Liberty changes to F1 aren’t enough, what we need is…

2017_mclaren_concept

La revolucion!!
Over the last couple of years F1 has seen domination of a certain team over others. We have seen stints of McLaren, of Williams, of Mercedes and Red Bull. At the beginning of each season the more experienced F1 viewer could already estimate which teams would be on top at the end of the season.

No more!! El Jefe Maximo launches his plans to revolutionise F1, and give F1 back to the viewer.

The last 30 years F1 has become a commercial success. For the larger part this is the doing of Ecclestone, who largely commercialised the sport and made it a worldwide circus. It made finance available to teams, which in turn could hire people to evolutionise cars and equipment. Tech, high society and sport-lovers gravitated towards F1 like flies to honey.

Ferrari as a F1 and car manufacturer has been there from the start (well kinda), and although they have had their up’s and down’s (my god, were they building bad cars at the end of the 70-ies and beginning of the 80-ies). Car manufacturers started to see the marketing advantages F1 opened up, and started buying up teams. Honda, Toyota, Mercedes, BMW: we have seen a lot of brands. This pushed budgets to limits unimagined before. This “success” pushed some over the brink: billions went into the sport without the so relished victories (for ex. Toyota). Not to speak of the many privateers who folded: HRT and Caterham were just the last of a long list.

To keep things in hand, but not lose competitiveness, teams started buying engines at fewer suppliers. It was no longer possible to stay in F1 as supplier of engines if one did not have factory backing: Renault , Ferrari, Mercedes these are all that remain. (For the moment I am leaving Honda out of it) Mecachrome, Ilmor, Judd, Hart and even Ford/Cosworth. Teams started complaining about the cost,so measures were taken to bring down cost: the engine freeze, limitations to the amount of engines per year etc. We all remember Ecclestone’s attempts to bring more choice to teams.

To keep things interesting over the years, some variables were introduced: narrower cars, wider cars, grooved tires.. Ideas to “shake things up”.. But have they really made F1 more interesting to watch? Admitted: DRS zones made overtaking easier. Hurray for it, because otherwise it would have become a very fast parade of cars.

IMHO things really need to change. Liberty Media already started outlining ideas for future F1. I have had this article in mind for about 2 months. Even before I officially started writing for TheJudge13. Some of the ideas Liberty brought forward, actually align with what I had in mind. However, I want to take things a bit further… This article outlines the way I would see F1 racing for the future.

Viva la revolucion!!

Race weekends.

We currently have 3 practice sessions, a qualification session, and the race. Only the qualification and the race are televised live on most global networks.

I would like to see the amount of practices reduced to 2. Since they are not televised, lap-times, positions etc, are not important. The trainings should only used for setting up the car. Multiple drivers can drive the same car during a practice. Aero or tire testing: doesn’t matter. Basically, anything goes, except for damaging cars. Damaging cars should be costly for the ones causing accidents (yes, still talking about practice). Blowing engines, tires etc: incidents, tough luck for the team.. Tapping another team’s car so it gets damaged: this costs mucho dinero, and as in real life, the culprit must pay.

Saturday: a sprint race. 45 minutes. Not limited to a certain amount of laps: The one who covers the most laps wins. The grid is the reverse of the driver world-championship. For the first race of the year: last year’s driver championship. For new drivers: the team championship. Still in reverse order. New teams: they participate as gained 0 points in the year before. If new teams start with rookie drivers: I don’t care. They could even throw dice. The point is: the best driver/team combinations will have to work their way from the back of the field and do a lot of overtaking.

In the sprint race, no pit stops are allowed. No tire-changes, no refueling. It is a sprint.

The sprint-race will decide the grid for Sunday’s (main) race. First 10 will make points: half of the points of the main race. With an extra point given for the fastest lap.

Main race: at least 1 stop for tires. Maximum fuel load:180 kg. Maximum refuel: 40 kg. Refueling has to be separated from tires (so first tires, then fuel, or first fuel, then tires) Here again: we could create some advantage for engines using less fuel.

Tires

We have seen a single brand supplying the sport for years. Boring… It lacks the element of surprise. I would suggest 3 or 4 suppliers per year. Hankook could supply for the Asian races, Michelin for the European ones, Good Year the American ones. Obviously all those should be told they should supply a certain quality for a certain price. A Single supplier for each race. Obviously all these suppliers should prove their tires comply. Teams should decide with which car (a single one: that the kicker!) and the GPDA should decide the driver of that car. It cannot be a competing driver. Results should be public. The driver can be interviewed etc. The supplier can comment etc: this should be fun to watch and read.

Suppliers get some choices: If one would like 18” wheels: go for it!

The point is to create some surprise. It is not about creating a tire war. But it is about creating more possibilities of creating base-budget. Tire suppliers get the possibility to push product so this should create some $$$$.. all under the credo of “race on Sunday, sell on Monday”. We severely want to limit the testing of tires directly by the teams.

All teams get the same sets of tires for the weekend. The brand gets to pick the set for the sprint race.

Engines

We all love high-revving, screaming engines. We all got this romantic idea that F1 should develop techniques that we use on the roads. Let’s make a combination. Engines that are directly derived from engines that are used on the road, should get some advantages. For ex. current engines are 1.6 v6’s with a turbo. Engines derived from “road engines” (and let’s define that as engines that share the block and some parts with cars that can be bought for “normal road use in a normal road use car”) could be 2.4 v8’s with a turbo. (remember, being standard engines, they probably rev less than the special race-engines we see in F1 cars today.

We need more engine suppliers, more engine types. This will bring more drama and tragedy. Honda’s return is good, but it also showed how damn hard it is to get into F1. Naturally, it shouldn’t be easy, but it should be possible, and possible suppliers shouldn’t go bankrupt over attempting. Who didn’t love the drama of Peugeot? (look it up on youtube: Martin Brundle, Peugeot)

Viewers should recognize the love of racing, and we should reward constructors for trying.

(What we should not know, but engines should deliver within 30 KW of each other, and F1 officials should be able to test power output of all engines)

I would like to add special advantages for engines using less fuel (for example engines using less fuel can use higher turbo pressures, or can have a lower total weight) This all push suppliers into fuel saving technology.

The kicker: all teams must be able to buy the engine of their wish. For a specific “ceiled” budget (let’s say 5 M USD for a single car, for a complete year). No supplier will have the luxury to say “well, we are sorry, we can only supply 3 teams”. If 9 teams say: “we want to have a Ferrari engine” then Ferrari has to supply. No possibility to say “Sorry, no can do”. All supplied teams should have the same material, all engine software should be the same. For the 5M/engine/year a team should get the latest.

Teams should NOT have the possibility to dissect engine software. (to leave some magic covered)

Aero

Unlimited wind tunnel access is not something that warms my heart. I couldn’t care less, but I do dislike the immense budgets that go into it. Wind tunnel access should be limited. Totally random (and yes, I am sucking this out of the proverbial pulgar): 3 working weeks (40 hours each) before the start of the year. Then in total 2 weeks during the season.

Each season aero regulations should change.

Halo/Canopy

Maybe people think it is important F1 is an open seater class: I don’t. We should clearly see the driver. If the driver is completely covered by a mega-strength transparent canopy: fine. Halo’s are ugly.

Weight

There should be a minimum. Doesn’t have to be the same limit as today. Could be higher, could be lower. If a certain team dominates the championship, a weight penalty could be a possibility.

Drivers

Oh, you are gonna love this one.. Driver contracts should be fairly standard, and should have a set of variables. Salary, $$$ per point gained, sponsor-packages, media outages, performance opt-out’s which should work 2 ways:

1) if teams cannot perform up to level, drivers can search employment elsewhere.

2) Vice versa if drivers do not perform as required, they could be replaced

It will be cut-throat…

A driver and team can have a contract for maximum 3 years. Then the driver must go elsewhere for at least 2 years before he can return to the same team. Hamilton leaving McLaren: it caused some drama which we need to see more. Hamilton having to leave Mercedes..I would love to see what this guy could do in a Force India or a Vettel in a Williams. Top-drivers could shine even more.

A team can only have 3 drivers under contract. If a driver cannot compete, the reserve driver has to take over. If 2 drivers aren’t able: panic!

Out with all “driver programs”!!

Teams

There should be a system of promoting and degrading of teams. If a team does well in a lower series, then it should be awarded with a stint of 2 years in F1. If they can prove they are not last on the grid, they stay, otherwise they degrade and another is promoted.

Sponsors

The ones who make sure we have some good entertainment. They should be allowed a bit more air-time. I am thinking about giving them the possibility to have their own commentators to be interviewed before (discussing the circuit) and after the race (aw shucks, we did not win). During races they should be able to react to incidents: this should be good for some totally biased opinions, which in turn will loosen up some tongues. We could even do some interactive stuff where these people have to react to viewers questions.

Budgets

Yes, I leave the best for last. (At least before I get myself into other subjects ;-))

Plainly, I am not convinced that pouring more money into F1 will make it more interesting to watch. My reason for wanting to change things is that 1) we will get less single team dominated seasons, and 2) Toyota (and new teams in general) should (have) be(en) awarded with some success just for having the balls to try.

I am sure top teams don’t like budget limitations. Marchionne even feels it is impossible. But I totally dislike the idea of companies “buying” a championship. The idea that a single team has a budget of 500M USD/year, while another only has a budget of 50 M USD/year: it is like racing apples with pears.. (huh..?? Well, let’s say this article is becoming longer than planned)

Budgets should be kept within a certain bandwith, either money-, or personnel-wise. Maybe even in both ways. Wins should be for the ones with the will to win, not for the ones having the largest budgets.

Awarding money to Ferrari because they bring something special to the sport: I see some benefit to it: the sport should remain recognizable, but I don’t see why that is worth 70 M USD/year. This is more than the total budget of one of the smaller teams.

Teams should be allowed to put in a budgettary wildcard for 1 (or 2) year(s). This should give them the possibility to use 40 M USD extra (again, the thumb supplied this number). Obviously, once this wildcard is used, a team must wait at least 5 years years before it can use another. This will shorten “winning streaks”, and more teams get a fairer chance of winning.

Drivers can only make up 20% of the total budget. Teams will have to devide: spend more on drivers or spend more on mechanics?

Not exactly sure how to implement strict budgets, but hey, that is what revolutions are about: setting a direction, but not having all the answers up front. I am sure readers of this article can come up with some great ideas and help me with this revolucion!

The racing year

We race-fans have a right to be entertained all year round. The november-march gap simply is too much. I enjoy the Dakar Rally for a couple of weeks, but why not plan to fill this gap by planning the World Touring Car Championship in this period? As an extra rule I would like to implement the regulation that contenders in the WTCC cannot compete in F1, and vice-versa.

There you have it: I wrote my idealogy, I have fired the first shots and thrown my grenades!! support me in this revolution! Give your opinion! Viva la revolucion!

12 responses to “Liberty changes to F1 aren’t enough, what we need is…

  1. 2003 idea:

    The 20-20-20 in 2020.
    20 drivers
    20 cars (2*10)
    20 races.

    All drivers must race all cars.
    Drivers work for F1. Not for teams.
    A pre-season ballot decide who race Ferrari and when..
    Ex.
    Hamilton
    Will race Mercedes in Monaco and USA.
    Will race Ferrari in Bahrain and Brazil
    Will race Manor in China and Singapore
    … etc.

    • I actually don’t mind that idea, M. Rey. Places more distinction between the Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships.

    • I didn’t get it until I re-read “all drivers must race all cars”. So each driver gets a single car per race, and has to have driven all 20 cars by the end of the season. A driver must effectively have driven each and every car on the grid. It is weird, but I can use it! Keep them coming!

  2. “my god, were they building bad cars at the end of the 70-ies and beginning of the 80-ies”

    WDC – 1975,77,79…
    WCC – 1975,76,77,79,82,83.

    Pretry sure Ferrari would like to have a run of 8 years similar to the period between 1975 and 1983 when they were building “bad cars”…

    • Sorry, was thinking about their road cars.. I liked the 308/328’s (watched a rerun of Magnum PI), but I hated the Mondial’s

  3. “As an extra rule I would like to implement the regulation that contenders in the WTCC cannot compete in F1, and vice-versa.”

    – Why

    – I used to love seeing the GP stars racing in saloons, sports cars etc – and getting beaten by a series specialist, or not, as the case may be.

  4. Because I hate being brand-flooded but the same names over and over again.I want brands to identify with a certain type of racing, and I even expect different groups of people watching the different series.

    Mercedes is F1, the top of the top. a prime brand. Ford had a different image, and I would love to see them in WTCC. BMW in F1, Fiat in WTCC. Aston Martin in F1, Chevrolet in WTCC. Bentley in F1, Lada in WTCC etc.

    Some F1 stars moved to DTM, and most couldn’t hack it. But still it drew me to a TV. Put Rosberg in WTCC, and I will watch. But here again: I want to see different nationalities, names, faces and personalities.

  5. want real change? go back to a manual gearbox. drivers can truly make a difference then. and I mean a proper H, no tip tronic or anything.

  6. Standard front wings? Dictates aero over the rest of the car with diminishing returns for enhanced CFD capabilities, ensures a degree of convergence etc. Relatively easy to legislate and enforce, can be designed to allow cars to follow each other better and may help engineers and drivers have greater influence on this so called Motorsport.

  7. Some simple, and inexpensive changes to improve the sport:
    1) No fuel flow limit in qualifying (run as much boost as that single big turbo can deliver–at the risk of engine life.). Qualifying will become VERY interesting.
    2) Allow drivers to turn off fuel flow limit for 20% of the laps. If it’s a 50 lap race, they get 10 laps without fuel flow limit. Driver gets to choose when to use the laps. Like a DRS button, but 1 lap minimum duration.
    3) Replace DRS with movable aerodynamic element on front wing. Two available settings: low drag for free air, high downforce for following closely behind another car. Limit front wings to only 3 elements. Elements must be constant section for outer half of each wing. This effectively gets rid of all those turning vanes and vortex generators that benefit the top teams with big aero development budgets. It will also reduce the lost downforce when following a car.
    4) Manual gearboxes, 5 forward gears. Gear shift lever with H pattern. Allow an automatic clutch disengagement to prevent a car from stalling or over-revving from a missed gear; 0.5 second delay before driver gets manual control of the clutch back after auto disengagement.
    5) Limit the number of controls. The following controls are required: Kill switch, fire bottle activation, KERS battery disconnect, brake bias. 1 radio button, 1 button for front wing aero selection, 1 button to turn off fuel limit for 1 lap, 1 drink bottle button, 1 rain light switch, 1 speed limit button. An additional 2 dial controls may be used for any single purpose (could be engine maps, differential setting, damper settings, sway bar settings, etc). 2 additional simple on/off; buttons allowed for any purpose. No button or dial may be multi-purpose.

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