Ferrari flogs F1…what would DORNA do?

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The Ferrari Christmas party may be a fun event for the team and its fans but it’s also is a great place to get a quote as AUTOSPORT revealed. Ferrari chief, Sergio Marchionne, held no punches in his assessment of the current situation in F1. In fact, he seems very keen to use MotoGP as measuring stick in which to juxtapose the regulations and how he feels F1 have gone too far:

“The rules we have in F1 have nothing to do with rules in motorbikes,” Marchionne said. “They are two different approaches.

“We need lawyers to properly interpret the rules and we can not go on like that.

“There’s going to be an additional tyre and everyone seems to be so happy.

“But I don’t know if we have to be happy about the addition of another.

“Talking about scrapping the system, I think we should scrap that system in terms of the complexity of the rules because it is not digestible.”

Now, the intriguing part of this comment is when you take the additional quote from team boss, Maurizio Arrivabene and place it next to Machionne’s. AUTOSPORT very clearly says that this is not a response from Arrivabene to Marchionne’s comments but in regards to how manufacturers are treated in F1 versus MotoGP:

“There is a great respect for manufacturers in the motorbike world so there is a different methodically,” said Arrivabene.

“Things are agreed upon together, things are negotiated with all the relevant stakeholders, so decisions are fully shared and taken quickly.

“The federation then takes stock of that.

“It is a different approach and attitude, so they really try and come up with quick changes in order to adapt to public taste.

“They are reactive to listen very carefully, to change and react quickly, involving the relevant stakeholders.

“There is also a great level of respect for the engine manufacturers.”

The reason I find these two comments interesting is they seem to be championing how DORNA runs MotoGP and how quickly they make changes to suit the public taste etc. Nothing untoward there but what particularly is the public taste in F1? Sergio feels the regulations are outlandish and need to be scrapped. That’s fine and that’s exactly what F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is and has been saying.

The mandate given to Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt to make changes to the sport going forward is a reaction to what Ecclestone feels has become outlandish in his own mind—namely the hybrid engines and outrageous costs. There is a large majority echoing that sentiment in the F1 fan base so is this not “public taste”? What part of radically changing the series regulations is Ferrari not happy with if they like that agility in DORNA? Perhaps they are speaking to a very different public taste entirely?

Public Taste

So what would that public taste be? Clearly Marchionne feels the regulations and new tire compound process is an anathema but what is Maurizio talking about? The short answer? Engines.

Could Ferrari be saying that these current engines, which they didn’t seem in favor of back in 2012/13, are now public taste and that the FIA isn’t working with or respecting the engine manufacturers in honoring what the fans want?

Perhaps more to his point is that the stakeholders—read Mercedes and Ferrari—are not being consulted in the major changes that the FIA and F1 are working on and that’s a major buzzkill for Ferrari.

If you take a step back and look at the entirety of these new engines, the overall result has been negative across the board. Costs, R&D, performance, politics, bankruptcy, lopsided domination, sound and more. I’m not pulling a chicken little here but the minus column is much longer than the plus column.

Marchionne_sergio_ferrari

Red Bull were heading toward 2016 with no engine at all which prompted Marchionne to say:

“What I find offensive is that somebody considered normal and absolutely rightful to have a good engine,”

It was offensive that Red Bull demanded to have a good engine or felt like they should be provided a top-shelf engine in F1? When there are only two of those kinds of engines and neither team will supply you for fear of being beaten, that’s not that offensive is it? But then there’s never been love lost between the two teams.

I will agree with Sergio on the complications of the regulations and the new tire procedure et. al. Let’s be honest, who has time to track all of the minutiae in these tactical and strategic details that the fans at home cannot possibly see? There is no on-screen graphics to tell us what’s happening when, and even when there is, it’s hard to follow.

Just Tweet it, man!

Parsing words such as public taste and heaping scorn on F1 for a lack of a meaningful social media footprint is fine if that’s your bag but in the end, I think it detracts from the real issue. Really good racing. I don’t need a two-screen experience to see Lewis beat the stuffing out of everyone on the grid or to see how these hybrids are leaving many teams lifelessly clinging to FOM prize money. I need good racing to get excited about and then I’ll tweet like a runaway bastard who just discovered gold.

I look at the paid social media full frontal assault with flanking maneuvers and an hourly coup de grace that Formula E has used and to be honest, it’s a bit tedious. It’s ham-fisted and making much out of a nice electric racing series that could use some social media humility to be honest. It’s not the world’s most advanced form of racing nor is it the best on-track racing ever staged nor is it the fastest show on earth. Although you would be excused for thinking so if social media is your only source of entertainment. That’s not what F1 needs. There’s no racing, let them eat Tweets!

Lorenzo Jorge 2015 title motogp

WWDD?

Marchionne and Arrivabene are right in that DORNA does a lot of things right but they have their own issues as well. It’s not all blue sky and birds over there either as the 2015 season was relegated to an intra-team battle, just like F1, between Rossi and Lorenzo with the final race being neutered by a penalty that all but ruined the exciting climax of the season. Doesn’t seem like a lot of stakeholders consulted there and as for public taste? Well, one could argue that it may not have been too considered given the outcome.

Ecclestone recently said that the F1 regulations and rules should be scrapped. Apparently Marchionne agrees with him but if that means ditching Ferrari’s hybrid engine, well, that may not be in the public taste.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

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Tom Firth

Yes because Honda didn’t threaten to quit Motogp over technical disputes ever…is it more that he’s advocating for a manufacturers association like what motogp has, in addition to a teams voice and a commercial rights holders + sanctioning body voice?

Give them + Mercedes-Benz and Renault more power.

Negative Camber

Maybe but depending on how that is structured. They tried FOTA and that didn’t work. That’s why Bernie has always said that it takes a benevolent dictator in F1 to get anything done. too many special interests. IT seems DORNA does a decent job of getting that balance.

Tom Firth

I don’t disagree that you need a benevolent dictator at the forefront, but you could have a leader, like DORNA’s leader in that position. A leader with the final decision, not a decision made by committee but with visible people underneath, which F1 hasn’t got. It’s still autocratic but at least it isn’t the only person visible. I don’t know Todd, in some ways I agree that DORNA does a decent job, from the fact that it does a great job as a commercial entity in running MotoGP. However at the same time in the event that a major change… Read more »

MIE

F1 needs a dictator in order to run effectively, otherwise you will end up like CART. Hopefully the dictator will be benevolent. It has suffered because Mr E effectively sold off his dictatorship to CVC, who certainly aren’t benevolent and don’t seem interested in being a dictator either.

Tom Firth

Not disputing that, but saying you can have the person at the top, in ultimate control but have a visible team below, which F1’s never had, like TOCA, the France Family or DORNA. Brian France, Camelo Ezpeleta and Alan Gow are undoubtably in control but do have other visible people within the organisation below them, in the hierarchy. FOM as an organisation must have leading people below Bernie as well but aren’t visible.

Paul KieferJr

Mind you, those sole proprietorships (NASCAR, etc.) don’t always work, but it does work most of the time. Corporates do have a form of democracy (though it may appear skewed sometimes), and the thing they tell me about democracies is that it’s mostly 3 wolves and 1 sheep deciding what’s on the dinner menu.

Junipero Mariano

I know that regulations have to be public in order to have confidence in their fairness, but I think most fans would be happy with this: “Pirelli has introduced a new compound for this season, in addition to the previous 4. The teams, working in conjunction with Pirelli in regards to safety and fair competition will announce (X amount of time) beforehand their choice of tires for the coming races.” “Well, Leigh, it looks like Ferrari has 2 sets of ultras and 1 set of supers for Vettel, while Hamilton elected to use up his ultras in qualifying leaving him… Read more »

partofthepuzzle

Of course Ferrari would love a MotoGP style arrangement for F1. It’s a tiered system with the big factory manufacturer teams racing racing only against each other in the top tier, with the two or three lower tiers racing against each other. All in the same race, of course. There are titles for each tier and they never compete against each other in any meaningful way. To be clear, in MotoGP the different tiers are running different *reg* bikes in the same race. It could be argued that due to budget limitations, that’s effectively the way F1 has been forever,… Read more »

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