Lauda slams Liberty's vision for F1


Though the odd expletive has to be bleeped out, when three-time world champion, airline owner and Mercedes F1 team non-executive chairman (and owner of 10%), Niki Lauda, talks, one listens.

Days after Liberty Media unveiled more of its vision for the sport's future, and as the teams await news on the sport's new owner's plans to redistribute the prize money, the Austrian has admitted his concern.

"I'm worried," he tells Gazzetta dello Sport. "It is right that the American owners needed time to understand what F1 is, but that is about to expire. And what they think about the future is worrying me.

"The FIA, Chase Carey and Ross Brawn repeat that we need to level the performance, but the DNA of F1 is the opposite," he adds. "You are a fool if you think that to make grands prix more attractive you need to have a different winner every weekend. F1 is about competition. Developing cars is one of the important foundations, as well as the bravery of the drivers. Instead, you want to penalise the best teams, and protect the drivers as if they are babies, with the introduction of the Halo for example."

Indeed, for when speaking to investors on Thursday, Chase Carey said: "If we can tackle issues like costs, the engine, revenue distribution and things like aerodynamics where the cars are not built for passing..." all that was missing was the intention to find a cure for Cancer and peace in the Middle East.

With the teams yet to be told how Liberty plans to redistribute the prize pot a move that will also see the end of historical bonuses, as we report today, they already face a 31m drop in prize money as the sport's new owners appear to be in a spending war of their own, what with new offices in London, proposed offices in New York, Ross Brawn's in-house F1 team and events such as that ahead of the British Grand Prix and the infamous Michael Buffer nonsense in Austin.

Lauda all but confirmed that the unease over the proposed engine changes for 2021 is a side issue. Asked if it is right that Liberty is seeking cheaper engines he admitted: "Yes, and I'm sure we will find a satisfactory compromise...

"But the heart of the problem is something else," he continues. "In the face of cost growth of some 70 million euros from one year to the next, revenues have declined. Where do we want to go from here? There should be ideas for generating more money, but I do not see them.

"I heard that Sean Bratches would like to see the drivers accompanied with grid kids. Is imitating football having new ideas?" he asks.

"It needs a more open project," he insists. "For example, the budget cap. It is logical and correct but it needs a three-year plan to realise it. We have employees, so what do we do with them? Do we just cast them off and throw them on the road?

"For now Liberty has only announced that they want to introduce it, but they have not explained how they intend to realise it."

And that, Niki, is when the fun and games will really begin.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Interlagos, here.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 12/11/2017
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