Today in an interview with ESPN F1, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner believes that Formula One is at its best when the drivers come across as heroes and the teams and politics stay out of view.
Formula One has faced criticism this season for not providing enough of a show for fans and with further concerns raised by poor attendances at some races and plans to pursue new events in controversial locations. However, Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix provided a thrilling spectacle with four drivers in contention until the final few laps and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo finally coming out on top.
For all the talk of revamping the sport which includes plans for a summit meeting over the August break to thrash out ideas, in his interview with ESPN F1, Horner believes the recipe for success is still quite simple. Horner stated the following:-
‘When we focus on the racing we have got a great sport. Formula One needs to be about the drivers being the heroes, and today they were. That’s Formula One at its best – not just this weekend but last weekend [in Germany] as well.
‘That’s what I enjoy, that’s what I love to see and that’s all part of competition. We need to keep going down that direction.’
I don’t think many pundits and fans will disagree with what Horner has stated today. I do believe that Formula One when its attention is purely on racing and racing only, that is the sport at its best. Horner is correct in what he says and that is what makes Formula One exciting, thrilling to watch and most importantly puts the sport in a positive light.
In regards to what Horner says about Formula One drivers being “heroes”, I think that even if Hungary or even Germany didn’t provide the excitement that both circuits did when they hosted the Grand Prix recently, I think most pundits and fans would still regard the drivers as “heroes”.
Every fan has their favourite driver past or present and to them, they will always be their “hero”. Alongside this, I am sure that most would agree with them and believe that every driver on the grid is a “hero” for risking their lives to race in the fastest motorsport in the world.
For me, to watch some of the greatest drivers in the world battling each other on the track without endangering themselves and providing us with great racing, that is what it is all about. We have seen some great races this season and saw the finest racing drivers in the world battle each other for the best result that they can achieve, which is what we saw last weekend.
Further on in his interview today, when asked why drivers do not come across as heroes, Horner believes that the races are far too “managed”. He added the following:-
‘Sometimes it feels like the races are a bit too managed. But in conditions like today. just look at [Fernando] Alonso and how fantastic he was today and [Lewis] Hamilton coming from the back of the grid and Daniel making his strategy work, passing around the outside and doing incredible things.
‘I need to watch that race again to understand it all, but that’s what Formula One is all about. We need to allow the drivers to be able to express themselves more without being criticised. We need to allow their personalities to come out. They have opinions and they’ve got personalities, we should encourage them to see some of them.’
From what Horner has said, you can understand why he feels sometimes that the races are “too managed” and you don’t see the skill and the talent of the drivers sometimes. For example, it could be that the team or driver in question doesn’t have the pace or could have problems with tyre degradation which could cause the team or driver to manage their problems in order to finish a race.
But if the drivers or the teams don’t have any problems and we have a mixed weather conditions like we saw in Hungary, we do tend to see a race that just highlights how talented Formula One drivers are. But I would agree with Horner and that is what Formula One is all about, the best twenty two drivers on the grid pushing themselves and the car to its edge and achieving excellence.
With the way the drivers are portrayed currently in the media, I do feel that sometimes we do need to see the personality and opinions of a driver as Horner has stated today. But I do feel that there should be a fine balance to this. I feel that a driver should rightly express his opinion or personality, while also maintaining professionalism too.
But overall, I would have to agree with Horner on the whole. I do feel that Formula One drivers should show their personality and share their opinions on the sport, while still maintaining a professional matter. At the end of the day, no matter what driver you support past or present, they will always be in your eyes your “heroes” and setting an example that you not only respect, but also admire and also aspire to be.
And for me, Formula One drivers just like footballers have to provide an example for the younger generation that is not only correct but also to become a role model and a guide for them to look up to.
But I do feel that Formula One currently has had a spring in its step with the great races we have seen in Germany and Hungary. We have been reminded once again just why we all love and follow Formula One and seen the best drivers in the world and our “heroes” battling through the field and battling each other to be the best they can be.
And this is what we want to see and crave, weekend in and weekend out and supporting our favourite team, driver and our “heroes” to the finish line and seeing a great race in the process. And long may it continue for the rest of the season!