The 2014 Formula One season opened with one overwhelming complaint – the cars didn't sound right. It sapped the excitement, despite the fact that this season has seen a number of truly thrilling races (Bahrain, Spain and Montreal all come to mind). Attempts have been made to restore some of the audible thrill of the cars, although efforts have remained unsuccessful.
If F1 can't fix the sound of the cars, then other methods need to be considered to restore its self-perceived lack of excitement. One of those involves fitting titanium skid plates to the cars in a bid to reintroduce the sparks that were so prevalent in the sport's past.
Mercedes-AMG and Ferrari conducted initial experiments with the new skid plates during early practice sessions for the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg had the plates fitted to different locations of their cars, in a bid to see which created the most dramatic sparks. Considering the photos the tests, though, neither Mercedes' nor Ferrari's setup really seemed successful, which is why you're seeing Johnny Herbert and his 1989 Benneton B188 up top.
According to Autosport, the Austrian tests are simply the first step in the long road to the new skid plates becoming a regular fixture for the 2015 season. What do you think? Is this a good plan, or should the powers that be in F1 focus on something other than visual gimmicks? Have your say in Comments.