F1 is too reactive and needs long-term plan – Brawn

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In the round-up: Ross Brawn says Formula One’s new owners Liberty Media needs a long-term plan for the sport.

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While some hope the rules change will close the field up next year, others are concerned it will merely swap the dominance of one team for another:

Well, it would bode well for 2017 if the rules were stable… it’s just going to be a repeat of 2014 — we’ll all be excited about the previously dominant team losing their way, but quickly get bored of the latest team to steal a march on the opposition. Even so, there’s a chance Mercedes could nail it again and it’ll take another 3 years for everyone else to catch up.

Of course, I’d love to be proven wrong. But recent history suggests otherwise.

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Nico Hulkenberg caused a sensation by putting his Williams on pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix today in 2010:

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “F1 is too reactive and needs long-term plan – Brawn”

  1. F1’s problem isn’t not having a plan. They often come up with long term plans…

    The problem is that they never stick with them. There’s always one or two teams that start to complain hard, move their political connections and get away with it, changing the original plan into something completely different and most of the times, a complete U-turn.

    Take these new engines for instance, and the current formula that was supposed to last a long while, with a tokens system and all. Then they realize the token system is flawed, and Mercedes did a supreme job the others couldn’t replicate, and they are now miles away. And now we have new fat tyres, a completely redesigned car to work on giving back the emphasys of performance on aero rather than managing energy as efficiently as possible and the token system is gone.

    So rather than ask for F1 to plan, and not react, maybe Brawn should ask for a proper plan and stick with it no matter the consequences. OR understand that the political war within F1 is far bigger than the rulemakers can afford to combate against, and react to every single thing, without worrying about a long term plan.

    The sporting regulations can vary a lot, but if the teams play in different tiers, it’s impossible to control this. When you have Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari getting money just because, and Sauber and Manor struggling for whatever penny they can find, rules being discussed within a small table with 6 teams, lobbyist everywhere trying to get whatever they can their way, you can forget about planning, and long term objectives… and a product that sells and attracts manufacturers and fans.

    1. I don’t think he really means necessarily a plan with rules or regulations, F1 has typically had 3-5 year plans for that as you point out, but rather a plan for the product. A plan for a digital strategy, a plan to get more fans in to the seats, a plan to greater the leverage the mind share they’ve built over the years.

      I could be wrong on that front but I really don’t think he’s so concerned with the rules and regulations, I’m sure he’ll have opinions on it, just like Bernie does, but he seems to be more interested in taking a holistic view of the sport.

    2. I see your point @fer-no65, but is it better to stick to your original plan when it has demonstrated not to work?
      For instance, you referred several times to the token system, which has proved to be against the interest of the sport given the state of play. Would it be better for the FIA to stuck with it? Against the will of the teams, the engine makers and the fans?

      Sure, the FIA has to make a visionary plan and stay coherent, but when your initial idea was wrong, it’s better to recognize it and change plan (thank God, the double point bonanza is gone!). The FIA and FOM should start with better ideas to begin with (I know, easier said than done).

      1. Token system is a joke. Let them develop the cars, give them more fuel & let them RACE!

        1. it’s ‘the system’ that prizes restrictions over reality. The FIA and whomever talk about trying to save money, but they make the cars more and more expensive, and institute rules which require more and more money.

          This is what happens when you have a culture of ‘yes men’ and no real checks and balances. It’s also not the only political institution with in Europe (or elsewhere) that has these issues. :)

  2. If you throw out the safety argument, I’m a fan of gravel traps too, I’m definitely not a fan of the halo either. The safety argument goes conveniently unmentioned in that article. Kind of disappointing and irresponsible of them. Unless they have a secret recipe for making gravel traps inherently more safe or even fair regarding debris, they might just regret the push to reintroduce them.

    It reminds me of refueling in a way, it’s all too easy to forget the lessons of the past. Then when you reintroduce something you go “oh, yeah, it’s not as good as we remember.” It goes well in line with Brawn’s argument of F1 being too reactive.

    Also speaking of Brawn I could listen to Brawn talk about F1 all day I reckon, there’s amazing insight to be gleaned from his wealth of experience.

  3. Brawn said the same thing on the 5 Live Formula One Podcast.

    A plan would hang around longer if some consultations (real or performance) convincing was done of all the stakeholders. All this my-way-or-else just balkanizes people.

    It’s not that we have to all get along, we just have to shift from 6 month winner take all cycles.

  4. I disagree with Cotd @jackysteeg. There are several teams with great aerodynamic departments. Also, unlike the PU, aero surfaces are visable to the other teams. Performance items can actuall be copied conceptually, and implemented once made fit to the own design.

  5. So RBR are now advocating for track limits to be enforced more strictly? Hmmm that’s interesting. I mean it was only in Germany a few months ago that Horner was saying to let the drives use whatever line & parts of the circuit they want.


    1. Nice piece of journalism right there @KGN….

      Christian must have more free time now that Red Bull aren’t developing their own PU.

      You’d think anyone who broke that story would just go crawl in a hole with embarrassment.

  6. Christian 2007 called to disagree with you.

  7. I fear what formula one needs will be almost impossible to find now.
    There are many things that can be tried – fairer distribution of FOM money, redesingning the cars to help abilty to follow, getting more noise, changing where / how we consume it etc.the problems with the sport are usually easy to stop.
    The fact is no matter what the cars look like or how the money is distributed one team is always going to get the best overall package (unless f1 becomes a spec series, which it never will hopefully) and

    1. If their advantage is more than a couple of tenths they will prob win both titles. I will always watch top motorsport, and hope it fixes itself.
      But the fact is we cant really make what we want – close competitive racing.

      1. No, thats not the case at all. It’s not close competitive racing that people want, its politically correct ad space. Well the people being the ones that shape the formula that is.

        F1 isn’t about racing, it’s about selling stuff. Thats really a root problem that is fundamental to the real systemic issues which are creating the distortions and running the competition off.

        If the FIA and the powers that be really wanted interesting racing they would stop forcing people to lose by imposing strict fuel regulations (not counting fuel flow) and allow real diversity so that teams can specialize in what they do best, instead of being forced to purchase inferior goods and pretend to lose with a happy face.

        It’s absolutely insane how political correctness is used to force people to lose, and how people think its a good thing. It’s like a bunch of people lauding oppression and it’s just beyond bizarre. It’s truly absurd.

  8. I think one of the key issues is in the track design. How the corners are designed. A lot of the troubled corners have this strange kink at the exit which makes them fast chicanes. Look at russia’s turn 1 for example. It is just asking drivers to cut that second apex as deep as possible. The fix is easy. Stop making those kind of corners. They are bad for overtaking, the drivers hate them and it just creates pointless corner cut incidents. Make it normal 90 degree or whatever. If you want a kink then put it before the corner.

    Second issue is some the new chicanes that have been added. They are almost designed so that cars can drive straight without losing any speed. Mexico’s t1 is great example of this. Perfect flat grass you can drive over if you go off. Compare that with the chicanes in spa or spain. You just can’t go straight through them. Again it is a track design issue. The corners need to be designed in such way that if you go off you can not just come back on the track by going straight.

    Then there is the third case where the track is fine but the corner exits are badly designed. Silverstone’s copse is a great example but so is the club corner. The exit corners are so flat and meaningless that I think it would be better if the track was just widened so it goes next to the wall. It would make the corner a little bit faster but not much because the limiting factor there is the acceleration grip out from the previous corner.

    But the main issue with these third types of corners is just that the track is nothing more than two lines painted on big area of tarmac. The easiest way to fix those corners is to move the white lines to the edges of the track and let drivers sort it out. There is even no need to make any kind of changes. Leave the kerbs where they are. They are meaningless anyways.

    The issue is that these new tracks are tracks where lots of corners are just two white lines going across a parking lot with some strange kink in the middle. Drivers are trained to go over kerbs when it is faster and avoid them if it is slower or can break the car in races. With these new type of corners where the kerbs basically don’t even exist anymore you just want to go as deep as posible without getting penalized. The solution is simple. Make the offtrack areas part of the track. They are bumpier and less grippy so it becomes a skill for the drivers to find the good lines.

    1. Sadly Silverstone has undergone changes over the years that have taken an amount of the essence away from the track…

      There’s a few races this season I have seen some horrendous breaches of track limits that have benefited drivers, although Mexico was the most blatant… Russia was a joke with the limits solution of placing a cone the drivers had to go passed (which on the opening lap had drivers deliberately not attempting the corner)…

  9. Most important thing to do first is to get rid of Bernie.

    1. Paul Underhay
      6th November 2016, 20:12


    2. yes, we need to start a people’s revolution and overthrow the evil Bernie E. together we can start a new, and form a utopia to shape the ages to come. & and if people don’t like it we can ban them, and throw them in to reeducation camps, where they can learn the importance of being a good steward for the environment.

  10. A half-off-topic question:
    Our commentators said for years (until the mid-2000s if I remember correcly) that those teams who score a championship point will have their overseas cargo costs paid by the FIA/FOM/anyone until the end of the season. Was this right? Or until when was it the case in F1?

    1. Half off topic reply. Doesn’t FOM pay shipping for the top 10 teams? I could be wrong.

      On another topic, is Haas still using the Ferrari suspension and gearbox next year? Seems like designing a car would then depend a lot on where Ferrari is with their parts, making things a bit more difficult.

      1. I’m still trying to figure out why Haas is even in F1 to begin with. What kind of sweet deal did he get? What the heck was he thinking ???

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