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Senna/Prost era was boring, claims Alonso

NEWS STORY
08/01/2017

Hoping that the new regulations improve the racing, Fernando Alonso likens boring contemporary F1 to the 1980s.

With the sport still coming to terms with the fact that Nico Rosberg has retired and once again the world champion will not defend his title, much is resting on the new regulations and whether they improve the sport.

Opinion is divided, with some saying that the order will be shaken up and others the Mercedes will still dominate.

Having roundly criticised the sport in recent years, it is widely felt that Fernando Alonso's future could be decided as early as pre-season testing, and that if the Spaniard still fails to get the buzz he used to, or fears another season of battling in the midfield, he could walk away from the sport.

While the Barcelona tests should give us a good idea of times and speed, even reliability, the litmus test will come in Melbourne.

However, some are already preparing their excuses, insisting it will take several races before the new rules really begin to take effect.

Fact is, should Lewis Hamilton and his new teammate, whoever that might be, fill the front row in Australia then romp home to a 1-2, many fans will not stick around to see if things improve in China and beyond.

No fan of the current regulations, or those before, while admitting that the sport is hurting, Alonso claims it is no different to how it was during the 1980s and that the true golden era for F1 was in the 2000s.

"Formula 1 at that time, it was very boring," he said of the 1980, when fans regularly witnessed two of the greatest drivers to grace the sport regularly battling it out. "If you see a race now from '85, '88 or '92, you will sleep through it because it was two McLarens, the fourth guy was lapped and there was 25 seconds between each car. There were 10 cars DNF because the reliability was so-so.

"Television figures, spectators are going down now," he continued, according to Autosport, "like it was in these boring years in the '80s where Senna, Prost and these people were saving fuel, saving tyres and things like that, so it's exactly the same boring as it was at that time."

But then came the 2000s, the era of the manufacturer.

"I think Formula 1 grew up a lot then," said the Spaniard. "A lot of manufacturers came into Formula 1 in the 2000s... BMW, Toyota, and there were many people coming. Television figures and the spectators were at the maximum.

"We opened Formula 1 to new countries," he continued, "we raced in Korea, we raced in India, we raced in Singapore, two races in Spain... and that was the maximum.

"We didn't understand that situation, probably," he admits. "The costs were very high, technology was very high, some manufacturers pulled out."

Fact is, most of those manufacturers, having spent hundreds of millions were left without a single win to their name, and eventually withdrew, Honda, ironically, which was to morph into Mercedes, essentially winning the title posthumously courtesy of Brawn.

Turning his attention back to the present day, he remains critical of the regulations.

"The resources, the budgets of these teams, the technology we are using allows these cars to be fantastic machines and probably beyond any physics that the human being respects," he said. "Now we don't have that feeling. We have a car that is way too slow with no grip, so we are sitting in a single-seater but with the feeling of a GT."

Looking ahead to 2017 however, he remains optimistic... for now.

"I think this will make that excitement of driving and this joy of driving, because we'll feel the grip and we can push in the corners," he said.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Rock Doc, 09/01/2017 15:12

"The new regs might make the racing more challenging for the drivers, but I suspect we will have another runaway team like the Mercs. Just as the other teams are beginning to knock on Mercs door the regs change again.

I'm no fan of the new engines but it has been shown before, the way to closer racing is to keep the regs consistent with minor changes. Big changes like these will only benefit the few for a couple of years after which the regs will be changed again."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by mittagongcalling, 09/01/2017 9:40

"Get rid of the wings, increase the straight line speed, decrease the cornering speed, increase the braking effort, increase the DRIVER input."

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3. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 09/01/2017 9:35

"We always look back with those rose tinted limitations, most of the time F1 has been boring / predictable, if you had a "classic" race it was usually the exeption, but the cars looked and sounded the part, thats where the current era has lost its way.
"

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4. Posted by scf1fan, 08/01/2017 19:05

"If Fernando can't "feel the grip" going from +3gs or more left to +3gs or more right, I don't know what to think. I believe that it would be a good thing to get rid of some of the artificial limitations that are currently being regulated into the sport (such as the instantaneous fuel flow limit and the tire swaps) but in the end, racing will always be limited by the physics. One could make a 9g car with enough wing and suction, but at that point, the drivers would be passing out! And if the rest of the field could do that same, we'd be back at where we at now. The best prepared (funded) teams would still be consistently at the front.
.
We can't expect the curve to keep going up forever. There will always be a point where there is a rate of diminishing return."

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5. Posted by ryanhellyer, 08/01/2017 14:48

"These regulations may be nicer for the drivers, but I don't seem them making any difference to the appeal for fans. Fans want excitement. G-forces and effort don't matter to TV watchers because we can't experience it."

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