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New F1 rules miss the plot as cost cutting gets sidelined

1.34K   //    16 May 2015, 10:02 IST
Image Courtesy: Force India
Amid following TV viewership, dwindling trackside audience and ever increasing criticism of Formula 1, the sport’s decision making power house - the Strategy Group - has voted for a slew of measures to make the cars go faster and the show more thrilling for the fans.

However, the demise of Caterham and the general financial struggle of independent outfits was paid little heed to, with talk of cost cutting being completely sidelined. When the Strategy Group could ‘finalise’ such concrete measures relating to 2017 and beyond, it’s almost baffling that not a single cost-cutting measure was ‘approved’.

Instead, an undisclosed proposal was made, which will be evaluated in the next few weeks with mere consultation of the ‘other teams’ in the championship. Given the previous cost-cutting measures, nothing major can be expected from the wealthy outfits who enjoy a unhealthy role in decision making, thanks to an elite position in the aforesaid group.
Measures such as rescheduling the calendar, reducing the cost of power units to customers or redistribution of F1’s prize money pot were totally ignored.

The top teams, however seem keen to introduce customer cars. And the original intent behind customer cars is not to make the sport more feasible for the less wealthy, but to merely increase the revenue of the privileged few. This proposal is being evaluated, despite severe opposition from the independent outfits who wish to continue to compete at constructors.
The original intent behind customer cars is not to make the sport more feasible for the less wealthy, but to merely increase the revenue of the privileged few.
“There was no interest at all from the manufacturer teams in discussing anything to do with cost controls or more equitable income distribution,” Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley was quoted by “It was completely abandoned in favour of the customer cars.

“In some ways it makes things abundantly clear where F1 is going. We've suspected that customer cars were wanted for quite some time, but this is the first time that it's really moving through as the only alternative as far as the manufacturer teams are concerned.”

To make matters even worse, every measure to improve the show has the implication of added cost. Refuelling will only add increase the freight that is to be transported around the world, while the extra personnel to handle the fuel rigs will only add to the cost. It remains to be seen whether teams will decrease the size of their fuel tank - another easy measure to increase the cost of going racing,

Similarly, aerodynamic changes tabled to make the cars look aggressive will mean a larger chunk of money will be sucked by the R&D  department- an area where teams are already spending a sizeable figure every year.

The unanswered questions

Two further questions also remains unanswered. Firstly, is there any guarantee whether the new rules will be publicised properly - something that is hard to imagine without a marketing team - especially when the sport failed miserably in disseminating the advantages of the current generation of Formula 1 cars?

And secondly, will these changes reverse the trend of F1’s falling viewership figures?
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