The 2016 Formula One season wasn’t the most thrilling in terms of title fights or incidents on-track and David Coulthard and Jackie Stewart have highlighted aspects of the sport that are giving this lacklustre effect.
Jackie Stewart, a three-time Wolrd Champion, a key figure in improving safety in the 1970’s era and all-round fiery pepper-pot of a Scot believes that it’s a lack of character on the grid that is damaging Formula One’s reputation.
Other than Verstappen’s breakthrough, it was not a very interesting season.
Verstappen reminds me of the first races of Mario Andretti, Jochen Rindt and Francois Cevert. They managed to shake things up.
Lewis Hamilton is a kind of modern hero, Vettel is a quiet hero. And Raikkonen is perhaps even more popular than those two, although he barely says anything or perhaps he’s popular precisely because of it!
F1 is missing excitement, incidents, failures and accidents. Don’t get me wrong, nobody wants to see a driver crash but you want some excitement.
In my day that was the case, but unfortunately many of my rivals paid the ultimate price for that.”
– Jackie Stewart
It’s hard to be critical of a guy who pushed the acceleration button on improving safety standards in F1 throughout the 70’s, but it is odd that he name-drops two former F1 driver’s who died on-track alongside a yearning for more accidents.
There’s a hope that the new regulations will encourage more dogfights and the in-season upgrade battles will add an extra variable to the running order.
Fellow Scot and Grand Prix winner David Coulthard has also voiced concern over an element that really did damage Formula One as a spectacle last season. The race stewards have a hard job in making reactive decisions during the intensity of a race, but too often were their consistencies, as Coulthard points out.
“If you look at American football and rugby, the referee, having viewed the video and having talked with the other referees, he explains the decision.
Because they tend to use video replays at real time, they can stop the play in most sports, which is the exception in Formula One unless it’s a red flag. It immediately gives the fans [information] from the horse’s mouth the reason for or a visual representation for why it wasn’t a try for instance. Then very few people argue about it afterwards.”
– David Coulthard