Racing for the future: Formula One faces radical changes
BERLIN – The future of Formula One racing sees a key meeting on Tuesday in London between all parties involved, and a revolution of the sport is possible to make it cheaper, simpler and more exciting.
The ruling body FIA, the Formula One Group and the 10 teams will get together for key decisions at a time in which the expensive high-speed sport is more and more questioned.
FIA boss Jean Todt said at the season-opening race in Australia that a spending cap will come along with new regulations for the cars and engines, and a new distribution of income.
"We should be in a position to have a finalised package to discuss with the teams on March 26," he said.
The new rules are to apply from 2021 onwards after the latest agreement expires after the 2020 season. An agreement must be reached by June.
Major changes appear necessary in the business where the top teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull teams splash out hundreds of millions of dollars and cars consume huge fuel loads in races with little action.
Cost-cutting, more competition and action on the race course are necessary along with modern technology to become more environmentally friendly.
After all, in the key market of Germany a YouGov survey commissioned by dpa revealed that 47 per cent believe F1 has served its time and only 36 per cent it still has a place in the current general climate.
There are also concerns elsewhere which is bad news for the sport which is set to celebrate its 1,000th grand prix on April 14 in Shanghai since the 1950 debut.
But the former Ferrari team principal Todt insists that the wind of change is blowing much stronger lately than in previous years.
The big spending of the three top teams has seen them move far ahead in the pecking order, with smaller teams not able to close the gap.
The spending cap and the new regulations are to help end this disparity because it would mainly hit the top teams - but it remains to be seen whether the big three will consent.
Formula One Group boss Chase Carey admits that there are "10 opinions" when it comes to details but also said that "we have made good progress" in the talks.
The FIA already has a clean alternative in the fully electrical Formula E which has city races in places like Hong Kong, New York, Rome, Paris and Berlin.
But some in F1 say that power plants generating the electricity don't operate clean either, and Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff named F1's developments of highly efficient engines very important for serial production.
Wolff has also said that there are worse environmental areas than F1 but knows from first-hand experience how important these issues have become - revealing that the two children from his first marriage skipped school recently to join the "Fridays for Future" protests.dpa