Brawn finds F1 DNA claims "personally offensive"


Barely a week seems to pass without a majority of F1 fans raising their eyes to the heavens and sighing as another proposal aimed at giving their sport a boost is revealed. Granted, many of them will be of a certain age and therefore, under the sport's new ownership, redundant as Liberty Media seeks a new generation of fan.

But when those raising their eyebrows and sighing at the direction their sport is taking include the likes of Sergio Marchionne and Toto Wolff, their views cannot be dismissed quite so easily.

In Marchionne's case, the Ferrari president, in reacting to Liberty's plans for the engine formula post-2021, accused the American company of interfering with the sport's DNA, a claim that has not gone down well with his team's former technical boss who now heads the technical side of F1 under its new management.

Speaking to Radio Sport New Zealand, Brawn says he finds such claims "personally offensive".

"It's critical that we have a vision of where we see Formula One and I find it very frustrating when people accuse us of spoiling the DNA of this, that or the other," he said.

"F1 has a long history of incredible competition, and it's the pinnacle of motorsport so why would we choose to damage that?

"I find it personally offensive when people accuse me of dumbing down the sport because we know if we did that we'd spoil the sport at its core," he added, "and we'd spoil the commercial basis of the sport as well.

"The teams at the top are probably spending two or three times what they were spending five or six years ago, and yet you wouldn't say five or six years ago that the sport was dumb. So it's just a question of degree.

"We have to help the teams at the top recognise and realise that to have a sport for the future we've got to rebase the commercial revenues for the teams, we've got to rebase the amount of scope that the teams are allowed to explore technically in order to give a more exciting competition."

With Liberty set to give the teams the blueprint for the post-2020 engine formula in Bahrain this weekend, and with the little matter of the prize pot yet to be discussed, the Briton admits that paddock politics are likely to be a major stumbling block in the months and years ahead.

"There are always vested interests, and it's not just a simple technical problem, we have the political problem of what is the governance going forward? In other words, what role do the teams play, what role do we play, what role do the FIA play? Governance is a sensitive topic," he admits. "The commercial revenue to the teams is a sensitive topic. Budget control, which is something we're very enthusiastic about, is a sensitive topic.

"When you've got three or four areas that are being hotly debated, sometimes it colours or clouds other issues. So what would seem like a simple technical challenge or objective is sometimes clouded because the teams are sensitive to other areas and therefore don't cooperate.

"But I think broadly-speaking, the technical side, which we're discussing, is well supported by all the teams. They recognise that if we're talking about solutions for 2021, they're not affected in the short term, they're not disadvantaged in the short term, and we should work towards better solutions for the future."

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Published: 03/04/2018
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