F1 boss Chase Carey on where the balance lies between sport and technology
Chase Carey
Posted By: Editor   |  20 Jun 2017   |  11:40 am GMT  |  56 comments

Chase Carey, Formula 1 CEO, is speaking this afternoon at the FIA Sport Conference in Geneva in a session with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and former Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali.

The theme is “Global Motor Sport – challenges we have faced and those that are to come”, which will look at topics such as whether technology drives the sport or complicates it, whether the interests of the sport and the automotive industries will start to diverge as the industry moves towards autonomous technology and where the balance point is between regulation and the entertainment.

Ahead of the conference JA interviewed Carey for the latest edition of FIA AUTO magazine and here is an abridged transcript of the interview.

Carey speaks about being determined to protect F1’s classic venues like Monza and Silverstone, how he wants to work on the driver pathway to F1 and to showcase young drivers on the way up, why he’s open minded on what racing series should appear on the bill with F1 and where he feels the emphasis lies when considering whether technology or sport should be F1’s driving force.

Fernando Alonso

History is very valuable and in American sports the teams with long histories are very highly prized, the Yankees, the Knicks etc. But you’ve got valuable and historic properties here. Race-side you have Monaco, Monza…How important to you is the historical side?

“Tremendously important. I think the history is one of the most important assets to have, there are fans who grow up, and you want fathers and grandfathers and sons to grow up and remember experiences. And I think the drivers, the teams, the races, the tracks are an incredible part of what makes this sport special and really distinguish the sport from other sports that are out there today. And in many ways I said, when I was in Fox and we first got in business with the NFL, we sort of had a slogan: ‘Same game, new attitude’ and I think it sort of applies here.

“We want to respect the traditions that made this sport great and build on those. We’re not looking to gimmick the sport up. We want to take what is a great sport and bring it some fresh energy and innovation but with complete respect and admiration for, really, the history that is really incredibly important part of the sport.

Will you put a greater emphasis on trying to maintain some of the events? We’ve had some depressing headlines coming out like ‘Monza’s on the brink’, ‘Silverstone’s on the brink’, the Belgian etc…Are you going to try to make sure that those things are properly sustainable and part of the fabric of the sport?

“Very much so. We said the foundation of this sport is Western Europe which is where the tracks largely you’re talking about exist. We have great events around the world but the foundation of the sport is western Europe, that’s tremendously important and what we want to do is we wanna build a foundation but very much recognise that the foundation is critically important. So not grow at the expense of the foundation but I think your foundation needs to be strong and continue to make it stronger and then we can add the dimension of further growth but those historic events are an incredibly important part.”

“Same game, different attitude”

You’ve come into F1 because the investors you represent see an opportunity to grow. What are the key indicators that make you believe that?

“I think in many ways just looking at what we think was not being done to really maximise the value and the opportunity in the sport over the recent years.

When you don’t have a marketing organisation, you don’t have a research organisation, when you don’t have a digital organisation. Meaningfully you have a one man sponsorship crew. I think it sort of speaks to, you know, the resources that are not being deployed to maximising growth in the sport and I think in today’s age you need to be able to use all the tools you have available to grow it.

Like digital platforms and social media, they could probably become the strongest driving force in growing a sport and to some degree it’s improving now. If you look at the growth in video platforms, video digital platforms just in the last few months, its a three/four fold growth in one year by just giving it some energy and opening it up. So I think there’s a real pent-up appetite to engage with Formula 1 in a much deeper way.

For us to come into the business we think events, particularly global events are disproportionately going to grow in value, and the importance and Formula 1 is really unique. Probably with the Olympics and World Cup which are once every four years, it’s a sport which connects with fans – 100s of millions of fans around the world  – and it does that with a sport which really captures their imagination.

The pathway for young drivers to the top

The deal to rebrand GP2 to FIA Formula 2 and complete that single seater pathway from F4, F3, F2, F1 was achieved quickly and smoothly, so does that indicate a positive spirit of collaboration with the FIA?

“Yes, very much so. I mean it’s we’ve actually had a number of meetings with Jean Todt and the FIA. They’ve been very constructive meetings, I think we have a shared vision of where we want to go and again it’s three months in but I think we have a very good working relationship, we speak fairly regularly and are really looking to figure out how we can build some momentum to that relationship For us we’re building an organisation so I think that will facilitate having a bit more of an organisation of people with responsibilities who can communicate with their counterparts.

It’s not just me, or me and Jean Todt but I think we want to have a place where we’ve got people who, I want people who have the responsibility and authority to make decisions and can engage with their counterparts and try to do things that will help grow the sport.

It’s great having next-gen drivers showcased with F2 and now F3 coming up, are you looking to build that as a package to emphasise young guys coming through with broadcast and social media packages?

“There’s no question. I mean Formula 1 is the ultimate race for us and I think as part of making Formula 1 great you want to make sure you’re doing what you can to provide the right training ground and opportunities for the next great drivers to learn and emerge and come through.

You want to build this around the drivers?

The drivers are our stars.

Obviously the teams, the brands the other things are important but the drivers are our stars and we’ve gotta make sure we’re doing everything we can to…that’s it. To find the drivers of tomorrow and we’d love to have drivers coming from different parts of the world which as it’s a global sport, helps. But talent will ultimately win out but we want to make sure we’re providing the opportunities for talent to emerge and then to learn and grow and play a role in developing Not just sit here at Formula 1 and wait to see who pops out but play a role and helping develop the sport, grow the sport develop the drivers and other aspects of the sport.

The other thing that interests me is the way American sports fans experience the event. There’s something there, like a music festival kind of atmosphere?

“Yeah I mean one of the sort of accusations thrown at me is that I’m going to Americanise Formula 1 and I said clearly not. It goes back to what I talked about the history and the foundation. We respect that way.

I moved to London to do it, I didn’t say ‘Let’s run it out of New York’ so I think we recognise the truth, traditions, it’s a global sport. I think there are aspects of what American sports do reasonably well that can benefit us and I think one of those is taking events and making them a bigger, larger event with the sport at the heart of it that sort of is the rallying factor and the reason but is the event that engages peoples’ imagination and attracts new and different fans because they want to be part of the experience so I think it helps attract young fans, female fans that is not just you’re going to a race.

“And I don’t want to minimise the importance of the race, the race is the defining element but if we create other interesting things in the level of excitement and energy around it, it’s food, music, information, exhibitions, things like that, engage the whole city, it’s- I think America’s done that well. And Formula 1 really lends itself to that because it is such an event, there’s only one in each country So it is, it comes to town, it should come to town and take over the city its in for the week it’s here and I think we want to bring that type of energy and excitement to it.

In terms of long-term vision on motorsport generally – F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, but do you want to reflect other categories in the support bill and to draw in more fans to motorsport generally?

“I think we actually want to do that and I think one of the things I’ve found as I’ve gone around some of the tracks is that there was a bit of trying to exclude other forms of racing from our events and to some degree I want to invite them and I want this to be, we want to be the pinnacle but if there are things we can put on that interest and invite fans – that’s why we’re doing this – we’re doing this not for our purposes and not for the teams’ but we’re doing this for fans, and create a great experience for fans.

If fans enjoy other forms of motorsports, if when they were in Australia they wanted the Supercars, the Australians love the Supercars. To me, I don’t want to preclude that and I should take advantage of that and get the supercar fan there who hopefully becomes a more passionate Formula 1 fan, and that’s good for everybody.

A big decision will need to be made soon on where the balance lies between entertainment and technology. The noisy F1 car that gets driven by a legendary driver that none of us could dream of handling versus the track to road story for the manufacturer and the fuel companies. Could you give us your vision on that front?

“I think they’re both part of what makes the sport special. It’s competition on one hand but the technology and engineering are obviously a part of what creates the mystique and interest in the sport and there are certain people who are passionate about that. But between the two I think clearly the sporting aspect, needs to be the driving force. We want to put on events that are great, exciting competition, great exciting action with great stars. We want the drivers to ultimately be the shining lights, not to be a sport driven by engineers but a sport where the engineers are adding value but our drivers are our biggest stars. I think we want to make sure we encompass both, sort of the technology and engineering with the sporting contest but first and foremost be clear: we’re looking to put on great exciting sporting events that captivate and excite fans.

“I think one of the things we need to do a better job of is making that technology and this sport accessible. The fans, when you- when I go behind the scenes, because I can do it, it’s amazing. We’re not really enabling the fans to access it and I think in many ways that is an important part of engaging the younger fans, is to let them be able to find what they want to find. One of the great things about these digital platforms is that they give you the flexibility, so some who just want a simple view and we can still make that a richer view but there’s some who really want to be able to dig in and find some of the captivating pieces of information and data and follow it in a much deeper and richer way and be captivated by it.

“And we gotta make sure we’re enabling those fans to achieve that and I think a lot of those fans are the younger fans because they’re the ones who get so agile on all these because a really deep experience is probably not going to be on a television because a television is so linear, and it’s sort of more something for everybody. The digital platforms you can find what you want to find and the younger generations are much more agile on that and I think much more fascinated by it. They’re fascinated by the technologies that are going to drive the world that they live in and it is one of the things that again we need to take advantage of. One of the unique things about our sport is that the sport married the technology. There aren’t other sports that have that feature so it’s a feature we’ve gotta take advantage of for those fans to find that interesting.

And how loud will the engines need to be?

“We’d like them to be a little louder. We’re working on it.”

Women in Motorsport

Another unique thing about our sport is that once a driver gets in the car you can’t tell if they’re able bodied or disabled, and secondly, critically the gender. You’ve seen Danica Patrick and other female drivers in the US, would you commit yourself to trying to create a pathway to get an effective female F1 driver to bust through the ceiling during your tenure?

We’d love to have a female driver. I think it’d great for the sport, great for the fans, great in every way.

And you go back, by creating the pathway and creating the opportunity, what we can create is the opportunity. We don’t want to be controlling the end result. At the end of the day I think Formula 1 should be a meritocracy where you’ve got the 20 best drivers in the world are out there in 20 cars but we gotta be providing an opportunity for everybody to get there and so by getting deeper into the development hopefully we can provide those opportunities.

I want to work with the FIA in ways to make sure we’re doing what I can to provide the right development paths.

I wanted to ask you about the threat of autonomous cars. If people no longer drive cars in the future why will they be interested in people racing them as a sport?

“I think the answer goes back to ‘it’s a sport’. And if its a sport with great contest that captivates the combination of power athletics skill and technology to keep maximising the sport and puts it on a different path, where’s the car world going that you’re driving, it’s not going to be a reflection of the path that we have to follow.

“What we want to follow is- I think it’s something that as we go forward we have to be cognisant, figure out haw we deal with it, I don’t really call it a threat, I think it’s sort of the world we live in and we gotta figure out how do we define our place in the world. But it’s certainly going to be with great drivers driving incredible machines with hopefully great competition.”

What do you think? Leave your comments in the section below

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Cliff Townsend

I am hopeful that F1 will “progress” to internal combustion only and leave the hybrid technology to endurance racing. Big slicks and the ability to slipstream was the pinnacle of the sport in the late ’70’s when you could witness a driver with his hands full!

Andrés Herrera

This guy And his moustache are awsome!


His most important comment ” we don’t want to gimmick the sport up”. I truly hope he believes this and more importantly understands what a ‘gimmick’ looks like.

He uses the word “foundation” as if he’s had a few too many. F1 already has solid foundations built on the history of some great races, great venues and great technology (of the times) and even greater racing legends who risked their lives each and every race.

So leave the foundations alone. Just make sure F1 haves the talent and technology right to grow it. This means the worlds top drivers who still accept risk, who earned their ticket in cars that are not technologically easy to drive but are race machines.

This is what creates excitement. Never mind the digital social media bull. It defines nothing.


The real challenge for F1 is not autonomous driving. I doubt any fan is interested in seeing how well Lewis Hamilton can drive a remote control car (though he was world champ at that too!) round Monza. The real challenge will be internal combustion vs electric cars. Within two decades most people will be in electric or hydrogen cars…so what does that mean for F1? Does formula E merge with F1? In a few years, younger fans might not see the relevance of a formula that uses fossil fuels. Equally, why would Mercedes or any other manufacturer want to spend millions building a fossil-fuel F1 engine when the tech is a dead-end in terms of marketing or use in normal cars?


Three separate regional championships would be a smart way to add to the show, creating local interest and parochialism both at and for races.

F2 and F3 in the Euro leg.

Indycars will be the obvious choice for the American leg. F1 and Indycar together will rapidly convince more US states to invest in running a GP, which sits very high on Liberty’s agenda!

Including the incredibly popular and highly entertaining Super Formula Championship in the Asian and Australian races would instantly bring those currently disinterested Asian-Pacific fans back to F1.
F1 should, in essence, be a hi-tech version of what Super Formula stands for, pure racing from extremely fast, PURPOSE BUILT, open wheel racing cars.
No overbearing, specific allegiance to road car manufacturers for marketing their specific products.
F1 should exist purely to be the fastest, most spectacular form of motor sport on the planet, openly available for the world to marvel at. Solely for the research and development of conceptual materials and ideas for the safe construction of F1 cars … bullets on wheels.
The flow-on effect of the technology would naturally impregnate many and varied sections of industry, where they would eventually revolutionise things we use everyday … as has always been the case.
That is what will bring back the creative boffins, engineering genius’ and cashed up billionaires who love competition and want to show off their latest inventions to the world.
The major road car manufacturers won’t hang around for too long post 2020 when they no longer call the shots.
F1 needs to open itself up and become “THE BEST” R&D showcase in the entire industrial world – in a bid to attract new, independent team owners like HAAS to fill the void the big road car manufacturers leave behind.


Wow! What a bunch of skeptics on JA. Nobody seems to believe anything Carey says, or his vision for the future. I would not want to be on a board with any of you.
I have been watching F1 since the late fifties, and enjoyed it all with its many ups and downs. F1 is not dying, it is now moving into its next evolution after the hybrid fiasco. And it is being led by Carey and his group working closely with the FIA. This has to be a good thing for the future of the sport…..rather than being at loggerheads with them. Electric PU’s are not the future of F1, the ICE is not going away in this century. The electric car racing has followers, good for them, but does nothing for me. We could have pedal cars as well, but not really exciting. Read Alvin Toffler’s The Third Wave…..you are either leading the charge into the future like Tesla, or you are following them into the future, or you are going into the future screaming and yelling and fighting the inevitable. F1 ranks right up there with the World Cup and the Olympics, but F1 is annually. F1 has come a long way since the fifties, and it is still evolving with second generation drivers leading the way. Drivers from multiple countries, and races in countries many have never heard of before. This sport will be around long after I and many of you have gone to the great parking lot in the sky, so try to enjoy it all, like you enjoy each day of your life…….unless you do not. Ha ha ha.


hybrid is not a fiasco, it’s a success. have a look at the numbers. in the past the pole sitter could be over a minute clear of second..


You have to worry about a man who has a shared vision with Jean Todt! He is ignoring the elephant in the room. F1 is too expensive to watch at the circuits, It costs too much money to watch it on TV so sponsors don’t flock in and the curcuits are struggling to avoid going bankrupt. The smaller teams are stuggling because of the unfair distribution. F1 is in a death spriral and it looks as though Liberty are trying to talk it up in the hope that things will suddenly get better but I dont see a miracle happening. Bernie got out just in time!


Everything done to make racing a ‘meritocracy’ has only had the opposite effect and made it ever more exclusive.

Stream line classes will only reduce the amount of ‘wins’ for young drivers and thus this lack of supply with increased demand will mean that if you want to race in F3 or F2 you will have to be a multi-multi-millionaire at least. This is already evident. Also single make also means the monopolisation of performance and results.

So, once a driver could do well in a rubbish car by maybe finishing 5th and catching attention. Now they might finish 5th in a rubbish car but no one cares because it’s single make.


Hes not Ecclestone. Sounds like a good albeit corporate vision, time will tell how it works out.


There is a certain contradiction in F1.
Ferrari has a historical/heritage bonus, however sites/tracks doesn’t ?

Hope F1G is in to make money and provide entertainment.
Don’t do like the american Arsenal owners that charge the biggest ticket prices and contracts no fancy players.

The base problem of F1 still isn’t solved, IMO.
The FiA interference in F1.
If F1 was a League, like PL, NFL, NBA, etc, rules could change as the owners please.
However F1 currently need unanimous decisions among teams to make changes. Where in the world do we have it ?
So changes always reach a conundrum and it falls to FiA to decide the future of F1.
Therefore, even with F1G “good intentions and initiatives”, F1 depends of FiA “goodwill”.
So I’m not that excited about radical changes.
IMO, if money is distributed more evenly among the teams, it will attract more stakeholders/players to the series.


The NFL, and NBA, owners maybe able to change the rues as they see fit, but the PL can only change fringe things around the game itself, as do most European leagues, in any sport. It just the way Europeans, and most of the rest of the world, built up their leagues compared to the USA.


Yes, PL has to obey FIFA.
But on subjects like money distribution and other collateral rules not connected to the game itself its free.
No superlicense, no national auto federations in the way, no mandatory safety design on cars, etc.


In other news, Bernie Ecclestone is still throwing a tanty because his old dictatorial style of leadership wasn’t continued.


Other than week long festivities, and the need to add specialist staff, I don’t see much new here. Social Media has a momentum all it’s own and automatically, if they don’t develop and feature the drivers autonomous cars will fill that racing void up. Horse racing has survived because it featured the horse and its breeding not the jockey…the equine athlete, if you will. Also, they have betting interest built -in everywhere they run. I think Formula 1 needs more thinking and energy than what Mr. Carey is currently offering to truly own its future?


And how loud will the engines need to be?
“We’d like them to be a little louder. We’re working on it.”
I don’t want them to be a little louder, I want them to be screaming loud.


🙂 Hee hee. But this well illustrates how the whole piece was just hot air. He really said nothing specific or helpful.


Thanks for this, James. I’ll check out the full version on the FIA site as well.

Lots to digest here, but what stands out is Carey’s insistence that F1 is a sport, its aim is to entertain the fans, and the drivers are the stars.

The contrast between this view and and the BE era (distinguishing for the moment between Bernie’s reign overall and the latter day CVC period) couldn’t be starker. It’s clear from reading books like The Pirrahna Club and looking at what happened after the FOCA/FISA War that F1 as we have had it is designed primarily for the teams: The WDC is simply the means to the end of winning the WCC. It’s very much been about the members of the club and not about the audience at large. Bernie’s persistent refusal to market F1 as a whole (the list of absent departments/capabilities given by Carey) bears this out.

Fascinating stuff.


If drivers are the stars, then he must acknowledge that balance with technology has been lost. Drivers are a single digit contribution to overall outcome potential today, a sad reality. This has taken away from entertainment and there isn’t another sport where the star contributes so little.

Add to this repeated public examples where this F1 technology has made drivers look silly and it is clear that engineers are the stars. Or at least want to be the stars.


Problem is, not the drivers, not the chassis engineers, not the aero engineers, not the strategy engineers, etc, just the PU engineers can be stars, and just the PU engineers with 800 million of research and development behind them.


Well said.


Lots of talk and promises of improvement…little action or actual improvement.

How are they going to monetise “Social Media”….????


Still having a great challenge taking anything carey chase says seriously, and not just because of the uber-affected moustache.
These guys are in it for the money!
Make no mistake.
Just like MacKenzie, but Mackenzie made no bones about it, and said nothing, like a mutual fund manager.
Carey likes the spot light. He likes the glamour. He likes associating with bravadours, who push their skills and luck with only a thin veil between them and the big sleep.
But he’s in it for the money.
If you want a sure thing, you can bet on it, all decisions will ultimately lead to profit maximization, it’s just about how he charts the path there.

As stated before, the path forward, with ank kind of real world relevance is by a declining fuel allowance, stable, decreasing total fuel consumption in the race; and, by the way, totally opening up the PU (power unit) specifications, including (while admittedly at the top of the automotive politically incorrectness list, deisel) alternative fuels with energy equivalancy adjustments (a la WEC).
Yes this means convergence with Formula E.
What’s wrong with that?
It’s either convergence or eventual withering in utter irrelevance, with Formula E emerging as the premier category.
One way or another, the premier category will be electric in 20 years.
Perhaps somebody could check the odds on it….

Ross must know this, (being such a clever guy and what not).


Is football relevant to any daily activity you perform? Is basketball? Is MotoGP? Why should F1? F1 will survive as a talent competition between drivers. If the way to make it interesting is for them to compete on “retro” V8s, 10s or 12s, so be it. It’s time, it has been for a while now, to separate F1 into an ,if you want, anachronic spectacle and a glorified R&D, marketing and PR exercise for some corporations.


The point is: the people arguing for a return to ‘the good old days’, they incorrectly attribute the superficial aspects of the whole game, certain characteristics of cars, i.e. V10s, etc., etc.
Wheras, the real thing about the sport that attracted the fans was the pushing-the-boundaries-of-everything?
V10s are dinosaurs (yes they were very, very good in their day, BUT IT IS A DIFFERENT DAY NOW, and the end is iin sight for these terrors of a bygone era!
What the sport needs to go back to is pushing-the-boundaries-of-everything?
To do that, you need adequate scope to ,b.innovate, which the current PU regulations emasculate and strangulate!

This step back means going to at least the conceivable perception of relevance, because the sport of motor racing came into existance and was at once driving commercialization advancements.

that’s all.


I’m pretty confident that if you ask fans, most would prefer to see an actual race in V8s, 10s or 12s to dominance in any sort of package that is “pushing-the-boundaries-of-everything”. The point was not narrowed to bringing back x, y or z type of engine, but of what is or should be the main aspect of F1. And, luckily, at least the commercial rights holder, has decided that it’s the drivers who should be at the forefront, not technology, not road-relevance.


I don’t see a problem with this – of course Liberty Media is in it for the money, and so are the teams, the tracks, all of it.
At least they are trying to make the sport better for the fans because more fans ultimately means more money for them. Win Win.


well said..


beyond trying to get Taylor Swift to party up the GP weekend, they’re still just talking about trying to make the sport better. All talk…

Number One, they need to simplify the PUs to close the gulf to improve racing and they need to start with something for 2018.


All talk…

I think you might be being a bit harsh there . They’ve only been in charge for a few months and things are already changing. Ross Brawn is quietly hiring a team of engineers to work on the problems of overtaking – apparently he bought some of the Manor wind tunnel stuff. I read reports of a better atmosphere in the paddock – that young child who was crying when Kimi was taken out and then whisked behind the scenes for a meet with his hero. That would never have happier under Bernies reign.
Patience young Grasshopper 😊


what? f1 cars are a lot closer in performance than they have ever been..


First half you’re right. Clearly these long winded answers have a scent of marketing and customer service. Tell them what they want to hear. Let’s get popular. Etc. Keep the revenue flowing and hopefully growing.

I’ve had to read this a few times and I think this is just an opinion piece by a guy who happens to be in charge. But it’s too much opinion, not enough fixed factual road map. And isn’t that the problem around here?

Then, you fall apart on the bottom a bit. This fuel consumption direction is a wrong path for F1. We are where we are in F1 because they started on that path with these PUs. You know about top fuel dragsters? They consume 11.2 gallons of fuel per second, 42 letters, or about 33kg per second or in a single 4 second run about 135kg of fuel. That’s in a single 4 second run. That puts 105kg of fuel or even 150kg of fuel over an F1 grand prix distance in perspective I hope. Let’s stop this drive to make F1 some fuel saviour. It never will be. Cars have gotten heavier. Amount of equipment taken to races has increased and also got heavier. Number of team personnel going to races has increased. And all of this moved by planes burning ever more jet fuel right in the stratosphere where it can do most damage. We can deal with a little CO2 here on the ground.

PU Formula 1 today is EXACTLY like VW Diesel scandal. How you ask? VW Diesels were compliant with clean emissions only when they were being watched during an emissions test. Formula 1 saves fuel only when it be being watched on Sunday during Grand Prix. Outside of those two periods of observations both are not what they appear to be.

I said this before, and I’ll say it again. V10. Simple. Light. V8s also an option.
Make the cars lighter. Back to 600kg minimum. Less mass to move by jets.
Cap team personnel that can go to race. Less people fly.
Cap the amount of hardware each team can take.
Make the car simple to operate in the field to help reduce above hardware.
Savings here will have such a bigger impact on the carbon footprint of F1.
Make each circuit plant 2000 trees as condition of hosting a Grand Prix.

Now onto your final point…convergence. I don’t think such a thing exists in motorsport. Any time there has been a convergence in motorsport it has not been a convergence. It has been absorption. It has been a failing series having no choice to survive and to save anything of itself it gets absorbed by another. With clear momentum in Formula E and momentum being lost in Formula 1, how do you see the convergence? Also with the goals of the two being so different, you need to align those goals before they could merge, and that would be only bad for F1. To Liberly these are different product ranges, and as you point out about profit and money, they will continue to operate them independently until it is no longer viable financially.

The bigger question is this: Should Formula 1 continue on this earth to try to pretend it is road relevant and fuel efficient? Should it continue on this path where it is trying to go in the direction where Formula E already it? Formula E is already the end product of that path, so what does following that path say about F1? Look at LMP1 – gutted by these complex hybrids after taking this fuel saving direction – and that can’t be applied in the real world. Audi was winning all those LeMans with Diesel – where is that today? Nearly dead. Funny enough, Porsche wins LeMans, Toyota loses once again, but who dominates 75%+ of the hybrid market share in the real automotive market place? Exactly.

Formula 1 needs to take care of Formula 1 fans. It needs to stop selling anything else but ad space. It should not sell its soul to pedal goods no one wants to buy – like hybrid. It should please the senses. It should be entertainment first and foremost. And anything that doesn’t align to this goal should be abandoned. Complexity of this power unit is clearly such a thing. Just look at the top PU era team – they don’t even know what to do with themselves here to translate this to road relevance. Zero technology has made it from the Mercedes PU to the road. Zero. Mercedes Hybrid sales suck, or don’t even exist really. Mercedes just threw in the towel on hybrid marketing and this year started this EQ Power marketing angle where they are now pushing 100% Electric cars in F1. Their misguided marketing strategy in search of a goal and message is as misguided as the bloody engine formula in Formula 1.

Priority 1 in Formula 1 – simplify the technology, and remove pointless technology. The most damaging thing to Formula 1 has been this complex PU. It has done nothing for F1. It has only helped to shed fan, irritate fans, make F1 way more expensive and certainly it did not save any fuel at all.


How can I vote + twice?

Spot on


talk about long winded answers..


It’s called a discussion and conversation.

James gives us the catalyst, and we discuss. It’s a new concept. All the kids are doing it. Try it out.


did know you’re a kid sebee.


Take it to school with you and your teachers will help you understand it.


oh, that’s what you do?


f1 is greater than it has ever been and don’t need to regress in technology..only progress is required. v10s and v8s were audibily hazardous. v6 are much better…cars look a lot better now than they have ever been..
i can’t wait for the race on sunday..


Well said Sebee.

I feel at least that simplifying and removing pointless technology is more likely to happen with Ross Brawn at the helm, he has made noises on this since he’s come back.


Dear Sebee: as is often the case, you present a comprehensive and pursuasive argument. As we have already agreed to disagree on this topic, I shall direct the focus of this reply to what we agree upon, which supercedes everything else, either of us has shared, “… too much opinion, not enough fixed factual road map. And isn’t that the problem around here?
Very well expressed, and upon which we both agree is the root of the rest of the causes.
A thorough and objective examination of what the fans really want is the logical starting point to draft a strategy, (and, incidentally, determine the key diference between the way in which we see the enterprise continuing, i.e. road relevance requirement or not).
Again, my seminal position:
Formula One did drive automotive development, and it was principally consumer automotive technology: power development, suspension, even safety. That technology was based upon gasoline/petroleum based power delivery, and the internal engine technology was greatly advanced by Formula One.
We are past the gasoline/petroleum limitlessness.
I think it was you that suggested, quite convincingly, that the hybrid era will be short, and that most manufacturers (with foresight) have skipped it and are developing pure electric.
If it was you, I think you are right about that.
But the biggest bang for your buck will remain as a hydrocarbon-based fuel, and the fastest cars, for a while, will be the ones that liberate this energy to drive the machines, however, it doesn’t have to be based on a limiytless supply/usage basis.
Your point about not being able to police fuel usage, especially the fuel flow rate nonsense, is very relevant.

But, alas, all this is pointless without a clear, cohesive strategy, and they don’t seem any closer to that.

Thank you once again for your fine thoughtfull comment.



Absolutely. In my opinion the primary problem is that of the predominance of an extreme short term position more than often adopted by FOM. This could concern the commercial model, technical rule book, sporting rule book, engine formula and so on.

Many of us have our differences with Sebee, whom I believe to be a most valuable contributor to this forum. However, I believe that for F1 to be ‘the pinnacle of motorsport’ requires a technology based competition and that reversion to a previous era isn’t the way forward. Better, faster, more entertaining solutions are available if there is a tangible desire to see the long term welfare of the sport in good health.

If Liberty want to make a quick dollar, they will expand the current offering and jazz it up. If they want real capital growth then a holistic view on what F1 should be in the long term is required. This approach may well diminish their investment in the short term.

The proof is in their actions.


Chiilli: well orchestrated comment, thank you. I agree.


these guys are too busy counting the money. they are looking to employ others to do the donkey work while the enjoy the luxuries they can afford….why should they stress their minds when it’s better for them to relax and enjoy life? you can tell from his responses that he isn’t as well informed about the technicalities of f1 as most fans. he’s just they to run things to make more money and keen the fans coming for more..


FE will be in New York next month, racing a couple of miles away from where I lived for 20-odd years. If I can get there, I will send James my impressions. It should be interesting to compare it with the four USGPs I saw at Indy.

The former chief of the Japanese Superformula series commented last year that hybrid tech was rejected in that series on cost, weight, and complexity grounds. He noted (in a Racecar Engineering feature) that “one of the mission statements for Superformula is ‘quick and light’,” and that hybrids are incompatible with that ethos. He added that hybrids aren’t necessarily good for racing, though there may be marketing benefits to using it.

It seems that FOG (again, unlike how things appeared in the Bernie years) is willing to examine best-practices from other racing series. Perhaps “quick and light” should be a guiding principle for F1.

The other possibility? Perhaps a new world championship can be created by the FIA in addition to F1, a series that focuses on quick, light, simple. Unlikely, but theoretically possible.


We would like that very much thanks


Karts are quick and light too but no one watches them. Motorsport has an existential problem actoss the board. Its not an everyman sport


Bravo! Well said in all respects.


You ve missed the point of the fuel limit though. It is there to breed the technology and commence learning to make F1 relevant. it is not there to make F1 green.


Please note that all inventions related to improving technologies have happened outside of F1. From better batteries, to new electrolytes that allow safer and higher battery capacity, to other electrolytes that allow 500,000 cycles per battery to new electricity generation that will change the world. F1 relevance to what we will drive and how we will drive and recharge it is an illusion at best. Hence F1 is irrelevant to future of the automobile for quite some time now. PU has proved it. Mercedes worked on it for 7 years and how much of this tech have they transfered to road?

Formula E? Much more relevant. Hence the automakers flocking there.


‘Formula E? Much more relevant. Hence the automakers flocking there.’ This is the most relevant comment you have made. If not the car builders who is going to pay for F1? We all know about green washing but it does mean there are far fewer businesses prepared to sponsor gas guzzling motorsport. As you stated Liberty are in it for the money – and there aren’t enough prepared to pay for F1 to go backwards.


Hybrid tech has been here for nearly 2 decades before F1 took it on as some claimed novelty. As noted, even the winning team can’t find a way to make it commercially viable for the masses. They came up with some homolgomation special edition of 275 cars to part really rich people from a few million each for a car they will never drive.


Given the questions raised above by S-b, is there any chance of doing a JA article on the actual “carbon footprint” related to ‘hybrid technology’ in the real market place? For example, engineering (some of whom are actually employed in industries producing hybrid vehicles and materials handling equipment) acquaintances tend to be fairly unanimous in opinion. That opinion is that the manufacturing and disposal of the battery and electronic components are, in fact, more damaging to the environment than petrol-based applications.

Similarly, the energy/resource requirements related to growing and producing ‘alternative fuels’ such as ethanol additives so prevalent in today’s pump gas actually have a negative effect. Meaning relating to the overall food supply and the energy required to grow the crops and produce the ethanol itself. Sort of along the lines outlined by S-b above regarding the energy and resource requirements of moving the circus around the world.

So, guess the question might be: how does the overall effect of producing and operating a Prius compared with a similar non-hybrid road vehicle compare with respect to cost per mile and the related “carbon footprint” over 200K miles (or a similar vehicle life standard)?


If it was possible to show that hybrid really has a lesser carbon footprint, don’t you think it would be done by now?

If the Formula 1 PUs really saved fuel over lifetime of product, don’t you think a white paper or a study showing this would be done by now? We’re in the 4th year already – where is it?

They don’t. That’s why such claims aren’t made officially. Notice there is real care in the way things are presented. “45kg less fuel used over Grand Prix” is the claim. But there is no claim that the 45kg or more isn’t front loaded into the production of the extra bits alone, or into moving the extra wight of these bits around the world with jet planes burning hundreds of thousands of kilos of jet fuel.


Exactly. There are only 2 paths. Become a “Motorsport Legends” series with ancient, noisy V10/12s that people are initially excited by but that fades away into obscurity over the years or become Formula E. And since Formula E already exists there isn’t even a decision to make.

One of the Sky announcers made the point that people don’t ride horses anymore but people watch horse racing. Very good point – but I think not the point that was intended. Compared to the current F1 audience, no one watches horse racing.


To preserve the historic circuits that are located in ‘expensive’ countries each Grand Prix needs to be viable economically… just as a more equitable division of funds will lead to more competition between teams.
Hopefully LM will see that milking the circuits to death isn’t in the long term interest of the sport.
An economic bubble has been created around international sporting events to the point where countries don’t want to host the Olympics or World Cup. Sad if F1 goes the same way with cars that are too expensive to build and host fees that are too expensive to sustain.

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