While Formula 1 goes into hibernation it is clear that in the corridors of power much is going on as owners Liberty Media and current stakeholders plot the way forward for the sport, it appears there has been some ‘progress’ with middle-ground reached regarding the contentious engine formula for 2021 and beyond.
Current engine suppliers, Mercedes and Ferrari in particular – were against wholesale engine rule changes and lobbied hard for retaining the current power units albeit tweaked for cost effectiveness where possible.
Liberty Media and their supporters were arguing for a less complex and financially kinder formula, as the current hybrid turbo package has frightened off interested parties, including (apparently) the likes of Porsche and Audi.
F1 motorsport chief Ross Brawn, in an interview with the official F1 website, trumpeted that a compromise was reached, while confirming what many suspected, “The drawbridge has been pulled up and the existing suppliers don’t want anyone else to come in.”
“We have found a compromise. There are regulations coming out which would mean new entrants will get support from existing entrants. There will be components and technology which will have to be shared if it is requested.”
So this is the message that Liberty has put out there to entice new manufacturers to the sport:
- You need to spend hundreds of millions to develop an F1 engine that few can build or understand (look at Honda and Renault), if you have problems when building the contraption then a very clever guy in a red coat or silver coat will come to your factory and show you all their secrets so you can beat them. Oh, and by the way, the people who pay the guy in the coat don’t want you in the sport anyway.
Brawn acknowledged, “It is not quite such a radical change that we were proposing, but still quite a good step in the right direction and there are some nice changes to the way the driver has to manage the engine, which I think goes a long way in the sporting direction.”
“There has been a recognition from the existing manufacturers that they can’t shut the door behind them. If we start to get serious interest from another manufacturer or supplier, they have to cooperate to find ways of helping that manufacturer come into Formula 1,” Brawn tried to explain.
Much more was expected with regards to future power units for next decade’s Formula 1 cars. Simpler, cheaper, louder were the demands from fans and paddock alike which appear to have been ignored in what must be seen as a capitulation by Liberty Media to the might and demands of Ferrari and Mercedes.
Big Question: Who is running Formula 1?