REPORTERS – 18/06/2017

Features Reporters

Big teams spend millions trying to be the best and on the aim of being champions in the constructors. In recent years that cost has rocketed and the collapse of Manor added to the debate, Chase Carey says teams have asked to be “protected them from themselves”. So is it a major u-turn?

Big teams want protection in spending terms

Formula One boss Chase Carey says that the top teams have told Liberty Media they want to be “protected them from themselves” in spending terms.

Carey believes that the teams are spending too much purely so they can match their rivals, and the only way to tackle this is to reduce costs and stop unnecessary expenditure. Carey told Autosport “What some of the teams spend on the sport today is an incredible amount, and they’ll acknowledge it’s an incredible amount,” said Carey.

“There are a handful of teams that spend an extraordinary amount that aren’t really spending to create something that enhances the consumer experience.” Carey says the big teams are only spending that much because the other teams are doing that and they need to in order to compete.

Carey and Ross Brawn agree that post-2020 engine regulations are key to cutting costs and six manufacturers recently agreed for “simpler, cheaper, louder” engines.

Carey is adamant that technology plays too big a role at the moment, although he understands its significance to F1. He says that we will make sure we enhance Formula One and they are doing it for the fans, not the teams.

He added, “One of the things we keep saying to them is at the end of the day we’re doing it for the fans, we’re not doing it for the teams.”

“We want first and foremost a simpler sport, sports entertainment, so you’ve got to make the entertainment great, and then enable fans to connect to it.”

But Carey knows that the best chance of revising the distribution of income among the teams once the current Concorde Agreement expires in 2020.

 

Engines are due to change in 2021, the sport has broadly agreed how it should change. But last month, Red Bull called for these to be finalised as soon as possible

Horner calls for finalisation of engine regulations

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has called on his fellow bosses to finalise the new engine regulations which are due to be brought in 2021 as soon as possible. This is to ensure there is scope for independent suppliers to compete alongside the manufacturers.

Recently a meeting between Ross Brawn, the FIA and the manufacturers agreed the sport should switch to being louder, simpler and cheaper while retaining an element of energy recovery.

Horner says the new rules must allow new manufacturers to enter the market. He told Motosport.com “I think the most important thing for F1 post-2020 is a competitive independent engine. I think the regulations for that need to be set very soon.”

He says that the engine is the biggest element for the rights holder, because it dictates so many things like cost, performance and the differential between the manufacturers. Horner says “Also from a show perspective and a fan’s perspective, the engines need to be louder, and sound like F1 engines.”

Horner agrees that cutting cost by the regulation was the way forward rather than a budget cap, saying the costs need to be controlled by the regulations.

He says he “hopefully the FIA with Liberty need to look at 2021 regulations to say, what should F1 be? Should there be an element of standardisation for components that the average fan has no idea about?”

Red Bull’s Dietrich Mateschitz is wary of the cut of the team’s income should changes be made post-2020.

 

Fan engagement is one of Liberty Media’s aims following the takeover last year. But, how do the 2017 Motorsports Network assess the sport this year?

Largest fan survey gives mixed reading

The results from the largest survey of global fans by the Motorsports Network says that fans across the world are optimistic about the future of the sport. The survey launched in March in 15 languages and receiving fan feedback from 194 countries, the 2017 survey had 215,872 participants.

This makes the survey the biggest motorsport marketing research project ever conducted, and one of the biggest sports surveys of all time. The survey asked about the demographics of the sport’s audience, fan disposition and attitudes towards the sport, their affinity for races, teams, drivers and their consumption of racing as remote and live audiences.

Forty-four percent of fans believe that Formula One remains ‘the pinnacle of motorsport’, and a 43 percent improvement in the statement that the sports fields ‘the best drivers’. That is a rise of one percent on 2015.

The survey shows the average age of fans is falling with a rise in the number of women watching Formula One. However, some say the fall in the availability of free-to-air television coverage is having an impact with fewer fans are watching the sport regularly.

Lewis Hamilton has remained the most popular driver, with his support now being at the highest level since Michael Schumacher. Ferrari also strengthened their position as the world’s favourite F1 team in the latest survey, with nearly one-third of the global fanbase ranking.

 

it’s been a tough year for McLaren, no points and multiple engine failures as lead to questions over their relationship with Honda. So why does racing director Eric Bouillier believe they achieved a 96% success rate?

McLaren achieved 96% success rate

Eric Boullier says his McLaren team has an achieved a 95% success rate with their aerodynamic upgrades despite the difficult start to the season.

The team has suffered from poor reliability and an underperforming Honda engine, with the team failing to score any points in the first quarter of the season.

But upgrades for last month’s race in Barcelona which saw a raft of new aerodynamic parts on the MCL32 plus tweaks to Honda’s fuel and intake system worth 10bhp. This allowed the team to get into Q3 for the first time in 2017.

In Monaco the team also brought upgrades, but both Jenson Button and Stoffel Vandoorne had penalties, before crashing out of the race. But Boullier told Autosport, “As the engineers would say, ‘as per map’ – [we’re] very happy. It’s the step we wanted to achieve.

“The correlation is amazing. We have 95% of what we were expecting, so this is brilliant.” He says that the team now has trust in their process and they know what to expect.

“The natural tendency is a deviation, but we are happy we have achieved what we wanted to achieve through our new processes. We can trust the way we work now.”

McLaren’s new baseline should if Honda finds more performance and reliability, lift the team into the midfield. But, Boullier says the current iteration of the MCL32 will give McLaren a reference against which to judge the rest of its 2017 aerodynamic development.

 

Could Mercedes really be about to quit the sport and only continue as an engine manufacturer?

Mercedes reject claims they could quit

Mercedes has rejected claims by Channel 4’s Eddie Jordan that the German manufacturer could quit as a works team.

The former team owner was asked last week by Auto Bild if Sebastian Vettel would move from Ferrari to Mercedes next year. After saying he thought the four-time world champion would stay put, Jordan went on to speculate that Mercedes “will probably pull the plug at the end of 2018”.

Jordan added: “I think they will go for the titles this and next year and then the board of directors in Stuttgart will decide to sell the team and stay only as an engine maker. I would do the same because Mercedes have won everything and it can only get worse from now.”

Jordan says it better if the German manufacturer went back to their old model of just developing and delivering high-tech engines. Following the claims, Mercedes quickly issued a statement to deny them.

Team boss Toto Wolff said “Monaco is a place where people like to party and it seems like somebody did a bit too much of that! The reports are completely baseless and reflect nothing more than the mischievous speculation of one individual.

“Mercedes has firm contracts for its participation in Formula One until the end of 2020 — and is currently in discussions about the next competitive cycle with the sport’s new owners.”

 

It gave a rare insight into one of the most private moments of the drivers weekend. But this week we were told it was a one off, but why?

Drivers briefing was one off

Formula One bosses have confirmed that the decision to release the recording of the driver briefing at the Monaco Grand Prix, one-off despite the positive reception it received.

As part of moves by the sports owner Liberty Media to give the fans greater access, a short video from the regular driver briefing was released in Montreal last weekend. It was the first briefing to be recorded since the 1990’s, offering a rare insight into what is one of the most secretive moments of a grand prix weekend.

The briefing is designed as a free and open meeting for the drivers and the FIA to discuss any issues from sporting to safety matters. There is a concern about broadcasting the meeting could make drivers reluctant to talk honesty and openly about the issues in the sport.

However, Felipe Massa has called for the meeting to be made public, he told Autosport “I think it is a good idea. To be honest I didn’t even notice that somebody was filming it in Monaco.”

“If everybody knows that we are talking with Charlie Whiting and the teams and everything, then everybody understands a little bit more about F1.”

When pushed on whether he felt having television cameras inside might change the meetings’ nature, Massa said he didn’t care. “I am there to try to do the best for F1, and say what I think is not right or something that I think needs to be better about the rules, or about so many other things. For me it is not a problem.” he added.

Massa also says that he thought F1 should open up in even more areas.

 

That’s all from this edition of Reporters,

Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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