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A worrying message from the FIA

NEWS STORY
08/03/2019

While the statement that followed yesterday's meeting of the World Motor Sport council contained news of decisions that would affect the WRC, WEC, World Touring Car Cup, F3, Truck Racing and a whole load of others series governed by the FIA, the reference to F1 was minimal.

Indeed, just 22 words were devoted to the so-called pinnacle of motor sport, the crown jewels of motor sport's governing body.

Those 22 words however, though they don't contain any vital information, are likely to send a shudder through the sport and its fans.

"The Council approved the launch of a series of tenders within the context of the ongoing development of the 2021 Technical Regulations," they read.

Just last month, the FIA invited tenders for a standard gearbox cassette which would be used by all teams from 2021 to 2024, and while no specifics are mentioned in the WMSC's brief statement it is clear that F1 is seeking to standardise more parts.

All this, of course, is part of the drive to reduce costs and level out the playing field, but, as some will argue, does standardisation compromises the very DNA of F1

"We need to close the differential between the cars in terms of overall performance," said the sport's technical boss, Ross Brawn at the official screening of the Netflix documentary of the 2018 season.

"We have divisions, one and two at the moment, and we need to stop that," he continued. "We need much closer gaps between the teams and cost control will be part of that. The regulations evolving will be part of that.

"We are moving a number of elements on the car which don't engage the fans," he said. "Technology should be exciting and fascinating for the fans. That's not things like a lighter fire extinguisher.

"Every team wants to build its own fire extinguisher because it thinks it can make it a bit lighter than someone else's," he continued. "No-one is interested in that. That's just a simple example, everyone should run the same fire extinguisher. But if you've got the money to put into the fire extinguisher, you can probably make one a bit lighter than someone else, and where the teams have the resources, and the money, and the budget, they can do those things.

"Then they get just a fraction of a second advantage here, and a fraction there, before you know it, they're a second ahead, and the competition is poor," he insisted, this from a man who pushed the envelope to its very limit - and then some - constantly treading that very fine line between the legal and the not so legal in his quest for that little bit extra pace and performance, that edge.

"So we have to have cars which are close to each other, and then, when they're close to each other we have to have them behave in a way that they can race each other.

"There is a massive difference already. With the current cars, once you are two car lengths behind you lose 50 per cent of performance.

"The car we have under development is a huge improvement on that, huge," he said of the work being carried out by his technical team.

"It's a commercial approach and a technical approach that will bring a better F1 and so we're doing both in parallel. Everyone would like to see it happening more quickly or more visibly, but when it's done it will be done correctly."

However, to paraphrase Martin Niemoller; "first they came for the gearbox cassette, and I did not speak out..."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by alfsboy, 11/03/2019 14:37

"F1 has never been fair or very close.Formula E wont replace it unless laws are changed but it going to get a lot closer and a lot more relevant.Formula E is doing what Bernie never managed .Its brings motorsport to many places and audiences that F1 cant reach .The sport came to its audience instead of the fans queuing up for hours to get fleeced at grubby circuits and mostly ending up in his pockets. "

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2. Posted by GarH, 10/03/2019 14:46

"@Kallie61

There are problems with FormulaE that will see interest wane over time, unless they are sorted. Having 2, 3 or 4 safety cars in every race guarantees 'close racing', especially on narrow concrete lined circuits that don't allow overtaking. And we've seen yet another race decided after the chequered flag has fallen."

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3. Posted by Kallie61 , 10/03/2019 8:43

"Just watching Formula E, so much close racing and overtaking, with not so big budgets, can be done!!!"

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4. Posted by GarH, 10/03/2019 4:02

"Back to the budget cap, again. This first raised by Mosley, the man who effectively gave Bernie access to all the money. If FOM were not taking such a huge slice off the top and the money was spread around fairly, there wouldn't be a money problem. Take a look at the English Premier League. The teams get all the income from broadcasting and decide how to spend it themselves. All of them pick up over 100 million and every penny is spent of wages and the upkeep of their stadium. They don't produce anything other than football games. There are no factories associated with football teams, outside of kit, no new technology, nothing. But that's okay - F1 teams employing hundreds - not dozens - are being greedy. Max has really fooled the F1 world.
"

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5. Posted by Editor, 09/03/2019 18:32

"@ NS Biker

Well it won't be the first time he's built a winning car with other people's money."

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6. Posted by NS Biker, 09/03/2019 18:08

""The car we have under development is a huge improvement on that, huge," he said of the work being carried out by his technical team. Ross Brawn.

Clearly the teams will save enormous $um$ of ca$h by farming out the design to Ross B. and co. Heck, he says they have already done it."

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7. Posted by Steve W, 09/03/2019 9:11

"F1 and IndyCar are going to merge..."

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8. Posted by JM, 08/03/2019 21:24

"I'm for a budget cap. Require teams to design and build their own cars, but limit their resources. The money the big teams spend is just crazy. Sure, they will find ways to bend the rules, but Daimler-Benz spending half a billion a year is ludicrous. WEC isn't much better off with Toyota being the only big manufacturer left in LMP1, after Peugeot and Porsche threw in the towel."

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9. Posted by Uffen, 08/03/2019 21:04

"Well, the non-spec cars have made F1 boring. So, we're looking in the wrong places.
To the teams the WCC is the thing, to the fans the WDC is the thing. Those two are hard to reconcile."

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10. Posted by Shoki, 08/03/2019 19:37

"Spec cars, coming soon to a grand prix near you. The formula that has made Nascar and Indy so boring, embraced by FIA."

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11. Posted by JM, 08/03/2019 19:32

"For those advocating standardized parts, aero, engines etcetera so that the drivers have an equal chance: Formula 1 is traditionally a constructor's championship. To the teams the WDC is of less importance, that's nothing new. F1 drivers have never had equal opportunity, and they have been and still are the smaller fraction of the winning equation. It's all about building the best car."

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12. Posted by estoril85, 08/03/2019 19:12

"There is a series where Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, Audi, Jaguar, DS and Nissan are going to be competing in next year, along with some well run privateer teams, good close racing, eco friendly, free to air TV, surely nothing for F1 to worry about..... "

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13. Posted by Uffen, 08/03/2019 18:00

"The next step is the engine. Fans can't see it, it is difficult to understand, they are all the same in essence, and they cost a ton of $. So, if fans don't care about gearbox cassettes (and, do they really care about the gearbox casings?) they probably don't care about the powerplants. So, next on the list is the engine. M-B engines all round (Ferrari will be allowed to brand theirs "Ferrari.")

And, GarH, if we are concerned about employment, staffing, etc., then we'd better get used to cost increases and more and more 0.0003 seconds per lap technology."

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14. Posted by nonickname, 08/03/2019 17:39

"Ah whats 911 years out."

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15. Posted by VC10-1103, 08/03/2019 17:24

"Nonickname - BRM were competing at the same time as Matra. BRM's last race was in 1977!"

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