I don’t always mean to get on a rant but Monday’s podcast caught me at a grumpy moment. The fact is, I’m tired or “revolutions”, “Radical Transformations” and “altruistic efforts”. Sure, they all have their place but since 2014, Formula 1 has made some of the most sweeping changes in years and these aren’t just aesthetic, no, these are core DNA changes. Chief among them is the hybrid engine.
Jean Todt was quoted over at Autosport as finding the continual controversy in F1 as unfortunate. In particular, he was speaking of the regulation changes for 2019.
“I hear everything, that it was a waste of money, that it’s a fantastic improvement on overtaking.
“So I’m excited to see what it will finally do.
“But Formula 1 is a world of controversy.
“Rather than having people positive, building the best motor racing product we have, they always try to find something which does not work. Which is a bit unfortunate.”
Look, the sport brought three smaller teams into the series born on the back of a spending cap. Then it ushered in hybrid engine technology that bankrupted 3, and depending on who you ask, and possibly 4 or 5 teams.
Only manufacturers can afford this tech and therefore, they are now the only people building engines for customer team as well as their works teams. They also run the most advanced mapping and kit while the customers may not.
Mercedes lobbied the sport for the change and they, along with Renault, threatened to leave if it didn’t switch to hybrid. Then Mercedes had a baked-in advantage that its carried for five years of domination.
The series hasn’t had rude growth. It has grown in certain areas but shrunk in others and those “others” are the ones that really matter.
Liberty Media made lots of claims early on about being dedicated to Europe and the US and had very little nice to say about Baku. They just renewed Baku ahead of schedule and signed up Vietnam for a race. Hardly the US or Europe.
The 2020 regulation set initially started by re-thinking the engine for a more affordable solution to entice other teams but now that seems to be unlikely and the series will remain with a hybrid V6 turbo.
The cars cannot run close together and no matter how much everyone points at the elephant in the room, which is aerodynamic downforce and aero-wash, the series is reluctant to make a wholesale changes.
I understand Jean’s point but we aren’t “trying to find” something that does not work. In fact, we aren’t trying at all…it’s so pervasive that we can’t avoid what isn’t working such is the impact on racing.
Now, two years into the new ownership, many of the promises seem to be quietly removed from the white board and as I said on the podcast, I bit my tongue for two years but I will not pretend it wasn’t promised and I will remind all those press outlets championing the causes when they act like they were never all-in on the party line.
After listening to a year of anti-Ecclestone quips in every interview, I am not going to have selective amnesia and forget what F1 said, how they denigrated previous owners and how they were going to turn it around. I said then, as I say now, I hope that’s true. I hope they completely turn the series around and get it to a model of rude health. I’m all for it.
I know just how difficult their job must be right now so I won’t marginalize the situation and I think they are trying to make the best of the situation, just don’t patronize me in the process. Everything from 2014 onward has been controversial, Jean.
Hat Tip: Autosport