Malaysia F1

F1, and I make the following remark purely as my own opinion as a casual observer, not a fanatical fan, is beginning to look like Farce 1, rather than Formula 1.

And even thought I have started writing early, as the race in Malaysia has succumbed to the weather  and ended in one of the well-known downpours, that is not the reason. The weather, at least, is something that happens, and is dealt with accordingly depending on its severity.

Formula 1, not surprisingly, runs according to a formula, or set of rules. While not expecting those to be absolutely perfect, given the apparent huge size of the rulebook, there should be little need, or allowance, for interpretation, and they should be capable of being applied swiftly.

Instead, we have teams interpreting the design criteria and producing what they believe are conformal designs, only to have other teams challenging the legality of their designs and lodging protests.

With so many rules, there should be formal scrutineering pre-race, by officials trained in the rules, and if no protests are lodged pre-race, and the designs meet the scrutineers interpretation of the rules, then that should be end of it. The race should run as is, and no post-race protests entertained on any aspects that were approved pre-race.

Should anything new transpire during the race, then that’s fair game, but even that should still be dealt with swiftly, and avoid retrospective penalties – unless the subject relates to some sort of out and out cheating of course.

The same applies to the driver and team penalties, and the F1 house needs to be put into some sort of order that avoid the farce of drivers like Hamilton, for example, ending the race in one position, being awarded a different position after one review, then being completely disqualified after a review of the review.

It’s beginning to make the end of an F1 race a joke, as the drivers climb the podium at the end, collect their trophies and celebrate, then, over the course of the next week or so we have to watch the news and see who really won or placed. It’s no longer a rare happening with the way the appeals and investigations are now being regularly called for, and you could almost run a mini lottery on the final outcome.

It’s not hard to make a set of rules that can work in only a few pages. I spend a great deal of my working life working to the rules as set by BS/EN/ISO standards and documentation, and most of those only run to a few pages, between 10 and 20 in many cases, and these can define how an entire industry operates. Having said that, these documents, even though only carrying a few pages can be applied internationally, and may take years to compile by many experts and panels.

Maybe F1 should sub-contract the writing of their rulebook to the BS/EN/ISO community – they probaby couldn’t do any worse than the present F1 organisers.

Well, the race ended part way through with half points, so again, as per the first race in Melbourne last week, there’s little to be said (other than at least the weather and safety part of the rulebook seems to be in order), and we’ll have to wait for another race before we get any sort of indication as to how the 2009 season may develop.

One thing though, there seems to be a lot of griping about Jenson Button only getting half-points for his win because the race finished early, and a lot of dire warnings that come the end of the season he might regret the result.

So what? The commentators largely (I did hear one talking sense) forgot, or chose to ignore, the fact that everyone else in the same race who scored points “suffered” in the same way, and also received half-points, so there’s no real disadvantage, or advantage.

Or is there?

What if, for example, at the end of the 2009 season Button loses the title to a driver who scored no point in Malaysia, but full points in all the other races, and won the title by say, 2 or 3 points? Had Button been awarded full points in Malaysia for his win, then he would also have won the driver’s championship, yet he would lose it to the other driver, even though both would have driven and been placed with no difference during the season. The only difference would be that Button did not receive the usual points for one of his wins, for a reason not under his control in any way.

Looks like Farce 1 is becoming more appropriate.

The rulebook should be burnt – they need a new one.

And as the coverage closes, we’re reminded the Hamilton/McLaren/cover-up story is still running, with more court hearings due.

I reckon they will soon decide to stop running the actual races with the cars on track, because having to travel to them will begin to get in the way of all the protests, court cases, and appeals.

Two weeks to go until China – will the 2009 season actually manage to make start then? Or will we have to wait until the circus makes its way to Europe before any actual racing takes place.


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