Lower budgets could tempt Ford back to Formula One

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In the round-up: Ford won’t rule out a return to Formula One if it becomes affordable enough.

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Plans to

I also feel this is a sensible change and one that is probably long overdue.

What I would also like to see is them moving the weighing of the drivers to before the race, as I believe it’s one of the reasons they don’t allow drivers to immediately go celebrate with their teams or get out of the car on the warm down lap. If Liberty are keen to improve fan interaction I can’t think of a simpler start than allowing the type of scenes we see after a Moto GP race where the riders can stop out on track and go celebrate with the fans in the stands.
Steve Rogers (@Yossarian)

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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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42 comments on “Lower budgets could tempt Ford back to Formula One”

  1. “Sirotkin ended up there (in Williams) not because of money, but due to his sports qualities. This is why I think Williams took him. We, on our part, prefer to invest into technologies.”

    And Flavio Briatore’s wife married him for his quick wit, modesty and stylish appearance.

    Weird though… the article starts off by saying they ‘did not pay Williams’, then quotes Rotenberg as saying ‘money plays an important role’, which kind of contradicts the original claim. So we can’t really tell if it’s an outright untruth (saying Sirotkin is bringing no cash to the team) or a standard F1 statement (saying his talent was obviously more important)…

    1. +1

      The article is from Russia’s state media company, TASS. How could it have any bias?

      Other than the most favourable one for a Russian sponsor. :-/

      1. @neilosjames

        the article starts off by saying they ‘did not pay Williams’, then quotes Rotenberg as saying ‘money plays an important role’, which kind of contradicts the original claim


        1. I guess the trick is, that the money is not coming directly from Rotenberg, and maybe not even directly from SMP @keithcollantine, @neilosjames, to avoid issues with transfers being marked as coming from problematic sources, what with some people very close to this Mr. Rotenberg being on sanction lists etc.

      2. The article is from Russia’s state media company, TASS. How could it have any bias?

        Oh, very unbiased information comes from Radio Freedom, Voice of America, BBC etc.
        As we say here – if Satan whispers to you – brush your teeth, wipe your rear end and wash your hands after visiting toilet, will you won’t do so just to confront Satan?

        1. Sergey Martyn, it sounds like you seem to have fallen into the trap of assuming that, in the case of the BBC, it is a state owned organisation like TASS. The BBC is not state owned – in fact, statutory law means that the government is required to uphold the independence of the BBC and cannot directly exert political control over it, much as they might want to do so otherwise.

          That has, if anything, lead to a somewhat antagonistic attitude by the current government towards the BBC, in part because the BBC has published articles that have examined and ultimately criticised statements by the current government – which, unsurprisingly, the current government and their allies in the wider press have reacted rather angrily to.

    2. @neilosjames ”Western media” is way more bias. Sirotkin simply was faster than Kubica in all aspect of the testing, it’s that simply.

      1. Yep, that would be a pretty good assessment in my view.

      2. @noname Oh of course, all media has bias… though, it seems that which is the ‘worst’ usually comes down to which one we disagree with the most.

        I think Sirotkin is a decent driver who developed a lot during his time in GP2… he deserves a shot at F1. But without his financial backing he wouldn’t have got anywhere near the seat.

    3. definitely Flabio’s modesty

    4. Its just a stupid F1 style headline, he never said they didnt pay williams.
      However, he sort of implies that they paid for technology, which makes sense since SMP is a constructor in WEC LMP1 class now.
      Also SMP racing always stated that getting to F1 with its own team is a long term plan, so with these guys its always going to be more than just sponsorship money to get a driver in.

  2. [f1fshowyoursupporttext]

    Yes, we support you, F1 Fanatic!

    1. Are we missing text on this page? Apart from the above bit, the excerpts for some linked articles are missing, and in the COTD section, the text reads “Plans to “.

      1. During the Shut Down only essential items will be published ;)

    2. Or soon to be the F1 Media Artist formerly known as F1 Fanatic.

    3. @phylyp It’s a shortcode. A simple shortcut to call a script on WordPress post platform. I think it supposed to called ‘Become F1 Fanatic supporter and go ad-free’ banner but for some reason it didn’t workout. Need a debugging.

      1. Thank you @ruliemaulana , I suspected it was some such macro that went awry.

  3. Re: Budgets/Cost-caps
    What if the rules had a mechanism where advances such as double-diffuser get SHARED to other teams rather than banned? Wouldn’t that greatly reduce the incentive to spend exorbitant amounts to gain advantage?

    1. Good idea but you would have to allow the original team a season to exploit their idea ( or why try ?), which is pretty much the way it was back when development was unrestricted. @mtlracer

      1. Agreed that I wouldn’t to remove the incentive to innovate completely and they should get to benefit. I think “time to reveal” (for lack better term) could be different depending on the nature of the innovation (aero, brakes, engine, electronics).
        Of course, I would also loosen many restrictions the rules impose that sometimes seem to be solely to stifle innovation. (Except for front-wings — giant snow-plow wings should be banished.)

    2. Open scrutineeing will take care of the ‘sharing’.
      And it would be great for fans.

    3. @mtlracer Disagree. A team should be allowed to find an advantage, Develop that advantage, Hide that advantage & take full advantage of it.

      Allowing other teams access to a trick found by another team be it just handing it to them or letting them see it in open scrutineeing does nothing but devalue the purpose of coming up with new trick things to begin with as well as just devaluing the point of F1 as a whole.

      This isn’t a spec series, This isn’t an open series it’s supposed to be a competition. A competition between teams, drivers, engines, Engineering etc… Giving up one teams advantage purely ‘for the benefit of the show’ isn’t what F1 has been, is or ever should be about!

      1. Except all but 3 teams seem to be constantly whining that it’s too expensive and they can’t keep up. Cost-caps and how to police them is a recurring theme.
        If it costs were not such an issue, I’d want to throw out every single rule in the book that is designed to limit innovation somehow.

    4. @mtlracer Most of those tricks are car-specific and couldn’t be transposed without millions of cash injected in R&D or without changing the entire car philosophy. Flex wings, deformable body under heat, FRIC, double diffusers, split turbos, oil burning, all of those tricks have cost millions to develop. Outside the big teams no one could afford it unfortunately.

      1. @spoutnik You might be right about that.
        In the end, all I can actually hope for is that this suggestion somehow gets heard by Ross Brawn et al who will know better than any of us whether it is worth thinking about for more than 5 minutes and discussing with the teams.
        Maybe it’s doomed-to-fail like all other cost-limiting measures that have ever suggested.

  4. Regarding Ford’s faint F1 aspirations….have to say those F1 cars from the 90s sure looked the business. They look fast, light and agile. Convicted money-laundering bank sponsors excepted.

    The current generation look more suited to be tow vehicles for 90s F1 cars.

  5. Check out the third line of the subtitles to this article, pretty sensational, don’t you think?


    1. LOL, proofreading is dead.

    2. But What do you expect… its the Daily Mail!

      Im just surprised they’ve not managed to somehow shoehorn in a huge opinion peice that blames the “flu crisis of 2018” on Jeremy Corbyn, the EU, and “all these bloody foreigners taking our jobs”


  6. That article about Ford raises a question for me, how do we measure success of a championship/sport? Is it by the numbers and money through the association of big Brands? Or is it about the number of viewers or fans the sport has?

    I personally don’t believe F1 getting another influx of car manufacturers (like in last decade) would indicate the progress it makes. These news gain massive amount of media coverage but probably isn’t of that much importance. For example, TV coverage situation in some country is a more serious piece of news.

  7. In the 60s and 70s it was a lot cheaper to manufacture engines. Even small race shops could make custom engines. Likewise, almost every car manufacturer made their own engines. In Darwinian terms, an explosion of species.
    But as these motors got ever more sophisticated, and as regulations got more stringent, it has become too expensive to invest in in house engines for many firms, unless economies of scale allows for it.
    Ford will not be interested in vanity projects like F1 where the returns on investment are low.
    The FIA once conceded to Ford’s demands and gave us the V8 spec, supposedly Ford were masters of. But Ford still pulled out.
    The DFVs claim to fame are now in history books.
    Ford isn’t coming back unless they can build engines at little or no costs.

    I also think the FIA are potentially letting go of the birds in hand and going after those in the bush.

  8. Regarding the Racer-article: An interesting point that I noticed is that both FI-drivers on their own scored more points than Williams as a team last season (Perez 100, Ocon 87, Williams 83).

    1. This is what I have been saying all along. What good are Lance and Sirotkin as pay drivers if the team is then uncompetitive.

      Nobody mentions Lance in same breath as Max V. Driver defecit is easilly 5 tenths. I am certain no team can develop a car that is more than 5 tenths faster than Mercedes right now, so they can beat them with poorer drivers.

      And even in midfield situation is the same. Williams will never beat SFI and McLaren with their pay drivers.

    2. @jerejj – I hadn’t noticed that previously, thanks. Boy, that is embarrassing.

      1. Sorry but I refuse to believe that 187 points for FI vs 83 points for Williams comes down to the drivers. For Massa to have barely outscored a rookie, that’s not the drivers, that’s the car for the most part. If you consider what little even FA could do with his dog of a McHonda car, how much more could he have done in a 2017 Williams? Hey, of course pay drivers aren’t likely as good on average as better drivers whose talents have brought them sponsor backing, but give F1 teams some credit for vetting even their pay drivers. These guys didn’t just walk in off the street with a big chequebook.

        I do believe that a team should hire the best drivers they possibly can, as that can accelerate progress, but again, how much progress was FA able to make? If the car just isn’t there out of the box, and I think in Williams’ case last year they just could barely get the finicky tires to work, then the drivers are pretty handcuffed.

        1. @robbie, it’s probably because it is easy to lash out at the drivers, especially when there are those who encourage demonising them because it helps generate traffic to a site from those eager to pile in. Furthermore, being the public face of the team, lashing out at them is often a proxy for lashing out at the wider team as well.

          If we’re blunt, Williams have been lagging behind in terms of technical development for some time now – they’ve had quite a few problems with aero balance issues and suspension layout issues with their cars over the past few years, pushing them towards a fairly conservative approach to designing their cars, whilst their production facilities have been hit by underinvestment in recent years too. You also have to question whether they are using the resources that they do have at their disposal as efficiently as they should be – which is in part why Lowe has been brought into the team to help turn things around.

          Whilst it is easy to say that Williams struggled to “barely get the finicky tires to work”, I feel that overlooks the fact that Williams have been declining in competitiveness for a while – in part because they have tended to iterate on a design path that they concede had less development potential than they had anticipated and has inherent flaws built into it that they’ve not really been able to address without a major redesign.

          As an aside, I do find it somewhat peculiar that there have been some people on this site who have demonised Sirotkin, but then gone on to say that drivers like Ghiotto should be in the sport instead – even though, when they’ve raced together in GP2, Sirotkin ended the season quite some way ahead of Ghiotto.

          1. Pretty good assessment IMO.

            I think williams themselves have become critically aware that it’s the car, and to a fair degree, their organisation, strategy etc that needs massive improvement.

            To spend large amounts on a driver, to me, would be a waste until they get that part under control.

            I’m sure their plan is to produce a consistently competitive package by the end of 2018 so they can attract interest from drivers that will come on the market. In F1 these things take time, Paddy is smart enough to know that.

            Let’s see what 2018 brings. Personally, I think Sirotkin will surprise a few if he gets a decent package, as will Stroll.

  9. Certainly, VW, Toyota, Ford, BMW all would benefit from winning in F1, it all depends on budgets. 500 Milion for fighting around 8th place is not cost effective.

  10. I can assure you that Ford Motor Company will never be back in Formula One. Mark Rushbrook is not on the Board of Directors, and I can say with 100% confidence that the Ford Board will not approve Ford getting back into Formula One in a direct capacity, i.e. owning a team (like Renault or Mercedes) or an internal, self-funded engine program (like Honda). This is Mark Rushbrook’s fantasy and has nothing to do with reality.

  11. Regarding COTD, You have to weigh car & driver after the race because that is the most important session of the weekend & you need to know that the cars run during a race were legal.

    If you only take weights before the race then what’s top stop somebody having a few kilos of weight in there pocket or something which they then take out for the race? That sort of thing was common place in the past which is why the current procedures were introduced to begin with.

    Look at BAR in 2005 where they were excluded from the San Marino Gp & Banned for the next 2 because they had a trick fuel tank that allowed cars to run underweight during races. Without post race inspection checking the weights that would not have been discovered. And I know that was car rather than driver but if they saw an advantage they would absolutely try something with the drivers, As they have in the past.

    Not taking car/driver weights after the race (As well as before) as well as doing the various other legality checks would be utterly stupid IMO.

  12. If Ford gets serious about re-entering the grid, they better get Rossi or Newgarden on board. Then get the best US, Canadian and Mexican hopeful from the ladder series as their testers.


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