Pat Symonds, Paul Ricard, 2018

The $150m question: How can Liberty cut costs without dumbing down F1?


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Formula 1 is no stranger to change. Yet as the championship’s technical director Pat Symonds explained last week, one aspect of Liberty Media’s vision of the sport’s future is revolutionary.

Never before has the series had a long-term plan which covers everything from what the cars will look like, what the teams will earn and everything in between.

And, as the multiple championship-winning ex-F1 engineering chief explained to the Motorsport Industry Association last week, a vital element of their vision for F1 2021 involves the teams designing and building fewer of their own parts. But does that inevitably mean dumbing down the sport?

That a budgets cap looms large in Formula 1’s future is, by all accounts, a given: To blow upwards of £250m overall on fielding two race cars on 20-odd Sundays borders on the insane – and not of type implied by F1’s latest marketing strapline “Engineered Insanity”…

However, logic dictates that any form of cap – across whatever motorsport category, including F1 – holds dire consequences for the motorsport industry, for it stands to reason that the less teams spend, the lower the income for the industry, particularly if costs are reduced through standardised parts supplied by a single manufacturer.

Thus any talk of budget caps sends shivers through suppliers or wherever livelihoods depend upon F1. And nowhere is that supplier base larger than in the United Kingdom.

Thus the Motorsport Industry Association invited Pat Symonds, Formula One Management’s technical director and the man directly charged with framing proposals for the post-2021 period, to address (and appease) its membership at its annual business conference. This was held in a marquee at Force India’s base in Silverstone in the run-up to the British Grand Prix under the chairmanship of MIA boss Chris Aylett.

While the overall authority for approving F1’s sporting and technical rules rests with the FIA, but the current plan is for commercial rights holder FOM, in turn a subsidiary of Liberty Media, to frame proposals for consideration by the governing body, and subsequent approval and ‘rubberstamping’. Hence Symonds’ presence, presenting a session entitled ‘A Period of Change: Challenges and Opportunities’

“Certainly in Formula 1 we’re going through a period of change,” said Symonds. “Overall [the sport] is going through a period of change.”

Start, Red Bull Ring, 2018
There is huge disparity in what teams spend
F1 is, of course, all about change. That’s its core DNA, not open-wheel racing or wings and slicks, but evolution aimed at producing the fastest racing cars on earth. Crucially, the change F1 faces is not so much technical or even sporting – these are side effects – but rather a massive philosophical change in the approach to the way regulations are framed.

In setting the scene, Symonds recited F1’s mission statement: “Our aim is to unleash the greatest racing spectacle on the planet. Formula One should be the world’s leading global sports competition, married to state-of-the-art technology – ‘that’s important’ – to excite and engage in all fans of all ages, with iconic live event celebrations in destination cities and across leading television and digital platforms around the world.”

“[The statement] goes on to talk about ‘embracing innovation’,” he continued, “and ends by saying, ‘Formula One is committed to being a premier sport, defined by excellence, excitement and star power on and off the track. The success is ultimately measured by an ever-growing global fan base, whose expectations are exceeded by the experiences we deliver, at every level.’”

According to Symonds, F1 will not be “dumbed down”, whether technologically or in broadcast terms: he cited OTT streaming and the various digital platforms recently embraced by F1 as examples.

“As we continue to grow in that area, a lot of apps, a lot of internet-based content that we’ve delivered, as well as television content,” he said. “But my job is much more about trying to produce some thinking which will lead to regulations, determined by the FIA. It will give us a very strong [F1] in future.”

The key is, of course, how FOM goes about this process.

“I think when we started this process we had to ask ourselves a few questions. A phrase I use a lot is ‘evidence-based decision making’. It’s something Formula 1 is not used to. In my world, I want evidence [whether] we’re doing the right thing. It’s possible to do that. I’m an engineer; I’m used to doing that sort of thing. It’s called ‘modelling’, and experimentation is all we have to produce that evidence to make decisions from.

“I’ve often told engineers that they’ve got to be qualitative, not quantitative. We are really working towards using evidence to decide how we take Formula 1 into the future. So as we set each idea, each regulation, we ask ourselves a number of questions.

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“We’ve asked ourselves, ‘Is it making the racing better?’ ‘Is it making the racing safer?’ ‘Is it removing ambiguity?’ ‘Is it costing less?’ ‘Is it improving the show, is it improving the sustainability of Formula 1?’ which is slightly different to ‘costing less’.

Mercedes W09 launch, Silverstone, 2018
F1 cars could look very different in 2021
“So we’re aiming to get a set of regulations for 2021, a new Formula 1 car for 2021,” he continued. “We’ve tended in the past to not look far enough ahead. We haven’t had a long-term plan in Formula 1. Because what that leads to, is obstruction by those who are trying to protect their competitive advantage.

“With the governance [process] we have in Formula 1 at the moment [the Strategy Group] that can be a real block to progress. So we’re trying to look a bit further ahead. The teams are, I think, appreciating it. They’re certainly very well engaged with us, and they’re very happy to talk about things in the future because it’s not affecting their performance this season or next season.”

All well and good, but how does Symonds see the process working? Effectively he plans to frame regulations that foster overtaking by mechanical and aerodynamic means.

“[In the past] year-on-year, as the cars’ performance improved, [so] the ability to follow close got worse. The other thing we’ve done in looking at 2021 is we wanted to decide what should be the performance differentiators,” he explained to the MIA audience, made up mostly of engineers and component suppliers.

“At the moment you can spend money wherever you like. You can spend quite an awful lot of money trying to [find] performance. Those are the rules that are tightened down to the 100 pages of regulations that govern Formula 1 and the many [not in the public domain] technical directives that govern Formula 1. It’s become more and more important that the small, incremental improvements get performance. Those cost money.”

The trick, according to Symonds, is to define the crucial performance differentiators, and put a stop to wastage on the others.

He considers power units, aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics to be the key performance differentiators, and thus “Those things are where we want to allow the teams to show their excellence, and to win through a meritocracy.

Wheel nuts, Red Bull Ring, 2018
Introducing more standardised parts should cut costs
“But in other areas we want to try and bring a little bit more prescription into it. The areas that fans don’t see. They don’t care whether a wheel nut is made out of aluminium or titanium or steel. So let’s get rid of this game that is going on there.”

In broad-brush terms, there will be free(r) areas, some standard areas using supplied components and prescriptive areas, the design of which is prescribed, but teams are free to either make them to specification, or out-source. The crucial thing as that these must be produced to specification to control spend.

“It would be foolhardy to have a single supplier for brakes,” believes Symonds. “A carbon brake takes several months to manufacture and if there was a problem with one, Formula 1 would stop racing. It’s foolhardy. So while I said we want to be more prescriptive on those areas that are not part of the performance differentiation, it doesn’t mean really dumbing them down.”

Equally, Symonds is targeting “less predictability” in racing. “To know what the result is before we go a sporting event really doesn’t attract anyone. We sometimes get one or two races like that in Formula 1. We want to bring less predictability into the sport. And we want closer grids. And I think we can do that.”

In effect Symonds is attempting to change the slope of performance gain per euro spent. “At the moment there’s no doubt the more money you spend, the more successful you’re going to be. That will always be the case, we can’t change that completely.

“But what we can do is we can lower that slope. There are certainly technical ways you can do that and that’s what a lot of our aerodynamic work is about, which is going actually extremely well and been very good in liaison with the teams.”

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Where former F1 tsar Bernie Ecclestone’s tenure in F1 was informed largely by seat-of-the-pants feel – a sort of suck-it-and-see approach that sometimes worked, but more often did not – Liberty’s approach is scientific, more psychological.

“We want less deterministic outcomes, less predictability. We want to build to a crescendo by understanding some of these things.” Symonds explains how F1 is beginning to grasp what makes people enjoy races. “The experience of watching a race, of watching a sporting event, of watching anything, is largely based on how they felt at the peak of the experience, and indeed at its end.”

“We understand those sorts of things. It’s one of the reasons why the current qualifying situation we have is actually very good, because it builds to a crescendo. People remember that. Q1? Is it very interesting? Probably not, but people don’t worry too much about that because it is a means to an end, to get to a very exciting Q3.”

A large part of building that psychological immersion relies on what Symonds called “building a multiple platform experience.

Esteban Ocon, Manor, Yas Marina, 2016
Manor was the 36th F1 team to disappear in 25 years
“You’re not going to go to many races as a live event, so we’ve got to build platforms that today the younger people are using to really enjoy what they’re seeing. The days of just watching television are long gone. My sons have never watched a race distance, watching on television.”

A sustainable F1 is a healthy F1, and here Symonds referred to the 36 Formula 1 teams that failed over the past 25 years: “A terrible statistic. Some of them were poorly financed; some of them really maybe shouldn’t have been there in the first place, but that has an immediate economic impact on the industry, and if a team failed it’s very, very sad.” In reality the sport has lost close to 100 teams in its 68-year lifetime.

“All of you out here who are supplying the motorsport industry have all at some time had your fingers burned,” he said pointedly. “You have [teams] who have gone broke and owed you money. We don’t want that sort of thing to happen, that’s bad for everyone. So we’re going to build the sport up; if we build Formula 1 up, I believe other things will follow it. So please, don’t think that we will be cutting you out.”

Thus Liberty plans to grow the sport by attracting new audiences that, in turn, generate new revenues. Hand-in-hand with that go cost cap – although Symonds would not confirm the much bandied-about figure of $150m per annum excluding drivers, management, marketing and engines. However, a FOM source confirmed during the grand prix weekend that was the target number.

“Let’s take ($150m) as an example, that’s about 130 million pounds, but it does exclude an awful lot of functions,” stated Symonds. “Top teams at the moment, in the area of the cost cap, are probably spending 150 million pounds; mid-teams maybe 90 million, some probably less than that. If we [redistribute] the resources, then you look at, let’s say 10 teams, spending around the 130 million pound mark, or about 1.1 billion.”

Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2018
A budget cap could help teams like Williams
According to his calculations that equates to three teams on 150 million, and seven teams on 90 million – effectively the current situation. “So honestly,” he says, “I think the cost cap is not something to be worried about. But there will be more races: there will be more parts being used.

“So maybe at Brackley [Mercedes headquarters] there won’t be 700 or 800 people working there, there will be more at Enstone [Renault] or at Grove [Williams] or wherever. I think we’ve also made it very public that the income will be redistributed in 2021, there’s no secret about that. The numbers are not in the public domain, but they are aimed at providing much more sustainable business for those towards the back of the grid.”

Thus the post-2021 Liberty model is a cheaper yet better F1, one that ultimately improves the sporting spectacle by recognising the need for performance meritocracy while reducing both predictability and, crucially, the costs of competing on a level playing field in order ensure Formula 1’s sustainability.

“Without an improved product we lose our audience, and therefore we lose our income. And without this sustainable business model we lose our teams.” Symonds concluded. “I do believe the solutions are at hand, and I do believe that in Formula One that we are making some positive moves to the future.”

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41 comments on “The $150m question: How can Liberty cut costs without dumbing down F1?”

  1. Very good article again, thank you. They do talk a lot at Liberty/FOM don’t they…. Now let’s see some actual steps being taken.

    1. I agree excellent article. I do think that “dumbing down” conveys the wrong idea. I think Liberty is talking more about streamlining, optimizing, and yes some simplifying too. Sure that could be described as dumbing down, but that’s an unfair description . None of the plans for 2021 will change the fact that F1 is the absolute pinnacle of Motorsport. However, I’d really like to see Liberty and others spend more time talking about how to increase the size of the pie as opposed to slicing it differently. Formula 1 hasn’t recovered from the lost of revenue of tobacco, alcohol, and banking sponsorship. Sponsorship is getting harder and harder to obtain. I’d love to read ideas on how to improve this.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        12th July 2018, 8:44

        Agreed. The phrase “Dumbing down” in the sense it has been used is a poor one because everything is relative. In this sense F1 has already been “dumbed down”. Look at all the existing rules that prohibit development of new tech, materials systems etc. Had not many technical restrictions been applied F1 would be stupidly dangerous and costly. It would have been “dumb” not to. Just as it would be “dumb” not to do it now.

        Symonds loves F1 and has a wealth of experience and knowledge. Certainly he has one well know moral transgression in his past but that does not mean he is wrong now.

  2. If Liberty even look like going down the Indy RD F1 will suffer. F1 is all about innovation and show casing the best in motor racing tech. As we have seen in the past the big players do not have a monopoly on smart. Brabham, Mclaren, Chapman, Williams to name just a few took on the big players and won. Maybe a relaxing of regulations would boost participation and shake things up a bit.

    1. Relaxing of regulations just increases costs and separates the field further.

  3. To me, standardisation of parts is the area with the biggest scope for bringing down costs. Just off the top of my head I think you could standardise:

    Complete gearbox including differential and case
    Fuel system including tank
    Wheel uprights
    Jacking systems
    Power steering system including rack
    Steering wheel
    Pedal box
    Rollover and crash structures

    Or at the very least have them available as a number of homologated parts from different suppliers which are interchangeable and universally compatible (i.e. any combination of brakes, uprights, suspension, and steering, from any manufacturer will work together). I don’t think you would see any significant impact on the performance, but would see a huge reduction in required costs for developing these parts. Yes it may mean than teams wouldn’t have the freedom to position a wishbone out of the way of a vortex which attaches to the sidepod, but I think that’s an academic issue easily overcome.

    I’d go so far as to allow third-party chassis suppliers so you could essentially put together an off-the-shelf rolling chassis, to which you simply need to attach your own aero parts and cooling system. And if that sounds scarily close to customer cars, then I say what’s the problem with that? I would be opposed to a complete turnkey F1 car which you could just buy and show up for a GP. But then, without that concept, perhaps we would never have seen James Hunt in F1.

    Go one step further and why not homologate the same chassis design for use in F2, further driving down the costs thanks to economies of scale? Make an F2 car fundamentally the same as an F1 car but with a less powerful engine and simpler, standard aerodynamics. It’d also make it easier for a team to make the transition from F2 to F1, as it would already have many of the parts required as well as experience working with the chassis.

    1. I think the list is a very good suggestion, the only things to be wary of is why do manufacturers get involved in the first place. They do so to show what their companies can do and are to an extent happy to go up against other people with the same mindset. The difference is that there are a number of ways to build a car, being it push-rod or pull-rod suspension for example. The rules really need to allow teams to build in directions they want. If you think that a suspension layout that is “radical” is beneficial over a over clocked diffuser then you should be allowed to do this. The manufacturers should be allowed to build what they need to build the car they want, but if they are restricted by funds then that forces a compromise approach so makes sense to standardise components. The customer car as we have seen with Haas over the last few seasons has merits, the question is as a company like Aston has said the engine is too expensive to do, would a car company like this really want a customer car built by a rival? Really the customer car is aimed at the privateer like Force India and Williams who want to race. so there’s a balance to be maintained; global car companies versus specialised racing outfits. What this article does is define the direction F1 should be looking at and with enough lead time to prevent thinking axes are being ground to agree on how to push forward while still holding to F1’s light of the fastest car and the test technology versus the harsh reality that racing costs money.

    2. @mazdachris

      I’d go so far as to allow third-party chassis suppliers so you could essentially put together an off-the-shelf rolling chassis, to which you simply need to attach your own aero parts and cooling system. And if that sounds scarily close to customer cars, then I say what’s the problem with that?

      TBH I’d say what’s the problem with actual, 100% totally customer cars? I mean it would be far from a first in F1, having existed since F1 cars were still FR (if not earlier).

      1. @davidnotcoulthard

        It’s a good question and I think it deserves a detailed answer. Personally I wouldn’t like to see customer cars, because I think it goes against what I’d define as the spirit of competition.

        If you define a customer car as being something you can buy, in its entirety, and take racing (like an F2 car, or a GTE car, rather than an LMP2 car which you assemble from a pick’n’mix of various bits), then it’s going to work in a few different ways:

        1 – Existing manufacturers sell competitive racing cars to customers.
        Pros: More competitive cars on the grid. Greater incentive to new teams joining the sport.
        Cons: No incentive for other teams to build and design their own cars. Existing manufacturers unlikely to want to compete against (and potentially lose to) their own cars in someone else’s hands. Existing manufacturers unlikely to allow their top level cars into the hands of third parties given the high risk of technical details being leaked to rivals.

        2 – Third party manufacturers such as Dallara offer a turnkey F1 car to customers without running their own team.
        Pros: likely to be a cheaper offering, allowing teams on a lower budget to join the sport. Customer teams would be independent so not obligated to defer to a rival team.
        Cons: Unlikely to be a competitive offering. Teams running these cars would simply be making up the numbers. May not be an attractive option for the likes of Dallara given the constant changes to technical regs and the high development costs just to ensure that the cars are capable of qualifying.

        Customer cars do have arguments in their favour. It’s inevitably cheaper for a team to buy a product than to make it themselves as they don’t have to bear the burden of development costs – see Red Bull Racing’s ongoing reluctance to invest in developing their own engine. Cheaper entries means fuller grids – a 26 car grid is going to deliver more action on the track than a 20 car grid. But the drawbacks are myriad. A grid full of uncompetitive teams, bar the few at the front, is essentially what we have at the moment and would only get worse with full customer outfits. A team which starts out as a customer is unlikely to attract sufficient investment to ‘graduate’ to the point of becoming a full manufacturer.

        There’s a conflict at the heart of the concept. On the one hand, I think as a point of principle nobody would want to see drivers winning championships in customer cars, because there would be a sense of not having earned the right to be there. Why would you ever want to see prestigious marques like Ferrari and Mercedes being beaten by someone who just bought a car off the shelf? It’s the ultimate extension of the ‘pay driver’ issue – the ‘pay team’. But on the other hand, if the customer team can’t be competitive, then really what’s the point in them being there?

        I said at the start, for me it goes against the spirit of competition. I’m not going to say it’s against the DNA of the sport because as you point out, and as I alluded to when I mentioned Hunt and Hesketh, customer cars have been a fixture of F1 in the past. But ultimately I would only really want to see teams appearing on the grid who had the ambition to win races and championships. Ambitions which will likely never be realised of course. But a customer knowingly buying an uncompetitive car just to make up the numbers, with no ability to ever scale up the operation to the point of being a manufacturer, that for me is a step too far.

        I like the HAAS concept. I like how LMP2 works – I think this is a good model for F1, with the exception of off-the-shelf aero packages. An F1 team, to my mind, needs to build at least some of the car itself. Each team’s car should be unique and distinct from those it’s competing against. One thing F1 has never been is a spec series, and that’s not what I’d ever want to see it become. Teams which don’t have the ability to build F1 cars, fundamentally should not be competing in F1. F1 should be the place where the best come to compete against one another, and there needs to be a basic criteria to set a barrier for entry against those who aren’t good enough to be there. A racing outfit with the ambition to compete in F1 should cut its teeth in a lower formula; learn the trade before you should ever be allowed into the elite tier.

        That’s my opinion anyway. I understand why some would feel differently. I just think we’ve moved so far from the days of Hesketh, where even the top level teams were cobbling cars together in sheds and putting up their teams in caravans on race day.

    3. Mostly agree, on the parts list though I think the steering wheel needs to be semi-standard as drivers do have preferences. Maybe standardise the chassis of the wheel, but the control layout is by preference.

  4. If they want to make it close, then change the points system. Since there are 20 cars on the grid, then 1st place gets 19, 2nd place gets 18, down to last place which gets 0. If you beat someone, you get a point; not 2 or 10 or any other random made up number. This puts every position into play – not just the top 10.

    Penalties – stiffer penalties for crashes. Do away with the small stuff (5 seconds – what’s the point of that?) but make causing an accident really hurt. A loss of all your points would be a real blow to someone and might cause them to think twice before driving into a hole in the field that doesn’t really exist. Nothing makes me shut off the tv faster than seeing my favorite drivers knocked out of the race by someone else.

    Front wings – what if the cars had different noses and wings for different tracks? Tight tracks get narrower noses, wider tracks get normal noses. Change the easily damaged parts of the cars based on the track to allow a bit more space for closer racing.

    DRS – allow the drivers to use it whenever they want. I think it’s a neat thing to have but the drivers should be able to open and close it as they choose – forget it’s open, lose down-force and off you slide in a corner. Forget to open it and you lose straight line speed that could help with overtaking.

    Tyres – too many options. There only needs to be wet, inter, hard and soft. Keep it simple.

    Eliminate the 1 litre fuel rule – let them race already. Who cares if there’s 1 litre or 1 gram left in the tank.

    1. I hope you are sarcastic. If not, all these are terrible, terrible ideas.

    2. TeselOfSkylimits
      11th July 2018, 16:50

      Tires would at least cause issues. If you only have two total compounds, then you’d also neat tracks with similar tire wear. otherwise you’d either have softs that would survive entire Monaco weekend and still be useful for Canada Friday FP, or you could make softs that would survive 20 laps in Monaco, but that would mean they would survive about half the lap of Suzuka.

    3. Oh man. Where to begin with what you are suggesting. Terrible

  5. “At the moment there’s no doubt the more money you spend, the more successful you’re going to be.”

    Unless you are Toyota…

    1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      11th July 2018, 17:24

      Or McLaren…

    2. Imagine how much less successful they would have been if they has spent less.

      Besides, the point is not that you win a championship by spending one dolalr more thnan the other team, but the teams spending 400 to 500million are the ones now in contention for the championships. The ones paying 250million and less are not.

  6. “Equally, Symonds is targeting “less predictability” in racing.” — like instructing drivers to randomly crash, allowing number 1 driver an unlikely win?

    The biggest cheat in Formula 1 history should have no say in the sport’s future.

    1. “Equally, Symonds is targeting “less predictability” in racing.”

      I think he means having a closer level of performance between all the cars would result in more teams being on the podium and getting Pole Position than happens currently. For example, at the British GP Red Bull were saying they didn’t expect to win at that track before Qualifying because they knew that Ferrari and Mercedes had such a performance advantage. As far as I can tell only one team outside of the “top three” has had a driver stand on the podium this season (Sergio Pérez at Azerbaijan), and only 4 drivers have achieved Pole Position in Qualifying.
      Symonds doesn’t want F1 to become a “spec series”, which is really good news, but on the other hand keeping the current range of performance disparity isn’t good for F1’s future.

    2. The biggest cheat in Formula 1 history should have no say in the sport’s future.

      I believe that is an unfair supposition. Only those who have seen all the evidence and testimony are in a position to judge Symonds’ role in that event.

      I would doubt that Liberty, as a public company paying a very high price for, essentially, short term marketing contracts is going to hire someone who their business partners would still view as untrustworthy.

      1. Here is a good place to start reading up on Symonds role in respect to the Singapore crash –

        I always thought his resignation was a admission of guilt.

  7. The only way F1 can can achieve its goals is if it increases its annual revenue.

    I doubt the likes of Ferrari (in particular), Merc, RB and potentially Renault will be happy to accept a drop in payment. I know that this has been discussed, but no one has really agreed to anything have they? Sergio Marchionne is certainly not pleased from what I’ve gathered.

    Secondly, if F1 want to attract new teams, potentially a works outfit like Porsche, they’re going to want a chunk of the preferential payments as well. So where is that money going to come from?

    Thirdly, putting on a cost cap isn’t going to change anything. The big teams are complex corporate machines, it will be so easy for them to circumvent the spirit of the cost cap. F1 isn’t a moral playground, its far from it, possibly its complete opposite.

    Liberty are stuck with a monster created by you know who. The only way that they can succeed in running a fair and equitable sport, is if they kill the monster, which is no mean feat.

  8. This is where the major problem is: if the core DNA of F1 is to build and race the fastest car in the world and not open-wheel racing or wings and slicks, then it cannot be bound by cost or frequently changing restrictive regulations .

    1. @pinakghosh: Yes, it can. Haven’t you noticed?

  9. John Toad (@)
    11th July 2018, 17:35

    Why do we need a cost cap?
    There are two approaches to designing cars: spend a lot of money or spend a lot of intellectual capital.
    If you have a tightly restricted formula with a lot of standardised parts then only the first option is open and the teams with the deepest pockets will always come out on top.
    The alternative is to reduce the regulations to a bare minimum and allow real technological disruption to take place.
    If the rules were framed along the lines of: Here is a box that your car has to fit into and apart from some safety regulations all other design elements are completely free.
    Free up the engineers to think radically and be completely innovative in their designs.
    Free up formula 1 rather than regulating it into a spec formula.

    1. @ceevee This make no sense at all. Fee up the regulations so they spend less. Sure.

      What they could do though is to cap the budget and THEN allow more freedom.

      1. John Toad (@)
        11th July 2018, 22:12

        Budget caps won’t work as they are impossible to monitor.
        A major manufacturer with world wide facilities can easily hide research in amongst other projects needed for road cars. How are you going to distinguish between engineering research for road cars and that which can be applied to a F1 car.
        The whole mantra of F1 at the moments is ‘road relevance’, so who is going to tell a manufacturer that they can’ t research some particular area just because it might be used on an F1 car.
        Those manufacturers not involved in F1 will love the competitive advantage that this would give them and the manufacturers involved in F1 would not stand for it.
        Budget caps are a pipe-dream.
        Even up the cash distribution, relax the regulations on car design and forget chasing the chimera of budget caps

  10. There’s only 1 thing needed…

    Make it attractive for big manufacturers to join. The day of the small privateers are gone. Let them fizzle out.

    We need Toyota and BMW back, also Honda to run its own team.
    I’m not a fan of the VAG group but they should be here too.

    And all of these could have B teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull already do. Ferrari would have to choose between Haas or Sauber, Mercedes have Force India, Red Bull have STR.

    As for Williams, BMW should buy them.
    McLaren should team up with Ricardo (the engine manufacturer), pump some money in and become a full manufacturer.

    The future of F1 being better is more realistic if catered to the manufacturers. I don’t believe for 1 minute that it’ll get any fairer for the poor minnows.

    1. Then the future of F1 looks bleak, since the world is moving fast towards electric vehicles. Manufacturers will just leave when F1 is not part of their agenda anymore (except maybe Ferrari). F1 needs private teams to ensure it’s existence, and I am not talking for 30-40 years but in about 10-15 years’ time.

      1. Nah there’s loads of manufacturers out there. Keep it stable and relevant for them and F1 will be an amazing showcase. It’s tye natural course of things, anything else is going backwards.

      2. @afonic I don’t think the world is moving toward electric as fast as you think.

        1. @robbie, there are already a number of nations that have announced they will not permit new petrol or diesel car sales from 2040 onwards, such as the UK and France, which is 22 years from now. China has already made it law that, by 2019, a minimum of 10% of all new car sales must be zero emissions cars, rising to 12% by 2020, and they also plan a phase out of internal combustion engined cars over a similar time frame.

          Meanwhile, there have been some regional authorities that are pushing motorists to switch even sooner – the Parisian local authorities have said that they are aiming to phase out all petrol or diesel powered vehicles by 2030 (just 12 years away).

          If that legislative pressure remains in place, that prediction of 10-15 years looks plausible – it might not be full electrification, but you would expect electric vehicles to be making up a significant proportion of car sales by then and that manufacturers will be wanting to shift their promotional activities accordingly (we’ve already seen Porsche shift across to Formula E to tie in with the launch of their Taycan (formerly known as the Mission E) in the next few years).

        2. @Robbie I’ve seen people say this sort of thing a lot recently, but I can’t believe people are not seeing it. Look at Formula E – 8 car manufacturers have committed to competing for the next season, compared to just 4 in Formula 1. One speculative additional entry for F1 in the form of Porsche, but crucially only if F1 drops the advanced hybrid tech – because basically there’s no point in investing huge amounts into hybrid cars when they’re, at best, a stopgap on the way to full electrification.

          ICEs are dead technology, car manufacturers aren’t interested in pushing the tech much further than they have already. The future is electric.

          1. @anon @mazdachris I don’t deny that there is a push for electric in certain countries, and that they’ve set targets. Nor do I deny that all the manufacturers have jumped on board…because they have to or they’ll be left behind, or appear to be complacent and uncaring about the environment. But it is the short number of years that some people throw out that I deny. And 10-15 years is not practical.

            But keep in mind I am in Canada and so far electric sales have been minimal, even when heavily subsidized by governments. Last year approx. 17,000 plug in vehicles were sold vs over 2,000,000 ice vehicles. Ontario rebates up to $14,000 and Quebec up to $8000, and still sales are stagnant. I know part of the issue here is Canada is a huge country with a small population, and things are spread out, other than in cities of course. You have to drive if you want to get anywhere in much of Canada. And electric vehicles with their lack of range and the lack of infrastructure to support them, are simply not practical for the majority of people.

            Much time for improvement and for installation of infrastructure is needed yet, and with such small sales numbers one has to wonder if the incentive will be there to put the infrastructure in place. At best for now electric vehicles work for those who have short commutes, and don’t need a lot of carrying capacity for passengers and goods. I see the hybrid option where an ice keeps batteries topped up as a far far more practical way to go until there is far far more demand for far far better electric vehicles, such that infrastructure becomes practical to spend money on.

            There is also still much debate on the manufacture and disposal of batteries and their toxicity, and the overall environmental footprint of electric vehicles, which is very far from zero emission.

  11. The days of just watching television are long gone. My sons have never watched a race distance, watching on television.

    Not only is this guy a liar and a cheat, he’s a bad parent too?

    If someone inside the sport – albeit discredited – can’t stoke the enthusiasm in his own family, how does he expect to micromanage the great disinterested populace to follow his show?

    And for the record, Mr. Symonds, I care a great deal about wheel nuts – and every little superb technical detail in F1. FOG, you’re selling F1 wrong. Good luck paying off Bernie.

    1. @jimmi-cynic

      If someone inside the sport – albeit discredited – can’t stoke the enthusiasm in his own family, how does he expect to micromanage the great disinterested populace to follow his show?

      To be fair it’d never been his show.

  12. I started reading this article, and I thought, “Ok…ok…ok…” Then it became, ” Maybe…maybe…maybe…” Then it became, “Oh, come on…Oh, come on…Oh, come on…” Then it became. “Blah…blah…blah…”
    And then I settled back on my original thought when I read the headline, which was, “This is a guy who got away with actually fixing an F1 race, and here he is back in the sport telling us how to do it right.” Maybe in every race there should be one designated driver who is required to spin out intentionally when directed by FIA officials thereby bringing out the safety car and making things REAL interesting.

  13. I really enjoy your insights Dieter it’s a fantastic addition to this site.

    It’s interesting to hear the statements that Liberty are making – so many “corporate speak” statements that remind me of the sorts of meetings I used to experience from companies undergoing reorganisations that ultimately made no real difference to their success but had a huge impact on all of those working for them. I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen in this case.

    I’d be interested in your opinion on whether or not F1 would become more interesting if they relaxed the regulations and allowed the teams to develop and innovate all sorts of differing chassis, aero & even PU’s within as set budget and overriding set of guidelines instead of forcing them all into essentially the same path? I’m old enough to remember the Fan, 6 wheels etc, none of which were overly successful but definitely interesting.

    By setting a budget cap, teams then need to decide the best way of being successful – sure if they get it wrong, they’ll suffer a bad year, but if they come up with something “out there”, they get a chance to be at the pointy end, something most teams now can’t really aspire to.

    Otherwise, I can’t see much changing, the big teams will continue to dominate and the second tier will fight it out to be best of the rest as is the case now. That in its own right is not all that bad, but to me still discourages entry of new teams and a whole raft of things that could add to the overall value of F1.

  14. Gemma St. Ivans
    12th July 2018, 7:12

    Symonds and Briatore should have been banned from the sport for life.

  15. Very simple, pay less to the teams, provide regulations where all teams can buy all parts they want.

    Red Bull wants Ferrari gearbox? They can buy it.

    All parts should have a regulated price, teams can make it cheaper or can buy it elsewhere.

  16. Load of old bollox.
    Just Liberty, out to kill, by avaricecious evil intent, The Golden Goose that is the F1 we all know & love.
    Bernie created this Golden Goose.
    Bernie hatched that egg out, he nurtured that chick until adulthood.
    Yes Bernie thoroughly enjoyed it’s Golden eggs to the full.
    However Liberty looked around the global sports market for opportunities to expand the evil financial empire.
    They saw the vast opportunity in F1 to scream another few billion dollars into the greed machine.
    Bernie, knowing he was running out of time, literally. Saw the final massive lump sum for his pension pot.
    He sold his precious F1 Golden Goose.
    Bernie’s already wringing his hands at Liberty’s ambitions to graspingly monetise every single aspect of F1.
    RIP F1 :(

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