Formula 1 writer
Can we have more wet races please?
Posted on: 05:04 PM IST Apr 07, 2012 IST
One of the complaints about Formula One has been that it has become predictable as far as the podium finishers are concerned. In any given year, there are two or three teams that are title and inevitably, these teams share the podium places throughout the season.
Needless to say, the contenders are those with the biggest budgets. This has become particularly predominant over the past decade or so. Big spenders like Ferrari, Renault, McLaren, Red Bull have dominated the sport in recent times. Even Brawn GP were an evolution of the big budget Honda F1 team.
The Malaysian GP result therefore becomes more significant. The second-placed finish of newcomer Sergio Perez in an unfancied team like Sauber F1 has come as a breath of fresh air. To watch a driver in only his second year from a team that has been in the midfield at its best, beat fancy names and big teams has not only heralded the rise of a new star but has also showed that F1 racing can be exciting, a David vs Goliath battle in which David has a chance of winning.
However, for that to happen we need more races like the one in Sepang i.e.: more rain-affected racing weekends to negate the overwhelming mechanical supremacy of some of the teams. Of course, it is impossible that it would rain every racing weekend in different parts of the world. However, if wet tracks can add spice to racing, it can be done so artificially.
We have already witnessed steps being taken in the direction of making racing exciting including quicker degradation of tires, drag reduction system and changes in wings specifications. Maybe, artificial wet tracks (when it doesn't rain) could be the missing piece in the puzzle.
Of course, big teams won't be enthusiastic about such an idea. They cannot justify their presence in the sport if their strengths get negated by artificial conditions. However, if not every race, F1 administration should consider having some mandatory wet races so as to make racing a true spectacle. Before Perez's spectacular performance, the last time a small budget team performed so brilliantly was in 2009 at the Belgian GP where Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella came second behind Kimi Raikkonen who was then with Ferrari.
Even Sebastian Vettel's rise to success began on a wet track when he won the rain affected Italian GP in Toro Rosso. Prior to Vettel's win, there have been very few instances of drivers from relatively smaller teams emerging victorious. Fisichella won the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix in a Jordan. In 1998, Damon Hill had also won the rain affected Belgian GP, which saw only eight drivers finish the race. A wet race had also enabled Olivier Panis in a Ligier to win the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.