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Dear Ross, please stop it!


In his latest post-race debrief, F1 Managing Director, Motorsport, Ross Brawn waxes lyrical over the two-lap sprint that followed Max Verstappen's crash on Sunday.

"I was encouraged to hear a number of commentators say we needed another 10 laps of the action we saw in the final two laps of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix because it acts as a good prequel to sprint qualifying," he writes on the official F1 website.

"Sprint qualifying will be a little longer," he continues, "around 17 to 20 laps, but it could well feature the same type of thrilling racing as drivers won't have to worry about saving tyres."

First off, much like online clickbait, it is the commentator's role to build excitement, turning the most minor of situations into a major event, insisting that the sixty laps of tedium we have just witnessed - and for those about to watch on delayed highlights we salute you - were among the greatest ever witnessed, and that at next week's race - which last year featured only one overtake - we can expect, you've guessed it, the greatest race ever witnessed.

Ross, it's their job!

As for his enthusiasm over Sunday's two-lap sprint, and his suggestion that the forthcoming Sprint Qualifying events, "could well feature the same type of thrilling racing", rubbish!

Following the mayhem of Monza last year, in another of his race debriefs Brawn suggested that the totally unpredictable result that came about after the race was restarted following Charles Leclerc's crash at the Parabolica, and which had seen the 'revised' grid effectively turned around, was a great example of how reverse grids would add more spice to Sunday afternoons.

Thankfully, the proposal was shot down by fans, drivers and the teams.

What Ross really needs to understand is that Monza, and again on Sunday in Baku, was the teams and drivers reacting to a set of circumstances that came about naturally... or unnaturally if you will.

What Ross and his F1 masters are looking for is a means to artificially create such circumstances to their own benefit, to manipulate them deliberately for what Pierre Gasly might describe as "entertainment".

If Ross truly believes that Sunday was a good example of how great sprint races will be, why not return to a proposal put forward by a former F1 boss whose name is rarely mentioned these days... Bernie.

As was his way, following a race which had been turned on its head by a sudden downpour, Bernie suggested putting sprinklers around tracks and turning on the water whenever things got a little boring, after all, changing conditions are the great leveller.

But why stop there.

Another race turned completely on its head was the 2003 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, when defrocked priest, Cornelius Horan ran on to the track in the middle of the race.

Does Ross believe that other than sprinklers placed around the track we should have a couple of former, disaffected clerics on standby for those moments when events get a little processional.

Much is made of the fact that Ross is a poacher turner gamekeeper. Fact is, as a poacher he would have laughed these ideas out of court, and as a team boss he would of rejected them out of hand.

Yet now, as part of the F1 establishment, he gives them his full support, using every opportunity to tell us how good they will be for us.

Indeed, one wonders how long it will be before Ross reveals, courtesy of his race debrief, that tractor production is up again.

Please Ross, remember your racing roots and stop trying to sell us gimmicks.


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1. Posted by kenji, 09/06/2021 23:27

"@Bill every Moto GP race that I watch [ all of them ] it never ceases to amaze me that the riders take such risks and provide such super, edge of the seat, scintillating competition. They really are superheroes in my book. F1 takes up all the glamor and steals the limelight but the Moto GP guys just get on with it. They are simply the best. I defy anyone to say that watching real racers getting their elbows out at 350kph, racing mere centimetres from each other is not a super buzz!! They deserve better recognition IMO. No cosseting in Carbon fibre life preserving capsules for them.


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2. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 09/06/2021 19:18

"The circuit owner where I marshal came up with a new race format called Fast and Furious.

At some point in the race there is a random safety car call.

This bunches the cars back up then they continue on when the safety car pits.

It doesn't often change the lead of the race but it certainly re-ignites the mid field racing.

Note that this is in a series of club racing and is also designed to help the drivers learn more about about safety car procedures.

I don't think it would work in F1.

The reason F1 gets processional which is the issue at hand, is that this is a prototype series as opposed to something like F2, and the cars are highly aero dependant.

The formula is very prescriptive on power plants (engines back in the day) so there isn't any scope for an alternative such as V8 vs V10, vs V12, with one being lighter, easier on the tires and fuel but the other being faster but heavier.

MotoGP works so well because we can see the riders, the Ducati blasts past on the straight but the Yamaha has an advantage on most corners. Now and then Suzuki, KTM, Honda and Aprilia get amongst it too and a gravel trap is just that.

Most of all though, the riders in MotoGP are on the edge, literally, and one tiny mistake and its all over. It's like Monaco for F1 every race.


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3. Posted by Steve W, 09/06/2021 19:03

"Back in the day, Ross Brawn was a genius at what he did, but these days he's just a shill for F1..."

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4. Posted by F1F@N, 09/06/2021 3:51

"Loved the sprint race. If they could make it 15 laps with the best tyres and no limit on what ERS can be used it would be great. It separated the men from the boys in the end and made the boring procession a bit more bare-able "

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5. Posted by kenji, 09/06/2021 1:31

"There will always be conflict over what is boring and what is not depending on a plethora of personal needs and wants. This is due to the major complexities inherent in F1 today. I do feel that someone should go find 'Occams razor' and get to work. As an engineer I love new technology but it needs to be more than fit for purpose when looking at the overall effects. No one doubts the 'cleverness' of the the current PU's but the mere fact that the costs are [ supposedly ] quite ridiculous in the extreme, by allowing them to become the standard has ensured that only mega OEM'd have the wherewithall to build and control allocation of the exclusion of the smaller, yet efficient, engine builders. The natural extension of this has consolidated power in the wrong areas and created mainly dull racing with largely predetermined outcomes. hence the ongoing determination to 'add hokey options purely for entertainment purposes, outside of fair and equitable opportunities for more teams.

If we're really serious about opening up the whole of F1 to real racing then we'd have to change the basics. When the fastest cars fill the front grid positions it's almost 100% guaranteed who is going to win and who's going to take the crumbs that are left. Surely then some form of handicapping would ensure that by the final 20% of the race we'd see some exciting racing. There could be two winning categories, the handicap winner and the fastest elapsed time winner. That would be the simplest way of squaring the circle. Will it happen? Never. Too many vested interests."

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6. Posted by Spindoctor, 08/06/2021 16:43

"I thought the restart was potentially highly dangerous.
Brawn has become as ridiculous in his utterances supporting Liberty's plans & constant attempts to "add excitement" as Horner is with his whingeing & sniping at Wolff.
Formula 1 isn't actually "boring", but it is a very rarefied taste. It could become more easily understood, and hence popular through a major overhaul of its ludicrously complex & poorly administered Rules & Regulations, Technical, Financial & Driving.

In the meantime let's hope we don't see too many more attempts simply to dumb it down for the benefit of us common folks...."

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7. Posted by C5, 08/06/2021 16:20

"Going with a stranding restart for two laps was a stupid as Ross' conclusions on the same."

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8. Posted by Editor, 08/06/2021 14:20

"@ alvarezh3


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9. Posted by alvarezh3, 08/06/2021 14:00

"It seems thet a few of the posters here have misinterpreted what the Editor is exposing. As I understand it, he is not imploring that the two lap stint was not entertaining nor that it should not happen, what he is bashing is the FOM's intentions in selling us "excitement" by using man made gimmicks (reverse grids, etc.), not natural ones like the two lap stint.

By inducing "entertaining" tricks F1 becomes, in essence, kind of a WWE of racing.

FOM (Brawn) should have clear understanding that most of the F1 audience's intelligence is somewhat above the average "Joe", and that to fictiously manipulate the spectacle to make it "more entertaining or exiting" could easily end up insulting the majority of it's fan base."

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10. Posted by richardlovell, 08/06/2021 11:50

"F1 is boring. Since the dominance of one team whether RB or Merc, the magic has gone. Crazy rules, influence of the manufacturers and the rich boys club has ruined FI. I've never owned a Patek Philippe or any other 50k watch. I don't plan on wearing Le coq Sportif or Giorgio Armani. The F1 paddock is an insult to the rest of the world as a display of crass consumerism and an over the top display of the naff nouveau riche. The money spent in the paddock should be out with the spectators promoting the sponsors product and not some Russian oligarch's waistline.

Let get back to exciting racing like MotoGP, top 12 qualifying within 0.8 sec. Lets have 1500hp V12 running on petrol. Let reduce the aero. Let's make the cars lighter again. Let's have qualifying heats. Let's have 15-20 teams. The budget cap is good. Let's have wider tyres. Let's get rid of the crazy valve trains that run on air not springs. I can build a 1500hp motor in my garage for less than 100k. Why do we need some crazy engine made from unobtainium for millions of euros? In the grand scheme of things F1 does not contribute to climate change in any significant way. A lot of the sponsors do like Aramco...... Working on the other big polluters like lorries, air travel and industrial sources would be smarter and bring significant benefits.

The last 2 laps of Baku were great. Banging wheels, all kind of sideways, tyre marks everywhere and an amazing finish. Your diatribe is just wrong headed and not focused on the wants of a spectator. We want entertainment as proved in the survey by Motosports a few years ago. "

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11. Posted by kenji, 08/06/2021 11:33

"My first major race was the Australian GP held in 1951 at a sleepy country town call Narrogin in Western Australia and it was a handicap race. The race was under the banner of Formula Libre...anything goes!!! The first car to start was an MG TC and, amongst the motley array of cars there was even one with two V8's hooked up for a 7.8litre beast. What a race...and not a single blazer in sight. just 7.8kms of wheat fields and drab coiuntry stores selling fertilizer and beer. It was motor racing at it's finest..the days of 'iron men and wooden ships'. No trouble with 'magic buttons' or track limits just racing for the sake of racing. Fond memories."

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12. Posted by Max Noble, 08/06/2021 11:14

"@editor - Ah blazers for all! Good bye world’s problems. :-). Extra rum ration in the trenches tonight, and we shall sleep well. :-) "

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13. Posted by Editor, 08/06/2021 10:28

"@ Superbird70

And all those lovely Ad breaks"

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14. Posted by Superbird70, 08/06/2021 10:24

"Maybe a series of 25-30 2 lap sprints is what is needed for each Grand Prix. Just imagine the excitment. True sports entertainment."

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15. Posted by Kemawi, 08/06/2021 9:10

"Well something needs to be done. There I was watching HIGHLIGHTS with my 7YO son and 3x times he said. "time to fast forward Dad, this is boring" and it was.......There WAS more excitement in the 2x lap sprint race than in the entire 60x odd laps that went before....... I've watched GP racing since 1974 and I race historic formula single seaters so I comment as someone who loves motorcading..... watching with my son and also competing........ "

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