“How do you make a car go faster? Give it better brakes.”
I read that quote once, can’t remember who it is by. It was in reference to the controls and procedures businesses put in place in order to streamline their operations and ensure that the company works as effectively and efficiently as it can.
Imagine if, say, the delivery driver had authority to change the production plan, or if the tea lady was given access to the company’s bank account with no co-signatory. It would be chaos; the company would go bang in a matter of a few months. That is why companies have a management structure and rules in place limiting authority and assigning people to tasks based on their education, skill level and experience. It is why only people who understand the supply chain place orders based on expected production and forecasted sales. It’s why the CEO makes the strategic decisions that affect the company’s direction, and not the product development engineer who thinks that a levitating fridge would be a good thing to plough all the company’s R&D money into.
However, it is human nature to over complicate and to over regulate and when that happens it can strangle the organisation. People cannot make decisions because it takes too long and there is too much red tape to wade through, too many signatures to get, too many forms to fill out, too much time spent with the faffery around a task than on the actual task at hand. This environment is usually driven by what I like to call “the regulators”. They have their place but when they outnumber the innovators it becomes a problem.
Success depends on a balance between innovation and regulation. It is true for anyone that develops and manufactures a product. Too much innovation and your product becomes too expensive too quickly. Too much regulation and you become stagnant, you do not grow and eventually you get killed off and consigned to the scrap heap of ideas and businesses that have run out of ideas or are simply too concerned with how things are being done instead of why they are being done.
Formula 1 is at a tipping point right now. The sport has become over-regulated and over-innovated at the same time. The rule makers have forced the manufacturers to come up with mind bogglingly complicated cars. In theory that is what they are there for but in reality they have taken it too far.
People buy into Formula 1 for the following reason. They want to watch the best drivers in in the fastest and best cars in the world racing against each other on the ragged edge of performance and safety.
At the moment you have the best drivers in the world and the cars may be the best in the world but they’re certainly not the fastest. The V6 hybrid engines sound like diesels and the tyres only last three laps, give or take. How can the drivers push themselves and their cars to the ragged edge when they run out of tyres? They can’t!
The engines are reliable, well at least they’re supposed to be, but the teams aren’t allowed to develop their engines during the season. That makes no sense, surely you’d want the teams to be working as hard as they can to improve their cars, looking for every improvement , no matter how tiny so that they might catch up or get ahead.
They’ve lost sight of why they’re doing Formula 1 in my opinion. The need to ease the regulations and let the teams do what they are supposed to do, make the fastest, best cars in the world. I’d recommend the current rules get scrapped completely in 2017 and the following guidelines be given by the FIA regarding the cars.
1 – The car must be a maximum of x m long and x m wide and a minimum of x m long and x m wide and a max of x m high.
2 – The engine must run on petrol and have a maximum of ten cylinders and a minimum of six
3 – Safety requirements remain as stringent as they are.
4 – The aerodynamic characteristics of the cars are at the teams’ discretion, within the height and width regulations of the car.
Thats it, see what the teams come up with. It may be crazy, but they have the necessary management structures in place to stop the whackier of the engineers from building leviting cars, or maybe they’ll just go with it. It may be a lot of things, but it certainly won’t be boring.