It seems that latest bright idea from Formula One’s Strategy Group is to, um, take strategy and engineering out of grands prix.
It will be accomplished by a ban on all radio communications that give the driver technical or strategic advice during races, something that was proposed in a strategy group meeting last weekend in Monza. The goal of the ban is to make the racing more interesting and exciting for fans.
The group seems to believe that fans don’t like the idea of drivers getting help from the pit wall. Apparently the strategy group has never heard of something called a pitboard, a simple device that has existed in racing since it began, not to mention the fact that F1 is a team sport.
And frankly, it’s doubtful that fans will find it electrifying to watch F1 drivers run out of gas in the final stages of a race because they aren’t getting advice on fuel numbers from their engineers.
Oh, and isn’t this the sport that trumpets that it’s the most technologically advanced racing series on the planet? Has anyone in the F1 Strategy Group even wondered exactly how you market the sport as the pinnacle of technology on the one hand, while banning any technical feedback to the drivers during races on the other?
But reading between the lines — something you always have to do when it comes to anything done “for the fans” in F1 — it almost seems that the strategy group wants to ban radio communication because it clearly demonstrates that the competition isn’t as good as it could be.
“Radio messages and instructions have always been done since the radio was first in place. It [the problem of technical advice during races] is something new now because it has been broadcast [on TV] for the past three years,” McLaren racing director Eric Boullier told Autosport.
“The constraint we have this year is less fuel, and harder tires, and I understand it may be a confusing message for the fans that the drivers have to save tires and they have to save fuel, whatever.”
So, the bottom line here is that a radio ban on technical feedback is all about fooling fans by making sure they don’t see how drivers purposely slow during races and nurse their cars home to save fuel and tires…
For anyone interested, here’s my list of <a href=”http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/news/motorsports/five-ways-formula-one-can-improve-and-other-motorsports-news/article19288011/?page=all>Five ways Formula One can improve</a>.
I may be biased but I suggest that they are all better than banning technical feedback on F1 radios.