The Formula One Teams Association (www.teamsassociation.org), the independent body made up of the 10 teams of F1, conducted a survey in 17 countries of both F1 fans and non-fans as well as those who follow casually. From the results of this survey they have made the following proposals, known as the ‘roadmap’ and classified as ‘sporting’, ‘technical’ and ‘commercial’ to match the working groups established some months ago.
I’ll list these in the order of the press release and include my own comments in each section.
– An engine life increase of over 100%.
– A reduction in the usage of wind tunnels and computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
– Engines to be supplied for €8 million per season per team.
These are expected to provide significant savings over 2008. In addition, these proposals were made for 2010:
– Engines to be supplied for €5 million per season per team.
– Gearboxes to be supplied for €1.5 million.
– Standard KERS system to be put to tender, target price €1 million to €2 million.
– 50% reduction on 2009 levels on the spend on aerodynamic development.
– Cap the number of chassis, bodywork and aero updates per season via homologation.
– Prohibit ‘exotic’ materials.
– Standard telemetry and radio systems.
I agree with all of these moves, but one. They retain the uniqueness of F1 development, that the teams design their own cars, without needless aero updates for every race. The one I disagree with is standard KERS – the whole point of KERS being in F1 is that each team is developing their own systems, and some are radically different from others. Green tech should be the areas left open for development, not closed off!
– A reduction in testing of 50%.
– Adjust the points system to 12 for a win, 9 for 2nd, 7 for 3rd. The remaining points to 8th remain as present. This is to further reward winners and podium finishers. (10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 would become 12-9-7-5-4-3-2-1)
– Starting fuel loads and tyre selections to be made available to the public before the race.
– Recommend a new qualifying format.
– Radical new points-scoring opportunities (e.g. fastest pit stop).
– Further testing restrictions, to 4 x 4 day single car sessions, plus one single car shakedown.
– Reduce Grand Prix race distances to 250km max, or 1hr 40 mins. (presently 300km or 2 hours)
I agree completely with the 2009 proposals, of which testing has already been reduced significantly. The points need adjusting and the race data should be available, as it is in MotoGP.
I don’t think we need a new qualifying format, the present one works very well indeed! I also disagree with reducing the race distance and the ‘new points opportunities’. F1 should be about going flat out for a couple of hours, not racing for trick points or becoming a sprint race.
– Increase data provision for the media.
– Explore means to more dynamically present F1, to improve engagement with the public.
– Nominated senior team spokesman available during GP.
– Commitment to enhance consumer experience via team and FOTA websites.
– Commitment to enhance viewer experience through TV coverage.
You can’t disagree with any of this. I would prefer to bring the TV coverage forward to this year but I understand if it’s now too late, although I’m sure some improvements can be filtered in in the latter half of the year. I’d also prefer F1.com to be the focal point, unfortunately Bernie won’t let that happen. I like the opening up of personnel during race, like they do on American coverage of IRL/NASCAR. I also like telling the drivers to show up at an appointed time to meet the fans.
Other Points To Note
FOTA noted several other findings.
1. F1 isn’t broken. The survey results clearly were against the mooted suggestions of splitting GPs into ‘sprint’ and ‘feature’ races, or reverse grids.
2. F1 needs to be consumer-friendly. Only devotees watch a race live outside of their peak viewing times. No shit, Sherlock!
3. Qualifying changes are not urgent. Fans like the meritocracy and don’t want luck to play a part of it. Fans are actually quite smart.
4. Revise the points scoring system. Fans want the winner to be more rewarded than at present. Good idea.
5. Evolution of pitstops and refuelling. It seems fans very much like tyre changes, but don’t really care about refuelling and strategy. This isn’t a surprise as strategies haven’t been explained well in the past, despite the best efforts of James Allen and Ted Kravitz (here at least), and they are quite hard to follow sometimes even for us smart fans. Sometimes they are only hard to follow because they are boring. I like the sound of the 80s, when cars would go full distance but some drivers would choose to stop for tyres and try to catch up the time lost by making full use of their fresh rubber. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
There are further details on these points in the press release which I urge you to read. We’ll shortly hear of the FIA’s own proposals I believe as soon as this coming week. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any convergence.