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Monday, 28 October, 2002, 10:51 GMT
Will rule changes improve F1?
Bernie Ecclestone will have a large say on the plans to shake up Formula One
Formula One bosses unveil several changes to the sport for next season - but shy away from any radical reforms.

Do the new rules go far enough?

The biggest changes agreed at Monday's meeting were to qualifying, the rule on team orders and the points system.

But the more radical proposals - including drivers swapping teams during the season and adding ballast to weigh down the faster cars - were all voted down.

The desire to make changes came after Ferrari's domination of the 2002 season led to a decline in TV viewing figures, but F1 bosses were keen to keep F1 true to its original spirit.

Will the changes make F1 more exciting?

This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.

This is what F1 has been waiting for. The single qualifying system is fabulous for fans. If you don't like it, just take a look at the "shootout" for pole in the V8 Supercar Races down here in Australia.

With this system, there's no danger of missing a pole lap or whatever. F1 will benefit from this. All you people criticising this scheme, you'll be eating your words after Melbourne. GO WEBBER!!
Tristan, Australia

The changes are good, but not enough. I think the circuits are to blame; tight, safety conscious and with one racing line.

I think a fresh start should be made with all the circuits abolished or redesigned with F1 experts, so the tracks can be wide and cope with faster speeds. To allow more overtaking.
Joe, UK

Bring back manual gear changes
Phil, UK

The new rules focus on the symptoms, and as a result, are not a cure. Key issues are no passing, team financial and technological disparity, and the fact Schumacher goes unchallenged.

If new initiatives do not address these problems - and clearly they do not - then they are worthless. Let the drivers drive. If rules cannot be implemented to this end, the only other possibility is to put both Montoya and Villeneuve in Ferraris to keep Michael company.

No team rules. Let's see what happens. Lastly - victimizing Spa was Pyrrhic.
Joe Karron, U.S.A.

It's too little, too late. What a great prospect we have in store - the fastest to qualify go last on the best track conditions to get the pole and lead a procession of slower cars from the front to the end - BIG DEAL!

Bring back manual gear changes. One set of tyres on race day (if it looks like it's going to rain then they would have to gamble). If they pitstop then make it a mandatory one minute stationary at pit, then they might make it a long distance race instead on a series of sprints.

Throw away ABS, traction and launch controls but let slicks back in, and unlimited downforce (they'd not be able to use it all because they'd only have one set of tyres for race day (that's ALL race day driving). Me - I'm off to the GTs, saloons, motorbikes and sidecars.
Phil, UK

F1 is not just about the drivers, it's everything combined
Andy, England

The F1 sport's appeal is about competitive racing. To make it spectator appealing the new rules should take the results of previous races and handicap the faster cars by starting them at intervals after the main start according to their previous performances.

It would be easy to calculate the handicap for each car and what a worth-watching race would develop to see if the faster cars could catch up and pass their less competitive rivals before the finish. This method is fair and continues to encourage the best from each driver.
Robert, Spain

Because F1 is the top of the tree when it comes to motor racing, nothing should get in the way of the teams developing the very best machine possible. F1 is not just about the drivers, it's everything combined.

With a few exceptions, the drivers have earned the right to drive the F1 cars because they have proved themselves is the smaller divisions of motor racing. If you want to watch out-and-out racing, go and see F3 or the Vauxhall challenge when everybody has the same car, that's motor racing - but F1 is more than that.

If you took the same view on horse racing, Frankie Dettori wins a lot of races because he is on the best horse, but he got those rides because he obviously proved himself a good jockey on lesser horses previously.

Leave F1 to do its best. Ferrari won't be on top forever, McClaren dominated longer than they have and so has Williams and Lotus.
Andy, England

I don't think that the changes will fundamentally resolve the main problems
Craig Moore, UK

I assume the FIA will be calling another 'emergency meeting' this time next year when the spectacle doesn't appear to have been improved one iota.

Maybe then we will get the necessary mechanical changes, instead of hedging around the real issue as the FIA have done, this, and the past ten years.
Russell, UK

I don't think that the changes will fundamentally resolve the main problems with F1 - that overtaking is practically absent these days. Let's face it - you aren't racing if you can't overtake!

The points idea is a good one though, as the points gap between first and second places has never warranted the over generous four-point additional reward.
Craig Moore, UK

The touring championships have faced some of these changes and it has totally ruined the sport. This should not go ahead.
Aaron, England

At the moment, the rules have turned F1 into a 'best car' competition. Fans want to see a close, driver-based battle, where the machine under them is of secondary importance. The new changes have done nothing to address this and so I shall not be watching next season.
David Penn, UK

As long as the cars are so dependant on getting clean air for stability, all these changes are merely superficial. Will Bernie realise this before the sport disappears due to lack of support?
Chris, UK

Add weight penalties to cars, as used in TOCA, to slow them down
P Browning, UK

I am very, very sad to see Spa go. It was the one race that you could sit at home and watch and get a sense of being there. Seeing the cars power up the hills and through the demanding turns - gone, and all because of filthy lucre. It sums up F1 in a nutshell, doesn't it? It's not a sport anymore - it's the world's most expensive circus.
Jeremy Griffiths, Manchester, UK

Some good opportunities to go even further were missed out. What about a point each for pole position and the fastest race lap? Also, removing the front and rear wings would have made a big difference, creating higher top speeds, reduced braking ability and lower cornering speeds.

All of these would contribute to overtaking and increase the driver skill needed. But I since the wings make such good advertising space, I guess this wasn't even considered.
Andrew Linley, England

How about a different solution to level the playing field? The team that wins the championship is banned from testing for the next year, and has to use the same car two years running. The second placed team is banned from testing for half a year, encompassing the first eight races, and third placed team up until the end of the fourth race of the season.

The less successful teams would steal a technological march on the leading teams and have more experience of how the new cars handle. This should give the likes of Jordan and BAR a realistic chance, and still give McLaren and Williams an advantage over Ferrari.
Graham Ward, England

Although I welcome the changes that the FIA are making, they still seem to have missed the point about what's wrong with Formula One. We still aren't going to see any great overtaking moves with the new rules, and the winner will be whoever worked out a better pit strategy on a spreadsheet!

They should have got rid of re-fuelling and banned all the sensors on the cars. Make the drivers work out what the cars are doing, rather than having half the job done by a computer.
Paul Sherer, England

There need to be amendments to the rules to encourage overtaking, these do not encourage this
Gareth Woodhead, England

The rule changes are a farce, the qualifying system is pointless and the rule on team orders unenforceable. The FIA should have moved to dramatically cut the levels of down force on the cars, and removed the electronic driver aids such as traction control and paddle-shift gear changes.
Neil Briscoe, Ireland

Will these changes make any difference? Probably not. Will it make the racing any more exiting? Probably not. There need to be amendments to the rules to encourage overtaking, these do not encourage this.

Have the driver with the most points at the back of the grid, and those with the least at the front - similar to British stockcars.
Gareth Woodhead, England

It's skirting around the issues. Whoever has the best facilities and money will always be in the best position. Go back to the more manual racing, stop the onboard computers during races and stop the online communications to the drivers.

Make the drivers drive the car, gearboxes etc. I know it sounds old hat but give the car as is to the driver and let him drive it and if he makes mistakes then so be it.
John S, UK

So the FIA have banned team orders, but that won't stop Ferrari from doing it - they'll just have to be less obvious. Changing the points is a waste of time, and qualifying still favours the big boys. Plus the fact nothing has been done to prevent the sheer boredom of the actual races.
Karen, UK

Well done Bernie - you've changed nothing other than stripping F1 of its greatest circuit.
Lee, England

Although it seems that many people welcome these changes, I think F1's true fans will see that changing the sport in this way doesn't improve a thing. Comparisons to previous championship seasons will no longer be possible, and qualifying will become completely mundane with everything being so standardised and precisely set out.

Repackaging the qualifying does not improve the closeness of racing
Eddie G, UK

For those so-called fans that have stopped watching because one team is successful, these changes may seem like a good idea. Personally, I think the other teams should just get their act together and show us what racing in F1 is all about.
Kaz J, UK

A little late in my opinion, and it does nothing to make racing more enjoyable. Okay, qualification should be more interesting, but we need opportunities to overtake and to watch racing again. I'll watch, but I remain unconvinced.
Mark Conboy, England

Max and Bernie, you have lost touch with the wants of the public once again. Repackaging the qualifying does not improve the closeness of racing. Removing driver aids, carbon brakes and reducing wing area does - how simple can it be? Let the drivers show off their real skills.
Eddie G, UK

The changes to qualifying are a step in the right direction. But the reason people are switching off and not watching F1 is because the race is predictable.

Add weight penalties to cars, as used in TOCA, to slow them down. Then the tracks can be opened up again to allow for overtaking - simple really isn't it?
P Browning, UK

Loosing Spa-Francorchamps is ridiculous. F1 is supposed to be about racing, not advertising, and Spa is far and away the best circuit. The rest of the changes seem not too bad - the points changes particularly seem like a good idea. One thing that won't work is banning team orders - they will never manage to enforce it.
Rick Stones, UK

Loosing Spa is terrible. The other changes are welcome, but once again the commercial vested interests failed to grasp the bull by the horns. Bernie is loosing his grasp of true realities.
Jon champs, UK

Why not ban all driver aids, go back to slicks and lessen the aerodynamics?
Jason, UK

I think these changes are sensible and intelligent as too many wholesale changes would be rash at this stage. I would like to see a system whereby the previous race winner was to start last in the next race, and the loser would start on pole position. This would give us a great spectacle of over taking for at least the first half of the race.
Allan Robbins, England

I am sad that Spa has gone - could they not have fought harder to strike a deal? I believe one of the main causes of the dwindling excitement in F1 is the sterility of the modern venues, and to lose one of the finest traditional circuits from the calendar will only hinder the sport.
Jon Payton, UK

The suggestions are okay as a start, but I think they should get rid of the blue flag system whereby cars at the rear of the field have to give way to the leaders - then we might see some really exciting racing.
Philip, UK

Not far enough. Why not ban all driver aids, go back to slicks and lessen the aerodynamics? Manual gear changes and more exciting tracks? What we need is overtaking - this will result in a closer championship. F1 had the chance to reinvent itself and it has failed.

CART is so much more exciting to watch, and they restrict technology. There is no harm in technological advances, but F1 cars are more like fighter planes, and the skill is with the pit crew and not so much the driver.
Jason, UK

I don't think the new rules will add to the excitement. They need to get the sport back to being about the drivers and less about the cars.
Brian Thomson, Scotland

I stopped watching F1 following the debacle in Austria this year, as I felt that there was no longer any sporting element involved. The new points system should help improve matters, but the change I am most pleased about is the banning of team orders, which have been the main factor in devaluing F1 as a spectator sport.
Stuart Brookes, UK

Spa is the drivers' favourite, and gives fans the closest views of the cars - why didn't the FIA find a compromise?
Fraser, UK

The points changes are good, but I don't think the rest of it will make much difference. I still think the FIA should ban the electronic driver aids and two-way telemetry.

I don't want to watch racing drivers using auto boxes, traction and launch control, or changing their set up mid-race because they messed it up the first time. In short, not many changes!
David, England

The Belgian GP has the best circuit in the world! Spa is the drivers' favourite, and gives fans the closest views of the cars - why didn't the FIA find a compromise?
Fraser, UK

This only goes to show that the qualifying is now more important (and interesting) than the actual race.
Robert, Scotland

The proposed changes to the qualifying sessions will create nothing more than a lottery for who starts first. With the introduction of single car timed runs what will happen on mixed weather sessions?

Formula One is no longer the technical pinnacle of world motorsport, and in an attempt to make a dangerous sport "safe", has been sanitised beyond recognition. The FIA should adopt a more "no holds barred" stance to allow the creativity of the designers to create some genuinely interesting competition.
Alan Hunt, United Kingdom

Tyre manufacturers can make different tyres for each team, so those with the money - Ferrari, McLaren and Williams - get a bespoke tyre program. Everyone else, who is on a limited budget, gets inferior rubber. How does this help competition?

Flying qualifying laps with no-one else on the track - a nice idea, but surely that just ensures that the power/performance advantage of the major teams is more likely to be reflected in qualifying times. With no other traffic on the track, the gap between the haves and have-nots will increase.

F1 has done nothing to improve the sport - where are the steps to improve overtaking and racing?
Ray McClure, England

No team orders? No chance. I'd imagine the teams will simply adjust engine power to ensure that team orders are followed. Given that McLaren fixed Coultard's engine remotely from the pit lane last season, adjusting power to the two drivers is unlikely to be difficult.

No Spa? Bye bye F1.....F1's problems boil down to two words: no overtaking. None of these measures seem to help, least of all removing one of the few circuits where it's still possible to do so.
Stephen Grant, England

F1 has done nothing to improve the sport - where are the steps to improve overtaking and racing? It remains a predicable parade.
Ray McClure, England

The cars remain too aerodynamically sensitive, which makes it impossible at most tracks to get close enough to use the slipstream. Go back to slicks and simplify the aerodynamics. It's a shame about Belgium - one of the last true driver's tracks.
Rob, UK

The changes all fail to address F1's biggest problem, which is the fact that the driver has such little influence on the things. In terms of performance last year, 90% of team-mates were like clones of each other. Traction control, driver aids and Mosley's terrible 1998-spec design should have been changed.
Marcus, England

I'm not sure about the new qualifying format. On a superficial level it seems like a good idea, but it doesn't seem to make any allowance for changing track conditions. If rain falls part way through a session, drivers will presumably still have to stick to their allocated qualifying slot.

I applaud the new points system. It will help prevent a strong team from running away with the championship, and will also help teams regularly at the middle of the grid to stay in touch. This will be a great morale booster for teams and sponsors alike.

The amendment to the points system is a farce
Ian Whittaker, UK

As I see it, the strong point of these new arrangements is that teams and drivers are, generally speaking, intended to be helped and rewarded, rather than penalised for being too fast!
Chris B, England

It's all very well changing the qualifying to two days, but the majority of people work on Fridays! The only good thing is eight points for second, which should definitely brighten things up!
Jamie Knox, England

Instead of having pit stops for fresh tyres/fuel etc, why not introduce a 'Fast Food Drive Thru' where the driver would have to order a meal, hand over the correct amount of money and then drive along with his diet Pepsi propped between his legs?

This would make the whole thing much more 'true to life', and extra points could be added for the driver that spills the least drink.
Rob B, England

I can't see these changes having that much of an effect. Obviously declining audiences aren't that much of a worry then? I think the winners should start the next race from the back of the grid, as they do in some other motor sports. That should make it much more interesting. Unless we see some 'real racing' in the near future, you've lost another two viewers, at least.
Ms Scott, UK

The amendment to qualifying seems good, attempting to ensure that drivers get uninterrupted clean flying laps. The rule change regarding team orders is predictable, but may be difficult to enforce.

The amendment to the points system is a farce, and designed to keep the championship open longer, rather than improving the racing. This will tip the balance in favour of reliability in favour of pace, with points down to eighth; it was probably heavily supported by the smaller uncompetitive teams.
Ian Whittaker, UK

What a great idea on the points system - it gives the small teams a better chance for some points, while helping to prevent runaway leaders.
Darren, England

The one car at a time qualifying thing is quite clever - except they've done it the wrong way wrong. Quickest on Friday should be first out on Saturday. Standardising the ECU is pointless - it's the program inside that you'd need to govern.

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28 Oct 02 | Formula One
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