F1 Rule Changes: For Better or for Worse?

There’s been a lot of debate over the Formula 1 winter break about the various rule changes that are being suggested for the sport. Many of these changes have already been confirmed for next season with others turning out to be wild speculation from all and sundry. But are all these changes good for the sport or are they going to ruin the history of a sport that goes back long before Lewis Hamilton was even a twinkle in Ron Dennis’ eye?

One of the most contentious issues has been the introduction of a new points system for 2010. A change was already confirmed back in December with more points being given to more people along the format of the Moto GP scoring system. Even this modification was further modified in January in order to give more benefit to the winner of a race. Whilst i think most agree that the winner having a bigger reward is a good thing, the fact is that we had a perfectly good system originally (10, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1) but this was changed in ‘the Schumacher era’ in order to try and spice up the championship battle. It certainly did the trick but whether it was the best long term strategy now looks a little questionable. The main argument facing the new system is that we will no longer be able to compare new records with old as, whilst the numbers were slightly tilted for the last decade, they will now bear no resemblance at all. This is a shame as it is always nice to take a retrospective view and compare the latest hotshots against the former greats. I personally believe the mistakes were made when the points system was messed with in the first place, in order to hinder Schumacher, and that the current situation is merely a way of returning to the original weightings without acknowledging those mistakes.

Another mention of rule changes that sparked quite an outrage was Mr Ecclestone’s suggestion that shortcuts should be added to tracks to mix things up a little. I’ve no doubt this was just Bernie playing with people’s heads and his (successful) attempt to keep Formula 1 in the spotlight after all the Schumacer hype had died down. It certainly ruffled a few feathers, with Eddie Irvine in particular taking quite an offence to it. This being said, it was clearly a ridiculous a idea and the day that rule is enforced will be the day F1 dies…

The shortcut idea was actually raised after calls that the new refuelling rules would result in processional races due to strategy being taken out of the equation. I personally think this change will have a beneficial effect as drivers will have to take bigger risks to gain positions, thus seperating the men from the boys. It will also be interesting to see how different cars handle the changing weight of the car as fuel runs down, i’m sure some will handle better when full up and vice versa. This rule change also bred the potential introduction of rules on tyres and the front half of the grid having to start the race on the tyres they qualify on. Will it ever end???

Formula 1 has always been the pinnacle of motorsport and will remain so no matter how many rule changes are introduced. However, the question needs to be asked, are they needed? The idea has always been to discover the best team and driver combination and no endless changing of rules will alter this. So, with this in mind, why change them at all?


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