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Brawn highlights sport's frustration with teams

NEWS STORY
18/03/2017

As much as F1's new owners might want to improve the sport, first they have to convince the teams.

While it might sound far-fetched, the old story about the teams being unable to agree on the type of water to be available at meeting is true.

It was (Minardi owner) Paul Stoddart who told Pitpass editor Chris Balfe that at one meeting there was an argument not only over whether still or sparkling water should be available, but which brand.

With that level of pettiness in mind, what hope getting all ten teams to agree on such slightly more important issues such as the direction the sport should be taking under its new ownership.

As editor Balfe remarks in the latest podcast, while the teams might talk of putting on a show, of wanting to see wheel-to-wheel racing from lights to flag, the truth is quite the opposite. Toto Wolff wants to see his drivers take pole position next Saturday by a second or more then go on to win Sunday's race finishing a lap ahead of the nearest opposition.

If his two drivers enjoy a clean scrap along the way, fine, as long as the Silver Arrows finish first and second... then repeat the result in China, Bahrain...

Christian Horner, Maurizio Arrivabene, Clair Williams, Bob Fernley et al will all have similar dreams... they are not interested in 'the show' only winning.

Just weeks into his new job as Managing Director of Motorsport, poacher turned gamekeeper, Ross Brawn, is coming to realise how difficult it is to change a sport where each and every participant is driven by self-interest, eyeing every suggestion aimed at improving things as a threat and any attempt at moving the sport forward as a bid to undermine said team's position.

"The frustrating thing is that Jean Todt has had this bee in his bonnet, which is valid in a way, to put the number on the side of the car so that the fan in the grandstand can see what car he's looking at," he told Autosport. "Because not every fan is knowledgeable enough to recognise the helmet and all the rest of it.

"We came up with the shark fin," he continued, "because that was the easy addition to put a big number on.

"But half of the teams said we're not going to have that on our cars, that's terrible," he revealed. "It was tested. We had photographs and everything, and everyone said, 'that's horrible, we don't want that.'"

Lo and behold, a couple of years down the line, having seen a performance advantage, each and every car is adorned with said wings - though no numbers.

"Part of the sales pitch for these new rules was nicer looking cars," says Brawn, who admits to being no fan of the fins or the T-wings that have sprung up this season. "We've only half achieved that, because we've got all these oddities, shark fins and T-wings and more bits surrounding the turning vanes than I've seen for a long time.

"That's OK, that's understandable with a new set of rules," he admits, "but the next iteration has got to make sure that we don't, even if it's only for aesthetics.

"There's no switch you can turn," he said of the possibility of the teams putting self-interest aside and being open to suggestions that are good for the sport as a whole, "it's just people hopefully understanding that we have that interest in the sport at heart.

"I hope people will recognise that our motives are just to improve Formula 1. We have got no other motives," he insists. "And as long as we don't fall in the trap of trying to distort the competition because somebody is winning, which I would never want to do, then people shouldn't have a need to question our motives."

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1. Posted by Spindoctor, 20/03/2017 8:21

"That would be the same Ross Brawn who so successfully ran Ferrari and then Brawn in his own interests? Competition is precisely about winning, and winning comes from ruthlessly seeking advantage for yourself & team. That's the sine qua non of "Sport".
'Taking part' can be fun but winning is the point.

I'm increasingly convinced that many of F1's difficulties lie in confusion between the roles of the various interested parties. In most Sports a Governing Body sets the rules independent of (but lobbied by) the participants and those who wish to 'sell' Sport to the public.
In F1 that role should fall to FIA, but post-Mosley, Bernie\CVC\Liberty have de-facto taken it over.
We now have a situation analogous to one where the Pie-sellers at Football matches determine the rules of the game.
Not smart.


"

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2. Posted by mickl, 18/03/2017 22:19

"I think there should be a minimum amount paid to each team by FoM so that it's sustainable for them to go racing with a much smaller prize fund that doesn't give the winning team a huge advantage in funding the following year."

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3. Posted by F One, 18/03/2017 16:16

"They should just split the prize money equally between the teams so coming 1st or last makes no difference at all and they still all get the same money."

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