Max Mosley has talked again about his ideal version of Formula 1 in an effort to dispel talk that he has too much control over what’s happening in F1.
His argument goes something like this: “I’ve wanted to do this crazy thing to Formula 1 for about 20 years and I’ve never been able to do it so clearly I don’t have too much power. Because if I had all the power then I’d have done it by now”.
So what’s his crazy plan?
His plan is kind of simple in it’s craziness. He doesn’t want any driver to be tied to any team. He wants the teams and drivers to be split and he wants the drivers to race at every single team during the course of a season. This, he argues, would mean that you would get a true sense of the abilities of a driver. Because nobody could ever argue that the driver won only because of the best car. He would deal with the problem of their being more races than cars by simply saying that after every driver had had a race in every car the driver at the front of the championship would be able to decide which of the teams (one race each) they’d like to race with for the remaining races of the season. Then the second driver in the championship would decide and so on.
To be completely honest, when I first heard this idea I thought: “that’s just so crazy it might just work”. I really thought that it seemed to answer the problem that so many have tried to deal with for so many years, the problem which is that the best driver has the best car.
Other than the obvious Formula 1 enthusiasts response to this which is that Formula 1 is a team sport and the separation between drivers and constructors is artificial. I suddenly realised today what the fundamental problem with Max’s idea is. I knew there was something. It had been nagging at me ever since I heard it the first time, but I’d never been able to conceptualise it. But I suddenly thought of it today.
The problem is that if the driver vs. car selection at the beginning of the season is essentially random then the problem is that the best drivers wont be racing on the circuit. The drivers will be in randomly assigned cars, what we won’t see in this situation is Michael fighting Alonso fighting Kimi? Because if Kimi’s in a Ferrari, Alonso’s in a Toyota and Michael’s in a Minardi then it’s not going to be a straight fight. Sure we’ll all find out who the fastest driver is. But we won’t find out who the fastest driver is until the end of the season. The strength of mind to deal with a formula like that is beyond most. I myself might love the complexity, as I love the perceived complexity of qualifying this year. But I’m not sure the sport would have any mass appeal. If you need a spreadsheet to understand what’s going on then it isn’t really going to have broad appeal.