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Why F1 is F-Wrong

Schumacher ran sixty qualifying laps
to win in Hungary 1998.
With today's tyres it would never have happened.
Last weekend' Spanish Grand Prix marked something of a low point for F1.

Instead of the fastest cars being driven flat out by the fastest drivers we were treated to a Sunday afternoon stroll punctuated by a ridiculous number of pit stops. 

It's racing Jim, but not as we know it. And tyres are to blame.

Lap times were slow enough to make GP2 cars look rapid but its time to call a halt to this madness. The fastest race lap was over five seconds slower than pole position. That's more than a lifetime in racing, historically the gap has never been so big. Even in the early eighties when teams ran true qualifying tyres and 1000bhp qualifying engines built to survive just a couple of laps.

Drivers aren't being pushed physically or mentally; and they aren't racing each other. Who defends their position when it means that their tyres get destroyed and an extra pit stop will be required?

For those new to the sport this all may look very exciting. But the artificial nature of the overtaking and the need to run the race whilst prioritising tyre wear mean that we aren't seeing victories being taken by the fastest car/driver combinations.

The days of racing that I remember best are those when a driver has given his all - think Schumacher running 60 consecutive qualifying laps in Hungary in 1998 to leapfrog the Mclarens after electing to make an extra pitstop.

On the basis of what's happening in qualifying the Mercedes and Red Bulls are the fastest cars, yet they are harder on their tyres. Which would be an equitable trade off in a season where the tyres didn't go off quicker than old milk outside on a hot summer's day. This year its crippling their performance.

In fact right now the best race strategy is to get into Q3 and not run, saving an extra set of tyres for the race. Then run as slow as you can for half the race and hope to make up the ground on your new sets of tyres in the second half.

I can't imagine its enjoyable to drive and its certainly not enjoyable to watch.

Pirelli need to change the tyres and give us back some semblance of racing. Just so we can see the fastest guy win for a change.


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