Formula 1 is at the most enthralling I’ve ever seen it. The cars, the drivers, the tracks and the regulations all contribute to what really is a fantastic show every couple of weeks.
The cars are extremely closely matched. This might not seem obvious to someone with little experience of watching Formula 1, but the cars of 2011 are astonishingly closely matched. The gap between the fastest and slowest cars In Abu Dhabi 2 weeks ago was about 6 seconds during qualifying. While a Formula 1 car can travel a long way in 6 seconds (about 500 metres at top speed), the gap is small compared to what it might have been 20 years ago.
The cars are also unbelievably reliable. This season has seen 24 cars finish a race, something that has never happened before in the history of F1. And that was the entire field. Not a single car failed during that race. The days of watching only 5 or 10 cars finish a race are well and truly over.
5 World Champions will line up on the grid for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Probably in the top 8, given that they drive for the 4 top teams. What a wealth of talent! And the talent doesn’t end there. With drivers like Mark Webber, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg alongside the champions, the competition is always sure to be fierce. Vettel, Button, Hamilton, Alonso and Schumacher know all too well they must keep improving to stay at the top.
For 2012 there is the possibility that Kimi Räikkönen will join Williams, which would push the number of World Champions up to 6. If there has ever been such a field in Formula 1 history, I’m not aware of it.
The new tracks – Korea last year and India this year – have provided some fantastic racing. Next year (fingers crossed) F1 goes to a new track in Austin, Texas. Plans for races in New Jersey and Russia are also on the table. Formula One is becoming more global, and is much better for it.
At the beginning of 2011, DRS was introduced as an attempt to increase the frequency and ease of overtaking. Many were skeptical (myself included), thinking that it would make overtaking artificial and routine. However, it has turned out to be an enormous success, and has led to hundreds of overtaking moves in a sport that was previously considered to be a procession. The return of KERS and the new Pirelli tyres have also contributed to the overtaking, and made the races more interesting to follow and exciting to watch.
Formula 1 has been transformed into a thrilling spectator sport. It is entertaining, easy to follow and gripping to watch. The organisers, the teams, the drivers and everyone else involved really have done a wonderful job. All we need now is for next season to start.