How to fix Formula One in one easy move

Published: 23 March 2010

In case you’ve missed the hype, there’s an F1 race this weekend. And after the opening round in Bahrain, everyone’s waiting to criticise the new rules (again) if the Australian GP is another procession. Well, I (like everyone else) have a solution…

The problem is the current ban on refuelling. If everyone starts with full tank, unless a driver makes a mistake in qualifying then the quickest car is inevitably on pole. Then the grid sets off and it’s impossible to overtake. When the tyres start to degrade the drivers pit, and then this process is repeated. Then we all wait with baited breath and hope the Bridgestones fall apart in the final laps and shakes up the field. But the rubber doesn’t rip apart and nothing interesting happens.

The solution (beyond supplying the teams with remoulds and watching the chaos unfold) is surely to reverse the grid after each race. Under my rules Alonso would start 24th in Australia, with Massa alongside him, while heading the field would be Karun Chandhok. It means the new teams get some extra coverage and we’d all get to watch Alonso, Hamilton, Schumacher et al having to fight through the field just to get in the points. We’d finally see some overtaking, and it wouldn’t just be the faster cars bombing past the slower ones – the best part about endurance racing is that the faster cars spend lots of time overtaking the slower cars, and tripping over each other as they do so. This is what F1 needs.

Of course there would be problems – the backmarkers might all drop out of the Spanish GP early so they can be on pole in Monaco – but I still think the positives would outweigh the benefits. So scratch qualifying and let Saturday be a test day, meaning the new teams get some decent data from each track before the race and the inexperienced drivers get a run in the cars outside of race conditions.

Failing that, after Bridgestone pulls out at the end of the year, running the 2011 grid on remoulds will shake things up nicely.

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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy