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Boring Bahrain or Should it be Boring F1

by F1Fan on March 16, 2010

The racing wasn’t exactly riveting at the Bahrain Grand Prix this past weekend, with the Grand Prix turning into the all too familiar parade of the top teams, hardly changing position from their starting positions at the beginning of the race.

What is worry is that the FIA with the agreement of FOTA adjusted the rules for this season supposedly with the primary aim of promoting passing during the Grand Prix. Not only that, also the Bahrain International Circuit spent untold Dinar to make changes to the configuration of the circuit since the last Grand Prix also with that very same aim.

Both efforts were out and out failures.

The new rules have taken away the need to refuel and now instead of two or maybe even three pit stops in a race, if Bahrain is anything to go by it looks like we may be dealing with only one stop. The original thinking was most likely that tire degradation would force teams to have to pit more than once. However it seems that tire wear is not that bad, with all of the top finishers in Bahrain having to make only one stop.

If that is not bad enough, having to drive the whole race on one tank of fuel means the cars are incredibly heavy and slow, over 7 seconds a lap slower than qualifying at the beginning of the race. I thought, OK the cars will be slow at the start but as fuel burns off the cars will gradually lap by lap increase pace, and by the final quarter of the race the cars will be approaching the same times as shown in qualifying and the racing will be really exciting. WRONG!!!

With these rules Formula One has become a math problem gone bad. The rate of loss of performance due to tire degradation matches increase in performance due to less weight and any difference in time can not justify the loss of time to change tires. So we end up with boring boring racing.

Before final judgement is passed could it be that the rules are not the sole problem but blame actually lies with the Bahrain circuit. I have never been a fan of Herman Tilke designed circuits, yes they are great architectural expressions and have fantastic ancillary attractions but all of them suffer from the same problem their design just doesn’t promote overtaking. The changes that the Bahrain International Circuit made were meant to address some of these issues but it seems that no F1 driver ever had any real input into the revised design, and then to top it off the new part of the circuit has been built so poorly that overtaking is completely impossible due to the exceedingly bumpy surface.

So I Guess we will have to wait for the next two or three Grand Prix, Melbourne Malaysia and China to see if this is a trend or a one off problem. The question is, if it really is a trend what the hell is Formula One going to do about it.

I can’t see myself watching a whole season of parade laps. What about you?

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