Rules à la carte

As you may know, Rules is London’s oldest surviving restaurant. Rules, however, are also crucial to the structure of Formula 1. Unlike many other sports, the rules are constantly changing, sometimes significantly (for example the recent engine modifications, or next year’s aero reductions). Rules define not only how the sport operates, but how the sport, i.e. the cars, look. I’m sure F1 blogs all over the internet have been debating whether Massa should have been punished for almost colliding with Sutil. In Sofaf1’s attempt to tackle less mainstream issues, we should try to stay clear of this, but before moving on to my main point I would just like to add one thing. There are people who argue: ‘It wasn’t Massa’s fault, he shouldn’t be punished’. But since when have the driver and his team been so easily separable? The reason F1 is so enjoyable (sometimes painfully so) is because one depends upon the other for their success.

I haven’t seen the F1 rule-book, but I’m sure it must be a lengthy tome. The question is, should we keep adding rules until we have every situation covered? A regular steward was introduced a few years ago in order to attempt to have some sort of consistency between races. This has only been marginally successful. In expensive restaurants, you can’t order à la carte, and have to choose from a set menu. Perhaps what F1 needs is a set of general principles that can apply to many circumstances? For example: ‘in whatever situation, a lapped car should always cede to a lapping one’, or ‘if two cars crash, it is always the car who was originally behind that is at fault’. These are just my suggestions, but could the method work? Should we dispense with à la carte rule-making and switch to a set menu?

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