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Eddie Irvine on F1- with David Hall

I’ve spent a lot of time giving out about Formula 1 this season. Watching Formula 1 in 2015 has had a conflicted feel to it. While Endurance racing has continued to boom into what is fast becoming a Golden Era, Formula 1 is a car heading for a cliff, while its occupants fight over what music they’re listening to.

Ever get that helpless feeling when you watch someone you care about make decisions you know aren’t going to end well?  Well, that’s pretty much the sinking feeling I got when the Strategy Group emerged with their proposals.

Aggressive Aero – Great!
Wider, Faster Cars – Fantastic!
Pitstops – Hold on….
Customer/Franchise Cars – WTF?!

Yes, we all want faster & better looking cars. As decision making goes, you’d imagine that would have been pretty straightforward. Let’s pretend that refuelling wasn’t banned on safety grounds and the fact that it resulted in racing being won “in the pits”. However if you wanted  to showcase why Independent teams needed full representation it was served out with a big “F*ck you” by Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren & Williams. Presumably Force India were told to put the phone away as they tried to get the news out to Lotus, Sauber & Manor.

Meanwhile Lotus, Sauber & Manor were sat outside cursing the “splitters”

Factory backed teams and two teams powered by the best power supply on the grid were never going to deliver the large scale changes needed, but in this case they delivered a proposal that would make doing nothing actually seem like the better option.

Customer/Franchise cars.
Instead of an alternative that makes racing in Formula 1 a viable concern for Independent teams (The very lifeblood of the sport, and something that was suggested by Bernie Ecclestone) we’ve been given a proposal that will wipe out Independent teams as we know them to exist. Fan of Jordan-Hart? Forget that ever happening again. Fond memories of Brawn GP running rampant early in 09 thanks to some clever rule interpretation? Good luck ever seeing that again. Although if you’re a fan of Vettel winning in a Toro Rosso that was actually designed by Adrian Newey you’re in luck.

The Strategy Group’s solution for Formula 1 – Generate more money for the big teams by selling their product to what would effectively be GP1. Wipe out Independent Formula 1 teams as we know them. As the shining beacon of Independent Formula 1 teams I’m stunned that Williams was involved in a meeting that delivered such a solution. A team that has lived Formula 1 as long as I’ve been around to witness it. That have at some point been powered by Honda, Renault & Mercedes must surely know of the need to ensure that Formula 1 does not become a sport only manufacturers can afford. For when they leave it is the Independent teams that carry the sport.

Today I listened to a podcast that reaffirmed what I thought about Formula One. That while it continues to ignore its fans and turn its back on its glorious history, in the pursuit of vast sums of money, it may reach the point when it’s too late to save it. The fans are already turning. Balking at the high cost of a sport that only seems to want them to wring the last ounce of money out of them. Young fans that have been told the sport doesn’t want them because they haven’t enough money. So while the fans turn away so do the sponsors that were attracted to the large global audience that Formula 1 waved in front of them.

Eddie Irvine was never afraid to speak his mind. Thank Christ for that.
For if ever the sport needed to listen to a cold hard truth it is there to be listened to in a fascinating BeanBagSports Podcast.

If you’ve been disillusioned with the direction Formula 1 has taken.
If you’re frustrated with its unwillingness to make the sport cheaper for fans and teams.
If you thought maybe it was just you, because the likes of Sky Sports F1 tell you things are great.

Then listen to this and know that there are others out there as passionate about what’s going on in the sport right now and we all hope that this type of opinion is listened to before it’s too late and the sport we grew up loving is indeed destroyed. Think I’m ranting too much? Compared to Irvine I’m not ranting enough. I hope Eddie is wrong. I hope it’s not too late for Formula 1.

Eddie Irvine: ‘They Are Destroying The History Of F1′
Formula One history is being wiped out very quickly because F1 bosses are more interested in making money rather than promoting the sport.

In a tough talking interview on the BeanBagSports Podcast, the Northern Irishman, who came so close to winning a title at Ferrari was scathing of modern F1. For him it’s already too late “All that history is being completely wiped out when they get rid of races like San Marino to go to some crappy Arab country that doesn’t give a damn about Formula One”, he said.

“They’ve just messed with it so much. I don’t even know the rules anymore and I rarely watch it to be honest. I don’t know what the rules are and I’m not interested in finding out anymore. They’ve just bastardised the whole of Formula One for the sake of chasing viewers that never arrived. They didn’t care about the fans who knew the history and the circuits and those who really worshiped the way it was. Instead they went off chasing the latest fad”, he said.

“They’ve made overtaking easier. What’s the point in making it easier because now it’s not as valuable. In the past, when someone made an overtaking manoeuvre people would think to themselves ‘wow, that was amazing’.

I remember when Lewis Hamilton first came into F1, some of the manoeuvres he pulled off were quite incredible but that’s all gone now as everyone is overtaking.”

“They are trying to make it easier and more entertaining but that actually makes it less worth watching. People don’t want to watch the best drivers in the world have it easy. They want to see them get punished for making mistakes.”

“They’ve been messing with something that was great.”

“Maybe F1 has had its day”

You can listen to the entire Irvine interview here