Jean Todt, Singapore, 2019

Todt hints at drastic rules changes if F1 loses multiple teams

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In the round-up: FIA president Jean Todt has indicated drastic rules changes will be needed if the Formula 1 grid suddenly shrinks.

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Comment of the day

Is it really harder for midfield teams to win races now than it used to be?

It has been hard but never impossible. After the hybrid era began there has been three teams who can win. Nobody else can win. Just two years earlier before the hybrid era we had a season with six teams winning at least one race. Sure it is an outlier of a season but winning in f1 has always been really hard. But possible. But nowadays it is impossible unless you are one of the big three. It is easier to win before 2014 than it is to get a podium after.

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Keith Collantine
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33 comments on “Todt hints at drastic rules changes if F1 loses multiple teams”

  1. Changes should already have been made to save the financially vulnerable teams by working out a way to get the cars racing for the TV audience. What is worse, a dozen races at the same closed track until travel becomes possible again, or a future where there are only half as many teams racing F2 cars instead of real F1 cars, which would very likely lead to the manufacturers also leaving.

    1. 1000%

      Serious considerations should have been undertaken after the 2008 financial crisis to really look at what could make F1 sustainable financially long-term. Could be a case of too little too late.

      1. @thepostalserviceisbroke Max Mosley tried to get a budget cap in 2009 & teams, fans, drivers & media universally rejected it.

        Let us not forget that the FOTA breakaway series teams were threatening in 2009 which most fans were in support of was largely against reducing budgets, performance & technology because the belief was introducing budget caps, slowing cars doen too much & taking away the tech/development aspect was against the spirit of F1.

        How things have changed as now everyone seems to be clamoring for a budget GP1/Indycar+ while finishing off the hole that true F1 will be placed in along with the big chunk of its fanbase that actually care about this stuff they want to strip away.. you know the stuff that actually gives F1 it’s big appeal over the lesser categories.

        1. @roger-ayles, What the teams wanted in 2009 was to be able to spend more of the revenue they generated rather than watching the Miss’s Ecelstone spend it on 100 bedroom Beverly Hills 2nd. mansions. That is where the cash reserves F1 should have went.

          1. Indeed @hohum. At the time the fight was for having a larger share of the cake, since Mr. Ecclestone and Mosley proposed to keep the split as was but “lower cost” for the teams by force.

    2. I’m not sure he’s referring to the financially vulnerable though but rather the wider problem that they have with the potential that the manufacturers, particularly Renault and Mercedes might not continue or 2021 and beyond.

      1. Agreed. With the current state of F1, if two engine suppliers leave (pick any two), the sport would be in serious trouble, as little can be done in the short term and without great expense. If two back of the field teams leave, the big teams could be allowed to run an extra car to make up the grid.

    3. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      30th April 2020, 8:15

      F1 is all spent up and needs a reset. The manufacturers leaving might be a could thing. Smaller teams on lower budgets could enter and be competitive. This all adds up to closer racing and a better sport.

  2. Great stuff right now Live on Fox iRacing, Mario’s joined Jeff Gordon and co for the second race, (Favorite car driven, the Lotus 79) good driver line up too….

  3. Sounds like IndyCar Europe to me.

    1. Sound exceptional uninteresting to me.

      A scaled back budget boring GP1/Indycar+ hold zero appeal to me. I watch F1 because I want to see F1, Not some budget wannabe pretending to be F1 without any of the things that actually give F1 the appeal it has (Performance, High development & technology).

      1. Sound exceptionally interesting to me.

        An Indycar-like series with big names, euopean teams and on F1 tracks? Sign me up, this could be the best thing that ever happened to F1.

        1. But it wont be F1.

          1. If it has the name ‘F1’ – it’s F1.

            By extension of the same argument – F1 now isn’t F1 either.
            The cars are approximately all the same, as are the engines.
            The current rules are barely a faint shadow of F1 from the 1950’s or 1960’s.

            If F1 insists on enforcing that all cars look and function essentially the same and have effectively the same engines, why not make them more competitive?

          2. I think that Formula 1 doesn’t work any more (happy to debate the evidence). I also think that there would be larger audiences and a brighter future for something that the die-hards don’t wan to accept as F1. Liberty can either continue running this thing into the ground or make it better, and they’ve invested too much in it to do the former.

          3. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
            30th April 2020, 16:42

            You F1 snobs amaze me. You’d sooner see F1 die rather than compromise you beliefs.

            Even if the cars are slowed, simplified and there performances leveled, it will still be F1, because the winning driver will be the FIA World Champion.

            The relative performance of the machinery used to decide the championship is irrelevant. Its F1s sporting title that counts.

            The only way F1 can survive is make it cheaper to be competitive, simple as that. If you don’t put a roof on the hen house don’t be suprised if you lose your chickens….

          4. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk the problem is, the sport has traditionally sold itself on many of the points that Roger Ayles picks up in his points (on the performance of the cars, how advanced the cars are and the uniqueness of the cars and the teams).

            In slowing, simplifying and levelling the performance, you are then going against a number of the traits on which the sport has advertised and promoted itself for decades. If it ends up in the sort of “IndyCar Europe” that kuvemar wants to see, for example, what is left to make the sport unique and what exactly does the sport then become?

      2. And what is the biggest chunk of the money spent on? Aerodynamics! Do you really care that much about aero development?

        I would agree with the sentiment if you were talking about 1993 when we had all sorts of real technology going into the cars.

  4. RE: COTD….. I think the biggest difference between now & the past that is stopping mid-field teams grabbing podiums is reliability more than anything else.

    The performance deficit between teams is smaller now than it was for most of F1’s history, Yet with reliability as good as it is now on top of mistakes been punished less in terms of runoff you have significantly less opportunity for a mid-field team to be in position to grab a podium.

    And i’ve often felt that the few years prior to 2014 gave a bit of a false impression as far as how competitive the order was due to the way the tyres were in the early days of Pirelli. In 2012 especially I don’t think you had 4-5+ teams with cars good enough to win in terms of outright pace, A lot of that was down to how finicky the tyres were. Red Bull clearly had the dominant package yet were rarely able to show it because as soon as they pushed the tyres they fell to bits & this often put the mid-field guys who had slower cars that were not loading the tyres as much in position to grab a surprise just as they did when reliability was worse.
    If you had the 2012 cars on better tyres I think Red Bull & McLaren would have dominated that year as they had the best cars in terms of pure performance, Was tyres & unreliability from McLaren had allowed others to get ahead at times.

    And also factor in the anti F1 engine freeze which also played into equalising performance as nobody was able to develop the engines aside from reliability tweaks after 2006. If engine development was open as it was before 2006 we would have seen larger differences between the supplies as was the case throughout F1’s history when you had a few suppliers involved.

    This F1 with a super competitive field with a dozen teams contending for poles, podiums & wins on sheer pace has never existed. You always had 1-2-3 teams who were a few steps ahead of the rest who only got beat thanks to outside factors, F1 is no different now in that regard.

    The only way you are going to create the thing that F1 has never really been is to fundamentally change what F1 is, Turning it into essentially a scaled back budget version along the lines of a GP1/Indycar+.

    1. @roger-ayles got it in one, we’ll two actually.

      Lack of consequence for running off track.

      There is just so little change of either these days other than extreme weather/track conditions like they had in Germany last year.

      I know that they had to introduce reliability as a cost saving measure, and with these complex PU’s that cost a fortune, I don’t see them being able to do much about that.

      The second part – that’s a no brainer but the FIA seem completely unwilling to address it.

  5. 2012 and 2013 were dynamic seasons until the top teams forced Pirelli into bringing the harder compounds for the latter stages of the weekend.(2012)
    The rules are the biggest culprit, not the hybrids, there is no strategy these days. You can’t refuel you are forced to pit for tyres, only those outside the top 10 can pick their tyres for the race. You can’t even take advantage of the weather, nor vsc, you can’t be lucky, you can only profit from mistakes.

  6. RE Cotd – It’s not true that they can’t win – anything can still happen, for example if Verstappen had dropped out in Brazil last year Gasly would have won, there are other examples too – Massa might have won in Baku in 2017 if he hadn’t broken down, Perez might have if Ocon hadn’t put him in the wall… But it’s just that for anything like that to be even close to happening it needs a crazy sequence of events. So it’s more accurate to say that the smaller teams can’t win on pace alone. The last race I recall when a non-top-3 team was a genuine front-runner was Baku 2016 when Perez qualified on the front row – can anyone think of an instance after that? Whereas if we go back to 2012, Williams won a race on merit, Sauber could have won at least 3, Lotus were perhaps the second-fastest team… People seemed to hate it at the time but it seems like a golden age in retrospect.

    1. @tflb 2012 was, though, a freak event – there is no other season in the sport that matched the variation in performance of those opening races.

      The problem that most fans had with those races was the sensation that those teams were competitive because of an external factor – the tyres – introducing complete randomness into the results. It might have generated a wider range of victors, but fans rejected it because they felt that the results were not a reflection of the skill of either the drivers or their team, but simply who was luckiest on the day – and if there is a feeling that skill and ability is not being rewarded, that is a major turn off for a lot of fans.

      1. Skill and ability are rarely rewarded in F1. It’s usually budget and resource that gets rewarded. The best driver, engineer and strategist with an under-developed car will still be at the back.
        F1 is more business than sport – that is a turn off for fans of racing.

        Every team had the same tyres in 2012, and those who understood them best or at least got their car and driver to work best with them on the day were the ones who achieved success. Exactly what racing should be about – making the most of all the factors involved, not just the elements they can control at the factory.
        Racing happens with the tyres, on the circuit, after all…

        1. synonymous, except that nobody seemed to have any idea what would happen with those tyres in early 2012 – drivers would complain that they’d put a different set of the same compound of tyres on, only to find them reacting in a very different way, and the teams also complained about wild inconsistency in the performance of the tyres.

          Those teams and drivers didn’t understand what they were doing and didn’t understand whether or not they might be competitive at the next race, or if it would be their turn to suddenly have seemingly random problems. That isn’t “making the most of all the factors involved” because nobody knew what the factors involved were.

          Whilst you say that “Every team had the same tyres in 2012”, there were teams openly questioning whether Pirelli really was providing the same tyres to each team given that, even within the same set of tyres of the same compound given to each team, the performance could vary markedly enough that they were questioning if it even was meant to be the same compound.

          1. Every team had the same circumstances – approximately the same issues with the tyres. That sound more accurate?

            Regardless of what the ‘problem’ was, it brought so much life and optimism to F1 for half a season that we are still talking about it all now.
            Only the ‘purists’ could find something wrong with it. But then, they can find something wrong with every change in F1.

            F1 is entertainment. We want to be entertained. That was entertaining.

  7. A 3d animation of the Mercedes DAS system was published by Paolo Filisetti in Autosprint. Below is the link :

    1. Great animation, thanks for linking!

  8. @ anon
    It really is a bit of the grass is always greener situation. At the time (with less reliability) you’d hate to see a team’s chance ruined by unreliability. Now, you hate to see a team’s chance ruined by others’ reliability. :)

    1. was supposed to be in response to anon’s comment directly above.

    2. @hobo in the case of reliability being an issue, whilst it is true it can be bitterly disappointing to see a driver go out, at least there is the sense that it is something that a team can have some control over. In the case of 2012 and the tyres introducing that variability, people resented it more because it was something that they felt nobody seemed to have any control over.

  9. I think there is a temptation to look back through rose tinted spectacles. I was watching a race from the 1980s earlier this week and thinking how close and exciting the racing was.

    As others have pointed out, there has only ever really been a maximum of two or three teams who could reliably and regularly chase for race wins in a given season. Then many seasons where even just one team was completely dominant.

    Besides reliability what seems to have changed the landscape is the growing influence and cost of aerodynamics on cars. It has all become far too important and swallows up masses of resource both in money and people. In my opinion it also detracts from the look of the cars compared to years ago. I think the costly hybrid engines since 2014 have just compounded this. We now have a status where only major manufacturers can afford it all and even some of those struggle to keep pace.

    To be fair to them I think this is what the FIA and Liberty are trying to address in the best way they can. Then the proposed lower budget cap will now also factor in to make budgets more even and in theory the racing more competitive.

    I think there is a long way though between what is proposed, with lower spending, and the drift of the sport into a kind of Indycar/GP1 spec type series that some have mentioned. Surely the most perfect situation is somewhere in between what we have now and that? F1 may lose a few teams on the way but simpler design and slightly cheaper racing will at least offer the prospect of new teams joining the sport I hope. If they don’t the medium/long term prospects are not good.

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