Jo Ramirez

Ramirez: Formula 1 has become a big battle between FOM and FIA

Jo Ramirez

Formula 1 veteran Jo Ramirez is unhappy with the way his beloved sport is evolving, questioning the far too complicated rules, an over-eagerness to entertain and what he sees as a “big battle” between Liberty Media’s FOM and the FIA, the sport’s governing body.

The McLaren stalwart, now retired, lived the team’s greatest years from the pit garage shoulder to shoulder with greats such as Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. While F1  ‘booms’ across the globe in the wake of the 2021 mega season, when Max Verstappen battled Lewis Hamilton for the crown, the Briton’s eight did not happen as history shows.

Since then, particularly in America, the sport boomed in the wake of the Netflix Drive to Survive series, and growth was not hindered by the subsequent two years of Verstappen and Red Bull dominance.

Referencing the F1’s commercial right owners Liberty Media, Ramirez told Motorsport Total: “I’m very disenchanted, it’s always been a sport, and in the coming years,we have a sport on Sundays and the rest of the time it’s just a technology race.

“The problem today is that they focus more on entertaining, now Formula 1 has to be entertaining. Well, before, we didn’t look at it as entertaining. Now, winning the F1 world championship is the only thing that matters for all the teams.

“In my days, I used to love to win a Grand Prix. I mean, to win a Grand Prix is very, very difficult. There are teams that have maybe been ten years in the sport, and they’ve never won a Grand Prix. So, to me, winning the Grand Prix is a hell of an accomplishment, and I always used to celebrate every Grand Prix win spraying champagne.”

Power struggle for control of F1 happening between the FIA and FOM?

ben sulayem domenicali

Ramirez is in a growing camp of F1 lovers that sees the FIA, led by President Ben Sulayem, and FOM, with their Chief Stefano Domeniclai, engaged in a not-so-subtle power struggle for the final say with F1: “The mentality has changed, but anyway, I don’t like Grand Prix racing of today. I think the FIA have got far too many stakeholders [involved] in the Grand Prix.

“Now, F1’s become a big battle between FOM and the FIA. The FIA made the rules, and the rules are in a way that they are very, very hard for the average person to understand, if you change this, if you change that you’re going to go some positions back on the grid and so on.

“There are times people used to change so many things, ‘oh you have to go 20 positions back’, but there are only 20 cars [so] you’re going to be last whether you have one change or not, so anyway, it’s very difficult for the teams to understand that,” lamented Ramirez, referring to ridiculous, unenforceable PU-related grid penalties that drivers have accrued over the years.

The Mexican veteran motorsports man was not finished: “Probably the worst thing that upsets me more because I love racing. I still watch every single race I love it, it’s my life, and I enjoy it, but I don’t enjoy the rules.

“Don’t ask me now how heavy is a Formula 1 car is because I will just answer you not heavy enough or how long is an F1 car and I will just say very long or far too much. So it doesn’t interest me anymore but the races I do watch.

Ramirez: I do not understand that now the FIA does not accept a F1 racing incident

Día del Ingeniero: De Jo Ramírez a Dalia Ramos, mexicanos en la Formula 1 - » FEMADAC

“In my days, of course,” Ramirez recalled. “I used to know the rules by memory. The little yellow book where you have all the rules. That was my job, I had to do it. But nowadays, I don’t need to, it doesn’t interest me.”

Taking a swipe at the F1 blame culture triggered by normal racing incidents, Ramirez pointed out: “I do not understand the fact that now the FIA does not accept a racing incident. We’re talking about motor racing. A driver at the front who doesn’t want to be overtaken, and a guy behind him wanting to overtake. There’s going to be a crash.

“But according to the FIA, someone has to be culpable, and if it’s someone’s fault, they’re going to have five seconds or 10 seconds added on or come in the pits in and out.

“So anyway, all those rules give you so many [penalty] points. If you have 10 or 12 points, you’re going to miss a race. All of these things I don’t know how to explain, but to me should not be part of Formula 1, it’s crazy,” concluded the long-time McLaren man, now 82.

From 1984 to 2001, Ramírez was the coordinator for Ron Dennis-run McLaren, known as the team’s Mr Fix-it for just about every aspect of the team.

His tenure at Woking included front-row seats to the infamous Alain Prost – Ayrton Senna pairing in the eighties that turned to bitter rivalry. Jo often mediating between the pair of F1 legends at the time.