Chase Carey, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Why Liberty is talking standard parts, qualifying races – and delaying the budget cap


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Liberty Media met with teams in Monaco to expand on their plans for the 2021 F1 season and beyond. @DieterRencken reveals the latest proposed changes which are on the table – including a key concession on their cost-cutting plan.

That Formula 1’s commercial rights holder scheduled a follow-up to its Bahrain post-2020 summit for Monaco Friday was no surprise on two fronts: First, subsidiary Formula One Management had committed to obtaining feedback from teams/stakeholders by the end of May; second, Monaco’s “quiet day” sees team bosses congregated in the same area without distractions such as debriefs and technical meetings.

Thus the day traditionally features F1 get-togethers of sorts, and indeed there were three of note: said Liberty feedback session, plus a promoter meeting called to update race hosts on Liberty’s plans going forward. In addition, there was a calendar meeting on Saturday, chaired by FIA President Jean Todt, with F1 CEO Chase Carey, WEC/Le Mans boss Gerard Neveu and Formula E founder Alejandro Agag in attendance.

Turning to the last-named first – simply because little of consequence was agreed – the meeting aimed to forge co-operation between various rights holders to eliminate date clashes. According to a source no consensus was reached because “F1 won’t move for the others, and with Porsche and Audi out of WEC, there are few drivers competing in two series. Only really Sebastien Buemi, and he’ll have to choose.”

Although various promoters are in talks over reduced hosting fees, such matters were discussed individually. The Friday meeting was called to update the promoters on calendar issues, common operational matters, race weekend schedules and Liberty’s future marketing programmes. Again, no big shakes – although one or two promoters did admit to asking for ‘haircuts’ on their fees…

So to Friday’s main business: The meeting was held in the morning upstairs in the Paddock Club marquee, erected within the paddock – but only accessible from outside – opposite Tabac Corner. While the number of team personnel was not restricted, most had two executives present, although Ferrari (allegedly) only sent Maurizio Arrivabene.

Before moving into the crux of the meeting, this brief Q&A with Robert Fernley, Force India Deputy Team Principal and the man charged by team owner Vijay Mallya to handle political issues, provides clarity its tone and structure:

RF: What was the spirit like?
A Good.

RF: Was it constructive?
A: Yeah, all of those we’ve had [to date] have been in that way. We’re mainly listening, and then really you’re only looking at perhaps clarifying a point or two, but it’s not a discussion, it’s a presentation.

RF: Who ran most of the meeting? Chase Carey?
A: Chase, Nigel Kerr (FOM’s financial wizard, formerly Mercedes F1 Financial Director), Ross (Brawn, MD of Liberty’s Motorsport Division), depending on who’s doing what for what area.

Chase Carey, Ross Brawn Monaco, 2018
Carey and Brawn addressed teams in Monaco
RF: Jean Todt as well, I believe…
RF: Jean added a bit of clarification to the odd thing.

RF: I thought the deadline date (30 June 2018) on the engine thing came from the FIA?
A: Yeah, he confirmed it, but it had already slightly been given away anyway.

RF: The meeting lasted about an hour-and-a-half?
A: Yeah.

RF: So how many people in the meeting, about 30?
A: Not as many as that. It would have been two from each team, so 20; I’m not sure there were two from Ferrari, it might only have been (team boss) Maurizio (Arrivabene). Let’s say 20 people from the teams, plus about five or six…

RF: So about two dozen people…
A: Yes, a very manageable meeting, a very manageable presentation.

RF: Were there open discussions?
A: No, it was a presentation, and maybe if there was a point that you wanted to go back to in between each section, you put your hand up. They had microphones, and we could eat a sandwich, so…

RF: So very civilised, very constructive…
A: Yeah!

RF: Most unlike the Bernie (Ecclestone) meetings…
A: Yeah, and that’s why I think it’s an evolving process.

RF: Did they sit down with you one-on-one after Bahrain?
A: Yeah. I think the next one should probably be when they’re ready to confirm the engine regulations. That would make sense. But I don’t know. They tend to give us about a week’s notice.

RF: So we are talking probably before the summer break, Hungary or Germany…
A: That’s about right.

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The big talking point was, of course, the format of the power unit F1 will use from 2021, with the architecture expected to be similar to current units: V6, 1.6-litre turbo. The significant difference is F1 will do away with the MGU-H: that pesky ‘green’ thing which harvests energy from exhaust heat, simultaneously muting the internal combustion engines in the process.

Todt is believed to have committed to a 30 June 2018 deadline for the outline engine regulations. Although there is an element of scepticism about making the date, an FIA insider believes it to be eminently doable, saying “What we’ll do is provide enough information for engine suppliers to start on single-cylinder test engines, but not enough for them to start developing entire engines.

Honda RA617H power unit, 2017
Big changes are coming for F1’s power units
“This is desirable on two fronts: It prevents them spending big money on developing two [new and existing] engines simultaneously, and it enables us to finalise the regulations by the end of the year. So, yes, we have enough time.”

Asked when the balance of regulations will be available, he pointed to December this year as the deadline, in line with F1’s decree that major rule changes have two years’ warning. “Once we’ve got the engine sorted, the rest basically falls into line,” he said.

That Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Honda all agreed to drop the MGU-H “for the better good” is surprising, although Mercedes Toto Wolff admits he did so under sufferance, and said he threw a ‘wobbly’ over fuel flow at some stage during the presentation.

“We think [dropping] the technology is a step backwards,” he told RaceFans during a briefing. “But in terms of achieving compromise for the benefit of the spectacle the H going [means] the revs going up, the fuel limitations going, I think we will have a louder engine, [and] we will not be limited by fuel.

“It’s not the most sustainable message we’re sending out but we can understand it from a spectacle standpoint. It is something you need to consider and accept.”

That means fuel flow limits will be raised (or eliminated) in order to compensate, which means cars are likely to be heavier by up to 20 kilograms when they take to the 2021 grid, making fuel weight a strategic consideration: Go light and “lift and coast”, or go heavy and battle in the early stages? Not ideal for a sport hoping to put the “S” back into spectacle and “R” back into racing…

According to Fernley the engine suppliers were not given a choice over MGU-H – save, of course, that they could elect to exit F1 in protest.

Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
As things stand, F1 starting weights will be much higher in 2021
“I suppose the answer is that we were not asked to vote anyway on this,” Fernley said when asked whether the matter had been put to the vote. “This what we’re being told. From our side of it, we’re a customer team, so we have no involvement in the discussions anyway. And nor should we particularly.”

But don’t the engine regulations directly affect all teams on cost grounds? The more expensive they are, the more the teams are required to pay…

“The principle of the engine regulations is to bring down costs, to increase the noise, to simplify them slightly and still keep the hybrid element of it. So all of this is of benefit to us. There’s nothing for us to get in the way of…”

In common with various parties, Fernley believes the balance of post-2021 negotiations – namely sporting regulations, commercial structures and governance process – will be carried over to 2019, thus enabling all parties to sort the engine and technical regulations this year.

“I don’t think that’s too important, to be honest, because I don’t think we need to be really finalising that until maybe this time next year. The further in front that you go, the better the opportunities for well-funded teams…

“So the later we leave it…this year we’re all going to be busy anyway with the 2019 [mainly aerodynamic] regulations. So sometime next year would be fine I think.”

So far, so good. However, a FOM insider recently whispered that the sporting regulations are under discussion with selected teams, and are likely to be revamped prior to next year’s 30 April cut-off date with a view to changing race weekend formats, more particularly free practice sessions, qualifying – a short race is envisioned – and race distances.

“The plan is to have the stuff in place by 30 April and introduce the revamped structure for 2020, which will enable us to fine-tune the regs for 2021,” our FOM insider said.

Sean Bratches, Monaco, 2018
Liberty’s Sean Bratches eyeing the action in Monaco
Although not directly confirmed by any of the parties, RaceFans understands the major teams reached a compromise over budget caps with Liberty – and hence their acquiescence over MGU-H. Effectively it was either ‘cut your budgets to $150m (£120m) by end-2020 and keep your heat recovery systems, or drop MGU-H and we’ll introduce a glide path on cost reductions through to 2023’…

Fernley believes that to be the best compromise: “The most important thing is there’s got to be compromise by all parties. We’re very keen to have the 150 million cap from 2021, [but] obviously the bigger teams are going to struggle a bit with that, so there has to be a bit of compromise; there has to be, as long as we get there in the end.

“I think the ’19 regulations changing [as a precursor to major changes in 2021] is a good step, simply because it’s an interim step between where you are today, and where you want to go. You’d need to be very optimistic to think that in 2021 we’ll get everything right. Chances are in ’19 we won’t get everything right, but at least it’s a learning curve. If it means we make fewer mistakes for ’21, that’s good.”

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By the end of 2018 most teams will have completed designing next year’s cars as per the revised aerodynamic regulations. Most teams expect the 2021 regulations to be based on the 2019 rulebook, albeit incorporating some data obtained through overtaking studies undertaken by aerodynamicists and engineers reporting to Brawn.

There is, though seldom a meeting without a twist, and in this case it was prescriptive parts. These are not to be confused with listed and non-listed parts, to which teams are either required to hold the intellectual property (the former) and those they may source outside to suit their designs.

Alain Prost, Williams, Adelaide, 1993
Adelaide 1993: F1’s farewell to active suspension
Prescriptive parts are non-performance-differentiating components which must be used by all teams, much as the halo is a prescriptive part sourced from an approved supplier. The urgency is that teams are informed which parts will appear on the prescriptive list to enable them plan their headcounts as soon as possible. While some of the targeted parts will have little effect on operations, others such as complete gear cassettes certainly will.

According to a source, in addition to gear clusters, the list is likely to include differentials, standardised front and rear hubs, brakes and possibly drive shafts and some form of standard active suspension system – last-named to aid set-up and tuning while cutting the costs of development.

The plan is to ensure that the list of prescriptive parts enables F1 to maintain performance differentiation while cutting costs without becoming a one-make series.

“So far there’s nothing that’s defined in any way. They are still deciding what they want to do,” he said.

With slightly over two-and-a-half years to go there could still be a change of direction – last time F1 switched from I4 engines to V6 with less than two years to go before the 2013 regulations were due to come into force, thus delaying the process by a year – but thus far matters have run fairly smoothly. Or so it seems.

Ferrari has yet to comment on any aspect of the presentations, while Wolff threw wobblies over MGU-H, so it has not all been plain sailing, yet Liberty seems to be getting the job done. The elephant in the room is the current governance process, in force through to 31 December 2020. Does the process, i.e. Strategy Group, F1 Commission and World Motorsport Council, apply to the 2021 regulations, then?

“That is a good question,” said our insider. “I think Liberty are hoping for consensus…”

Follow Dieter on Twitter: @RacingLines

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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64 comments on “Why Liberty is talking standard parts, qualifying races – and delaying the budget cap”

  1. It sounds fairly productive – unusually, although I would pay to see Toto wolf throw a wobbly.

    1. Especially as my missus calls Toto Wolf, Rainier Wolfcastle (character from The Simpsons)

      1. Brilliant!

  2. I was having a good day and then i read this…

    changing race weekend formats, more particularly free practice sessions, qualifying – a short race is envisioned – and race distances.

    Ruined !!!

    1. I agree, is there really a problem with the weekend format right now that needs changing?

      Qualifying is as close to perfect as one could hope for in my opinion, with action encouraged right the way through the session and a dramatic conclusion every 15-20 minutes. Great.

      Free Practice is a little dull, because it’s just that, practice; the equivalent of watching a football team in training the day before a match. It’s not meant to be overly exciting which is why even the biggest fans rarely watch it live. For the spectators physically at the track, it’s just a thrill to see the cars on track and there are also support races to tickle the interest. So again, I see little problem here.

      Then we come to the race, which is the central point of the entire weekend and should never be anything more than a standing start, a set number of laps and the quickest across the line is the victor. I don’t like the thought of shorter races, it’s a Grand Prix, not Deux Petits Prix!

      1. +1
        I consider qualifying at Monaco to be a highlight of the year, watching the drivers dance the cars between the barriers is a joy to behold. Imagine instead last weekends race, only with a second equally boring procession on the Saturday, would definitely be the final nail in the Monaco GP coffin.

      2. @ben-n Well put and summaris d, the last thing most fans want is gimmicky race weekends. The current qualifying format works very well following the tweak in timings from Q1 to Q3 a few years ago to guarantee there is time for the Top Ten to complete two runs.

      3. I wish they would just leave the engines alone for God’s sake. Allow active aero, adjust the payout so smaller teams get more money. This dumbing down of F1 is heartbreaking.

    2. +1 to this @webtel , although I’m not sure if they’re looking to shorten the race on Sunday itself, or run a short race on Saturday to determine the Sunday starting grid.

      If the former, they lose me as a viewer; similar to how I stopped watching most cricket once the twenty twenty format came in.

      1. From the wording I figured this indeed to be a short race on Saturday to determine the grid – that idea was mentioned in the discussions / proposals for change Liberty brought up earlier this year @phylyp, @webtel.

        I must say that I agree with your sentiment about this change. I too feel apprehensive about it. And when we think about what @yossarian mentions and compare that to having a “race” around Monaco to define the grid, that would take away a huge part of what makes the Monaco weekend interesting!

        Maybe they should go for a variable format, where in places like Barcelona, Singapore or Monaco we keep the saturday qualifying as the highlight and in places where it is not too big a problem to overtake they can have a qualifying race?

      2. @phylyp, the thing is, in the case of the cricket matches you bring up, the Twenty20 format was in addition to the existing game format, so you could still watch a conventional game of cricket being played.

        Here, it sounds as if it is going to be a short race being used to set the grid for no particular reason, since most fans seem to be quite happy with the current qualifying format – it is a solution that nobody wanted to a problem nobody thought existed. Equally, as an aside, how exactly are they supposed to set the grid for that “qualifying race” in the first place?

      3. I agree, qualifying on Saturday is perfect as is… The practice sessions are not super-exciting yet the teams theoretically need to practice. Or do they really?? Technically a race-weekend could be two-days, with a morning practice of two sessions followed by qualifying on Saturday. And, on Sunday a short-qualifying race in the morning of 65km, much like a pre-final in karting — as in the absence of refueling, it also showcases the cars racing on light fuel-loads. Followed by the main race of a shortened, 235km distance in the afternoon. Achieving virtually the same amount of track-time as now yet in a condensed & more easily digestible format.

      4. @bascb @phylyp

        There is an inherent problem with having two races in a weekend. Same as what @Drittfiske mentioned above, i think F1 is suited only for a one race per weekend. The cars are fragile, unfortunately.
        One can argue that, the Saturday race could be given more value/weightage in points but it would then make the race on Sunday redundant.
        I simply do not understand the need for change here as @ben-n pointed out. But juggling with technology to make racing fun is short-sighted. So why not start small? why does the change have to be drastic ? why not do it in increments ? for e.g why cant we have the cars start in “rows”(inline), instead of the existing foot-steps grid format ? (there must be a reason for not doing this, i am unaware) That way you qualify for the row and not the position and have better chances of overtaking at the start. Why not have the race in two halves with one reversed grid like F2 ? I guess there are/must be numerous solutions within the world of motorsport itself.

        1. In the format for starting you mention, it will pretty seriously diminish the possibilities to gain / lose places at the start, quite the opposite of what you want @webtel.

          I think the overwhelming majority of us here see little need, or indeed little positives in this change.

    3. I dunno, I think mixing up the format could prove interesting. How about something like this?

      – FP1 & FP2 on Friday (Thursday in Monaco) stay as they are.

      – Saturday morning, moving qualifying forward to replace FP3, as they’re both one hour sessions, keep current qualifying format as I think it’s best F1 has had. To keep some tradition, this sets the grid for the main race on Sunday, all current rules remain in place regarding tyres used to start race etc.

      – Saturday afternoon, sprint race (roughly 30 mins long), grid is reverse qualifying order. This provides the shorter “plenty of action” race Liberty are craving to appeal to “short attention span social media generation”. (although I think this is a gross generalisation).
      It would be great to see which drivers really are the best over-takers and who can carve their way through the field. It would also force the teams into designing cars that handle better when they are in following others, which would improve the racing in both races.
      Make this race carry less points than the Sunday Grand Prix (maybe 10,8,6,4,3,2,1 to bring back old scoring), but make it enough to matter to the championship. Also wouldn’t it be great to see the smaller teams try to fend off the big guns and potentially score a couple of podiums?

      – Sunday, leave grand prix as it is. Some traditions should remain.

      1. Robert McKay
        30th May 2018, 19:55

        This is pretty much exactly the format I want to see, though the Saturday sprint race 45 minutes rather than 30. Other than that bang on for me.

      2. I like the Saturday race idea except for one thing: if you wreck on Saturday in pursuit of 1 or 2 points and you miss the race on Sunday you’re potentially costing yourself 25 points. If the Saturday race isn’t worth many points you might find drivers being conservative to make sure they are on the grid for Sunday.

      3. And anyone who crashes badly in Saturday’s race, which is more likely to happen racing wheel to wheel, can’t race on Sunday unless the teams bring enough spares to have a spare car ort two again which would mean a huge cost increase. Doesn’t sit well with reducing costs, not going to happen in my view.

        Drivers’ and Constructors’ points for your Qualifying position that you can only gain if you finish in the points in the race would make Saturdays mean more. Even go as far as the top 10 in Qualifying get the same spread of points 25, 18, 15 so there’s actually 50 points up for grabs every race weekend.

        How about bonus points in the Drivers’ Championship for a number of wins, say an extra 50 points if you reach 3 wins, another 50 for 5 wins etc. That’s better than artificially making certain individual races worth “double points” because it rewards consistency not a freak result at a particular track. It would also promotes winning making drivers go for wins and not trundle round settling for second.

        If people don’t like the big numbers they’d reach in the points standings then simply award lower amounts of points for everything but with a similar spread across the top 10, make it 15, 11, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

    4. Why, oh Why, oh WHY does Liberty seem to want to turn Formula 1 into NASCAR? They are preaching cost reduction and always stress safety yet they want to add a sprint race weekends, requiring MORE equipment, MORE work added to the teams, MORE damaged cars and MORE chance that a driver or crew member will be injured. Absolutely ridiculous.

  3. Stand the accountants down. Nothing that looks like a genuine budget cap is ever going to happen.

    1. You’re in for a huge surprise then.

  4. I’m really not sure I like where there going.

    I don’t like them dropping the MGU-H as I find that to be the most interesting part of there engines & I gather it’s an area where a lot of gain can be found going forward.

    I don’t like the idea of active suspension coming back, Especially as a standardized component.

    I don’t like the idea of more standardization in general as I just don’t think that’s what F1 should be.

    I’m skeptical about the cost cap as I just see it as an area that’s going to cause controversy because I just don’t see it as enforceable. Down the line it’s going to cause controversy that is going to overshadow a season or 2 & I don’t think that is going to be a positive. I also think teams should be allowed to spend what they have.

    I don’t like the idea of them reducing practice sessions. Practice sessions for me are a time when you can just watch the cars without having to worry about laptime, gaps etc… as you do in Qualifying/Races. It’s a time when you can engage with broadcasters (Sky for instance often answer some questions via twitter during practice) who can dig into & have time to explain the stories & talk about car developments etc… since the last race which they can’t during qualifying/races.

    I also detest the idea of a sprint race, Especially if it’s a qualifying race or something that awards points.

    1. I was going to post my feelings on this article, but you’ve got me covered on all points. Cheers!

    2. Same, agree on all of the above! I’m mid-30’s so maybe not the target market any more?

    3. @stefmeister: Nailed it.

      Seems Liberty brings Crashcar packaging to F1…or will they just buy Nascar and merge it with F1? Tin tops and Todt Thongs all on the track at the same time! With sprinklers!

      1. good read. maybe they can buy nascar and run it like a US-based cable company rather than try to change f1, which they could then sell to people with real knowledge of the sport and its history.

    4. 100% in agreement

    5. I don’t like people resistant to change.

      If you can’t see the obvious benefits, then you’re watching F1 for the wrong reasons.

  5. overtaking studies undertaken by aerodynamicists and engineers reporting to Brawn.

    This is strangely reminiscent of the OWG.

    1. It is @davidnotcoulthard. But this time they are a) building upon what they learned, b) having someone like Brawn in charge, instead of having a comittee and c) gave Brawn a budget and time to do simulations on a far greater scale than anything the OWG ever got to do.

      One of the issues/limitations with the OWG was (according to the likes of Symonds and I think Brawn himself) that they could only run simulations teams provided the “space” for. It never got close to actually analysing the effect of one car on another on track.

      1. yeah, not gonna disagree there.

  6. The plan is to ensure that the list of prescriptive parts enables F1 to maintain performance differentiation while cutting costs without becoming a one-make series.

    “So far there’s nothing that’s defined in any way. They are still deciding what they want to do,” he said.

    For a start I’m absolutely against the standard suspension, also how can that be defined as non performance? The rest is still a bit unclear. Yes these changes may lesson costs but I can’t help but feel that there are other motives at work here.
    Thanks for the article.

  7. Whatever rules come from this meetings, it won’t ever appease to all of us, it depends on our idea of F1, what it stands for and what it means.

    This idea that they are pushing of drivers as heroes, it’s ok, it isn’t why I watch, but I understand that is where the money comes from, ultimately fans relate to personas and that is probably the way to captive new fans.

    Personally F1 is all about innovation (yes I know, it hasn’t been the case for a while now), the best teams of engineers coming up with the best solutions for race day, that’s way I never liked the restrictions on engines, and said countless time before there shouldn’t be a template for one, just figures limiting performance or whatever they want to limit and let them figure out what sort of engine they want to produce, either combustion, electric, hybrid, sails, don’t care, and that is what will drive innovation on that area. This is also the reason I never understood why F1 aimed to be road relevant, that was something that it never tried to be, it just was because tech eventually scaled down to our road cars.

    So for me, the word standard and the sentence “prescribed parts” make me worried (not only for the direction of the regulations, but it makes it look like someone is sick and need some sort of prescription). They say those parts aren’t performance differentiators, there are minimal gains on those parts, but isn’t that the spiriti of F1? To find the ever elusive tenth of a second? And are they sure the gains on those parts are minimal, we are talking about the suspension setup, I though that was a big part of the car, is Aldo Costa job redundant now?

    As said, it will always be subjective, if it improves racing even at a loss of identity (and bare in mind, this identity is give by each and everyone of us) most likely the sport will generate more interest, I might not like what it turns out to be, but I’m just a drop in the ocean.

  8. So the MGU-H is definitely dead despite that press conference a few weeks back :( FeelsBadMan. I like that that FOM aren’t doing wishy-washy votes that no one agrees on. Instead putting their foot down and saying the alternative for the teams is to exit the sport. Their vision (that they’re building through meetings with those involved) is their vision and that’s the way it should be, the ship will either sink or fly depending on their captaining. So be it.

    As for the rest let’s just wait and see. Replacing FP3 with qual and replacing qual with a short race could be incredibly fun :) If that’s what’s meant… All very exciting to speculate. More details please, interested to see what they come up with :)

    1. Regarding your last paragraph – your suggestion is the only way I’d be OK with seeing the weekend change at all. Qualifying early on the Saturday instead of FP3, followed by a mixed up race of some sort. Perhaps a 20 lap reverse grid race with points for every position gained or something like that? Could get messy… not sure I like it!

      1. @ben-n

        Could get messy…

        This is why I think if they decide to have a Sprint race, the F1 cars should NOT be used. Instead, they should use 20 spec cars that would also work at Monaco (e.g. Caterham 7).

  9. F1 is like a circus and changes every time with a new ring master
    Reduce down force 2009 go slower
    Increase down force 2017 go faster
    Reduce down force 2018
    Go green with efficient fuel limited engines
    2021 no fuel limit or increase
    Budget cap
    No budget cap
    Budget cap

    1. Because the inmates are running the asylum, and have been for too long.
      Bernie traded too much control to a few teams to get them to sign the current agreement, & that’s the cancer that’s been killing the sport.
      It’s about time the control and rules come from above, & the teams arrive and compete within them.

  10. I need to read te full text on my laptop but I see the weight will increase. Not really what I’m hoping for

    1. @anunaki It could very well only be the fuel capacity weight, though, i.e., the maximum fuel capacity increasing by around 20 kg rather than the minimum overall car+driver weight as the that is measured entirely without fuel.

  11. As long as they are talking standardized parts-if Mercedes is upset about losing the MGU-H, they should offer their unit to all teams as a standardized part.

    1. They, and the others too, actually tried to, somewhere last weeks or so Obster ; FOM/FIA does not want it apparently bc. VAG (Porsche et. al.) have Anti-lag tech. from WEC left they feel will make them the winning engines until the current crop catch up, or something. Providing they do actually join this time.

      1. @bosyber the MGU-H is already anti-lag tech as well as being an energy recovery device. There isn’t lag in the current F1 engine.

        1. @asanator – yes, yes it is. So, eh, what happens when FIA dumps it do you think? Oh yeah, PU manufacturers need a new way to get anti-lag. Which they’ll have to develop for f1 racing engines.

          That’s the point: it seems that VAG is interested in coming in bc. they think they already have such tech, so don’t need to develop it, giving them a head start. I almost hopes it works and we have 4 years of VAG domination from 2021, to show, once more, how F1 continues to operate, and not get it right.

          1. @bosyber I’m not sure what you mean by ‘new way’ though. Anti lag tech is currently available on modern road cars, there’s nothing new about it and there isn’t much development required. Fundamentally all it is is an electric motor spinning up a turbo as required.

            I’m sure VAG already have that tech from their WEC endeavours, does it meet current MGU-H regulations? I think that’s doubtful which means they will still have to invest a lot of time and money developing an F1 version. The reason for dropping the H is to remove the cost of developing it (probably the most expensive part to develop) completely so that the overall costs of a new engine supplier entering the sport is reduced. And with the MGU-H and it’s associated recovery/deployment systems being a big performance differentiator ,as we have seen with Renault and Honda’s struggles, a new supplier has more of a chance of being competitive which also helps demand. It is after all the FIA’s desire to entice an independent PU supplier into the sport. Whether VAG decides to enter as well is a bonus.

  12. I have been a keen viewer of F1 since 2007 and can truly say that I have a huge passion for the sport. I wouldn’t want creativity to be stifled so I am all for keeping the competition as open as possible. Sadly, I have to admit that some aspects of F1 are becoming quite boring such as FP1, FP2 & FP3 so much so that on occasion teams do very little running during practice sometimes because of familiarity with certain tracks; saving engines, saving parts, etc. Watching FP1, FP2 & FP3 has become similar to watching ice melt.

    I don’t agree with changing the format (FP1, FP2, FP3, Q & R) as I don’t see the point of a sprint race or some such gimmick, although I have to admit it sounds like fun, but it’s just not needed. I see F1 as more of a more strategic sport rather than an all-out brawl. F1 already has too much manipulation with the DRS, fuel flow, tires, etc. Further TV audiences and providers already have established viewing times etc. for many years now; plus we have to remember that F1 is competing with other global sports. What is the point of having a new format that can’t get the viewing slot or will involve renegotiating broadcast rights, I say leave the times and formats and slots alone. F1 just needs to be made more competitive from a team and consequently a viewing perspective.

    I think we could consider changing the “purpose” of the formats. It is proposed that WC points should be awarded in FP1, FP2 & FP3 for fastest laps and most laps completed. Further points should also be awarded based on the final quali results. All of these points will contribute to both WCs. This has the potential to reward and encourage developing teams and the more reliable mid-field teams that would not stand a chance during the Race. This will also stimulate competition and encourage other new competitors who would not ordinarily score points or be attracted to the sport. Huge teams may not be interested in FP1, FP2, FP3 WC points as they may see this as a risk to their overall WC campaigns as reliability will become an issue depending on which format you choose to earn your points. I can assure you this tweak will guarantee endless on track action as well as more fascinating strategies than what currently obtains, especially with the tires. FP1, FP2 & FP3 will turn into a kind of “race” but a different strategic kind.

    Rule makers will also have a potentially easier time as teams might not be so interested in convergence of regulations etc. if they feel that they can earn their points across the FP1, FP2, FP3, Q & R formats. Right now, teams want convergence because everyone is trying to score points in just the Race. Some teams may opt to concentrate only on certain areas where they can earn points and this may influence them to keep the rules open. Let the big teams go with their advanced technology while the other teams concentrate on other areas. Everyone is “competitive” and scores points.

    1. I couldn’t disagree with this more!!

      The idea of points for Qualifying alone is fairly abhorrent to me never mind dishing them out for any old reason. I don’t think that there is a problem with the amount of running teams do throughout the various sessions, and if there are, it is largely due to teams limiting their engine mileage (forced upon them by the current PU regulations) than a willingness to run.

      Also, FP1 and 2 are not only practice sessions, they are the only real time that the teams get to test between races as it is so limited now and the swapping of parts and changes in set-up takes time.

      Since when were practice sessions ever supposed to be “entertainment”? Sure they are entertaining for the people who actually bother to go to a race weekend because they get to see the cars on track in the flesh which is and should be enough. But for the rest of us, it is a relatively new thing that they have even been broadcast and just because they are, doesn’t mean that they now should be considered entertainment for a tv viewer.

    30th May 2018, 19:42

    Oh, gosh, I better limit this to just a little. 1) DON’T change the qualy format. This is the most exciting they have had, and is a huge part of the entertainment value of the weekend. 2) Get rid of the MGU-H. Yes, it is a technological masterpiece, but —- if anyone thinks the general average racing fan even THINKS that these cars are “green” is fooling themselves. And as for the “sustainability message”, who do they think they are kidding! I worked in an industry for over 40 years, where “sustainability” was a large part of our business, and most of the employees could not even tell you what it is. And the manufacturers sure don’t need F1 to develop the technology for their road going cars, they can do that a lot cheaper than running an F1 team.

  14. Tried last week to watch a bit of a NASCAR race. Yep, it was tough.
    Interesting aspect, announcers referring to Car 23 getting ahead of Car 42 and Car 53 slowing to pit for tires. Who cares who is driving.?
    The only way you can find out who the driver is is to check the listing at the side of the screen. I suppose it is the easiest way to cut costs, eliminate the drivers from the competition.
    Standard components …. in F1, not what most race fans want to hear. Why not just let the teams sell parts to each other. Cheaper, easier to manage (no management at all) and it still allows for diversity.

  15. @DieterRencken Dieter, I have to remark on what a pleasure it is to read an article that so clearly lays out the current status of this situation. Much of this is sourced and properly reported, and the few statements that I would characterize as “opinion” or “editorializing” come from a source that I trust, namely, you. It’s very refreshing to encounter this sort of automotive journalism after becoming somewhat desensitized by the weak writing I read elsewhere. Thank you, Dieter (and Keith for providing this platform).

    1. I was hugely impressed by R.Fernley’s skill at interviewing himself.

    2. Our pleasure Bridge, thanks for reading.

  16. I know that there are many of you out there who strongly disagree, but I am continually impressed by the way Liberty Media is handling all of this, and I am reassured by the direction in which they appear to be taking F1. Under the old regime, we had nothing but a series of backroom deals and secret agreements that were often reached in a manner that did not provide for the long-term health of the sport, and were (I am convinced) largely decided by the transfer of money between offshore accounts. Liberty Media is a large, legitimate business with many stockholders which is not able to operate like privateers as the former owners of F1 who were little more than venture capitalists looking for quick profits. What we have now is a management group that has hired many of the most knowledgeable people in the field, is listening to input from the people participating in the sport, and is working hard to make RATIONAL decisions while not allowing the inmates to run the asylum. The reason all of this seems to be falling into place is that the teams (even Ferrari) are beginning to realize that a sport governed by reason and common sense might actually be a better place in which they can work toward their own individual goals.

    That’s the way it looks to me.

    According to Fernley the engine suppliers were not given a choice over MGU-H – save, of course, that they could elect to exit F1 in protest.

    Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
    As things stand, F1 starting weights will be much higher in 2021
    “I suppose the answer is that we were not asked to vote anyway on this,” Fernley said when asked whether the matter had been put to the vote. “This what we’re being told

    Ferrari has yet to comment on any aspect of the presentations, while Wolff threw wobblies over MGU-H, so it has not all been plain sailing, yet Liberty seems to be getting the job done. The elephant in the room is the current governance process, in force through to 31 December 2020. Does the process, i.e. Strategy Group, F1 Commission and World Motorsport Council, apply to the 2021 regulations, then?

    1. I didn’t mean to include those quotes from the article. They were hiding below where I was typing, and once you post something here, there’s no way to go back and edit your post.

  17. Count me among those who are somewhat concerned with much of this. I am not competent to talk about technical issues, but I agree that removing one of the energy harvesting components from the power unit sounds like a step back. I would not be against shortening Friday practice if Sunday morning warm-up was reintroduced instead. But qualifying and the race are what matters most, of course. It seems to me that the qualifying format is the one thing nobody complains about…so why change it. There certainly is different appeal in watching the drivers attempting that elusive ‘perfect lap’ than see another race. So, what would be the point of short qualifying race on Saturday and then shortened race on Sunday? The first-lap-over-305-km-rule (except Monaco) that was introduced 25 years (or so) ago, already means that Grands Prix are the shortest they have ever been. Plus, there is the two-hour race maximum. Leave it alone. If it were up to me, there also would be 80-minutes minimum race time…although this would only occasionally affect Monza.

  18. While some may (and do) lament the demise of the MGU H, it is a rather expensive piece of kit for a small difference that really is no difference from team to team. Read somewhere that one of the engine manufacturer’s had over 200 people working on this one item. See if that fits that under your Budget Cap.
    Standardized parts, hate the concept, Yes Crash-Car here we come.
    Why not take some middle ground and let the teams buy and sell parts, any parts. Even a complete car. Then the teams can figure out what “standard” parts they want and what will work with their car design. Oh yes, and save money too.
    On of the current “standardized parts” is the FIA mandated fuel flow meter. There have been several references over the last year of the teams buying and testing hundreds of the little beasts, just to find the few that are at the statistical limit for max flow rate. That makes perfect sense from a performance perspective.

    1. Engines and associated components are excluded from the budget caps, which apply to teams only. The engine suppliers are separate entities which don’t hold any form of FIA licence so the FIA has no control over them other than deciding the engine regulations.

  19. For all they say about improving the sport Liberty seem to be forgetting one VERY important factor, the fan base … sounds like a disaster ahead, this could spell the end of my interest in F1.

  20. The question that I have is, why is the commercial rights holder allowed to mess with the sporting side of things, when the EU commission explicitly ordered F1 to separate its commercial and its sporting authorities for this very reason – so that one authority can’t decide on both aspects, and thus avoid conflict of interest.

    1. The FIA will still need to approve the regulations, as happened with the 2019 aero regulations – FOM did the studies, made the proposals and presented them to the FIA via the Strategy Group and F1 Commission. Then they were approved by the FIA World Motorsport Council. They could have been blocked at any stage.

      1. With the money FOM is controlling, it’s a bit naive to believe all those decisions aren’t somehow “sweetened” one way or another. :)

  21. I can’t understand why they would leave the whole fuel issue open to criticism and unfavourable comment / outcomes.
    Giving teams the option of running less fuel and then having them run conservatively in the race is crazy, & goes against everything they’re trying to achieve.

    Write the new rules in such a way that every car starts with 120L – no more, no less.
    Teams will race hard from the start to try burn off fuel as quickly as possible.
    Those who qualified on softer rubber will use up those tyres faster, necessitating more tyre stops (which has long been a goal), and those on different strategies and with free tyre choice (from 11th down) will come into play alot more than they do now.
    It’ll also take out one of the variables we see in debates every weekend about which driver is / was truly fastest … at the moment no-one knows who was “cruising” & who was flat out.

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