Ross Brawn, Circuit of the Americas, 2019

Brawn wants to remove blocks on future rules changes

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn says the sport cannot allow future rules changes to be “blocked completely” by opposition from teams.

An attempt to introduce reverse-grid ‘qualifying races’ at three rounds on the 2020 F1 calendar were frustrated when two teams blocked the proposal.

As RaceFans reported earlier this week, the new governance structure planned for the 2021 F1 season should make it easier for those running the sport to pass new rules.

“When the new governance comes in, that will take over and allow the development of the rules as they are now,” said Brawn in response to a question from RaceFans. “But I think one of the crucial things about the governance going forward is we don’t have the situation where we get blocked completely from any change in the future.

“The governance has to be a nicer and better balance of stability for the teams with the ability to make developments when they’re really essential.”

Brawn insisted the changes that Liberty Media and the sport’s governing body wants to make are for the good of the championship.

“The priority for Formula 1, the priority for the FIA is just to make the sport as great as possible. We don’t have any other objectives, so our objectives are purely that.

“So when it comes to changes that are going to happen in the future, it’s always with those principles in mind.”

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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...
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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  • 51 comments on “Brawn wants to remove blocks on future rules changes”

    1. I mean, the qualifying proposal was blocked because it was dreamt up too late for next year, which I think is fair.

      Also, I’d be tempted to agree with Ross if only they could be trusted, but going on past experience they can’t, so I have no sympathy.

      1. John Ballantyne
        8th November 2019, 9:04

        The 2021 changes are brilliant and have swung the objectives of F1 from creating Nobel laureates to creating racing heroes and applied the FIFO methodology to the teams (“Fall In or F-Off”), long overdue. But the reverse grid qualifying race is going wreck a lot of cars and may relegate the faster teams to the back end of the grid at circuits where passing is a lottery. They won’t be happy about that and I don’t blame them.

      2. Or perhaps they blocked it because it was a silly idea and it has deep ramifications and potential repercussions for the teams and drivers. It would mean logically that each team would have to carry a spare car just in case. That would do a lot for the cost cap. Or that silly rule gas the potential to negatively affect the championship. Just my opinion.

        1. It was a silly idea that was worth testing for three races IMO.

      3. Past experience of what? The 2021 rules will be the first big change in the Liberty era…

        1. @mzso Agree. Had the same thought. Can’t think of what they have had time to show they are to be distrusted over. They’ve only talked about and acted in good faith about improving all aspects of F1 with much of it coming to fruition with the agreement and cooperation of the teams. Seems the teams trust Liberty and Brawn.

    2. “Weeeeh, democracy is ruining everything, and we are only thinking about the greater good” said the pseudo-dictator…

      1. Formula 1 isn’t a democracy.

        1. GtisBetter (@)
          8th November 2019, 10:14

          true, but the voice of the teams is important. we need a bit of common sense and middle ground. All the power to Brawn isn’t good, cause at some point an idiot will take his place and have absolute power. But if only two teams are against a proposal, it seems like there is enough people to support it. Maybe say somehing like:”we need 75% percent of the votes to get a decision.”

    3. I wholeheartedly agree. SUaSU, or FIFO as eloquently mentioned by Ballantyne

    4. Liberty has it’s own agenda. The teams have their own agenda. I see disharmony, friction and trouble on the horizon.
      I am happy that the teams blocked the reverse grid qualifying but I’m not happy that the can block sensible rile changes because it doesn’t fit their agenda so you can’t please me either. if Liberty make it autonomous rule changes on their part they may upset a lot of fans and perhaps a team or two. It looks like Ferrari will lose their veto soon as well. I know a lot of fans don’t approve of the veto but it allows the teams to approach Ferrari with their concerns and get Ferrari to veto on their behalf for the greater good so I don’t think that the veto is necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps it couls be modified to suit the situation ie the veto can’t be used unless they have 3 or 4 other teams support it? I don’t know what is right or wrong here but I think that Liberty will be in a catch 22 in the near future. For some years now the teams have had a say and if I understand this article correctly that is about to become a thing of the past. That is OK if Ross and Liberty are always going to make the right decisions but recent history suggests that they are not capable of satisfying everybody at the same time. It would be nice if Ross would listen to the fans occasionally. And what about the drivers? Let them have a change of helmet design if they want but it looks like everybody in power is ignoring that as well. From what I have read the majority of fans don’t seem to be opposed to the idea but as I said, nobody is listening to us.

      1. I think “catch 22” could be how we describe the scramble for 2022 rule changes if after 6 races of 2021 the changes don’t provide the desired effect!

      2. The helmet thing is a small issue really.

        1. It’s referred to as “an olive branch”. Ok, we’ll give you that. Ok, we won’t be so militant about this.

    5. Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn says the sport cannot allow future rules changes to be “blocked completely” by opposition from teams.

      Yes, agreed.

      An attempt to introduce reverse-grid ‘qualifying races’ at three rounds on the 2020 F1 calendar were frustrated when two teams blocked the proposal.

      Oh wait, hang on, on second thought, I take back my earlier comment!

      Man, I would be a conflicted bunny if it took a Ferrari veto to turn down an unpopular proposal.

      1. Yep, it’s a very tough situation… I don’t think there’s a simple black and white answer to this one.

        1. @skipgamer
          The simple solution is to get rid of liberty, the teams should own and run the sport themselves with the FIA as the paid referees. That way the half of the revenues that liberty currently steal can go to the teams.

          1. And factories should be owned by the workers.
            And this site should be owned by us readers and commenters.

          2. Funny comment, but also making winners start last and losers go to the front, forcing them to sprint and then “counting” the results as a representative qualifying. That’s straight out of a Karl Marx playbook.

    6. Well, yes, Liberty would love to effectively own the whole of F1, teams and all. But why should they be bailed out, having overpaid for what they actually bought? They have to build compromises, that’s what they’re supposed to get paid for. If they’re not going to do the hard part, they should get a lot less of the money.

    7. Maybe they should change it to at least two negative votes so with one team disagreeing new rules would still go forward.
      Seems more fair to me

      1. Rule changes can already be put through with a regular majority. The just have to be proposed in time!
        I do agree with Brawn that the teams have too much of a say in the rulemaking process in general. In this specific situation however I do not agree. It had to be a unanimous decision of the teams because the change was proposed to late. I think it is quite sensible to prevent the rulemakers from making last minute changes except in case of an emergency (safety related) without consent of all the participants. Problems like this can be easily prevented than.

    8. It depends on what the changes are that they want to steamroller through.
      Changes to car design etc? I’m fully behind them but wait to see what effect they have.
      Reverse grid races? No, No, No and most emphatically no.
      Extend season to 25 races? No thanks, it’s just a money grab and does nothing to improve the product.

      1. I don’t agree that extending the season does nothing to improve the product: In general, for the viewers, the more races, the better.

        However, that is not the same as it being viable: People can’t be expected to be away from home all the time, so some kind of compromise is needed. That either means less races, or some kind of staff rotation… Which is not really possible for key personnel and the drivers.

        If the limit is 20, 22, 25 or more, I don’t know. But with pure viewer glasses, there would a race every. single. weekend.

        1. My objection to more races is that increased quantity does not mean increased quality.
          F1 runs the risk of diluting viewer interest by increasing the number of races.
          Take the NFL for example. They have a limited season of a set number of matches which heads into the climax at the Superbowl.
          With the limit in numbers they keep the quality and viewer interest at a high level.
          If there were 25+ races in a season I would pick and choose which ones to watch and some races (e,g Monaco) would not make the list.

          1. The NFL season is short for a very specific reason: Most teams are pretty battered up after a full season. Much longer seasons, and injuries would shoot through the roof.

            1. (besides, you can see 5 games each week of the regular season if you want, making it a whole lot more games than races)

      2. Nah they can increase it to 30 races and I world be fine. There are too little F1 races as it is.

        1. @yaru, whilst that might be true for you, I’ve also heard quite a lot of people say exactly the same thing as John Toad – that increasing the quantity of races on the calendar has devalued the importance of any individual race.

          If anything, some have found it easier to walk away from the sport when there are that many races, since they take the attitude that they don’t want the sport taking over so many weekends that they’d rather spend being able to do something else. I’ve also seen many take the attitude of “oh, they’re racing there this weekend – not interested” and skipping the race because they think it is a boring track that produces dull races, or many others losing interest and dropping out later in the season because they feel burnt out and fatigued by an overdrawn calendar and their attitude shifts to “when will it just end?”.

    9. Teams should advise on rules, but not vote on them.

      That should be down to Liberty and FIA.

      If they don’t like them, let them pull out of races.

      This is how it was in years ago.

      Now is something stupid goes on and needs a rule fix, it will take 1-2 year minimum.

      Lets say Ferrari is injecting flamable coolant in the intake. Maybe it turns out to be legal but certainly gives them unfair advantage. Ferrari teams block changes, they have it for 2 years.

      1. In practice, it works much as you suggest, but the teams will indeed quit if the rules don’t suit them, so they have an effective veto anyway, so we acknowledge that in the rules.

      2. If its legal, it isn’t an unfair advantage. The whole point of F1 tech wise is to find stuff like that.

    10. Brawn says there is no goal other than to make F1 as great as possible, is he just pretending that share holders don’t exist? Making F1 great (again) is not equivalent to increasing the share price. Sure reverse-grid races will make headlines from the action on the track and probably increase it’s value on the stock market, but they risk turning the sport into a side-show, unfit for the moniker of the pinnacle of motor-racing.

      The prestige and history of the competitions competitive nature stemming from its pure simplicity; the pursuit to go fast around a track and beat others in doing so; shouldn’t be so blindly discounted in order to chase the flashing lights and flavour of the month ideas.

      To this end I hope the teams manage to keep their say in the forming of the rules. They have been very kind to Liberty with these negotiations, it could not have even gone this far with financial regulations and such. I’m very surprised Brawn is being so negative with his opinion on their input.

      Everyone involved wants F1 to be as great possible, and everyone involved should be considered. Meanwhile Brawn’s bosses just want it to make as much money as possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s unable to see that given his position.

        1. I see no where whatsoever that Brawn is being ‘so negative with his opinion on their input.’

          Rather, Brawn is saying exactly the right thing.

          Also, it is pure hyperbole to say all they want to do is make money. Making money is always an essential part for all corporations to exist. So shall we say then that all the milllions of businesses globally, that hire all the people they do and pay them so they can feed their families, are just in it for the money? Succeeding and employing people is not a crime. How you would know that Liberty is just in this for the money…well…let’s just say without question the last 10 years before Liberty, was BE and CVC unquestionably being in it just for the money. At least now we have positive change afoot.

          1. All businesses exist to make money, but F1 isn’t just made up of businesses. Teams mostly aren’t in the sport to make money but to spend it.

            LIberty, unfortunately, do not have any incentive to do more than generate short term gains for their shareholders. Hence why they do not, and should not, have complete control. Nothing wrong with business, but not everything should be purely a business decision. F1 has it about right in that respect at the moment; if Liberty do a good job, they’ll make money, and if not they’ll lose billions.

            1. I would suggest that indeed teams are businesses as well and do not mainly spend. They get revenues from sponsors aligning themselves with them, on top of the revenues they get from F1 itself. They do not operate in the red year after year like it is a bottomless pit of money. They get millions upon millions of dollars worth of marketing value, or else they wouldn’t be there.

    11. Mr Brawn and Liberty have their agenda, it is simply to make as much money for the owners as possible and try to keep the punters watching. The star attractions will stay as long as they feel they are getting the billing and rewards (value for money) they deserve for the investment they are putting in.
      This could be a case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object.

      1. But isn’t that how Mr Ecclestone ran F1?

    12. Given that a rule change can cost each team millions of dollars, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to give the teams a say by voting on the proposed rule change and requiring a certain amount of agreement amongst the teams.

      1. For sure, and I’m sure that will continue to happen. And at the same time if Liberty had to wait for unanimity on everything, nothing would change. Liberty has only ever talked about having all the teams on board as much as possible, but at some point also have to make a decision in order to move forward.

        1. Liberty wants the teams on board the Liberty bus. But Liberty is *not* F1, fortunately.

    13. It is all messed up, and something needs done. Should Liberty get more power?

      Yes teams made a bad deal with Bernie, but at least they have incentive to keep racing.

      Liberty has the least skin in the game, compared to the teams who have thousands of employees and several companies dependant on F1.

      So I conclude giving Liberty more control would be worse than the current bad situation. It might hasten the ultimate collapse of the unsustainable commercial deal. When the collapse comes Liberty has no incentive to save anything, unless by chance it makes them another penny. Hopefully the teams can rebuff this.

      1. @slotopen I couldn’t disagree more.

    14. Been a fan for fifty years plus, seen many things, have books about Bernie. Believe that Liberty were conned if they paid more than 1 penny. However Bernie had it fixed to collapse. His TV contracts still prevent me (a poor pensioner) seeing it live in the UK so have lost a lot of enthusiasm for F1.
      It is clear as someone mentioned above that Liberty want to own F1 complete, but the FIA own the Championships and the governance. (hard to believe sometimes) The FIA are in breach of the EU commission rules in owning shares and having income from the commercial side. (It should all come from Licences, fees and services provided)

      If Liberty get their way and I suspect they will, (or else sell it again) then it will become a franchise. That will be the end of F1 as we know it. So Ross’s remarks just hit a distant nerve. Still I shall probably not be alive by then, I rarely watch the much delayed coverage now, relying instead on an online magazine.

      1. If it is any comfort to you, I wasn’t expecting to be watching F1 this year because the fees were going to be so high. However the contract for broadcasting the races came up for renewal, and one of the local internet service providers nabbed the rights and now, despite having put in the highest tender, the cost of watching is 1/3 of what I was paying before, so maybe in a few years a similar thing will happen where you are.

    15. If it is a reverse grid of qualifying where is the incentive to set fastest time if you end up at back of grid?

    16. Come on, Keith; “… the new governance structure planned for the 2021 F1 season should make it easier for those running the sport to pass new rules.” Pls get your reporting right; “… the new governance structure planned for the 2021 F1 season should make it easier for those ruining the sport to pass new rules.”

    17. To be clear, I’d like Brawn to have vast powers to work on the rules. I trust Brawn to respect F1’s heritage and long term health. I wouldn’t want Liberty to have that same power.

    18. A disaster in making, if those the make spectacle – the teams – don’t intervene in the rules then better close shop.

      Brawn and co continue ruining the sport and the facetious and childish way how he goes about it in this declaration is the worst can be seen from a political person.

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