Today the FIA F1 Strategy group sat and the outcome of the meeting was as follows, with my reaction below it.
Paris – 9 December 2013
Following a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group and the Formula One Commission in Paris today, the following items have been unanimously approved:
• Cost cap
The principle of a global cost cap has been adopted. The limit will be applied from January 2015.
A working group will be established within the coming days comprising the FIA, representatives of the Commercial Rights Holder and Team representatives.
The objective of the working group will be to have regulations approved by the end of June 2014.
• Pirelli Tyre test – Bahrain, 17-19 December, 2013
The F1 Commission agreed to a change to the 2013 Sporting Regulations, on safety grounds, allowing the Formula One tyre supplier to carry out a three-day test in Bahrain from 17-19 December, 2013. All Formula One teams have been invited to take part in the test and six have accepted: Red Bull Racing, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso.
• Driver numbers
Drivers will be asked to choose their race number, between 2 and 99, for the duration of their career in the FIA Formula One World Championship. Number 1 will be reserved for the current World Champion, should he choose to use it.
If more than one driver choses the same number, priority will be given to the driver who finished highest in the previous year’s championship.
• New penalties
The principle of a five-second penalty for minor infringements was agreed. In what form such a penalty will be applied will be discussed with Formula One’s teams in order that a new regulation be introduced for 2014 season.
• Points for the last race
Double drivers’ and constructors’ points will be awarded at the final race of the Formula One season in order to maximise focus on the Championship until the end of the campaign.
These changes are immediately applicable, given the mandate assigned to the FIA President at the last World Motor Sport Council meeting, held on 4 December in Paris.
FIA Formula One Press Office
My view is that these are some interesting changes. The cost cap is the most interesting one, I think F1 as a whole can be done for €150m a season, but I also think that there needs to be look at the F1 prize structure and fund raising means from FOM to make this happen. It will have to be a large number to start with, but is part of the overall narrative of cost control in F1 that ranges with ideas from banning wind tunnels and going totally CFD, trackside telemetry and if a standard telemetry system is needed, Parc Ferme that starts at 00:01AM on the Friday morning and the final one of more standardized parts where each F1 team makes something that everyone has to use, thus minimizing performance gains.
The Pirelli Test in Bahrain I needed as it will give the teams attending a slight advantage over their competition, but it is yet unclear how the cars will be tested, I think it should be done with the teams using cars with tyre data and sensors omitted and also the strict usage of aero sensors banned and Test & reserve guys going in the cars. Also each team having 6 sets of unmarked tyres each day where Pirelli only knows what’s going on.
Driver numbers are a good idea, I think there’s a bit of business that has been missed, where the drivers and or teams choose the numbers on a franchise basis. Teams can pay the FIA & FOM €8m a season for their numbers, meaning Ferrari can get the historical 27/28 if they want to, and drivers who haven’t scored a point the previous season can rent their number for a year for €1m, drivers who scored a point can do so for €2m and top 10 drivers the previous year have to pay €3m, changing a number should cost €5m to change. This would allow the FIA and FOM to do something positive, and it would also make the teams and drivers to work hard for their merchandise money and this is what some of the teams don’t do enough of, work hard for their merchandise money. However in return, each team should have two merchandise stands at every grand prix, as only the top 5 teams and Toro Rosso are at every GP with about 4 other F1 general merchandise stands. F1 should take a leaf out of a merch stand at a music show, where each stand has limited edition stuff and signed stuff there. The recent Alter Bridge/Shinedown/Halestor show I attended at The Hydro in Glasgow had this, signed BluRays and CDs from all bands and T-Shirts and beer openers. F1 needs to have every driver have 300 signed Minischamps or Spark models of that years car, or even a year old model for sale for €199 each would be nice as I think fans would buy them for the top drivers and the drivers in the mid pack would sell as well. Just my thoughts, but I think F1 needs to do more to sell its merchandise and get the brand awareness of teams out there.
The penalties I think will be good, especially the 5 second one, as it will allow stewards to alter the result enough but in a fair manner. However the stewards are what I think needs to be looked at, where there are 9 professional stewards and at each GP there are 4 at each GP with the assistance of a driver steward who has been in F1 in the past 5 years. The 9 professional stewards can only do two GP in a row and the Driver Steward can only do two GP that season. I also think each professional steward should take the position of chief steward as well in order to make sure that they get a better handle on stewarding. This should mean that the stewarding could be a lot more consistent. That is the real problem I think F1 has with the penalties. Also stewards should do no more than 2 consecutive seasons in F1 and also be no older than 50 years old as to make sure that like Football referees that the stewarding is mentally and physically fit to do so and call it right.
Finally, points. The points system needs overhauled as I think its not fit for purpose for F1 and isn’t a proper barometer for team and driver performance. I have said for the past two years on a internet forum that the points system needs to be overhauled. I propose this;
However, id also make the rule for the lapped cars as this, if you get lapped 2 times, you have to pull in to the pits and not score a point as all finishers will get points. Meaning a reliance on speed with reliability and make sure there are no cruisers out the back. However that with two small rule changes, the lapped car rule on the Safety Car restart must take to the pits and go thru them and be held at the end and let the pack shake itself out and then be released into their proper positions, thus quickening the SC restarts. And finally, faster cars must overtake a slower car without the use of DRS. And one final thing, the double points thing would be a play where each driver nominated his double point race for the season before the first race, and the double point race will exclude Monaco as well. This would spice the action up lots, and one final twist would be the final race of the year being a twin race weekend, one race on the Saturday and one on the Sunday, the Sunday race being a complete grid reversal on the result of the Saturday race.
This is the last blog entry I have for 2013, and intend to make the best of the holiday season; I wish all my readers a warm Christmas and a good New Year. See you all in 2014.