F1: You Can’t Suck and Blow at the Same Time

F1: You Can’t Suck and Blow at the Same Time


There have been many arguments and discussions in the last few years about the artificial aids brought in, to spice up the action in Formula One.

Many purists are against aids such as DRS and KERS which were introduced to assist with on-track overtaking.  There have been some complaints from both fans and drivers (again) about the degradation rate of the Pirelli tyres.  Some fans complain that they limit the drivers from pushing the cars to the limit and force them to be conservative.  Some drivers have similar complaints.

I seldom hear these complaints when we have a cracking race however.  Winning drivers and teams don’t often complain after winning, nor do fans when their drivers or teams do well.  This urges me to say to some, you can’t suck and blow at the same time.  We mustn’t complain about the steps the FIA has taken for the sake of the “Show”, then in the same breath, say what a great action packed race it was.

It wasn’t long ago, that we all complained that the only overtaking was taking place during pit stops.  We complained about processional races.  We complained that driver aids such as launch control, traction control and active suspension did not allow drivers to showcase their talents.

In 2005, the FIA and AMD launched the FIA Formula One Fan Survey.  The results of which indicated that fans wanted more action.  94% of fans that took the survey indicated that they wanted more overtaking.  74% indicated they wanted more emphasis on driver skills.  The majority wanted more races in a season. (All the results can be made available by the FIA)

The FIA and Formula One addressed the concerns of the fans, which has eventually brought us to the formula we have today.  While some of us complain about one thing or another, let us remember that the conditions and rules are identical for all drivers and teams.

So are the 2013 Pirelli P-Zero tyres, which have come under fire for their degradation rate and sudden drop in performance. Kimi Räikkönen recently defended Pirelli however. Here is a quote from the flying Finn from the Lotus F1 Team (Source: http://www.lotusf1team.com/IMG/pdf/01.2013.bhr.preview.drivers.pdf) :

“I think you can push on these tyres, but it’s never perfect. You cannot always push 100%. I think they are very good in qualifying and have good grip, so it’s up to you and you have to look after them a bit more in the race. It’s not really any different from last year – at least for us anyway – so I don’t really understand why people are complaining.”

It is important to remember that Pirelli is providing Formula One with exactly what the FIA requested.  I am quite certain that Pirelli could provide one stop tyre compounds if requested.  One might say that perhaps it should be the FIA to suggest the tyre compound pairings for each Grand Prix instead of Pirelli.  Another suggestion might be to scrap the regulation that forces teams to use two compounds in a race.  Still, the conditions are the same for all parties and the end result will not change.  The best will always find a way to rise to the occasion and outperform their rivals.

The old adage seems to be quite true.  One cannot please all of the people, all of the time…

Author: Ernie Black