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F1 needs some radical re-thinking warns Gallagher


Former Jordan and Jaguar marketing boss Mark Gallagher warns that the sport needs to take a long, hard look at itself or risk imploding.

The Irishman, who started out as a journalist and broadcaster, subsequently going on to spearhead Cosworth's return to F1, seriously fears for the sport's future, warning that it must learn from its mistakes.

His main concern, like many others within the business, is money, and while he supports the idea of a budget cap he fears that implementing it would prove impossible.

"It is a great idea, but policing that will be impossible," he told Italy's "You can try to limit how a team spends money, but what about its suppliers, sister companies or parent?

"When Max Mosley had the idea in 2009 to offer new teams an entry into F1 under a tight cost-cap, it looked like he might find a way to do it," he continued, "but of course the larger existing teams were not interested and so it never happened.

"The new teams - Caterham, Marussia and the now-absent HRT - were brought into Formula One on the basis of promises which were broken," he added. "I expect that the outcome will not result in a significant change because there is no way Red Bull or Ferrari will want to see their competitive advantage eroded by a budget-cap. I cannot see the top teams agreeing to it very easily."

Like many, Gallagher also fears that the introduction of the new formula - and the resultant spending increase - couldn't have come at a worse time.

"The timing of these changes is wrong," he said, "we should have waited until 2016 when the economic situation had improved and been translated into new sponsorship in F1. However, Renault made it very clear that unless there was a road-relevant engine in F1, they would quit the sport. Also the FIA was very keen to introduce 'green' technology.

"These are the reasons for the new regulations," he urged. "At Cosworth we pushed very hard for the new engines to be cost-capped to an R&D budget which would enable the teams to continue paying no more than €8m (£6.6m) a year (the same as a V8 engine plus KERS) but the manufacturers were not interested in cost."

As well as pushing for the introduction of the new engine formula, the Irishman blames Renault for forcing Cosworth out of F1.

"Renault was determined to increase its customer base,” he claims, "after using its automotive manufacturer status to attract Caterham away from Cosworth in 2011 it did the same with Williams for 2012, leaving Cosworth with only HRT and Marussia. When HRT collapsed it was pretty clear that Marussia would not be able to fund the Cosworth 2014 engine programme on its own, so the project had to be stopped.

"If I was a private team I would prefer to have a unique relationship with Cosworth and produce a 'works' engine than to be the third customer of a car manufacturer," said the former A1GP Team Ireland boss. "I really hope a car manufacturer or new F1 team works with Cosworth in the future, it’s a great company."


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1. Posted by GoodPublicity, 19/01/2014 6:35

"Mark Gallagher is barking up the wrong tree with his appeal for cost control. It always has been, and always will be, a pipe-dream.

His appeal for an aerodynamics 'freeze' is closer to the mark, but not close enough.

The real solution answer is to open up F1 to technological innovation by replacing all of the standardised engine rules with a simple dynamic fuel-flow restriction, eliminating aerofoils of all kinds, and making tyres free except that they must last for the full race distance, if not the entire race meeting.

In one fell swoop the cars would be more reliant on their drivers' skills, more relevant to the automotive industry and - most important of all - more spectacular to watch.

Just as they were in the late-1960s, before the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone started meddling with F1.

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2. Posted by Spindoctor, 16/01/2014 17:25

"Agree with MK1. It's not the cost per se, but that the costs all go one way, and the large profits another.
I don't want to get into a row about Mr Ecclestone, but his reign, particularly in its latter years, has seen this financial imbalance worsen immeasurably.

The increasing reliance on Aerodynamics has sucked the life out of racing. Only the richest teams, with the best facilities can hope to extract the 'nth degree, the difference between 1st and 10th, from a chassis. Combined with the ludicrous and consistently inconsistent tyres now in use racedays have become something of a lottery. This is exacerbated by a single team somehow developing a car which is nearly a second faster per lap than any others. The lottery becomes a procession."

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3. Posted by MKI, 15/01/2014 15:15

"F1's business model is remarkable. A number of teams are struggling financially, racing on circuits that are not viable, yet both these are generating profits that accrue mainly to rights owners who do not recycle them back into the sport. This is clearly not the ideal framework for future prosperity or success. And Mark Gallagher has identified one of the most important challenges motor sport has so far refused to confront. Aerodynamics. It affects everything - circuit design, driver and spectator safety, spectator enjoyment, costs. It is surely time for an FIA led reassessment of what may be good for the sport that include the views of venue owners at least."

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