What's wrong with F1

Briatore sees fundamental changes on the horizon
“F1 is very confused at the moment, there will surely be some changes. There will be a push to change things, because the way it is now, I don’t see it having a big future,” Briatore told Autosprint magazine.

“The problem is a bit with everything: the lack of spectacle and unpredictability under normal conditions.

“Also the costs: when we were insisting to have three cars per team, the Federation instead opened the doors to teams who had no budget guarantees whatsoever. I think this was a bad decision.

“There are teams in F1 who are one or two seconds faster compared to a GP2 team, and to be one or two seconds faster, they spend a minimum of 60-70 millions, while GP2 spends three. There’s something wrong there.”

Briatore is being coy. He's longtime friends with FIA CEO Bernie Ecclestone. He doesn't want to put the blame for F1's woes on his old friend. Loyal but ultimately misguided.

Duffy, you ask, what would you do to save F1 from itself?

1. Less downforce. Right now the F1 cars have so much downforce they could literally be driven upside down in a tunnel. That's way too much and takes the skill out of driving.

2. No ABS. These are professional drivers. Arguably the best in the world. No reason at all to have anti-lock breaks

3. Bring back slick tires. Treaded tires reduce grip but you've given the teams so much downforce it offsets the loss of grip from the tires.

4. Freeze chassis, engine and rules for minimum of two seasons. Constant rule tweaking and new engines are killing smaller teams who run out of money too fast to be compete (see US F1 as an example). Drastic rule changes about aero packages require new chassis and bodies all of which cost a fortune.

5. No testing after the season starts. No windtunnel nor track testing. You run what you've built. This is especially important b/c windtunnel time is hideously expensive.

6. Track marshals must be registered, certified and publicly named. They should be people who have experience as drivers or otherwise involved with the sport. Currently they are unnamed volunteers who have shown clear bias for the home drivers. Brazilians are particularly bad in this department.

7. Get into the US. We're the wealthiest group of racing fans in the world. Racing at Indy blows because it's a giant oval which is contrary to what F1 is supposed to be. Let Indy cars do the circle races. F1 is about chicanes, hairpins and switchbacks. Not roundy round racing. Look at starting in either Indianapolis or better yet, Charlotte, Texas, California or Florida. Those are areas with predictable weather (generally) and large populations of racing fans.

8. Bring Formula One Team Owners (FOTA) into the fold. Currently the teams and the sport are rivals for revenue. Integrating the teams with the governing body will bring their interests into confluence. Everyone will be more interested in reducing overhead and increasing efficiency and profitability.

9. Let the drivers and teams speak freely. Currently the FIA is so image obsessed that any words that even remotely controversial are met with absurd fines. Every post race interview is exactly the same. Measured, calculated, political and boring

10. Have teams bring their fans into the fold. We want to hear from the teams and want to interact with them. I know they're busy but they have a perspective that is interesting to us and is something we can't get from the ordinary news of the sport (esp. in the US)

11. Stop running races in Malaysia during the rainy season. How many times does it have to be rained out for you to figure this out?

12. Allow refueling and tire changes simultaneously. It's just the way it should be.

13. Create a new point system that rewards top qualifying but allows points for passing. I haven't quite figured out how this would work but there's got to be a way to do this. Either that or reverse the grid as Dave Matchett suggested. That is, top qualifiers start at the back of the grid. You're bound to see some passing then. You would have to give them points for top qualifying otherwise everyone would intentionally tank at quals to sit at the front.

14. Get rid of Bernie Ecclestone. Nothing personal but the man needs to go. He's been in that spot for a very long time which means he understands the sport but F1 needs new blood at the top. I'd put Jackie Stewart or even Briatore in that spot. Both of them are fully capable of running the show.

15. Create an advisory board comprised of team principles, drivers and track owners. Have them meet after each season to discuss what worked and what did not from each race. Share best practices across tracks and try and reduce maintenance costs.

16. Leverage the internet to create a separate feed for each driver. Let fans subscribe to their favorite team. I want to see what's going on in the garage before the race, the car during the race and the pits when they're pitting. I'm sick of the same world feed that misses what my favorite driver is doing b/c he's not in the lead.

That's about all I can think of off the top of my head. Reader(s) are invited to add their own to the list in the comments. (If even one person has read this far, I'll eat my hat)


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