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F1 too easy to drive? Go faster...

2014-10-01 11:39

ROOKIES IN F1: Teenager Max Verstappen will make F1 history at the 2014 Japanese F1 GP as the person to drive on-track during a race weekend. Image: AP / Luca Bruno

LONDON, England - The best way to make Formula 1 cars harder to drive is to make them faster, says retired driver David Coulthard, in reply to reports that driving an F1 car today was "too easy".

That view has intensified in the age of F1 rookies, for instance 17-year-old Max Verstappen who will drive during Friday practice ahead of the 2014 Japanese GP at Suzuka.

F1 correspondent Kevin Eason wrote in The Times in England: "The International Automobile Federation... is said to be examining ways of making F1 cars harder to drive."

'F1 LEADERS ARE WORRIED'

Coulthard added: "As drivers have become younger and leaner, F1's leaders have become worried that the sport is no longer the highest examination of a driver's talent, skill and strength."

It is part of why the federation has suddenly clamped down on so-called 'driver coaching' over the pit-to-car radio, to end the appearance that the cars are even being piloted by remote control by engineers.

Coulthard, whose own F1 career began just as the great Ayrton Senna's tragically ended, thinks the federation is wrong to think radios are to blame for the sport's problems.

'MAKE THEM FASTER'

Coulthard, now 43 and a commentator for British TV, wrote in a column for F1 sponsor UBS: "It (the clampdown) seems to be the answer to a question that no one was asking. I wasn't really aware of any grumbling.

"If you want to make the cars harder to drive, make them faster. It is ironic that they are trying to find ways of making life more difficult for the drivers when the actual cars are slower than they were back in 2004."

The former McLaren and Red Bull driver even thought the radio clampdown was counter-productive; it removed, he said, one of F1's "technological advancements" only to replace it with "another layer of bureaucracy and red tape".

"If somebody offered you the chance to get rid of internet banking and go back to just making all your transactions the old-fashioned way, via a cashier, would you accept?  Of course you wouldn't.

"It would be a retrograde step; wilfully ignoring technology that already exists and that everyone is perfectly happy with anyway.

"As for the drivers I spoke to in Singapore (F1 GP, Sept 21 2014), some were for it, some were against it, some were not fussed either way. I think that just about sums up this whole issue.  It's all a bit of a nothing."

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