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My manifesto for the future of F1

1 year ago

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Karun Chandhok | Racing driver


30 March 2023

A couple of weeks ago, someone posted a video of Ayrton Senna’s qualifying lap for the 1991 British Grand Prix on Twitter. The red and white McLaren looked like it was on the ragged edge at every corner. There was an energy and an agility that drew you in and made you watch in awe as the great Brazilian grabbed the car by the scruff and forced it to do things it seemingly didn’t want to do. You think to yourself, ‘how can he be so good?’

In the years since 2014, when F1 ditched the 2.4-litre V8 screamers in favour of quieter, more efficient V6 hybrids, you could probably count on one hand how many times you’ve seen a qualifying lap that made you wince and gawp in awe like that (Lewis Hamilton in Singapore in 2018 is a good example).

If you watch any of Michael Schumacher’s quali laps from the mid-1990s or a Kimi Räikkönen lap from the mid-2000s, it’s absolutely magnificent to see them tame a bucking bronco that’s light, nimble and edgy to drive. This isn’t at all a reflection of the drivers because I’m 100 per cent sure that watching Max Verstappen or Lewis in that era would have been just as mesmerising. It’s to do with the direction the sport has gone when it comes to the weight of the cars.

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