Is technology killing Formula 1?
Sometimes considered sport, others merely technological shows, auto sports —mainly Formula-1 have been subjected to so many changes in the last decades, that even the fans of these disciplines had have a hard time to adapt to them in order to explain detractors how does they are still thrilling sports.
Long gone are the years when F1 racers risked everything, even their lives, just to win a spot on the podium in every Grand Prix. From the 1950's until the 2002, there was little reward reserved only for the first five to six places of the races, which means that the adrenaline and emotion were at maximum during the whole races. Along those years, technological aids were minimal, restricted only to mechanical helps to improve aerodynamics and to introduce few more security items into the cars. That was the era of racers as Fangio, Lauda, Senna, Andretti, Hill and even the early years of Schumacher, when usually most of the decisions were made by the drivers along with their engineers.
This though, is not a bad thing, considering that what was at stake every time a green flag was waved, were real human lives. And F1 and other driving competitions are not supposed to be Roman coliseums where drivers were meant to win or die. Thus, after what happened in the 60's and 70's, as Hannah Barnes (2013) on BBC News reported, that 17 racers died from 1960 until 1978, the conditions have to be changed and have turned much safer for the drivers.
Now, it's time for the technology
In the beginning of the 2000's, besides the technological advances in aerodynamics and new regulations, electronic and computational items were introduced into the cars to make the experience safer for the drivers. The immediate consequence of this was that wealthier F1 teams such as Ferrari, McLaren and Williams became the first ones to achieve the best electronic and computational improvements and left the rest of teams behind, which made the competition a little more predictable and hence less exciting.
It was the dawn of the engineered F1 show, and the most fierce competition went out of the tracks and into the pit lanes. Now the team who assembled the best technical crew or found the way to make the cars more competitive without breaking the regulations would be the one with highest chances to win, not only the championship, but most of the Grand Prixes.
Nowadays, technological advances have evolved at such an accelerated pace that the organisation of the F1 Championship, the FIA, has become an enormous regulating entity, not only introducing rules to decrease the environmental impact of the competition (the progressive reduction from V10 motors to V6 ones), but also writing rules to avoid modification of electronic controls inside the cars once the season has started and after the technical evaluation were carried by the organisation, and to let all the teams to introduce the same aerodynamic upgrades to the cars, such is the case of the DRS (Drag Resistance System).
All this race between regulations and technological improvements seemed to have taken all the attention out of the drivers, and for all of those who are against this new science-fiction-alike era on F1, this is killing the greatness of this discipline.
But is just an opinion, that there must be a more open approach to view this constantly evolving competition, and never forget that even if there is too much technology involved today, that would not mean anything without the skills of the human crews and of course, of the drivers who still invest never-ending hours to take out all the best of these advanced machines.