Carey: History shouldn’t stop F1 from exploring changes

Chase Carey

Formula 1 chairman Chase Carey believes that the sport’s illustrious history should not prevent it from exploring changes moving forward.

In a bid to create more exciting racing F1 has considered introducing reverse-grid qualifying races, although plans to see them brought in this season were vetoed by Mercedes.

Since then, numerous drivers and figures within the teams have signalled their opposition to the proposal, but Carey warned that the sport should avoid putting itself in a “straightjacket” when it comes to bringing in changes.

“Most sports, when they’ve talked about changes, the hardcore fans resist change,” Carey told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.

“Major League Baseball, when they had a designated hitter, everybody didn’t like it. The NBA put in a three-point line, the hardcores 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.

“Really 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.

“I think you have to be careful that you don’t gimmick-up the sport, 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.”

F1 managing director Ross Brawn brought up the discussion once again in the aftermath of a dramatic Italian Grand Prix last month, which was won by Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly.

With changes to the voting rules under the new concorde agreement, this sort of decision no longer has to be voted on unanimously, with only a supermajority of votes from the teams now required.

While Carey encouraged the fans, teams and drivers to embrace change, he added that F1 would not “dictate” any new rules, insisting they would come to a “group decision”.

“I think a decision like the specific one about a qualifying race, I think is a group decision – from my perspective, we’re not going dictate that,” he said.

“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 sprit 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, 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.”