Opinion: Driver Aids Are Bad For Your Health


The recent announcement from the World Motor Sports Council has revealed a rule change for next season which will see a return for KERS and the introduction of moveable rear wing to aid passing.

While the idea behind it is to spice up racing, I don’t think that the idea has been fully thought through. As current teams continue to speak of speed differential between the established and new teams, the decision makers don’t seem to have thought about the consiquences.

This weekend saw two massive accidents in Valencia Mark Webber in the Formula One Race and Josef Kral in the GP2. There was another single seater accident this weekend that saw a driver walk away after being airbourne; slightly closer to home in the Formula Palmer Audi race at Snetterton.

A little background knowledge for you: The Formula Palmer Audi car features a features a driver operated turbo ‘boost’ button, which will temporarily give 60bhp increase when pressed, giving the car that little extra power for passing.

A downside to the ‘boost’ button was demonstrated all too well at Snetterton in the second FPA race of the weekend. Race 1 winner Jordan Williams was chasing second-placed Maxime Jousse along the Revett Straight on the opening lap when he used his boost button to gain a speed advantage that ‘should’ have propelled the 19-year-old by the Frenchman.

I say ‘should’ because all was going to plan as Williams closed the gap and pulled out to take second place, this is where things started to go wrong, Jousse missed a gear and in a last ditch attempt to keep position moved across on Williams. With a massive speed difference between the two Williams was left with nowhere to go, propelling him towards the sky and into a roll that would last five repetitions.

Jousse was repremanded for his actions and Williams was lucky to walk away from the wreckage unharmed and able to take part in the remainder of the weekend in a spare car.

So, what if the boost systems are brought to F1? Personally, I feel that it will create more accidents than it will passing opportunites and would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Where did I see that idea for a boost button before? Oh yeah, 1988 on Chase HQ…