How much fun can you have in F1? I chanced upon an ancient article in BBC Sport titled “How To Make F1 Interesting”. It was written in the wake of yet another Michael Schumacher-dominated F1 race weekend. His string of wins was killing the excitement of the sport for F1 fans and television viewers all over the world; never mind the fact that Schumacher was a superb F1 driver.
With typical British humour, the writer came up with strange suggestions, such as a sprint start, and having drivers draw from a fruit bowl to determine the racecar and grid position they’ll be driving that weekend. Then there was his suggestion of a specially designed control panel, with random buttons linked to different parts of different cars – hitting one button would make someone’s seat bounce up and down like a yo-yo, while hitting another button would swap the driver’s steering directions or emit a cloud of black exhaust smoke that engulfs the cars behind.
It will be much more entertaining and exciting than watching a bunch of cars lap a circuit, and knowing with a fair degree of certainty who the race winner will be. If such silliness ever comes to pass, that will be the day!
But F1 is the world’s most expensive sport, with its teams spending over $2 billion in total and achieving a turnover almost triple their expenditure. On-car sponsorships are to the tune of $1 billion per annum. Nearly 600 million people worldwide tune in to catch the races live. You don’t “play play” with this kind of money.