For many current generation F1 fans like this author, the era of Ferrari’s dominance in the early 2000s, was the golden period of Formula 1 history. This was mostly due to the popularity of racing superstar Michael Schumacher who became nearly invincible in the scarlet Ferrari. Every other weekend fans would tune-in to watch their hero destroy the opposition. Ferrari were on a roll and the fans were in heaven.
Many others consider that era as a dark period in the sport for sport is about competition and not annihilation. As the number of Ferrari fans grew the fans of other teams slowly lost interest. Even Ferrari fans got the taste of their own medicine when Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull prevented any other team from winning in the 2010s. These back to back domination periods have hurt the sport quite a lot as many fans from other teams have stopped following F1. This fact has put tremendous pressure on the sports governing body FIA and in the hope of levelling the playing field they started to fiddle with the rules of the game every other year. This had an even worse impact on the sport (in my opinion).
Absurd rules like the ‘one tyre per race rule’ and ‘the no refuelling rule’ made the sport boring and even dangerous. Being the ultimate in motorsport, one expects F1 drivers to go flat-out all the time. When one starts to see racers driving slow to save fuel or tyres, the sport loses its appeal. For those who have witnessed v12s going flat-out in qualifying and drivers changing tyres 6 times the sport had already begun to die. One can discuss several other rule changes that caused new manufacturers to close shop and go away, but we’ll leave those for another time.
However, we cannot go forward without discussing the v6 engines. Petrol-heads love big engines and more cylinders, hence the demotion from V8s to V6s didn’t go too well with the fans. The first v6 iterations seen in the last season made the cars sound like Formula 3 cars. The most evident difference between a top of the line F1 car and any other car has been the loud and high pitched scream of the V10/V12 engines.
Last season, it wasn’t only the engines that weren’t sounding right, the cars were also hideous looking. For a sport format that has failed to provide a level playing field for more than a decade its historic appeal was one of the only factors that kept interest of fans going and that too is being slowly taken away. Many argue today whether Formula 1 is indeed Formula 1 of the past.
However, with the start of every season there is renewed hope that there would be some decent racing action. Here are some reasons why:
Honda is back
Yes, in black Mclaren livery, Honda has returned after several years of absence from Formula 1. Interestingly, Honda and Mclaren have won a few championships together with none other than the great Ayrton Senna.
Vettel and Red Bull have separated
The Red Bull and Vettel partnership has broken. For many the partnership is a reminder of a dark age. It would be interesting to see how he performs with Ferrari. Latest testing suggests he will have a bullet of a car. Let’s hope its not another one-way season.
Cars are gorgeous
Whatever they have done with the rules, this years cars are beautiful. The Mclaren and Ferrari in particular are gorgeous. Lets hope the engines are louder this time.
Alonso is the underdog
One of the greatest F1 drivers in current times is an underdog with an untested Honda engine. The Mclaren-Honda-Alonso partnership has huge potential but it can all go down in a puff of white Honda smoke. One can’t wait to see how they’ll perform.
A message to the reader, in the midst of the world cup and falling heros, don’t forget 2015 Formula 1 season is just going to start.