Start, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2019

Liberty presents 2021 vision and 2020 regulations changes to teams

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 bosses presented their visions for 2021 and beyond to team principals and members of F1’s Strategy Group and the F1 Commission at a summit today in St James Square, the London headquarters of Liberty Media, the sport’s commercial rights holder.

The sport’s current covenants expire at the end of 2020. In terms of the FIA’s sporting code any amendments that could change “the balance of performance between automobiles” need to be approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council at least 18 months ahead of introduction, in this case 1st January 2021. Thus all amendments need to be finalised by 30th June this year.

Although a code of secrecy was imposed on delegates, RaceFans has learned that two joint presentations were presented by F1’s governing body, the FIA, and Liberty during overlapping sessions convened today. The first was aimed at the 10 team bosses present in Strategy Group session and the other at the F1 Commission, which comprises race promoters, sponsors and trade partners in addition to all team executives.

According to sources with knowledge of the meetings, the presentations were comprehensive and well received by the respective audiences, with the mood in the sessions being described as “positive”.

The individual presentations covered the post-2020 regulations (sporting, technical and engine), a revised regulatory framework, a more equitable revenue structure, and proposals for financial controls aimed at levelling the competitive environment for independent teams and to encourage newcomers to enter the sport.

The latest package was based on feedback received and research undertaken since the first such presentations was presented to teams during last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, with today’s meetings timed to fall ahead of this weekend’s race on the desert island.

During the past 12 months the FIA and Liberty have held a series of individual and group meetings with the all sport’s players, and today’s presentation points were honed by the discussions.

The overall package is aimed at making F1 more affordable for teams and fans while delivering an improved on-track show through the reduction of unnecessary costs and elimination of technologies that impede close racing.

“Liberty is fully aware that it will be impossible to make everyone happy, so their strategy is one of making as few people as possible unhappy,” is how a team boss described Liberty’s approach, adding that “tailoring a total package that finds favour with 10 teams who each have vastly different business models means it is inevitable some teams will get hurt more than others.”

Although both Ferrari and Mercedes recently toned down suggestions that they could exit the sport should the post-2020 landscape does not suit their respective objectives, the threat of losing two major teams would have informed Liberty’s proposals. It is believed certain concessions have been made to appease them.

As the meetings were informative by design rather than being regulatory no votes were cast, nor had provisions been made for a ballot process.

However, during the business sessions of both meetings a series of votes were held to approve a number of minor regulations changes scheduled for 2020 introduction. RaceFans understands that changes to ‘oil burn’ and fuel flow regulations, plus to brake duct and front wing designs, were amongst the items approved. These now require ratification by the WMSC for implementation in 2020.

A series of follow-up meetings aimed at formalising the post-2020 landscape are scheduled between now and the end of June.

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Author information

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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  • 29 comments on “Liberty presents 2021 vision and 2020 regulations changes to teams”

    1. That’s definitely promising and positive. I look forward to the details to emerge in due course.

    2. georgeboole (@)
      26th March 2019, 21:29

      Good to hear most bosses were positive and I hope they can make the engine package affordable for more manufacturers to enter the sport.
      As for the aero regulations, if they prove themselves they are going the right way with front wings in combination with the tires, getting cars following each other easier, we ll have a good recipe to start with.

    3. Well, it’s a start…
      Let’s hear what the teams say tomorrow and how the details look like.
      @dieterrencken, what is said to be the running time for the new agreements? 10 years, 5 years?

    4. 2020 Regulation Changes – Because a year without Changes is a waste!

      I am happy for all of them being “positive”, but like I anticipated Brexit to be a complete mess, I think 2021 might be even worse and uglier.
      So personally I am already prepared to leave this “new F1” for good after 2020 (after 20-25+ years of following).

      Of course I would like to learn what they have all decided, but my hopes are kept ground-low.

      1. Apart from “oil burn” – which has been bubbling under for a while – the changes are seriously minor, and would hardly have warranted a news report on their own. They are more about “tidying up” of wording than changes – but as we had to report on the day’s proceedings it made sense to include the info for the record.

        1. “oil burn” – which has been bubbling under for a while

          I see what you did there.

        2. Papo Chicharra (@)
          27th March 2019, 1:41

          Well put it, Mr Rencken.

          It is obvious you have a deeper perspective than most.
          Please, don’t be bashful, express yourself for the benefit of the masses.
          Thank you.

          1. Papo Chicharra (@)
            27th March 2019, 1:48

            Sorry, I meant, tell us what you really think

      2. BlackJackFan
        27th March 2019, 2:02

        So, DAllein… is it 20-25 years… or 25+ years…? You seem unsure… ;-)

    5. It is believed certain concessions have been made to appease them.

      Let’s hope the concessions are fair and equitable.

    6. So we know nothing, practically. I don’t buy the “positive” atmosphere for a second, most of the big players are there to bite off as much as they can and they are going to make the negotiations really hard. I think FIA has really lost the train with 2021 regulations, these should have been finalised by the end of 2017 given their (expected) novelty and extremity. Everything is so delayed that I’m not expecting something really substantial. Meetings all the way until the end of June? Come on. Makes more sense to postpone them until 2023, but we need a new agreement and the sport regulations. I think it is just another sign of how FIA and Liberty failed in this respect.

      Btw, has anybody seen this? Makes me wonder if it’s real

      And if it is, does that mean we’re going to get rid of DRS? That would be finally something I’d call positive. But on the other hand, the wheelbase is still ridiculously long and the car’s oversized. Get your act together, rulemakers!

      1. @pironitheprovocateur

        does that mean we’re going to get rid of DRS?

        Whatever happens DRS is definitely gone after 2020.

        Ross Brawn hates it & made it clear from the start of the process that whatever package was introduced for 2021 couldn’t include DRS.

        1. @pironitheprovocateur I don’t get your pessimism. Liberty has been doing and saying all the right things, and have been held back from instigating much of what they plan due to contracts from prior to their takeover running out post-2020, and at the same time they were always wanting to give the lesser teams ample time to adapt so that the more resourced teams weren’t unduly advantaged. I think you are misunderstanding the complexity of all that needs to be tackled…all that needs to be coordinated. As to hard negotiations from the teams? I think they have already done the bulk of that and the teams have gotten some concessions and are now quite on board.

          Totally agree with @gt-racer wrt drs. Brawn has never been a fan, and combine that with their work and desire to have cars racing more closely amongst each other, and a gadget meant to mask the dirty air effect will not be needed as cars will be much less negatively affected in dirty air starting in 2021.

        2. I don’t think that’s definite at all. Even though Brawn wants to get rid of DRS, he may first want to make sure whether the new rules have the desired expect. I would expect him to hold on to DRS until he’s sure it’s not needed anymore.

      2. Yes, I am aware of the linked piece, and much as I respect the author’s knowledge those are all still concepts, much as concept cars at motor shows are pointers, not definitive retail products.

        You’ve homed in on one concept component that is part of a far greater technical package that is is itself just 1/7th of the total presentation.

        Nothing for 2021 was decided at the meeting, nor was that the plan.

        1. hindsight2021
          27th March 2019, 10:38

          But Liberty outlined the 2021 Technical Regulations during the meeting, right? It would be amazing if you could find a person that was part of the meeting to get information on if DRS or active aerodynamics are part of the plans for example. What is the downforce/laptime target? Will the wheelbase be limited? More spec parts?

      3. Tough negotiations never get finished before the deadline, let alone two years before the deadline. It makes perfect sense for Liberty to wait as long as possible, giving opponents as little time as possible to create a fuss or to contemplate a breakaway series.

    7. So.
      We’ve had a meeting.
      Details kept secret.
      Everyone’s “positive”

      Now let the rumour mill begin.

      Who will be the first team Principal/Owner/Board to tell us what they “really” think.

      1. Christian Horner.

        1. I’d think Cristian Horner will be the first to let us know what he thinks…
          And the last to let us know what he really thinks. :)

        1. If anything it has been Horner who has been saying it is time for Liberty to give them the new directive so they can proceed from there. He has seemed to imply they’ve all had their say, stated their own unique preferences to Brawn and Liberty team by team, and now it is time to spell out the future, and that is what is happening. Of course as has been stated not everyone is going to be 100% happy, but I really believe there is little more Liberty could have done to give everyone their say for consideration, so if, for example Horner ends up being unhappy about some aspect I think he will be over it quickly and will be generally just pleased to know what the new parameters are so they can start their planning.

          1. @robbie I couldn’t agree more.
            I’m pleased that the meeting has occurred but perhaps a little disappointed that it’s been discribed as their “vision” which suggests that it’s still a bit blue sky and subject to change/more individual discussions.

            Hopefully over the next few days, they’ll share their vision with the fans of the sport at large although it does still seem to be early days. There’s definitely some encouraging signs but also some slightly discouraging ones given they’ve had to accommodate some special arrangements for some teams which leaves us in a similar situation to what we have now (albeit probably watered down)

            Still … it’s progress and I agree that Horner will be one of those driving it along rather than being obstructive. A couple of other TP’s though I’m sure will wait until the last moment before giving their support so they can extract the maximum advantage they can.

            1. @dbradock For me I’m not concerned about the word ‘visions’ as I think it is perhaps moreso Dieter’s choice of word than that of Liberty. That’s an assumption and I’m fine with the use of the word anyway because Dieter has also said that what was discussed was the actual rules for F1 post-2020 etc etc, so I’m thinking they got pretty specific about a lot of the changes that they want for 2021. I just feel confident that Liberty has already discussed, consulted, and negotiated the bulk of what they are presenting now with the teams over the last few years, so I don’t envision anybody being very surprised at what Liberty wants to impose such that there will be strong objections from anyone on anything. Minor objections, sure, and if warranted they can be tweaked or if not, well, they were minor so fairly easy to accept and adapt for the greater good. I truly cannot see how F1 will not be better off, even way better off under Liberty and their 2021 and onward vision…there I said it too lol.

    8. I thought 2020 was about vision…

    9. I still believe what’s missing in the so called F1 visions of the last years is perspective. They canceled on-track tests (forgetting F1 is a sport) to make Williams happy and what’s the result? Testing is even more expensive than before and correlation between sim-tests and racing day is much more random especially for minor teams. In the meanwhile they proposed this madly expensive engine that goes exactly opposite to cost-capping. All those gentlemen look to me as a bunch of sailors navigating at night in thick fog, unable or unwilling to take uncomfortable decisions.

    10. It’s not Liberty’s fault that the organization of F1 as a sports league is out of whack. I hope everyone involved can work together and trust-like the teams did with BE back in the late 70’s and 80’s. I support a franchise system that makes the teams more valuable and facilitates ownership change. Some of the sports franchises here in the US have grown to be worth crazy money.

    11. Much ado about nothing then, the problems will only surface when Liberty put their ‘vision’ in rule form, despite all the ‘constructive’ meetings and ‘positive feelings’.
      F1 never was, isn’t, and never shall be, a level playing field.

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