Formula One will always struggle to find the perfect combination between pure racing and delivering a show – and in my opinion, Nascar and Indy Car is more about putting on a show than pure racing – so F1 is doing a fairly good job at getting the combination right…
There is F1 talk of awarding points for qualifying and then reversing the grid – and I can’t see a way of making this fair. In one way, it would only be right to award the same points for qualifying as the race – but then, how can you award 25 points for one lap and 25 points for winning after 300km? It just doesn’t work for me.
Also, this may all affect how teams approach qualifying. The current knock-out format is pretty much perfect. It requires drivers and teams to be strong over the three sessions, and keeps it interesting for the whole hour.
A lot of other motorsport championships have copied this style too – further proof the format works.
One major factor of whether a race is a good spectacle or not is the strategy teams deploy. If tyres are too good, these days teams will do one stop. So for example, the Bridgestone days with no refuelling, often resulted in a boring race.
Some of the best races have been when the perfect strategy is between two or three stops – such as Malaysia this year – or when drivers are competing against each other on different compounds, like Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at Bahrain in 2014.
This is why I feel F1 could improve the show – by bringing three different compounds to a race weekend, and each compound must be used in the race. Therefore, each driver will make a minimum of two stops. I would also stop the requirement that the top 10 cars start on the tyres they qualified on in Q2, for the simple reason that we know what they will start on. Create a bit of mystery for the spectators, and allow teams at the front to try something a bit different than all starting on the softer choice of tyre.
At this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen’s last stint on the soft tyre while the rest of the cars at the front were on the harder tyre, made fascinating viewing. So imagine if they had to use three different compounds during the race, and they could start on different compounds as well?
Pirelli could then also make the compounds more durable, as it wouldn’t be so important with three compounds of different durability and drivers could push the tyres – instead of trying to look after them. Pirelli also wouldn’t have to bring any more tyres – all you’d need is three sets of the softer tyre, two sets of the medium and another two of the harder tyre, for qualifying and the race.
I believe this is a pretty simple way of improving the show – and without adversely affecting the sport.
♦ Kyle Cumbers is a member of the NRF1 Podcast crew. Follow Kyle on Twitter @kcumbers