Featured image courtesy of Ferrari Media.
The Scrutineering Bay is Badger’s way of taking a hot Grand Prix racing topic and getting people from the Sett involved to put their opinions across.
From predicting races, arguing stewards decisions to just deciding who was/is/will be the best, anything is fair game!
The dust may have long settled on last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, but there’s still an argument raging over whether the race was as boring as previous instalments, if not more. Contrast it to the past two Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which were as knock-down entertaining as races come and prove that street racing deserves its place in F1.
With a large and varied calendar already, there are strong rumours of the addition of Miami to the already crowded 21-race schedule, opening up the streets of the Florida city to F1 cars for the first time.
But does Formula 1 need more street circuits when there are concerns over entertainment? Or do purpose-built race tracks provide the solution to the problem of the show?
Yes – “Having track after track like China and Malaysia makes me shiver.”
A racing calendar should always have at least 25% of street circuit venues in my opinion. They offer a different and unique challenge for drivers and bring a different set of skills to the fore, elevating focus, stamina and quick thinking compared to a standard track. Some of the most exciting racing I’ve seen has been on streets, but then again, that’s not specifically in F1.
Looking at the street-based circuits in F1 right now, and they’re a mixture of different track layouts and conditions; Monaco, yes, is slow and hard to overtake, but gives a heavier emphasis on qualifying because of this. Azerbaijan is incredibly fast in places, and ridiculously tight in others, leading to bedlam in the last two years. Singapore’s humidity and smooth surface have made it a potential Mercedes-toppling track that we can look forward to. They all offer something different, so why not add more variants, and therefore more unpredictability?
The tired cliche of variety being the spice of life can be aimed at the F1 calendar because it needs to be. We can’t have 21 Tilke-designed FIA approved facilities as they will inevitably become the same, meaning fans will switch off. Having track after track like China and Malaysia (which are ultimately the same general outlay) makes me shiver.
No – “In my opinion, the one ingredient we sometimes miss in street racing is the ability to overtake.”
This year’s race in Monaco has been highly criticized for being a snoozefest, a predictable and rather boring procession around the principality. I love Monaco and the history it holds but we really don’t need any more street races on the calendar.
The problem is that you’ll get two different extremes of racing on these circuits, you could see two hours of mayhem which keep you on the edge of your seat throughout or you’ll see a boring parade of cars which finish in the same position they started. In my opinion, the one ingredient we sometimes miss in street racing is the ability to overtake.
These roads were not built for racing, they were designed to get from A to B on the daily commute. That means concentration is key as the roads aren’t too wide and there’s usually no areas to run off. One wrong move and its race over, you’re in the wall. So is the risk of an overtake worth it? Most play it safe and wait for others to slip up but this can make for a very uneventful race.
There’s a possibility we may see a new race held around the city of Miami next year. The proposed layout would include a long straight over the Port Boulevard Bridge. Again these roads weren’t designed for cars going at high speeds racing each other, what if something were to go wrong? I can see huge delays and possible red flags. Yes, it would look spectacular on television but the whole idea sounds ludicrous to me.
Don’t get me wrong, F1 needs variety on the calendar, but we have the likes of Baku and Monaco already. As a fan, I want to see real races, where drivers are battling throughout for position. Rather than bringing in new street tracks, let’s bring back some of the classic tracks that have a proven record of giving us the excitement our sport sometimes lacks.
What do you think? Can F1 survive without going down the route of street tracks in major cities? Or are there enough race tracks around the world to use already?