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A Modest Proposal

It’s taken me about a week to recover from the crushing disappointment of the last lap of the Canadian Grand Prix. No joke! Of course I realize my reaction was the precise opposite of that of most people, who would have been sent spiraling downward into deep despair had Sebastian Vettel won yet another race after all those hours of viewing commitment. The affable British all-around top bloke jolly well triumphed over the loathed German world champion, saving the day by putting a stop to him steamrolling the 2011 season like some unstoppable Tiger tank.

For a while now, F1 forums have been rife with moans that the current season is boring because Vettel keeps winning. I’m getting the impression that, to many people, a given race and what happens during the course of it makes very little difference. It’s all about the result, and when the same person is winning a large majority of the time, the season is simply ruined. “The Show,” as people increasingly annoyingly put it, is ruined.

So last weekend’s grand prix is a step in the right direction, if fans are to be persuaded not to abandon F1 altogether. Really, though, there’s more that could and perhaps ought to be done. Surprise race results like that last one can’t always be ensured under the current rules — really, Vettel could have won that race and was winning for most of its duration — so perhaps the rules need to be reexamined.

As it stands now, in theory, a single driver could win every single race in a given season. This simply isn’t right. Who wants to see that? How many fans would the sport lose if that happened? Even now, only two races so far this season haven’t been won by Vettel, and in those two races he came second and was beaten by a fairly small margin. What if things had gone differently? And what if they were to continue this way? Something really ought to be done.

That’s why I propose that, over the course of a twenty-round season, no one driver be permitted to win more than two races.

Under my proposed scheme, the results of the first three races of the current season would have been just the same as they were under the current scheme. However, when round 4, the Turkish Grand Prix, was shaping up to be won by Vettel, who had already won his allotted two races of the season, something would have been done to prevent that outcome. This could be any number of things, and the logistics of  my plan have yet to be ironed out, but I think it probably would be best to have it be something that would add to the “excitement.” Perhaps Race Control could have activated something on Vettel’s car that would have caused him to lose control in a corner, much as he did in Canada — maybe a couple times, whatever it took to close the gap sufficiently — thereby (in the case of Turkey) providing fans everywhere the opportunity to howl with gleeful triumph as Mark Webber closed the gap and overtook his teammate.

I’ve calculated what the points standings for the current top five guys would be under my scheme, and it looks like this:

  1. Vettel – 140
  2. Button – 101
  3. Webber – 101
  4. Hamilton – 92
  5. Alonso – 76

Sure, Vettel would still be in the lead — but by only 39 points, rather than 60. Webber and Button would now be tied for second, and Hamilton would be trailing them by a mere 9 points. In addition, race winners so far this season would include Vettel, Button, Webber, Hamilton, and Alonso. It’s all about evening things up, people! Evening things up, giving more guys a chance to win races, and keeping the audience entertained: that’s what my scheme is all about.

There’s room for tweaking as well, of course. Sure, Vettel might no longer be winning every race and boring everyone to death that way — but he still might be ruining everyone’s fun during qualifying! Well, then why not institute a similar limit on number of pole positions allowed per driver per season? The possibilities are endless, really, as long as the FIA is willing to think “outside the box” with regard to keeping audiences happy, as I think they’ve already shown their willingness to do. People were complaining about there being no overtaking? Now we have DRS, and how are you liking the overtaking now? Uh huh, that’s what I’m saying.

It’s clear that attacking Red Bull’s advantage by constantly trying to prove bits of their car are illegal is not an effective leveling-the-playing-field strategy, especially when there’s a certified genius like Adrian Newey being so damned clever about everything. Even ruling the off-throttle exhaust-blown diffuser illegal this far into the season isn’t going to help matters much, considering how other teams have been working hard at perfecting that system as well. No, it’s clear that the time has come for an entirely new approach to making F1 exciting. I profess, as a Sebastian Vettel fan, that I obviously have not the least personal interest in seeing any of this come to pass. I’m concerned only about the popularity of F1 and the TV ratings for the races; when these things prosper, everyone wins. (Except Sebastian Vettel — not more than twice a season, anyway!)

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2 Responses

  1. I got the impression early on you were a fan of that driver, Vettles. I must say, your writing is of the highest quality and I enjoyed the first article. I’m leaving your Blog open so I don’t lose it and can read some more when I get back.

    Bertrand (its really me, I’m just using a pseudonym)

    • Hahaha – well, maybe I can give you some helpful hints about pseudonym use! Like, don’t use it in association with your real name in a comment online. ;-D

      But seriously, thank you for the compliment, and for reading! And you’re right, I am a fan of Vettel. This particular post might be just *slightly* on the sarcastic side… ;-)

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