Carey warns F1 must be open to change


It is somewhat ironic, that as Chase Carey and his team try their hardest to leave the sport - as it was under the previous management - in the past, the need to heavily reschedule the calendar due to COVID has forced not only a return to a Eurocentric calendar but the use of a number iconic tracks from its fabulous past.

As he prepares to hand over the reins to Stefano Domenicali, Carey maintains that the sport should not remain a slave to its past and must be willing to accept change, be it concepts such as qualifying races, reverse grids or the weekend format.

"Most sports, when they've talked about changes, the hard-core fans resist change," he said on the official F1 website's latest Beyond the Grid podcast.

"MLB (Major League Baseball), when they had a designated hitter, everybody didn't like it," he continued. "The NBA put in a three-point line, the hard-cores didn't like it. You added teams to play-offs, you used to have the league champions play in the World Series, this year they had 16 teams compete.

"In most of those cases, not all, but in most cases, those changes have ended up being viewed as positive, bringing fresh energy, bringing a fresh perspective," he added.

"I think you have to be careful that you don't gimmick-up the sport," he admitted, "that you're recognising the importance of history and the importance of what has made this sport special, but not let that become a straightjacket that doesn't enable you to consider changes that may truly enhance the sport for fans.

"A decision like the specific one about a qualifying race, I think is a group decision," he said. "From my perspective, we're not going dictate that.

"Let's tee it up, take about the pros and cons, do the appropriate homework of what we think again the benefits and issues with it, and have an honest discussion with everybody.

"That's where it's important to have a spirit of partnership and not look at it as, is this good or bad for me as a team, but is it good or bad for the sport, and make an informed judgement.

"Is this a decision that we feel is respectful to the sport and create greater races for fans? At the end of the day, this is what this is all about.

"Not every fan is ever going to like it," he admitted, "you're never going to get to 100%, which is why we have to make the judgement is it something we think on balance will improve the sport.

"Without making it sound like we're just throwing ideas against a wall, we should always be trying to push ourselves to look at other ways to make the sport more interesting and exciting for fans."

While the team remain opposed to reverse grid, last weekend's Eifel Grand Prix, which witnessed no running on Friday, saw a number of drivers and their bosses warm to the idea of two-day weekend, such is being used at Imola next month.

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Published: 14/10/2020
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