The 1980’s was the golden age of Formula One when Mansell, Piquet, Prost and Senna to name a few graced the sport and when the cars had turbo charged monsters in the back, right? Maybe not.
Over the past few weeks both Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa have defended the current state of Formula One, drawing examples from era’s such as the 1980’s.
Firstly was Nico Rosberg, who was reported by Autosport as stating that the ‘lift and coast’ nature of the sport is nothing new, having been a part of the sport for years. He gave the example of his father, Keke having to conserve fuel often during races. To a certain extent he is right, the only reason why we don’t associate previous eras of F1 with fuel saving is that there were no radio messages that the audience could hear of drivers discussing fuel saving with their pits throughout the race. The other reason is that the only time fuel saving has been thrown to the front of people’s attention in the past is when drivers ran out of fuel near the end of races. A great example of this are races such as the 1985 San Marino Grand Prix where race leaders Ayrton Senna and Stefan Johansson both ran out of fuel near the end of the race. Rosberg went on to state that drivers were still being pushed and were still driving flat out, it is just that the driving style required to do so has become more refined.
Felipe Massa also defended Formula One, believing that the entertainment factor isn’t that bad in modern Formula One compared to the 1980s. He stated the example of rewatching the late 1980s races where McLaren-Honda dominated with Senna and Prost, where they would often be ahead of third place by around a second and a half in qualifying and would also often lap third place during a race. Yet Massa felt that when people talk about the late 1980s, everybody says it’s amazing. The gap was clearly bigger then than it is now. Massa added that past races looked more interesting due to the bumpy and poor conditions of the circuits which gives the impression that the cars were more difficult to drive. Naturally track facilities and the circuits themselves have improved greatly in that time, making it appear easier than it perhaps really is.
With both Massa and Rosberg drawing from past era’s to defend the current Formula, perhaps it is time for the sport as a whole from drivers, teams and fans to re-evaluate past era’s since there seems to be a few misconceptions about the sport which are harming modern Formula One. Once some of these misconceptions are addressed perhaps many will see that the sport is actually in a better place than many perceive it to be in.