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Minardi: It's time to review the technical regulations

NEWS STORY
17/04/2015

Former team owner Gian Carlo Minardi agrees with Bernie Ecclestone that change is needed in F1 but fears at what cost.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Ecclestone argues that a return to V8s would be a win-win solution for the sport, bringing down the costs for teams, encouraging new teams, bringing back the fans and sponsors... it's the sort of nonsense many in the UK are currently hearing from politicians ahead of next month's election.

Veteran team owner, turned driver manager and F1 sage, Gian Carlo Minardi can see merit in what Ecclestone suggests but is unsure if it can be implemented and if so at what cost.

"I've read Bernie Ecclestone's comments and I've already talked about these issues several times, since this Formula 1 makes one think and worry," he says.

"I agree with Bernie," he continues. "It's time to review the technical regulations and come back to "simpler" and cheaper engines, leaving the manufacturers participating in the WEC Championship to carry the commitment of building new generation cars.

"A system in which the cost of a power unit represents a third or a quarter of the entire budget of a team is not sustainable," he adds. "But that's not all. To manage and enter these power units on the car, there is a considerable increase in costs on the remaining items.

"If there is no remedy in the short term, the risk is a throwback to the seventies, when there was only one engine - Ferrari - against all the Cosworths. Today, the risk is to have only one challenge: Ferrari vs Mercedes.

"The economic difficulties of some teams, the skyrocketing costs and the need to revise the rules are not the only clouds on the horizon. After what happened in China at Renault, reliable sources tell me that before the Spanish Grand Prix an extraordinary board of directors meeting will be held by the Chairman and CEO of Renault, Carlos Ghosn, about Renault's future in Formula 1.

"It is not a good sign," he admits. "The board of directors may see just two scenarios; direct engagement with its own team or other more drastic "situations".

"It's true that there are agreements until 2016 with Red Bull and Toro Rosso," he warns, "but it would not be the first time that a manufacturer takes bad roads for our sport, giving the perfect excuse to teams (the few solid and well-funded ones!) that get an engine to withdraw without incurring contractual penalties. A similar scenario would be definitely traumatic. What kind of starting grid would remain? I will not even think about it!

"The team principals have to present new solutions and Mr Ecclestone has to evaluate new entries on the engines front. There are companies are watching - some having already engines - stopped only by the lack of long-term strategies. One, above all, is BMW, which in mid-May will have a new boss, a man with professional experience in motorsport.

"It's time to use all the needed energies, in order to safeguard what for me, and not only me, is still the most amazing sports show in the world."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Chinabell70, 20/04/2015 15:40

"To revitalize F1...actually is very easy:
1. Simple Engines Design what V8 or V6, let the manufacturers roll out new version every 5 races (every quarter);
2. No need to control their use of tyres 9 (even different tyre brands). Senna can race one set of tires in Monaco.. why not now;
3. 2 parts of Shoot out of Qualifying Session (Shoot out n let say 10 laps) and add up the 2 parts to set the starting grids

DON't CONTROL TOO MANY THINGS.IT DOES NOT WORK!
"

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2. Posted by The Canadian, 20/04/2015 15:33

"@Darvi, perhaps- I'm just throwing out ideas that are already being used by other top tier motoracing org's to try to tighten up competition."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Darvi, 18/04/2015 12:41

"@ Toe_Dragon isn't that what we already have as GP2? "

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4. Posted by The Canadian, 17/04/2015 22:59

"F-1 should consider 2 options to level the playing field, in my opinion.
1. Go to a simpler engine design, Whether it be V-8's or whatever, such as discussed in this article.
2. Go with a mandated, enforced Aero Package. I think this would make a crucial difference if implemented properly. It'd all be down to handling, driver, and little differences in Aero, not the huge gulf we see today...Really, it would be nice to see a rules package that would potentially see everyone- even a Marussia- competitive
"

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5. Posted by testa rossa, 17/04/2015 10:54

"
- YAWN- ZZZzzzzzzz

"

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6. Posted by Tweek, 17/04/2015 10:50

"Why does Bernie and the F.I.A. require everyone to use basically the same engine, weight, tires, and wing? There was a time when mechanics, garagistas, manufacturers, and racers showed up at the track with interesting and unique designs. These differences in horsepower/weight/downforce/tires created the varied racing we all pine for (and some of us are finding in other racing series). Why not permit F1 cars of different weights, engine formula, tire brand again? It seems F1 could be in danger of becoming a spec race in an effort to control costs..... like Indy cars. Please don't let that happen.

Here is a great idea I saw in a video game a few years ago. Didn't Chaparral stick a turbine in a car to create fantastic downforce without wings in the 60's? Just imagine how fast one of those types of car would go in a modern chassis with active aerodynamics and 1000bhp engines. Visualize the spectacle created by two dozen of those things taking corners at 2x the current speeds and reaching 300mph in a straight line! If your gonna review technical regs let's try that. I bet there would be alot less complaining on the radio too. "

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7. Posted by Darvi, 17/04/2015 8:39

"Why not adopt the same regulations across WEC and F1 then there would be shared development costs and a broader range of engines."

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8. Posted by Hondawho?, 17/04/2015 7:55

"You may see FERRARI and Mercedes going to WEC if its development they need? F1 is a mini endurance race now anyway! Perhaps as Snr Minardi say maybe it's time for a change, not only engines but format as well? "

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9. Posted by Hondawho?, 17/04/2015 7:51

"2. Posted by TheBucketOfTruth, 4 hours ago"@ Paul
"Without tobacco sponsorship are these times permanently behind us?

Interesting point. The facts are that the tobacco giants could afford as it was "a licence to print money " as one finance director told me. The problem may be are there companies out there now, even with the amazing coverage F1 can command who have similar revenues to "use as advertising or sponsorship" and who think F1 is worth it? How many Rolex watches have they sold -v- sponsorship? "

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10. Posted by TheBucketOfTruth, 17/04/2015 3:27

"Also I'd love to see them open up the taps on these engines to pair with wider cars and tires. Put more emphasis on ground effect than on wing-related aerodynamics so that you have less dirty air issues, and let's go racing. Separate the men from the boys when we turn up the wick on those turbo motors with less (no?) fuel restriction and no rev limits.

Check these out
http://imgur.com/a/PoZN0
http://imgur.com/a/6dqAT"

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11. Posted by TheBucketOfTruth, 17/04/2015 3:19

"@ Paul
I'd gladly go back to V10s and have KERS with it. You can't just change the engines again because some could leave the sport. If you stick with this and Renault leaves, boo hoo. They switch back to V8s or V10s and then Mercedes could just as well decide to pack up and go as a result. The manufacturers wanted this new more "road relevant" engine package even if a lot of teams did not.

Is F1 never going to be healthy enough again to go back to the times where testing wasn't so limited? Where engines weren't so restricted? Without tobacco sponsorship are these times permanently behind us?"

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12. Posted by scf1fan, 17/04/2015 3:12

"Bah! And tell us Gian Carlo, how well did those "low cost" engines help Minardi? Everyone seems to keep making the same error of assumption. It doesn't matter what the "engine" cost, the back markers get very little sponsorship so they will never be able to afford a competitive unit to improve their positions!! It's a sliding scale and the back markers will always come up short with the way the money is currently divided!! GCM talks about the engine cost being 1/3 or 1/4 of a teams budget . . . That's not the case for MB, F, or RB! Ok, so perhaps there is another solution. How about raising the minimum payback to the teams so it's more like 1/5 or better. Of course that might mean Ferrari won't get as much as they are getting in their "Sweet" deal with Berni."

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13. Posted by You Started It!!, 17/04/2015 1:50

"They show have seen this coming when they went to the current configuration."

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14. Posted by Paul C, 17/04/2015 0:45

"How about any kind of NA power units with KERS?"

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