Is Formula One not the pinnacle of motorsport? Is it not about striving for the competitive edge and engineering ingenuity? For years I thought so, but now I’m not so sure.
The F1 season is on its summer break but there’s still quite a bit of banter around Red Bull Racing and them pushing the rules. Many have labeled the Milton Keynes outfit “cheats” for their engine mapping at Hockenheim. Now engine mapping is a very difficult and complicated concept to explain, but just know that it allows the car to maintain heavy downforce at low speed, which in turn gives them more speed and stability. Of course the other teams will hate this.
RBR also came under fire in Hungary for a mechanism that allows the team to alter the front suspension manually. Even though no sanctions were implemented against Red Bull, it did unlock quite a bit of unhappiness in the paddock. Red Bull also had the flexi-wing throughout 2010 and 2011 which properly irritated the other teams.
Lotus now have also developed a double DRS system which has since been outlawed for 2013. That hasn’t stopped them from going ahead with it and trying to get the most out of it in the remaining races.
McLaren’s F-duct was also very controversial a few seasons ago and was promptly banned the following year.
The point I’m trying to make is that evolution and engineering genius is being frowned upon instead of embraced. I get that the FIA’s trying to prevent one-team dominance to keep the sport interesting, but let’s be honest, how many true F1 fans will really be opposed to innovation in the sport? I certainly won’t be put off. To keep the geniuses like Adrian Newey & Sam Michael in the sport, they’ve got to be rewarded. In fact, what WILL kill the sport is if all the cars are identical with equal-powered engines. The day that happens is the day I say goodbye to F1!
So reward the geniuses behind the scenes and at the factory for finding some creative way of gaining downforce or straight-line speed because if they keep getting curbed, we’ll soon see a massive brain-drain in F1 with engineers going where their skills are more welcome.