Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren rattle the sabres: “Time for Liberty to act on F1”
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Mar 2018   |  8:33 am GMT  |  256 comments

After the strong words about F1’s owners Liberty Media from Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne on Tuesday, Toto Wolff of Mercedes and McLaren’s Zak Brown have also waded in, throwing their support behind Ferrari’s view.

Their position is that F1 has a certain DNA, a certain technical level and if Liberty intends to dumb it down – in order to close up the field – then they aren’t interested in participating. At least that’s how Marchionne expresses it. The other two say that they support his position and Brown pressed Liberty to act soon to reveal the plans for 2021 onwards, as time is running short and the engine in particular is a critical thing to get right.

“I agree completely with Sergio and his way of seeing the situation,” said Wolff. “Even if it was expressed in ‘Marchionne style’! ”

The Ferrari boss spelled it out clearly on Monday,”We are interested in saving the DNA of this sport, which cannot be diluted for commercial reasons or for the show,” he said. “If you can no longer distinguish one competitor from another on a technical level then I’m not interested. If you can’t tell a Ferrari from a Mercedes, then I’m not interested.

“Liberty should let us work; if they no longer give us the chance to compete then we will be leaving.”

These three powerful teams stand together then; on the other side is Red Bull, which would have much to gain from the others leaving F1 and which has always supported the entertainment route. The other key factor is that they don’t produce engines, something which has put them at a clear disadvantage to Ferrari and Mercedes since the advent of hybrid turbos in 2014.

Clock ticking on engines
Everyone is waiting for plans. Time is running short for many things, but especially for the engine that F1 will use from 2021 onwards. The timeline calls for the plans to be revealed in April and then to be developed into a set of regulations for 2021, so the engine builders can get to work. Lead times are very long with engines.

Ross Brawn

The faultline is that Liberty’s team, with Ross Brawn at the helm technically, want to simplify the engine, to go the ‘entertainment’ route, while maintaining the hybrid turbo technology which gives road relevance as the automotive world moves towards miniaturisation and electrification *.

One key stumbling block is the MGU-H, the motor generator unit in the hybrid system which harvests heat energy from the turbo. Mercedes and Ferrari want to keep this.

Liberty want to get rid of it, so do Red Bull and the smaller teams on the grounds of cost, while Porsche is believed to have the removal of the MGU-H as a condition of coming into the sport in 2021.

Other teams say that they have no clarity on what is going on in this process. There was an outline relased in October, which Marchionne reacted strongly to and since then it’s been quiet as the leading manufacturers discuss with Liberty and the FIA.

Chase Carey Jean Todt

These two entities need to be aligned and progress needs to be made, was the message from Brown in a media session yesterday, attended by this website. He wants Liberty and the FIA to act positively and get the process started. It promises to be a season of intense political activity behind the scenes.

These decisions on the DNA of F1 after 2020 are absolutely critical. I’m of the view that, as the 2020s will be the decade of the rise of autonomous vehicles, the very soul of motorsport needs to be examined to make sure the product is appealing to publics around the world that will increasingly give up on driving.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing for the sport – millions still love horse racing and marvel at equestrian skills over a century after the car replaced the horse and carriages – but it does mean that the world’s most skilled and courageous drivers pilot cars that people want to watch.

That is mission critical.

* The FIA held the first meeting of its Environment and Sustainability Commission in Geneva today and the topic of motorsport technology playing a part in ‘smart cities’, as they call it in the future was discussed.

Alejandro Agag, the CEO of Formula E Holdings said, “Technology is at the core of smart policies, smart services and smart cities. Transferring expertise from Sport to broader Mobility problems can enhance urban transportation at the global scale”.

All photos: LAT Images

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Bring back 1997 spec 3L V12 engines and points system. Problem solved.


Ban the MGU-H. Let Ferrari say it is banned because it is ‘too good, too fast’ – the same for M-B. Severely restrict the influence of aerodynamics while keeping wings – F1 is somewhere in the far reaches of technology as applied to surface transportation aero and it does not apply anywhere else. Want tech advances? Allow energy recvoery through all four wheels, but limit power application to the rear wheels. A big part of F1 is the driver! Let’s SEE the difficulty of handling these projectiles, let there be significantly more noise (less than a small rock concert right now), and let people see the tremendous energy being marshalled!


A large part of F1 DNA ( I hate this cliche) is being surgically removed. Massaive audiences on TV with team sponsors happy with lots of exposure. Going going and soon to be gone to be replaced by an unproven model. Good luck to them!


Why do people think F1 needs Ferrari so bad? It simply doesn’t. Yes there will be a downfall in viewing figures if such a thing were to happen. It would be forgotten about soon after with names like Porsche and BMW, maybe even Toyota coming back in. It grinds on me how much Ferrari (and even Mercedes it seems) think the world won’t continue without them. I very much take Joe Sawards view on this


I had an idea; it is out there, but hey, why not. Two Championships: Spec car Drivers title (say F2 cars with more power) – race on Sunday morning. Constructors championship in the afternoon ($150 million annual budget), minimal rules – engineers can go crazy (within safety parameters of course).

You can find out who is truly the best driver, budgets are within reason, engineers can show off their skills, F1 DNA is preserved, viewers get more racing, circuit owners are happy, more TV time to sell, upsides everywhere.

What do you guys think?


I like this idea, but couldn’t this be achieved (in the short term anyway) by fully integrating the presentation of F2 with F1 worldwide? F2 is already run on F1 weekends, but it doesn’t seem to get wide spread TV coverage. At least not in North America. I would love to see these races as part of the normal F1 coverage we get here. And maybe for a couple of the F2 races (Silverstone and Spa maybe, you throw the F1 drivers into the F2 car for a couple of extra DC points). This integration seems more advanced in Europe, but surely that would help the growth of the sport in North America. If Liberty continue down the path of OTT delivery, then that seems to be an easy win.

As for the new regulations, Liberty should keep the technical aspects of the engine the same, and freeze them for a decade. Then share the revenue of the sport more equitably between the teams (no more legacy payments) and the rest should sort itself out. Nothing ever good comes of trying to change the technical regulations for the “entertainment” of the sport. All that matters is that over time, the teams become more similar in lap time. How they get there is up to them. I like the budget cap idea too, but I don’t see how that can be effectively policed.

Richard Mortimer


Interesting idea – something pretty close to what I have been suggesting for a few years:

F1 always seems to address the wrong problems: restricted testing and only 3 PUs per year! When, the big problem is this ‘aero’ formula with it’s escalation war!

Ferrari (and the others) are protecting their ‘gap’ to the rest of the field. The only ones who aren’t, interestingly, are Red Bull (who are not frightened of anyone)! Quite why McLaren are weighing in here is anyone’s guess? Maybe Renault asked them to / put pressure on them to do so?

What we need with engines is ‘parity.’ So, the leading engine is ‘frozen.’ It can’t be modified. Then, development tokens need to be appointed to give parity. So, Ferrari would get less than Renault, and Honda would get the most. This would also encourage new manufacturers to come in.

I think you are right about making the engine rules much freer. You can regulate with the ‘parity’ system, fuel tank size and weight. I would also ban turbos as they kill the ‘racing’ noise, but allow superchargers. The reason for that is, superchargers keep the ‘noise,’ and are fuel-hungry, so there would be useful development going on with that technology.

Also, your idea of a split-grid is pretty similar! Let’s compare notes?

So, 2 formulas A & B. The idea being they can race together:

A has no budget limit but very restricted aero.

B has a $100M budget cap (where Force India are) but with more open ‘aero.’

Again, a parity system would be needed to keep the cars competitive with one another. This can be done in a number of ways, including the tank size and weight already mentioned.

A teams to run 3 cars with one being a ‘rookie’ whose car will not count to constructors points.

So, if 4 teams now have 3 cars, we have a grid of 24. But also, with the budget cap coming in, maybe some new teams would come in as well. 2 things need to happen on top: 1. Contract engine (Cosworth or something) that all teams can use if they want. Parity sought in the same way. 2. Open out the qualifying regs for F1 entry. Seem very prohibitive right now.

Also, I think 1 year old cars should be run too (such a waste building new cars every year)! These can be pegged to the midfield.

So, with 20+ cars (maybe 30+) you now run 2 grids: Top 20 cars go into F1 qualifying. Bottom cars from 21 down race on Saturday and the top 6 finishers go onto the Sunday grid!


F1 to me is about the the best technology and the best drivers. If it was just about the racing, we’d all watch a one-make formula.

The strong dependence on aero from the front wing is what has ruined the racing by making following impossible.

Standardising a simpler front wing would go a long way to reducing road-irrelevant costs. So would fixing the bodywork for the whole season.

Richard Mortimer


I have been very much encouraged about the (general) agreement about the state of F1 and what needs to be done on this thread.

Please can I make a suggestion?

Let’s put ‘our’ plan together and get agreement to that. We are the fans. Liberty / Ross Brawn would be very foolish not to listen to us.

Maybe if enough of us backed one plan, it would get somewhere?

Obviously, there are a lot of ideas (below), but, surely, we can pull those into some general principles?




FWONA, one of my easiest shorts.


I think they should do what the BTCC does- allow teams to have their own engine, but those that don’t can have a standardised engine-

For example in BTCC, Team Dynamics Honda use a Neil Brown tuned engine, whereas the smaller teams use the TOCA Standard Swindon tuned engine.

Do that for MGU-H- Allow teams to develop their own to a defined regulation but allow the other teams to use a standardised one if they wish.


Let these 3 teams go, I say.

I’ve been watching F1 since ’85, and for a large portion of that Ferrari hasn’t been that competitive, save the Brawn years….their arrogance can go somewhere else, I’ll take Porsche.

Mercedes? Pfft, F1 survived without you for years.

MacLaren? Sure 5 years ago I would have been sorry to see you go…but you’re a shell of yourself, and not the team of old…if you leaving means Williams will be more competitive by levelling…then I’ll take that.

Richard Mortimer

Also, McLaren race team is probably a very sellable proposition. So, it could become another team or be bought as ‘McLaren Racing.’


This is not horse racing. Horse prancing maybe.

How about bull racing. Here is my free advice for Red Bull. Leaping bull graphic moved ahead and lowered. Make the bull’s horns 3-dimensional on the halo.

Since the drivers helmet is no longer visible, reproduce it on the air box with a convex screen on the front as the face shield. The brave driver is riding the charging bull !

Ad placement for the hyped-up Red Bull drinker.


Not sure if serious, but I like it. Besides, anything goes in f1 nowadays so why not?


After reading this article and some of the comments, I started to wonder why I am interested in F1 at all. It can’t be because a car is running 300 kmph, tbh I can’t see the difference when it would run at 280 kmph. It can’t be the show around it all, cause I really don’t care about that. It can’t be the interviews of the drivers cause there comments are political cooked and therefore worthless, (except when there is some real emotion boiling and then the whole world says OMG he should temper his voice/opinion). It’s not because Ferrari or Merc is participating. It’s certainly not cause of the technology being used. So, why ?? Well cause of the gladiators ofc. The drivers and there weapons, (aka cars). The fights on the track, the tactics being used. That’s why I follow F1 !! So for me the DNA of F1 is not Fer or Merc or RB, for me it are those memorable moments on the track, fights, losses and victories. In short the emotion if your chosen one will prevail to become the next WC or at least win some battles. And if he fails, well Ill be devastated and hope for the best in 2 weeks time. So, if Liberty can bring more excitement to the track, they have my vote !


The debate here is whether competitive sport is entertaining in its own right or whether Grand Prix racing is now purely an entertainment show. I sit in the first category, which means I want to see the world’s most talented lunatics drive round the black top as fast as can be safely achieved. This means purety, transparency, continuity and prowess; a definition of the pinnacle of motorsport. It is, therefore, impossible and unwise to turn the clock back to older technology, less safe practices, or a less inclusive audience. To be more fair towards the rights holder, race promoters, teams, drivers and fans, an enhanced equitable approach is required towards genuine racing. Grow the sport and the entertainment will be augmented. Grow the entertainment and the revenues will follow. Grow the revenues and the sport will be enhanced. And so on…

Richard Mortimer


Well said! Sergio M does not seem to know what is the DNA of F1.

After all, some of the best battles and best racing were in the 1970s, when the cars were really a pro-type F3000!

The DNA of F1 is not very advanced engine tech! Maybe that is the WEC (and the place where these current engines should end-up)!

As you say, it is gladitorial battles and the like. OK, so the Rosberg / Hamilton battle was good (but we needed more drivers getting in the mix there)!

The Prost / Senna battle was on a gladitorial scale! Great when you have the 2 best drivers in the best car! Which is why I would like to see the ‘factory’ teams having to run 3 cars with the 3rd not getting makes WC points.

But also, there needs to be much more ‘other’ interest, such as: The little guy doing some giant slaying; etc.

I loved seeing Chris Amon plant the Ensign on grid 3 for the 1976 Swedish GP. Or, I was rooting for Hill to win the 1997 Hungarian GP in the Arrows, and for Fisichella to do the same at Spa in 2009!

Sergio M has one thing right, the history of the sport is important. Witness the huge interest in the Goodwood F of S, and the old cars that get to run up the hill!


3rd car would have made the last couple of seasons a little more interesting within the top teams….an option for them perhaps. If the 3rd car was not eligible for points then used as a rookie seat on a rotational basis at the teams discretion to measure them against some of the more established pilots…

Richard Mortimer


Brilliant idea! Running rookies and rotating them. Also, I think Kubica would be in that category as not having raced in a few years.

Raikonnen would have qualified when he returned to F1 too!


Wait, what???

Räikkonen took 3rd in WDC the very season he returned, even driving an inferior car!


But the Mgu-H is one of the coolest parts about the current hybrid engine … not only can they spoil the turbo with it but they can recover energy as well!!!!

I’ll stop watching F1 if the cars aren’t technological marvels. Really hope Liberty doesn’t mess this up!

Richard Mortimer

Floodo 1

You should become the WEC’s most devoted fan!

I want screaming engines and overtaking! I want things all mixed up and to see the best drivers winning. So, Alonso should not be struggling for 3 years without a win!

If F1 were more competitive, different drivers would win. There would be fairytale wins every now and again. Look at 1977 or even the start of 2012!


Did you consider the F1 cars prior to the PU era as technological marvels?

Did you enjoy races like Suzuka 2005, Canada 2011, Brazil 2008 2012?


Spending an obscene amount of money to add a dynamo with whole lot of complexity and 150 kg of extra weight to a small single seater just to save a few cents of fuel is not a technological marvel.


@ Floodo….Just consider for a moment, what if they removed it but didn’t tell you and the lap times were all relative to each other/car? Would you still be an F1 fan?


Kenneth……what if on the other hand it turned out that they had in fact switched to the current PU system a decade ago but didn’t tell you, and had been simulating the noise of V10’s until four years ago and you didn’t notice? Would you still hate the current PU? 🙂

Learning about and admiring the execution of the high tech is a big part of why I personally follow F1 and I think these cars are pretty cool.
And for the record…..I’m not really bothered by the halo, it is just a progression of more and more protection for the driver that has been going on since I started watching in 60’s (good lord, that’s a long time ago)


@ PatM…Good point however the reverse alternative that you have proposed is not quite comparable. You are talking about a completely different set of parameters vis a vis power units. I’m not doing that. The removal of the MGU-H would hardly be recognisable, IMO, by the average racefan. Your example would be simply by the sounds as there are no viable aural enhancements available to emulate the banshee wail of a V10 that i know of. That would be a dead giveaway. Don’t be mislead…I am all for engineering technology that creates, examines and extends the extremes. The caveat being only if it improves the experience. These PU’s do nothing of the sort. If anything they have degraded the experience due to their complexity which has excluded so many from being able to enter the series competitively. There can be no return to the old ways and that’s not bad. What must happen is that the ‘exclusivity of manufacturing’ needs to be expanded with other builders able to participate equally. If by taking the MGU-H out of the equation is the answer then it needs to be done ASAP. Mercedes/Ferrari may still be top of the pile but at least it paves the way for new entrants and heightened levels competition.


I would like to see them simulate those light agile cars that we were enjoying pre PU.


Even more so because the cars would sound better.


Wonder what the Renault position is, bearing in mind their failure rate last year and that breakdowns mean Alonso is sitting on 7 laps today with Sainz sitting on 4 laps…

Could they do with a simplification tweak to the PUs?

This potentially excellent midfield battle could be over by lap 10 in the races.


I hope Ross Brawn mans up and makes the right decisions. You can’t be bullied by a few teams. I don’t even care anymore if Ferrari quit. They have entitlement issues and I’d rather have Porsche and good racing than the status quo. I also couldn’t care less if 2/3rds of the drivers were sacked and or replaced too. To me, 2012 still remains the last true entertaining season. Prior to that, the only seasons with dull racing were 2010, 2005 and the woeful 2002 season.


I agree. I love Ferrari, their racing history, their roadcars, everything. But I would be happy to see them go if it means F1 getting back to what it needs to be.


The statement about “DNA of F1” is being overused and reminds me of how the USA uses 2nd amendment every time sensible gun laws are being proposed. Liberty need to put their food down because if they bow to Ferrari and Merc on this then there is no recovery for F1 in the future. The sport needs to adapt to the market and the fans needs and currently that isn’t being done. The few friends I have that watch F1 are dwindling because 1. paywalls 2. no change in the top three. 3. mostly predictable once pole is gotten 4. drivers can’t really race or overtake due to track and tires and fuel savings.


There has always been tyre issues and fuel saving in F1. It’s the incessant moaning and negativity that kills F1 for me personally. All forms of motor racing are pretty stupid and pointless if you dissect it ad finitum ad nauseum. “Ooh I don’t like the sound” and “Oh, the halo, that’s it, I’m off” constant whining and whingeing about every little thing. That’s really what kills the passion & the interest. Just shuddup already and go racing…


constant whining and whingeing about every little thing

Plus 1 Baron, I agree.


The 2nd amendment is a real and tangible thing, written down in black and white on parchment. It means what it says, and not open to much interpretation if one is an honest constitutional scholar. That is very much unlike the “DNA of F1”, which is completely intangible and different for everybody, i.e. it’s just opinion.


2nd amendment not open to interpretation? Haha, wait there, I’ll go and load my musket.


2nd Amendment was adopted before the advent of assault weapons. The original intent has been so bastardized by the nutballs of the far right, that it’s taken on a life of its own.

Thankfully, some states are getting a clue, banning these weapons, and those bans have been upheld in the courts.

Thankfully, many corporate entities in the States are changing their practices, and no longer allowing teenagers to walk out of their stores with an assault rifle and some ammo.

‘s’about time!


@ KRB…I’m currently debating this issue with many of my US pals. The problem is that currently there are an estimated 320 million firearms in the hands of the public!!! Selective weapons bans for the future are meaningless in the greater scheme of things. The only way to change the status quo is for the American public to change their mental approach to the distrust of other Americans. Will it happen….no. However I have one novel approach that ,over time, could be successful [if that’s possible ] and that’s just to cease manufacturing ammunition. Eventually the weapons would be rendered useless.


kenneth, that’s the Chris Rock solution! 😀

The problem in America is a culture of “get even, at any cost or escalation”. So even if you could destroy every gun and every bullet tomorrow, there would still be cases of some disturbed youth knifing a bunch of their fellow students to death, etc. Only good thing there is that they wouldn’t be likely to kill as many people – before being taken down – as they can now.

Also, as you alluded to, this knee-jerk reaction towards deterrence measures (“arm the teachers!”), instead of a general pacification, is so ingrained in American culture (“Don’t tread on me!” & the Wild West), that any significant gun control in America is DOA from the outset.


Is it realistic for the MGU-H to be a regulated standard part, supplied to all engine builders?

This stand off is key to the image of the sport; they’ve got to get it right. I hope they’re brave, no one wants to see the sports new owners being back-danced by the pretenders, even if they are Merc & Ferrari.

Stand and deliver Liberty…


One more point. Absolutely noone watches horse racing unless they’ve put a bet on. 😉

Richard Mortimer

Ha too right!

The problem is, there are several dynamics working together here. However, the first question is ‘what is the DNA of F1?’ and how is that related to the DNA of racing?

I started watching F1 in 1976. I drove karts competitively over 11 years from 1980, including a paid drive in my final year. Plus, I have an engineering degree. That is not to brag, but just to say, I do know what I am talking about.

Here is my view:

1. The DNA of F1 is that it is a drivers championship. That is the most important thing. For example: who talks about the top ten teams? It does happen, but, how often are the top 10 drivers listed? It’s always happening.

2. The next thing is: F1 is a sport with a rich history. Ferrari, in fact, is using that fact as their main weapon!

3. Also: F1 is about racing cars! They should be fast (which they are) and loud (which they are not currently).

So, here is what I want to see:

1. The best drivers winning. That usually happens as the best drivers get the best drives. But, it’s been a tragedy to see Alonso the last few years. I watched an interview with Senna from 1992 yesterday. He was talking about Mansell’s leaving F1 and what he would be doing next year. He said there was no point risking your neck for 5th place or something like that. He was there to win!

2. But also, I want to see competitive racing. It was better last year. But, the gap between Red Bull and Force India was too much. Williams and now FI have done really well since 2014, but neither has won a race! I don’t like that.

Look at 1974 (before my time) or 1977! In 1974 7 different drivers won races from 5 different teams! Plus, the title went down to the wire!

In 1977 it was 8 different drivers from 6 different teams, including first time wins for Wolf (Scheckter), Laffite in the Ligier and Jones in the Shadow!

Or, what about 2012, with 7 different drivers winning the first 7 races in 5 different cars! Then, you have Raikkonen winning in the Lotus in Abu Dhabi!

The most boring years were the Schumacher / Ferrari years! And, I was not the only one, the public switched off in their droves.

I think for Ferrari and the others to say “the DNA of F1 is the tech” is complete rubbish. It’s part of the picture, but not the DNA.

Look at those 2 years from the 70’s: those cars were pretty crude! For one thing, the Cosworth DFV was a stressed member, so most makes only built half a car! 4 of those winning teams used the DFV!

In 1977 it was 4 teams of the 6. Ferrari and the Matra powered Ligier adding interest.

I don’t like these current engines at all! To be scared of Formula E is to miss the point.

I was at Silverstone for the GP in 1977. That was the debut of the Renault turbo. It whistled past! So, you had this grid of screaming DFVs, Ferrari and Alfa F12s, and the Matra V12. Then, this strange thing coming around with them!

Also, this aero formula is completely ridiculous. It’s an escalation war that low budget teams cannot possibly win.

On top of that: I don’t think a budget cap is going to work. There is too much disparity between the teams for that. Set it at £100M and the reduction my Ferrari and Mercedes is too much. Set it at £150M and still some teams are at a disadvantage.

No, I think what is needed is a much more open (technical) formula on the engine side, with restricted aero (which will automatically reduce the amount small teams have to spend and bring them into line).

So, here is my solution: A split formula A and B –

A is unrestricted budget but very restricted aero (standard front-wing and close loop-holes behind front wheels). Plus, no slots. You control the formula by fuel tank size and weight. Those are changed year to year to bring all into line. But, the engines are opened-up.

However, you run a proper ‘frozen / token’ system. The previous frozen system did not work as all engines were frozen, so any gap was maintained. The token system did not work either, as they all got the same number of tokens.

No, it has to be aiming for parity. So, the best engine (right now the Mercedes) is frozen. They can’t update at all. Then, tokens are given depending how far behind they are. Honda would get the most. That will work!

B section has a budget cap of £100M (or whatever) but much more ‘open’ aero. Again, fixed patrol tank size and weight. Also, other controls to get ‘parity’ between A and B. I think this should be relevant to the teams in each section.

So, if we assume Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren (and maybe Renault) are A teams, which would Red Bull pick? If A, the top teams in B would be Williams and Force India – peg them around 3rd quickest. So, in the current situation, they would be running with Red Bull.

But, if Red Bull went for B (it would be a bit more interesting). Maybe go for complete ‘parity’ then? So, A and B class would be pegged together!

Certainly, some radical thinking is needed, and fast! And, F1 needs a radical make-over!


At least that sport was not so silly with PC bs that they forbid the girls to wear nice hats!


F1 should just go back to 40 year old Tech AND 40 year old attitudes on women. Imagine that, a 1977 Renault turbo with a hot girl holding a sign in front. Now that’s F1 DNA 😂😂😂😂😂😂


I’m finding it hard to take a position on this – I can agree with both sides of the argument.

1. How much of this ‘DNA’ talk is just protectionism – top teams not wanting to see their workforces halved?

2. If Ferrari at al leaves but PORSCHE at al joins – zero sum?

3. Hard fact – Tifosi aside, most global fans follow drivers more than teams – I Don’t want a spec series but v. high discrepancy between teams cheapens the WDC.



I think F1 is fine as is. The only thing I don’t like is the idea that a customer teams engine can’t be used however they see fit and with the same software as the works team. I’m enjoying this year already with the level of talent in the field and the number of teams with good cars.


I see the same pundits airing their views each time James puts out an article.

How many F1 fans give a tinkers what drives the cars. They only care about a good fast competitve race for their money.

Whilst every is sceaming about the cost of motors another gear, then put some back and reduce the absolutely ridiculous wages that the likes of Hamilton get. Stop wasting money on super caravans built on semi-trailers. There is so much waste on one up man-ship. Run the races in zones to reduce th travel times and costs. F1 talks about reducing fuel usage for maybe 6 hours per weekend. How about all the flying fuel, the multi truck fuel costs. F1 needs to wake up to itself and reduce the self serving costs.


@ James…sorry, but i’m getting a mixed message here. Maybe you could clarify for me. My understanding is that basically Ferrari and Mercedes are arguing for retention of the PU as it currently stands inclusive of the MGU-H, now. Whereas Zac Brown is not saying this at all. What he wants Liberty/FIA to do is hand down decisions…whatever they may be, irrespective of engine configuration. Just make some decisions so that they can get on with planning. I don’t see him aligning himself with the other two in maintenance of the engine status quo? Have i got it right or wrong?


They’re all just arguing for more for them. The reasons are just the excuses.


So two groups of socio and psychopaths from stable family upbringings have joined groups with another group and socio and psychopaths from stable family upbringings to take on another group of socio and psychopaths from stable family upbringings?

Ok guys, please just make the on track racing close. Fight for your cut all you want. Just make the bloody racing close.


Please illucidate: What are we talking about here? Is it thermal transfer or what? Can someone please explain , in layman’s terms, where the issues lie so we can all get involved in the debate. Thanks.


The exhaust gasses spin a turbine in the exhaust system. Some of that energy is used to spin the turbo compressor directly (like a typical turbo system), but some of it is converted to electricity with a small generator/motor and stored in a battery. The energy in the battery is then used to spin the turbo compressor at low revs to eliminate turbo lag.


Can someone please explain

I make no claims of expertise, but I copied this from an article I read. I think it explains in fairly simple terms what happens:

MGU-H(Motor Generator Unit-Heat) -MGU-H is the unit that is connected to the turbocharger. In an F1 car, the MGU-H works like the MGU-K, meaning that it works both ways. It can recover energy from the turbo, store it, and then use it to spin the compressor. If you look at a turbocharger, you’ll find a turbine at one end, and a compressor at the other. The exhaust gases are used to spin the turbine, which spins the compressor. The MGU-H is located in between the two. So when the hot gases spin the turbine, it also produces electricity that is stored in the battery. And when the car accelerates, the electricity is used to spin the compressor, providing immediate power. There’s no turbo lag. Power application is immediate.

Hope that helps.


@ C63…Whilst the working parameters of the MHU-H are pretty well known the isolation of this particular component as the ‘catalyst for change’ escapes me. I have for a very long time sought out data that tells me why this piece of kit is so expensive. So expensive that other potential manufacturers have specifically nominated that that component be excluded from fure engine regs. So, if you have anything to add i would very much like to hear about it…like what is the actual cost and why, after five years, it remains so ? If you happen to read this James maybe you could add this to your ‘to do’ bag of things.


Hope this helps Ken.

The expense is really in the development of more power and efficiency from the size turbo they are allowed its rotation speed and materials. In other words it’s the continued development. As an item it’s not that costly.

Yes – variants of the technology are already being used in mainstream Mercedes as well as numerous supercars. Regardless of what many people on here argue, it is highly relevant technology directly responsible for the huge jump being made in the thermal efficiency of the IC engine.

It is here, working and being sold to customers yet luddites on here still think it’s not on cars!

In terms of expense in F1 – the expense is in developing such with the restriction rules on turbo size and rotation speed as well as materials. The ERH allows far greater power than would normally be possible with such cost restrictions. The additional expense is in the refinement of such new technology (although the idea is not old)

Honda specifically returned to F1 because of its inclusion in the PU. They knew they needed to learn quickly to catch up with such as Porsche Audi etc via LMP1.

It is only an issue in terms of an entry barrier to skin flints Aston because they lack the funds. Porsche could quite easily enter but I am pretty sure Audi have other things on their mind than letting the only profitable section without giant fines to go play in F1.

Note also that the energy created (or used) by the ERS h is unrestricted. Hence the more you can get out of it the more power you have unlike the ERSK.


Sorry kenneth, I’m afraid I cannot help – I only know about the general principles involved and as ever, the devil (read cost) will be in the detail. I have a question; how will taking away the MGU-H make the sound better, as the turbo will still be in the exhaust?

On a different note – is there any news on email notifications of replies to comments? On longer threads it becomes very long winded trying to keep up with a conversation.


Yes Andrew, in simple terms its about the technology and knowhow required to optimize the various energy recovery components you have at your disposal in a ‘modern F1 engine’, and especially so MGU-H which harvest the heat energy from the turbo and bring it back to propulsion. MGU-H is connected to the turbocharger. It can recover energy from the turbo, store it, and then use it to spin the compressor. If you look at a turbocharger, you’ll find a turbine at one end, and a compressor at the other. The exhaust gases are used to spin the turbine, which spins the compressor. The MGU-H is located in between the two. So when the hot gases spin the turbine, it also produces electricity that is stored in the battery. And when the car accelerates, the electricity is used to spin the compressor, providing immediate power. There is no turbo lag. Power application is immediate, reason why it is quite important.
And reason why some of the old big engine manufacturing teams that already ‘master that technology area’ wants to keep it, is due to the classic Barrier to Entry business subject:

Craig in Manila

Yeah, the obvious problem is that Ferrari and Mercedes now “own” so much of F1 that, if they pulled-out, it would take a LOT of work to rebuild.

If it was to happen right now (I know it can’t, hypothetical) :

From Merc, out would go :
AMG Merc Team
Engines for Williams
Engines for Force India
Hamilton, Bottas plus any other driver under Merc/Wolff control/influence

From Ferrari :
Scud Ferrari Team
Haas engines and much of the car itself
Alfa Sauber Team (or the engines at least)
Vettel, Kimi, and any other driver under Ferrari’s control/influence

Teams like Williams, Force India, Haas and Alfa Sauber may well decide that it’s best to join a new series alongside their friends at Merc and Ferrari….

And that I reckon would be the end of Liberty F1.
Liberty cannot win this one if it turns into a fight.


Bring it on I say!


Hi JAonF1 team

Please tell Liberty the spending cap is poison and I dont want it. By the end of week one with the cap there will be whispers and allegations of teams going over the cap and this will lead to all sorts of conspiracy theories which will carry on all season.

Maybe try to limit teams to 4 or 5 different front wing designs per season. Limiting the number of new design aero pieces so the big teams cannot bring a new spec piece every race is one possible solution to cost cutting that doesn’t hurt creativity.

For engines maybe put in a 1000BHP ceiling. Then the game becomes about efficiency and who can run full power the longest. That should keep the greens happy. Then after a few years increase the power ceiling.

Also bring back the driver controlled KERS style push to pass.

Could any of these ideas work?



Our DNA contains the building blocks that gave us the incredible Human brain, which has continually evolved via problem solving and meeting new challenges through creation, innovation and competition.
The DNA of Ferrari is based on competing in F1and developing their spectacular concepts for Supercars to be driven on the road by very rich enthusiasts and fawned over by billions of normal people who know they are out of their reach.
Merc’s DNA was created via a similar beginning – the major difference between them and Maranello is that along the way they diversified their business to suit all forms of motor cars and commercial vehicles.
This collaborative, “threatening-to-leave” approach to fighting for their futures in F1 may be a clever, bold bluff to ensure they continue to have a suitable place to R&D their products.
BUT … It might also be a final desperate cry for F1 to stop being trapped inside it’s highly restrictive mindset for the R&D of road cars and finally return it to open slather innovation … to allow a new stream of technologies to be tried and perfected. To see if there’s a way to combine sport, entertainment and road car innovation for a new generation of exciting automobiles which people still want to control and drive themselves. Cater for the millions who will always want to hear it, feel it and smell it – a vehicle that they can have fun in and go fast.
Not everyone is a lazy so ‘n’ so who wants a “shuttle” with a comfy seat to sit in for reading the news, or playing a game on their tablet, or having a snooze in while they are “couriered” quietly and safely to their destination like a “parcel” … isn’t that what trains, trams and busses are for?

The road car manufacturers need to make suitable decisions, now, to carry their companies through this murky era of transition from driver-dependant road cars to automated and electric shuttles.
Which is now a hell of a lot closer to becoming a reality than the average person might believe.
The future of F1 either becomes a boring technology-based mission to R&D the best concepts for the future of road cars, like Formula E … and with that it becomes just another series which loses it’s individuality, glamour and intrigue … OR … it becomes an entertainment based, extravaganza of motor sport where the teams get to compete with each other in front of a global audience, displaying spectacular, innovative concepts which are nothing to do with their core business of selling millions of zero emission, driverless road cars.
It can’t be both.

Good luck with that fight Liberty, you’re not just fighting the big manufacturers, you are fighting the FIA – which is a losing battle because they speak for the entire industry. That’s why I keep saying F1 can only prosper without the self serving confines of the FIA.

Add in the third problem, the elephant in the room …
A continuous nagging suspicion behind the scenes that there are very influential, extremely wealthy people (like Bernie and his peers) out there who would love to partner with two iconic companies like Merc and Ferrari to start a series to rival and/or replace F1. They are simply waiting for Liberty and the FIA to drop the ball, then they’ll swoop down, pick it up of the floor and make it great again.
Millions of fans are eagerly waiting for the next chapter of F1 … whatever it looks like and whoever owns it.

When it all boils down and the cloud of bluster and smoke clears, who will be the ones left holding the sceptre of power and therefore calling the shots to suit their own agenda?
My bet is that Liberty has no choice but to cave-in, to keep the current F1 “A team” together and at the same time keep the current audience happy and engaged. Blindly chasing the new audience will have to wait.
If they dismantle F1 and start fresh with their own ideas, with faceless new teams replacing the old faves, they may only have one year to try to make it work before it flops miserably and completely implodes.

My hope is that the result of this stand off is a new Formula of open rules and regs for design, manufacture and development of futuristic concepts. Ground effects aero, highly evolved chassis’ with active suspension systems and powered by any PU – engine – power source a team wants to run with. That’s the pinnacle!

This is the best time in history to start a series like that because there are many varied engine / power generation concepts out there that have been shelved while trying in vain to gain a footing in the market place. Most will never see the light of day unless they are encouraged to compete with the big boys on a platform that allows the general public to decide which ones they would buy and love.
Once driverless-electric becomes the norm, these concepts will be lost forever.

Who knows what might come out of a healthy environment of encouragement, creation and innovation? It might uncover the next “big thing”. That’s how almost every other ground breaking concept in history was brought to fruition. No boundaries!

It’s how engineers and eccentric boffins work at their optimum. Challenge them to create, innovate and compete with their peers on a playing field with few boundaries and they will always find a way. It’s in the Human DNA.

Continue to strap them all in straight jackets and tell them they can only use their toes and nose to create a concept and all you get is a raft of extremely limited, boringly similar ideas.

We can blame the big teams who spend 300 mill per year for killing competition in F1 but that is not the main problem.
Stifling, agenda driven rules and regs which only allow road car relevant concepts and prevent extremely clever people from using their brains … that’s what is killing F1 and boring us all to tears!


Ferrari should be identifying the parts on the Merc PU that has smashed them the past 4 years. They should be lobbying Liberty to tweak these areas otherwise they don’t stand a chance, again. They cannot be happy that Merc turns it up when desired to grab most of the poles and wins without impacting their 100% reliability!

Right now, without tweaks and changes, Ferrari’s best shot at the title is to bring a load of grid babes, deck them out in skimpy silver lycra with Merc logos, then get them to hang arount the Merc cars and garage and hospitality, resulting in the extreme meetoo’ers freaking out and getting Merc banned from the championship 😉


Interested in the point made at the end of this article… In the future where will motor racing talent come from?

I live in London and many of my friends have never learnt how to drive, have no interest in doing so, and find motorsport boring.

I am also music teacher. Lessons are expensive and some aspects of classical music training are sadly becoming an elitist minority persuit that very few are interested in.

Might be a weird comparison, but I worry for F1 for the very same reasons I get frustrated with music education in our country.

I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end for F1, but are there real fears of this being an existential crisis?!


Motor racing is already elitist and expensive even at clubman karting level. After you buy a kart for £5k, a trailer/van, etc, you are then looking at £200 min for a weekend’s racing. Multiply that by 5 for top level karting at least. Not a poor man’s sport, and never has been unfortunately. I do see hire prokarts for £70 a day and that’s pretty good value for a Sunday race meet.

Motorsport will exist until the killjoys remove all the fun from life as 1. It’s too dangerous 2. It not green 3. It’s too noisy, etc. Hopefully not in my time, or my sons.


I hate the way the media talks up autonomous vehicles as if it’s the only future that exists. Basically forcing it on the public. I’d be very surprised if the ‘public increasingly gives up on driving’ as you put it James. I just can’t see it as I think most people like being in control as well as taking pleasure from driving. Are you suggesting a future without performance cars (no more Ferrari/Porsche/Lamborghini etc), with smart roads/motorways that control everyone’s speeds and routes? It sounds like a nightmare!


@Red Rod… the media, with few exceptions, have very little idea, and report whatever has been spoon fed them.


Just wait till the first autonomous cars, via the inevitable software issue, run over a dog or kid and Elon Musk or whomever ends up in court.

Retro-V10 F1 will become all the rage then.


Red herring. Has a human driver ever run over a little dog or a kid?


How many people own (or ever get the opportunity) to drive a high performance car?

The average speed driven in a city like London is less than 20mph. There is no pleasure to be had sitting in a traffic jams (inner city OR on the M25!)…

I am a school teacher. Trust me, most kids don’t have posters of cars on their wall like I used to when I was younger!

I fear James could be right – I can easily see a future of autonomous vehicles.


It will take a while as the initial penetration of Autonomous vehicles will be robotaxis on an Uber type app hailing model

Ownership will becoming increasingly less attractive. Your car sits there 90% of the time..

That’s why I think Motorsport has great ‘nostalgia’ appeal as an entertainment ( I’m talking 2030+ here)


IMO the MGU-H is an amazing piece of technology to recover wasted energy from the turbo and to bin it would be absolutley stupid. The problem isn’t insoluble as Mercedes has shown.


But it’s too expensive for racing cars, and puts off new entrants. So leave it for the road car divisions if it’s useful for emissions.


It’s too expensive for race cars and way to expensive for the mass-produced cars that we actually buy.

Mercedes have just introduced a new A-Class which is in the top 10 cars bought in the UK. Half of those have the AMG finish.

Jointly with Renault, they have developed a 1.4litre turbo and yet after 5-seasons racing and 7-8 years of development, there is absolutely nothing that has trickled down into the new engine from their experience in F1. Just keeping the turbo spinning would be a significant improvement in driveability while reducing emissions during acceleration. But it has not happened.

Just allow F1 a specification and formula that is affordable to new entrants. If the means Ferrari and Mercedes then leave, well so be it.


I can see a time when it will be illegal for a non-autonomous vehicle to be driven on the public roads, or at least motorways. There will be a point when they are much safer and operate much faster and closer together than human drivers can, at which point the Government(s) of the day will ban human drivers on safety grounds.


I can see a time a time when everything is illegal, and I can see a time when we are all enjoying a high degree of sovereignty and freedom.

Which way it goes depends on what we allow those with power to do to us and how we allow them to fool us. It’s that simple.


I had to smile reading your response because it sounds the same as every other outlets version although slightly diff worded but key words are the same, now self driving cars are for now just utopia because its not just the cars, infrastructure to support it as well. Its 2018 now and I don’t think we will see onslaught of these robo cars before 2050, they are still in their infancy period despite marketing as almost there also only way that they will make everyone use robo cars is if they force everyone into using them and I’m damn glad I won’t be alive to be not allowed to drive the car.


Co-ownership (various forms of car club) is a simpler and cheaper solution to that problem. I don’t see why a robotaxi is preferable to one driven by a person. I think its a bit of a gimmick, like wearable tech, etc. Eventually all those technologies find applications, but not always what was envisioned when they were being developed.
The main revolution in the automotive industry is electric, but there is Formula E for that.
The problem is that Formula 1 has been trying to be all things to all people for the last decade and has lost its identity as a result. F1 has got to be about the performance. Car manufacturers can otherwise develop road-relevant technologies at Le Mans, ALMS, etc., and used to do so at DTM. To date, I believe F1’s greatest contribution remains the traction control…


The co-ownership social experiment where everything is communal and nobody can afford anything he already been tried.

It’s called communism and it failed because people like to own stuff and to be the captains of their ships. So let’s not go there again, this time under the guise of a robot or AI led technological progress, because at the end of the day the result will be the same.


I like windsurfing and I have two young kids.
I can’t imagine how the non-ownership robotised-autonomous model of a new age transportation system is going to work for me.
I can imagine being sat out on my front lawn with a whole load of windsurfing kit with two kids waiting for a taxi to turn up, dirty from the last kids who were in it and without isofix for my car seats or a roof rack.

If its a long weekend I might want to hook up a camper trailer or a boat. I’d love to see a robotaxi reverse a boat into the water at a busy jetty on a sunday afternoon.

Cars that can drive themselves? – yes. Great. Not sure who is a fault when you are behind the wheel of one that crashes though.
Cars that can only drive themselves?- No. We still have pilots in aircraft that can fly themselves for good reason.
Electric F1 cars? – Yes, if they want to try to blow the wheels off ICE cars let ’em compete. Bit like when we had the normally aspirated vs turbo era. I’d love to watch that.


I disagree with you James. A house sits there empty 50-60% of the time while people are at work earning the money to pay off the mortgage but everybody still prefers to have their own house rather than rent one.

A lot of people, men especially, enjoy cars and the whole motoring scene and if they see that their toys are about to be taken away they will dig their heels in and buy another 2 or 3 cars in addition to the 2 they already have to insure against possible scarcity and to prove a point. That’s human psychology 101.

Plus the appeal of prestige cars such as Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari etc is universal and won’t magically disappear just because Google or whoever makes a robot.


100% agreed!


…with James Allen.


What is the DNA of F1? Surely it’s the best drivers in the best cars, driving them as quickly as possible. At the moment we seem to have the best drivers in the best cars (according to the restrictive rules imposed), driving them as quickly as they can (within the fuel allowance). All this has done is ossify the competitive order, and render the sport dull. Rather than messing around debating about whether everyone should have an MGU-H, why not radically simplify the rules to allow a greater number of solutions to the basic problem of getting a car round a track quickly. If engines are your thing, go all out there. If it’s aero, go as radical as you can. Bring back refueling which could give a strategic benefit to efficiency. Given how much more we know than we did in the 60’s, and how much more complex things are, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to return to the days of the garagistes, but if we loosen the rules sufficiently, maybe someone will come up with an innovative idea which catapults a Sauber for example to the top of the pack.

Richard Mortimer

Yes Stewart

Please see my post above as a ‘reply’ to Rich M.

I think an A and B approach is needed. A teams and B teams. These can be pegged at a performance level. We effectively have an A + B situation anyway!

But, I totally agree with you.


Open up the rules and no team will bother with the hybrid and Mguh nonsense.

They will all go v10 because they’re better than hybrid and will make the cars more competitive.


Or more likely makes a Mercedes 2 secs faster than everything else…


well make the engines simple then, then it wont cost the amount for clever people ti develop.. get rid of all this electronic nonsense.. front wings to be continuous, ie no multi layer winglets.. the very sad thing is these cars look so ugly, and once finished are so complicated will never been seen again gracing our tracks.. to be enjoyed as classics… wo cares if merc are 4 secs a lap quicker.. its always been that way.. at least they might look nice


That’s already been done, James!


2 more secs faster 😉


“If you can’t tell a Ferrari from a Mercedes, then I’m not interested.”

If we were to paint all the F1 cars black, 99.8% of people could not tell what team it is.

Isaac Jan Rosenthal


For years Ferrari has not been able to compete both in aerodynamics and on the engine side. With that 100 mill bonus. (The current long run times in testing suggest this season will be a bad one once again)

I just don’t understand why he is pushing for something that has and will not benifit him.


Yes, but the actual cars are very different, right? That you and I could not distinguish them is irrelevant.


Good. Ferrari can far cough… I don’t care if they’ve been there since the start. Merc went missing for decades and F1 thrived. All they are after is to keep their unfair bonus payments and the advantages it brings.

The real DNA of F1 is the plucky spirit and tenacity of teams and drivers conquering the world with less than perfect equipment or conditions. I’d rather see a field of highly capable garagistas fighting a fair fight than some cashed up, glorified keyring marketing device sucking the cash out from people who actually earned it!


My hope is that Liberty will make enough good decisions to give F1 a chance to be sustainable and watchable once again. If they bow to this kind of short-sighted pressure F1 will continue to go down the pan. The choice may require a little bravery but I sincerely hope Liberty call their collective bluff on this sabre rattling…

…and if it’s not a bluff F1 will be the better for fewer passengers trying to captain the ship, and there will be more money for fairer distribution among the remaining teams, and those likely clamouring to join if it can be seen that F1 doesn’t have to be a way to flush your money down to pan.

Development thoughts:

1) Engines – Much as I dislike the current formula, the best plan is either not to change things and allow time to reduce costs / bring the relative performance together…


…ditch the engine formula entirely for a fuel formula based on current regulations. Current engines, and their investment, will then not be instantly written off and we’ll actually see some variation and innovation.

2) For the love of all that’s holy F1 needs to shake it’s addiction with chasing aero performance. Reformulating the rules to restrict all aero-specific bodywork (above the axle line) but for an allowance of a single plane wing front and rear of a regulated maximum collective area would:

-Drasticly improve the racing

-Remove the greatest (unnecessary) development cost to teams, so making smaller teams for viable / competitive

-Probably stimulate more variety in car design

-Make the cars look much better, IMO

Richard Mortimer


You are so right!


I absolutely, totally, and wholeheartedly agree!


I’m for letting Ferrari, MB, etc., walk. Other names in GP history (Vanwall, Cooper, BRM, Maserati, Connaught, Lotus, Brabham, March, Tyrrell, Walker, Auto Union, etc, etc) can be joined by Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Renault.

I say call the bluff. The FIA once faced down the establishment when it announced the 1.5 litre Formula. From being a formula none of them wanted, it saw the rise of Hill, Clark, and Surtees; of Lotus, and Chapman.

New blood will come through, just as it did then.

As for pushing the technology, there comes a point the entertainment value and spectator appeal disappears, lost in technology that reaches limits so far beyond mass perception and appreciation that there’s no point in staging the event.

Post-war, air racing reached this point with the arrival of jet engines. Air racing still exists, but in nothing like the mass audience form of its pre-war heyday. Pushing leading edge technology left any semblance of “sport” behind, and it survives now as a niche sport, typically with very constrained technical regs (see e.g., F1 air racing), or at the highest levels, “retro tech” (i.e., 1940s era piston engined fighters).

F1 car racing, I suggest, has reached the same point as Jet Age air racing. It appears that Liberty, if not the FIA, has recognized this. Get it back to being a sport. As an R&D exercise, it’s a poor sporting spectacle.

Let them go.


Things will never go back to how they were 50 years ago when cars were incredibly simple


I say call the bluff.

Me too Rudy, although part of my F1 fanaticism/devotion is part tradition and the absolute belief that the more engine manufactures participating the better…but ultimately impact wise wouldn’t it be like dropping a brick into a bucket of water?



Plus, Ferrari needs F1 for their image, their global marketing and 100 million so would never quit without endangering and tarnishing themselves.


I have no idea why they are even trying to come up with a new engine from 2021 onwards…The problem is revenue distribution. Why do we suddenly have this crises…The engines are there and they are working just fine. Honda and Renault is improving and the longer they keep this formula the closer they will edge to each other. Keep the regulations as is, keep the engines as is and start giving all teams an equal share of the moola. Thats it! If Porsche cannot design one of these engines, well then they are not worthy of being in F1.


F1 has always had the top teams and underdogs- that part of it (Alessi in a Tyrell vs Senna in Phoenix anyone?)

I would like an open engine formula, like the late 80s to allow innovation- any engine you want but only so much fuel, time to get creative. How you stop the cost war is the problem.

I’ve loved WEC over the last few years, having Audi, Porsche and Toyota all going at it but slightly differently has been great to watch, that’s what we need in F1.

Hopefully Brawn understands what’s needed.

Richard Mortimer


I am loving these exchanges as we are all going in the same direction, pretty much!

I don’t think the cost war for engines is so bad! Those manufacturers can afford it. Where the money is going currently is into this aero escalation war!

That’s what needs to cutting back!


I think creativity is to be encouraged- say an overall cost cap but some would spend more on aero, others spend more on engines.

A varied grid and hopefully varied, competitive racing.


With you on this, open up the engine specs and let them compete with whatever they want, i’d go a little further with tyres too, allow other manufacturers in and let teams race with their own choice with freedom on tyre and fuel pit stops. Take your point on cost control but i dont think this current formula has helped anyway, the teams with largest finacial recourses are still ahead of the game, its just that the racing is duller with little chance for the smaller team. Maybe start by fair prize distribution and cancelling yearly 100 million loyalty bonuses would be a start.

Stephen Taylor

As far as I’m concerned as UK fan Liberty has already failed because of their refusal to do anything about the Sky F1 contract . The move to Sky was a disaster for interest in this country with many having to rely on highlights from C4 for half the races or listen to 5 live. When Hamilton retires Sky will probably still be the contracted UK Broadcaster so F1 could very well die out in this country . Part of the reason Hamilton has become such a big star to UK fans is because they were able to watch him on FTA TV . The likes of Lando Norris won’t get the same kind of recognition/exposure at home even if it eventually moves to online streams. FTA TV gives mass public exposure . If they ever give the UK radio rights to Talksport before 2025 that could also be a further nail in the coffin.


What are they protesting about here? The suggestion for a stock ICE with the differentiator being the ERS systems? (something Mosley suggested some years ago). I can see why they’d not want that. But there’s plenty of room for negotiating something that allows them to develop everything themselves but is less expensive.

But honestly, Ferrari threatening to leave F1. Does anybody still believe that? This will be how many times now they’re going to go elsewhere and yet they’re still in F1.


F1 has 3 championships: driver, constructor, engine manufacturer. The last one never seems to get enough significance as it is!


Ummm… no. Not officially. Indycars have a championship for engine manufacturers, but F1 never has had.


This is all a lot of posturing and positioning. They’re still trying to make their points the Ecclestone way and that era has passed. Liberty may be new to F1 but these guys aren’t stupid. Ross isn’t new and he’s definitely not stupid so let’s see what happens because the nitty gritty is happening behind closed doors, not in comments and press conferences.

F1 is constantly changing and the current system is unsustainable. Someone needs to learn the lesson that EVERY other series (from CAN-AM to IMSA to CART to WEC) has learned already. I think Liberty and the FIA should impose a budget cap and then loosen the regulations on everything else. Everyone can spend up to a certain amount and that’s it. Same for engines. Give the manufacturers a maximum price to the customer teams and let them decide what they want to do. Innovation should drive F1, not cubic dollars.


It amaze me to read some of the comments expressed, My opinion if it’s any guide the internet is better then television & I would rather watch Ferrari & Mercedes having a ding-dong for a victor, then the rest of would bees, Liberty Media are in the dire position, to much debt ,Marchionne & Zetsche will see to that & I look forward to the new concept of prime motor racing post 2020


The reality is that the interests of the teams and the interests of the sport as a whole aren’t aligned. They should be, but they aren’t.

Currently the show isn’t good enough, looking back on 2017, it wasn’t a good season on the entertainment side. The media spent more time hyping up the promise of the on track fight than what actually materialised. The last season we had that delivered on entertainment was 2012, 7 different winners in the first races and a title decider between Alonso & Vettel. 2010 was pretty good as well.


I tend to agree with the Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren triumvirate as one of the reasons I like to watch F1 is due to the face its the pinnacle not only of speed, but of technology as well. I wouldn’t like to see it altered and made into a “me too” series where it would lose its stature as the pinnacle of motorsport. Teams have always complained about the finances going back to the old days, but changing the engine regulations once again would actually make it more expensive rather than leaving them as they are. Over time the cost of engines if left the same will decrease rather than increase.


F1 has lost a lot of viewers and probably more soon I’m guessing. Some common sense needed on both sides which is not a dominant or recessive gene I believe . It’s not DNA it’s ‘Soul’ as far as I’m concerned. We may have closer racing this year so a lot less to complain about. If Ferrari and mercedes and mclaren are happy with 12 people in the stands as we all plug in at home then fine. In the mean time f1 should be promoting itself as nothing like FE as we don’t need two of them. Electrification is and will happen in big cities and rightly so but I have no interest going to Silverstone to see FE but I do want to see and hear f1 cars there.


Political stuff is merely “business” as usual for the “haves” doing their posturing and whining.

How are things going in Barcelona today ?


Ferrari aren’t going anywhere. And if they do, who would follow them? Do you really think any team would willingly be part of a series set-up by Ferrari? You thought they got preferential treatment now, imagine what they would do if they were in charge.

And what is the point of F1 if no one watches? Hope they eventually figure out what is ultimately most important for the survival of all of them and F1 as a series.


What happens if Liberty stops the preferential payments and drops the

MGU-H? Does that mean Ferrari will leave F1 twice? Sergio needs to learn a new negotiating tactic.


I see it as them trying to maintain their advantage in both terms of money and performance. They also want to retain their power and protect their brand/ image. I am curious as to what Marchionne considers to be the elements of F1’s DNA specifically under threat in his opinion and specifically by eliminating certain components. F1 has eliminated/banned many components before such as abs, traction control etc.. yet it still trickled to their automobiles.

I believe that the DNA is being lost is terms highlighted by Kubica in this interview. weight, not an all out attack, management of everything. driving to deltas like buses or trains who have to be at a certain stop at a certain time/ time table, autonomous driving.

” Robert Kubica thinks modern F1 cars need to trim some fat.

The Pole is uniquely positioned to comment on today’s cars, having sat out the period between 2011 and 2017 with his arm injuries.

“The first thing I noticed was the weight,” the new Williams tester told Auto Motor und Sport.

“The cars are now at least 60 kilograms too heavy. In slow corners, it feels like a bus.”

Although today’s cars are quick on the stopwatch, Kubica recalls with relish what it was like to drive the cars of last decade.

“They weighed 605 kilograms and had 50 kilos of ballast on board,” said the former BMW and Renault driver.

“The tyres also had a shorter life so you could attack the whole race. It’s impossible today. You have to manage everything.”

Kubica said drivers are also managing the engine, and working closely with engineers to operate the cars and follow the plan.

“From the outside it looks like the drivers are all on their own, and that’s because everyone is keeping their distance because of overheating,” he explained.

When asked what the answer might be, Kubica answered: “Bring down the weight. Then many problems will resolve themselves.”

As for the engineers helping the drivers on the radio, Kubica thinks that has little to do with the complex technology.

“The drivers today may have gotten lazy,” he said. “I see no reason why a good driver needs any instructions from the pits.”


The tyres also had a shorter life so you could attack the whole race.

This makes absolutely zero sense


I agree. It may have been mistranslated but I imagine the point of attacking the whole time is spot on. I want to see what a 2000-2004 car with these aero regs, no FIANegligenceBar, and these wider tires could do.


A v10 car on these current big fat slicks and aero. That’s F1.

Richard Mortimer


It does. Shorter life probably means better consistency for a short time and more pit stops!

The late 90s and early 2000s were sprint races!


Spot on. Hamilton has also made similar comments about the weight.


Why not let both variants of engines enter the grid and let them duke it out? Like when the atmospheric engines raced the turbos in the 80s.


I agree in principle, but if SM means that Ferrari should retain its bonus money and have an unfair advantage, then no, I don’t agree.

Maintaining the DNA of the sport should be possible within reasonable spending limits. It doesn’t need to be dumbed down to a spec series. But, the sport would be much better off without the financial tiers it has been saddled with for years.


If they leveled the financial playing field we would get to see who truly is the best team. With the money the top teams spend I’m firmly convinced that they are running less to impressive design and more to trial and error.

It’s hilarious to me to hear Brown, the ad man with 1 year in an F1 team, Marchionne, the account with 3 or 4 years running Ferrari and Wolff the venture capitalist, who bought his way into Williams less than 10 years ago, talking like they know what is best for F1. These guys are experts in ladder climbing and pocket lining.


Agree. This is a smoke screen. If engines cost $15m each and customer teams us 5 a season that means customer teams (all together) are paying $450m for PUs for the season. Give them a shared $225m customer team bonus and move on.

Now where could that money be found?


Bonus money should be based on performance and maybe on numbers of years a team commits into the future. However I can’t understand nor support spending limits. It is a free world, mostly capitalistic, and F1 is competition, entertainment, and best engineering. I hope everyone realizes that if spending limits is implemented it will mostly affect the drivers compensation and the number and compensation of the people working in F1. The effect on technology spending will be minimal in comparison.


That’s exactly what he means — ‘show me the money’ as the line from the movie goes.

Why not just switch to the Indy Car format and make F-1 a feeder series to the U.S. mainstay and drop a lot of the circle tracks in the U.S. version of that series. At least there’d be the opportunity to see what the drivers themselves can do with their equipment. And, it might even sound better, eh?


The sport would be much better off without a 3rd party that siphon’s off half the revenue.


@IanC – that is the elephant in the room. That 3rd party is taking all that revenue with minimal $$$ at risk. You can be sure this issue is close to the top of Marchionne and Zetsche’s agenda, and quite rightly too.


Agreed that the Ferrari $ imbalance has to be solved. If they want the DNA of the sport to be maintained, it should be that teams earn equally based on their performance – no special Ferrari money.


I guess there’s no point asking where Williams stand on all this. As always, FW will support both sides at one and the same time…..


I am not sure if RB would gain very much from the other big teams leaving since while they’d want to win they want someone to beat and beating Renault (should they stay) and a few minnows would denigrate their inevitable victory.


Lose the MGU-H and you get Porsche, which by logic means you’d likely get Lamborghini, Bentley or Bugatti as the economics make sense. You’d also most likely get Aston Martin plus others.

Even assuming Ferrari did keep its threat and leave, I can’t see McLaren following as they’d see the opportunity to have their own engine. Merc might, but their star branding asset will probably want to retire before a new series gets set up, so they’d be going without much to it.

I’d play the percentages and lose the MGU-H.


In other words, lose the Mguh and get more prestige car manufacturers instead of more Prius-like manufacturers.

Bring v10s back and show respect for the true DNA of the sport.


Bring back V10’s (which I loved) and you’ll have no manufacturers. If F1 does go the horse racing/historic route though it is possible.


Manufacturers need to be re-educated about the superiority of NA v10s and about the inevitable demise of hybrid.

Manufacturers also need to disassociate themselves from the fake Eco tyranny movement led by shysters like Al Gore and they need to start making the kinds of cars people actually drive, not the kinds of cars people have been guilted into driving. Problem solved.


I’m a little bit surprised by this, as Porsche was one of the few teams with a working heat recovery system in LMP1.


I would say that gives them exactly the experience they need to say, “we don’t want to deal with this. We’ve tried it and it was a pain in the ass.”


@ Cochonou…Don’t be. Porsche, like Audi, withdrew because the costs were almost as high as F1 and they both believed that as a test bed for Hybrids, that they had all the data that they needed. F1 would be all that much better if Porsche/Audi came back into the fold.


What if Ferrari and Mercedes and even Red Bull left… and everybody* still came?

* F1 Fans


Totally agree with Marchionne!

Let me write that again, I totally agree with Marchionne.

And let us dismiss, completely, a RB series without Ferr, Merc, and Mc; they can have it, but who will be watching?!

Victory over nothing, is nothing!

The real question therefore becomes, what is the DNA of F1?

We have our nice little community here to figure it out!

(What better place is there, James?!)

My position, (likely known to the … usual suspects):

1. totally open engine formula (just like the innovation man, AN, has said for a long time), only constrained by at least 5-10 published schedule of DECLINING OVERALL RACE FUEL ALLOWANCE!!! year-over-year.


i. This gives the engineers reliable requirements for moving forward with their development efforts.

ii. allows F1 to stay at the pinnacle of motor sports, while aligning with the future, i.e. all electric power

iii. retains the ‘DNA of Formula One, i.e. (according to me) the leading edge of developing performance automotive technology, for all applications

iv. opens even more 21st century development avenues for F1 (as a innovation and development incubator) to sell their products across expanding industries to ensure commercial viability of the program.

I see convergence with FE, but with this strategy, F1 simply takes over FE and retains what it wants from that series/technology.

I acknowledge that F1 is likely to be an all electric series, but for the forseeable future, the highly concentrated energy storage in hydrocarbon liquids is well beyond any electronic storage of power (but this will likely change over the next 20 years!).

I am interested in reading other contributors alternative visions, as a basis for good-faith criticism of my own, as presented here. (no trolling please…. K).


Totally agree with 1. I’d be happy with some general constraints on allowed materials and even some spec parts like gearboxes, hub/wheel/brake assemblies to cut costs.


I agreed totally except you didn’t address the money issues. Everything is possible provided that you have unlimited budget


Steve, while I agree with you on the money issue, from everything I can see, and suspecting a whole lot that can be very effectively hidden, I don’t think cost-capping can be enforced.

I know that this is a problem, but I don’t know how it can be resolved.

Let me put it like this, do you think you could police Toto Wolff’s spending?

Ferrari’s crafty ‘creative financing solutions’?

Renault’s ability to fix any balance sheet?

While this is definitely an outstanding problem, my proposed conceptual design presents a core concept for the survival of F1, with the understanding that details, even big details like some kind of a financing model which allows independent teams to participate with a chance of scoring well on regular occasion.

Thanks for your comment.


F1 is better with Ferrari than without it, so expensive engines are probably going to be an essential part of the F1 future. Apart from that, make the cars a little shorter and lighter, a little louder, and a bit better at following each other. Doesn’t need to be a massive reinvention. A handful of steps in a fan-oriented direction would keep me happy, and I trust Brawn to take those steps.

By the way, if we could remove only one of the two, I’d remove DRS and keep the halo. Anyone else agree?


I agree, it doesn’t need to be a reinvention. Their attempts at reinventing the wheel is what brought F1 to the sad state it is currently in. That plus a lack of respect for the DNA of the sport.


Here is a 2002 Ferrari with a halo on it. If they look like this in 2022, I’ll be watching.


And if they have v10s. Then I’ll actually pay to watch.


Ferrari is right.

Too much regulation. If electrification, hybrid turbos, etc, are the future, let them prove on the track. Simplify things, where non-manufacturers could actually produce their own engines, i.e. Judd, without the expensive electrification, hybrid turbos and environmental M.U. B.S. Forget about the fuel economy run B.S.

Let different kinds of solutions compete like they did 1.5 litre turbos competed with 3.0 litre normally aspirated. See what emerges.

Forget about entertainment. Forget about leveling out everyone. Lets race.


But Ferrari are against all the points you’ve made!


I agree with Ferrari on the DNA bit. However if Marchionne considers the MU. B.S. engine part of F1 DNA, then I don’t agree with that.

Enzo Ferrari was actually a “late adapter” to new trends in his motor racing passion. I.e. the disk brakes, etc. He preferred the conservative approach. He was not in the entertainment business; although one might argue his persona was high entertainment for F aficionados.


If Ferrari don’t get what they want and leave, who will go with them? A Ferrari series would be organised so they continue to receive the bulk of the money and would make the rules to suit themselves. What would be in it for Mercedes? No say on the rules and no money to compete on what would have to be street circuits, as no proper circuit would want to antagonise the FIA.

It’s Ferrari sabre rattling, with no army to back them up.


I think keeping the current PU formula for 2021 onwards is the way to go. Performance and reliability of the various PU makers is converging and should continue. Those PUs are expensive but so is many makers developing a new simpler PU. The amount customers pay for the current PUs should drop over time. Perhaps Ross Brawn can convince the makers that it’s in their own interest to provide the current PUs to customers at an affordable level, whatever that might be. I don’t want any major team to quit F1 over the PU issue but if I had to choose I’d rather RBR quit than Ferrari, Mercedes or McLaren.

I suppose that if I ask for a second star JA won’t give it to me so I won’t ask anymore.


Some extremely fast times getting set today, Vertel does a 1m17.182! That’s a second and a half quicker than anyone went in testing last year, and there is still a day to go! Kubica sets William’s fastest time again? He keeps doing that doesn’t he……?


Interesting if Stroll or Sirotkin struggle and Kubica smashes it in practice.


That’s pretty much a given.


Alexis, I can’t help feeling that Robert is being lined up to replace Lance before the end of the season.


What do you think about the stance taken by Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren?

IMO it’s all sabre rattling and posturing – a compromise will be found…it always is.


That’s exactly what f1 needs; another compromise. Then nobody is happy but everybody knows that the other party didn’t get what they wanted.

Meanwhile the fans are once again left scratching their heads trying to figure out what it is that they’re trying to watch. “Trying” is the key word here.


That’s exactly what f1 needs; another compromise

Luke, I didn’t say that was what F1 needed, I just suggested that is what will happen. Ferrari and McLaren won’t leave F1 (cannot be so positive about Merc) but having stated their position so clearly – particularly in the case of Ferrari – I don’t see how they can give in completely. Hence my suggestion that some middle ground (a compromise), will be found.

Let’s see what happens – apparently they need to get this sorted pretty sharpish, so not long to wait.


Ok, fair enough. I just wish they could find a way to not have to compromise all the time. Their constant bickering and power struggles are ruining a sport that could be so much more than what what it currently is.

I think F1 is seriously lacking leadership amidst a confusion of too many contending interests, ideas and philosophies. It’s absolutely bizzare and seems to be unique to f1. You don’t see it anywhere to this extent in moto GP or indycar or NASCAR or Supercars for example.


F1 is an interesting yet somewhat frustrating phenomena…simplicity is not one of its strengths!


I’m with liberty on these changes. The manufacturers now have such a grip, that the independent teams are mere B teams supporting the top 3/4. Let Merc and Ferrari leave, McLaren are going nowhere.

Plenty of cheaper engine makers will come back to the sport to kick off a new era. Liberty have all the circuits signed up so any chance of a rival series kicking off will be at a massive disadvantage.


“Plenty of cheaper engine makers”… Really? Which ones?


@ MattW there are many circuits that would be available if the financial rewards were made attractive.


What a crock of $#!t – the DNA of F1? … now some old Italian guy gets to decide what the DNA is? It’s nothing…. it’s airy fairy nothing!

F1 is NOT a demonstration of technical prowess … the name gives it away – it’s a formula, a set of restrictions on what you can and can’t do.

If it was a technology driven race, we would still have fan cars and GE and FRICS etc etc, with whichever was the best technology romping away with every championship.

F1 has always rewritten the rules to even out the competition.

Championships decided by manufacturers showcasing their engines… is that the DNA of F1? What about when every car on the grid bar the red ones had a Ford V8… yes that’s the period we call the ‘golden age of F1!”

Sergio is like the man who cheats at golf… he’s only fooling himself. He wants to win even if it means beating an inferior foe.

Off you go Serge… either put up or shut up…. enough with the threats, just go now!


Spot on.

Sergio sounds like Trump here. Over exaggeration, spitting the dummy out from the pram, portraying it as if Liberty will force every car and engine to be identical! Nonsense.

Sergio you can actually have cutting edge tech innovation AND have improvements to entertainment.

F1 doesn’t have to follow the massive car manufacturer marketing departments at the expense of racing wheel to wheel.

To save “the DNA of this sport” you have to remember the SPORT part!

Consider the DNA of F1 over time, in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, come on now Sergio… the DNA of F1 was never about the inability of a garagista or customer PU team to compete, about massive PU gaps spreading the field stopping wheel to wheel racing, about complete and utter predictability on Saturdays, about selling a shedload of Mercedes V10 roadcars worldwide by monopolising and killing the sport, about spending farcical amounts of money on over complex PU parts like the MGU-H to increase inequality while pretending they are relevant and saving the planet.

Surely Brown isn’t with Toto or Sergio on the PUs unless he is looking for a “non-customer, works PU” supply from them?


Did you even read the article? There is alignment between the three top teams in the sport….


And if Ferrari pulled out of F1 tomorrow do you think Merc and Macca would follow?

I don’t think so… they’d be rubbing their hands together thinking how much easier WCC number 5 just became.

BTW you do know that McLaren is one of the bottom teams, not top?

Richard Mortimer


McL is definitely not a bottom team. OK, so they finished there in 2 out of 3 years with Honda, but we all know the reason.

In terms of resources, chassis, drivers, McL is one of the top teams.

Maybe that is why Brown is weighing in with Sergio and Toto? Maybe that is the only reason? LOL


I don’t care what they do as long as they get RID of all the aero-shit add-ons and make the cars LOUDER. My outboard boat motor sounds better.


Is Ross being beamed down by the Tosk on Star Trak ?

Is that part of a presentation for Halo?

Where is this silly photo from? I want to see the video please of what happens to Ross next. I hope he’s not in danger from those mysterious halos!


haha. I just watched that episode a few weeks ago


I think Ross is dreaming in that pic.

Dreaming he is far away from this keep the daft PU or quit tosh from Toto and Sergio.

Dreaming he is fly fishing…what you see in the pic is his line casting 😉


Maybe I’m missing something here, but wouldn’t leaving the power unit unchanged – save for efforts to make them louder – and focusing on aero changes that allow cars to follow be the way forward? The longer the regs stay the same, convergence happens. Just focus on improving Sundays..

What good are new entrants if you irritate and/or lose some of the manufacturers you have now?


Fact: The cost of the aero far exceeds the cost of the PU for customer teams…

Richard Mortimer



Entertainment route is the way to go. I am good if we will swap Ferrari for Porsche and have some fun in exchange. Competition is fun, you know. I’d rather see slower cars and seeing Hass and Toro Rosso having a chance than always having a red or silver car winning.


I say if Ferrari, Mercedes and whoever else want to leave then let them. I can think of no other sport where the competitors actually dictate the rules like this, it’s ludicrous.

Without the corporate backed teams ruining things we could see the likes of Williams winning again, who wouldn’t dearly love to see that.

In this case I’d like to see the FIA put its foot down and say ‘these are the rules, like it or lump it’ and if they do leave I’m certain they will be replaced and F1 will go on.

Richard Mortimer

Yes Jason

Put a premium on ‘historic’ names so those teams get a bigger slice, and suddenly we see a new Lotus, Brabham and Cooper? Also, if McL jump ship, someone can buy that team too!

So, we have Williams, Lotus, Braham, McLaren, etc.

Only need one engine manufacturer to supply them all, or a few to spice things up a bit!

Sounds pretty good to me!


I can think of no other sport where some teams are making billion $ investments that underpin the whole circus. If they are taking that kind of financial commitment / risk, its only fair and just that they have a say in how the technical rules are structured.


At the same time cost caps are to be considered, though I do not see how they can be made to work. If a miracle happened and the did begin on 2021 when does the counting of year cost start. If they need to design new engines then the 2021 costs start now.

However with two diametrically opposed viewpoints can Liberty do a Bernie? He would have bribed and made secret promises to one side or both. The result was always to increase the differential between the top 4 and the rest. It would be nice if Liberty can avoid doing this.

Marchionne is due to retire from FCA next year. Financially he has done a terrific job for the group, dragging them back into good profit. He is also handsomely rewarded for the result in bit cash and shares. But still looking to merge with Deely, some rumours suggest Deely want own FCA outright. In either case while Ferrari is separately quoted and owned there could be influence from the east which will affect the Alfa Romeo sponsorship and the any other FCA group sponsorship. In the end it may just be easier to go to FE completely for the whole group.


F1 is supposed to be the extreme cutting edge of automotive development and technology. It was alway a great show when teams could come up with unique designs to make them faster (or not in some cases). I think F1 is becoming too regulated and sterile. If you want parity of equipment see F2


Fan cars

Side skirts

Active aero

Active suspension

Traction control


All these things were cutting edge technology once, all of them banned from F1, for the sake of enhancing the competition.

Cutting edge technology is as much a part of F1’s DNA as eliminating cutting edge technology is.


That’s a very good point Twitch


Don’t even have to go back that far.

– flexible aero pieces

– blown diffusers

– oil burn

– the whole deal with suspension over the last 2 seasons, I still don’t fully understand. Something about central mass dampers? Whatever it is/was, rules were made to prevent teams from going down that route – all in the name of cost savings, which is supposed to enhance parity in competition.

And let’s face it. If F1 wants to be cutting edge automotive technology, then get rid of the drivers.


Without innovation F1 ceases to exist. it seems obfuscation is the name of the Liberty game. F1 TV, Halo, the removal of grid girls,. All just a distraction as they attempt to turn F1 into a international version of Indy car.


Is that a pic of Brawn teleporting to whichever race venue it was that weekend? 😀

Odd that Porsche have the MGU-H’s removal as a condition of their entry. Didn’t they have that on their LMP1 cars? I know Audi did for sure, so if they need help, they can get on the phone to their brethren.


F1 is about technology for me. I’m a lot more interested in how the MGU-H works than in with whom drivers are hanging out.


James – which side of the fault-line are Renault and Honda on? If the majority of engine manufacturers are aligned, I can’t see Liberty getting their way.

If on the other hand its Mercedes & Ferrari vs Renault, Honda and Porsche, then Liberty have a stronger hand.


@ redline….some time back Abiteboull appeared to support Ferrari and Mercedes and he insisted that ‘electrication’ must be maintained.


Not sure, but they are signed up beyond 2020 – the only team that is (part of the deal when they bought Lotus and wanted some of the bonus money pot)


2020 will not be the decade of the autonomous vehicle. The sector will be highly regulated, and regulation always significantly lags technology. Particularly when regulation needs to be harmonized globally. We will definitely see increased adoption of autonomous vehicles and systems in key niches, but it will be a long time before my car drives me to work, and picks up the kids from school….


I don’t agree. Autonomous cars will prove that it’s the human driver that is the risk/cost. Many groups will be pushing for Autonomous car’s purely on the grounds of safety. A big push will come from commerce for cheaper delivery logistics . Every road crash (and nearly all of them will have a human driver) will add to the weight of legislation. Just watch the “autonomous only ring” continuously expand from their starting points at city centres.

Coming to a city near you.


@OffCourse – read it again – its coming to key niches. That’s different from the wide-scale adoption that many are expecting. Legislation takes time, particularly if it needs to be harmonized and aligned across different stakeholders, while the technology is still developing rapidly.


That’s pretty much how I see it as well.


Simple – make ’em loud, make ’em fast and make ’em race. And, morbidly, increase the risk. People will watch that.

Why not allow manufacturers and teams to choose whatever engine to stick in the back of their car? Give them a square box that the engine or PU needs to fit in and say ‘do whatever you want’. Speeds can be controlled by manipulating the track (slippy asphalt will slow everyone down) and/or tyres (again make em slippy, grooved, narrow). Are there technical reasons this wouldn’t work?


I don’t actually think the engine is the problem, yes there’s a sound issue in the sense that it doesn’t sound like V12/10/8 or there’s a Red Bull racing issue in that you don’t manufacture your own engine so you want to remove the big boys perceived advantage, the bigger issue for me is aerodynamics, if you can sort the aero to allow cars to closely follow each other, slipstream and over take them I think you’ve gone a long way to fixing the show without removing innovation and technology.


Red Bull don’t want to remove the “Big Boys” advantage. They want the advantage. RB would be happy to have a Merc in the back. They are a classic of the haves and have nots. They always want to be the haves. The poor can make their own arrangements.

Madman across the track

So…if I were Liberty, I would absolutely go the entertainment, close racing route! Let’s not totally dumb it down, but ‘cost’ has always favoured the Ferrari’s and Mercedes level incumbent manufacturer teams. They know they can buy titles and hence, reap the publicity and commercial validity that comes with that. But that doesn’t make it the best sport it can be. I want to see 6, 8 or 10 awesome talents (we know who they are) fighting it out in equally competitive machinery… week in, week out! For example… MGU-H clearly offers the opportunity to create an advantage. If for no other reason than it’s cost in development time. This makes immediate competitiveness prohibitive to new entrants. ie. It would take years to gain the knowledge and results that Mercedes and Ferrari can now achieve. Which leads me to my advice to Liberty… why don’t you court BMW to come into the sport. Do you think Mercedes will walk out the door if they show up? If no MGU-H and Ferrari leave… Porsche… court them! Aston Martin (Redbull are already in cahoots!). Bye Ferrari… great commercial decision Serge! I’m sick of seeing the Redbulls running around 50-80 horsepower shy of Merc and Ferrari. I’m sick of explaining to my friends and work colleagues that my guy (and a couple of others like him) is not necessarily that much less of a driver than Hamilton. In fact, if he had the same amount of horse power or energy recovery… he might actually whip his arse every other weekend. But how will we ever know?

Having equal equipment matters… just ask Fernando Alonso. And after all, it wouldn’t be fair to Roger Federer if everyone he played against had to use a squash racket… would it?!


Personally if I were Liberty I woild call their bluff. These teams “particularly Ferrari” have ruled the roost for to long! Where would Ferrari go to if F1 was gone? Ferrari would like F1 to be its own private club. Bernie Eccelstone for all his faults kept McLaren and Ferrari in order. They were always threatening this that and the other if they did not get what they wanted!……F1 needs a breath of freash air Liberty should not back down.


Bernie Eccelstone didn’t keep Ferrari in order. He made rules and deals that suited Ferrari in order to keep them happy.


Bernie is a large part of the problem here. His standard MO when the teams started showing signs of being united was to pay Ferrari extra. Divide and conquer! Bernie liked to do that, and Ferrari understood what his game was and would exploit it. Remember that McLaren too get an extra slice of the F1 money pie just for turning up. Liberty are trying to untie a knot that Bernie made in the first place.


Liberty need to put their foot down with the engine specs, but loosen up the aero restrictions. Marchionne can’t complain about DNA because this year is the first for a while where every car looks identical. Adrian Newey complains about the tight rules producing identi-cars, so loosen them up. That’s where the DNA of F1 is, not arguing over whether some daft MGU-H should be on the engine.


They are interested in saving the DNA of the sport. Yeah right.


I don’t think “give us this or we quit” is a good strategy, either in terms of getting what you want or for the good of the sport. I’m all in favour of engines being a differentiator but I would prefer more engine providers on the grid, so if getting rid of the MGU-H gets 1/2 more providers involved I’m all for it. I’m not sure I can see Ferrari quitting under any circumstances, I can see Mercedes and others quitting “undefeated” if the engine formula is neutralised.


It’s a strategy that has been used quite a few times before too….


Quick question for you James if you have a minute:

We know that many (too many) teams have left the sport because they’ve gone bust, and that manufacturers have left the sport for all sorts of reasons, but do you know of any that have actually carried out one of these big threats?

You can only bluff so many times before people stop paying attention.


The only one to threaten – that anyone cared about – was Ferrari


Side note: Good to have all the reply buttons back 🙂


Cheers James, I thought as much 🙂


I think all involved should be free to air their views, but making threats is not smart. The teams, of course have self interest at the core of their objections or support for Liberty’s plans, and this should be recognised when discussing them. Liberty have a tough time ahead, do they apoease the fans and small teams and make the cars louder, cheaper and simpler? Or appease the most powerful teams and maintain the staus quo? I hope they go for the former, I don’t believe Ferrari will leave, or that the removal of the mguh dilutes F1’s dna at all, or removes the ability for teams to compete with each other.


@TimW… all the stakeholders in this game have self-interest at the core of their involvement. Make no mistake that Liberty are here to make money as are most of the independent teams, with the exception of RB that is marketing driven. The manufacturers self interest, on the other hand, is driven by marketing and R&D rather than turning a profit or increasing the franchise value for an eventual exit. Just count how many investment firms have been involved in the sport over the last decade – do you honestly think CVC, Mumtakalat, Genii Capital, Longbow Finance, VJ Mallya etc… give a fig about making the cars cheaper, louder and simpler to keep you and I happy? Or is it driven by trying to maximize their returns?

As you say, balancing those self-interests across the stakeholders is going to be a challenge, but I would find Liberty more credible if (when?) they unveil a cogent strategy to grow the pie for everyone, rather than disingenuously targeting the manufacturers on the false premise of levelling the playing field.


The MGU-H is not part of F1’s DNA and so let’s cut to the chance. This is about money and keeping their historic bonuses. There is no other reason for McLaren to have joined in as they do not have a dog in the engine debate. As with all negotiations you start by demanding the Earth , get offered an allotment and settle for a couple of hectares. Liberty need to level the track , not by stifling engineering excellence but by cutting costs and spreading the cash. Perhaps we can have an arrangement were lower ranking teams get more access to testing and wind tunnels.


I think that’s right, Jon. All the noise about the DNA of F1 is a smoke screen. These teams are in a privileged position and want to retain that.

Enzo Ferrari once told Bernie Ecclestone that you never advertise that you are running a brothel. You advertise a hotel and keep the brothel in the basement. That is what is going on here. These three teams all get extra payments and they want to retain them. They’ll protest about something else for appearances and wait for Liberty to come along and placate them with money.

I don’t believe everybody should get the same – part of the payout should be on the basis of performance, but let’s stop these extra payments and put everybody on the same scale. That might also have the affect of curbing what the top guys spend on R&D and thus making the arms race more equal. Teams can’t spend what they don’t have.


if anything, f1 should be looking at ways of increasing energy recovery, not reducing it.




DNA of F1? F1 has mutated so much, the lion that F1 was is now a frog.

Sound was part of F1 DNA. Gone.

Sprint was part of F1 DNA. Gone.

Halo is NOT part of F1 DNA. Enjoy.

DRS – what DNA is that from?

Fuel flow limit – when did F1 have that in the DNA?

These guys and their bull about dumbing down. So what, you should just continue to be able to spend (Read: buy) championships? Spend 7 million on front wing? 8 million to figure out how to burn oil? 10 million ofln Engine Mode software to take away from driver skill? This is what these “racers” are fighting for as DNA? Spending cap in F1 cannot come soon enough.


Totally agree.

Also the rings around Ross look like something out of star gate or even general zogs temporary holding cell in superman.


There is no “DNA”. The sprints you mention were only a feature of F1 when refuelling was allowed. We might argue, btw, that one of the affects of this era was to reduce overtaking on the track because if your pit crew were good you had a no risk overtake at the pit stop. So, yes, if you started watching F1 in that era you saw races that were a series of low fuel sprints, but in the long run that’s not been part of F1. Indeed, when I started following F1, nobody pitted because it took too long, and cars would start heavy, finish light and (gasp) tyre management was a big deal. Jackie Stewart was especially good in this regard, being good at judging just how hard one could push early on without taking too much of the tyres (and the tyres back then were cold at the start).

The sound has varied hugely over the years – for audiences at the track. For those who watch on TV not so much.

Fuel flow limit? Yes, that’s pretty recent. But there have been all sorts of restrictions in the past. By the late 80s, turbo cars had limits on boost pressure and were made to run with smaller fuel loads than cars with non-turbo motors.

What we can expect from F1 is change. It always has changed and always will.

Ferrari have always been a bit snobbish, seeing themselves as proper manufacturers in a sea of “garagistes” who would bolt a motor that they bought into their own chassis.


Plus 1 Bobster. Some good points, very well made.

Richard Mortimer


I don’t think the sounds changed that much apart from the turbo era.

OK, there was a difference between a V8 or a V12 or a V10 even.

Some of the best sounds I have ever heard have come from very different machinery, but it came down to one thing, a revving racing engine:

Mercedes pre-war supercharged 3.0 V12 at Goodwood.

Peugeot sports prototype 3.5 V10 at Silverstone.

Little BRM 1.5 V8 at Goodwood.

Ferrari Dino 2.5 V6 at Silverstone.

Matra 3.0 V12 at Silverstone.

Alfa-Romeo 3.0 F12 at Silverstone.

Wow, I could go on….!


The biggest change, I thought, was because rev limits increased. Engines in the 70s, no matter the number of cylinders, couldn’t rev anywhere near as high as the V10s and V8s that preceded the current engine rules.

I like the SOUND of an engine, but the volume issue bothers me. When you have to protect the ears of people sitting in the grandstand, things are getting stupidly loud.


My question here… Is F1 still popular on a world-wide basis? Does it really need to be fixed?


Steve, it would appear that it does need to be fixed, given the (rarely published any more) steadily declining tv viewership figures.


Any sport that goes to pay TV will see number of viewers decline. Whether or not it means that revenues go down (most likely they won’t) or that the sport needs “fixing” is another matter.


You’re on fire 🔥 Bobster😊


🤺”On Guard Sir Liberty it is time to feel zee end of my blade!!”🤺😄

At the end of the day it gets dark…without the big 3 teams F1 is a watered down championship.

F1 is all about gaining the upper hand.

Sterilizing the sport to get teams on equal footing just kills the sport.

Brawn et al are trying to create a racing format in a test tube bubble.

In the past certain teams hit and aimed high other minnow teams just added the filling.

This will be the norm. Always has been.

Sometimes you get teams kicking above their status …like Leicester City Football club and beating the big boys at their own game.

Brawn did that…or has he forgotten that victory.

Any changes or Americanisms to a Sport that has its roots in Europe is a joke.

You might as well have sponsorship of Twinky cakes and Chlorine chicken burgers and fat stretch jean wearing mobility scooter driving red necks talking about how big their machine gun collections are and have F1 on an oval track.

Liberty need to wind their necks in and trim their Joe Weider handle bar tash or

Poirots European tash will be knocking 7 bells out of Liberty’s dingle bells.

Meaning listen to the big teams or they might just create their own racing championship that has zero affiliation to the FIA and go it alone.

Global Racing nearly happened in the early 2000s with Mclaren and Ferrari voicing concerns about Bernie tieing their hands in contractual legal knots.

Trying to change sport to fit in a American format is no no.

Sky and Private pay per view is the real problem.

It will lower sponsorship and create a void in actual rears on seats at race circuits.

Liberty need to rip the Sky contract and stick with free to air or their own sole distribution of streaming live races. Send Sky Fox and and pay per view tv channel out of F1.

Give Me Liberty…not on your nellie.

Give me F1 Free to Air👍

Can I Get an Amen ? 😉


I think relevance has already been lost long ago and F1 has confused itself into a state of lost purpose. Question needs to be asked, how much of these inward looking, self serving conversations going on inside the sport actually translate to a good outcome for a fan? Probably not much.


A friend who is only a casual F1 TV watcher said to me yesterday that she has lost interest in F1 because it is now so far up it’s own exhaust (she didn’t acually say “exhaust”). I said I agree but it’s worse than you think!

Richard Mortimer

What? Can’t believe McLaren have sided with Ferrari and Mercedes! Time for a split-formula? I mean, 2 formulas running together. It’s pretty much that now, so why not formularise it?


DNA? The DNA of F1 does not include closed cockpits or wheels, yet we have the Halo…… F1 has completely taken the wrong path and this period will be remembered as its final decline by pretending to be green while freighting tonnes of equipment around the world with engines that have no appeal to the public technically or at the event so as to kow-tow to the imaginary green credentials and transient manufacturers and help JT with his never ending global political ambitions – ooops I mean Safety Initiatives. For offering a lack luster and exceptionally predictable and expensive show that is hard to access or afford for all participants from competitors to spectators. For then placing the whole thing behind a paywall and the drivers hidden behind a halo.

At what point is the public meant to ‘get it’? At what point do the heroes shine through? When do the avid F1 fans just give up because its all too hard and too expensive and despite being customers – clearly they don’t count?

You want to talk about DNA and make a comparison to horse racing….good. F1 needs to turn back the clock and keep things pure. Just like horse racing. Do you think people would go to the trots to see robots hidden in bubble wrap riding an eco-friendly, semi-autonomous horse? I don’t think so. So why does Formula One want to do that to man and machine? Safety? People still race horses and get killed, the horses die sometime too, right? Still going on….. its an activity, it might not be for everyone but it is what it is. So why cant F1 be loud, brash, a little dangerous…..because guess what? It always has been and that’s what the DNA of formula 1 is. You want a cutting edge, Eco-friendly, PC, car racing series? Great – go for it – it’s called Formula E.


Thank you!


I did give a “+” to above post as well as most of the similar ones, but 20 “pluses” or so on this site, won’t change the world.

If it were 2 million ones and echoing in all sport and why not in all media, that might make an impact on those who matter in the decision making.

Although the “Dogs bark, the caravan passes” attitude is more expected on their part.


There have long been forces in F1 acting to make the sport safer. The first real agitator was Jackie Stewart. Some elements amongst the press thought him a coward for refusing to risk his life and his limbs.

Despite their best efforts, 6 point harnesses were mandatory by 1972, as were head rests. 1973 saw the first mandatory deformable structures. In following years there were changes to the regulations around roll hoops and the introduction of oxygen supplies to the helmets. There were compsulory medical centres at the track and a medical car with a doctor. It’s been pretty constant, and it’s a good thing.

In 1962 when Stirling Moss had the big accident that ended his career, he lay unconscious in the car for many minutes, with no way of a quick extrication. The doctors had a fatal morphine shot prepped in case the fuel ignited before he was removed from the car.

I’m very glad that those terrible days are behind us, and I think the increased head protection this year is a change for the better.

Richard Mortimer


Well done, I really agree with you. Those were great days for racing and heriocs – Fangio at the Nurburgring or Clark at Spa in the wet!

But, the risks were ridiculous! I watched a video on YT of Coulthard driving the Lotus 25. Fantastic!

I am thinking, “Wow, would I love to have a drive in that!” But, then I think, “I would be scared as s—- and would probably not want to lean on it.” Give me a post 89 car, it’s a different matter!

Some of those accidents in the past are so pathetic – Bandini at Monaco, or Pryce at Kyalami! Rindt at Monza, etc, etc. Indeed, so thankful those days are behind us!


The general thrust of my outlook is there is already a very high level of safety in the sport and some times safety can be over specified. In this instance the halo is trying to solve problems that really don’t exist and in doing so does a poor job of it on every front. Does that in any way mean that I am welcoming or excited about the prospect of a driver getting killed? Of course not.

The bottom line is we have a series of adults undertaking a risky vocation for fun and profit and whom are surely able to judge for themselves their risk appetite as they do so.

This does not require further mandate by the FIA to ensure that the drivers are wrapped in cotton wool to perform their activity. Take a look at the recent Winter Olympics and the guys in Lycra shooting down a frozen a canyon with no protection, should that event be banned? Should an additional safety bubble be created by the IOC? Or should we just let adults undertake their activities as they see fit knowing that something might go wrong?


I think there’s a bit more to it than that. Organising bodies will be required in law to take reasonable precautions – which is not the same as making the sport 100% safe. Since all the fatalities in single seaters the last few years have arisen from head injuries, it’s clear that FIA (and IndyCar) have to start taking some sort of measures.

The other point about legislation is that teams and most drivers will not voluntarily apply safety measures for fear of compromising competitiveness. This is not new, by the way, Max Mosley tells of when he was racing in F2 in the 60s and he bought a Brabham and the roll hoop on it was a very flimsy thing – just enough to satisfy the regulations with out putting too much weight high up on the car.

For both those reasons, it is up to FIA to mandate safety measures.


Great post. Sadly I don’t see a path from here to a place where the “heroes shine through”. Fortunately we have MotoGP, WSBK, Road Racing etc


Oh dear, what a load of claptrap. People go to the horses to bet – end of. The current engines being used in F1 do have relevance to road cars. And we’ve heard the “how green is it to move cars around the world” a million times. The paywalls are the responsibility of the previous owners who milked F1 from the day they bought it. There are no transient manufacturers in F1, Ferrari, Renault & Mercedes have all been involved in F1 for over 20 years. As for Formula E, where did it get it’s technology from ? McLaren.


In the first season of FE, all entrants had to use an engine built by McLaren, Williams batteries and a Hewland gearbox. All spec. But the rules have evolved to the point where only the batteries are now standard. This is why there’s a lot of interest from manufacturers. Renault, Audi, BMW and Mahindra are all provinding engines, and other manufacturers are showing interest.


There have been over 200 constructors and nearly 50 engine manufactures in F1. Of them, only Ferrari is still current from the start while all others have come and gone…… sounds kind of transient.

As for the horse racing it was an analogy used by the author and I was simply drawing a similar parallel.

Regards to the engines, F1 engine have by and large never really been road relevant, this is a relatively new phenomenal demanded by a couple of the current manufacturers to justify their massive spend to complete in the sport.

F1 as an activity is not a road relevant sport, yes it is car based but the point is that it doesn’t need to be road relevant to survive, in fact the further away from relevance it can go the better. F1 has almost always been fantasy motoring where mere mortals look on in wonder as drivers tame a wild beast.

As for the green credentials, sorry but it is an absolute farce to suggest that there is anything green or Eco-friendly about F1 full stop. Currently the fly away races use 6 747’s and haul thousands of tonnes of equipment all over the world, just so 20 cars can drive around for 2 hours on a Sunday, so yeah nothing really green about that even if the cars were solar powered.


Since 1997 F1 has neturalised it’s carbon emissions by buying credits in a scheme which runs sustainable plantations and protects threatened forests. This is done for F1 and for WRC, and the credits they buy do not just offset what is created by the race cars during an event, but also the travel of support staff to the races. Although the emissions that you mention certainly happen, the sport is overall carbon neutral.

Richard Mortimer

The point there is all 3 have been in for a long time now! Actually, so have Honda.

Ferrari – every year since 1950 – 15 drivers titles.

Mercedes – 1954-5 the again from 2010 to today + from 1993 as an engine supplier – 10 drivers titles.

Renault – 1977-1985, then 2002-10, then 2016 to today + from 1983 on and off as an engine supplier – 11 drivers titles.

Honda – 1965-67, then 2006-8, then 1984 to 92 and again 2000ish and the 2015 to today as an engine supplier – 5 drivers titles.

That is a pretty big total and percentage of all drivers titles powered by those 4 companies!

If you take out Ford’s 13 titles (12 with the DFV + Schumacher’s in 1994) and you don’t have much left!

14 to be precise:

Alfa Romeo – 2

Maserati – 1

Climax – 4

BRM – 1

Repco – 2

BWM – 1

TAG Porsche – 3


How do these ‘ere Formula E cars get from place to place, on sail or rowing boats? How do they generate the leccie for the batteries, water mills, ‘cos every other method isn’t produced by green energy. Three changes of constructors a year isn’t transient by a very long way. Ferrari flog their cars off the back of F1, nah them 12 cylinder engines never were road relevant. Current spending is chickenfeed compared to the days of fag sponsorship. The wild beast left F1 when they stopped killing drivers at every other race. Ghouls are not welcome at any motorsport event.


Does the MGU-H have any relevance in road cars?


Yes – variants of the technology are already being used in mainstream Mercedes as well as numerous supercars. Regardless of what many people on here argue, it is highly relevant technology directly responsible for the huge jump being made in the thermal efficiency of the IC engine.

It is here, working and being sold to customers yet luddites on here still think it’s not on cars!

In terms of expense in F1 – the expense is in developing such with the restriction rules on turbo size and rotation speed as well as materials. The ERH allows far greater power than would normally be possible with such cost restrictions. The additional expense is in the refinement of such new technology (although the idea is not old)

Honda specifically returned to F1 because of its inclusion in the PU. They knew they needed to learn quickly to catch up with such as Porsche Audi etc via LMP1.

It is only an issue in terms of an entry barrier to skin flints Aston because they lack the funds. Porsche could quite easily enter but I am pretty sure Audi have other things on their mind than letting the only profitable section without giant fines to go play in F1.

Note also that the energy created (or used) by the ERS h is unrestricted. Hence the more you can get out of it the more power you have unlike the ERSK.

Richard Mortimer

You won’t know until the technology develops.

Maybe it should be like much of the past tech? Developed in F1. Then banned! Then seen in road cars!


Liberty need to do what’s best for the long-term future of the sport, not for the front runners. Of course, they need to strike a delicate balance between reining in costs and maintaining the technical integrity of the sport, but in my opinion reducing costs and unnecessary complexity is the greater priority at the moment.


liberty are in it to make money.


Indeed they are. But they will know that it is no use killing off the goose that lays the golden eggs. To me they look a better bet than CVC who bled a lot of money out of the sport and then sold it on. Liberty are under fire because they are involving themselves in the steering of the F1 ship. That’s because they care. CVC didn’t involve themselves in that way – because they didn’t care.


I am OK for Liberty to make some money of it, but can we please make sure its not ending up being a cute Disney show where everybody gets a medal?

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