Part Two: Main Course, Dessert, and Cheese Board.
The first two courses of our meal, being business model and fan engagement, were served and digested in the first of these two articles, we now move to the main course of sporting regulations, and serve-up a review of the F1 Dream World editor Balfe and I dreamt-up, combining all the best fan suggestions into a brave new sporting format, this will be served as a delightful selection of World Cheeses, with a suitably fitting aged Muscat.
So on with our Dinner with Mr. Chase and his gaggle of chefs...
Part Three of the original articles on improving F1 reviewed the Sporting Regulations. Our resultant suggestions were;
Lesson Three: Simplify to move forward. Cut away the complexity by drafting rules around Physics and safety. Establish clear engineering bounds, coupled with clear safety requirements, and let the engineers run free! Fans grasp the basics involved and love the technology arms races. Then a Colin Chapman for the twenty-first century (genius on a budget) might once again win the day. On track rules should be similarly simplified, based around acceptable risk, and safety.
Pitpass Recommendation: Let Miss Physics be your guide. Dimension, and weight limits. Crash tests, and impact height requirements. And then get out the way. Establish either clear training and qualifications to be an international steward, or train a core body of stewards and use the same ones each race to get rule application consistent. Review all on track rules for merit, deleting those that simply hamper good racing. Then use advanced technology to impose track limits, and enhanced vision in wet weather driving, so amazing drivers can shine. Drivers must be able to take sporting risks, without placing their lives at unnecessary risk. Provide a central FIA controlled set of test tools, wind tunnels and the like, that all teams have the same time to access and ban all unique team facilities as an alternative approach to a cost cap that cannot be successfully policed.
Well, truly Chef Chase has appointed a guest English chef, Ross Brawn, who is well versed in the ways of the English, Italians and French, plus he used to be a poacher, prior to his new game keeper role. If he gives Ross rule of the kitchen to cook this course his way, it could be a stunner.
Alas and alack, it appears leaping the fence and ditching his poacher's coat has apparently seen Ross have a change of heart and mind. The man that brilliantly stole a march on his opponents via genius reading of the rules followed by remarkable hard work, and continuing brilliant insights has gone all NASCAR on us. Common components are set to increase, yet more are being mooted. Rather than an engine equivalence Formula being generated, more formulaic prescribed engine configurations are being considered.
The Halo device is set to be introduced to avoid potential accidents we've not yet had in F1. No doubt it will have unforeseen impacts and might cause a new style of accident the modelling did not foresee.
Max Verstappen has been vocal in echoing Pitpass' calls for full time professional stewards to avoid the, ah, variable level of rule application as young Max sees it. Action on this front looks possible, so let us wait and see what next season brings.
Track limits have been a bugbear for some time. Our Pitpass desire to see some form of natural punishment for transgressions is yet to be seen. Truth is this is difficult. As GPS-style location technologies can now get accuracy to within a cm or two I'm keen on engine power being cut once two wheels are off the track (or the centre line of the car, whatever the FIA considers reasonable and safe). This would be a fair punishment for leaving the track. Sure cut the corner, but we will cut your power, so why do it? I think this would be a naturally balancing system.
It seems that Ross is handicapped in the kitchen by being given an American Cookbook, European ingredients, and ice cream sundae creation specialists, when he wants to serve roast beef and Yorkshire pudding genius.
The entree and wine list are important, but make a mess of the main course and all else is for nothing. Great racing is the main course of F1, no matter how much Chef Chase tries to sell the sizzle.
Ross is rumoured to be considering purchasing a wind tunnel. If this is the first small step toward central resources on which all teams have equal time each month I think it would be a great leveller. You have the same tools and the same time available. It really would come down to better thinking to extract advantage. This shows promise for adding a tasty sauce to the main course. As with the other cooks in Chef Chase's kitchen it is still too soon to judge the final dish.
So far we have a lot of noise, some hint of how it might be plated-up, and some very odd smells. Even the greatest kitchens can appear chaotic, but closer inspection always reveals a rhythm that is hard to discern but is there, and results in consistent stunning dishes. Close inspection of poor kitchens simply confirms the chaos is real, and the chefs clueless.
The judging panel is becoming slightly agitated. It can see the potential lurking in some of the dishes, but not one has actually been served yet. The bread rolls are cold, we are on our third bottle of sparkling water, and the red is taking a hammering. Yet we remain hungry.
Struggling to keep the faith we will award Ross 3/10 for his potential main course. At this stage he is very much trading on the quality of his previous Italian Restaurant, and the home cooking at Brawn. If his American Diner Experience does not deliver main course perfection soon he might find everyone has settled the drinks bill, and walked out of the restaurant.
So, Dessert, with a hopeful eye on the cheese board and a nice vintage Muscat, we review out final part of our original series of articles. Part Four of our original review Trilogy (in true Douglas Adams' style) looked at what F1 2021 might look like if editor Balfe and Mr Noble were given the toys and the wallet...
Ok. Here we see some alignment. The London event was a bit like a trial run of our suggested joint launch in the place of choosing of the previous year's Constructors' Champion. I think Pitpass and Chase are aligned on major joint events being a potential big positive.
We had an engine equivalence formula in place that looks like a non-starter. We had simplified design rules to some basic maxima and minima, plus the need to pass safety tests. That also looks to be out the window as more prescriptive design rules look set to rule.
We had no engine limit. Next year sees the FIA move the grid to three engines for the season. My word why? Why not mandate four wooden cart wheels with steel banding to last the entire season!? That would limit speed, and make it feel like the drivers' were in a season long downpour. It could actually have merit... certainly more merit than a three engine limit!
That fine Mr Horner (I'll resist eating in the corner jokes, as Pitpass readers know I can over-cook my extended metaphors!) has suggested five engines per season is about right, and I am partly in agreement with him. I do not grasp how the FIA think making an engine powerful, light and reliable is cheaper than powerful and replaceable. Anyone who has purchased 1,001 plastic cups for a party will know use once and bin is far more cost effective than trying to find the finest Chrystal wine goblets that will last a generation of family parties!
Why, oh why does the FIA not think this way?
We then recommended far more on track time for the cars. Ban the simulators (other than centralised FIA supplied tool sets) and get the cars back on the track. This gives drivers more time behind the wheel, and it gives the fans more time to attend and watch. What's not to love?
The current recommendation is to shorten race weekends even further, but have more races... the only people who appear to love this idea are Liberty. Sigh. Our specialist dessert is in danger of turning into the most lumpy custard.
Finally gala nights, charity balls and a general knees-up at each race weekend, plus joint marketing events. Well Liberty appear to be addressing this with some success More at track events, a couple of joint events show promise. Again we need to wait and see.
And so, dear reader, Editor Balfe is blushing at the bill - insisting that being of a certain age he should receive a historic discount - and I'm carving another slice of King Island Bree as the waiter pours the last of the Muscat and we all go misty eyed over the future of F1.
A delightful comment to the first part of this review article suggested F1 is already a soap opera/reality TV show, and maybe that is the case. There is no question The Head of Ferrari, Messrs Lauda, Horner, Wolfe, and many more are all playing brilliant parts. It is indeed the longest running and most expensive reality TV show in human history.
But as the last of the Muscat lingers on the palette and memories of Ascari, Nuvolari, Hunt, Alesi, Villeneuve and so more drift through our minds we have to ask; has age dulled our palette and spoiled the taste of all we try, or is Liberty trying to serve us South Korean Hongeo (stinky fish), while insisting it is a smoked salmon and cucumber sandwich? Offering a minced beef patty for prime rib. Or is it just that all American fast food tastes like that? Heart-burn, indigestion, or a feast to remember for the ages?
At this stage we are forced to wait until next season when we can only hope that Chef Chase will sweep to the table and finally present the dishes he has been promising all season long.
Learn more about Max and check out his previous features, here