F.1 – Strategy Group: too many words, few facts

So many words and zero facts. I have to sum up with these words the decisions taken by the Strategy Group, which met into the Biggin Hill aeroport in London, whose aim should be to he show and the format of the Formula 1. We are talking about a group of people working as part of the team, whose daily bread is the F1. This is why I am perplexed when I read these proposals. Rules that may be adopted in 2016 and 2017 seasons. Now the ball passes to the World Motor Sport Council.

SUPPLIES: inexplicably returned. After being abolished because considered unsafe and too expensive, the Strategy Group has rightly thought to propose them again, even though the open wheels have become more complex – not to say dangerous – with the entry in 2014 of complicated and expensive power-unit that are putting in great difficulty different teams. What would happen in case of problems or errors with the pipe union? Formula 1 is in economic crisis. If we exclude the first five teams, all the others are already without oxygen and, now, we force them to take on additional costs to buy back the equipment and manage their transport?

FREE TYRES: Each team would be free to choose the two compounds to be used in each Grand Prix. If I were the supplier, I would not ever accept. The best way to quickly improve the performance on the tour is to act on the tire choice. Therefore, small teams may opt for soft compounds also on a very selective track with the intent to stand out. Do not forget what we experienced at Indianapolis in 2005 …

 CLIENTS CARS: how many times has already turned up this proposal in recent years? It’s a long time I think that it is not the right solution to keep costs down. Cars built to win a World Championship have construction strategies and operating costs well above the car of second choice. I personally studied ithis way in 1996: Flavio Briatore joined the the Minardi Team, who was also CEO of Team Benetton. Together we tried to investigate synergies to reduce costs. After a careful study, two philosophy emerged and there were so different that we had to abandon the project. Everyone continued to produce and project separately. Furthermore, it should depreciate to the intellectual property of the team that would lose the title of “Constructor” with big repercussions in the economic value of the team itself.

So once again there were no new solutions that could portend a substantial changes, to reduce real costs. They have been rejected all cases of cost cuts, related to abolition of the wind tunnels or revise the system of payments between customer teams and engineers etc. Today we have engines whose costs account for one third of the entire budget. Unacceptable. We need to focus on simpler aerodynamics, having fewer staff in the company and also during the pit stop. It’s time that I feel ridiculous having to employ over 20 mechanics to change four tyres, destined to rise with supply. Staff which also covers the sponsors sings just in a moment when the car may have the best visibility. DRS? Technology that has a cost and that is useless, even on production cars.

Do we want to change? Why not try to do two shorter rounds on Sunday, totalling always 300 km, instead of entering the supplies, as well as increasing costs, complicated strategies and reading the race. Let’s think to make cars easier (now a front wing cost more than 100,000 €) and fast with tyres of 17″. We must make to remain fans excited with amazing and less complicated contests. Today races are made on tyre and fuel strategies. We also add the unknown supplies and will not solve anything. My idea is to get the public closer, now too far. Fans are forced to watch their heroes behind a network, at best, or a television. There’s a nasty habit of get closed inside the hospitality.

It’s time to create a group that is not directly involved in the team, but promoted by the FIA and FOA. Ecclestone and Todt have to monitor on proposals. There’s need for a Strategy Group which is absolutely detached from the teams, but knows very well F1 environment. Otherwise everyone pulls water to his mill and these proposals which are not going anywhere come out.