SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) — Formula One owner Liberty Media plans to introduce a cost cap and help make engines cheaper and louder in their future blueprint for the series.
U.S.-owned Liberty took over last year after Bernie Ecclestone’s 40-year reign. F1 managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn presented the ownership’s plans beyond 2020 when the current rules – known as the Concorde Agreement – expire.
“We are driven by one desire: To create the world’s leading sporting brand,” F1 CEO Chase Carey said. “Fan-centered, commercially successful, profitable for our teams, and with technological innovation at its heart.”
The proposed blueprint focuses on engines, revenue, a more streamlined governance, regulations, and cost-cutting. Teams have yet to agree on it, with Ferrari and Mercedes previously expressing concern at the direction of F1.
F1 wants cheaper, louder, more powerful engines – but also wants them more reliable to reduce the amount of grid penalties. The new engines, or power units, must also be accessible to any new teams planning to enter the series.
Mercedes head of motorsport Toto Wolff previously said teams must overcome their differences in the face of a threat by Ferrari to quit. Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has spoken out against simplifying engines and redistributing prize money more fairly.
Although F1 says new engines in 2021 will have “some standardized elements, car differentiation must remain a core value” – which may help appease Ferrari in particular.
The idea of a cost cap may, however, give Mercedes and Ferrari even more financial clout than other teams. F1 did not give any figures for the proposed cost cap.
F1 also hopes to level the playing field in terms of revenue distribution, which it says “must be more balanced” and “based on meritocracy” rather than long-standing prestige.
F1 also wants to increase overtaking. F1 races have become somewhat predictable, with Mercedes dominating the past four seasons and Red Bull doing the same before them. Drivers making a strong start from pole position in a more powerful car are rarely troubled. F1 hopes that reducing the impact of engineering technology and putting more emphases back on “driver’s skill” will help that goal.
While teams will remain free to develop aerodynamics, suspension, and engines, F1 wants standardized parts for other areas “not relevant” to watching fans.
Finally, in a bid to improve relations between motorsport governing body FIA, teams, and owners, F1 hopes for “a simple and streamlined structure.”
Drivers, who have minimal input, are also divided on future changes. Lewis Hamilton, whose contract with Mercedes expires after this season, said he’s paying careful attention to what F1 officials propose because it could impact him in how long he re-signs for, as well as other elements of a proposed new contract.