Sky Sports exclusive: Ross Brawn extended interview on F1's future
F1's managing director of motorsports explains Liberty's 2021 proposals to improve the sport
By James Galloway in Bahrain
Last Updated: 13/12/18 12:17pm
Ross Brawn says F1's vision for the future is designed to "lower the drawbridge'" on entry to the sport as they strive to make it more competitive and entertaining.
Brawn, F1's managing director of motorsports, and F1 chairman Chase Carey presented all 10 teams with their five-point plan for post-2020 at a meeting on Friday in Bahrain.
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports F1 which featured in the channel's Bahrain GP qualifying show, Brawn tells Martin Brundle why the proposal to simplify the sport's complex engine regulations is so pivotal to their thinking.
"Our view is we have four engine suppliers at the moment, we massively respect the commitments they've made, but in a way the drawbridge has been pulled up - no one else can come in," Brawn told Brundle in a wide-ranging discussion.
"The engine is very complex, it's very expensive. The existing manufacturers have made a big investment in the engines and quite rightly they want to protect their investment, we understand that.
"But we have to put that drawbridge down so we can get new suppliers in."
Although Liberty Media, the owners of F1's commercial rights, believe their plans form the basis to "grow the sport" into the next decade, Brawn did make clear that the proposals presented on Friday were a starting point for ongoing discussions with teams.
F1's management are set to meet with all teams on an individual basis over the next month to talk through the plans and listen to any concerns.
"I don't think anything is ever cast in stone in Formula 1," said Brawn.
"We have put our ideas to the teams and asked them to consider them carefully. They are not completely new because a lot of discussion has gone on already with the teams on the various aspects.
"I think it's fair to say the revenue model was new and our views on the cost cap were finally on the table. The teams quite rightly have said 'you've got these ideas on engines, you've got these ideas on the cars, but until we see the whole thing how can we comment? We need to see how it all fits together'."
The former title-winning team boss added: "Chase [Carey, F1's chairman] made it very clear this is not 'take it or leave it'.
"This is our view of where it should be and if you come back to us with better ideas or considerations we haven't made, then of course we'll discuss them."
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Mercedes welcome 2021 detail
When the plans for a simplified V6 engine from 2021 were first revealed by Brawn last October, F1's four engine manufacturers all expressed varying degrees of concern.
While Ferrari have yet to publicly comment on the latest developments, Mercedes have welcomed the announcement and are ready to work with F1's bosses to find an agreeable "compromise".
"This is a good starting point for us because now at least you can properly assess it, what do we like, what do we not like, what's feasible and what's not," Mercedes' Toto Wolff told Sky F1. "It's a starting point.
"But if you look into the detail, I think we need to work with Liberty and find a compromise... As a consequence we need to assess how we achieve compromise, that would be our main priority because it's a great platform and we don't want to go out and say 'well then we do something else', it's not the right moment."
What did Liberty propose?
The proposal presented by Liberty Media's F1 representatives were built around several central pillars:
* A commitment to make 'cheaper, simpler and louder' power units. Although the engines would 'remain road relevant' the new power unit regulations but without 'must be attractive for new entrants'.
* The introduction of a cost cap because 'how you spend the money must be more decisive and important than how much money you spend'.
* A new revenue 'distribution criteria based on meritocracy' but with revenue support to both cars and engine suppliers'.
* Cars that are 'more raceable to increase overtaking opportunities' but which would remain different from each other.