1
  38. Video: Vettel, Pérez collide during practice 19:10

    Video: Vettel, Pérez collide during practice

    Watch as Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Force India's Sergio Pérez collide during FP2 in Bahrain.

    F1
  39. No further action over Vettel/Pérez incident 19:07

    No further action over Vettel/Pérez incident

    Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Pérez have been cleared of any wrongdoing by the stewards after their clash during Bahrain Grand…

    F1
  40. 19:01

    Latest MotoGP photos: Friday at Río Hondo

    MotoGP
  41. Espargaró stays on top in second session 18:59

    Espargaró stays on top in second session

    Aleix Espargaró continued to set the pace for Suzuki as he posted the fastest time during the second practice session at the…

    MotoGP
  42. 18:41

    Latest GP2 photos: Friday at Sakhir

    GP2
  43. Vandoorne storms to pole in Bahrain 18:38

    Vandoorne storms to pole in Bahrain

    Stoffel Vandoorne claimed his fifth successive GP2 pole position and bagged the first four points of the 2015 campaign by…

    GP2
more news