Ruslan

Under New Management

332 posts in this topic


Interesting article. I think there were three reasons for NASCARs precipitous decline:

1. It was a fad. As a fad, it boomed and then busted.

2. It was kind of the same thing over and over again, with low tech, look-alike kit cars kept closely together by yellow flags and going in circles. This was the "professional wrasling" of racing. While F1 has taken a number of hints from American racing, NASCAR has always been too much about the show. Eventually, the show got old. I gather this is a variation of the author's third point "NASCAR got boring."

3. I think his fourth point "Fewer people love cars" is dead on. This, of course, affects all racing. When I was growing up, it was perfectly normal for a teenager and his friends to be sitting in the front yard working on their cars (like my brother used to do). Now that I have a teenager, I don't know of anyone who it spending their afternoons working on their cars. They play Fortnight with each other....not work on cars together.

 

Anyhow, I do think that F1 and all other forms of racing have to adjust to a declining market. With the development of self-driving cars, we could reach a point as soon as the next 20 years where the majority of Americans don't even drive their cars. As it is, only 7% of the cars sold in the U.S. have standard transmissions (vice automatic). My son is learning on a stick shift and is one other kid on his hockey team. The other 20 or so kids on his hockey team don't know how to drive a stick shift. The world is changing.

 

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So, we adjust F1 for declining market by increasing number of dull races in weird locations (as opposed to make less races more interesting)? 

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Well, I think Liberty is trying to figure out a way to increase the competition. This is certainly part of the reason for a budget cap. I also think putting in cost control measures in a declining market makes a lot of sense.

But the bigger question in my mind is "Will F1 still be a top-level sport in 40 years.....or is it gong the way of horse racing?"

 

 

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I, for one, do not see correlation between badly defined cost spending guidelines as remedy to hemorrhage at the ticket gate. 

Edited by Sakae

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I guess that F1 has two main prolems:

1) aerodynamics prevents close racing, and

2) we have the haves and the haves not, in a sense in the last few years only manufacturers (Mercedes and to some extent Ferrari) and the deep pockets of Red Bull managed to achive any meaninful results

Curing the first issue would be quite straightforward, sadly the powers that be don't want to do that so all the efforts are directed towards minimizing the imbalances in spending power of the various teams. In order to rein in the spending of some teams you either put a budget cap or you ensure that through rules consistency the performance of the slower teams improves and gets them closer to the big teams. Liberty wants to create a situation where all the teams are basically the same, a bit like Nascar, and in fact one of their first proposals was that each team would become a franchise, Liberty would control all the franchises and for that reason a Ferrari might have nothing to do with Maranello and Ferrari S.p.A. etc. I would't even call this a "communist" proposal, they go even further because what they say (and we witnessed that during the last few races when the SC or the VSC had a big impact on the race outcome) is that what they want is unpredictability, it doesn't really matter who wins as long as it's unpredictable. Frankly what's the point of watching those races is beyond me. I like F1 because I like screaming engines (sadly we no longer have that) and because of the competition between drivers, if rather than fair and square competition we get unpredictability then F1 becaomes just a show, like Nascar is today.

I think that the example of Nascar is something that should be considered, to some extent I believe that in the past Nascar might have been a competitive sport, now it's just a show. IMHO F1's main goal should be to avoid the fate of Nascar, so everything that Nascar has done should be avoided.

What bothers me about the current situation is that after a few years of the PU era the PUs are getting closer in terms of power and the racing could improve, sadly the aerodynamics are so powerful these days that cars cannot run close to each other and passing is mostly down to the DRS. IMHO the simplest solution would be to curtain the aerodynamics, everyone would be closer and so better racing.

But to reduce costs it seems that we have to have a new set of rules for the engines (taking away the electric bit won't be so simple, obviously you need to a design a new engine from scratch), and then make all the races something like a lottery.

I understand that cutting costs could be good, but why not trying using some standard parts for all the cars? something like standard brakes,for example. Or a standard steering wheel (they're quite expensive and each team usuallly uses their steering wheels to come up with not always entirely legal creative solutions...), etc. 

To me it seems as if they're trying to come up with a show that is a bit like banger racing. On top of that I just don't get the idea where the manufacturers have to subsidise the independent teams so that the independent teams can beat the manufacturers, I'm sorry but I firmly believe that in life if you want success you have to earn it, I personally think that it's wrong that MErcedes has to work hard and spend a lot of money so that Williams can catch them and beat them. If Williams don't have what it takes to win again so be it. Allowing more people to race is one thing, scrapping the principle of "may the best man win" is IMHO going too far

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4 hours ago, Publius Cornelius Scipio said:

I guess that F1 has two main prolems:

1) aerodynamics prevents close racing, and

2) we have the haves and the haves not, in a sense in the last few years only manufacturers (Mercedes and to some extent Ferrari) and the deep pockets of Red Bull managed to achive any meaninful results

Yea....that pretty much summarizes the main problems. If you fix these two problems, then you are probably going to have some close racing, some exciting passing, and some surprises in the season. You will have a real race season. You can also get rid of such things as push to pass systems, testing bans, etc.

Now, I have two fairly simple solutions 1) ban wings and 2) and impose a budget cap (and I think change the way the purse is re-distributed). It looks like Liberty is clearly intending to do the later one (budget cap) and it appears to be finally moving forward, several years after Bernie scuppered the first approved one.  They do seem unable to fix the aerodynamic problem, in part, I think because they keep looking for a minor tweak as opposed to doing something major (like ban wings...or ban front wings).

Anyhow, Indy car has turned into a spec series. This sort of works, but it is not as exciting and interesting a series as it was in the its hey-day with CART in the 1980s and 1990s. It is clearly not a path for F1 to follow....and certainly NASCAR is not. Being at the cutting edge of technological development has always been a part of F1 and I think it should continue to be. This means the designers have to be free to design. One of the reasons I like the budget cap is that you can now free up a lot of the design restrictions and cost control measures. There should be more freedom to experiment.

Edited by Ruslan

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