Tuesday, 28 October 2008

FIA Madness?

There seems to be a lot of fuss made about Ferrari pulling out of Formula 1 if plans to introduce a standard engine for all teams come to fruition. You can’t blame them, I imagine old man Ferrari would spin right out of his grave I the F1 team used an engine that came from outside Maranello. What interests me is that there are members of the public who think that standard engines are a good idea as it provides a more level playing field for the driver’s championship.

You can see where they are coming from, there are plenty of one-make championships but is there any way of being certain that the chap who is best in Formula Ford is a better driver than the fellow who can master a TVR Tuscan (not that I imagine Tuscans race anymore but I recall they sorted men from boys when they did)? A standard car does not tell you who the better driver is, only who is best in that car!

Unless there is room for parallel driver and constructor’s championships; one weekend drivers race in standardised cars and the next week they race for team glory in cars that suffer the least possible regulation on their construction. What I have in mind is similar to an idea advanced by my friend Simon. The schedule of race fixtures is known and the length of the race is also known before the start of the season and aside from a stipulation that the top six finishers must complete the race distance (if it is 70 laps all finishers must do 70 to score points) and the fact that the cars must fit in a notional box (say, 14-feet by 6-feet by 4 feet tall). Everything else would be left to the imagination of the designer.

It should make for an interesting grid, especially if all the teams do something different; so we see front and rear engines, enclosed bodies and open wheels, moving and fixed aerodynamic surfaces, small, medium or large engines with or without forced induction and possibly exotic fuels that may or may not need replacing every couple of laps. I think it would be a cross between the heyday of Can-Am racing and the Wacky Races – I’m certain that for anyone who loves engineering it would be a lot more interesting than the current season!

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