No more knee jerk F1 decisions: Ross Brawn speaks on his vision for a new F1
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Jan 2017   |  10:38 am GMT  |  283 comments

Ross Brawn, the newly installed managing director of the sporting side of Formula 1, has begun to speak about some of the areas he will work on in the new administration and what he thinks is important for Formula 1.

He has highlighted cost control, simplifying the rules and putting in place a process for decision making, rather than the knee jerk decisions which have not served F1 well in recent years, such as the fiasco over qualifying rules at the start of last year. And he said he wants to hear fans’ views before making any decisions, but has ruled out any “artificial” devices to spice up the show.

Brawn is one of the most successful figures in F1 history winning world championships in F1 with Williams, Benetton, Ferrari and Brawn and also in sportscars with Jaguar. He has a grasp of the history of the sport and its key values, but also realises that the sport needs to change and to modernise for modern audiences.

Ross Brawn Jean Todt

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy he said, “First of all there will be a change of course. With Carey as CEO, me on the sporting side and Sean Bratches on the commercial side the decisions will be collegiate. And we will involve the FIA and the promoters. In recent years I have seen F1 being slow to react. It’s clear to everyone we need a change, but we have to pay attention to preserve the essence of Grand Prix. For my part after a period of research and investigation we have to put down a 3-5 year plan and gradually introduce the changes. Moving too quickly could be counterproductive.

“The right thing to do before making any decisions is to sound out the fans, to hear what they have to say. We need to study and to understand what solutions will make the sport more exciting and more competitive. We need to be careful not to do things, as has happened in recent years, that artificially to create spectacle. But I agree we need to make F1 more competitive,” he added.

He was the master of ingenious race strategies, when he worked alongside Michael Schumacher at Ferrari, but now as a sports administrator he wants to evolve F1 to make it more simple for fans to follow.

“As a spectator in the last few years, if I haven’t followed a race from start to finish and had my laptop switched on so I can see all the lap times and the tyre and the rest of it, I’ve had a job following the races. I don’t think that’s healthy,” Brawn told BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday morning.

“I think we need to find a way to get back to the races being clear to the fans where everyone is, what they are doing and where they are in the race and their position.

“There are different levels of fans, of course and we want to appeal to all of them. We have to start with the guy at the circuit who won’t have access to a laptop. He wants to watch a race and he wants to understand what’s going on. So we have to define what is needed there. And then we need to start to add the layers for the fans who want to look into F1 more deeply.

“And I think there is so much material there; stuff that goes on in the garages, on the pit wall, deeper analysis of what is going on at the circuit. People will be able to dial in at whatever level They want to.” Jenson Button Brawn

Brawn argues that the idea of F1 teams building their own cars and the cycles of competitiveness are fundamental to F1 and will not change.

“The DNA of F1 is a fair element of technical challenge and I think that is healthy. There is a need for the cars to be different and there is a need for fans to follow the cyclic competitiveness of the different teams.

“But it’s pretty excessive at the moment; we have to look at that and at how we pull that back, because the margin between the front and the back is dramatic.”

Sauber Manor

Cost control is one of the first items on the agenda for Brawn; he has spoken out against the short term thinking behind the introduction of new hybrid turbo rules whereby setting a realistic price for the engines to be sold to teams was not one of the main objectives in specifying the engines. In addition to crippling the smaller teams with costs, it also put too much power in the hands of the manufacturers.

“We have a whole list of objectives and one of them is to enable small teams to stand on their own two feet,” he said. “At one end that involves the money paid to the teams and at the other end the cost of going racing and putting on a decent show. The money to the teams we can’t do anything about for a number of years until the commercial agreements get reviewed again (2020).

“But on the costs to the teams I think that the commercial rights holder has a valid input into seeing that those are pegged back so the cost of a well organised small team, the numbers can add up and make sense.

“When we do that then of course those remaining entries in F1 become attractive. Because there is a viable business there. At the moment I’m not sure there is and that’s what we have to focus on.” Bernie Ecclestone Jean Todt

Brawn has said that F1 needs a long term plan, over 3-5 years, rather than the short term thinking that has left it with the many problems it has today. As to how long it takes for Brawn and his team to start to make a difference in F1, he says,

“Before the response from the previous commercial rights holder (Bernie Ecclestone) was a bit knee jerk. There was a crisis, something needed doing, there was a knee jerk reaction. What I want to have is a process where with every decision that is made there is a consideration for the fans and the consideration for the commercial rights holders is part of that decision. So we just start to get things moving in a different direction…It’s a process.”

Brawn also said that he hoped Ecclestone would see a way to continue to contribute to F1 in an advisory capacity, but reading between the lines it sounded very much as though Ecclestone has not yet accepted his chairman emeritus role. Time will tell.

What do you think of Brawn’s ideas? Do you think he will achieve his goals and improve F1? Leave your comments below

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Why not have a standard aero package. The cars look almost identical anyway and it would save a billion dollars a year being wasted on a new winglet. The aero could be designed to reduce turbulence at the back and downforce at the front. This would irradicate the cost problems in the sport, allow proper wheel to wheel racing and allow teams more freedom for mechanical and engineering design. This should bring the fans back into understanding the cars more as well as no one cars what shape a winglet is anyway


Simply the Best, good luck Ross


yes Ross Brawn is certainly the best man for the job, there are bound to be a few hiccups along the way, but I have every confidence in him, good luck Ross,


How about awarding half the points for practice position and the other half for race finish position but the start positions are reversed so the slowest are at the front and fastest at the back. This would give practice day more relevance and guarantee plenty of overtaking no matter what the aerodynamic considerations are.


I have every faith in Ross Brawn. He will be a breath of fresh air to F1. His calm, considered approach is exactly what the sport needs. Can’t wait for his influence to be felt. Roll on the Australian GP.


If I was el presidente i would make say a series along the lines of gp2 but much faster.i got now tv over 6 months back and I watch gp2 on sky f1 obviously! And it’s great better than f1 ,cars in a train popping out with full blown moves on the breaks .proper racing ,I would make a gp1 version say and allow the teams to have any engine they like and desire but ditch the hybrid for simple engines but limit the power to say around 900 hp then standardise the chassis ,wings and downforce (decent amounts) and bring back refuelling but have it gravity fed for safety ,this also makes the cars lighter than a full race tank car. ,,so the best teams are the ones who make best of there package and driver,surely this is pure racing .and if the corporates like Ferrari threaten to leave then you call their bluff because they are a big stumbling block for my theory to work of course ,thanks


It’s good to see Ross back in F1! A needed breath of fresh air!


My instincts say yes. The problem is that up to now there have been too many technical changes in recent years for my liking that is forcing teams to build new cars. This affects smaller teams budgets to a point that they are forced to sell and pull out of the sport all together.


The Best man for the job ,he must go to his medical practise regularly for a through work out cos I expect the stresses will be enourmouusss.


I definately like the way Ross is looking at handling F1. He certainly has tremendous professional experience with the sport.


I definately like


I have complete confidence in Ross Brawn to implement meaningful changes that have been carefully thought through. His record speaks for itself, and the noises he is making are the right ones for the sport. In addition something must be done to allow drivers to follow, and overtake at every circuit, not just the wider ones, otherwise it is qualifying that pretty much decides the race. He talks about a simpler sport, and I think less reliance on advanced aero, and more on mechanical grip might be the way to go or at least some means of following the car in front closely, and overtake. If a driver can’t do that it makes the sport self defeating. Maybe underfloor aero could also achieve that, but might require circuits of higher qualiity to achieve it so the rate of change of level on the road surface is within the capabilities of the aero system. Ultimately cars must be able to race each other, and I think Ross Brawn is the man best suited to bring about the necessary changes.


Renault and Merc are terrified of silicon valley especially Musk, they have no interest in the sport as something for the public to watch, they just don’t want to be left in the bark ages as vehicles change rapidly this century


Ross Brawn is a clever guy. I’m fully behind him and think they will make a difference.

Let’s be honest, F1 is not bad at all. It’s still a great spectacle, just lacks bit of excitement. Anyone of you been to a race last couple years? When I stood under the old banking at Monza when V8 equipped F1 cars were flying past me that is what I’m talking about. When I came to race first time ever I was walking through the path over the road I could hear the beasts going. Now you’re at the circuit and you see them, then you hear them… That’s wrong.

And yes, get rid of DRS Ross!


Hopefully Ross can get his plan to the meantime, I have two suggestions that he can put into actions right now, for little or no cost to the teams. This will be of benefit for us fans who have trouble, because of less than ideal eyesight, that watch on TV, or even at the track.
1. Make the cars within the teams easier to tell apart. I might be interested in one driver but not the other. it could be done by simply having two front wing colors.
One that matches the rest of the car, and one that contrasts. Example: Ferrari could have one red and one yellow, to match their sponsor Shell, Or it could be black. Since they paint it anyway, there should be no real extra cost.
In the case of testing a new type of wing, it could have two colors on it and then we would know that the car without the usual color is the other driver. Once it’s decided to keep that new design, it’s painted the correct color.
2. Have Torro Rosso go back to putting their name back on their car to make it easier to tell them apart from Red Bull cars. I know that the die-hard fan could tell the difference immediately, but new fans, or casual fans might not.Again, especially for those of us with less than ideal eyesight and that don’t watch on a huge TV screen.


I like where this is going, and I really admire Ross Brawn. Bottom line, when I heard he was involved I bought some shares in FWON (Liberty Media)


Formula 1 needs to retain the element of the long game. Championships are a marathon and the tension built up over the season is part of the show (discharged, for example by Mansell’s tyre explosion 1986). Also, it needs to be clearer what is happening, recently the fans could not understand how the race was developing as there are too many parameters to control. Ross is absolutely right in his analysis BUT the decision making process in F1 is terrible and will take some time for the sport to extract itself.

For the fans, clearly pay TV has been a disaster for general fan’s consumption (in the UK you need a completely different set of equipment to receive it, paying is not enough). Also somehow linking digital information with recorded media (so you don’t have to watch live) would be great.

In all the change is perhaps good. But time will tell. F1 will be difficult to get out of its current mind set left by Bernie.


I for one will miss Bernie, but admit that it was time that he moved over.
I can’t imagine anyone better for the job than Ross Brawn. He has the leadership skills and inante intelligence that are needed and his appointment is a breath of fresh air. If anyone can breath new life into the comatose formula that is F1 then it’s RB
Go Ross!


It sounds like Ross Brawn will be working through things to make the sport successful as the premier racing spectacle in the world. I think Bernie had some of that but always and only as a means to make him richer. It has to be better now, one way or the other.


Someone mentioned that the wider tires and increased downforce will further reduce braking distances and, therefore, overtaking under braking. Carbon/carbon brakes are stunningly expensive. A return to good ol’ cast iron rotors and less exotic pad material would increase braking distances, increase overtaking under braking, and reduce costs. Why not? Chris


Why not increase braking distances even further and reduce costs more by going back to drums?


Finally some common sense. Bye bye Bernie.


Good decision to replace Mr.Ecclestone , and the best solution is Mr. Brawn.
As a long time fan of the sport , I prefer the time that we have refueling the cars in pit stop because at that period the sport was on the top and we were watching the difference between drivers and engineers who make the best strategies .


As an long time f1 fan cant express enough how excited and hopeful I am at the new owners coming in to improve f1 for the long term value of the sport as opposed to using it as a cash cow. Don’t get me wrong I am under no illusion that the new owners are in it for the money but by building up the offering to fans, delivering better value to curcuit owners I am optismistic that f1 can go from strength to strength.

I tried to tweet ross brawn but couldn’t find him on twitter so James next time you see Ross please express as an f1 fan how much I am looking forward to the the coming years. Pretty sure I am not the only one out there thinking this but there isn’t a better man for the job.


I am between and betwixt on the liberty issue. If they resort to the standard US froth and bubble dancing girl hoopla then they will lose a lot of fans. If they decide to mess around with the race lengths then they will destroy part of the F1 ethos. There has been some rumours flouted of having two shorter races over the weekend. That would be a disaster as far as i am concerned. The only other worry is that they have a goon wrapped up in a plastic Mickey Mouse costume doing the grid walk interviews!!!! Until i see what’s on offer i will reserve judgement.


Will do!


Looks like a new management is setting up a narrative earlier changes were “knee jerk” and they will be true to real racing…aaaahh, so lame.


I can only imagine Ross will be making a positive impact. I think this is good for the sport and I’m happy to see this development. Nothing bad about Bernie, he has made F1 what it is today and although it’s easy to list out all the things that are wrong with it, he’s done a heck of a lot of good stuff as well.


Hi james,
Is it possible to know if all this happening was on Ross plan for long time?
As himself saying need to plan things for 3-5years.
A lot of teams came to him but he didnt want anymore to be involve in F1 in that way and now Bernie is gone and he is there with full power on the sporting side of the F1 as he Wanted.

Look to me like he knows exactly what he wants to do and as a plan which he had time to prepare when everybody was seeing him just fishing. (Like when he was with Mercedes, Ferrari, Brawn GP)


Hi JAonF1 and Ross Brawn if you are reading this.
Please get rid of blue flags for cars fighting to stay on the lead lap. Use them only for cars who are already a lap or more down.


Why have blue flags at all? Don’t people want to see drama and overtaking?


Blue Flags are necessary so that the leaders are not blocked by drivers dicing for say 11th and 12th who are so involved in their own battle that they don’t see faster cars coming up behind them.


MartinW; Yes I know why blue flags are necessary.

My question is: Are they really necessary?

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