F1 should have the 20 best drivers – Brawn

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Formula One’s managing director for motorsports Ross Brawn is concerned too many drivers owe their places in F1 to “commercial reasons”.

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Comment of the day

Should there be a ‘world engine’ specification for different championships? Gary isn’t convinced:

Spec racing is the problem, not the solution.

Hitching the wagon to automobile OEMs is the problem, not the solution.

Thinking F1 needs to be “road relevant” (see OEMs) is the problem, not the solution.

This is not hard, but F1 will never get to where it needs to be – or even survive past 2026 – unless it detaches itself from the automobile manufacturers.

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On this day in F1

  • Piero Taruffi died on this day in 1988

Author information

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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45 comments on “F1 should have the 20 best drivers – Brawn”

  1. That font…..argh my eyes!!!!!!

    1. I like it actually, reminds me the wipeout game font somehow :)
      Maybe floating cars is what we’re heading to :)

      1. @spoutnik my thoughts exactly the first time I saw the logo ; )

    2. @bamboo Yeah not a fan of the font either, I find it harder to read for some reason (Especially the A’s?).

      I also still hate the logo, Still don’t see it as reading F1.

      At least it’s saving my wallet as I have no interest at all in buying anything with the new logo on it so thats a positive :)

      1. not a fan of the font either, () I have no interest at all in buying anything with the new logo on it

        So you’re more like an F1FontFanatic then ;)

        Maybe an idea for the new name for this community, @KeithCollantine?

    3. It’s very late 90s Designers Republic / Wipeout.

      I’m not sure, I think the whole things beginning to grow on me. It’s different. Maybe I’m mental?

    4. @bamboo Agreed! It looks like the kind of tacky font you see on menu screens for amateur video games that kids bombard Steam Greenlight with. They could at least reduce the horizontal scale of the characters, looks like it’s been stretched out. I’m all for having character in branding but to me it just looks a bit too 1990s-sci-fi.

      They say they’re trying to modernise the F1 brand with the logo/font change, but to me it comes across as the equivalent of an out-of-touch middle-aged marketing board who think that using words like “cool!” and “rad!” in their ads is the only way to connect with kids.

      Maybe I’m just a bit too cynical and reading too much into it, but as someone who does motion graphics design I just can’t help it!

      1. @ninjenius – Your bang on with the second paragraph – it’s rubbish really – but like the Halo I am just trying to look a the positives.

  2. Dear F1Fanatic,

    In your round-up sections, please do not include links to stories that are behind a ‘paywall’ of a third party website such as you did today with the “How sport will change in 2018, part four: Making F1 competitive again (The Telegraph)” link.

    If you must do this (for commercial reasons etc..) please have the courtesy to mark the link as such, so that your users do not waste their time going to an article that they cannot access without a paying.

    1. Ye I find it a bit annoying as well.

    2. That article isn’t behind a paywall, it requires a registration. That should have been noted and is now.

      1. Don’t sweat it too much. I’m actually OK with links to paywall protected articles, just as long as it is marked as such. (you generally do)

      2. F1F should have the 20 best article links.
        an F1Fanatic commenter is concerned too many articles owe their places in the F1F round-up for “commercial reasons”.

        1. It is meant to be a comprehensive review of the week’s media – you can choose which articles you want to read.

  3. I think its quite nice HAM is having a break from social media, it may be the longest period he hasnt been in trouble because of it for a while.

    1. @brawngp He would’ve never gotten ”in trouble” in the first place had he nor anyone else not make an unnecessarily big fuss about that particular post. People get offended too easily these days for even the smallest of things, LOL.

      1. I totally agree and am deeply offended my your comment :-P

        1. This proofs that “being offended” is a choice. This of course contrary to “being shot”, which is only a choice if it is a question of preference contrary to “being hanged” in case of an execution. In my opinion there are to many people publicly “hanged” for minor offenses these days. Spotlight Lewis is one of them. One can just wonder why.

          1. The people who were offended were the people who complained about those calling Lewis Hamilton on his comments.

      2. @jerejj even Keith joined in the overreaction on this one. So over the top, if anyone were to be offended it would be the childs parents and everyone else should have minded their own business.

  4. F1 has always had pay drivers and I don’t think it is a necessarily bad thing. There have been some good pay drivers Niki Lauda was one and didn’t Schumacher and Alonzo start as pay drivers?
    As far as saying that F1 should have the best drivers well that’s always going to be subjective. We can never directly compare a F1 driver to others as they require different skills.

    1. For me the term ‘pay drivers’ refers to drivers who wouldn’t otherwise make the grid if it wasn’t for their backing. Plenty of drivers come with sponsorship, sure, such as the ones you mentioned and many others, but that was not the primary reason they obtained their seats and it is highly likely they would have made the grid irrespective.

      1. @aussierod, in the case of Lauda, the only way that he could make it onto the grid in the first place was by paying for a seat (having to pay multiple times for a seat in fact). As for Alonso, Telefonica, who were his personal sponsor at the time and had been sponsoring Minardi, were actively involved in brokering his seat at the team; Schumacher’s entry, meanwhile, was financially assisted given that other drivers had to be paid off in order to create a space for Schumacher.

        I do agree with @johnrkh that some people seem to like to shift what they define as a pay driver when they want to criticise some drivers. He also has a point that there have been times when people have been swift to dismiss drivers as “pay drivers” and said they shouldn’t belong, only to then conveniently forget that criticism in later years – I remember how Perez, for example, was dismissed by a number of people as a “pay driver” because of his backing from Telmex when he joined Sauber, but most now consider him a solid performer for Force India.

    2. The kind of pay drivers you are talking about are the likes of verstappen (redbull), ricciardo (redbull), vettel (redbull), vandoorne (mclaren), hamilton (mclaren). These are not pay drivers. These are top of the line competitive drivers coming through the ranks with the help of the money and connections of these big teams who want to get first dibs on new talent. It is nonsensical to group these with the ericssons and strolls who pay for their seat and who would not be in f1 otherwise.

      A pay driver is someone like ericsson or stroll. Someone no one would hire unless they paid millions and millions for their seat. That’s tje definition of pay driver. I’d guess you could call them gentleman drivers even though they usually bring sponsorship money. Not necessarily their own money although some rich kids are known to buy their seat plus additional development driving sessions with their parent’s hard cash…

      1. Socksolid
        Agreed. So long as the economics of F1 (income disparity) is not addressed seriously, the frankly awful pay drivers mentioned, will get on on the grid. For the midfield teams, and those at the back, the risk of a clearly sub standard driver, paying for his seat is worth taking. Their survival may depend on it.

      2. @socksolid I think teams would have been looking at Stroll even if he didn’t have as much financial backing behind him because he did let’s not forget win the FIA F3 championship in 2016 in a season where he not only showed some exceptional speed but also great racecraft with some brilliant drives from the back.

        Maybe he wouldn’t have got to F1 in 2017 without the money he has, But his performance in the junior categories would have got F1 teams interested in him (He had in fact already seen interest from Ferrari) & if he had continued to show the sort of pace he had been in GP3/F2 he almost certainly would have got to F1 on performance alone.

        1. His F3 stuff is almost non-comparable because how much money they spent doing development on the car. His father bought a top team for him, had williams set up their simulator for f3 and paid lots of money to have the f3 car tested in wind tunnels so they had the best possible car for every race. I mean this is not a coincidence:

          1. @socksolid @george You could say the same of quite a few drivers in junior series that have ties to the bigger F1 teams.

            At the time Lance was at Prema in F3 he was a Ferrari development driver & both he & the Prema team were indeed getting support from Ferrari engineer’s…… However it was no more or less than what any other driver in the Ferrari young driver program was/continues to get.

            In fact many of the same Ferrari engineer’s that were placed with Stroll during his F3 program with Prema in 2016 were moved to Prema’s GP2 program in 2016 to work with Antonio Giovinazzi who was also a part of the Ferrari young driver program.

            This sort of thing has been happening for at least the last 15 years, The various teams Lewis Hamilton drove for prior to F1 for instance were getting quite a lot of technical/engineering assistance from Mclaren & I can remember more than 1 GP2 team in 2006 been extremely unhappy about it, However since nothing was said/done by GP2 officials it’s something that carried on.

          2. were moved to Prema’s GP2 program in 2016 to work with Antonio Giovinazzi

            That should read there 2017 program with Charles Leclerc.

          3. @gt-racer
            The difference in what hamilton got from mclaren and what stroll got from williams was that mclaren chose to invest in hamilton’s career and help him in case they later want to employ him because he was promising young driver. Stroll paid money to williams. Williams was hired by stroll to make his car better. It is totally different thing. Totally different.

        2. @stefmeister @socksolid
          Not to mention arguably the worst driver on the grid last year (Palmer) won the top feeder series. I think the level of driving currently is very high, Ericsson gets a bad rap but he’s a pretty solid driver, he’s shown well against two drivers better rated than himself in Nasr and Wehrlein. Sure there are probably a few outside F1 who are better than him, but would they want to drive that dog Sauber put out last year?

      3. Someone is always paying for a driver in the supporting series, or a seat in f1. Guess there i a handful on the grid that doesn’t bring any money.
        What I can’t understand is that many see money from Redbull, Ferrari, Mercedes etc. as ok, but money from private companies/sponsors as not.

        You have to have some talent to even get noticed to be able to attract some sponsors.
        Why is Mateschitz (Redbull owner) money better than Povlsen (Owner Bestseller & KMag sponsor)?
        It must actually be better to have a private sponsor, then you have more flexibility. Must be a lot of pressure to deliver all the time. Just look at the recent failures of Kvyat, Giovinazzi, Wehrlein… You can be out in the cold in a split second.

    3. People are constantly being betrayed by recency bias. The idea of a glorious past diametrically different from the present poisons our judgments quite often.

  5. Is it just me, or did anyone seriously think Cosworth were going to get into F1 as a supplier from 2021? I would go one stage further, and say not even Aston Martin, (or all bluster as I now call them) are on the face of it, financially capable of joining F1 unless someone else is paying for it. In the case of Cosworth, they have the technical know how to succeed but not the money, with Aston, they don’t even make their own for their cars, which answers that question.

    1. I must admit I was surprised that Aston Martin thought they could build an F1 engine. Building any engine is difficult, a high performance engine is more difficult, building an F1 engine is extremely difficult. F1 engines operate are in a niche right in the middle of the “don’t go” zone in engine design, so not only is the design very finicky, it is very difficult to get it working correctly. The compression ratio used in an F1 engine is 30 to 1, which is higher than even that used in diesel engines. None of the current F1 engine manufacturers were able to make their engines without specialist help, e.g. Mahle, Mario Illien, etc.

  6. Yes Ross, so if you could help distribute the wealth better, the likes of Sauber and Williams wouldn’t have to resort to pay drivers

    1. Actually, Williams is a recipient of those extra payments.

      1. Deep down we know he meant Sauber and Force India

  7. I think you’ll find F1 should have the 26 best drivers Mr Brawn, but even with pay drivers you can’t fill up the grid…

    It’s never going to be a cheap sport, pay drivers as an issue are not fixable unless miraculously it becomes a viable business model to advertise on the side of a car that people see for a split second once a fortnight instead of Facebook where people’s faces are glued even during the race.

    And the grid can’t fill up because of the exorbitant costs either. If pay caps are introduced perfectly, manufacturers by their nature will still have an advantage due to legitimate innovation elsewhere in the business and their greater network of contacts. If manufacturers are banned then there’s no viable engineering income stream to prop up a team, and no name brand recognition so the sports popularity declines. And then what else can you do? Even if f1 profits are distributed equally it’ll never be enough for parity of incomes and the bottom teams will still collapse as sponsors drift and pay drivers seek better drives.

    F1 is not a sport that can make economic sense anymore, it’s a 2 hour fantasy based car advert, it’ll never be the heart and soul of independent racing again, and I’m fine with that

  8. The issue with the whole ‘pay driver’ debate is how exactly do you define what a pay driver is & if they should be given a chance or not?

    Lance Stroll for example is by definition a pay driver, However he is also a driver that had a lot of success & showed a good level of skill in the junior categories. So while the money he has helped him get to F1 when he did, Given his Pre-F1 performance I think he’d have got to F1 based on skill alone anyway.

    Pastor Maldonado likewise, He showed fairly good speed Pre-F1 & let us not ignore the fact that he also won an F1 race & had opportunities at more podiums through that season.

    Pay drivers have always been a part of F1 & always will be a part of F1 & I’d argue that the pay drivers of today are far better & in most cases far more deserving of an F1 seat than the pay drivers of the past tended to be.

  9. Cinderella Cosworth is desperately fluttering its eyelashes and hoping against hope for a Prince Charming to sweep her off to a never-never land where the current Royal coach powered by a fantastic magical engine is transformed back into several mice and a pumpkin.

  10. Is it only me or there’s a disproportionate among of coverage of McLaren on most motorsports sites since Zak Brown joined?

  11. Well, thank you Keith: I’m surprised my pithy, rather terse and assrtive comment made COTD. I think it is a subject worthy of discussion and debate, and one in which hold I strong views. I’ve been following and/or involved and/or participating in motor racing since I became sentient in the late 1960s. I also worked around the automobile industry professionally, covering the sector, and I understand it well. IMHO, it is a mistake for any racing series to become dependent on automobile OEMs for funding. They drive up the costs of participating and then they pull the rug out (leave) after their interests turn elsewhere. A great example is the Can-Am series. Porsche showed up, raised the cost of entry stakes exponentially, causing others to leave, so Porsche lost interest and the series collapsed. CanAm was resurrected several years later as a domain for wealthy privateers and became a vibrant, fantastic series for several years, dying only when these same privateers (non OEM) moved to CART.

  12. 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.

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