I think I must be incredibly spoiled. When I was growing up, I watched F1. I loved it, in fact. Senna was destroying the field in his McLaren MP4/4 (I think it’s one of the most beautiful F1 cars ever) and the first “Turbo Era” had reached its dizzying zenith.
Of course, the hoary old men in the FIA boardroom conspired to wreck all that by banning turbocharged engines. No matter, because it was replaced by screaming V10s.
Unfortunately, the most exciting era in F1 history was followed by the complete snore-fest that was F1: The Schumi Years. The red cars, driven by the mercurial German and some Brazilian guy, along with a dream team that included Ross Brawn, Jean Todt and Rory Byrne systematically dismantled all challengers. Yes, there were a few years when McLaren broke up the monotony, but essentially, it was a two-horse race… at best.
When Schumi retired for the first time, I cheered. When slicks were finally reintroduced in 2009, I cheered again, but then the FIA turned the cars into horrible-looking things with comically wide front wings and ultra-narrow rear wings.
By that time, I was still watching F1 on occasion, but was rapidly losing interest. And don’t even get me started on the KERS system and the byzantine rules governing its use.
The last straw for me was when the FIA banned refuelling. This had the unwelcome benefit of making an already ugly car even uglier, owing to a bulbous caboose to accomodate the larger fuel tank.
And to add insult to injury, the FIA brought back turbocharged engines aimed at increasing fuel economy, not power. I bumped into one of our key contributors during last year’s Singapore GP and he said he didn’t even need to use earplugs, which is sad.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport. No thanks to the FIA, the cars getting slower and uglier with each passing year.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure the cars are still phenomenally quick and with my meagre ability, I probably couldn’t even drive one in a straight line, let alone at breakneck speeds. However, thanks to the new rules, they’re more boring than ever before, hemmed in by what I think are pointless rules.
Until they bring back the 1000-odd horsepower cars of old, I’m staying away. But you’ll be sure to wake me up when that happens, won’t you?