The Future of Formula 1 – Wacky Races

by Charlie_East_West on March 25, 2013

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Formula 1 is back. I used to be a big fan of F1, but I have not been a dedicated follower since round about the time Nigel Mansell decided to shave off his moustache. As I have never been a petrol head and do not care a jot for choosing a car that gives off the impression of a penis extended mid-life crisis, I now view F1 with apathy. It increasingly looks like a corporate car manufacturing battle of who has the best pimped up speed machine, rather than who has the best driver. Perhaps it was always as such, and perhaps I am just more cynical than I used to be. Anyway, F1 now bores me rigid.

Yesterday was different. Stories started emerging that the Malaysian Grand Prix was packed full of incident – Lewis Hamilton taking a hilariously absent minded pit stop in the McLaren pit lane rather than his own team Mercedes pit lane – a classic example of a lifelong force of habit. Then, three times World Champion Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel decided to turn into Dick Darstardly from Wacky Races.

Red Bull team mate Mark Webber appeared to be cruising towards winning the Grand Prix, when, with ten laps to go, Vettel decided to completely ignore the instructions from Red Bull for both drivers to hold their positions due to concerns about tyre use. Vettel stated over the car audio that ‘Mark is going slow, get him out of the way” and then decided to put the foot down and attack Webber at every opportunity. The Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner. then warned: “This is silly, Seb. Come on!”

Vettel, continued to ignore team orders and after a period of jaw droppingly fast and dangerous driving, he eventually overtook Webber for his 27th grand prix win. Webber was suitably miffed, and proceeded to show Vettel the finger from his car cockpit.

The incident has opened up a shit storm at Red Bull. Webber has taken off on a mini-sabbatical to go surfing in Australia due to the three week F1 hiatus between races, and Vettel has half-heartedly apologised.

Many within F1 have criticised Vettel’s antics. I beg to differ. Because of the stories emerging from the race, I watched the F1 highlights. It was bloody entertaining. I also think that Vettel was just doing what most top level sportsmen do – win at almost all costs. He was courageously reckless and outrageously blatant in his disregard for his own or his team mates safety. His driving reminded me of a lunatic Ayrton Senna at his best. F1 needs more of this daring-do bad behaviour, and less of team orders and corporate machine wars.

I therefore have a suggestion to liven up F1 even more. F1 should look to the classic kids cartoon Wacky Races to add more excitement to proceedings. Wacky Races was all about excitement, skulduggery and winning at all costs. Each car was different. Each car came fully pimped up with a series of added props to try and get a winning edge, or an opportunity to scupper the opposition.

So perhaps F1 supremo, Bernie Ecclestone should add the following dirty tricks specifications within the F1 package:-

– Cars to be fitted with ejector seats, to be used strategically when a driver offers no racing excitement.
– Turbo-boosts to be used strategically – four times for each car within a race.
– Spoiler tactics to be allowed. The cars can have series of devices fitted for the obstructive nobbling of other cars – such as oil slicks, tacks, water sprays and mist.
– Replace the existing pit stops with a pit stop that involves the drivers changing their own wheels and refuelling their own cars.
– Ban team orders. Just let the drivers race.

There, how to make F1 more interesting – turn it into Wacky Races. Dick Dastardly and possibly Sebastian Vettel would surely approve.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

George_East March 25, 2013 at 11:38 am

F1 is the most tedious of all major sports. I loved it growing up – but then it was about driving and skill, rather than car technology followed by a parade around a track. It died in Monza with Senna.

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Charlie_East_West March 25, 2013 at 11:43 am

Completely agree. What Vettel did yesterday was to remind everyone what F1 should really be about – No team orders, and edge of the seat racing.

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Mike Killingworth March 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Since when was complete disregard for a team-mate’s safety sporting? In any event, in any sport?

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Charlie_East_West March 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Mike – I never said Vettel’s behaviour was sporting. He went for the win, rather than carrying out the usual F1 team orders, and as such, made the race much more interesting to watch.

My comments about turning F1 into Wacky Races were obviously in jest, but the point is that F1 is a form of sporting entertainment. The team orders that produce manufactured results are denying the fan and the sport of sporting integrity and entertainment.

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