Next week the F1 Strategy Group and F1 Commission will meet to discuss the regulations package for the 2021 season. The deadline set to define those regulation is June. Just how much progress they’ll make in next week’s discussions is up for debate but ever the optimist, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says there is “momentum”.
“I feel that there’s some momentum in the process,” said Wolff.
“And we are all keen on understanding how 2021 looks.
“Mercedes certainly is interested in having a cost cap implemented, at the right levels, so it makes sense for everybody.
“Get the big teams on board in a way that is implementable. And the small teams to kind of at least cap us, and make sure that we’re not running away with even higher costs every year.
“Regulations are obviously another big building block, this is important to get over the line until June.
“So let’s see how next week goes, but what I hear is making me optimistic.”
Perhaps he’s right but I tend to think that the system is self-preservation and I don’t mean that in a disparaging way. These employees at the large teams are reliant on the jobs. I get that. However, if the product isn’t engaging the fans, perhaps the jobs are built on shifting sand to begin with?
F1 is afraid of losing manufacturers. Meanwhile, moves to pay-TV have reduced the total viewer numbers drastically. If you were a sponsor, would you be happy about losing 40% of the total viewers so F1 can rake in a hefty broadcast package payday and replenish the prize money bucket that the teams are reliant upon now more than ever so they can afford the outrageously expensive tech in these regulations? Is that the “momentum” Toto speaks of?
One of the intriguing elements for me is the cost cap. I have no idea how they will govern that and if they re-craft the prize money payout scheme, how will teams afford a full hybrid program along with huge chassis costs due to aerodynamic designs via CFD and wind tunnel time? Will Mercedes be happy if their prize money for winning the title goes from $120M to $$60-70M?
Tough situation for F1 to negotiate and perhaps they have a great plan and that’s why Toto feels there is positive momentum. But I’m curious what portion of these negotiations and regulation recommendations are squarely focused on the fan and not the self-preservation of the ecosystem they’ve created which has left the fans soured on the product they are currently producing?
A couple of years ago I was speaking with an engine designer from one of the top teams. I asked about the V6 ICE and turbo and he told me that there was no reason to go to a V6 other than Mercedes and Renault wanting to develop the format for their road cars. He simply said that V8’s would be perfectly fine and better, actually, because whatever tech you produce, you simply cut it in half and you have the most popular engine in road cars…the 4-cylinder turbo.
Hat Tip: Autosport