OPINION | Formula 1 is at serious risk of losing fans and interest

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Empty seats at the Silverstone GP (Vladimir Rys / Getty Images)
Empty seats at the Silverstone GP (Vladimir Rys / Getty Images)
Vladimir Rys

• Formula 1 has become a predictable sport.

• Hamilton and Mercedes are romping away to double championships this year.

• F1 and the FIA need to come up with a plan to save the sport.

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In Formula 1's earlier days, there were many rivalries and challengers to the championship. Yes, some teams performed better than others, but it was never a foregone conclusion that one team or driver will romp to the championship. Double championships mind you!

From the 1950s to about 1999, there was a lot of competition between teams. Between 2000 and 2004, when Michael Schumacher and Ferrari dominated the sport, other teams and drivers still made an impression on the championship during that time. 2004 was a year of utter domination by Schumacher and Ferrari, but it was a single year and the culmination of the work that was put in over the preceding years.

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2005 to 2009 was open to anyone to win, but 2010 to 2013 was Red Bull's time. Still, Red Bull had to stave off challenges from Ferrari and was it not for cockups by the Italian team, they, too, could have added their name to a championship-winning year in this time.

From 2014 onwards, the Mercedes-AMG F1 team obliterated the field and became stronger as the seasons drew on. In 2020, they are on course to win a record seventh consecutive championship, and Lewis Hamilton is a few wins away from tying Schumacher on seven driver's championships. It's damn impressive for Merc and Hamilton, but not so great for F1 and its fans.

Too predictable

Domination by one team in any sport is part of the game, but the problem comes in when the team at the front is trotting away uncontested. Fair enough, Mercedes-AMG F1 did make the most of the rules and regulations and we can't blame them for it. But F1 and its governing body, the FIA, need to consider all possibilities if it wants to preserve the sport in the coming years and decades.

One team driving to the championship unchallenged gives the sport no credibility and fans are turning away from it. Not because Hamilton and Mercedes are the most dominant duo, but because of the predictability that goes with it. Leading up to a race weekend, it would be unwise to discount Mercedes for the win. You just know what will happen and what the top-three result will be: Hamilton, followed by team mate Valtteri Bottas, and Red Bull's Max Verstappen - with the latter two swapping positions now and then.

F1 is an intricate and delicate sport, but the powers-that-be must come up with a foolproof plan that will reinstate wheel-to-wheel racing. While we are all excited for the records Hamilton and Mercedes are breaking, no one in their right mind can be satisfied with the dull, uneventful and sleep-inducing races we are witnessing in 2020.


How would you improve F1 and make things exciting again? Email us with your thoughts.

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