Brawn ‘Impatient’; time to pull the goalie

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We discussed the daunting task that was before Liberty Media and the FIA with regards to curing some or all of Formula 1’s woes. The challenge of getting teams on board with your proposed changes for 2020 and the power struggle in the process for control of the sport and its direction.

I am sure there is goodwill on everyone’s part but there are vested interests from all sides as well and for this reason, I said that these are the most critical years of F1. I still stand by that position.

To those ends, F1’s Ross Brawn says he is impatient with the pace of change but happy with the direction the discussions are heading in.

“I am satisfied with the direction. I am not satisfied with the pace.

“It’s been a big challenge to move things on, but I know what’s going on and I can see what’s happening and I know that if we hadn’t started this process, it certainly wouldn’t have got to where we’ve got to today.

“Of course, I’m impatient for more to happen. But it is a necessity to keep the teams involved, to find solutions with them, to work with the FIA and find solutions. So I think it’s going in the right direction.

“I think it is the first time Formula 1 has taken this approach and is looking at how we improve the sport in many areas.

“We’re only two years into this journey, but I am optimistic that we’re going to see in the next few years the benefits of the work we are doing.”

One consideration might be that teams and drivers are incentivized for winning and not for producing good, exciting racing. A large portion of F1’s investment is incentivized by the opposite; by producing good and exciting racing which manifests itself in TV broadcast revenue, series sponsors, new race contracts and more.

It is a risk assessment and risk management determination in large part and one that F1 might do well to consider when looking at cost caps, prize money distribution and more. Teams are very reliant on the prize money payout to keep their team’s solvent and participating. What if F1 found a way to tie the team’s future revenue to producing a good and entertaining racing series instead of winning per sé?

In some part, they are as F1’s health in revenue is the very pot of coins that is then divvied up between teams. However, it is mostly incumbent upon F1 to find those revenue streams to fill the pot of gold. If I were Herr Bratches, I would be looking for an entirely new way to monetize the series and capitalize on the marketing and media systems within the teams and their sponsors to help create a good and entertaining series.

Ross feels that when they reach the eventual goal, the series will be much better. New cars, new directions with regulations and I would imagine a series of compromises all to keep teams invested at somewhat happy.

There is this notion that an elegant loss is better than an ugly win and an ugly loss is disastrous. I’m not entirely sure I agree with the weighted value system here. I suspect that an ugly win might be a direction F1 could manage with or without Mercedes. Renault or even Ferrari. Making the hard decisions is not fun but getting to 2020 with hybrid engines, high degradation tires and some dippy aerodynamic regulations that reduce a modicum of downforce—only to be recovered in 24 months’ time—is not a solution, it’s an elegant loss.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to think that where we end up in 2020 will be the correct direction but having already read about the concession on hybrid engines, it seem as if F1 is losing ground to those who are incentivized to win and get a large chunk of F1’s revenue pot for doing so while refusing to yield any perceivable advantage they have for the betterment of the sport.

As Aaron Brown might say, it is time to pull the goalie. Not in the last minute of play but with six minutes left. It doesn’t matter if you lose 2-1 or 3-1, a loss is a loss regardless of the point disparity. Let’s not wait until mid-2019 to have the tough discussions. There’s six minutes left and F1 should pull the goalie and increase our chance of scoring.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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