F1 Drivers press conference

I just watched a recording of the Bahrain Thursday Drivers press conference.  In both the sessions, questions pertained mostly to the Indy 500 race and if drivers were interested in looking beyond F1. Clearly all 5 drivers with the exception of Alonso had nothing to do with it, 1 question and answer about the subject revealed all they had to say about it.

Often, these press conference are boring because the questions asked are irrelevant and repetitive. Clearly the world press can do better.

Alonso to Indy 500

Did the news surprised me. No it did not. However on one off Indy 500 outing,  sacrificing the team chances at Monaco GP surprises me. His frustration must be so high, why else would be willing to sacrifice and give up a chance to race on the streets of the principality of Monaco.

There was sufficient hint that Alonso wasn’t happy driving MCL32 with the under powered motor. One was expecting him to quit in total and walk away to enjoy Karting. It appears Mclaren have done something extraordinary to keep him in the team. I cannot see this happen with Ron Dennis at the helm. Sparks would have flown pretty soon, such are the two characters.

Alonso has made poor decisions all his motor racing career. Hopefully this isn’t one more of them. Indy is a completely different racing series and therefore requires different skills. Who is say Alonso the great driver won’t master this , and drink that bottle of milk in 4 week . We will all get to know the answer on May 28th. In the mean time let us wish him well.

A Women’s championship

Women racing men in Formula 1 is not likely to happen. An option is to run a woman’s championship that happens at every grand prix where F2 races are held. Read on for my proposal.

The championship should be called M1, yes M1. If men drivers race in F1, women drivers race in M1. Teams that enter the men’s championship must also enter into the women and junior championships or tie up with teams and share race venue resources (mechanics / pits / PR staff). The M1 cars are the same spec as GP2 or F2. Over time ensure there is sharing of F1 parts across the 3 series to reduce costs.

A typical race weekend is

Friday Practice – 2 Hours for Women (M1), 2 hours for Juniors (F2), 2 hours for Men (F1)

Saturday Practice  1 hour Women (M1), 1 Hour for Juniors (F2) 1 hour for Men (F1)

Saturday Qualifying

M1/F2  – 30 mins of quali split into 2 halfs of 15 mins each. ½ grid knocked out after 15 minutes. F1 – retains current qualifying format.

Race weekend

M1/F2 races are 150 Kms each, followed by F1 race of 300 Kms. In the event of rain/weather/low light , M1 and F2 reduced to 12 lap sprint race. F1 remains a full 2 hour race.

This should in theory also be a better utilization of resources, and therefore lesser costs. Fans too get a lot more racing, and more women will attend GPs.

Spicing up races

The idea of 3 compounds per race introduced in 2016 generated some strategy variety in races. However this tire choice did NOT spice up races.

My suggestion is for Pirelli to introduce 6 tire compounds that result in quicker lap time of approximately 0.7 secs over 5 Km of track stepping down grades, and about 20% more life stepping up grades. Tires are called Grades 1, 2…..5, 6.

Pirelli specify 2 tires compounds per race and teams make an additional choice of 1 compound. They get to choose a harder compound or a softer compound. I will try and explain this with the current convention. The 2 compound choices in Bold are Pirelli chosen and the 2 options in Italics are available for teams to choose.

Super Soft | Soft | Medium | Hard 

In the race, teams must use one of the Pirelli compounds +  their selection. To ensure teams don’t always bias their selection towards a softer or harder compound, teams are limited to 50% harder and 50% softer choice for the entire championship.

What this does is

a) challenge teams to think about a championship before making choices. In trying to  play to their car strengths and trying to trade speed vs no of pit stops, some teams will end up in gambling with choices.

b) introduce a huge variety in tires and strategy for racing. Imagine if 2 teams had very different tires for a race because one went hard and other soft.

This would be akin to 2 tire suppliers, however without all the fuss and costs…

Race Calendar

FoM (Liberty Media) should come up with a calendar that has 8 classic F1 races, and the remaining 12 filled with races from a pool of 20 odd circuits. These 20 circuits will get to hold the race every 2 or 3 years.

This will bring in variety in the championship, take the race to more fans, and also if used strategically a paired set of venues can share the effort/costs in holding races and stand to gain in race attendance, promotion costs and many other aspects involved in hosting races.

Paired venues would be Singapore – Malaysia, Bahrain – Dubai – Qatar, Turkey – Russia – Azerbaijan, Brazil – Argentina, Los Angeles – Las Vegas, New York – Long Beach, Estoril – Magny Cours – Zandvoort, Kayalami – Cape town.

This puts onus on F1 promoters to find venues and keep them involved with F1 vs the Bernie model of no money no race.

Driver Helmets

FoM should rule that driver helmets are not real estate for their brand advertising & helmet color must be visibly different to car livery. Remember when FoM ruled a few years ago that drivers must stick to one design a year, shove that aside. A helmet is a driver’s identity and therefore teams encroaching on this space must be stopped. Teams can advertise on the large area on the shark fin. Any team logo on the helmet must be on the rear, so when driver is driving position in the car it is all his livery that fans see.  Teams get promo when driver walks around paddock with helmet on.

The Red Bull and Toro Rosso driver helmets are the worst. Just Saying.