How to make F1 exciting
The Malaysian grand prix was not quite as exciting as last week’s at Melbourne, but it was pretty good with another winner, and plenty of action and overtaking (especially Lewis Hamilton coming from 20th on the grid to an eventual 6th place). And there was not even the usual afternoon monsoon on race day to spice things up. However, one of the reasons for the fun and games was the mixed up grid which was itself caused by rain on the Saturday.
We cannot guarantee rain during a race or qualifying, but it is clear that the backwards grid set things up for a good chance of action. Talented drivers like Hamilton and Alonso in fast cars making their way through the pack is likely to produce a spectacle, but how do we do this in a fair and consistent fashion?
What is qualifying for? It is to reward fast cars/drivers with a better starting position for the race and hence a better chance of winning the race or getting points. If we had random starting positions it would be exciting but very unfair. Perhaps if we had a grid based on reverse qualifying positions? Of course in order to persuade drivers not to deliberately qualify last in order to get pole position you would need to award championship points as an incentive. What about 6 points for fastest qualy then 5, 4, 3 etc. That should be enough for front runners to be tempted into going for it and then have the challenge of picking through the pack.
But as Hamilton’s charge today showed, even a fast guy will have difficulty getting past another reasonably fast guy (i.e. Sutil today) so the “overtaking problem” still needs to be addressed.