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Brawn: We can't go on like this

NEWS STORY
28/11/2018

While one only has to look at the Constructors' Championship standings, or even the individual race results, to see a story of two title fights, that between Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, the other for 'best of the rest', in his summation of the gravity of the situation, the sport's technical boss, Ross Brawn, points to another worrying statistic.

Over the last two seasons, only twice has a driver for a team other than Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull, made it to the podium. In both instances it was in Azerbaijan, in 2017 Lance Stroll joined Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas, while this year it was the turn of Sergio Perez to join Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.

As the sport seeks to level the playing field, Brawn warns that this 'championship of two halves' cannot continue.

"As was the case in 2017, only once and significantly, on a very unusual street circuit like Baku, did a driver from one of those seven teams make it to the podium," says the Briton. "Two podiums from a total of 123 is unacceptable, especially when it comes with an ever increasing technical and financial divide.

"It's a problem we are tackling together with the FIA and the teams, because the future of Formula 1 depends on it," he warns. "There are various solutions on the table and we must all accept that we can't go on like this for too much longer."

Referring to the battle for best of the rest, which saw Renault claim fourth ahead of Haas, McLaren and Racing Point Force India, which in fact only contested the last nine rounds of the season, Brawn said: "I don't mean to cause offence by referring to the 'other' championship, it's just a way of describing the situation and their battle was certainly thrilling. However, it's hard for the fans to truly get excited about a battle for eighth place. Having said that, congratulations to Renault for finishing fourth, confirming the progress it is making, and to Haas, as finishing fifth in only your third year in the sport is a great achievement.

"Sauber fought back after struggling for the previous two years, partly thanks to the talents of Leclerc," he added. "But a special word goes out to the men and women of Force India who worked hard all season without letting themselves get distracted by the serious problems that affected the company and threatened its very existence. I think that managing to keep Force India on the grid and assuring it a stable future is one of the most important things that happened in 2018."

Levelling the playing field won't be easy, for, much like the way some see communism, the big three would prefer their rivals come up to their level rather than be forced to move down to theirs.

At the heart of the sport's bid to level the field is a budget cap which would limit the teams to the same limit on spending, whilst also distributing the prize money more equally.

While the smaller teams make no secret of the fact they want this to happen, the proposal has not down well with the big three.

In terms of the technical regulations, having already backtracked on plans to revamp the engine formula in 2021, a change to the technical regulations will depend on the impact of the new aero regulations for next season, some team bosses already claiming that they will make little difference once the season is underway.

Furthermore, new regulations means increased spending in F1's vicious circle.

"The first steps for the future have therefore been taken, but there's still a lot to do in the coming crucial months," admits Brawn in a masterpiece of understatement.

Check out our Wednesday gallery from the Yas Marina test, here.

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1. Posted by elsiebc, 04/12/2018 21:33

"The more they try to even the playing field the more uneven it gets. Yes, in the past F1 was subject to one or more teams or drivers dominating, but not to this extent. When there are more areas to explore there is a wider group of people capable of excelling. (i.e.: If a school ranks students according to math, science, grammar, and art skills there are a greater number that can rank highly than if the school only ranks it's students on their calculus skills.)

I never remember a time where racers didn't race each other. In the past there was not just one formula for success. Yes, Ross was big on the "to finish first, first you must finish" mantra but not all teams saw that as their best opportunity. People always stretched the limits and thus unexpected results happened. And since a driver didn't know what could happen in front of him it was important to race all comers, at least to the best of his and his equipment's abilities. Now they know pretty much how it's gonna end so they only concentrate on those whose pace is closest to their own and let the others pass.

What I find the most disheartening is what drew me to F1 was the European approach to racing which was pure and not contrived like here in the states. All I see now is a European socialistic approach and the failed results. The span across the grid is tighter than it's ever been before, yet the chasm between the top and the bottom is the greatest.
"

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2. Posted by Egalitarian, 29/11/2018 21:54

"I'm inclined to agree with imej99. My impression is that long term (technical) rule stability eventually brings a tighter and more competitive field, whereas the regular change does benefit the wealthy teams. Because I am fundamentally lazy, I will leave it to someone else to do the research to test my/imej99's theory."

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3. Posted by Defiant, 29/11/2018 18:27

"*fuelling .... why on earth would spell check change that to furling?"

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4. Posted by Defiant, 29/11/2018 18:24

"Unfortunately I don’t see F1 as exciting as it should be. I’d like them to open up the rules a great deal and let the engineers really show some ingenuity. How about they allow furling, allow multiple engine formats, V12, V10,V8, V6 turbo, multiple tyre suppliers, I know it’s not as good performance wise, but how about making the wheels bigger, that’ll excite the tyre companies. Let’s just set a dimension window of height, length, width to build the cars in. Free for all Electronics and let’s see what they can do. Money will still speak loudest, but with less restraint you’ll see more innovation and only change rules once per 5-7 years, unless the whole grid agrees, or maybe have fans register to vote, and they can over rule any protectionism."

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5. Posted by imejl99, 29/11/2018 13:48

"@Spindoctor
"unforeseen inspiration (Brawn's 2009 Championship)" except Honda`s hundreds of millions spent on that car.
;)
"

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6. Posted by Spindoctor, 29/11/2018 13:21

"F1 is supposedly the pinnacle of Motor Sport. A brief glance at any other Sport will indicate that as you get nearer the top \ best performers, so it costs more & more. It's no coincidence that (even) Man Utd should manage to larrump Shrewsbury Town most of the time. The boot wallah at MU probably earns more than the entire Shrewsbury team, and then there's M. Pogba.....

The point is that the best costs more than the less good. F1 is NOT unique. I'm no expert on Indy Cars, but I'd guess that there are tiers in that too, with the same teams excelling year-after-year. Even in the Soviet paradise that was USSR, the best athletes were highly rewarded, and expensively trained \ drugged.
Whatever caps \ limits \ throttles (insert noun here) you impose outside of unforeseen inspiration (Brawn's 2009 Championship), being best costs more.

You may cap Teams' spending at (say) $50M per year, and assuming that their Accountants are less innovative (sneaky) than their Engineers, you'd get the best $50M Championship in Motor Sport: not, however, the "pinnacle" of anything.

"

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7. Posted by Steve W, 29/11/2018 11:36

"With a few exceptions, F1 has always been like this. So what? F1 is still with us and still doing very well."

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8. Posted by imejl99, 29/11/2018 8:03

"The future of Formula 1? As long as I remember, and I remember announcement that Hungaroring will be built, F1 was more often than not a 2 horse race. Decades long of "fixing F1 problems" gave us a list of changes longer than a list of F1 all time racing drivers, and nothing changed - favorite of two, and the rest. F1 is alive and well, thanks for asking. Only, nowadays there are more hypocrites there.

( my 2 cents on fixing F1 - forget any specific rule, or area of interest, even forget the money. Just don`t change anything for at lest 5 years. There are some quite smart people in F1 teams, they will get it right only if they don`t need to start over every year. Changes only benefit the richest.)"

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9. Posted by Rhaycen, 29/11/2018 5:59

"We currently have 2 series, one for the 3 teams in the 400-500 million dollar range, and one for the 7 teams in the 100-250 million dollar range. Unless we can get everyone to at least play within the same financial range, nothing will change, regardless of what rule changes we make."

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10. Posted by george, 29/11/2018 4:13

"Mr Brawn, that is what fans and insiders are telling you for at least 5 to 10 years. What we are waiting to hear is how you DO plan to go on. A very simple truth already is that you need 24 to 26 cars at the start. 8 teams times 3 cars would be the best solution because to expensive to make new teams. And we can loose a few, anyway, we will. When Mr Haas is fed up of your mess, or Strolls son decides to go back to his toy soldiers to play with..."

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11. Posted by Editor, 28/11/2018 22:25

"@ Insane Reindeer

Chase Carey's contract runs until 2020 and some say he won't go the distance... in which case Brawn could become overall boss."

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12. Posted by meatball, 28/11/2018 19:58

"New Job, new responsibilities. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp? Nobody was in his current role when he was at Ferrari et al. He's now in a role that requires him to look at things the way he is, say the things he's saying and do the things he's doing. And frankly, if F1 were to create the role he's in now, who better to take that role on than someone so familiar with being a "have" and not a "Have-not". Whether we like it or not, if we want an F1 to watch for the years to come, the racing had better become more competitive and this is an important part in making it that way. Historical bonuses should be the first thing to go. Second get rid of that BS rule that says new teams cant partake in the championship winnings. Then find some way to cap budget and head count.

Hybrids are hear to stay. NO they won't bring back V10s, Nor V8s, The DFV was a wonderful engine, but we'll never see it again. Stop changing engine formulas and level that playing field. Let the engineers loose on the chassis, aero and suspension - but with the caps in place. Things will be interesting then."

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13. Posted by Insane Reindeer, 28/11/2018 19:14

"Wow. He really has no shame. Completely sold out. Which is, ultimately, more damaging to F1 then having three teams share all the spoils. "

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14. Posted by Paul C, 28/11/2018 18:05

"Simplified power units that cost less would help. Look at what Indy Car uses presently. Also, does F1 travel too much when so much of it's fan base is on electronic media? "

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15. Posted by alfsboy, 28/11/2018 16:17

"Bring back the Cosworth DFV..... please."

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