A one-horse race


  • Bend It Like Bedi
  • Sunday, 01 Dec 2013

Vettel.

A dominant performance by Vettel makes for an unexciting competition.

THIS year’s Formula One season has got to be one of the most boring in recent years. Many put the blame on one man’s domination of the motorsport.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel easily scooped up his fourth World Championship in a row, becoming one of only three people to do so. At the tender age of 26, that is a very big achievement.

Many people (suspected to be Ferrari fans) booed the German for winning too often this season. Victory in the season-ending Brazil race made it nine consecutive F1 victories, equalling the record set by Alberto Ascari in 1953.

I understand their anguish as the season became too unpredictable but I don’t think it was Vettel’s fault. Was it his fault that he is such

a good driver? Or was it his fault that his superior car leaves others eating his dust?

Red Bull do have a big budget to blow but so do other teams such as Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren. They do not have excuses. 

They should shoulder a lot of the blame.

But domination in Formula One is not such a new thing. Another German Michael Schumacher, the record seven-time Formula One champion won the

title five consecutive years from 2000 to 2004. And by the end of it, most of us were sick of the sight of him.

After Schumacher retired, Formula One was an open affair. For five years from 2006-2010, there were five different champions – Fernando

Alonso, Kimi Raikonnen, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Vettel consecutively.

In those five years from 2006-2010, all the titles were clinched on the last or the second last race, meaning the races were tight and fun to watch.

Of course Vettel has never looked back since 2010 and if current form is an indicator should dominate the sport in the next few years.

This year, he clinched his win in the 16th race of the 19 contested. 

His closest rival was teammate Mark Webber who was 155 points away.

This season mirrored the 2011 season where Vettel clinched his title in the 15th of 19 races. I recall that season being boring, although no one was really on Vettel’s case then.

Last year however was a hard-fought one as Vettel clinched his title in the last race, finishing three points ahead of Alonso.

There is a trend in F1 where certain years are a dominated by one individual.  In 2002, Schumacher clinched his title in the 11th of 17 races!

But if you think F1 is boring because of Vettel’s dominance, then the

lesser-followed World Rally Championship must be worse as Frenchman Sebabstian Loeb won the title a record nine times in a row from 2004 to 2012.

Fellow Frenchman Sebabstian Ogier finally put a halt to Loeb’s dominance this year.

In fact, there are periods of dominance in most sport. Usain Bolt wins most of the sprint races. The same few teams win the European Leagues every year – Barcelona or Real Madrid in Spain, Celtic in Scotland and so on.

In tennis, there was a time when Roger Federer won everything. Or when Tiger Woods swept all the majors in golf.

Lin Dan has won the men’s singles event in the Badminton World Championship for the past few years. But yet these sports make you glued to your seat because the champions have to go through various hurdles.

Yet we are back to the feeling that something needs to be done to F1  to make it more interesting.

To be fair, there are some exciting races especially when it rains.

The crashes make it fun to watch, barring serious accidents of course.

Having the Singapore leg at night certainly makes it exciting. It is only one race though. F1 is all about technology but it is this same technology that can result in a one-horse race.

Maybe going back to the basics – where all teams have the same chasisand engines will make it more competitive.

The drivers skill will really be the thing that wins the race. 

To save the sport, that might be a necessity in the future.

The views expressed are entirely the writer's own.
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