Audi, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015

Audi ‘will have to decide soon’ if it will enter F1 in 2021

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Audi admits it must make a decision soon whether it will enter F1 in four years’ time.

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Comment of the day

Many people would like to see F1’s prize money distributed more evenly, but not everyone. Arad makes a case for keeping things as they are:

What has Force India done for the sport? Do they bring the same amount of fans/viewing to the sport? Do Force India generate the same level of attention as Ferrari do?

Imagine the series with Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Red Bull and Mercedes out of F1, who is going to follow Force India?

I said that not because I am a Ferrari fan, but because that makes sense.
Arad (@Just-an-fan)

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Keith Collantine
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  • 37 comments on “Audi ‘will have to decide soon’ if it will enter F1 in 2021”

    1. I disagree with comment of the day largely. If the front running teams weren’t in F1, Force India would become a front running team, de facto. For a fair comparison I have to assume there would be the same amount of teams, because for me the same argument would go if all the back teams go, there would simply be a smaller grid. Therefore, if those teams went and more smaller teams joined behind Force India, we’d be having the same conversation about, say, Sauber, or Manor if they were one of them.

      And for the comparison, Mercedes and Red Bull haven’t even been in F1 for that long, in a historic sense. Sure, they had predecessors in the form of Jaguar and Honda / Brawn, and they’ve achieved a lot in the small time they’ve been here, but it’s not like they’ve always been here, and if they weren’t that success would just be distributed between the other teams. And don’t forget that in historic terms, Force India used to be Jordan, who definitely did a lot for F1. As for McLaren, if they hadn’t been in F1 for years the only difference would’ve been how often the marshalls have to wave yellow flags while they remove the cars.

      Then to add to that, Force India have one of the largest social media presences and is much better connected with younger fans than most teams are. Okay, so they don’t have the competitive presence that Mercedes do, but they certainly do contribute, and it would be a discredit to ignore how competitive they’ve been for the past few years.

      I’m not against bonus payments to historic teams such as Ferrari, but I do think that the balance is completely wrong at the moment. A bonus should be a bonus, not a completely separate reward larger than the main prize itself.

      1. I agree with Strontium’s (@strontium) comment. If Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams, and Mercedes left then the income they receive would be handed to other teams, who in turn would perform better than they do now due to the extra income they get.

    2. I have to agree with RG on tyre temperatures, it’s a farce that we now have 2 teams with (apparently) equal PUs at the front but the race performance is all about tyre temperature being kept in a very narrow range, it’s Maldonado winning in a Williams all over again. If you think the teams should do a better job of learning how to “turn on” the tyres please explain to me how they should do this when they don’t know what pressure they’ll be required to run. Please fix the tyres asap Ross.

      1. @hohum Brundle was saying during FP2 that he was hearing that the operating window of these tyres is only 4 degrees, If your even a fraction outside that window you have no grip which makes it difficult to get back within that small window.

        They also spoke during FP2 about how nobody in the paddock is happy with the mandated pressures & haven’t been all year. It’s felt there too high which is causing a lack of grip as well as problems getting into & staying in the operating window.

        1. Why is it a tire pressure must be mandated. Make it more of a recommendation the teams should follow. Then let them run what they think they should based off that recommendation. It will be somewhat self policing, go too low and damage the tire then your either out due to a blow out or have to pit, so the teams have that balance to find. By also having the recommendation, Pirelli can wash their hands of any negative press by simply stating said failure was below the recommended pressure and failed for that reason.

          1. IIRC it was done on safety grounds. Too many blow outs which is dangerous for the driver and other competitors.

            1. Yes Mercedes

            2. Ferrari you mean. It was Vettel and his constant abuse of track limits which in the end caused he whole issue at Spa.

              Mercedes had already reduced the tyre pressure and told their drivers to stay on track, after Rosberg had his incident.

            3. @f1-liners, as you say, teams were pushing for some activities that normally tyre suppliers would not tolerate.

              It’s not just in F1 either – I recall one tyre engineer mentioning that teams in an unspecified North American series (he wasn’t allowed to say which one) were complaining to the press about problems with the tyre walls failing in one race. What those teams had neglected to mention is that most of them were running with only two thirds of the recommended minimum pressure, and in a number of cases about one and a half times the recommended camber on top.

    3. The twitter picture of the “on track” photographers is inaccurate. They are at an escape road with the hole being on to the right of photographers. The wall on the left of the picture is in front of the photographers, offering protection from the cars across from left to right much more than towards the photographers.
      Then again, I’m not willing to bet they will get to go back to that exact spot tomorrow and Sunday.

      1. It is like photographers at the chicane in Monaco ( I thought that was dangerous and I think this is dangerous. At the speeds F1 cars travel, they will have no time to react and put themselves in a safe zone.

    4. Neil (@neilosjames)
      10th June 2017, 0:51

      Re: COTD…

      Indeed they do bring the most eyes, but they also take the most out – merchandise sales, marketing, brand awareness, and so on. Of your examples, two of them – Red Bull (who I would argue don’t belong with the others) and Mercedes – wouldn’t be there at all if they didn’t take out greater value than they put in. Ferrari built their whole business and ‘mystique’ on racing, and continue to enjoy the fruit of it. McLaren have signficantly diversified on the back of their reputation built up in F1, and Williams have non-F1 business too. For Renault, see what I wrote about Mercedes.

      Those ‘important teams’ need someone to race against, and from their point of view someone to beat. F1 needs teams to fill the grid and potentially become big boys themselves one day, and we fans need cars to look at.

      What makes sense to me is providing everyone with a reasonable share of the pie in order to (hopefully, I’ll admit) create a far more compelling, competitive, less-predictable F1. Something that more people want to watch, that helps grow the sport, pull in and retain more viewers. And which, crucially, more potential teams want to be a part of. In the long run, that should benefit everyone.

      And those big teams can still get their advantage from being ‘big and famous’ by attracting the best sponsors, selling more merchandise, advertising themselves, providing a platform to grow other business ventures from, etc. And if they keep being good, by getting more – but not a ridiculous amount more – prize money.

      (I favour something along the lines of: 50% of the teams’ pot split equally, and 50% split based on constructors’ championship order. No CCBs, no 5% for Ferrari – no bonuses at all.)

    5. Keith, think there’s an important link missed here from the official F1 YouTube channel.

      They’ve just posted footage from inside the driver briefing for the first time in apparently two decades. If that’s not doing something right, then what is?

      1. Thanks for posting. That was great to see. Interesting how cheeky some of the guys get.

        1. It sort of felt like they were in a classroom in school, having to raise their hand and then the people at the back cracking out banter

      2. That was great. I hope the drivers and teams don’t become more withdrawn and official if this becomes a normal thing to film the drivers briefings.

        The comments about the higher kerbs was kinda odd. Surely the kerbs feel higher now when the cars are wider and much sensitive to ride height and the cars are faster.

      3. @strontium

        What a great find! Funny to see the classroom demeanour of current Formula 1 drivers.
        Max really got shot down on his high kerb comment at the end.. lol

        1. @todfod yeah, I think maybe he was complaining because he crashed at that corner last year

      4. Sundar Srinivas Harish
        10th June 2017, 12:00

        And this is a great find to shut people up when they talk trash about Massa. This video shows that he really is a rational guy, and that he takes things on the chin and moves on with his life.

    6. I read Dieter Rencken’s interview with Audi’s Dieter Gass which is available on Autosport Plus.

      It does appear that Audi are interested in F1, but they want the next engine formula to be defined soon. Let’s hope that a sensible engine formula is agreed upon in the near future. I doubt Audi will be drawn in if the formula remains as complex and pricey as it is now.

      1. @jaymenon10

        Yep. They’ll know that a very complex formula (similar to the current one) should have been defined already for 2021. The last thing they want is a Honda repeat. It will be interesting to see which team they do partner up with. Both McLaren and Red Bull must be hot on their heels for power unit supply.

        1. I would prefer they come in as a team. And if they did they wouldn’t need pay drivers. Actual talent. Depending on how they would go we might find other manufactures joining in. It is what F1 needs and not what Bernie had brought in.

        2. Most likely they will be interested in buying FI. I can’t see audi partnering with another team and be responsible only for the PU.

    7. What has force india done for the sport? I think they have done as much as they could. If profits were distributed more evenly you’d see force india doing more.

        10th June 2017, 4:57

        What has Force India done for the sport?

        With their budget compared to the top ones, magic.

    8. Massa, you’re not too young either.

    9. COTD, not really thought through.

      Teams that attack more attention in a sporting competition should be able to attract more sponsorship, not more prize money.

      Yes, I know it happens in other events. But those tend to be show or exhibition events rather than premier Sports events.

    10. COTD, not really thought through.

      Teams that attack more attention in a sporting competition should be able to attract more sponsorship, not more prize money.

      Yes, I know it happens in other events. But those tend to be show or exhibition events rather than premier Sports events.

      1. @f1-liners And where do you think the “prizemoney” comes from?
        Why would you even call the Ferrari legacy payout “prizemoney” to begin with?

        1. Well dear @rethla, let me enlighten you by answering both questions.

          FOM funds there prize money through sponsorship and broadcast rights, which is pretty normal for major sport events.

          I did not mention Ferrari nor their legacy payout, but happy to explain to you why I don’t think the big teams (incl. Ferrari) should get legacy or other special funds from FOM.
          a) It does not happen in other major sporting events, e.g. Premier League, Wimbledon, or Tour de France. You’re in it to win, not because you get a starting bonus.
          b) those teams can cash in on their popularity and ‘legacy’ through on car sponsorship, commercial tie-ins, and merchandise. There is no need for another sweetener from FOM.

    11. “There’s zero tension between Fernando Alonso and McLaren, the relationship has never been healthier. We’re frustrated together.”


      In all seriousness, these statements are a very clear indication that it’s already time up for Honda. Eddie Jordan was right. As soon as the Sauber-Honda deal was in place for 2018, McLaren would divert their attention toward a Mercedes power unit and move on with their lives.

    12. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      10th June 2017, 8:15

      I don’t agree with CoTD. It’s all very well saying Ferrari bring more fans to the sport but Ferrari only have these fans BECAUSE of the sport, it’s a two way street. Ferrari’s large fan base is it’s own reward, they’ll sell more merchandise/products/cars from F1 exposure (and rightly so that’s business). So they shouldn’t need an additional ‘popularity bonus’ from F1 to keep them happy. That’s just not fair and it’s keeping the rich rich and the poor poor to compare it to society. F1 is a competition and the prize money should be divided out fairly based on results.

      Force India will build their own history and fan base over time but that will always be held back by the inequality of the prize money distribution which just isn’t fair.

      For example Man Utd are the richest club through their own fan base and success. They don’t need an historical bonus to top them up for bringing more fans to the sport, bringing the fans to the sport is their reward as well as the sports.

    13. Disagree with the COTD. When this argument comes up I always think back to the 1999 season when Jordan and Frentzen were in the championship fight going into the final three races. Despite being a massive Schumacher/Ferrari fan as a kid, I couldn’t help myself with Schumacher out on his broken leg, to not cheer for Jordan. They contributed mightily to that championship. Even Stewart was in the thick of it for most of the season. This was all at a time when Ferrari and McLaren/Mercedes were beginning to ramp up the spending heading into the manufacturer era of the 2000’s.

      Ultimately, if Force India was able to win the odd race and one of their drivers maybe be in a position to challenge late, they would gather a bigger following. That’s just logic. How many true Red Bull fans were their pre-2009? Also if the prize money is spread out evenly among teams, and that allows Force India to win in the future, you are telling me you don’t want to see that? What a story it would be for Formula 1 if Force India to were win a race. It would lessen the “predictability factor” that F1 currently has.

      Which brings me back to my current predicament with Formula 1. The constant shift back and forth on issues. I loved the 2012 season but early on in that season, I believe after Maldonado won, Autosport ran an article saying that F1 was too unpredictable. Yet now, most people hail that 2012 season for its multiple winners.

      Found the article, it was Alain Prost to be exact.

      What it comes down to is, if Force India become race winners, no one five years from now is going to say “Damn, too bad that wasn’t another Mercedes win”. They are going to remember it as possibly a great race with a great story and great PR for Formula 1. That’s what Formula 1 needs.

    14. I strongly disagree with COTD.

      The current payment structure only freezes the position. And unless you are backed by a large company, you can’t expect to move up the order.
      Force India is doing a tremendous job, they beat Williams last year heck they receive less money.

      They’ve been one of the most efficient team for years (dividing the amount of point score by the budget spent), they are a high profile among rookies to start in F1 in a competitive car and show the top team what they can do.
      You can’t expect to have a grid full of Mercedes / Ferrari / RedBull (never have been in the history of the sport). You don’t want to hold teams from competing at the sharp end if your are an F1 fan.

      1. @x303, indeed, in the past it is not uncommon for there to have been cycles of manufacturer interest where, once it passes a certain point, you tended to have a large number of manufacturers pull out due to economic pressures.

        At the start of this decade, we saw Toyota and BMW axe their programmes entirely and Renault pulled back to supplying engines. There have been similar cycles before that, such as the withdrawal of Alfa Romeo, BMW, TAG-Porsche and, just as in recent times, Renault cutting back to just supplying engines as the 1980’s turbo era became increasingly expensive.

        Those manufacturers will not stay for long if they are not garnering success – why would you stay if most observers thought that you were wasting money and resources – especially if there is cost inflation as manufacturers try committing ever more resources to spend their way to the top.

        1. ANON; Totally agree with you but it should be pointed out that the one unarguably good point about these PUs is that the expense can be justified as R&D for their road vehicles in these rapidly changing times.

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