Friday morning got started in Bahrain with a meeting between teams and Liberty Media replete with a presentation and attentive ear as the owners laid out their 4-part plan for improving Formula 1.
The goals, according to the BBC, are as follows:
• reduce the gap in prize money earnings between the top and bottom of the field
• cut the £300m+ budgets of the top teams to about half that
• simpler, cheaper engines that reduce the gap in performance between the best and worst, and open F1 to new entrants
• simplify the technical rules to reduce cost by standardizing parts that are perceived to have minimal effect on both performance and the show.
The presentation is the first time the teams have seen this level of detail in Liberty Media’s plans and while these are their intentions, there is much to be discussed. According to McLaren’s Eric Boullier, the teams were attentive, listened and there is much to discuss.
F1 and the FIA are keen to retain the 1.6-litre V6 turbo hybrid engines but with a simplified energy recovery system reducing costs and attracting new entrants.
There will be a lot of discussions going forward as team’s digest what Liberty Media presented and one would imagine the prize money discussion seeking equity amongst teams, the removal of the MGU-H, the cost-cap at $150M and standardized parts will be the tough points for teams like Ferrari and Mercedes to absorb.
Plans to increase the number of standardized parts on cars is also a way to reduce costs according to Liberty Media but just how that will be viewed by the teams remains to be seen. There is already controversy over Haas F1’s surge in performance over the listed parts program and taking the sport into even more standardized parts may not go over well.
It is the first deep dive into the minds of where the owners would like to take the sport but so far, team commentaries have be somewhat muted.
Official press release from FOM:
Chase Carey, Chairman and CEO at Formula 1, said:
“Formula 1 is a sport with a rich history. We want to preserve, protect and enhance that history by unleashing F1s potential, by putting our fans at the heart of a more competitive and more exciting sport. We are driven by one desire: to create the world’s leading sporting brand. Fan- centred, commercially successful, profitable for our teams, and with technological innovation at its heart.”
Key strategic initiatives
Power units (PU)
- The PU must be cheaper, simpler, louder, have more power and reduce the necessity of grid penalties.
- It must remain road relevant, hybrid and allow manufacturers to build unique and original PU.
- New PU rules must be attractive for new entrants and Customer teams must have access to equivalent performance.
- We believe how you spend the money must be more decisive and important than how much money you spend.
- While there will be some standardised elements, car differentiation must remain a core value
- Implement a cost cap that maintains Formula 1’s position as the pinnacle of motorsport with a state-of-the-art technology.
- The new revenue distribution criteria must be more balanced, based on meritocracy of the current performance and reward success for the teams and the Commercial Rights Holder.
- F1s unique, historical franchise and value must and will still be recognised.
- Revenue support to both cars and engine suppliers.
Sporting and technical rules & regulations
- We must make cars more raceable to increase overtaking opportunities.
- Engineering technology must remain a cornerstone but driver’s skill must be the predominant factor in the performance of the car.
- The cars must and will remain different from each other and maintain performance differentiators like aerodynamics, suspensions and PU performance. However, we believe areas not relevant to fans need to be standardised.
- A simple and streamline structure between the teams, the FIA and Formula 1.
Hat Tip: BBC