ANTHONY ROWL­IN­SON “F1, in many re­gards, is in rude health”

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

News just in! For­mula 1 is doomed. Yep, the sport in which millions have in­vested quite a lot of their adult lives, will soon cease to be.

No more driv­ers’ world cham­pi­onship. No more buzzing an­tic­i­pa­tion of the sea­son to come. No more slightly agog won­der at the sheer en­gi­neer­ing vir­tu­os­ity of the mod­ern F1 car. No more chart­ing the calendar ac­cord­ing to the well-re­hearsed rhythms of the rac­ing year: long-hauls, the Euro­pean sea­son, then fu­ri­ous fly­aways. All of this, we are be­ing told, is to stop, as F1 self-im­mo­lates on a pyre of ire, fu­elled by a volatile cock­tail of fear and loathing. B******s. F1, in many re­gards, is in rude health. Let’s start with team and man­u­fac­turer in­volve­ment. Re­nault has just bought back in big time, res­cu­ing Lo­tus and com­mit­ting some­thing in the re­gion of 300mil­lion euros per sea­son to a team that looked doomed at the end of 2015.

Haas – what an en­trance! Yes, there has been snip­ing that ‘they’re not re­ally con­struc­tors’, but all credit to them for a smart in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the rule book and a prag­matic de­ploy­ment of re­sources on re­spected part­ners (Fer­rari, Dal­lara) to cre­ate an en­tirely cred­i­ble mid-grid team al­most from nought.

Manor: tail-end Char­lies, yes, but with a pos­i­tive fu­ture di­rec­tion and tech­ni­cal al­liances (Mercedes, Wil­liams). We hardly need men­tion the hun­dreds of millions pumped into the sport by Mercedes, Fer­rari, Red Bull and Honda (via Mclaren).

Mov­ing along, what about driv­ers? Let’s see, we have a grid of five world cham­pi­ons, eight grand prix win­ners, and a pool of young ty­ros such as Stof­fel Van­doorne, Kevin Mag­nussen, Pas­cal Wehrlein, Este­ban Gu­tier­rez, Max Ver­stap­pen, Car­los Sainz and Jolyon Palmer, who’ve all shown ter­rific prom­ise. Not too many wor­ries there, then.

Venues: 21 this year and count­ing. Sure, the wor­ries over Monza and the Ger­man Grand Prix are a con­cern, as is the drift from F1’s so-called Euro­pean heart­land. But this is a World Cham­pi­onship af­ter all and new venues such as COTA, Yas Ma­rina, Sepang, and Sin­ga­pore have con­trib­uted hugely over the past decade or so to the mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism of a gen­uinely global sport.

Tech­nol­ogy: the V6 hy­brid power units that have shoved along F1 cars since 2014 are pi­o­neer­ing pieces of kit, ca­pa­ble of achiev­ing ther­mal ef­fi­ciency lev­els pre­vi­ously un­known in motoring and mo­tor­sport. They are in­flu­enc­ing the di­rec­tion in which car man­u­fac­turer multi­na­tion­als chan­nel their in­vest­ment, thereby help­ing de­scribe a path for a more en­ergy ef­fi­cient trans­port fu­ture. Rest as­sured those power units are nois­ier this year, too, and are likely to hus­tle a Nico, a Lewis, a Seb or a Kimi to the fastest ever top speed recorded on-event at a grand prix, later this year.

The rac­ing? Well we were all thrilled in Oz, weren’t we?

Does F1 have a few prob­lems, most no­tably in the ar­eas of eq­ui­table fi­nan­cial distri­bu­tion, strate­gic vision, gover­nance and suc­ces­sion plan­ning? Of course it does. Does that mean it’s on the brink of col­lapse? Nope. So how’s about we all quit bitchin’ and get on with en­joy­ing what might just be a clas­sic sea­son of grand prix mo­tor rac­ing?

“We are happy with the en­try be­cause it is the first time at Sil­ver­stone and the first time we have a race just for tour­ing cars, so I think an en­try of 42 cars is great to start with,” said Creven­tic’s Daphne Gen­gler. “We have big­ger plans for the fu­ture and hope that it will in­crease, but for now it’s per­fect.

“It’s good to have the tour­ing cars fight­ing for the over­all win and we’ve seen the time dif­fer­ence be­tween the teams was not that big.”

This year was the first time that only tour­ing cars took part in the race af­ter Creven­tic took over from Brit­car as or­gan­iser, but Gen­gler added that is the right di­rec­tion to take.

“We see a lot of po­ten­tial in the tour­ing car class, it’s great to see that this first event is a suc­cess and we can build from there,” she said.

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