Formula 1’s owners Liberty Media have revealed their desired blueprint for the future of the sport beyond 2021 after a meeting with team principals ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
While the press release was rather thin on actual detail, it did cover their desire to cap spending, restructure prizemoney and change a number of technical and sporting regulations to bring about a more sustainable future for the sport and better racing for the fans.
Plans put on the table include cheaper power units that are simpler, louder, more powerful with less necessity of grid penalties. They “must also remain road relevant and hybrid”, with technologies that are applicable to road cars as well as being appealing to new entrants and customer teams who can access equivalent performance levels.
As for costs, FOM proposed a future where how teams spend money is more crucial than how much money teams spend in total. The value of an implementation of a cost cap was not revealed to the public, however strong rumours suggest the amount is capped at €150 million.
FOM also made note that the end of season revenue distribution must be more balanced, however historic revenues to teams like Ferrari will still be recognised. Proposed changes to distribution include rewards based on current performance and success, along with additional support to engine suppliers for customer teams.
The sporting and technical regulations must be altered for better, more exciting racing. FOM hinted at making cars more raceable to increase overtaking opportunities, which was a hot topic after a processional Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne two weeks ago.
Engineering technology must also remain essential to Formula 1, however a driver’s skill “must be the predominant factor in the performance of the car”.
Cars should remain different according to FOM with performance differentiators maintained on sections of the cars such as aerodynamics, suspensions and power unit capabilities. On the flip side, areas not relevant to fans need to be standardised, which will have the added benefit of reducing overall costs.
So, what does this all mean? It means that the sport’s key players have laid down their proposals for the future and want all teams to carefully consider all factors. These sorts of proposals benefit teams in the midfield and lower who are customers of engine manufactures. Crucially, the proposed cost cap helps teams who may not even spend the rumoured €150 million a year to become more competitive with works teams who easily spend beyond that barrier.
While many assumed an uproar in the paddock by powerhouse teams Mercedes and Ferrari, paddock insiders report there is a quiet vibe from within. Key figures were reluctant to talk on the record at this stage while team principals and FOM’s leadership continue to thrash out these ideas behind closed doors.
Photos have emerged of Mercedes personnel Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda talking in deep conversation with Maurizio Arrivabene, Team Principal of Ferrari in the Mercedes camp. These proposals have encouraged many teams to talk internally with each other regarding the plans for the future.
Teams have until May to offer suggestions back to FOM where Liberty Media plans to have arrangements set for 2021 and beyond.
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