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F1 is in danger of becoming too artificial- And alienating the real fans

Start of 2013 Brazilian F1 GP
Start of 2013 Brazilian F1 GP
Start of the 2014 Australian F1 GP

Start of the 2014 Australian F1 GP

In this latest attempt by the bosses of Formula One to try and ‘jazz things up’, surely they have gone too far? The FIA have released their latest rule changes for 2015, saying that after safety car periods the drivers will line-up on the starting grid and take part in a re-start.

The idea has been formed to attract new fans and keep current fans interested throughout the race. However, it is about as artificial as Bernie Ecclestone’s sprinkler idea. Yes, it would, admittedly, add a new dimension, a new twist that could make a race more interesting. But, quite frankly, it isn’t fair.

It would not be fair on the driver who has led the race. Why should he have to defend his lead into the first corner, where risk of accident is increased, where risk of losing the lead is high? It won’t be his fault that a crash has taken place elsewhere on the track. Why should he potentially be punished?

Make no mistake, this is entirely different to the rolling starts that we currently have. Then, the leader dictates. He chooses when to put his foot down and, in doing so, has the advantage of springing a surprise. Also, the car in second has to pull off an over-taking manoeuvre, without the help of DRS. Under the new system, a good start will do the trick.

Formula One is, ultimately, a sport. For that reason, it is not ‘sporting’ for the powers in charge to medal with it, for whatever reason. They will start to have an influence over who wins and that is not healthy. Overtaking boost, DRS, is accepted as it neutralises the effects of being behind another car. This is not neutralising anything.

And where does this stop? Now, they have stuck their noses in for good there is every opportunity for them to do so in the future. Bernie Ecclestone once said that the sport should introduce a sprinkler system to make dry races wet, all for the entertainment of course. What a sham that would be. This is a sport, not a game show.

I, and all other fans, are open to suggestions of helping the sport expand its fan base, especially as Ecclestone seems so hell bent on cracking the American market. But it has to be done right. DRS, Pirelli tyres, no refuelling and night races are ideas that have all worked. Watch highlights of a race five years ago and you’ll see how much more fun we get today. Rarely do we have a dull Sunday afternoon like we used to. Formula One is fun again.

But this is a step too far.

New fans may arrive, hooked on this form of ‘entertainment’ but it is the hard core fans who will be left disappointed and our voices unheard.

But we’ll keep watching. We’re addicted. We can’t stop. But it doesn’t mean we’ll approve.

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