F1 Winter Break
Three things we hope Jean Todt will do in his second term as FIA president
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Dec 2013   |  2:12 pm GMT  |  115 comments

Today in Paris Jean Todt was re-elected FIA president for a second four-year term. The election was unopposed after the withdrawal of former FIA Foundation head David Ward and the decision of the Emirati powerbroker Mohammed Bin Sulayem not to stand.

Todt now has a clear mandate for a second term and, if his stewardship of Ferrari is anything to go by, he is likely to roll his sleeves up in the second term and get some things done.

Critics have argued that he has not done enough in his first term to address some fundamental problems with the sport in general and F1 in particular, but Todt and his staff counter-argue that he has been putting in place all the background and infrastructure of change, as well as setting up the Decade of Action on Road Safety agenda.

At the same time his opposite number at Formula 1 Management, the commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone, is now 83 and facing a string of legal challenges. Will he still be in post as F1’s CEO at the end of Todt’s second term and if not, how would Todt act if Ecclestone were to leave the sport, for whatever reason?

So what should Todt seek to achieve in the second term which will make a serious difference to the long-term health and prosperity of Formula 1?

Here are our three suggestions:

1. Cost control This is the first order priority for Todt’s second term as far as the sport is concerned. It’s not sustainable as it is at present and we risk losing teams soon and with them the diversity of the grid.

At the moment costs are running out of control again, after a brief period of sanity when the Global Financial Crisis struck in 2008/9. Then the teams agreed to limit their costs and although some of those measure are still in place, like limits on wind tunnel time and summer shutdown, there is so much more that can be done. It should be possible for every team to run on a maximum of $100m a season. At the moment the top teams are spending several times that amount. The new hybrid turbo engines -championed by Todt – won’t help in 2014, as they are very expensive.

Todt had a chance over a year ago to force through cost controls in the FIA Sporting Regulations but it meant standing up to Red Bull and he didn’t want that confrontation. So 2014 is the time for action to make all the F1 teams sustainable.

Mark Hughes, speaking in the latest JA on F1 Podcast, argued for Ross Brawn to be given the role of FIA F1 Commissioner, with a brief to deliver a cost control mechanism together with the teams. It sounds like a very good plan.

2. Introduce some proper long term thinking F1 needs to look five years and more down the track, rather than live by a series of knee jerk decisions. F1 now has a Strategy Group, but this is viewed with suspicion by the middle sized and small teams because they are excluded from it and they fear it is really a lever to eventually force them to run customer cars.

The Pirelli Mercedes test episode highlighted the dysfunctionality of relations between teams and how that links in with the governing body. The second Todt term should focus the teams and the Commercial Rights Holder’s attention on what they want F1 to be 10 years from now, in terms of spectacle, how the content is consumed around the world, in innovation and technology terms and also work on the broader message of what F1 is about and what it represents.

3. Rationalise the staircase of talent so the best drivers get to the top At the moment the approach for single seater drivers wanting to get to the top is confusing and ripe for exploitation.

There is no shortage of talented kids coming into the funnel at the start, but those with money are more likely than ever to progress ahead of their more talented peers.

As the funnel gets narrower, near the top, that is exacerbated. The line between a pay driver and a driver who attracts sponsorship is blurred, but F1 must always be about the “best of the best” and by clearing a defined path to the top and managing that process, we can end up at a situation where we are sure we are watching the best drivers in the world, not just the ones who have the best backers.

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From a fans point of view it is very frustrating seeing the cost control side because although it seems to be a simple thing to impose, I'm sure it's much more complicated. But I'd these teams can get a prototype Formula 1 car to do many miles at such high intensity and for them to not break, surely setting this up would be easy, right?

Having someone like Ross Brawn who would take on all the teams opinions, would come up with a control that is down the middle and fair to everyone, I can't see him being scared of what Red Bull or Mercedes think in order to implement what is the right thing to do for the future of our sport.


Let the teams spend what they want but penalise any team spending over an agreed amount with a weight penalty of 1 kilo for every million over the set limit.


This a very Socialist concept. You don't make the poor teams richer by limiting the spending power of the rich. You only make the sport cheaper, and the top talent (on and off-track) will migrate elsewhere.


It's not socialist. It is a choice. If red bull and Ferrari want to spend millions they can but they will be penalised as they would be driving much heavier cars than marussia so they would have to decide the best way to go. If they don't want this option then get bernie to dish more of the cvc cash out to the teams and spread it more evenly or we will end up with only four or five teams on the grid


Not true. NBA and NFL have salary caps (since the players are 99% of the expenses in these sports, that is effectively cap on the total budget) and NBA also has "luxury" tax when teams somehow go over the cap, etc. Sure you wouldn't call them socialists?

It's supposed to be a "sport" not "business", the business is making money from the sport, not the sport itself. And in sport, parity is paramount to focus on the human talents.


Excellent suggestions. Awarding points all the way down to even a last place race finish, along with a commensurate slice of the prize money, would go a long way towards making it economical to run a mid- or back of the pack team...


Best idea yet. Bernie is worth more than necessary. Surely he and CVC can part with a few coins for the mid-field and back-markers.


My rough understanding of it is that after running expenses, FOM gets about $1.5 bn to distribute. $0.5 bn goes to CVC and the rest starts to get divided up between the teams. Even with the increased revenues, only the top four teams saw any increase.

We have the situation where the leading teams get the most TV time and the most sponsorship, allowing them to design faster cars, so they get more funding based on the constructors championship. It is the opposite of the draft system that various leagues like the NBA and AFL use.


I copied this from Joe Saward website - it gives a bit more detail on how the F1 'money pie' is sliced up (assuming his information is accurate, of course)

One thing that everyone thinks they know is that it is only the top 10 teams that get the big rewards. This is not actually the case.

The fact that Marussia finished 10th in 2013, rather than 11th, is not perhaps as significant as some think it is.

The F1 prize fund is based on the amount of money that the sport generates in a year – and that changes from one year to the next. If one assumes that the prize fund is $700 million (we do not yet know for 2013) the structure is simple enough. There are three prize funds: known as Columns 1, 2 and 3.

Ferrari has a special deal which means that the Italian team takes a small percentage of the prize money straight off the top. This is believed to be two and half percent, but may have increased. If there is a prize fund of $700 million (after the Ferrari payment), this will be divided into two: the Column 1 and Column 2 funds each being $350 million. Column 3 is paid directly by the Commercial Rights Holder.

The Column 1 money is divided amongst the top 10 teams on an equal basis: ie $35 million per team. However the top 10 is not established based on the results of a single season, but rather on the results in two of the three previous seasons. In other words, if Marussia is 10th again in 2014, it will be eligible for Column 1 money, but that is not currently the case. Thus Caterham, which was 10th in two of the last three seasons, will still be paid $35 million in Column 1 money for 2013.


Teams divide up around $700m between them, but it's not at all equitable. The top teams, especially Ferrari, take the lion's share. A team like Sauber will get something like $50m.


...And Caterham this year won't get one cent if it!- Absolutely absurd..I'm sure Caterham and their fans have made a contribution to the sport and one could very well argue their battle with Marussia was much closer and more exciting than the one up front.


Yes they will because of finishing top ten the three previous years.

There are different columns for payment schedule, one is this years results, another is historic results so both Marussia and Caterham will get a slice of the money this time


Great article.

My suggestion for Todt? After the Abu Dhabi race in 2010 Todt said that tracks that produce poor racing or make it difficult to overtake would be altered to make the racing better...then came DRS and Pirelli and nothing ever happened.

Go complete that promise Todt.


Bahrain was also modified, and for significant improvement. Much more fun in the simulator than 2010.


To be fair, there was changes made to the Abu Dhabi circuit and also the Singapore circuit.


Name me a change on the Yas Marina Circuit.


So much common sense in this article, pretty much guarantees it'll never happen.


Ditto. I hate to be bad prophet, but these are unlikely to happen.

Bjornar Simonsen

Good answer 🙂


Amen! If Todt doesn't do these, you should run for FIA president in the next election.


It is always easy "to talk what you need to do" but the other thing are get things done.


HA! Maybe James could be the next FIA President's spin-doctor! lol...just kidding. FIA needs better relations w/ the press and the public, however...more effective and transparent communications, and maybe Mr. James could revolutionize the body's public communications!!?


Good news for ferrari, bad news for formula one.


Efficient stewarding is absolute key for me. F1 has the benefit of replays and telemetry available to the stewards, yet quite often their decisions are more inconsistent than football referees.

Not to mention there is absolutely no openness or clarity which Todt promised in his first term. If F1 wishes to grow as a sport rather than an entertainment venture then this would be the key area for them to improve.


100% agree with you. The least that the FIA can do is to review the decisions made by stewards and rate them, then the ones not capable of doing a proper job will loose the opportunity to do the work, similar to referees in other disciplines.


You have answered your own question. Yes, the stewards have lots of camera angles and data to make decisions. Far more than you have from the couch. Don't you think they are making decisions based on all that accumulated info? I agree to a point, that I often disagree with the decision, but I at least realise stewards have more information on hand than me.


If the stewards were willing to make the decision I think it a fair request that they then justify their decision. Maybe they do to the teams, but it would be nice to hear directly from them. Perhaps they could release a statement after every grand Prix to explain their decisions. That would be a nice addition to make f1 even more accessible.


See fia.com

I dont know howto provide a link with an ipad but google - fia stewards decisions


" Efficient stewarding is absolute key for me." -- Matt W., I agree, and see my response in #7 below...


James, all good points and if they come to pass then the long term future for F1 will be rosy indeed. However based on the teams inability to work together for the interests of the sport, certain teams belief that they should have special consideration and Bernie's continual push to get the maximum amount of money for his shareholders rather than for the sport, I sincerely doubt the FIA has the balls to stand tall and not get pushed around as appears normal. I hope I'm wrong, but only time will tell.....


"I sincerely doubt the FIA has the balls to stand tall and not get pushed around as appears normal." --- omg.

So the problem is that FIA lacks courage/'nads??

In that case, how would you factor FIA's negotiating w/ FOM to continue administering and lending its weight to the F1 world championship through to 2020 (interestingly, the same contract duration as the individual team agreements Bernie signed earlier this year) in exchange for a bit less than $100m for the period – or around £10m a year?? Hardly chump change and hardly seems like FIA was being "pushed around"!!

And also consider that Jean Todt managed to secure what represented 50 per cent of FIA's estimated £20m annual shortfall (**see note below) by using its big brass balls and governance/administrative clout to unilaterally raise F1 team entry and driver superlicence fees by up to 1000 PERCENT (comprising a base fee plus an amount per point scored the previous year)!!!!

I guess you either didn't remember or understand that there's no Concorde Agreement anymore, and that the previous (2010-12) Concorde was signed after a 2 year battle that culminated with Jean Todt's predecessor Max Mosley agreeing to step aside? And it would also seem you didn't realize or never knew that this 2-year battle that threatened to rip-apart the sport of F1 that we love wasn't fought over money, but rather, over a governance procedure that effectively granted the FIA president (then Mosely) carte blanche to run Formula 1 the way he - FIA - saw fit??

I don't think the FIA lacks "balls", as you so roughly say. Rather, I think FIA leadership lacks ethics, vision and genuine concern for a stable, sporting, commercially-viable and fair F1!

**note: FIA was increasingly cash-strapped after Todt discovered that the deal Mosley had struck with Bernie for the commercial rights way back when contained a clause obliging Ecclestone's corporate entities to pay the FIA an annual management fee of around $10m (£7m), but for some inexplicable reason only through to end-2010!!!! Thereafter FIA would be forced to administer the championship for free! And while Bernie initially told JT to go pound salt when he tried to renegotiate, JT persisted and eventually B.E. agreed to provide FIA w/ half the cash required to shore-up the budget, but only IF Todt raised the balance from the teams...


Todt should act on the suggestion of Montezemolo to install permanent stewards. This will provide clarity and stability to the regulations. They should be a mix of former drivers and team managers, people with integrity such as Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Eddie Jordan, and Ross Brawn come to mind. He should also find a way to provide more fan access to drivers prior to or during race weekends. Most fans who attend races never see the drivers up close or without a helmet on except during the drivers' parade. Not everyone can afford to sit in the paddock and sip Dom Perignon.


permanent stewards: I agree 100%!!!!!

F1 should have a team of professional officials (stewards) who travel to and "officiate" at every GP. You could tweak the system to include a "local" on the stewarding team, and of course there should still be a driver/ex-driver steward (whether or not he's the same for each race, or rotated, would have to be decided), but the key point would be that ALL stewards would be PROFESSIONAL and would be trained and licensed by FIA to "officiate" at these GP's.

In professional cycling, international professional events are sanctioned by the UCI and run under the same rule book everywhere in the world...but no matter where the race is held, there must be a UCI-licensed head commissaire who is responsible for rules-enforcement, and who is aided by a team of officials who are also licensed and all work under the auspices of the same rulebook and the same set of standards, enforced by the UCI (which is based in Swiss). There's NO reason that FIA couldn't do the same, EXCEPT for bureaucratic inefficiency or lack of motivation, or inertia.

Former FIA medical delegate in F1 Dr. Gary Harstein made some damning allegations against FIA concerning their failures to develop a standardized "medicine in motorsports" curriculum and accreditation program.

I hope James doesn't object to my posting the link for the interview (w/ it F'FW'ed to the section where he talks about FIA):


I encourage you to check it out! And we fans MUST get organized and start to voice our opinions, and not just on F1 but whatever form of motorsport you love! Journalists like James are doing a great job on finally bringing attention to serious issues of governance and administration but since we're FOM's #1 F1 asset (this global TV audience) we have the leverage and the potential to make a difference and impact this sport we love!!!

(and I'm not even trying to organize any grassroots movement today! lol)


Fan access to the drivers on race weekends?

Come on, that is not even fair to ask for, would you expect to talk to Wayne Rooney just before he went onto the pitch or any other major sports star?

It would be logistically impossible if nothing else for one of many reasons why it is too much to ask.


"Fan access to the drivers on race weekends? Come on, that is not even fair to ask for..."

Agree 100% w/ you, Blade Runner. The media, PR, promo & sponsor-schmoozing commitments the drivers (who are athletes, right?!) currently face are already onerous and burdensome as it is, and they interfere w/ drivers' ability to focus 100% on training, preparation and recovery (since F1 is, after all, "sport"!). Just like a reasonable fan shouldn't expect to talk to Wayne Rooney just before he stepped onto the pitch (and they shouldn't have expected to be able to pop over to Lance Armstrong's hotel room and chat him up whilst he was receiving a post-stage massage during Tour de France), Harvey shouldn't presume the right to gawk at Lewis up close and see him w/o his crash helmet on, maybe palpating his head while rubbing his belly...sheesh.

So, in summary:

Permanent F1 Stewards? -- YES!

Palpating F1 drivers' heads? -- NOOO!


I really hope he can do half of this James.

Ross Brawn said it best: if teams have the money, they will spend it. You might ban this or that means of expenditure (dedicated testing teams, windtunnels), but the money will still be there, for them to spend it in whatever way they believe will give them a competitive edge.

In case people still haven't heard of it, James' last podcast had an interesting segment on cost control. Well-worth a listen, not just for this reason!


I can't argue with any of that, but the current type of formula won't support $100M a season for top teams because to improve and excel is a complex and expensive research and development programme. On top of that it needs to be done at a pace which means money has to be thrown at it if the performance is to be delivered to the car in a timely fashion. If you need proof of that look at Red Bull's expenditure this season. So to bring costs down the formula needs to be simpler. It means durable tyres with highly restricted aero so that cars rely far more on mechanical grip. Simpler powertrains rather than the nonsense we have to put up with next year. Car companies are well able to develop their own ideas without any help from F1, and there are specialist companies well able to do this sort of thing given the brief, and the idea that F1 has gone green is absurd given the enormous cost of moving the circus around the world by sea,air, and road. In short F1 has to get back to basics.


Instead of a budget cap, how about limiting updates? Each team is only allowed to change elements on the car 4 times a season. Effectively, all aero components have to be the same for the first 4 races and so on, the only allowed changes would be the setup etc. Team would only be allowed to make changes outside of the 4 allowed in the case of safety or other force majeur.


I think what would happen in that instance is that teams would bring a bigger series of updates at the intervals allowed. Of course this may send some in the wrong direction quite severely, and the racing would be the worse for it. No I think they have to limit the size and number aero elements allowed. The front wings for example are highly complex components, and the single most important piece of the jigsaw. - Much scope for aero reduction, and simplification. Take off the aero fit bigger, wider, more durable tyres, and lets have a decent engine with power and torque to spare. I fully expect to see drivers "run out" of power on some laps as their ERS is drained. Well I expect it will be interesting to observe, but for the drivers it's going to be as thrilling as watching paint dry.


"If you need proof of that look at Red Bull’s expenditure this season."

Look how? Nobody has any idea what Red Bull's expenditures were this season. Or what any other teams expenditures were either.

Saward certainly doesn't know.


C'mon Steve - you don't need to rush to Red Bulls defence every time someone makes a comment that may be construed as disparaging. They may not know the exact figures, but they can make pretty accurate estimates. The historical information is available - they are Limited companies - and from that, up to date figures can be extrapolated. In addition, companies such as Marussia have said how much their budget is - again, useful information in working out what sort of a budget a top team has.

In any event, it's not just Red Bull; Mercedes and Ferrari are also spending immense amounts in order to try and secure the respective championships.


Really! - I expect there will be those that have a very good idea. Just a question of pressing the right buttons. - Red Bull are known to be high spenders!


I think Max Mosley's big mistake in 2009, was trying to force a budget cap that was something like 20 percent (€60 million, iirc) of that of the big teams at the time. Most of the reduction would have had to come out of payroll, thus many, if not most, of the people working in the sport would have lost their jobs, allmost all at once.

If he had made the cap €200 million, with an annual reduction of €10 million to €20 million over 5 to 10 years, it might have worked.

I also think the main problem remains that a lot of money is going out of the sport, because the teams and FIA don't own the commercial rights to the sport. If they bought it back, they could all have a strong and steady income baseline. Initially, there would obviously be the purchase debt to pay back out of the revenues.


I agree with you, Richard, I've been ranting along simillar lines as you for years!




I think if teams have a budget 100m they will do just fine....we will only see updates coming in 2-3 races time than seeing an update coming every race in case of red bull

for next year efficiency is the name of the game the world is moving towards that path and so should f1...this is insane that they throw millions to gain 0.1 sec advantage and all of that money spent in research is not even relevant.

F1 should seriously bring in a budget cap...I am pretty sure after seeing redbull dominance ferrari would agree to it now than back in 2009 when they protested budget cap.


They wouldn't accept it without wholesale change regardless of whether it is right or wrong. Gaining at a 0.1sec per race is the name of the game, and I daresay leading teams would mortgage the coffers to get the top prize at the end of the season. Efficiency doesn't come cheap, it doesn't just happen it has to be researched and developed much in the same way as increasing downforce. Sorry!


a budget cap that was rigorously enforced w/ teams forced to subject their books to review by truly independent forensic accountants would be wonderful for our sport!

Even allow a grace period for RBR to consolidate their accounting to properly reflect what the actual spend is (bringing off-the-books $$$ back into the light) ... but after that, any team flouting the spending limits should face Macca-esque fines of 10x10millionUSD w/ team principal to bear responsibility for 2-3% of the total. THAT would certainly incentivize them not to cheat (or at least not to get caught, I guess...)!


Might also be the shortest route to a splinter formula. If the teams don't sign up to it there is no F1.


Forget the fines. Immediate disqualification from that season's results, applying to the WCC as well as that team's drivers from the WDC.

Financial parameters should be tightly imposed and technical parameters granted far more freedom. Engineers should not be having to look for microscopic loopholes in the regulations to gain an advantage. I'm sure there are countless occasions where an F1 engineer has a great idea and then thinks to himself, "oh yeah, the rules won't allow that". Money should be the main obstacle in the way of innovation, not mandated restrictions.

Williams for example, is at the back of the field because of these insane restrictions coupled with it's lack of funds compared to the current top teams. F1 is not far away from being a control formula. Next season will have the least number (only 3) of engine suppliers ever in the history of the sport. If Formula 1 continues on this current path, I will be hoping more and more for a breakaway series, even if there is only the midfield and back-marker teams in it.


Re-elected unopposed: Still makes me laugh.

Those are some good suggestions. Let's hope one or two of them actually see the light of day.


"Here are our five suggestions"

What were the final two?


Er... 'Here are our three suggestions', I think it says...


Er, sometimes mistypes and errors are corrected after people have commented.


Ah, I see... =D


Yes, now it does 😉

That was a straight copy and paste from the original unedited article.


+1. Compare the uncontested non-election of Todt to FIA presidency w/ the SHOCKING result of the election in another famous/notorious international sporting federation - the UCI. There, the incumbent Pat McQuaid of Ireland was expected to be reelected but a grassroots movement of opposition based on rejection of McQuaid's leadership failures and potential complicity in Armstrong's doping saw an "outsider" elected to lead professional cycling into a more transparent era (the Tour de France is sanctioned by the UCI, afterall, just like FIA governs the sporting side of F1)!!

Oh if only the same had happened w/ FIA, and w/ a qualified candidate...


F1 is plenty profitable. Look at how much FOM makes and then look at how the teams struggle. The issue is not how much the teams spend, but how little they actually get in return for being in the sport.


What you say is true. However, the teams are also to blame. When the FIA first introduced the idea of a ban on qualifying engines, one of the teams threatened to sue. Imagine that in the real world - threatening to sue when the change in regulations would save them something like £10,000,000/season.


It is the root problem and nothing will change with Bernie and CVC. The midfield indy teams being replaced by customer car teams (as an alternative revenue source for the big teams while not touching CVC or Bernies pot) is case in point.

What the sport of F1 needs to watch out for is the situation getting worse post CVC and after Bernie passes on. The fatcats tend not to give back any slices of pie, only keep taking more. Why should they care, greed is good...


- Solid points.

- Looks great on paper and powerpoint.

- Implementation is very difficult.

- Todt may not even have the power to do all these.

- He will have to work with and around a lot of unconventional ways / resources to achieve some of the suggestions.

- Todt will surely achieve a lot. Will it be enough, only time will tell.


" Todt will surely achieve a lot. Will it be enough, only time will tell." --- why?

Past performance is the only true indicator of future results, and in Todt's case as FIA president, he does not stand on a strong record of action and I would not expect anything special from his next uncontested term.

Todt is too much an F1 elite insider to shake-up the sport and inject a professional technocratic manager's long-term sustainable thinking! Adam Parr would've been a better choice to lead FIA or even to lead F1 (what a joke --- or a horror --- the thought of Horner taking over after Bernie...sheesh).


As pointed out the biggest impact on costs are the ever changing rules engines being the prime example. The revenue sharing needs to be looked at. Every team on the grid should get a cut of revenue as they all contribute to the overall spectacle. The fact that some teams get guaranteed payments while others get nothing doesn't make sense.


Here is a suggestion. Put a baseline budget cap on the team. For every new talent from a pool of top 3 drivers from compatible feeder series, allow a rise in budget cap of some sensible $X millions of dollars but not too much.

This would encourage new inflow of real talents and at the same time negate the effects of drivers buying their way in.

Of course this is an idealistic view of a very complicated business.


There is more to FIA mandate than just F1. F1 was and still is the "elite" club on motorsports. FIA should work towards legitimizing motorsports in countries with massive potential ( both for auto makers and motorsports marketers) . Most car owners can readily identify themselves with sedan class of racing, but yet WRC neither gets the coverage it deserves, nor the farsighted strategy to make it popular once again.

DTM is no better. As the cars have got more technical, gone are the “stock” form of swapping-paint-on-weekends kind of racing, but is now ruled by big teams with big budgets and aerodynamics takes precedence over everything else. WTCC has never been promoted outside EU despite its massive potential.

Motorsports still struggles to gain acceptance as a true form of “sports” in many countries. Countries like China,Brazil,India and the middle-eastern region today buy more cars than N.America and EU combined. But FIA has done little to nothing to promote motorsports in those countries at the grassroot level.

Then there are issues with F1 that are not covered in the above section. The self-destructing Pirellis truly need to go. The DRS zones add complication to an already over complicated sports. First there was adjustable front wing, now DRS, then there is the use of KERS. Keep rules as they are so the middle tier teams can close the gap to the front.Knee-jerk rule changes help the top teams more than the bottom ones. Allow powertrain development that gives incentive for manufacturers to be in the sport. Companies want to invest in something that gives them a return. Whats the point when engine development/gearbox are frozen for years at a stretch ? Jean Todt has a lot of work to do..


Does anyone know how much is simulator testing cheaper than on-track testing? F1 simulators seem to be very expensive devices...


Perhaps this should also be considered, cost and entertainment benefits...

Does anyone know just how much more exciting F1 would be if simulators would be banned, perhaps also only use FP1 and FP2 for reserve driver shootouts.

Anytime less conditioned practice is given the racing and qually always seem better. You even see it when FP is say wet and the first real running the drivers get is on Saturday. I guess this was also shown with just how boring the Spanish Barcelona GPs were in the past when everyone tested there over and over again perfecting their laps and most boring grid order for the race with minimal mistakes made during the race.

Ok maybe keep the sims for December-March only, wouldn't want people to lose their jobs!During the season, all the sim bods have to get together and make a kick-ass computer and console F1 sim game 😉


Yeah, but the question is how you actually develop the car if you're not allowed to use simulator or test on track


Sure they are, but they allow you to switch between car setups in a few milliseconds, trying parts that don't yet exist and if the driver hits the barriers it doesn't ruin your day, which means: You get a lot more "track time" for the money.


Definately, track time is very important. Even though teams say on-track tests are more precise in my view simulators will be getting better and better. Why throwing resources away?


Alain Prost thinks the engine change is not a real problem. In his view the FIA should limit the wind tunnel use, introduce flat rear floor and re-introduce wider front tyres


They'd be cheaper banning designers who have the word Adrian anywhere on their birth certificates.


That sounds wrong. Because a flat rear floor means you the downforce is biased towards the wings that are very sensitive to bad air.

Whereas greatly simplified wings and a well shaped floor with a huge diffusor, something that is more like the wing cars of old, would give you less sensitivity for bad air and still a lot of drag, which means: you could follow up close in corners, get a good tow and overtake without the need of some notorious artificial overtaking aid called "DRS".


James, do you know where most of the money is spent?

I assume payroll is the main factor (with engineers being more expensive than mechanics, logistics guys, etc), but I also see a lot of expensive PR staff which has no effect on team's performance

Cutting down on "on track" crew might be significant, in terms of direct cost as well as travel expenses, and if pit stops take 6+ seconds instead of -3 it still is the same for all

Other than new engines which you say will be expensive and use funds for development, chassis, brakes and exotic materials should be more or less controlled (or similar)costs, no real 8high level) development/innovation going on there

I assume the most funds go to wind tunnel/aero improvements, so millions are spent on 3/100 of a second wing plate, which actually makes it more difficult for drivers to fight it out on track


The problem of high spending rests with the teams having a vote/say on any changes. Because of this, the big wealthy teams will never agree to any decision that will weaken them. You can't really blame them. The team principals job is [surely] to do what ever is best for their own team and not what's best for the sport as a whole.


Well they have themselves to blame.... they got all that lovely money from sky for 'Pay per view' and what did they do... spend it like kids in a sweetie shop... Are these grown ups? I wouldn't mind but it was the expense of the ordinary public who watched on BBC.

I blame their greed and most of all Bernie's greed. Instead of working as James says for the good of the sport... selfish greed by all parties rules.

So, Jean, you should:

Ensure that pay per view is abolished... less cash, less budget automatically. This should be not too much trouble once Bernie is gone and CVC finally sell.

It's simple... less money in... less money out.


There is a slight flaw with your argument...

If Todt takes the F1 championship off pay-per-view in the UK, then there is a chance the audience in the UK could rocket back to post-ppv 2011 levels. (Say from 5 million to 11 million or so viewers)

Hence the greater number of interested casual F1 fans could mean an increase in sponsorship revenues targeting a potentially recovering UK economy!

Hence more money from sponsors for the teams to spend!

I'd say, Todt collects all the money, all the money goes to Frank Williams, Frank dishes it out fairly as he is the most likely to have the interests of the sport to heart.

( He's not going to blag all the cash so his daughter can buy the biggest house in L.A. or something like that 😉 )


Am I not an ordinary member of the public because I have Sky? That's tremendous news.

I thought it was my butler that differentiated me - I will immediately sack Alfred and save myself a fortune 🙂



Your comment is only relevant to the UK.

Here in South Africa, F1 has not been on FTA channel for over a decade.

I am not sure how much UK contribute to the pot but they do get something in return. The BBC provide the International viewers with commentary.



Todt is quite obviously the wrong guy for the job because none of these things has been done.

Instead you've got maybe 3 teams racing for wins and the rest of them are pointed out by TV commentators as being in a second race. How long will a global audience sit still with a 6 car race in progress.

The pay driver joke continues unabated, even so far as to entertain the idea of plunking a 17 year old kid into a seat that's been adjusted for the bulge in his wallet.

We've also got artificial passing with DRS and boosters, hooked to a steering wheel that looks like a porcupine, in a sport where an actual unassisted pass is likely to garner world wide headlines.

Then we have the unlimited budget scenario where a staggering amount of funds goes into producing a crown jewel of technology because it has to be spent. You can't overcome an FIA rules manual filled with silly restrictions and add-ons without throwing a ton of money back at it just to make a car that can run under those conditions.

And so far the only restriction on the unlimited spending has been to drop the resulting car down onto a ridiculous set of wild-card tires.

It's no different than the grossly convoluted operation of passenger car door locks that has evolved over the last 20 years. It used to be that you got out of your car and locked the door yourself. Now you don't have a snowball's chance in hell of knowing if you're locked out of the car or locked in the car.

It's the same with the FIA and Formula 1. They've just kept on dicking with it until they've completely ruined it, and it's far to late to turn that around.


"F1 now has a Strategy Group, but this is viewed with suspicion by the middle sized and small teams because they are excluded from it and they fear it is really a lever to eventually force them to run customer cars."

Apparently, according to this exchange I saw on Twitter, the F1 Strategy Group may also be illegal under EU competition law, per the statement of former CEO and chairman of Williams Grand Prix Holdings PLC, Adam Parr (a trained lawyer as well):



Every now and then (when I see a comment like this :-)), I say 'have you read the Art of War, by Adam Parr'? You can only really get it on Kindle, as it was a limited edition, but it gives a fascinating insight to behind the scenes politicking in F1. If you haven't read it, I would definitely recommend you do.


Can you point to any example, from any sport, where cost control has worked, at least in the medium term?

I don't think a 100m cap works, as there is no way to control it - for many teams, it is not even clear who is working for the F1 team, and who is working for another part of the company, or both. How do you count in- house development vs. third party components? What about all kinds of compensation that aren't a direct salary, e.g. where team members are allowed to have their private sponsors?

If you want to make the championship outcome less predictable, do it through the sporting regulations, e.g. through handicaps, and distribute TV money more evenly to level the playing field.


Regulations stifle innovation. Handicaps are artificial. Instead of technical scrutineers, the FIA can just assign four accountants to each team to police the team's budget. The teams must be obligated to disclose all the books for examination. Research, development and production of every single component on the car must be accounted for.

The budget cap need only apply to car development as this is where teams stand to make gains in performance. Costs from salaries, transport, accommodation, PR, catering, etc. are of no substantial consequence to how the car performs on track. Teams can spend whatever they want in this regard.


The best example of a strict budget/salary cap working is the NFL. It has relative parity, while being extremely profitable for team owners, as their expenditure is comparatively low.

I would prefer a soft cap, coupled with a severe luxury tax, much like in the NBA, where overspenders pay 400 percent tax on their spending above the cap into a communal fund that is split between the teams below the cap. So if Red Bull, Merc or Ferrari want to spend €20 million above the cap, it would cost them €100 million. Repeat offenders also face extra penalties.


number1 Cannot be done! You can always pay somebody with other ways of funding.


Yes regulate the engines to the point of less technical sophistication, turbo is not the solution.

Number 3 impossible to regulate its like Mafia, money will always give guy a chance, take one who is not so talented for the sponsorship money and the other to give you results.

You can always get a guy that is 80% of the top drivers performance but loaded with money, this kind of a guy will destroy most of the talented entries, it's just a fact, we must live with it.


It is a fact and maybe we have to live with it, but that doesn't mean we have to acquiesce.


I read an article on cost control by Gary Anderson who came up with a novel yet quite feasable in my opinion.


What are your opinions on this James?


It's a novel idea yes, but I wouldn't say it was a good one.

Take 2013 for example (and never mind how it actually panned out: this is an alternate reality):

McLaren rock up with a shoddy car, so write them off for six races. They finally get their first update, but it's still shoddy so write them off for another six races.

Yes they could use their wildcards, but the teams being what they are they would all use them straight away (except maybe for RBR). Why? Because what's the point of waiting until the middle or end of the year to suddenly up their development pace.

For an F1 analogy, all the drivers used KERS at the start of a straight where it gave the most benefit. They didn't wait until just before the braking zone to give the car a quick boost because that would have been a complete waste.

Going back to McLaren, part of the appeal of 2013 was seeing if they could fix the car in time to mount some kind of challenge. Sure, in the end they failed, but under Gary's proposed system any team that started the year with an inferior car would have virtually no chance to catch up before it was too late.

Besides, what would they be doing during those six weeks? Designing parts, manufacturing parts, testing parts: Exactly what they do now.

This is not a dig at you Ace (or Gary for that matter), but true cost cutting would still allow the teams to develop their cars but in a more responsible and intelligent way.


Thats the nature of F1...you turn up with a bad car, you're going to get devoured by the other teams because it's a "dog eat dog" world when they get down to business on the track. A team like Mclaren have the resources to develop cars very very quickly into race winners. 2011 was an example of that, their testing pace was diabolical but come australia they were going toe to toe at the front.

At least it would ensure that all the teams bring their 'A-game' so to speak because they know there isn't any room for mistakes.

They can't test parts on the car because in season testing isn't allowed and this system doesn't allow car configurations to change for 6 weeks. They can only manufacture parts and test them in the wind tunnel, but you can't keep throwing resources at that because you only have so many people to do so (aerodynamicists at F1 level are a rare breed).

I'm not saying use the system exactly as it is, that's for the powers to be to decide what they can tweak....wildcards....number of weeks with no change. but it's a surefire way of bringing costs down because the team's can only do so much within the specified times. It makes the teams smarter and with the "get it right first time" attitude, all the teams in f1 will be able to compete at the same level.

One of things i loathe about f1 (or all racing) is the fact that there's this tiered f1 with front runners, midfield, and backmarkers. Best cars, best drivers, all capable of winning. It's a person opinion again and I hold nothing against anyone who thinks it's wrong. But F1 is (or should be) the pinnacle of motorsport technology and it should demonstrate there nobody should get away with doing a half-arsed job at it.


I think all the teams start the season with a get it right first time attitude (except maybe for Caterham), it's just that some always get it more right than others.

If nothing else, be very cautious when you use a word like surefire in relation to bringing costs down and F1 teams (who's policy is have money, spend money). Maybe they won't be able to do as much at the factory if they can't bring parts to the track every weekend but I guarantee you they'll still spend ridiculous millions trying to find that extra tenth of a tenth.

I also don't like the fact that the same one, two or three teams always win. Ideally all the teams would be fairly level - and they'd all have the best drivers in the world instead of the richest - and that's what the increasingly restrictive regulations try to foster, but if it's going to be the pinnacle of technology it also has to be the pinnacle of innovation, and when you try to innovate you either get it right or you get it wrong.

Best case scenario: The teams need to have a workable budget cap while being able to innovate and develop their cars and all that while providing good close racing.

It seems like a bit of a catch 22 to me, which is probably why no-one can come up with a good solution to make it a reality.

As for 2014, we know it's going to be expensive so it damn well better be entertaining 🙂


1. Cost control is easy for the FIA to control, the question is whether they really want to. The new engines are something of a red herring, it's being used as a scapegoat. The competitive nature of the teams means they will bend every rule possible and blame anything to deflect attention.

Fit a meter to their wind tunnels and limit their Kwh, etc. Mosely was right, allow a budget of x, and spend it how you want.

2. I like Bernie, he's done an awful lot for the sport, but he has created an uneven playing field and it's difficult to see hoe it will ever change, and this affects the future. Different deals for teams, circuits that offer a lot like Silverstone, pay a huge sum, then Monaco, which offers nothing in terms of racing, pays nothing. There's a lack of control by the FIA where races are held, and at what cost. The FIA should be in control but aren't.

3. Pierluigi Martini comes to mind, it's been around for years. I presume that the theory is, an average pay driver will be okay in a good car, rather than a better driver in a poor car. What team isn't going to turn down millions in order to develop their car and business.

A fourth point about Todt's governance, how can you set up an 'independent' inquiry system that allowed the defendant to dictate it's own punishment. We won't know how culpable some employees of the FIA were, but the whole thing was laughable.


Bernie cares only about his wallet, not F1. Make no mistake, if some random billionaire approached Bernie and for no particular reason offered him $50 billion to dismantle the whole F1 organization resulting in it ceasing to exist, he wouldn't give it a second thought.

Just my opinion. Anyone care to disagree?


Yes, I disagree, because Bernie is no longer the owner of F1 so it is not his to sell or dismantle.


In that case would it be...

Bernie offered $50bn to dismantle.

CVC push for $55bn.

Same result.


Budget cap is very tricky for the top teams to manage. Just imagine, if you run a successful team (both racing and marketing) and attract sponsorship of £120m, what do you do with the £20m (assuming budget cap of £100m). What if you have a sponsorship/prize money income of £90m and then want to sign Pastor Maldonado with his £30m funding....... would you be forced into signing a driver with less funding? Yes I know you don't have to spend all you earn, but what should you do with it? You can't spend it on R&D. You can't spend it on testing. You cant even spend it on upgrading hotels for mechanics, or fancy new laptops for factory floor cleaners - a spending cap is a spending cap - so what to do with the excess?


" a spending cap is a spending cap – so what to do with the excess?"

omg. wow. as if this is really an issue...for whom? whatever the spending cap is, the solution is ... don't spend more than that. put the remainder into an interest-bearing acct. and donate the income to charity. geeze.


Not quite so simple - lets say the mythical excess generates a mythical £1m interest. If the team then spend the mythical £1m on charitable giving, this then only leaves them with £99m to go racing(spending is spending) and still money in the bank that they can't spend so is worthless....... My point is that trying to police a budget cap is all but impossible.


James, does your blog allow polls? If so, you should run two articles from the fans. First is a request for the most important things for JT to accomplish, from the fans point of view. Then sort through the most common responses and present a poll with, say, the top 10 requests. Present those to JT and see what he thinks and whether they are do-able. Cheers.


James thanks for a great article which I hope finds its way to the FIA in some form or other.

Truly the first thing that David Ward highlighted was the need for greater transperancy within the FIA and if Todt is reasonable he should take on the points David made regarding equity of candidacy and voting requirements required thereto. It is not unreasonable and surely highlighted deficiencies in existing regulations.

Whilst I'm the biggest advocate for solid externally managed budgets in F1. All parties must re consider F1 revenue sharing to ensure teams do no loose staff to other categories and maintain the continuity if experience and skill at the highest level. Whilst $100m sounds a reasonable figure it must be considered along with Improved revenue sharing from the commercial rights holders. I think Lotus is the perfect size for an F1 team and proves you can fight at the very front whilst not being the amongst the biggest players. I think their spend is nearer to $130m. Smallest teams like Marussia work on about $80 million - so if Bernie threw them a little more they would be able to do a bit more and still be more sustainable.

The only other thing I would add to the 3 great points is :- Continuity and consistency of the stewards. We've all questioned this particularly this year and I'm sure it's something the teams and drivers want too. So comeon Jean lets see some movement in these areas in 2014.


Another thing we'd like to see is making the FIA gala a public event, televised and open to fans to get tickets.


Yeah that and the general accessibility of F1 to the public - even at the tracks. But the governance and racing rules are the main priorities


I think your intentions are good, but it also sounds like another way for the FIA to rake in the money.

Presumably there would be limited seats, so tickets would be at a premium, so only the fatcats would be able to afford one while the everyday fans are left out in the cold.

The only fair way to do it would be some kind of raffle, but I just don't see it happening.


I would like to see the FIA

1)Allow any engine you like but restrict the fuel allowance per race and reduce that allowance every year for a period of time.

The learned technology will have a greater relevance to the design of everyday cars and F1 cars become greener every year and have an automatic top speed safety reduction due to fuel restrictions.

2)Remove all wings forcing the cars aerodynamic efficiency to evolve from the vehicles main body. Once again greater relevance to the design of every day cars.


1.Ban using women as props

2. Ban using women as props

3. Ban using women as props.


That's a bit harsh on Susie Wolff now. She is not a prop and can set damn good laptimes 😉


1. Set a strict budget cap, but only on car development. Teams are allowed to spend more, but will need to pay "tax" which is evenly spread among the contesting teams.

2. Get rid of all "sweeping" and boring Tilke tracks. Remove all tracks where the camera is filming the city or skyline every 5 minutes instead of the racing (typically city tracks). Return to good old forest tracks and replace tarmac runoffs with sand traps. If your out, your out! Tracks looks so much better with trees or other vegetation around them compared to dull buildings or parking zones (sorry, meant tarmac runoffs).

3. Relax the restrictions on the engine formula to have a diversity among the teams. Instead set a low maximum fuel load level. Turbo, non-turbo, both are allowed. In the future, even full electric cars should be allowed if teams think they can be faster.

4. Remove the rpm limit. Cars nowadays can't overtake when entering the tow since the engine hits the rpm limit. Sure they can use a different gear ratio, but the limit isn't helping anything. Why is it even imposed? Reliability is anyway regulated by the number of engines to use.

5. Relax the restrictions around kinetic energy recovering systems, both for how long you can use it and maximum energy levels.

6. Remove DRS completely, it has destroyed the fun in overtaking.

7. Widen the rear tyres back to the pre 1993 size and make the rears more durable to power sliding.

8. Let more revenue go back to the teams, less revenue for Bernie...

9. In a better world, all tracks should pay the same amount of money, and tracks should be selected by the racing (and show) they provide not which one pays the most.

Todt can start with those points, and after that I'll add a 10 :).


And 10. what Vinola said: "Ban using women as props". Any time a woman is just there to look pretty!

No wonder girls with brains and talent don't want to get into motorsports when the only roles available to them (with rare exceptions) appear to be as sex objects.


Are you saying that the only girls that want to get into motorsports are the ones without brains or talent?

If you accepted a job were you were paid to be on international television and all you had to do was stand around and look good would you be:

A: Smart.


B: Brainless.

Don't knock them: For all you know any one of those girls could be at university studying to be a brain surgeon.


I like the removal of certain Tilke-dromes, starting with Abu-"nearly a justification for mandatory DRS use"-Dhabi.

In fact, the best five tracks should be run forwards and in reverse the following week.

That is Spa, Suzuka, Silverstone, Brazil and Monza.

Therefore a trip to the Spa GP(s) involves arrival, racing with incredible passes into Eau Rouge before sweeping up over Radillon and down the straight. Followed by a week of(touring/culture/dining/drinking/partying) then a second race in reverse with awesome passes at the end of the straight bravely round the outside of Radillon before the fearsome drop down into Eau Rouge and up the hill to the final corner do or die braking at La Source...

Monza can reopen the banking for it's reverse race.


How about splitting the series...

One series should be about developing cars and should go towards a constructors title...

Another spec series, where the car is designed for testing driver skill alone should decide the WDC...

That way I can skip the parts that are boring to me, and actually get some real entertainment out of F1.

Between Adrian Newey and DRS, my passion for F1 is definitely on a major decline...


There should not be any cap, and teams who are not able to play the game should be out not getting aid to survive (Bernie is very right on this one). Instead they are creating a smoke as if they can co-exist and creating the dis-balance we are witnessing.

If they were gone, big teams would then had to cut down and adapt, due to no sponsor will pay to see six cars racing, so it will create new environment and new teams will be established.

Seriously, there are too many regulations and restrictions for future design in ALL areas of F1 car. Go figure it is so expensive to develop anything and by develop it should read minimal improvement. Any kind of innovation falls out of the rules and never considered. This is sad.


I strongly believe that a professional team of track marshalls should be set up by the FIA, preferably with some degree of basic medical training, to attend every GP. Expensive, maybe, but surely potential matters of life and death should not be left in the hands of circuit owners employing well meaning but often incompetent volunteers with minimal training, who may be a risk to themselves, let alone the drivers. This situation has persisted for far too long. The fact is, in a professional and highly dangerous sport, there should be no room for amateurs on the front line. I can see why the FIA has shied away from this in the past as it no doubt exposes them to greater legal repercussions, but can a responsible governing body seriously turn a blind eye to such a key safety issue?


Regarding point 3 – ensuring the cream of driver talent always rises to the top – could the FIA explore dividing a share of the TV money by the driver's championship? In the same way that they do now with the constructors.

i.e, the higher in the final table a driver finishes, the more money they are allocated to take to their next team.

So, if Hulkenburg finished 10th in the driver's standings, a certain figure of TV money would be put next to his name. The team he races with the following season, Force India, would then be granted those funds for the year.

It wouldn't get rid of drivers with big sponsorship deals (like Maldonado), but it would give teams a bit of extra incentive to hire the more top rated drivers over those with less sponsorship (Pic, Gutierrez etc).

Probably holes in that plan, but an interesting thought.


That might work for the existing drivers, but it still won't help new drivers get a seat if they don't bring cash with them in the first place...not to mention the fact that it means the FIA have to fork out more to the teams which is something that they seem loathe to do.

Still, I think it's a good idea that I'd like to see the FIA give serious consideration to 🙂

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