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Monday, 7 October, 2002, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Is Formula One becoming farcical?
Leading Formula One team bosses have dismissed as a "knee-jerk" reaction proposals to introduce weight penalties on cars next season.
Is the sport in fear of losing fans?
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has proposed the idea as a way of preventing any team dominating in the way Ferrari have this year.
But some Formula One bosses believe it is up to the other teams to match Ferrari's pace rather than seek ways to slow them down.
It is expected that the idea will be discussed at a meeting of the F1 Commission - a rule-making body - on 28 October.
Will Ecclestone's changes work?
This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.
Next, Arsenal will have to play with one player less for every point they are ahead of the pack with. This is nonsense!
I'm not a fan of Schumacher, but to penalise him for being the best driver on the circuit is ridiculous. Have people forgotten Mclaren's reign in the 80s and Williams in the 90s? Give it time and someone else will dominate again.
If the weighting of leading cars was introduced, I would switch off.
The main problem with F1 is the lack of overtaking. This is partly because the cars are so flimsy that any side contact breaks the sophisticated suspension.
Touring Cars, on the other hand, is far more exciting. Lots more position changing as the cars are far more resilent. It's a damn site cheaper to watch too!
I don't think weight penalties would work but I think capping the budgets so that no one team can outspend the others and buy a championship would work.
It's a little unfair of Bernie to put penalties on Ferrari, just because they happened to have done a better job than the rest of the field. Other global sports such as golf don't penalise those who excel, so why should Formula One?
Is it any wonder that Americans have little interest in F1 when this kind of ludicrous nonsense occurs? Perhaps it would be better if each team was only allowed to enter one car.
I thought that F1 was supposed to represent the pinnacle of motor racing in terms of technology and driver skill. Those who would stifle the technical development of the sport, by resurrecting manual gearboxes and stripping out electronics, will cripple car development - which is one of the principle reasons for F1 to exist in the first place.
History shows that the fortunes of F1 teams ebb and flow. In this respect Ferrari will be no different - and Schumacher will one day seal their fate by saying "enough's enough", and hanging up his helmet.
In the meantime, it seems wrong to introduce a handicap system simply because one driver is so fast that nobody else can catch him! By way of an analogy, I don't recall anyone suggesting that Paula Radcliffe should wear hobnail boots because she runs too fast. Yes, it sounds daft - but the principle is exactly the same!
The sport is not boring because of Michael Schumacher it is boring because there is no overtaking anymore, drivers follow each other around hoping to get ahead at pit stops.
The blame for that can be laid squarely at the feet of Max Moseley, who introduced in-race refuelling, and the following year in a knee jerk reaction to Senna's death, scrapped slick tyres and altered the aerodynamic rules in an attempt to slow the cars down.
The effect of this was to leave drivers unwilling to risk overtaking with less grip available and when they do 50% of the time it ends with a spin into the gravel or the car being overtaken. Scrap refuelling and reintroduce wide wings and tyres, that's the only way to bring back the overtaking and "proper" racing.
F1 is only interesting for the first couple of laps, and then we settle into the familiar routine of processional racing. It speaks volumes that the pit stops generate the most excitement in each race.
Next season they should level the playing field and award sequential points for the top ten positions. Ferrari's dominance normally means they get 10 - 16 points per race which does not leave much for the other teams.
If first place earned 10 points, second nine, etc, to tenth place getting one point, then more teams would benefit, there would be a closer championship and I doubt we would have had the fiasco of the Austrian GP because I doubt they would have swapped places for the sake of one point.
I think the constructors would like it as they would have exposure because the closer matched teams would get points whereas at the moment the lions share only goes to the top three teams. The championship would be much closer so drivers would start racing instead of parading and lapping in formation and the fans would get a better season.
F1 is dominated by money. Ferrari have it, so do Williams and McLaren. There is always going to be a three tier system in F1 if the funding remains the same.
What makes the difference between these levels of team is the quality of the engineering and electronics. Until the cars become basic (no driver assistance, auto-clutch, traction control, etc) again the middle and lower tier teams will never be able to compete with the top because they can't afford to.
It seems ironic that Bernie wants to reduce Ferrari's domination when he spent so many years helping them 'compete' to be world champions again!
You can't limit or ban technology, particularly if it is relevant to road car development, but you can limit downforce which isn't. The first step is to get rid of all the aerodynamic aids (wings) so the cars have more power than downforce. Then at least we'll see some overtaking again.
F1 has become a farce for some time now - and I speak as a fan who has followed this sport since I was eight (now 41) and has attended around 30 GPs. The inept, safety and profit-obsessed nature of the politicians who control the sport, has led to a combination of cars and tracks that makes the sport boring.
There is too much distorted thinking in F1 by those only interested in profits. No surprise now that they want to act fast to make the show interesting. I can only see them failing. Let's get a completely new authority in charge. Or have a new series altogether. If they start with weight penalties next year, I will not watch anymore.
The point people seem to have missed is that this isn't just about slowing Schumacher down. It is about levelling the playing field if you get a dominant driver. If administered properly this should help those lower down the field and should help prevent a repeat of Arrows or Prost.
F1 is all about development. Without it, technology within the sport will not progress. If one team runs away with the season, then it should be up to the top competitors to catch up. If they can't catch up, then make all the cars the same and call it Indycar!
Putting extra weight on a single car is not going to make the races more interesting - it's not going to make for more overtaking, etc. As long as the car in front has the aerodynamic advantage through the corners then there are now no straights long enough to make up for it.
Make changes yes, but don't pussy foot around. My choice: reduce downforce and ditch all the wings. It would also reduce lap times: something they also want to do.
Ferrari should not be punished for doing a better job under the same set of regulations as everyone else. It is the responsibility of the other teams to compete with, and beat, Ferrari.
F1 is more exciting in the rain when cornering and braking capabilities are reduced. My answer is to cut braking capacity (smaller discs/pads?), reduce downforce and increase drag.
To single out Schumacher's car for weight gain is utterly ridiculous. This should never happen.
I have always thought that automatic transmissions, traction controls etc should not be allowed, as it would be a truer test of driver ability.
The starts of races were much more interesting when launch control wasn't allowed. You would see the pole sitter making the worst start and being overtaken by a hotshot in fifth place. I haven't seen this kind of movement since launch control was introduced.
Ecclestone and co would do well to take a look at CART and Indy racing in the USA. The drivers actually have to change gear manually and drive the cars without electronic aids.
How about making each of the cars exactly the same, without radio communication, and letting the best driver win? No, it wouldn't catch on, because the motor industry wouldn't gain their plaudits for the cars, the drivers would be the 'racers' and that wouldn't do for the image of F1, or would it?
It's hard to say that Michael is ruining the sport on his own. But, the way in which he wins and the style he is doing it in, is ruining his and the sports image. This is a real turn off for viewers.
Schumacher is only so far ahead because he is the best driver in the best car. Eliminate the car factor and he would still be streets ahead of everyone else. Formula One lacks quality drivers at the moment to rival Schumacher. The answer? Watch the Superbikes for close racing and nail biting finish to the season.
The simplest way to level the playing field in F1 is to restrict how much a team can spend, including it's wage bill, the more Ferrari pay Michael, the less they can spend on their car, and it would have to be low enough to be affordable by all teams.
Ferrari's domination is due to the team putting in the effort; remember it's taken them a while to achieve this, since Schumacher joined in 1996. Remember the Williams' domination? Don't begrudge them of their success. For the viewing public it's becoming dull, but it's just the era we're in, what comes around goes around.
Formula One should have the same type of weight penalties as the British Touring Car series, plus they should do without traction control and go back to using manual gearboxes. If they truly are the "best drivers in the world" then they should prove it and not sit in the cars like robots while an electronic box does all the work for them!
Racing in F1 died years ago. Virtually the only way anyone overtakes now is in the pit lane. F1 is no longer a spectacle and is just a speedy procession.
Surely it is a ridiculous notion to penalise a driver and his team for being successful. I don't remember the same calls for equality when the McLaren team won 15 out of 16 races in 1988, for example.
I'm all for driving down the cost of F1 down by limiting the driver aids, but F1 must be encouraged to develop new driving technologies which will ultimately filter down to road cars.
Maybe not farcical, but definitely boring!
The more electronic aids you take away from F1 drivers the better. Unfortunately for the other drivers and teams, the more electronic aids you take away, the further they will be behind Michael Schumacher.
If he had any sense he would realise that he is fast becoming F1's answer to Ken Bates. The answer to this domination is to run all the cars to the same specification, same engine size, power, shape, and dynamics. This would improve racing ability and put an end to the pointless domination, and constant arguments.
If Ecclestone wants to slow Schumacher down its only fair to make the same restrictions to the rest of the field, so they all run evenly.
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