Martin’s 8-point plan

Martin Brundle offers his 8-point plan to fix F1. He’s not that far off the mark folks:

here is my eight-point plan to slash costs for 2009.

1 The 2.4-litre, 19,000rpm V8 engines are expensive even though they are required to last two race meetings and their specification is theoretically frozen. I suggest they knock 2,000 revs off the maximum permitted engine speed and allow the teams until the eve of the first race to reoptimise only the ancillaries and electronics. Then they must be used for four races. The fans don’t care about the revs.

2 Teams do 30,000km of testing a year with no spectators. F1 exists for the TV audience and the media coverage and anything that doesn’t add to the show needs a line through it. Ban testing outside of the Friday and Saturday of grand prix weekends. This will help the smaller teams compete and they will all save a fortune. Allow limited preseason and high-speed straight-line testing to ensure safety and reliability of the cars.

3 At the end of the first race and again in mid-season, all cars must be made available to all teams for close inspection, measurement and photography. This will keep the competition closer and dissuade stratospher-ic spending on wind tunnels and computers.

4 Reduce the allocation of dry tyres from 14 to eight sets per race weekend. So many tyres travel the globe, are mounted and then used for just a few miles.

5 Share common components and consumables. We have a standard supply of tyres, why not extend that to brakes, gearbox, wheel hubs and fixings, to name just a few? These items will never gain the sport one spectator. Savings will not fully apply until 2010.

6 Limit the total number of team personnel at the race track to, say, 50. Limit pitstops to eight crew.

7 Consider postponing Kers. The regulations for 2009 include incorporating Kers (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) devices that store otherwise wasted braking energy, converting it into power. Having saved the teams €5m with the engine freeze, developing this new technology costs much more. Toyota are not running it initially but BMW and others are keen. The smaller teams are wholly dependent on expensive hand-me-downs from the manufacturers. It may be too late to make full savings.

8 F1 generates huge revenues in sanction fees, TV rights, trackside advertising and corporate hospitality. Much less than half flows back to the F1 teams and virtually none filters into grassroots or junior level. With capped costs and a guaranteed increased income, the 12 F1 franchises would become very attractive, generating full grids and further economies of scale. With the likes of Jenson Button on the market and an enormous pool of young and fast emerging talent, driver retainers will be self-regulating. Teams will quickly regulate other labour costs.

I’m sure F1 will survive in rude health, probably even fitter, but the track will be bumpy for a while, and others will spin off into retirement.

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