The Wheels Are Off

So as you probably guessed from my internet pseudonym and the prevalence of Formula One merchandise in my room, I am a massive Formula One fan and a Jenson Button supporter. I’m also not one to take people screwing with things I like lying down.

And now, Formula One is headed in a dark direction and I’m not sure if I can follow it. North America is out. France is out. United Kingdom is (All but) out – no way can they finish the new circuit in time, it’s a decoy. Bernie has lost it. Mad Max has gotten madder.

Bernie has decided that rather than a sensible solution to the devalued win (Such as replacing the 10,8,6,5,4,3,2,1 system with 12,8,6,5,4,3,2,1), he wants to replace the points system entirely. With medals. For the podium only. Whoever wins the most races is crowned campion. God help us.

Bernie has developed a “win is all” mentality. A lot of us in F1 like to see the lower down teams hitting the points once in a while. They have very little chance of earning a medal! It’s not all about who’s at the front, it’s about the whole field.

Mad Max, meanwhile, has decided A1GP is a better sport than F1 (In fact, it is a rubbish sport) and so is attempting to standardise engines, wings, anything he can think of. I think at some point he’ll try and standardise drivers. Standardised parts are not Formula One. They are the mark of a second-class Formula.

And yet, the sport marches on along this path. It’s not what the fans want. But the fans now seem irrelevant. I mean, look at the prices of tickets to see a race! They’re unbelievable, especially considering the terrible seats and poor views (Most seats can’t even see a screen to follow the races on).

And so as LG ink a global partner deal and BBC finally wrest the rights back from ITV, Formula One is on the precipice of doom. I don’t like where this is going. Not one bit. The manufacturers are already threatening to quit over the standard engines rule. Honda and Formula One’s bread and butter, Ferrari, are particularly opposed to the idea.

And who can blame them. The manufacturers are in it to show off their prowess as car makers. If they’re not making the cars, then what, exactly, is the point? Max and his lot have spent too long fretting about the fate of the independent teams. They are failing to see that their attempts to help those teams are hurting the majority of the teams, the manufacturers. And losing them wold be a far larger blow.

Independents can be bought by Multi-Nationals like Red Bull looking for an advertising vehicle (No pun intended) with global appeal. Manufacturers pulling out en-masse would leave far too many teams looking for buyers. Ferrari wouldn’t even sell their team, so even if all others found a buyer, the grid would be piddling.

And not all the teams would get bought. There aren’t 5 multinationals looking to do a Red Bull. 2, maybe. Honda and the Mercedes-owned part of McLaren would be the hardest to offload.

And it looks like Honda, mindful of this, might be getting out first, leaving the other 4 manufacturers to trip over each other in a desperate bid to find buyers. But there are no guarantees. The teams may simply fold, or else become tiny independents.

Formula One is being destroyed by out of touch old businessmen and lawyers with no interest in sport. They are making changes without giving even a thought to the consequences and the sport is only going to suffer for it.

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