There is no doubt that last Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix has split the vote on whether it is great for F1 or detrimental to the sport. Due to the fact the race brought Sergio Perez his first podium of the season as well as a Ferrari storybook ending for Sebastian Vettel – it is easy to see the positives. However, many people have gone on record voicing their concern of such conditions for a Grand Prix and the latest figurehead to do so is McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl.
Speaking to motorsport publication Autosport, McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl shared his thoughts after the events of an unforgettable Turkish Formula One Grand Prix.
"There were a lot of comments in both directions…Is it positive or negative, what we have seen on Friday and Saturday, for F1?”
This is a huge question that has been debated the past week on social media and through the paddock.
Lewis Hamilton’s stunning drive from 6th on the grid to become race victor and in doing so seal a seventh Drivers’ F1 World Championship was clearly a superb feat.
"Of course a race like today at the same time we also have to admit we have seen that several times in wet conditions or tricky conditions that you have these exciting races with a lot of things happening.”
However, amongst these comments, what must not be forgotten is that McLaren was able to claw its way back from a disappointing qualifying due to the conditions of the track last time out.
With Carlos Sainz crossing the line in 5th place and his teammate Lando Norris in 8th, McLaren got a very respectable haul of points from a pair of drivers who had started in 13th and 11th respectively. These points, on that surface, are crucial in the hotly contested battle for third place of the Formula One Constructors’ Championship.
"It's clear everyone wants to see cars fighting on track, wants to see overtaking manoeuvres, wants to see also that not always the same cars at the front, wants to see that people can actually make up positions coming through the field from the back…But at the same time, F1 is also about, in normal conditions, putting up or designing the best car and making it the best performing car.
Herein lies the problem that Formula One has faced in recent years.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team has consistently made the best performing car and their dominance is due to the fact that the other teams have been unable to do so.
"And then it's also normal that the best car is in front in qualifying and in the race as well. That's part of the DNA as well of F1."
This comment from the man leading a resurgent McLaren charge can be interpreted as being directed at Racing Point’s Lance Stroll in that the Canadian was the pole-sitter for the Turkish Grand Prix.
Despite Lance Stroll coming across the finish line in 9th, his teammate Sergio Perez fared much better. Having started in an unexpected 3rd place, the ‘still looking for a 2021 seat’ racer was able to gain a position by the chequered flag and in doing so brought 18 F1 Constructors’ World Championship points to Racing Point.
This outcome now means that in the all-important battle for third place, the Woking-based outfit are 5 points behind Racing Point’s 154 points…with only three races of a condensed season remaining.
However, Andreas Seidl’s comments are not all doom and gloom as he (and many millions of F1 fans) clearly hope that a change of technical regulations for 2022 will result in closer racing.
"I think there's a lot of positive stuff coming from '22 onwards with the new technical regulations, that should allow the cars to race closer together, which should help then also to see more overtaking manoeuvres…All the other stuff that's also happening like the financial cap should also help to get overall the field closer together. I think there is no reason to be pessimistic."
There is no doubt that Formula One is approaching a crossroads and has some very big decisions ahead of it. However, with all these trials and tribulations, the challenge of just being able to stay on track at low speeds, as seen last week in Turkey, should not be what people look for in the hope of answering F1’s problems.
To hopefully conclude the debate, we should look to the comments of McLaren’s 2021 signing Daniel Ricciardo:
“Look, don't get me wrong, and I knew everyone sitting on the couch had a fun and exciting one to watch, but, I think to be honest, I don't know if we learn anything from this weekend. We'll probably never come to a situation like it again with this level of grip. I think as well when teams are spending so much money developing cars and putting all the knowledge into designing the fastest race cars in the world, not being able to use them….if it was all the time, it would feel like a robbery.”
Surely no one wants to see F1 World Championship points ‘stolen’ away from drivers and for that reason to have a repeat of last week’s race conditions would certainly be a crime…in my opinion.
OK, so what this article really shows - is the debate is far from over!