I’ve never particularly noticed le Tour de France before. Obviously this year, starting as it did in London, there’s been a lot more publicity than usual. It also happened that as F1 was engaged in a spy scandal, so cycling was in controversy over doping. The two stories were compared, and run adjacent to each other, in many news programmes.
So, I became interested in how it worked. There are 20 stages, much like there are roughly 20 races. The winner is the person who, on average, does the best. He doesn’t have to win every stage, or even the most amount of stages. It rewards consistency. However, the main difference is that there are no points – the winner wins on the amount of time it takes him to complete the whole Tour. For example, this year’s champion, Alberto Contador, took 91 hours and 26 seconds. Could we apply this to F1? Could the winner be the driver who took the least time over the season? This way drivers would no longer ‘settle for second’ and drop back off the leader. They’d push to get as close as possible and minimise the time loss. Conserving engines, and team orders after the second pit-stop, would all go out the window. The only drawback, I can see, is what do you do when a driver fails to finish a race? What time is he given?