Monday, July 9, 2012

Light bulb moment

The 2012 Formula One season has been very exciting from the beginning. Seven different race winners for the first 7 races of the year, 2 of which belongs to first time grand prix victors, namely Nico Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado. The Championship table for both Driver's and Constructor's championships are both very close. And a big part of this is due to the 2012 Pirelli Spec Tires. Drivers also have the KERS and DRS in their cars to aid in overtaking which has been very difficult for modern formula one cars.

After the 2012 British Grand Prix, I suddenly had a light bulb moment. It is true that the championship is as close as ever. Overtaking manouvres, which have been an "endangered species" in the past few years, have increased significantly starting last year, which is honestly speaking, have been fun to watch. But I am also feeling something is missing. I am missing the old F1 era where drivers are able to push to the limit during the race. The races this year has become a lottery because the best driver who is able to conserve and look after his tires has the best chance of doing well in the race. A lot of drivers have said their opinions about this because what happens in the race is you try to preserve your tires and as a result, you are not able to attack right from the start. I feel that current F1 races has become more of an endurance race and strategic race rather than a race of pure speed.

Gone were the days when the drivers battle each other without thinking about tire degradation and fuel consumption. One of my favorite season is the 2000 season where Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen were just completely on a world of their own during races, swapping fastest laps with each other, not allowing one driver to gain too much advantage and leaving the rest of the field behind them like they were in a different class of racing.

Yes, they had strategic calls during these times as well, but in the track, you don't see them settle down and preserve their tires till the end of the race. They are both able to lap full speed all the time. And this is what I miss in the races this year. I miss the way drivers used to be able to attack another driver without reservations, without worrying that he might run out of fuel or that his tires might degrade faster than the other drivers' tires. It was pure modern racing.

I'm not saying the races this year have been boring. They actually have been exciting and fun to watch. It's just a different kind of "fun and excitement" because you know that the other driver is on a different tire strategy that's why there is a difference in the car speed. Formula One racing has evolved in the last 10 years, and speaking from my heart, I love the F1 racing before more than the one I am seeing now. But I am not saying I don't like the current style of racing. I'm still happy to watch races every 2 weekends. I just miss the old F1 and actually feels lucky that I was able to watch it during those times.