We have had seven winners in the first seven races of the year, which is a record at the start of a season, but not a record overall. The longest run of winners that I can find is actually nine (although I am sure if that is not correct there will be people out there who will set me straight). The best run I could find was between France 1961 (about the time I was being born) and France 1962 when Giancarlo Baghetti, Wolfgang Von Trips, Stirling Moss, Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Bruce McLaren, Jim Clark and Dan Gurney all won races in succession. There have been eight consecutive winners as well, notably in 1982, which was, for me at least, a pivotal year in getting me into the sport as a profession.
Formula 1 is amazing in that, at a time when we should be rejoicing at such variety and interest, there are people whining about the sport being too unpredictable and blaming Pirelli for having done what they were asked to do, which was make tyres that would promote better racing. Being a single supplier in racing is often a thankless task, as the media does not write about the component unless it fails. Bridgestone worked on the principle that if it built bulletproof tyres it would not get bad publicity. Pirelli had a different idea. It risked criticism for making tyres that did not last, but managed to get across the message that when it comes to making tyres to meet specific needs, Pirelli is the place to go… That is a great example of positive and creative thinking bringing dividends.
Looking after one’s tyres has been a key element in the sport for as long as there have been tyres and so it is the finest traditions that drivers and engineers must work to find out how their tyres work; and then use them accordingly. Thus one driver in a team may struggle to find heat at a given time on a given day, while his team-mate, with a different driving style or a different chassis set-up, can do it. We saw that with McLaren in Canada. Lewis Hamilton had it all right; Jenson Button had it all wrong. We have seen the opposite at other races. The cleverest drivers are the ones who are the most consistent in their choices. It is not a lottery, but rather it is a question of people making the right decisions at the right moments.
And in such circumstances you have gambles like the one we saw Ferrari and Red Bull make on Sunday in Montreal. They did not work out, but it was not a lottery, it was a strategy.
I find all this really rather tedious. Just as I find the question of DRS being artificial to be a waste of energy. DRS is no more artificial than slip-streaming used to be. That was created by a set of circumstances created by the rules as they were at the time. The DRS of today is the same. Yes, perhaps it allows people to overtake , but why not? They did the same with slipstreaming and there were races back in that era where the strategies at the last corner decided the final rush to the flag, and thus the result itself. There is nothing wrong with that. And in fact one needs to salute the people who came up with the answers after years in which everyone whined about drivers not being able to overtake. When you boil it all down, I guess, the truth is that people will whinge about anything that does not suit them, or in the case of the media, they will write stories because they think there is nothing better to write about. My view is that being positive is always best: Pirelli has done a great job; the DRS is a clever solution to an obvious problem; and the World Championship will be won by a driver who best works out how to use his tyres. From a sporting point of view that is great.
Now the most important job facing F1 is to alert the younger generations to the fact that motor racing can be cool and exciting before the current fans all die of old age. To do that we must learn to speak to them by means that they understand… using modern technologies.