John Floyd
Motorsport columnist
2 minute read
9 Apr 2014
9:00 pm

Yes, the racing is closer, but…

John Floyd

The sound may still have been absent and fuel economy information still present, but the Bahrain Grand Prix did provide a level of excitement that has been missing thus far this season.

Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico crashes ahead of Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado of Venezuela during the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir circuit in Manama on April 6, 2014. AFP PHOTO / MARWAN NAAMANI

Despite the total domination of the Mercedes team the battle for every position down to 10th was great to watch.

At one stage the fight for third spot between Bottas, Massa, Hulkenberg and Perez produced a close quarter engagement with just 0.5 seconds between the protagonists.

So have I changed my view of the new dispensation in F1?

The answer is no.

The racing was good but nothing else has changed.

We still have fuel economy issues. Let’s not forget that the FIA has limited the engine to 15 000 rpm but apparently the teams are only running to 12 000 in order to conserve fuel, and I’m afraid that DRS still skews the results.

If you think that it is just the fans that are not happy, then its worth reading the transcript of last Friday’s press conference, when representatives from Mercedes, Force India, Red Bull, Williams and Ferrari were asked about the new regulations.

Paddy Lowe was happy with the situation as was Rob Fernley, not surprising really when you consider that Lowe is from Mercedes who are heading the championship tables and Fernley’s Force India are running well using the Mercedes power unit.

Not so enthusiastic was Ferrari’s Luigi Fraboni and Red Bull’s Adrian Newey. Fraboni believes that the latest regulations will result in a loss of fans and Newey questions the issue of F1 going green.

He stated. “From a sporting point of view, to me, efficiency, strategy etc, economy of driving, is very well placed for sportscars, which is a different way of going racing. Formula One should be about excitement. It should be about man and machine performing at its maximum every single lap.”

Williams’ Pat Symonds disagrees and cites the automotive industry’s example of reduced emissions and how F1 technology will assist the drive to further reductions in the everyday car, through this process the sport is demonstrating a greater social responsibility.

Obviously there is a level of dissention among the manufacturers regarding the regulations.

The cost of developing the new power units is astronomical and one has to wonder how does this fit into the budget cap that was due to be enforced next year.

Well, that budget cap is just not going to happen according to FIA President Jean Todt.

Todt is reported as saying the Strategy Group, comprising Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams and Lotus as well as the commercial rights holder FOM, have said no to the cap but rather a change in regulations to reduce costs.

An interesting proposal.