F1 2008 , in the recession era , has witnessed several changes , in the form of cost cutting (almost 60 %) , structural modifications to the car and rule changes.
The changes include :
- Return of the slick tyres (in addition to the intermediates, the wet tyres and the soft compound tyres)
- A smaller rear wing and a much wider front wing with driver-adjustable flaps
- KERS, the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems which can give drivers up to an additional 85 horsepower for 6.6 seconds a lap
- Engine : ev limits will be cut from 19,000 to 18,000 rpm. Drivers will be limited to eight engines per season, with each team allowed an additional four engines for testing
- The pit lane will now remain open throughout any safety-car period, allowing drivers to refuel without penalty
(source : F1.com)
FIA , has constantly revolutionizing the sport , with radical changes almost every year , to keep up with the popularity of the sport ,in comparison to others .Their aim has been basically to stop the dominance of certain drivers and teams ,due to their increased financial resources and highly advanced R&D setup, which has ultimately led to declining interest in viewership ( Not yet proved completely !!)
They first went after the racing god , Michael Schumacher , by introducing structural modifications in the F1 car to prevent him from winning . When he eventually retired , they went after the Ferrari team , and to stop their monopoly in the constructor standings, and as such havent been successful in stoppign them.
Until last year , the game stood as a 2 horse race , with only Ferrari and Mclaren giving it a real tough fight to gain the championship , with the likes of Renault , Sauber , Toyota coming a distant fifth or sometimes barely scoring a point.
Season 2009 , on the other hand has a come real shocker , with debutantes “Brawn-Mercedes”(Ex-Honda) team , comprising of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello has finished 1-2 while giants like Ferrari and Mclaren hardly finished the race .
As far as marketing is concerned , its a good thing to see a healthy competition existing amongst the teams, but when it comes to a sport like F1 , the fan base basically comprises of a 70 % Ferrari fans and a 30 % Mclaren (read : Lewis Hamilton fans) and hence it will be a major disappointment to see a team like Ferrari struggle against minnows like Brawn Mercedes,Red Bull,Torro Rosso or Toyota
F1 boss,Bernie Ecclestone has certainly got his facts wrong , and is acting upon a wrong assumption that , F1 can be saved only if even the lower placed teams are given a handicap or some other kind of advantage to give them a podium finish.
F1 doesnt sell because Jenson Button or a Sebastian Bourdais wins
F1 doesnt sell in India because it has the Force India team ( If thats the case , GP2 should be more popular , since India seemed to grab more wins there )
F1 doesnt sell because of a Williams or a BMW Sauber car
The only reason F1 is the most favoured sport in the world is because of the Prancing Horse,Ferrari . The single most greatest car in the whole world. Their dominance in the sport , (starting with Michael Schumacher till their recent find ,Felipe Massa) is the only reason F1 is surviving. A car , that has inspired millions to race , that has redifined the word “speed” and
has constantly stood for the ideal dream car , every guy wants to own.
Hope the Malaysian circuit brings back the Ferrari dominance. !
Ending on a lighter note , I just came across Jerry Seinfeld’s standup act on loyalty towards sports teams :
” Loyalty to any one sports team is pretty hard to justify. Because the players are always changing, the team can move to another city, you’re actually rooting for the clothes when you get right down to it. You know what I mean, you are standing and cheering and yelling for your clothes to beat the clothes from another city. Fans will be so in love with a player but if he goes to another team, they boo him. This is the same human being in a different shirt, they *hate* him now. Boo! different shirt!! Boo. “