A Brexit-style twist for the 2021 rules

09/06/2019
NEWS STORY

For some time now, the dilly-dallying over the 2021 regulations has been compared to Brexit, as it appears that despite the endless rhetoric and promises nothing of real significance actually appears to be happening.

Comparisons between the two are even more likely now however, with the news that, like Brexit, the next move isn't likely to come until October. "Trick or Treaty," as politician Nigel Farage recently commented.

The 2021 rules package is all-encompassing, for as well as the technical regulations intended to improve the show, level the playing field, reduce costs and hopefully attract new teams and manufacturers, there will be a budget cap, changes to how the prize money is divided up and the scrapping of various bonuses.

Recently, while admitting that they wanted the regulations made known as soon as possible, the smaller teams also agreed that such a move would play into the hands of their bigger rivals who would be able to start preparing for the changes earlier.

Comparisons with Brexit are understandable, for every argument produces a counter argument, and, with the various factions all fighting for their corner, there appears no clear leadership to take control, Chase Carey and his team seeking a "democratic" approach rather than the dictatorial stance of the previous F1 boss.

The rules were due to be rubber stamped at next Friday's meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, however, following a meeting of the team bosses, the FIA and Formula One Management yesterday, it was agreed to hold off until October.

However, with Renault having already expressed unease with the proposed $175m budget cap, Cyril Abiteboul is unhappy at the proposed delay, which, if it is to happen, must have the written agreement of all ten teams. As the letter agreeing to the delay was presented to the teams, the Renault boss was unsure whether to give his support, expressing concern at the motives behind the delay.

"Let's be clear, there is more work to be done," he told Motorsport.com. "There are clear difficulties to reach all the objectives that have been set, because some of the objectives are contradictory; a better show, and a power-to-weight ratio that will be worse than it is now, for example.

"These things are the laws of physics," he continued, "and that's not going to change whether it's now, or October. I'm not totally sure that more can be achieved by October.

"Secondly, we knew that there was deadline of end of June for maybe one year, or a year and a half," he added. "What have we done? We are finally actively working because we are getting close to deadline. It's like a bad student doing his homework the day before the exam. I'm just a bit afraid that we end up in the same situation, and having the same conversation in mid-October.

"Finally, it's clear that some people are really pursuing changes that are good for the sport, and for sure we need to make sure that we are doing the right thing for the sport, and not just for Renault, or for Mercedes.

"I completely accept that this takes time, but with the right spirit it can be done, and with the right leadership from the FIA and F1 it can be done, whether or not we push back that deadline.

"But it's also true that there are a number of teams who would prefer that these changes do not happen, so we are just giving more time to the system to find reasons for not doing the changes which we believe are required for the sport; looking at the viewership, looking at the difficulty to attract sponsors, and so on. So that's our concern.

"Our style has been to be progressive about the challenge, so if we are presented with the right assurances that the principles will not deviate from the key principle and the key objective, I think we will be constructive.

"It requires unanimity. We need to sign, but everyone needs to sign, it was very clear that there was very little being said by some teams, which suggests that some of the teams don't care, which to me is a bit of a concern, because we should all be caring for the process, and the milestones that are coming from the International Sporting Code, and if they're here, they must be here for a reason.

"But again, we will be constructive if the letter is written with the assurance that we are looking for, particularly on the principle and in terms of governance, what we want the FIA and F1 to be able to do the changes that they want.

"I'm not seeking any particular rights," he insisted, "I'm just seeking that no one will have any capacity to block during that time."

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Published: 09/06/2019
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