Ross Brawn, Pail Ricard, 2018

F1 must “maintain its integrity” while creating better races – Brawn

2018 F1 season

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Formula 1 mustn’t sacrifice the integrity of its racing as it strives to produce more exciting action, says motorsport director Ross Brawn.

The sport’s commercial rights holders Liberty Media is planning a major overhaul of the regulations for 2021. But Brawn says preserving the sport’s character is a vital goal.

“If you wanted to measure success for us now it would be to maintain the integrity of the sport”, Brawn said in an interview for F1 Fan Voice. “That’s very important, the quality of the sport.”

However while doing this Liberty also wants to “increase the engagement of the public in Formula 1, increase the enjoyment of the fans – the existing fans we have.”

“Increase it in a way that maintains the integrity of the sport. But find ways of engaging new fans in different ways or make them more aware of what Formula 1 is all about.”

Brawn said one example of how he thinks the sport should not be changed is the format of the races. “A one-and-a-half to two-hour race is right,” he said.

“I always believed that and interestingly in all the discussions we’ve had with fans a large percentage agree.

“You watch a football game, it’s a couple of hours. A major sporting event has to have substance. I think the duration of a Formula 1 race is right. I think we need to get more action into a Formula 1 race.”

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The sport has also discussed extending the points system to cover the top 15 or 20 drivers. Brawn said it’s important they pick a long-term solution.

“We’re having a discussion about points system at the moment. It’s a big decision to change it. If we change it, it needs to be left alone for 10 years, we don’t want to keep messing with it.”

While Brawn believes the championship needs to become more competitive, he is against making F1 a single-specification series. He described it as “a fabulous collection of technology and human competition.”

“That’s what makes the sport so unique. Great drivers need a good car, they don’t necessarily need the best car. But then you can get average drivers with a fabulous car.

“That’s part of the wonderful dynamic of Formula 1. But you need to keep that at the right levels. You can’t have the technology ruling everything. And I think if we had all the same cars and the drivers being the variable, that wouldn’t be right either.”

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Brawn said he wants to improve the competition in F1 through technical and commercial changes.

“I think the bigger things we’re trying to do is create cars that can race each other properly. The cars certainly at the moment can’t race each other properly. We’ve had some good races because there’s been events that have happened during the race: a Safety Car or crash or whatever has brought the cars together and they’ve all been on different tyres and suddenly we’ve got great action going on.

“What I want to see is that when the cars are in similar circumstances: same tyres, similar age, they’re able to race each other. Because you can’t race each other at the moment. The aerodynamics are so critical that when one car gets into the wake of another then it’s very difficult to race. You get circumstances where at the beginning of the race there’s some action, then it settles down, and then unless something happens then there’s not a lot of racing going on. And I want to improve that. That’s where we’re going with the cars.

“Connected to that is the sustainability of the teams, to give the teams a better commercial base. What that does is it makes it more competitive. If we make it more competitive we close up the field. We want to limit the amount of money and resource that a top team can spend in Formula 1 because that is pulling them away again.

“So the broad aim is a much more competitive field of cars that can all race each other very closely. We can have great racing in future. But to do it with integrity. We don’t want to start using artificial means to improve the racing. It needs to be good at its core.”

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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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46 comments on “F1 must “maintain its integrity” while creating better races – Brawn”

  1. What I want to see is that when the cars are in similar circumstances: same tyres, similar age, they’re able to race each other.
    at the beginning of the race there’s some action, then it settles down, and then unless something happens then there’s not a lot of racing going on.

    We don’t want to start using artificial means to improve the racing.

    in which case why are they still talking about high degredation tyres beyond 2021?

    if the goal is cars that can race better then having comedy tyres is completely unnecessary and goes against the want of him and most fans to not have silly gimmicky artificial nonsense taking away from the pure racing action.

    having cars that can race closer, allow for real overtaking to be more possible (but not guaranteed) where drivers can push harder on the tyres in order to be able to race properly for lengthy periods of time. there is no point of creating cars that can follow closer and race better if after a few laps of pushing the tyres start to fall off which causes the drivers to have to back off a not race or try to overtake. or where a driver that is pushing to overtake has a brake lockup that destroys his tyre and forces him to back off or pit.

    the goal should be competitive racing free of silliness that makes the battling and overtaking less competitive (high deg that creates huge performance differences that guarantees overtakes isn’t competitive or good racing, it is just as bad as drs).

    1. in which case why are they still talking about high degredation tyres beyond 2021?

      Exactly, the rhetoric with what they want to achieve doesn’t match the reality of what they’re moving forward with.

    2. @PeterG Why are you assuming the tires will be so bad? I highly doubt they will be.

      1. @robbie we’ve seen an example of what high deg tyres bring to the sport. The question here is what is going to change to make it any different if they went down that direction again?

        1. @3dom I think what will be different is, well, everything. Aside from the many many behaviours they can tailor into the tires from temp wear to tread wear, with a miriad of operating windows to choose from, the 2021 tires and rims will be on cars with a combination of size and shape of front and rear wings we haven’t seen before, that use their floors and diffusers too, but I predict differently. The tires will be determined by how much downforce the cars will have and how that downforce works…how the wake works.

          I envision that they will still want to average two stop races, so let’s say softer tires are good for 15 to 18 laps for example. Rather than as today the driver having a couple of attempts at a car in front before he has to back off or ruin his fronts because they’ve been easily taken out of their temp window, better tires can still degrade quickly but not lose their performance in what will be lesser dirty air than we have now. The tires may still need replacing in 15 to 18 laps but they gave the driver 10 solid laps of being able to trail and make passing attempts on the car in front.

          Bottom line for me…the experience they have from the past with high deg tires has an asterisk beside it because that experience has been on cars in the decades old aero downforce addiction era of big teams ruling the roost, making all the dirty air they possibly can. Cars that are much less clean air dependent, that make less wake because the teams will be forced to make them that way, haven’t been seen yet. So we can only rely so much on past experience. Brawn is changing history with his unprecedented two cars in a tunnel, studying closer racing and acting on the results as a neutral body, not a self interested set of top teams.

          1. @robbie less dirty air giving improved following, leading to improved tyre management is a good point, cheers. I’m sure you can understand why there is so much scepticism regarding the high deg tyres with the previous experience. They’d definitely need to be looking more towards tread wear in my opinion. I don’t know why they haven’t recently anyway. Thermal deg just doesn’t seem to help the racing. That’s why I have confidence in Ross Brawn and his team, but less confidence in the high deg tyres. It would be such a shame if the tyres prevented the 2020 changes from achieving their full potential

          2. @3dom For sure, and well said. I was so disappointed when at the time they were switching to the bigger tires with the wider cars, Pirelli said the tires would be moreso a tread wear tire, and then they never did go that route. I hope that with the recent tire talk from Liberty/Brawn and the move to 18”rims that is a sign that the men and women in charge have put it out there for tire makers that they want something different for different cars. Finicky tires as we have now will simply not cut it for Liberty’s goals of closer racing, so I highly doubt temp wear tires will be on the new cars, and I highly doubt it will be Pirelli making them.

    3. @PeterG Precisely on point. I couldn’t agree more with you.

    4. in which case why are they still talking about high degradation tyres beyond 2021?

      To be fair that’s in the tyre tender produced by the FIA, not FOM. (Also it’s from 2020, not 2021.)

      1. @keithcollantine, that said, it would seem unlikely that there has been no influence from FOM on the tyre specification given that it states the intention is “to encourage the greatest variety in the racing spectacle”, a philosophy which would fit in with the vision that Brawn and FOM are also painting.

      2. As @keithcollantine says, tyres are FIA, is Todt trying to weaken FOM (bizarre, I know) to regain control or is it just the usual F1 practice of introducing opposing regulations which together nullify the desired effect ?

    5. True story, but we have to have in mind that is a lot of commercial interests in stake, such as pirellis, among others.
      I think that what Brawn is thinking is one thing, another one is what he can effectively do to keep the interests of every player and improve the sport.
      For instance, the 18″ wheel can be a part of what pirelli wants been said by another player so it does not sound like they are demanding it. Imagine if they can sell a tyre that fits a F1 car and a street car as well. The commercial advantage would be tremendous.
      It’s not an easy task to keep every one happy.

      1. @supersenna, you got it, back in the 1960’s when Mini-Coopers were running rings around (hyperbole, ok) the Jags, Mustangs, Galaxies, Impalas, etc. in the twisties I had a friend who’s daily driver was a mini cooper with wide rims and re-tread racing slicks.

    6. Ross is talking about adding the ability to race with similar condition tyres etc, without necessarily taking away the variability that different tyre life brings. I would hate to go back to rock hard tyres that leave no room for strategy or the driver’s ability to be kinder on his tyres (if they degrade in the right way though, not like the current spec). DRS on the other hand he is looking to remove once it is no longer required.

  2. Thank you Ross. Still saying all the right things. Really encouraging. DRS, which is a huge harm to the sport’s integrity, will be gone. There will be no need for it as cars on similar tire states will be able to race closely. Great stuff. We just need to out of the last gen of BE cars and that will happen in a deliberate manner that gives all the teams time.

    1. I have learned to live with DRS and now accept that it might be beneficial in F1 going forward, because I do not believe that the cars will ever stop producing at least some amount of ‘dirty air’ that makes it difficult for other cars to follow closely. But I have a problem with how it is being applied…all that one second gap measuring on precise spot and policing whether the wing was open only within the designated zone…too messy and complicated. It basically means that depending on their particular track position, some drivers could be able to use DRS on every lap, while others not at all. Just set a limit of three uses per race and/or 50 uses per season for each car, and let the drivers use their best judgement to figure out when to employ it or not.

      1. @gpfacts I hope and expect that Liberty will change your mind on the concept of too-harmful dirty air. I have faith that with them doing what has never been done properly under BE, that being having an independent team with two cars in a tunnel together to study the phenomenon, the findings will then shape the cars for the first time. So that is why I struggle with naysayers that insist it will just be more BE days. Not saying that’s you, but some take it to that extreme. I’m actually offended on Liberty’s behalf at the notion.

        Oh for sure there will always be disturbed air from a car in front. But I have every confidence that by reducing the amount of dependence on clean air with smaller and differently shaped wings, with cars that make much less dirty air to begin with, while using floor work and diffusers for ground effects, on tread wear tires that might degrade quickly through tread wear not temp, but will still give a driver a good 10 laps out of a stint that they can actually fight closely on, rather than make one or two attempts and then have to hang back to nurse tire temps for the bulk of a stint, then the racing can be far far closer and better. For me there is absolutely no need for the cars to remain overly negatively affected while in dirty air once they have had a ground up rethink for 2021. And no need for drs, the main ‘artificial means’ I have no doubt Brawn is talking about.

        1. @robbie Let’s hope you are right. The thing is that Liberty keep telling everyone what is going to happen in 2021, but historically, it is not the commercial rights owner alone to decide everything…not even in BE days. The FIA have a lot to do with what’s going to happen, and on that front I am actually optimistic that Charlie Whiting and Ross Brawn can develop good working relationship. The problem is that the teams themselves have a lot of influence over regulations…and that probably won’t change. And the teams are own worst enemies lot of times, trying to gain advantage, unable to reach consensus for the greater good. Time will tell…

          1. @gpfacts Ah but I see a new chapter wrt team power as well. Of course the big teams are going to wield some weight still, as in, are going to be consulted with the most as to the feasibility and agreement on a new direction for F1. Brawn wants them on board so he will of course ‘appease’ them to a certain degree…they’re massive entities that make the show of F1, and should get some things their way for that. Brawn can’t exactly try to force them to make cars they don’t want to make, and have everything working within F1 toward growth and positivity at the same time.

            But from what I have gathered, it has also been put to the teams that there is a new sheriff in town, and they are the ones with the final say, not any one team nor any small group of top teams. By the very nature of Brawns words above, for closer racing and no artificial means, he is also saying they all collectively need to strive for more balance financially from several angles, and the top teams retaining the weight BE gave them, and thus their crushing dominance, does not jive with a closer field of cars, as will ultimately be mandated to the teams when the 2021 regs are written in stone.

            And post-2021 it (F1) will be subject to tweaks as always. They’ll never get it perfect and satisfy everyone all at once, if ever. And I predict much more cooperation amongst more teams toward the goal of a bigger and better F1 for all. Why wouldn’t they all be striving for that, and certainly Liberty is. I believe that now that BE is gone, and once contracts through 2020 end, some of the wind will have been taken out of the top teams’ sails, not just with fresh deals with new entity Liberty, but voluntarily to some degree, as in, through cooperation amongst the teams, including Brawn’s wind tunnel team.

      2. DRS technology has been refined and perfected. It would be foolish to abandon it. It should be allowed to be used anywhere at any time by all drivers. Those with more skill would use it more effectively than those without. And it would make tracks like Monza even faster, with low drag on long straights and down-force in corners. Basically, it’s a movable aero device, which adds another dimension to racing.

        1. No it’s a gadget that makes for easy passes over defenceless drivers and should never have been brought in but for F1’s addiction to harmful aero downforce. Not one DRS pass is memorable or ever gets talked about even seconds after it has happened. They need to tweak the regs as they will be doing for 2021, and we can then get back to driver vs driver racing rather than driver vs disadvantaged driver such as drs provides now. Drs does not add another dimension…it takes away from what otherwise should be passes of integrity where the leading driver has a chance to defend and the trailing driver has to work for it.

          1. You missed my point. The driver in front can use DRS to defend against the car behind. All drivers get to use DRS, at any time and place. It can be used to attack and defend.

          2. @greenflag I’m assuming that you’d be wanting a set number of uses for DRS per race? Because otherwise it would be there purely to lower lap times

            Personally, I still hope that they can make following easy enough so that they don’t need DRS at all

          3. @greenflag Then there is no point having drs then right? If all drivers can use it all the time, it’s purpose of masking the negative effect dirty air has on close racing is erased, so it needn’t even be there. The gadget has been there strictly to promote passing even at the expense of the integrity of the sport, so if it’s function is neutralized with the car in front having it too, then it is not effective in creating fake passes strictly for the sake of saying there’s passes in F1.

    2. Agreed @robbie. It is reassuring to hear that he’s still thinking on this wavelength, and it helps for us to hear it again from time to time.

  3. F1 must “maintain its integrity” while creating better races – Brawn

    Completely agree, lets see what they come up with.

    1. @johnrkh Indeed. So glad Brawn got in there as I dread to think what the new American owners would have come with on their own. Shorter races, qualifying races and god knows what else could easily have been F1’s future if not for Brawn.

  4. How about some plans and delivering on the rhetoric? He’s saying the same things now as when he was given the job.

    Everyone paying attention knows that these are the goals, what’s needed is some confidence that they’ll be achieved by providing detail and crucially announcing agreement from the teams and manufacturers.

    Meanwhile, F1 did good at getting me engaged today, listened to the podcast and signed up for F1 fan voice! Good on them, I guess? Watching the video now…

    1. Hi Tristan – that was my thought. Any one of us could have said the same – and not get paid “loadsamoney” for doing so. This is just ‘PR’ during a quiet patch.
      The only thing I’m thinking of this month is the safe recovery of Mr Lauda.

    2. It does seem like what brawn says are platitudes. Also he’s ignoring the fundamental paradox in what he’s saying, which is that if the racing has true ‘integrity’ then there will be no racing! The fastest will start at the front and pull away and win, with widening gaps throughout the field. Any and every ‘lottery’ element is antithetical to this mythical concept of integrity.

      What we need is competitive teams and more of them. This season has already been a vast improvement on recent years and some stability in the rules and a fairer distribution of the prize-tv money would go a long way to improve matters further.

    3. @skipgamer Yeah fair enough, you’re saying get on with it basically, but in fairness they need to give the teams time, no? I’m sure the teams already have far more details than we do, and that’s to be expected isn’t it? I’m sure we’ll learn more when it is appropriate, but for now I envision they’re still talking to the teams and sorting out where everyone agrees on all the different aspects they want to tackle, as much as possible. Here he is above basically erasing the concept of shorter races that was floated a number of weeks ago, like it was a trial balloon. He says he has always believed in 1 1/2 to 2 hour races, and most fans they have talked to agree.

      I mean, they’re a season and a half into it. And there are contracts to see through. I think Brawn is working as fast as they can given that they want to do this right…as right as possible by their vision, for they know they can never satisfy everyone to the same degree, but they know they are best served by nailing the new era, for everyone’s benefit, as much as they possibly can. No pressure, right?

  5. I agree with everything Ross says. Including not changing the length/time of races much, or at all and leaving the points system so that only the top 10 finishers receive any.

    However, I think other forces are at work which may very well force undesirable compromises on what most of us would like to see. I mean Liberty themselves and the more powerful teams.

    1. @phil-f1-21

      and leaving the points system so that only the top 10 finishers receive any.

      That’s actually not what he said – he said if they do change it they should then leave it unchanged for a long time.

      1. Indeed you are correct. I (mis)read the article fairly quickly at lunchtime.

        It does not change my view though that there is little point in offering points to teams finishing lower down the final race order. I think that all it would do is to identify which of the teams performing less well over the season are the better of the poorly performing teams. I don’t see how this would improve the sport. It may become more of an issue if there was likely to be an increase in the number of teams taking part. This seems unlikely though now.

        Personally, if I was going to make a change I would probably be looking at a points system more similar to ones used in the past. So something like 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. I have never really been a fan of the more inflated points system in place now.

        1. How about radical point system change that gives points for top-three qualifying, fastest race lap, and kilometers in lead:

          1. I am not really in favour of points for qualifying as it would tend to only aid the fastest, best performing cars anyway. However, maybe 1 additional bonus point for the fastest race lap would not be such a bad idea, in the context of my points system. The car setting the fastest lap is not necessarily right at the front, especially towards the end of the race. So this might add a bit of interest to the proceedings. Over the whole season these points would only add 21 in total of course but it could make a difference.

      2. @phil-f1-21,@keithcollantine, Perhaps, if deemed essential, we could have a 2 tiered points system, “A” points for 1-10 and “B” points for 11-20, B (10,9,8 etc) points being given a non prize-money value of 9/100ths. of an A point, just so the progress of the lower order could be tracked and quantified.

  6. I couldn’t agree more with him.

  7. Saying a lot of the right things, as you’d expect from him/.
    However, don’t go changing the points system, it’s fine as it is. Yes, only 4 ‘midfield’ cars are guaranteed to score points, maybe more if there are crashes up ahead, but if your aim is to have all the teams closer together, that will matter less. And currently, getting into the points is seen as an achievement, which it should be really. Only changes could be giving 2 points for pole and 1/2 for fastest lap maybe?
    I feel like another thing is to introduce less street races. I feel like 4/5 in a season of 20/22 races is an alright amount, but no more. We want proper tracks, with proper grandstands etc.

  8. The only thing Brawn is worried about is maintaining the integrity of his wallet. This guy has been saying the same thing for decades now. They know what to do, but won’t do it and never will. Too many vested interests.

  9. As any sort of enforced spending caps are going to be almost impossible to implement or police, maybe a Moto GP style concession system would be better?
    I can’t remember exactly, but a manufacturer without a podium gets extra testing days and more available engines the following year. Obviously that wouldn’t work, but to limit others based on success could?
    For example limit the number of front wing designs over a season, or maybe even limit hours or days during the pre-season testing. Could even have the impact of more friday practice action.
    Just a thought.

  10. Connected to that is the sustainability of the teams, to give the teams a better commercial base. What that does is it makes it more competitive. If we make it more competitive we close up the field. We want to limit the amount of money and resource that a top team can spend in Formula 1 because that is pulling them away again.

    I think this is probably the important part of his message. It looks to me like Liberty Media have been working behind the scenes to keep Sauber and now Force India in the series. Brawn seems to be suggesting that Liberty Media will be introducing a fairer means of sharing the TV rights income and some sort of cost cap.

    1. “maintain its integrity” lol

  11. Jonesracing82
    10th August 2018, 8:21

    Funny how he mentioned cars on different tyres creates racing. so get rid of the “top 10 tyre” rule & the cars at the front may even start on different compound tires instead of locking them into the same compound processions we see now. we might even get different strategy’s too….

  12. “Great Drivers needs a good car, not necessarily the best car”

    And there lies the problem that hopefully Ross and his team are trying to address. Since 2014, I’d suggest that this has not been the case and that’s about the only thing that will turn F1’s fortunes around.

    If they can adjust the balance between PU, Chassis and driver, everything else should fall into line.

  13. Ehhm what exactly is new information here? We have heard these stories over and over for some time now. Where is your list of decisions with an implementation schedule?

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