F1 has become Farce 1


Two years ago I wrote we learned that Formula 1 is getting to the stage of being Farce 1. How can teams continue with rules that can give one team 45 grid positions of penalties? Yes, 25 positions for Jenson Button (McLaren-Honda) and 20 for his team mate Alonso. Why? Because their unreliable and underpowered engines are giving good imitations of hand grenades, but the team cannot change the engines without accruing grid position penalties. This is nonsense. And change a gearbox that’s another 5 grid position penalties. Who dreams this up? It is bad enough that a powerplant doesn’t last – without more penalties on top.

Honda engined F1 car doing a fast lap.
Honda engined F1 car doing a fast lap.

McLaren aren’t the only ones getting grid slot penalties as both Red Bull cars also were penalized for changing gearboxes and/or the underpowered Renault engines in their cars.

Here’s the “revised” grid penalties. Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull) got a 10 place grid penalty for taking his fifth Renault engine of the year and started P14. That’s five engines since March!

His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who was handed the same penalty but was not able to take the full 10-place drop, started P18 and had to take an additional five second time penalty. Great engines, these Renaults.

As for the McLarens, Fernando Alonso started the race 19th on the grid with Jenson Button P20. This was following numerous engine changes of the underpowered Hondas. (I think they mixed up and sent McLaren a box of 125 cc motorcycle engines.) Alonso, though, was supposed to also serve a drive-through penalty in the first three laps of the grand prix while Button had to take a 10 second stop-go penalty.

All this was rather academic as Alonso didn’t make it as far as turn three ending on top of Raikkonen (Ferrari) and Button stopped on lap 10 with no power.

Back to being serious, the powers that be in F1 are supposedly very worried about the falling popularity of the category, but you certainly don’t fix the situation with nonsensical rules. And I notice that some categories in Thailand are also adopting this no engine change rule. Damn nonsense. The emperor’s new clothes comes to mind.

So to the race. He who wins the start wins the race it would seem. Rosberg (Mercedes) got the drop on his team mate Hamilton and never was headed after that. When Hamilton then received a five second penalty for crossing the white line on the exit from the pits, Rosberg could relax.

A very popular third was Felipe Massa, the resident dwarf at Williams. Held on to the finish despite being harassed by the driver formerly known as The Finger from Ferrari. His team mate Raikkonen looks to have given Ferrari the fuel to set fire to his contract after losing the car (and the plot, it might seem) on the first lap, taking out Alonso in the McLaren.

Bottas took fifth for Williams after a busy race but stayed in front of Hulkenberg (FIndia) and the lapped rest of the final 14 runners, who did produce some passing action, even though so far behind.

The next race is the British GP at Silverstone and McLaren are saying that they are making great strides forward. Bollox. McLaren should withdraw both cars from the race NOW, before they embarrass themselves further.

That is what we were writing 18 months ago, and nothing has changed. Unreliable engines are still unreliable engines. Penalties dreamed up by the FIA have done nothing to make the sport a better spectacle. Just leave them alone.