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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Unpredictable? Maybe, maybe not

Much has been made of the 2012 season's unpredictability. And six winners in six races certainly is not what we have come to expect in F1 in recent years.

No, F1 is about one team dominating, winning every race and sewing up the championship sometime before the summer break. Or maybe it is about two teams slugging it out, one dominant but unreliable, the other stealing points when available.

But six drivers taking the top step in six races? A wide open constructors battle? No, that's not F1.

Personally, as someone who has been watching since the Schumacher/Benneton era, I have mixed feelings about it all, but I cannot deny that when Sunday comes predicting the winner before the lights go out is not the 90 percent certainty it used to be. A poor quali can mess up someone's weekend, but a driver CAN win from sixth, and that brings with it a certain excitement that has been lacking in recent times.

Granted, this unpredictability with the tires IS all a little Mickey Mouse. There is no doubt that Williams had a superior strategy in Pastor Maldonado's win, but it was based on some silly rules. But really, isn't this where the sport has been headed in recent years anyway?

Why get annoyed now? Forcing teams to switch to a compound that less suited the car's setup and the track was Mickey Mouse. Allowing DRS anywhere on the track on Saturday, but only in designated zones on Sunday was Mickey Mouse. Speccing the Formula so tightly was Mickey Mouse.

Obviously, drivers are going to complain if things don't suit them, they are self-centered by design and are bound to complain. But F1 is about teams exploiting the rules to their best advantage, and really, have we seen anything else this year? It is all well and good to blame the rules, but is that really what is at the root of Red Bull's challenging start? Yes, Ferrari was well off the pace in the beginning of the season, but a good driver seems to be able to make use of the car, doesn't he?

Isn't the F1 fan getting the same old sport he always did, with perhaps a few less parades around the old circuits?

Granted, I'd prefer to go back to refueling. Smaller fuel cells had a pretty decent safety argument. I'd ditch this multiple compounds baloney. I'd either ban DRS outright or allow its use anywhere. I'd let the teams innovate within the spirit of the rules, rather than just declare everything illegal all the time. And I wouldn't jerk the rules around mid-season. I'd work on the tracks to make it easier to pass. I'd eliminate some of the chicanes. There are a host of things I'd do if I were in charge of the sport.

But I'm not going to complain about this season. It has been fun. One guy isn't winning all the time. And you know what? Take a look at the tables:


  1. Alonso - 76
  2. Vettel - 73
  3. Webber - 73
  4. Hamilton - 63


  1. Red Bull - 146
  2. McLaren - 108
  3. Ferrari - 86
  4. Lotus - 86

Looks like the same old F1 to me.

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