What makes a winner
When the lights go out is it man or machine?
This year Lewis Hamilton ensured that his name would be placed in the pantheon of the greats of Formula One. Three world championships not only put him in the illustrious company of Brabham, Stewart, Picquet, Lauda and Senna, but also in reach of Vettel, Prost, Fangio and Schumacher. The results are there for all to see and, let’s face it, as we all have witnessed, on his day when man and machine are in perfect harmony, he’s pretty much unbeatable.
Or is he? Or is it that the mighty Mercedes flatters to deceive?
Well when you look back over the record books, particularly the past couple of decades, the car does without doubt deliver the championship. Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Williams have all demonstrated that without their cars, the drivers would be virtually nowhere because today when a team dominates, it does so in a crushing manner because their cars are a countrymile ahead of the opposition.
For sure their drivers weren’t just there for ballast, but the fact remains, ultimately it’s the car that wins. Look at Alonso. Most would agree that he is possibly the best all round driver on the grid with the ability to ring the neck out of anything he drives. But give him a donkey and even his sublime talent can’t deliver podiums. It’s the car that makes the champion. Even Jenson would have to admit that if his Brawn hadn’t stolen a march on the opposition, he wouldn’t have that Championship title to his name.
But how could you prove it. Well maybe the time really has come for a big shakeup in Formula One. And it wouldn’t be so difficult.
You toss for it.
First off you don’t have teams or their sponsors pay for drivers, Bernie does. It’s a performance related pay package. The more points you score the more you earn. Simple.
OK, with drivers no longer aligned to teams what happens next? You toss for it.
Well sort of. Bear with us. Come March the drivers names are chucked in a hat just like the World Cup draw (except this will be straight). First up is the team that won last year. First two names drawn get the drive in Australia. Then the rest of the car and drivers are matched in the same way. But only for the first race. After that whoever came first drives the slowest finisher in the last race and vice versa. This way you’d really find out how good or bad the cars and drivers are and in the process F1 would become a very lumpy, unpredictable, but level playing field.
…sponsors can either elect to put their money on a team or stick in a pot – a bit like tips.
True testing and development would be a bit tricky, but then again that’s what the third driver is for isn’t it?
Talking of drivers, yes we know they come in different sizes, but come on that’s not that difficult to work around and the designers will have to compensate for that lack of packaging finesse in other areas.
But what about pay to play drivers? Well the sponsors can either elect to put their money on a team or stick in a pot – a bit like tips. Or maybe they sponsor best lap times in qualy. Let’s face it qualifying has on occasion been less than edifying as teams jockey for position in the pits rather than on track. Talking of pits, what about a prize for fastest pitstop?
You see there are so many way you can spread the action up and down the pitlane and let everyone have a piece of the action. The best cars will still ultimately shine but perhaps not quite so brightly. More importantly though it will highlight where the real driver talent lies. Not one that only delivers when cossetted by mega budget teams, but one that can also deliver from the garage at the other end of the pitlane.
Of course the other benefit is that it would also bring an end the less than adult relationships that sometimes develop between so called team mates. Now any disciplinary chats would take place with Bernie and you can imagine how sympathetic he’d be…not.
So that’s it, a blue print for F1 that ensures everyone, constructors, drivers and fans, get a better deal with closer racing and overtaking a plenty. Then we’d start to vote on which tracks stay in the championship, which go and which come back. F1 returns to Brands Hatch. Whooaaa!