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F1 fails to find “sustainable” cost control measures
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Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jun 2014   |  7:28 pm GMT  |  217 comments

The small and medium sized F1 teams tried to get meaningful cost control measures introduced for 2015, what one team boss called “sustainable”. But today, the deadline for making rule changes for 2015, the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Munich voted through a modest bill of savings.

These came mostly via restrictions on testing and wing tunnel time and a reduction of the number of engines each driver may use in a season from five to four. They will save some money, but nothing like what was promised.

Furthermore the deadline for changes to the next year’s regulations is now March 1, rather than June 30.

The WMSC also rubber stamped the introduction of standing starts for GP restarts (with some restrictions) which will mean that F1 audiences may get to see the most exciting part of a race several times at some events.

The cars will also now be in parc ferme from Saturday morning’s FP3 onwards, rather than from the start of qualifying.

The budget cap for 2015 announced after a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group and the F1 Commission in Paris on December 9th has not materialised, blocked by the more wealthy teams on the F1 Strategy Group.

There are always rumours about F1 teams being “close to the edge” financially and in Austria these were again being aired with as many as four teams considered under pressure.

Speaking in Austria, Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said, “There was a decision taken last year by the (World Motor Sport) Council in which they endorsed cost-cutting as a target and they also agreed in principle to the cost cap and the FIA was mandated to implement that.

“Since then other decisions have been taken by other groups going in a different direction. Following that amongst other teams, ours as well, the non-Strategy Group teams I’d say were asked to bring proposals in about how you can achieve a sustainable cost base while still promoting competition. We did that, we also didn’t get anywhere on that.

“I really wonder what the FIA is now going to do and how Formula One is going to be governed in this respect.”

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner countered,

“I think what’s important to say is that everything that was agreed in the Formula One Commission meeting earlier this week was agreed unanimously. That means every team was around the table and every team had the right to vote against it but everything that went through went through on a unanimous basis. We’ve got what we’ve got.”

While Mercedes’ Toto Wolff had this perspective,

“We need to make sure that Christian is not running away with the costs. Christian needs to make sure that Ferrari is not running away with the costs. This is why we are all in favour, but it is a tricky thing and it’s difficult to get everybody under one umbrella.

“So I guess that what we have done for next year in reducing the in-season testing again, probably to even less the following year. We came back to Europe. All these are sensible steps and this must be on our constant agenda to further reduce the costs.”

As for the safety car standing restarts, there are some restrictions – standing starts will not be carried out if the Safety Car is used within two laps of the start (or restart) of a race or if there are less than five laps of the race remaining.

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However there is no mention of a cap on the number restarts in a single race. At some races we have seen as many as three safety car periods, so that could make for interesting, if slightly confusing, viewing.

Testing is cut back but there is a requirement to give young drivers seat time,

There will be three pre-season tests of four days each in Europe in 2015 (currently teams are able to test outside Europe). This will be reduced to two tests of four days in 2016. There will be two in-season tests of two days each in Europe (instead of the current four). Two of these four days must be reserved for young drivers.

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1

Here’s a petition from Motorsport to call for a Sustainable F1:

http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/a-formula-1-revolution/

I signed it. I like the – Le Mans* inspired – free engine formula. They also want to bring the human racing back, with no driving instructions from the pit wall.

(*) What makes Le Mans exciting again is the return to its roots: manufacturers experimenting with new technologies they do not fully master/comprehend. It is one big adventure again.

2

bring back fags ( smaller teams would benifit ! ) bring back any testing you like – let others catch the front. get rid of Nrg saving devicies and give fuel 🙂 its meant to be a bloody race after all.

3
kenneth chapman

having watched this interview and also a race edit i can see the attraction LMP1 has for webber. he was, and still is, an out and out racer who enjoys taking it to the ‘max’.

WEC racing is loud and noisy, full of great racing. this is what we all want to see. if anyone thinks that there is no excitement then they haven’t watched the all out rivalry and edge of seat moments when these guys get down and mix it.

F1 should be ashamed to dish up the current ‘mediocrity’ that masquerades as the ‘pinnacle’ of motorsport when the LMP1 & 2 cars currently and rightly assume this mantle. they are streets ahead when it come to innovation.

4

Flat Out Racing & Energy Efficiency.

It is possible (in Le Mans).

Here’s Webber’s interview with Martin Brundle.

http://youtu.be/n2-Yly_BX_U

5

the money saving is getting me down , how much would it be to produce a few more engine blocks , the cost is in the design and testing etc.

teams spend millions on one tenth of a second while caterham etc. don’t get within 5 seconds after YEARS in F1 ! they need to take the time difference off the ” big ” teams by simplifying for example the winglets on the front wing and other aero

really the rules are too strict in other areas of the design of the cars and don’t give the small teams the freedom of some clever design.

F1is still the pinnacle of motorsport , and I hope common sense will return.

6

“F1is still the pinnacle of motorsport “

Sorry, not true. That would be LMP1 & 2.

F1 is the pinnacle of insane spending on tiny bits of nonsense. And of political BS instead of racing, of course.

8
kenneth chapman

F1 is most definitely not the ‘pinnacle’ of motorsport. as the previous poster said….LMP1 & 2 hold that distinction.

9

I think if you step back and look at the transition of F1 from a distance, I think it’s pretty plain that the end goal is to turn F1 into a reality TV show. You only have to look at any TV guide to see this is where the big dollars are ratings wise.

So I think to save we long suffering fans the trauma of the next 5 years or so, Bernie and Co should just get on with it and introduce the TV show they want next year. They could call it “The F1 Factor” or something similarly stupid. Then you could have a bunch of pretty boys and girls facing “challenges” in order to make it through to the last half of the TV ratings season, where there will be some races…this will be like The Finals of the series. Then in the races, there will be more challenges that each contestant can describe in excruciating detail….bizarre challenges like double points, standing restarts, being showered with sparks etc, etc….

Sorry to be so negative, but I’ve loved F1 and it’s now getting to that point of the relationship where you wake up, look across the bed, and realise you are married to a complete moron!

10

The ONLY time a standing Start would make sense, IMHO, is an accident in the first 2 or 3 laps, where it was going to take several laps to clear the track.

Get all cars back to the grid, let the track staff work on clearing the debris, safely, with no cars running round. This would be faster than jumping out of the way each lap and the race could in theory re-start sooner that cruising round behind the Safety Car.

11

Will the medical car be involved with all the restarts ?

12

I hope so because it has the best sound out there!

13

James, Any chance of you highlighting your comments??

I do scroll down and look for them

14

time for a breakaway series I think.

15
kenneth chapman

@ olivier….i think that you’ll find the ‘aggression’ is due simply because there seems no end of the ‘phony’ intervention into a motor race or what is left of it.

what i don’t fully comprehend is the teams acquiesence regarding this issue. apparently they were unanimous in acceptance. what that says is that they don’t give a ratsass about the followers/fans either.

there apparently seems to be no end to these gimmicks that are the hallmark of cheap theatricality being rammed through. if ever there was a time to simply do away with all of these impositions it was now…. but no, nothing remotely sensible.

16

Take 5% profit from CVC and spread it to the teams each year. It will help to cover some costs and maybe prevents even from making some stupid rules to cut costs.

Now Renault raises his hands they can not compete this year- 3rd of a field surrenders officially even before a half way to the season? Ferrari are moaning since the start of a season.

New engine and no development. You are handicapped and if you invest to car in other areas- it is wasting your resources. Not cost cutting!

Anyway, i want to be entertained and watching how people trying to make money not thinking about tomorrow, keeps me on the edge of a seat.

I don`t understand why to keep showing up every race weekend if you already now your finishing position. Drivers and stuff i understand – they get paid; but why companies waste money? It is not even for publicity, because i feel sorry for losers there and if you can not show strength – i am sorry, you are not getting my money.

Most of all- this is insulting.

17

F1 is concerned about diminishing viewership?

Well just reading about it makes me uneasy. Double points and now, standing restarts.

A 1.5 hours,50 lap race may well turn out to be just a 6 lap, 9 minutes race after all.

18

Skimming through the posts I am surprised how much aggression there is on something trivial like “standing re-starts”. Actually it is going to make races like Monaco more interesting as someone rightfully observed over here.

Could it be that the frustration of “the fans” lies somewhere else?

19

Wonder if we will see more fixed races if there are re-starts on the grid.

“Ok number 2 driver park your car in a bad place so we can get a re-start for your teammate so he gets another chance for a win”

20

All these ‘important’ decisions they *can make are still just putting lipstick on a pig.

If they’d spend these vast amounts on something meaningful each of their pathetic countries could have its own nuclear submarine fleet by now.

I can’t imagine what Gene Haas was thinking and hopefully he reconsiders.

All the ‘little guys’ will be gone shortly.

21

The FIA is a very successful bureaucracy which like other successful bureaucracies has expanded it’s remit to the point where it is all powerful and all pervasive. Unless of course you are NASCAR. NASCAR is successful because it runs itself and is not strangled by FIA rules and regulations. Yes it does have strict rules but they operate in the interests of NASCAR teams and of the fans not in the interest of the governing body or the commercial rights holders. What is therefore needed is an premier open wheel racing series not controlled by the FIA. However that is precisely what we cannot have since the all powerful FIA will not allow it as they would refuse to sanction any of the other braches of motorsport that their tentacles are wrapped around and the circuits would thus decline to hold a ‘breakaway’ series as they would soon go broke. So we have arrived at a situation where you cannot have motor racing without the say so of the FIA. Motor racing started when a few people got together to race each other and any ‘rules’ were a gentlemen’s agreement between themselves. Form, stucture, organisation and regulation have developed over the years and the sport itself at F1 level is suffocating as a result. However there is little prospect of changing the system so we are stuck with what we have where the rules are changed to micro-manage whatever anomolies present themselves. Then when untended consequences appear the cycle of change continues. As long as the big boys get their money and the fat cats keep their jobs, and perhaps create few more jobs for their pals along the way that’s the way things will stay. Vive la revolution? Not bloody likely!

Sorry for the rant, having a bad day!

22

Reading the new f1 brain cramps,where do these people in f1 come up with all these brain cramps,like re start after the safety car,this is totally dum.This is why after this year I will not renew my tickets for Montreal after 20or so year they will rum the Canadian GP without me,I have a better place to spend $2,400 for a weekend ,F1 has gone to the dogs.

23

it really does make me wonder. do these people at the fia actualy go on the internet and see what fans think e.g autsport forums,f1 fanatic or even this website. it would be good if fans could in someway tell the fia what they want like via e.g email or facebook,twitter etc. the main issue is the move to ppv tv i know so many casual fans who watched pre 2012 but dont now because its not all live on fta.

24

I’m 28, have been a fan for 10 years. Each year more and more silly counterproductive, meaningless measures are implemented that make me less interested in this sport:

The refueling ban, cars are always running slower than they were in the past, less strategic options to influence the race.

Constant bickering over cost caps, other sports have a salary cap for the very reason F1 needs a cost cap, pull your head out of the sand and see what’s going on.

Teams being so short sited about winning this weekend instead of for the next 10 years: refusing to cost cap because they have managed to negotiate an unfair advantage for themselves in the decision making process

PPV TV licenses is most countries, & FOM/FIA’s resulting surprise that viewership numbers declined after moving to this system, you made it harder and more expensive to access, OF COURSE fewer peopl watched. I can’t watch the sport any more without forking out $150+/month to get the channels required. Guess who has to find “alternative methods” to watch the races.

No Internet Streaming subscription available. It’s 2014 i should be able to stream the races online.

Double points in final race, the dumbest of all ideas.

Terrible new tracks in useless locations: Korea, Russia, Azerbaijan (?!), Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, while classic, exciting tracks with real heritage are constantly under threat of losing/have lost their GPs, Magny Cours, Silverstone, Montreal, Nurburgring, Melbourne, Fuji, Interlagos, Spa etc You give these people races where F1 has never really been popular, don’t help them promote or advertise them at all, and then are surprised when the grandstand is half empty.

The ever escalating ticket prices for less exciting racing.

DRS, so counter intuitive to racing.

Band-aid solutions to large problems that don’t actually do anything substantive and may actually exacerbate problems & the accompanying self-important press releases which do nothing but puff up the FIA/FOM and spout nonsense about how these meaningless changes will have a “positive influence”.

Counter intuitive logic/decision making: we’ve made the cars waaayyy safer than even 10 years ago yet we still have the ridiculous chicane at the end of Barcelona, some how Monaco is perfectly safe, but it is too dangerous to go around that corner?? We need to make things less expensive yet we’re going to ship more freight to more places farther away from team bases more often. Legislating more efficient engines and then being surprised they are quieter: noise is wasted energy! Having the most technologically advanced series but not understanding basic principles of physics while making the rules. Lowering costs then adding in standing restarts after cautions leading to more expensive accidents! can’t wait to see 3 consecutive cautions at Monaco next year.

Bernie, just, Bernie.

Wanting new teams to join the grid, picking the most ill-suited ones, not giving them any of the prize or tv money, then being surprised that they don’t improve or have to drop out because they don’t have enough money.

CGI advertisements added to the broadcast: the Fly Emerates logos in Canada and Austria, the Rolex ones in Spain, Canada, and Austria, the Pirelli one in the gravel at the last corner in Spain. These are all so annoying and distracting when i’m watching the race. i spend more time trying to figure out what is actually there and what has been digitally added than i do watching the actual race. there are probably actually 5000 banners at some of these tracks, do we really need these too?

The continued out-of-touch-ness of the FIA & FOM, it would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad.

25

James, Can you clarify if the restart post safety car is almost immediate i.e. safety car peels into pits, cars lines up then go or is it a full restart with tyre blankets, up on jacks etc.

Just wondering if this is purely to allow Sky et al to get ad break mid race?

26

I imagine it would be like a standing restart from a red flag like we had in Monaco a few years ago

27
kenneth chapman

so does this mean that repairs can be carried out on the grid and also teams can change tyres as per monaco a few years back?

28

Should have stayed in the Middle-East for pre-season testing, whats the point of testing at 15 degrees Celcius when we don’t do Grand Prix at those tempratures…

This sport is expensive, always has been, always will be. if you want a cheap sport, buy a bag of golf sticks and two balls, dig eighteen holes and you are set.

29

Thank you, exactly!

Pirelli’s tyres are quite good this year, despite the increase in torque and everything else… and it so happens that the teams tested twice in the desert before the season got going. Nobody made THAT connection, did they?

And yes I do realize the compounds were finalized before these tests, but the tyre allocations for the first races weren’t.

I’m already bracing for the start of 2015 becoming all about tyres again.

30

So in summary, F1 is failing to attract new fans, and succeeding in alienating the old ones.

This is only going to end up one way.

31
Paul Rodríguez

And while we are at it, why not make all drivers stop mid-race for a cup of tea? he who finishes first can go and take Lewis’ Merc, or a Red bull if he pleases…

This is getting really crazy, I wonder how long it will take for me to stop following f1 for the first time in 35 years.

32

Hi James, what’s the reasoning behind the standing restarts?

33

Reasoning is, mid field teams will be crashed out of existance by the additional collision bill and lost points as they fight mid field by having an additional 10 standing starts each year.

Then finally the big teams can field 3 cars and achieve their goal of having more paddock space to themselves.

Seriously, I’m finding it hard to be positive about F1 lately, and I’m just a party pooper adding nothing but my nagging complaints and negative views. It’s better I leave. I don’t need the irritation and you don’t need to read my pissiness.

For anyone who has kids, and sees how they love to make up new rules as they go along in a game or a sport…that’s what F1 looks like to me – a bunch of 5 year olds making the rules.

Funny how what DC communicated about the drivers views of the new cars and what Alonso has said is not being taken seriously and brushed aside. If the drivers think this F1 is crap, how can they sell it? You can see they are not passionate about it. It’s like a crap product…you need one heck of a good liar to sell you on it. And only the suckers will buy it.

I don’t buy it anymore. Shoot me an email when F1 is real again. When the cars look and sound good, and when these drivers are racing for real on the limit for the entire sprint.

34

They are exciting! More drama

35
kenneth chapman

so james, do i take it that you support this latest gimmick?

36

Not at all

37

What if during that restart there is a crash and the SF needs to come out again? Are we going to have another restart? I won´t find it exciting. Besides the races could last like 3 hours

38

I think it’s not just about reducing costs but also should be about increasing revenue. Okay, reduce costs, reduce the calendar.

Increase revenue by: having more street circuits in major cities. Give more access to fans as happy fans buy more merchandise. Get more interesting sponsors, how good is the Martini Wiiliams? Make the cars more attractive, improve the sound of the cars, educate the fans on how the new technology works on the car by having an official Fia YouTube formula one channel. Have better graphics demonstrating the technology being used during the race. Improve the podium, bring back real flags, wreaths, and a better song when the trophies are being handed out, its supposed to be a celebration of triumph, the current one is drab and depressing. One last thing, have an age limit on drivers, stop giving us teenagers. I want to see real men race real cars.

39

+1 for decreasing the number of races.

+1 for having an official Fia Youtube F1 channel with three minute (max) snippets of the race. This would make F1 more shareable on social media (read: to have conversations with your friends, your friends friends …).

+1 for wreaths. Wreaths are awesome! They do this in Le Mans as well.

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