When Ross Brawn was appointed as the Motorsport Director of F1, his return to the sport after some fishing trips was met with a generally positive reception. The sense was, and is, that there aren’t many hands in which F1 would be safer.
This is the first year in which Liberty Media has been able to act, and the changes that have been brought in early on have been met with some harsh criticism. Whether it be grid kids, Axel the mascot, the theme tune or the delayed rollout of the streaming service, Liberty and F1 have been met with claims of DNA tampering. For the umpteenth year running, the term “identity crisis” has been wheeled out yet again as fans either demand a racing utopia of the future, or V8 Valhalla of the past.
Speaking to Radio Sport New Zealand, Brawn said:
“I find it very frustrating that people accuse us of spoiling the DNA of this, that and the other. Formula One has a long history of incredible competition and it’s the pinnacle of motorsport. Why would we choose to damage that?
“I find it personally offensive when people accuse me of dumbing down the sport because we know if we did that we’d spoil the sport at its core and we’d spoil the commercial basis for the sport as well.”
This Friday has massive ramifications for the sport because Brawn will be revealing his vision for the 2021 regulations amidst a climate of division between Mercedes and Ferrari versus the rest of the field. Brawn is looking at tightening the revenue distribution between teams and also considering the “force field” on the current cars that’s making it difficult for overtaking to thrive.
“We have to help the teams at the top recognise and realise that to have a sport for the future we’ve got to re-base the commercial revenues of teams, re-base amount of scope the teams are allowed to explore technical in order to give a more exciting competition.
“We’re looking at a total solution, a holistic solution of all the parts. We know the percentage drop in performance that comes as a car approaches another car and already we’ve found ways of improving that in reducing the disturbed flow from the car from the front, and reducing the sensitivity of the following car to that disturbed flow. We’re trying to do it in a properly structured way. That will be the solution we’ll apply for 2021.”
F1’s harshest critics probably won’t be as vocal when the Bahrain Grand Prix commences, as is often the case. Maybe as observers, we should consider waiting for the direction of the sport to appear in the light of day before jumping on the easy bandwagon of general rage.