Formula 1 has a Respect Problem
Formula 1 has some problems. Inconsistency in stewarding decisions, Spa non-grand prix no-money-back-for-fans situation, track limits and of course the farcical 2021 decider.
I think all of these problems stem from a higher level cultural problem of a lack of respect. To me they show a lack of respect for the rules, the drivers, the fans, the sport and even itself.
How would I come to such a conclusion? Let’s look at the rules. The track limits situation to me has to come from a disrespect of the rules. Perhaps not a direct and intentional disrespect but an indirect disrespect by thinking that the FIA is bigger and better than the rules and thus can do whatever the fuck it likes.
The 2021 final race is another extraordinary example of disrespect for the rules. That was a case of either a direct disregarding of the rules or a lack of understanding of the rules. Neither of those should exist if the FIA really had respect for the rules.
And to have respect for the rules, you probably have to come from a position of respecting fans, teams, etc.
The Spa non-grand prix was a great example of the FIA’s disrespect for fans. Loyal and fanatical fans that pay hundreds of Euros per ticket to stand in the rain and not get to see a race. Race Direction’s decision to run a minimum number of laps under safety car conditions so they could declare a race was run and therefore not refund fans any of their money doesn’t look good.
Formula 1 kind of positions itself on a platform of respect with its admirable support for respect of human rights. So it’s odd to me that they would have such a broad ranging lack of respect for essentially everything else in the sport.
The path to solutions for the FIA is to take a big step back, act with humility, acknowledge mistakes, genuinely decide to have a position of real respect for the sport, teams, drivers and fans. To drive everything they do from that position of respect.
This is just a path to solutions and doesn’t itself solve anything directly. But having this culture and mindset of respect would give Formula 1 the framework to allow and guide the many and varied solutions it needs to fix its problems. The individual solutions to each problem must come from this position of respect if they are to have any chance of getting it right.