When you’re in charge of assisting—or depending on your view, crafting—the new regulations for 2021, you are going to face a lot of key friction points with heavily invested teams who are not all going to be excited about the changes you are trying to execute.
That’s the challenge F1’s Ross Brawn and Chase Carey find themselves. From aerodynamic changes, possibly some power unit tweaks, prize money distribution models and a host of other technical regulations that could include a generic parts list as well as some possible weekend changes like sprint races for grid positions instead of qualifying. Let’s put it this way, they are massive changes and the cost-cap concept has FIA accountants looking at the balance sheet of each team.
We’ve argued that this season will be one of the most important in decades with real potential of possible fallout. Given the propensity for real friction, F1 needs all the sponsors they can get for their proposed changes.
In the past, the Grand Prix Driver’s Association (GPDA) has been an orbital group to the bigger machinations of F1. They’ve had a communication vehicle to the FIA and commercial stakeholders but how much pull they have is up to interpretation. This year, the drivers seem to be an all-new important part of the conversation.
The reason is that F1 wants to improve racing but the changes needed to do that will ask teams for serious compromises on a lot of fronts and even putting the aerodynamic genie hack in the bottle. As you can imagine, teams aren’t going to be elated with being asked to forget today what they knew yesterday.
If you could show your ideas to a host of drivers and get them on board with the changes, that will at least assist your efforts in gaining support from fans who follow them. Whether that works or not is yet to be seen but F1 met with drivers at the Russian GP to show them some data and Lewis Hamilton was first out of the box with his praise for the technical changes F1 is seeking.
“It’s been a huge step for us to be involved, it’s a big step for all the drivers to be united.
“We’re building a new and better relationship with the FIA, and I think they’ve been quite open.
“There are things that we ask about and they are like ‘we can’t change it now’… but there’s no such thing as ‘can’t’ for an engineer.
“There’s lots of things that can be improved but the thing they did show us the other day is the amount that you lose behind a car today and what their simulations say that we will lose in terms of downforce behind the new car.
“I think it looks great, so I’m working as hard as I can to make sure I can stay around for then and get to drive those newer cars.”
Despite Lewis’s praise for the proposed changes, his comment about being around long enough to enjoy them is a bit controversial. Regardless, it does seem that the reduction of dirty air is an area that really resonates with Lewis and other drivers. Even fans feel that the aero-reliance in F1 has gone a bridge too far.
As fan of F1, does Lewis’s endorsement give you a better feeling about the proposed 2021 changes? IF drivers see the wisdom, does that help you and your comfort level or are you still hung up on the proposed elimination/change of qualifying?
Hat Tip: Autosport