Long term vision key to F1’s future – Brawn


World © Octane Photographic Ltd. F1 Belgian GP - Spa-Francorchamps, Saturday 24th August 2013 - Paddock. Mercedes AMG Petronas - Ross Brawn. Digital Ref : 0791lw1d8224

Having taken on the role of Managing Director of motorsports in the recently rejigged F1 structure, now overseen by Liberty Media’s Chase Carey after the ousting of former CEO Bernie Ecclestone last night, Ross Brawn has been discussing his plans for the future of the sport, with BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I’m majoring on the sporting side. What I want to develop along with all the other stakeholders in F1, the teams, the FIA and so on, is to get a vision of where we want to be in the next few years.

“I feel and I know from experience that F1 tends to be reactive. It has a problem, it reacts and tries to find a solution, but very rarely has the vision of looking forward three-to-five years and deciding where it wants to be.

“So I think we know what fans want: they want entertainment, they want close racing, they want to be able to understand what’s going on. And I think everyone agrees on that. It’s finding the path with all the other teams and all the other people involved to achieve that.”

Brawn, who will form a management trio with Carey and former ESPN man Sean Bratches, believes the current rules are over complicated, making it difficult for seasoned F1 fans never mind new faces to understand what is going on, causing potential converts to lose interest without even giving the sport a chance.

The Brit wants to change all that going forward by cutting out the unnecessary, stopping the gimmicks and putting on an entertaining spectacle for fans instead.

“I think simplicity is a key objective for the future. I’ve watched F1 for the last few years as a spectator, and there have been times where even I haven’t been sure what’s been going on in the race.

“And it’s a great sport. It’s a fabulous combination of the drivers and their personalities, their competition and the cars and the whole thing. We just need to look at it and see how we can improve the show.

“I think [the fans] want racing, and we haven’t see too much of that. We’ve seen a great competition between two drivers in the same team for the last few years, and that’s no fault of Mercedes. They’ve done a fabulous job. I think the fans want racing, they want to understand what’s going on in the race.

“There’s different types of fans of course, and that’s where the complication comes. There are fans who come to races, there’s the fans who watch TV, there’s the fans that watch through other media. It’s finding a balance between all of those requirements.

“We want the race, for instance, to be as big a show as we can make it, so when you come to a race for a weekend, you’re entertained from beginning to end.”

One thing Brawn has been keen to put straight, is the importance of the British Grand Prix and other historic venues to the F1 calendar, for him and also F1’s new owners.

“I think Silverstone is very important. I think the core of F1 is the tradition.

“A lot of the new circuits are very exciting and they bring their own element to F1, but they’re in it because they want to be part of that show that includes Monaco, includes Silverstone, includes Monza, includes Hockenheim or Nurburgring.

“You’ve still got to retain those traditions to have the values of F1.

“All of the promoters are under pressure, and over the next period we’ve got to review all of it and see what can be done.”

The Brit is also aiming to make life easier for the smaller teams in the paddock, who in some cases are lucky to finish the season, Manor Racing MRT are a case in point, never mind pose any sort of challenge to the rest of the grid, as he explained in an interview with Sky Sports.

“We need to find solutions where the small teams can stand on their own two feet and put up a good challenge to the hierarchy of Formula 1 and stand on their own two feet commercially.

“At the moment it is a big challenge for them, it is too big a challenge, and we need to find ways in future of having a healthy Formula 1 from top to bottom.

“Perhaps finding ways of making sure those small teams become an attractive and valuable element of Formula 1, not only on the track but as businesses.”

Any changes are unlikely to come into full effect until current team contracts are up in 2020 however, but that gives the three new men plenty of time to carry out a complete overhaul of the current regime.