A criticism that has often been levelled at Formula One in recent years is that it is ‘too boring’. While there is no doubting that Formula One is one of the most popular motorsports in the world, viewing figures continue to fall. The majority of season’s result in a clear runaway winner, while overtaking, pay-drivers and what seems to be endless threats from manufacturers to quit the sport all hinder Formula One making progress.
Rising Costs and Pay Drivers
It is well-documented that Formula One is an expensive sport to be a part of. The paddock’s backmarkers cannot use race victories as a means of securing much-needed finance, so instead they resort to ‘pay drivers’. These are drivers that bring with them large sponsorship deals, often state-backed. Yet these drivers typically are short on ability, and instead are selected purely for their finance. To remedy this issue, costs need to be lowered. While this wouldn’t be an overnight remedy, it is something that in the long-run will ensure there are enough teams on the paddock. Attracting new teams to participate is proving difficult, due largely to the costs inherent in Formula One.
Lack of Competitiveness
As we mentioned in the introduction, the majority of Formula One championship’s result in a clear runaway leader. This means that normally by the half way point of the season, that viewers already know the winner. Usually races are over after the first couple of laps. Something needs to be done to ensure there is more overtaking. Formula One’s owners Liberty Media have noted this too, suggesting the current model is ‘too predictable’. We have a great remedy for this, mentioned below, that almost links in nicely with another problem – how much science is involved.
Too Much Science
Formula One seems to be so reliant on science nowadays, that driver’s ability seems to have been marginalised. Wouldn’t it be so much more entertaining if the sport was decided by pure driver ability and team strategy? Of course the best way to ensure this would be to provide each team with an identical car – the same engine, chassis and so on. The only difference would be the livery of each team. Then we would really see who is the best driver, as opposed to seeing which car is the fastest – unsurprisingly nearly always being the team with the biggest budget. Realistically, it will never happen though.
It seems that every year either Ferrari or Red Bull are set to quit the sport. While it is difficult to tell if these are bluffs, the prospect of losing one of the sport’s most iconic teams like Ferrari is worrying. It is difficult to find a compromise which suits every team. Liberty Media have the unenviable challenge of trying to balance all of these problems out, while not alienating any team.
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There is no doubting the power of Formula One – and that it remains immensely popular. Its diehard fans will continue to follow the sport around the globe. But unfortunately, Formula One does exhibit some problems, and for the sport to hit its full potential as an exciting spectacle, these problems need to be sorted out. The identical car idea answers most of these problems, yet unfortunately it is unlikely to ever happen. Over to Liberty Media – let’s hope they can come up with a good solution all round.