Ross Brawn, Baku City Circuit, 2017

Top three teams are too far ahead, warns Brawn

2017 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Formula One’s managing director for motorsports Ross Brawn has warned the sport’s leading teams are too far ahead of the competition.

Fernando Alonso was the only driver not in a Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull who finished on the lead lap in Hungary. His McLaren took the chequered flag over 70 seconds behind the race winner.

Brawn said a situation where a small number of teams are a long way ahead of their rivals is unhealthy for the sport.

“The gap between the top three teams and the rest of the grid is much too big,” said Brawn

“This has been the case many times in the past, but the sport needs to look at narrowing these performance gaps because, in the long term, it can become unsustainable.”

Three different teams have won races so far in 2017, one more than in each of the previous three seasons. However no driver from outside the top three teams has led a lap so far this season.

Formula One is planning a revamp of its engine regulations for 2020 which may help narrow the performance gap between F1’s engine manufacturers.

Since the current V6 hybrid turbo regulations were introduced at the beginning of 2014 Mercedes have won 57 out of 70 races. Ferrari has won seven and Red Bull six.

Brawn has previously said he wants F1 “to be accessible to the largest number of teams as possible” and criticised the process by which the current engine regulations were shaped six years ago.

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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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  • 84 comments on “Top three teams are too far ahead, warns Brawn”

    1. Three teams fighting for the win is a lot more than what I had hoped for before the start of the season. F1 lucked into a competitive field with these 2017 regs and I hope they don’t tamper with the regulations too much before 2020.

      1. Dean Brickland
        1st August 2017, 17:20

        I hope they tamper massively and create a better level of competition. I want more drivers competing for the win. at the moment there are really only 5 with any credible chance of taking the championship but three that are currently fighting for it. i would like to see a closer battle. i see your point though. so far its on a rise in interest level compared to previous seasons.

        1. I “want” a unicorn burger for dinner. Somehow that doesn’t mean it’s likely that will ever happen though.

          1. @patrickl Restaurants won’t run out of business if they don’t serve unicorn burgers, provided they are still serving good beef burgers and steak. If F1 doesn’t serve good races then it does risk losing fans. People are hungry for good races but won’t starve without them.

            Having said that, I do partly agree with @paeschli, in that we have three competitive front teams (and a really exciting mid-field battle) and it’s great. Of course I’d love it to be better and closer between the front and the back, etc., but we should appreciate what we have too! It’s possible this season will be considered a classic one day, just like how we look at 2012, 2008, and 2007 so fondly!

            1. Strawman argument much?

              F1 doesn;t go out of business if a few fans walk away either. Buit then you already assume as a fact that fans walk away because “only” 3 top teams are figthing for the wins. The number of people watching F1 because of Sauber are numbered in the same amounts as people not visi9ting a restaurant because they don;t server unicorn burgers.

              Anyway, the point was that I’m getting a bit tired of people demanding change just because they think it’s needed. Just think for more than 5 seconds and instead of a tough bar talk some realism might seep in.

            2. It surely isn’t beyond the abilities and imaginations of the worlds
              best engineers to create a formula which rewards evenly
              and fairly without limiting open ( or shall we say fairly open ? )
              development. And which does not necessarily depend on
              stupendousfunding from bottomless purses ?

              Well, that was the premise on which F1 used to operate in the
              golden years. But it doesn’t seem to work today when the structure
              of 90% of auto engineering is funded by colossal conglomerates
              who choose their beneficiaries by their potential for the promotion
              of fairly unexciting ( hum-drum ? ) motor-cars.

              We all know that most companies seeking powerful market
              exposure do not see F1 as their best promotional bet any more.

              So where is this massive funding to come from in the future ?

          2. Dean Brickland (@)
            3rd August 2017, 1:21

            what are you talking about? Brawn literally said the gap is too big. doesnt that suggest change is coming or at least a desire for such from f1 management? if my desires are similar with those of f1 management how is that even remotely comparable to a unicorn burger?

        2. But remember, we shouldn’t do things to improve the show as I’ve heard railed on many times here. Messing the regs up so more teams are close to the front isn’t messing with the show cause you don’t like Team X or Driver Y??

        3. I hope they tamper massively…

          Yeah like they do in other sports. UBolt being forced to wear hobnailed boots to even out the pack and give someone else a chance. Like in swimming where they made Phelps and Spitz wear a lead weight to allow lesser people to have a chance at gold. It’s like listening to infants in the playground who have yet to grasp the meaning of competition. People walk away from F1 because it is not a sport. Rules change at anytime just like in the WWE. Can’t let Brock be champion for too long, cause it’s boring… Rinse and repeat.

    2. Thats the biggest problem of the season. While in front we have some kind of ontrack battle between Merc & Ferrari, the rest of the teams are far far away. RBR is just behind the top 2 but lacks that “extra”, that could put them in the championship battle. Unfortunately, F1 has become “Bugdet F1”, with McLaren just being out of position, with the well known Honda issues…

    3. And that was with Vettel being handicapped, holding RAI, BOT and HAM up. For sure without the steering problems, Vettel (and probably Kimi and Hamilton as well) would have been able to lap Alonso.

    4. Very true the gap to Alonso was massive. Yet another factor that is killing F1. Plus that hideous Halo.

      1. Don’t bring up the halo you might be beat on a little just bringing up facts

        1. What facts? All he or you had was opinions. Probably about the looks and nothing else…

    5. “Easy” solution: revamp the rules and then keep them as they are for a number of seasons (unless one team has some kind of advantage that potentially cannot be diminished easily, like the Mercedes PU), eventually leading to some kind of convergence in terms of design and/or speed. Of course, HOW to achieve this is a major problem as those damn engineers are a bit too clever.

      1. @kaiie Agree. Now about them rules.. :)

        1500 people at a team like currently is probably something that needs to addressed. Makes the current max 5 engine rule seem slightly meaningless.

        Generally approve of the steady but firm approach by Brawn.

    6. I think what Ross means is that the gap should reduce to a small extent (not become 0).

      Personally, I would also prefer if all teams remained on the lead lap at the end of the race without any safety car (especially at Barcelona).
      That way, the drivers also have a chance to make a difference. Also, the pecking order between cars will also change based on track layout, temperature. Will make for a very exciting season

    7. Hasn’t this been the case throughout F1 history?

      1. Yes it has. Unfortunately for F1, the world of media dissemination has changed markedly. No longer is F1 the only show in town in regards TV viewership of motor racing. Throughout history, most motor racing seen on TV or featured in the MSM news was F1.

        Not today, We can view live just about every form of motorsport via streamed feeds or dedicated channels, anything from NHRA to Nascar, Indycars, BTCC, DTM, Porsche Cup, V8Supercars, WRC, Motorcross, etc., etc.,etc.

        Heck, you can watch live a FF1600 race directly from Brazil if your fancy takes you. Or take in some winged sprint cars on dirt from Australia or some F5000 action from New Zealand.

        Not only is there more motorsport to watch, the presentation and the spectacle is superior to F1.

        F1 is in competition with far more forms of motorsport then ever before and no doubt Brawn is aware of this and trying to get F1 to be more competitive against a far greater volume of alternative motorsport action available to the public.

        1. It’s not just competition across motorsport but entertainment in general. When people do tune in to F1 it has to be a hell of a lot more exciting on average than it is now.

          Just on that note, DotA2 The International tournament starts this week. The sport is completely different, but 16 teams qualifying from around the world on merit where any team genuinely has the chance to win the lions share of a ~20 million dollar prize-pool. Which anyone can watch and play for free…

          The games will come and go over the years, but this is the premise F1 has to fight against in the long run.

    8. By the time they get around to fixing this mess, how many fans will still be watching? Most will have long ago fallen asleep and forgotten that F1 exists and once pretended to be a racing series.

      Get a move on or nobody will be left to notice.

      1. Especially as next year is the last one with any sort of free TV coverage.
        The BBC already don’t cover it in sports news, so when C4 quite at the end of next season, what little coverage there is will vanish.

        1. Acting like television news is still relevant. Cute…

    9. Stable rules are what’s needed to give teams a chance to close in on each other. The roll of the dice with the new rules temporarily gave Ferrari an advantage, but they were already closing in on Mercedes who were reaching the point of diminishing returns under the old rules. The new cars yet again allows them to flex their development muscle.

      Unfortunately I don’t think these rules will last long. The cars are already blisteringly quick, and heavy. A few years of aero upgrades will put us back in dangerous speed territory and we’ll get yet another roll of the rule dice.

      1. @philipgb right coupled with the stupid PU token system that slowed down Renault and Ferrari’s development!

    10. That is the result of the rules.
      It was all to expensive so no more spare car(s), no qualifying engines, no testteam, very limited testing on track and
      computational fluid dynamical.
      The introduction of standardized components and removal of multiple tire manufactures removing the possibility of runner-ups to excel in some area and make up time that way.
      And then extremely expensive engines, so the customer teams have no more money left and never get the best engine.

      Result factory teams are far far ahead at the start, and by the time the teams finally start to close the gap the rules change again.

      1. no testteam, very limited testing on track and computational fluid dynamical.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Schumacher#2000.E2.80.932004:_World_Championship_years ?

    11. This is only the result of years of bad sport management in F1, for Ecclestone most important was the economic aspect, not the sport, he only paid attention in two or three teams, the other teams did not exist.
      I hope that the new owners of F1 can have a better value between the commercial and the sport, this would definitely improve the show.
      I would like to see 80% of the cars finish in the same lap as the winner.

    12. Does it matter the gap would close down if overtaking is not possible? I mean, we’d just get one longer train instead of a more spread out field.

      1. That is a very very important point. Overtaking would infact get even more difficult if the delta between cars’ performance is reduced.

        1. Yes but pilot will have a chance to make a difference and slow their overtaking skills

          1. Good point @pyon , and one mistake could leave someone vulnerable to being passed by more cars.

            1. Is is technically possible for cars with different specs to overtake?

              Let’s say you remove all sorts of turbulence, and high reliance on mechanical grip. Would such a case permit overtaking ?

              Where I am coming from is whether it is possible to combine sustained close racing in a non spec series?

            2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
              2nd August 2017, 11:25

              The answer is yes. It is possible to combine sustained close racing in a non spec series.

              The crux of the the problem is aero. If the aero rules allow cars to follow closely in corners there will be more overtaking. Simple as that. Don’t let anyone tell you different. I’ve raced cars with and without aero and I know this to be true.

              F1 is partly formula, partly spec. For example, the aero is built to a formula, tyres and ECU are spec.

              The more intelligently the formula is defined the closer it becomes to spec.

              Therefore if the aero rules were rewritten they could be formulated to give a cleaner aero wake. That means non-spec cars that can follow more closely… and that what we need!!

            3. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk Fair comment, but I don’t think it is simple. They want to retain aero downforce to maintain high speeds in F1, and any car that works better in clean air, is always going to be negatively affected in dirty air. The hard part, or else they would have solved it by now, is having the gains of downforce without it harming close racing so adversely. And they don’t want it to be a spec series, and they don’t want spending to be out of control either.

              Not easy but I have a ton of faith in Brawn that they will improve things. There’s hardly a person more aware of what needs to be addressed, and with his mandate he is in a neutral position not influenced by any one team’s own interests affecting the future.

            4. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
              3rd August 2017, 16:36

              Well said.

              I have faith in Brawn to significantly address the dirty air issue.

              There needs to be a study and experimentation into this surely? We hear that underbody aero is less susceptible to dirty air but where is the evidence?

              If it was up to me we’d have much more ground effect. Much less overbody aero. Much bigger tyres (yes again) with softer compounds. Much more power and reduce min weight to 580kg. Provided the cars were roughly as fast as the current ones It would be the way to go.

    13. the only way to address the teams that have the most money winning all the time is to introduce a budget cap. No team able to spend more than 50 million a season for example.

      But then you can kiss goodbye to the manufacturer teams who are there for business reasons and cannot be seen to be loosing to the competition.

      I would say good riddance to them but I doubt that Liberty want to see mercedes and ferrari leave.

      1. Well if you pick the budget limit a bit higher then the top teams will still have some margin over the smaller teams. Just not so much as they have now. Top teams can spend half a billion while the smaller ones are at a third or fifth of that.

        Give everybody a max of say 250 million (slowly reduced over several years) and they should be able to make damn good cars still.

        Less budget also means the regulations can be more open since they won’t develop so fast towards dangerous speeds. Also less need for standardized parts to “cut costs” (which never worked).

      2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        2nd August 2017, 11:52

        Budget caps will never work. Teams will always find ways to spend money to gain an advantage.

        The only way to get parity of performance is to formulate the rules such that parity is more likely. Okay, I hear you say, “this sounds like a spec series” but it doesn’t have to be if the rule makers get their act together.

        First off, two of the biggest performance differentiators are tyres (spec) and ECU (spec). More performance differentiators could be made spec, like front and rear wings, suspension etc. (Argghh!) or better still those same performance differentiators could be more tightly formulated. In other words the rules re-written so that parts can be individually designed and used but the rules are such that its much harder to gain an advantage.

        1. That’s such a ridiculous arngument. If it was that easy to circumvent fiunancial checks then no body would be paying taxes.

          Or if you think regulations don’t work other, then why have technical regulations? The teams are constantly working to look for ways to circumvent the limitations of those regulations. Therefore they will NEVER work. Yet in practice they do. It’s not an iron clad guarantee that things won’t go wrong, but enforcing a budget limit would be just as effective as technical regulations are now and it would a hell of a lot more effective than what we have now with spec parts as “cost reductions”.

          It’s funny how you paint the doom and gloom that would result of trying to cut costs by making the regulation more “spec” and then you still propose doing that. If anything is nonensical then it’s turning F1 into a spec series. Nobody wants that. It does not reduce costs either.

          1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
            2nd August 2017, 16:17

            My argument is not ridiculous it is perfectly sound. Rather than be impolite and call your counter argument ridiculous I’ll just say I don’t agree with it :).

            Many companies don’t pay their taxes. Haven’t you been watching the news lately? The bigger the company the more it has to gain by tax avoidance or evasion.

            Here’s a reason why budgets won’t work. Mercedes own a multitude of companies, many of which in turn own smaller companies, many of which have reciprocal trading agreements. Amongst all of the many transactions which happen between these companies it would be easy for a company to legitimately sell an expensive component at a fraction of it’s cost to the F1 team. Mercedes could then side step the budget restriction by hiding the cost in the financial books of a company the FIA has no authority over.

            There are so many ways to work around a budget cap there its not worth going through them all. Trust me.

            I didn’t say technical regulations don’t work. They mostly do. I just think they can be improved to help reduce cost by making cheaper solutions as competitive as more expensive ones.

            I wasn’t painting doom and gloom at the possibility of spec parts, I was inferring people don’t seem to like that approach. You and me both. I don’t want a spec series nor did I say I did. I was just pointing out it would save costs. That is demonstrably true, just look at indycar. Its not as good as F1 but it is cheaper and closer . I’d prefer tighter regulation to more spec parts.

            The main thing is we all love F1 and keep watching. Eventually it will get back to its best.

    14. It seems ironic that F1 is giving those same dominant Top Three teams the most money. Together they will get $512M for last season, an average of $171M per team, while the other 7 teams will get $427M, an average of $61M per team. The performance of Red Bull Racing, who get paid more than their engine manufacturer does, shows that extra money does buy better performance.
      One way to encourage more equal performance would be to have a more equal payout system, e.g. stop the extra bonuses, heritage bonuses, and such like special agreements, leaving just the Constructors’ Championship result and the “Column 1” equal payout to qualifying teams (I think it should be all teams, but that is for another time). These extra payouts add up to $291M. If this was divided up equally amongst the teams (including Haas) it would give the bottom 7 an additional $29.1M, meaning an average team payout of $90.1M, while it would reduce the income of the top three to a combined total of $349.3, an average payout of $116.3M. On the basis that money buys performace, it would mean the dominant top three teams would have a reduced performance while the other 7 teams had an improved performance.
      I believe that Haas should have been paid the same way as all the other teams because they completed a full season, not that paltry $19M.
      Source:https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/revealed-formula-1-team-payments-for-2017-903197/

      1. So the lower teams would get 29 million extra. So instead of half a billion versus 100million it would now be 470 million versus 130 million. Do you really think that would solve anything?

        In reality it’s even more likely that those smaller teams would just spend less effort on getting money from elsewhere and the budget cap would be the same again. They are there mostly to survive and make a living for the people that work there. Not to win races or even to compete with the top teams.

        1. @patrickl Your argument is almost right, but you’re pointing at the wrong end of the grid. Instead of saying the bottom of the grid needs to prove itself, it is the top of the grid that needs to prove itself. Currently they have the most income and can afford to buy the best technology, the best designers, the best engineers, etc. If the top three are really as good as we think they are then reducing their income won’t stop them being the best, it will just mean other teams have more opportunity to prove they are just as good.
          Ross Brawn said “… the sport needs to look at narrowing these performance gaps because, in the long term, it can become unsustainable”. It seems to me he believes F1 needs better competition or ultimately F1 will become insignificant as a racing series and loose its purpose. My argument is a fairer payout methodology will give better competition.

          1. @drycrust, Not sure how your reply is related to my post.

            You claimed moving 29 million from the top teams to the smaller teams will reduce the performance gap. That’s simply not true. The gap is too big for such a small amount to make a significant impact. It’s that simple.

            The gap will close by a few tenths perhaps, but the race results won’t change. A team spending 130 million is not going to beat a team spending 470million. That’s no different from a team spending 500 vs 100 million.

            Perhaps instead of 120 seconds behind hey will now be 100 seconds behind or perhaps 90, but they will still be miles behind. So who cares?

    15. He can talk the talk, but will the walk match?

    16. The ‘franchise’ idea from Liberty is great, but will be difficult to implement.

      I assume they are talking about how the NBA (and other US leagues) runs. Simply said there’s 30 franchise spots. Each franchise is owned by privately or a group. The total NBA revenue is devided 50/50 between the league (made up of 30 owners) and the players. The owners get 1/30 of ‘their’ 50% to run their franchise with (arena, offices etc. and profit) and then recieve 1/30 of the players 50% as a salary budget (that’s how the ‘players share’ gets distributed to the players). This year each team has about $100m they can sign players with for their team. They can choose to sign 3 players for $25m a year per, but they then have only $25m to sign the other 9 they need to get to the minimum of 12 players. Now, there’s a lot of twists and turns here but this is the basics. In essence, each team has the same budget to compete with.

      In F1 that would mean all the revenue that teams now individually earn through sponsorship/merchandise etc needs to go into one big pot with the F1 revenue from the series sponsors, TV deals and hosting fee’s. Then let’s say there’s 12 franchises created that can be bought (basically buying a spot to participate) and the total F1 revenue would be devided by 12 and then you have your capped budget. Teams can then decide how much from their (equal) share they want to use for R&D, drivers, motorhomes etc. The teams also get an equal share of the series profit at the end of the year (which cannot be reinvested in the team)

      A great system but how are you going to convince Ferrari to forgo all revenue and then buy a franchise slot called ‘Ferrari’. They can earn much, much more from being their own team. Also, how are you going to factor in the money team owners pump into their teams themselves (Ferrari sells cars and allocates money to the F1 team, same with Mercedes and McLaren whilst RedBull are putting large sums into their own team and Toro Rosso. Williams has their technology department that generates money for the F1 team whilst teams like Sauber don’t have this income stream).

      To me it feels like the best system to force a budget cap on teams like with European football (soccer) the sport is currently setup in an entirely different way and I don’t see how you can change the fundament so drastically without the big teams protesting and possibly leaving.

      1. Problem is it is very easy to control team transfers fees for players, but close to impossible to control spending in factories all over the world.

        @jeffreyj

        1. Not if every dime spend goes through a FOM controlled finance group. The differences in facilities (or investment in facilities) remains though.

    17. I don’t remember Ross complaining about this issue when Michael S. and Ferrari were beating the snot out of everyone else for the greater part of 7 years. One giant step that would go a long way to make the playing field a tad more even would be how the constructors money is allocated. What happen to that complaint filed with the anti competition EU people about this very issue??? Thanks, RacerNorriski

      1. Yeah the 100 million Ferrari bonus they got from FIA and FOM really meant a lot in those days. Basically they paid to keep Ferrari at the top. Even if that extra money failed to keep them there FIA just went against their own stewards to make sure Ferrari would still win and ban technical innovations on other cars.

        Those were really the darkest years of F1.

        1. @patrickl
          Ferrari dominance was stopped in 2005 by a stupid tyre rule and their main strength which was unlimited testing was banned in 2009. Yes those were the darkest years of F1.

    18. Top 3 have figured out how to implement “active” suspension under the rules. That was expensive.

      Bring back active suspension and you go a long way to leveling the field.

      1. If you bring back active suspension you actually risk giving the top teams an even bigger advantage because the top teams will simply develop more sophisticated active systems just as was the case in the early 90’s.

        A big chunk of Williams performance advantage in 1992/1993 was there active suspension system been so far ahead of anyone else’s & the technology was so expensive that over half of the grid couldn’t afford to run it. You often had a 4 second gap between 1st-10th in qualifying & a big chunk of that was down to the cars at the front having good active systems & those further back either not having an active system or haven’t one that was far less advanced.

        Not to mention what the result of an active suspension failure is or the additional dangers that are introduced for mechanics working on the cars with these high pressure systems on the cars (See Steve Matchett’s book) and the fact that some drivers hated how the active systems gave them less feel/feedback for what the car was doing (Was it Prost or Senna that said active cars felt numb to drive due to giving less feedback?).

    19. The irony is it was Brawn himself who built such a dominant Mercedes team. He wasn’t there to be a part of the success, but it was essentially his creation and team that did it.

      This doesn’t mean anything, just a bit of trivia!

      1. No he wasn’t. The team became the success it is now when Toto Wolfd took over and he and Lauda agreed with Mercedes to properly try to win and attract a top F1 driver and increase the budget accordingly.

        1. @patrickl
          I find your comment very strange, I don’t know if it is short or selective memory (I know that is not the point) because the Mercedes F1 was actually built by Brawn himself.
          Brawn actually sold his team to Mercedes, after that he was appointed as team principle. All the key staff in the Mercedes F1 team were recruited by Brawn himself (Bob Bell, Aldo Costa,
          Geoff Willis, Paddy Lowe….) . With all my respects but Lauda and Wolff would have never been able to convince these engineers to work for them. That was pure Brawn theater.
          Another thing is that Brawn was also involved with the FIA in defining the baseline of the 2014 regulations, so you can tell from where the Mercedes advantage is coming from….
          On the other hand, Lauda and Wolf technically speaking (with all my respects again) are nothing compared to Brawn.

      2. @strontium To be fair though he did win in 2009 with a Honda creation without Honda to enjoy it with him.

    20. The gaps between teams is nothing new & for as long as you have multiple engine suppliers & teams designing there own cars you are always going to see performance differences through the field which at times will be quite large.

      I’m coming up on 30 years of following F1 & for maybe 90-95% of those years the gaps between teams have been pretty much as they are now. In fact lets not forget that the gaps in 2017 aren’t even as big as they were in the past.

      The only way to guarantee you have small gaps & close competition on a consistent basis is to start going down the spec series route or coming up with gimmicks to artificially keep the field close. However if you do any of that then it’s no longer F1.

      1. Why does f1 consider a spec series taboo?

    21. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      1st August 2017, 23:25

      Brawn is wrong – the issue is not the gap between the teams. The issue is that the cars cannot pass each other. In fact the gap to be larger between teams…

      The Mercs seem to be unable to take the fight to the Ferraris or Red Bulls on track. Many claim it’s the fastest car but if it is the fastest car then it should be able to pass. Granted, Bottas was able to pass the Williams at Baku on the 20 kilometer straight. Even so it was Mercedes VS Williams, not Mercedes VS Ferrari…

      Vettel has made a few passes, most notably the pass on Ocon but it was a Ferrari versus a Force India and it was not the cleanest pass and led to Ocon heading into the grass – which is what happens anytime anyone tries to pass anyone with these cars…

      I think the issue that F1 Racing has become F1 Driving more so than racing.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        1st August 2017, 23:29

        Pardon the errors:
        the gap needs to be larger between teams…
        &
        I think the issue is that F1 Racing has become F1 Driving…

        1. @freelittlebirds Brawn is right. About gaps between teams. A field where the traditional ‘lesser’ teams is closer, perhaps a race run with nobody lapped by the end, is a healthier more enthralling field to watch, with the lesser teams more inspired that they can bridge the smaller gaps to the ones ahead of them, and with an audience that can hold more hope for their driver/team.

          That does not mean he is unaware of the cars’ difficulty in dirty air. They are two separate issues tied together and are being addressed by Brawn and his team as we speak. That’s his mandate. It’s been half a season. A season that Liberty/Brawn weren’t yet in charge to affect. Can he have a minute to make F1 better?

      2. @freelittlebirds, True and it’s sad that they actually changed the rules to make the racing “better”. Yet it has done quite the opposite. As usual though.

        Hamilton had an issue in Q3 with his tyres so he got a bad result. In all other sessions he was half a second (or more) faster than Bottas, so you’d expect a fight to the front as he had shown a few years ago. But as Hamilton already predicted, that never happened because there is no overtaking possible this season.

        In this case it’s also the track though.

    22. They also need to be able to overtake, which is why we need new aero regs.

    23. There’s only one solution. A spending cap. But the will is not there.

    24. Would it be accurate to characterise the desire of wanting sustained close competition yet not a spec series be considered to the equivalent of squaring the circle ?

      Case in point – look at formula 2. I think that no one disagrees that there are capability differences in formula 2 drivers. Yet formula 2 cars can usually be on the same lap at the end of the race, and gaps between drivers are measured in seconds rather than minites or laps. This goes to show how much a spec series is likely necessary to achieve close competition.

      There are some imperfections with this comparison , one of which is that formula 2 races are shorter so the differences are not as magnified as compared go over a longer race distance. Nonetheless overall it is important to assess whether it is possible to achieve sustained close competition in a non spec series.

      What am I missing in the thought process?

      1. Well the spread is quite substantial even in F2. Even doing only half the distance of F1, they still have cars a lap down.

    25. Hassnol Zulkarnaen Harun
      2nd August 2017, 7:25

      how about
      1. introduce safety car mid race so cars can be in the same lap again
      or
      2. shorter race lap
      or
      3. elimination race where last 5 cars are black flag after certain lap

      1. Yeezy918 (@)
        2nd August 2017, 9:23

        How about no to all three. The goal should be levelling performance and reducing dirty aero, not gimmicks piled upon more gimmicks that turn a sport into a lottery.

        1. +1. No need for artificial excitement boosters as suggested above, DRS and what have you… all we need is a budget cap on engine dev and a rethink of the aero on the front wing (as in less aero for millimeter slipstreaming another car)

    26. Feal F1 should be about getting a car around a race track faster (a lot faster) than any other series… the top of motorsports… so its okay for a big difference then its like competetion between drivers getting a top seat is exciting for fans to (like Bottas suddenly getting a top seat)..

    27. Cost control for equality and less aero front wing for close racing. Don’t understand what the hold up is..

    28. steve (@fandangopants)
      2nd August 2017, 9:55

      I wonder how Honda feels about new engine regs for 2020 after spending the last few years and untold £millions on trying to make a competitive engine? They might as well give up on further R&D now if it’s going to be wasted effort in a few years time.

    29. No way this will change without spec chassis or performance penalties.

      It is a problem yes. Some teams are plainly better at everything. Makes racing less good of a show.

      But atleast we now have 2-3 teams that can fight for win, last 3 years was mostly just 1 team.

      I say performance penalties for the win. Maybe allow slower teams larger wings, more fuel flow, anything.

    30. It’s all well and good stating the obvious. Time to move from platitudes to remedial measures.

      1. Not sure how long Brawn is going to keep making plans instead of presenting and implementing them. I guess the FIA politics and the fact that he has to have them on board is slowing things down beyond what is understandable for us spectators. We all know where it needs to go, it’s really not rocket science: Cost control for equality and less aero front wing for close racing.

        1. Evil Homer (@)
          2nd August 2017, 14:32

          He hasnt been top dog for too long so give him a bit of a chance.
          F1 may be now where it needs to be but its not as broken as some seem to think.
          If anyone can fix it, Ross Brawn in No.1 – no doubt there, but it will take some time- its all good !

    31. So ‘in conclusion’ the possible solutions are

      1. Better resource distribution or budget cap
      Quick verdict: probably a good idea but it might be difficult to implement and police, especially at short notice.

      2. Tighter regulations to closer resemble a spec series
      Quick verdict: F1 has always been an engineering challenge first, so a spec series goes against its very essence.

      3. Performance penalties for the quickest contestants
      Quick verdict: Probably good for the average thread length on this blog, but I think not many fans will like it. Probably a snake pit for politics as well.

      So there doesn’t seem to be a quick fix, but let me at least run one more idea by you all:

      4: No more technical secrets
      Force all teams to reveal their car designs after the last race of the season and before the christmas holidays. Have them compile a complete report specifying every part they used, when they used it, with fully dimensioned drawings included. Publish the reports from all teams on a publically accessible website.

      This actually adresses all arguments from ‘solution 1, 2 and 3’.
      -It can be implemented today.
      -It is very low cost.
      -Teams can still gain an advantage, but winning technologies will only be a secret for a season max.
      -Teams can copy to goods stuff from each other without fear of a spygate, the performance gap is likely to decrease.
      -Still, the smartest engineers will still be one step ahead.
      -It’s interesting stuff for the (technically inclined) fans.
      -New teams may get up to speed much quicker.
      etc

      And if it turns out that an annual report after the season is not good enough (lead times on parts for the new car etc), you can always add a midterm report in the summer break.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        2nd August 2017, 12:44

        Regarding you possible solutions,

        1. Better resource distribution or budget cap.
        My Verdict: Better distribution is a must. Budget cap is impossible to police. Its a non starter.

        2. Tighter regulations to closer resemble a spec series.
        My Verdict: F1 has NEVER been an engineering challenge first. The racing comes first, crossing the line first the goal. Based on the rules we currently have the engineering challenge has become a means to this end bu it doesn’t have to be. F1 is already spec for some of the biggest performance differentiators (tyres and ECU). More parts could be. Better still make spending money less effective by formulating the rules more intelligently. In other words your aforementioned ‘Tighter Regulation’.

        3. Performance penalties for the quickest contestants
        My verdict: No way this is a sport, the best should win. Sure there is room for sporting regulation allowances for new teams, such as more testing, allowing customer cars or major components.

        4: No more technical secrets
        My Verdict: I like this. I like this a lot. Not so sure Mercedes and Ferrari will but hey if the sport is cheaper there will be loads of teams waiting to take their place. Plus it might give them a new market. If they have to share their secrets maybe they would just bite the bullet and make those secret components and sell them to the other teams!

        All good fun.

    32. When has it ever been any different!? This is the nature of the beast. Remind how far ahead Brawn GP were at the start of that season. We didn’t see Ross saying “This is unacceptable”.

      This is F1. It is what it is. There will always be someone with an edge. Right now we have a battle at the top. It hasn’t been this good for years!

      1. Well, yeas and no. There does seem to have been a larger number of winning cars in each season in the past.
        Because I was a bit bored, I looked the results for the past forty years (1977 – 2016 on Wikipedia and compared the number of different winning cars over the number of races in each season. Please note that this ignores the number of entrants and the different drivers; it’s only the number of different cars that have won races in each season. The range is from 7 different winning cars over 16 races in 1982, down to just 2 winning cars over 21 races last year. With the exception of 2012 (6 different winning cars over 20 races), the trend has been pretty well downward since the late nineties.
        Overall and on average there has been 3.7 different winning cars in each season over the past forty years.
        The ‘golden’ age with a variety of different cars winning the GP’s seems to have run from 1976 to about 1988 during which there was an average of 4.92 winning constructors in each season.
        The converse is that in seasons since 2009, there has been an average of 3.14 winning constructors in a season. For the last three (complete) seasons of course, there have only been 2 winning cars in each season.
        It certainly seems that winning a race in a season has been concentrated in a smaller number of teams as the years have passed.

        1. Excellent post…

    33. In my opinion rules should be:
      Principles F1 should follow: 1. safety 2. close racing 3. world’s fastest cars 4. efficiency 5. optimizing 1-4 points.The most fans want to see close racing among the best drivers in the fastest cars. How can we solve it? This is, decision makers and engineers should work for. I think it isn’t impossible.
      Some possibilities we have to consider:
      1. Less differences between cars in lap times. Some teams are better in PU and others in aero but we need less differences in lap times. I think we should introduce +weight/point system in short term (for example +20dkg/point or ~+0,5 pound/point, less or more) because it is a simple, cheap, fast, effective solution to decrease dominance and differences and we don’t need unification or freeze development. Smaller teams get the same PU as manufacturers. Decrease money/revenue allocation differences. I think it would be ideal if cars are close to each other in lap times but some cars are faster in straight and others are faster in corners. The slower teams get more test days.
      2. Less dirty air in corners but fast cars: more mechanical grip, less or same aero downforce, the sport needs make it easier for cars to follow each other closely during races
      A, simpler front wing B, (more effective diffuser) C, better tyres D, more powerful and effective PUs (natural development) without token system E, slight changes in technical regulation year by year (differences will naturally decrease) and more freedom in development until regulations allow F, DRS? (open DRS time/race and drivers manage it) G, refuelling? (Cars can be faster and drivers could push harder during races but there would be less safety and more ’overtaking during the pit stops’) H, narrow cars I, less weight
      3. Increasing the role of drivers: A, drivers make decisions on strategy B, less radio instructions from engineers to drivers during races (maybe only safety reasons) C, minimum weight for drivers (for example 80kg with ballast less or more) but no limit for cars D, push on the limit as long as possible, and save (fuel, tyres, PU) as short as possible -> faster lap times during races E, It should be more challenging to drive physically and mentally
      And what else…?
      Let’s see the advantages and disadvantages of +weight/point system in short term. (+20dkg/point, less or more)
      Advantages: 1. Less differences between cars in lap time and close racing. 2. Fast, cheap, simple, effective solution. 3. We don’t need unification or freeze development 4. Finally the best team wins.
      Disadvantages: 1. Unfair? I don’t think (or partly) because finally win the best and if you have the best team and car you have to work harder to remain the best.

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