March 8, 2024
Hong Lau

The Chaos that is F1 (2 minute read)

Mario, Princess Peach go on a new adventure in the animated film, Super Mario Brothers

Ever since I've been a fan of Formula 1, I've known its "limitations." This sport also provides "unlimited innovation." And for those reasons, it is my favourite sport to watch today. F1 is polarizing by every definition. In 2021, F1 proved to be a sport that, at times, is more entertaining or valued in that aspect of it… rather than the pure competitive side of the sport. I'm no fool… I know sport is entertainment as well… but never have I seen a major global sport sacrifice the game's rules to have people entertained in such a blatant way.

To get back on track, what I mean by a sport with unlimited freedom is that F1 has unlimited possibilities. It is a "masterclass of engineering". Your team is as good as they can take it, and there are no real restrictions other than a salary cap. The ability to innovate, dream and create is unmatched by any sport. People think of F1 as an individual sport because of the singular driver who competes in a "team" car. But that's the farthest thing from the truth. A driver's success is contingent on thousands of people. When we talk about thousands, we talk about everyone at the factory designing the aerodynamics, engine, chassis, reliability, and more. If we were to speak at a more granular level… one bad pitstop can cost you a race and, in turn, cost you a championship. If you don't believe me, go google Lewis Hamilton's first season, where he lost by a point; his first actual championship, where he won by a point; and the 2021 fiasco, where it came down to the last race. And let's just be honest… he wins Monza most likely if his team doesn't have a bad pit and Max Verstappen doesn't pull the garbage he did to make both drivers not finish the race.

That bridges me into the limitations part of it, right? An incredible talent like Max had to wait until his team gave him the right car, and many people will tell you he's the best driver in the world. On the flip side, one of my favourite drivers on the grid is Land Norris… Well, I believe he's the fastest driver on the grid. Still, he doesn't have the car to compete for a championship, and that goes for Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, George Russell, and Alonso Fernando… all competent drivers who can win a championship in the right equipment. As mentioned earlier, you can also be hampered by your pit crew. The first F1 race I watched as an adult was the 2020 Sahkir Grand Prix. All I remember is George Russell having his pit crew put on the wrong tires, so he had to go back for another pitstop, which delayed his race by another 25 seconds. In that same race, his tyre had a puncture, and he had to go for another pit and delay himself another 25 seconds or so. To put this in perspective for everyone, he had more bad luck after he took the first bad pit and was within seconds of leading the race. The limitations are crazy in F1 that you can't even control.

In short, the best driver in the world won't necessarily be even competitive if his team isn't and vice versa. You can't explain it in an article, but I've given you something to think about and that you try the sport.

Formula 1 is such an intricate sport with a masterclass of engineering and innovation. You really can't find a combo like that anywhere else on this planet. It comes with its limitations… but it also comes with an unlimited ceiling. For me, Formula 1 is a love-hate relationship. I love that it has unlimited innovation and is such an intricate sport that requires the team and driver to be at their peak. And I hate the fact that you're limited to your team's mistakes and random tyre punctures. I guess what they say is true… your greatest strength is your greatest weakness.