Opinion: When Hamilton has his sixth title, F1 should go experimenting

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

Last Sunday's French Grand Prix was considered by many as the perfect example of everything that is wrong with today's Formula 1.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes' dominance was as strong as ever, penalties were dished out for almost everything and it all took place on a big car park decorated with lots of big, bright stripes.

Much like after the Spanish GP, claims of the sport's impending doom are running rampant and generally there is a sense of 'when will it all end?'.

The thing is F1 has been here before, whether it was McLaren in 1988, Ferrari in 2002 or Red Bull in 2011, the sport has had years when one team simply blows the rest away.

F1 has also had worse races too, anyone who watched the European Grand Prix at Valencia will relate, and why not mention the grandaddy of them all, Indianapolis 2005.

But after the race at Paul Ricard, Hamilton made some very interesting comments which struck at the heart of the problem.

He said, don't blame the drivers and Mercedes for simply doing their job, blame the bosses who created the current structure in the first place.

And he's right, the switch to V6 hybrid engines in 2014 allowed the German manufacturer to get ahead and the 2017 aero changes solidified the two-tier grid we have today.

Not only that, but the blatant disregard of smaller teams and their financial situations meant they simply had no chance of competing with the might of manufacturers and Red Bull when these changes were made.

F1 does need a revolution like 2009 and everyone is praying that will be 2021 when the regulations are set to hit a big reset button.

Only it won't be because the budget cap is too high and the financial clout of Mercedes and Ferrari means they easily have the capacity to cope with next year and develop the new car for the following season too.

Certainly, it's very different to when Brawn GP, Toyota, Williams and Red Bull all ran in the front in the early rounds 10 years ago, but that was because McLaren and Ferrari had waged war in 2008 all the way to Brazil.

Since Liberty took over, however, there has always been talk of radical changes to the Grand Prix format and other rule changes.

And if the bosses are keen to try and revive the sport, then Mercedes' domination might just offer the chance to use 2019 as a test bed.

Of course, we have to wait until Lewis Hamilton has his sixth title and the Constructors' is wrapped up too, but based on current projections that could easily be done with four or five races to spare.

There would also have to be an agreement reached with midfield teams, who would oppose the idea of experimenting because of the financial importance of their fight for 'best of the rest'.

However, if that could be arranged then why not go crazy and see what could be done to spice up F1.

Reduce the number of practice sessions and compensate Friday fans with access to the drivers and a pit-lane walk.

Ask Pirelli to bring last year's tyres as has been suggested or allow free choice on all five compounds for their allocations.

Force teams to only use one compound in practice or make two-stop races mandatory to create more unknowns.

Why not consider introducing a WEC-style balance of performance, where turbo boost could be adjusted, fuel allowance reduced, ballast increased etc.

Have a reverse championship grid order qualifying sprint race, after all, the top 10 drivers typically are doing 20 laps under the current format.

I'm not saying any of these ideas would suddenly stop Mercedes winning, but rather than keep saying 'what would happen if...' let's find out in a real Grand Prix weekend.

It's a cynical view but this season is already realistically a dud in terms of the championship fight.

So if teams and Liberty Media are really so eager to work together in the best interests of F1 then why not turn a negative into a positive for the future.

Search