Liberty Media – the group that owns speed racing – proposed a series of changes to make the sport more competitive and attractive.
“F1 has a long history and our mission is to preserve and develop speed sports, by unlocking its potential,” said Liberty Media CEO and president, Chase Carey. “We want F1 to be more competitive and attractive, to become the best sports brand in the world. The criteria of F1 must be to satisfy the fans, create commercial results, bring profits to the racing teams. and constantly improving the technology “.
Competition and attraction are two important keywords from Carey’s statement. Liberty’s drafts are aimed at these two purposes. The competition is gradually disappearing in F1, when Mercedes repeatedly dominated. Apart from them and the other two big guys – Ferrari and Red Bull – few people care about the other teams.
In June 2019, Ross Brawn – F1 technical director – spoke about their strategy in the next two years. He outlined five major plans, the first being the financial aspect. The new concept in F1 is that spending is more important than spending. F1 will apply the spending threshold for racing teams, quite similar to the law of financial fairness (FFP) in football. During 2021-2025, teams are only allowed to spend up to $ 175 million per season. While there are five teams that spend more than this number in 2018, Renault ($ 190 million), McLaren (220 million), Red Bull (310 million), Mercedes (400 million) and Ferrari (410 million).
But, some expenses such as engine, travel, marketing or driver salaries do not need to be calculated. The figure of 175 million USD is also higher than the public opinion. This helps Liberty not be opposed by the big racing teams, whether Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull – teams with about 1,000 employees – are not fully supportive.
“Change can cause thousands of people to lose their jobs,” Christian Horner – Red Bull manager – told the BBC. “Just like when a big supermarket suddenly stops working, the media will make a fuss. I think Liberty or FIA needs to consider society carefully, before setting spending limits.”
Mercedes is back in favor of Liberty’s proposal. “The idea of spending limits is great, but it takes a few years to perfect the mechanism,” said team leader Toto Wolff.
The majority of F1 racing teams’ expenses are in salaries and allowances for employees. The three big men invested heavily in engineering teams, designed to create the strongest cars. If the draft is approved, they will have to downsize. This is an opportunity for smaller racing teams to catch up.
Liberty also aims to new roads that are more impressive to the audience. “Grand Prix Vietnam will be the first reagent for the F1 philosophy we are aiming for,” Brawn emphasized.
In order to put new philosophies into practice soon, Liberty also aims to minimize the management mechanism for F1. “The FIA has to make all decisions, and the teams have no right to intervene. Because every team wants the law to benefit them. Like in football, if the clubs have the right to influence the rules, they will only want to benefit their own. The purpose of organizations like FIA is to make F1 attractive again, and they need to have the right to decide, “Reuters quoted Lewis Hamilton on 24/6
There are many organizations that influence Liberty’s new strategy, such as FIA, racing teams or riders’ associations. They do not always agree and Liberty or FIA can be adamant about the changes they intend to apply.