FLOYD ON F1: Confusing rules are alienating the fans

I have to question the possible effect the application of penalties have on the traditional fan base.

2021-08-04 03:44:00 PM

I have to question the possible effect the application of penalties have on the traditional fan base.

I have to question the possible effect the application of penalties have on the traditional fan base.

I do not often peruse readers’ comments around F1 rules on websites, but on Monday I spent a considerable amount of time doing just that. The reason was to assess the average fan’s reaction to Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix and it made for interesting reading. I would like to assure you, having competed in local motorsport myself for many years, I accept the sport requires definite rules and regulations. And, by signing an entry form and receiving a competition licence, you agree to abide by the rule book.You may not agree with all of them, but in old parlance, “rules...

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I do not often peruse readers’ comments around F1 rules on websites, but on Monday I spent a considerable amount of time doing just that.The reason was to assess the average fan’s reaction to Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix and it made for interesting reading. I would like to assure you, having competed in local motorsport myself for many years, I accept the sport requires definite rules and regulations.

And, by signing an entry form and receiving a competition licence, you agree to abide by the rule book.You may not agree with all of them, but in old parlance, “rules is rules!”.Application of rulesMy issue is with the application of penalties and the possible effect on the F1 audience and fan base. We are all aware, since the acquisition of F1 by the American company Liberty Media, many aspects of the sport are being scrutinised. headtopics.com

The objective is to improve the product, make it more entertaining for the global audience and grow said audience by encouraging the younger generation to watch. Thus far I have not noted such growth. Several new ideas have been proposed but few applied with success – the latest being the testing of a new race weekend format.

It offers less practice and a system of qualifying which puts both man and machine at greater risk and expenditure, achieving nothing more than a boring 17-lap sprint event to set Sunday’s grid. F1 Management have intimated a “few tweaks” are required.

ALSO READ: Hamilton-Verstappen blame game rages on.I concur, particularly the points system for the first three which is added to their respective championship tally.All rather strange, which brings me to a major issue.The whole concept of encouraging a younger audience is to be lauded and it must be an incredibly difficult task.

Sadly, several recent issues have created much incomprehension for many fans.Trying to make senseI will not support any conspiracy theories nor apportion blame to any specific team, but the furore of the last three weeks in F1 must be almost impossible for a budding an to comprehend the F1 rules. The first lap incident between main title rivals at Silverstone was judged by many as a racing incident, but others did not agree. The stewards of the race deemed the blame rested on one driver’s shoulders and issued a 10-second penalty, which was duly served. headtopics.com

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It was the second lowest penalty on the menu and did not stop the driver held responsible from winning the race.Two weeks later and the start of the Hungarian race. Rain set in and the field went onto intermediate tyres. With a Mercedes front row lockout and row two all Red Bull, fireworks were expected, but I did not envisage the carnage that ensued.

A good start from Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, with an absolute flyer from Lando Norris, passing a slow starting Valteri Bottas. Turn one and the Finn outbraked himself into the back of Norris, who catapulted into the side of Verstappen as Bottas went on to T-bone Perez. Lance Stroll then crashed into the side of Charles Leclerc, who in turn was pushed into Norris.

The debacle resulted in retirement for Bottas, Perez, Stroll, Leclerc and Norris, with serious damage to Verstappen, whose car was literally patched together and became an aerodynamic disaster.The plot thickensNow the confusion around the F1 rules really sets in. Bottas received a five-grid spot penalty for the next race and two points on his license. Stroll received exactly the same penalties. This is strange, when Bottas was responsible for the major collision which ended the Red Bull and part of the McLaren team, whereas Stroll just ended Leclerc’s race.

Many people are asking how this incident involving Stroll was any different to the one at Silverstone. Both resulted in a competitor being forced out of the race by another driver, afterwards held responsible by the officialsThe first only received a 10-second penalty, and the second a five-spot grid penalty plus two points on his licence. headtopics.com

My grandson in Australia, a real petrol head, phoned saying: “I don’t watch anymore, there are too many weird decisions and politics in the sport. It has all just become too confusing.”I am afraid I hear this all too often, from friends and colleagues. Liberty Media and F1 Management may be out to capture the younger market, but they are probably losing the original fan base more rapidly.

Sadly, it does not seem to concern them. Read more: The Citizen News »

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