Are teams ready for F1 changes?

by Mark Hughes on 6th April 2018

Teams haven't yet reacted to the proposals put forward by Formula 1 post-2020. Is that an ominous sign?

Liberty today presented to the teams its intended post-2020 vision of Formula 1. This encompassed the commercial, engine and aerodynamic aspects. There’s been barely any reaction from the teams, who are believed to have had to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

But there is no undercurrent of animosity evident in, for example, the reactions of former hardliners Ferrari and Mercedes – yet.  

The essential points are:

  • A continuation of the turbo hybrid V6 but without the ERSh and with more standardised parts. It will be a simpler, louder engine with more power than the current unit (details still to be defined).
  • A cost cap of $150 million per year for each team (not including driver salaries or the salary of the highest paid member of the non-driving team).
  • The same overall team percentage take of total F1 revenues. But a redistribution towards the smaller teams.  
  • A bonus fund of $150 million, of which Ferrari would get $40 million and each engine manufacturer an extra $10 million. In this way works teams are not penalised by having to meet a cost cap whilst making engines.
  • New aero regulations that will focus on taking the aero wake of the car much higher in the air, thereby reducing the sensitivity to the following car. Some details of this may be brought forward to 2019.
  • The scope of standardisation of parts has yet to be fully defined but Liberty would like it to include gear clusters, radiators, wheels etc, with a limitation on how many any team could buy. In this way gearbox penalties, for example, could be abolished.

Claire Williams expressed her delight at the proposal, saying: “I’m extremely positive about today’s meeting. They presented change. For a team like ours, it was an extremely good day for us. If the current disparity in resource between teams continues, Williams’ prospects would be quite grim. If they do everything they say, the likelihood of Williams survival in medium to long term is greatly improved.”

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer tweeted: “We are extremely pleased to hear today’s news regarding the future of Formula One. These prospective changes support many of the requirements needed for Aston Martin to enter the sport as an engine supplier. This is a very positive step in the right direction.”

Christian Horner of Red Bull remained cautiously optimistic and the Mercedes position is that the proposal represents a good starting point. From Ferrari, there has been no comment – and boss Sergio Marchionne cancelled his planned attendance of the meeting.

Either it’s all been generally agreed upon - or it’s the calm before the storm.

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