Even before the grid fascio at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, sporting director Ross Brawn announced that FOM was pushing for a better solution to grid penalties. He argues that the long life components aren’t achieving their aim but what can be done?
Grid penalties out of control – Brawn
Formula One sporting director Ross Brawn says that management is pushing for an abolition of grid penalties because has been out of control.
Ever since 2009, when in a move to cut costs the sport brought in long life components, including engines and gearboxes that must last a set number of races, drivers who use too many components have received grid demotions.
But situations such as Stoffel Vandoorne’s 65-place grid penalty at Spa have left Brawn adamant a better solution must be found. Speaking to Autosport, Brawn said, “I hate the fact that we’re having to affect the racing because of the technical issues.”
“I know you can say if a car breaks down in a race that’s a technical issue and you’ve affected the race, but I think the fans understand that. For a fan to stomach that his hero is on the back of the grid because he had to change the engine, that’s not great sport.”
Brawn says that a solution needs to be found or the penalty should be dropped altogether and live with the fact the problem cannot be solved.
Speaking about the 2021 engine regulations, he says that discussions are underway with the FIA. Saying “Maybe we’ll be able to implement a better solution before then, because it’s a massively unpopular aspect of Formula 1 at the moment.”
“One of the things that has been suggested is loss of constructors’ points. There could be other more discrete penalties.” Brawn has suggested that a token system could be used, but that could get complicated and the problem requires lateral thinking.
Valtteri Bottas continues to be on an equal footing with his teammate Lewis Hamilton. However, Mercedes are facing a dilemma as Bottas slips further behind his team-mate who is leading the championship do they back Hamilton or continue to let them race?
I’ll be a team player – Bottas
Valtteri Bottas says that he will always do what’s best for his Mercedes team if they ask him to move over for his team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the remainder of the season.
The Finn is forty-one points behind Hamilton who took the lead of the championship last weekend. Though it’s mathematically possible, Bottas’s chances appear increasingly slim.
Though Ferrari is using their normal approach of favouring one driver, Mercedes has resisted throwing all its weight behind Hamilton while Bottas has been in range of the leaders. But, Mercedes know the team’s decision to reverse a team order in Budapest could have lost the championship.
Bottas says that he will he would happily let Hamilton past in the right situation, however, says his own pace will determine what sort of role he has in the remaining seven races. He told ESPN “It is up to me also, really – if I perform well, if I manage to qualify well, have strong pace, for sure I can still fight for the wins.”
“But if it is going to be the case that for some reason I’m missing pace, if Lewis is doing a better job, me running in P2, and clearly behind then it’s obviously better to help than try something silly,” Bottas said it’s a team decision and it will be made on a race by race and situation by situation basis.
Syria has been in a state of civil war for five years. The countries motorsport scene has been receiving profits from Formula One to spend on development. But where is the money going?
FIA hands profits to Syrian government
An investigation by ITV News has uncovered that Formula One profits are being handed to the Syrian government. Over the last the past three years, the sports governing body the FIA has handed the Syria\n Automobile Club.
The FIA has one hundred and forty-three motoring and motorsport clubs across 143 countries. They all wield power because under the FIA statutes only one motorsport club, known as an Autorité Sportive Nationale (ASN), in each country can vote at its annual general meeting. It means that small countries have the same say as far larger ones.
In 2014, the FIA launched a grant programme with formula one fees, these grants are aimed as “a new source of funding for National Sporting Authorities” and state that the fund “is dedicated to developing motor sport and helping to strengthen ASNs.”
Applications are open to all FIA clubs and the Syrian Automobile Club (SAC) has taken full advantage of this by successfully applying for a grant in each of the past three years. The Syrian grant was to build a “fully functioning intensive care unit ambulance to be available for its sporting events, as well as the future rescue training programmes that the organisation would be involved in.”
Porsche could be returning. But as it looks at if it should be just an engine manufacturer or a works team what would push it into Formula One?
Porsche seriously considering return
Porsche’s deputy chairman Lutz Meschke says the German manufacturer is seriously considering a return to the sport as an engine manufacturer under the proposed 2021 regulations.
Meschkes who is the Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Member of the Board for Finances and IT, met with Ross Brawn and the sport’s other bosses at the Italian Grand Prix. The manufacturer has not had a direct involvement in the sport since 1991 but has paid for the Supercup to be part of the support programme.
The reason Porsche are considering an entry as a manufacturer is that it doesn’t get sufficient return for what is in effect a F1-size budget, but without the income and sponsorship that the likes of Mercedes enjoy.
The company has already made a commitment to Formula E with a works-backed team from the 2019/20 season. While being part of the engine discussions about the 2021 regulations, which they have been encourage by the move to cheaper and simpler technology than is currently used.
“F1 could be one of the right places,” Meschke told Motorsport.com. “As you know Formula E is very important for us now, and F1 is always a good topic to think about. And I think we are in quite good discussions regarding the new engine.”
Asked if the current plans for a twin-turbo V6 with less technology could attract Porsche to F1 he said: “Absolutely. We have to cut costs in F1, and it’s a good way to reach this target.”
Meschke also confirmed that “discussions are around being a supplier,” and thus there are no plans to form a works team. In the past, there have been links to Red Bull
As driverless cars become a growing development area, could Formula One be about to introduce a driverless safety car?
Driverless safety car?
The FIA says that Formula One could adopt a driverless safety car in the future as part of moves to promote autonomous technology.
The governing body is keen that drivers remain a key element of F1’s attraction, but have discussed how it could promote driverless cars through other elements of a Grand Prix weekend.
Head of the F1 technical department Marcin Budkowski, has suggested that a driverless safety car would be a good way of proving automotive advances without detracting from the show. He told Autosport “Let me give you an example, but it is not the only one: we have spoken about an unmanned safety car.”
“It would promote a technology about which there is a bit of scepticism and, instead, it could be shown that it works. The safety car driver would no longer be essential because it would leave the controls to the computer.”
However, Budkowski remains sceptical about the interest in driverless F1. He does believe that other series like Roborace do have a role to
That’s all from Reporters for this week