Sunday, January 18, 2009

The rules in 'Formula One' racing have been raised as an ad hoc analogy as to why speedsuits should be banned!

Formula One cars are incomprehensibly powerful. The drivers who race Formula One cars are incomprehensibly insane. The economic costs of a crashed Formula One car with a very dead Formula One driver therein is incomprehensibly immoral.

Comparing speedsuits to Formula One cars is simply a rhetorical device and I wish that both writers and bloggers would put a stop to it.

Below is a sample clip of a Formula One race in the rain. Now with a straight face, tell me that these two drivers are not a couple of clowns short of a circus. Especially note how crazy it gets at the :30-second mark.

When such people as Craig Lord, or Scott of the Canuck Swimmer, or even French sprinter, David Maitre, bring up Formula One racing as an example as to why speedsuits need heavy controls so as to make swimming "fair," I see clever salesmanship in progress rather than a factual argument.

After watching the clip above do you see how incomprehensible it is to compare our two sports in regards to technological rules?


PhilFromGermany said...

I agree that it is incomprehensible to compare the two sports in regards to technological rules.

But the video proved absolutely nothing.

That was some awesome, tough racing by the two racers in very adverse conditions. Calling them clowns just shows that you know nothing about racing; they're fighting over championship points which mean a LOT of money, prestige, and ultimately, their jobs.

You failed to make a point.

Tony Austin said...

I wasn't calling them clowns - rest assured I respect their talents immensely. I used an American expression that was lost in translation.

Saying someone is "a couple clowns short of a circus" is suppose to a funny of way of saying somebody is not entirely normal.

Formula One racers definitely do not possess a rational sense of fear or boundaries. Hence, the ground rules the F1 organization had to institute in their sport.

I respect the talents of F1 racers! They push the envelop farther than any other sport and consequently they need to be protected.

The laws of physics are in play here. It is not that way in swimming.

My point is that in F1 the purpose of the ground rules was not to make a level playing field but rather protect the drivers.

So, with writers using F1 as a comparison to swimming is like comparing life-and-death situations to swimming a couple of tenths faster.

I am so sorry for the confusion.

Anonymous said...

The reason people bring up the Formula One analogy is that it illustrates an idea of technical parity. Technical parity in car racing insures safety AND even racing.
By ensuring technical parity in speed-suits, FINA - clearly - is not "protecting the athlete's safety", but they would be ensuring that the playing field for all participates is even. The Formula One analogy, from that perspective, still stands.

Steve said...

The regulations in Formula One weren't introduced to satisfy safety concerns, but to make the sport more entertaining. Perhaps a handful of new restrictions have been put in place to make the sport safer, but the majority of the new rules are to address worries that the sport was becoming boring and that fans were losing interest. I guess Formula One doesn't get much attention in the US, otherwise you would know this. The problem in the last decade or so is that a couple of manufactures have dominated the sport and the smaller teams have been left behind. There was very little overtaking, and a few drivers would lead the race with no change in position. It was obvious that winning a race had little to do with the talent of the driver, and was mostly about the engineering talent of the manufacturer.

Unfortunately this kinda ruins your argument. The difference is that the fastest swimsuit in the world only costs a few hundred dollars, compared to a few hundred million for the best engineering team in the world.

PS. It may be possible that the new regulations make the sport more dangerous. In the past, it was very difficult to overtake because the cars were so powerful. Now there may be more opportunities for collisions.

Tony Austin said...

I accept that this is the way you see it but I see it this way: Matt Grevers beat Ryan Lochte in the 100 fly this past weekend.

Both men were wearing different speedsuit brands and consequently It seems to me that Lochte's Speedo LZR, and Grevers' TYR Tracer RISE provided the amount of technical parity you suggested, hence, why make a "house brand" when technical parity obviously exists?


Tony Austin said...

Steve, thank you for an insightful post. In my ignorance I thought it was all about safety since these vehicles practically qualify as UFOs.

If these rules are all about entertainment, then perhaps suits should stay too?


Anonymous said...

Personally, I'm not in favour of a "house brand" but I do think some restrictions on what the suits can or can not do, from a technical perspective, has merit. Set rules, make sure everyone knows exactly what they are, let everyone know what they are and then have at it. Speedo can build a suit, Arena can, Nike can, anyone can.
And, frankly, I don't care what they rules are as long as they are uniform and they're enforced.