F1 Should Make These 'Ugly' Moves To Improve Racing

Credit: WILL OLIVER - Getty Images
From Autoweek
Every story has two sides, and that goes for Formula 1 in a pandemic.
While the pandemic forced several Grand Prix to be canceled and a few more postponed, it also brought us back to some classic venues and times other than usual in the season. And that brought some new challenges for the sport that made the race better.
If the Formula 1 front-runners realize just that, we will be racing better sooner before the upcoming new sporting regulations in 2022.
No, 2020 wasn't all bad. And here are some ways it can get even better.
The first improvement is to take a greater risk of tire selection. Put simply, the faster the tires lose power, the better the race. Far too often the races only involve a single pit stop for a mandatory change in tire compound. It often happens in the first third of the race, maybe even during a safety car phase, and the drivers can easily drive another two thirds in one set.
But what if tires definitely don't last that long? What if you need at least two or even three pit stops to finish the race? This leads to a greater variety of strategies in the different teams and possibly a shared strategy between the two drivers on the team. More pit stops also mean more chances for mistakes and more potential shocks in the final order.
What if a team thinks it's better to just keep pushing on the tires they have? Run them to the cables you might say. We saw this happen at the British Grand Prix, the first, not the 70th anniversary, and it resulted in Mercedes losing several places when Valtteri Bottas tires failed. And then it happened to teammate Lewis Hamilton on the last lap! I no longer advocate tire failures, but tires that wear out faster and force teams to change more frequently. It never makes the race worse.
Photo credit: Bryn Lennon - Getty Images
Even easier than changing tire mapping is to consider different hot and cold weather destinations when creating a schedule. Last Sunday we saw an F1 race at the Nürburgring at 48 degrees, which is at least 20 degrees colder than normal racing conditions. In addition, the sky was cloudy and threatened with rain during the race, just like on Friday. And it was brilliant.
Engineers and drivers had to face a new challenge. At the beginning the cars behaved differently and some of them failed. And from there it goes back to tires. Racing tires, especially F1 tires, don't like the cold weather. The gum becomes very sticky at temperatures close to boiling water. As temperatures drop closer to the freezing water, they become rock hard and lose their grip.
Who did the best tires, kept them warm, and who gave the right time to change tires added complexity to the race. The race for the final step on the podium went to Daniel Ricciardo because of a late pit stop that gave him the track position and the grip he needed to stay there.
Given the weather and tire allocation, two tools currently available to them, Formula 1 need look no further than the F1 calendar to improve racing. Don't be afraid to use tires that won't last that long. Throw the drivers in hot and cold weather. Throw as much variety as possible on the teams and reap all the rewards for the racing excitement.

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