The world of Formula 1 is still trying to acclimatise to the loss of the traction control systems. While sponsors and merchandise producers are happy with the prospect of more exciting races and an increase in spin offs and accidents, drivers and teams are slightly more apprehensive. The next race in Bahrain will be the ultimate test of the new regulations as historically this GP is one of the most heavily TC reliant in the Formula 1 calendar.
The Bahrain GP will give sponsors and merchandise producers the chance to promote a race that will offer high octane excitement and entertainment. Due to the layout of this Formula 1 circuit, containing many tight corners and short straights, the drivers will be put under added pressure to perform and bring the cars home. Whether they can do this will either please sponsors and merchandise companies or make them question their dealings.
Tyre supplier Bridgestone has raised concerns over the TC regulations. It stated that rather than aid the drivers at all times, the majority of the time it purely kept the tyre temperatures to a decent level for handling. As of yet however we have not seen a race in wet conditions. This will be a true test of all the drivers as a Formula 1 car is next to impossible to control once the heavens open. Sponsors and merchandise producers will be keenly watching the first wet race to see which drivers have the skill level to control their cars.
The other major change to the Formula 1 rule this year was that engine breaking systems would also be removed from the cars. These systems had helped with the slowing of the cars and as a result of their removal, a number of lock ups and drivers overshooting corners has been evident in the preliminary races of the season. Sponsors and merchandise suppliers will be hoping that as the best drivers in the world, they will be able to cope with these changes and still provide entertaining races and exciting racing moments.
These two changes have already had a huge impact and the season is still in its infancy. Drivers have to take far more care of their tyres in order to finish races and remain competitive. Merchandise companies and sponsors will not be thrilled with this development as it may mean that races will become less exciting as every driver on the circuit is purely trying to maintain his position and the performance of his tyres. Hopefully this will not be the case; from the first two races it is clear that some drivers will still push their cars to the limit no matter what.
Another rule change that has come to light since the Malaysian GP is that Formula 1 authorities have decided to yet again change the rules for qualifying. Sponsors, merchandise suppliers and fans alike will be dreading yet another change but seemingly this one is at least logical. Following the chaotic situation in the last GP when drivers who were returning to the pit extremely slow to save fuel for the race held up other drivers bosses have made a change. The change sees a maximum lap time that cars will be able to put in when returning to the pits, it is hoped this will make qualifying safer for those on flying laps.
With rule changes happening nearly every week in Formula 1 it is unsurprising that so many fans seem somewhat lost when it comes to race weekends. As a motor sport fan, it is of course preferable to ensure the safety of drivers, but the constant rule changing can be annoying. As long as the excitement of races is increased and the overtaking manoeuvres and pit lane dramas continue, the vast majority will stay loyal to the sport.
Motor sport expert Thomas Pretty looks into the new F1 rule changes and how this is affecting the opinions of Formula 1 merchandise companies and sponsors.