An open letter to Bernie Ecclestone

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
This is the first time I've had a chance to sit down and digest this thread. I think FB is absolutely spot on in his comments about the direction that F1 has gone and needs to go. The elephant in the room however, remains the way that F1 finances the teams and itself as a business.

Ecclestone came to F1 in order to grant more power to the teams. To use collective bargaining to ensure fairness for all. Prior to Ecclestone teams were paid on an ad-hoc basis depending on how popular they were, how many stars they had in their cars, which country they were in, how badly they wanted a team to race at their track and any other number of reasons. Ecclestone swept that away and got proper contracts for teams. In return he ensured full grids.

Now we find ourselves in a situation where he has taken everything back 40 years only he controls the purse strings. A little more for you because you have been around since 1950, a little more for your because of your racing history some more in your pay packet because I like the colour blue and Christian is a very very nice boy.

The fact that the sport is now in the hands of a private finance company is not going to change. There is no way they are going to give up on their prize (fund) and a regular pay day. So we have to accept the fact that a percentage of the money that goes into F1 will go right back out of it without touching the sides.

What's left however, must be shared properly among the teams. The teams must lose their say in the way things are run. It should not be a key few who sit at the top table and have the ear of the king. Ideally it should be none of them but failing that, all of them should have a say. The money should be distributed much in the same way that it is for Premiership football. F1 is a closed shop, it's not like teams are gong to drop a division at the end of the season. To that end they must all receive an equal percentage of the money that goes into the sport. They all contribute to it so they should all get something out of it. Then a second fund can be awarded based on finsihing positions all the way down to last place. The top 10 getting paid was fine when there were around 30 cars and 15 or 16 teams fighting it out. Now it's totally redundant. Get rid of it and transport all of the teams kit. There should be no 'favours for the few' deals where teams get mythical payments for spurious reasons.

As I have posted (from the Motorsport article) on a number of occasions, if a team has half a billion to spend they will spend it. IF they can only find 350 million to spend on the team they'll build a new factory just for the sake of it. Big teams will always spend money. I like the idea of resource retriction but policing it would be another matter. By giving teams an equal cut of the pot at least the smaller guys would have some money to do something with.

There are sensible areas where you could restrict resources. Limit the gross weight of equiment that teams may bring to a track (trucks and all), limit the number of mechanics that they can have on race day. I would paint a box around the pit box and only allow 6 mechanics within it to work on the car. 4 wheel men, front and rear jack men. That would be it. It would slow down pit stops, require teams to think about the gains and losses to be made from stopping and throw a little uncertaintly back in the mix (of course these changes would have to be brought in in line with FB's no tyre restriction proposals).

As for the tracks, they must be given competative deals to run races. It's beyond wrong that the sport has reached the point where in some countries only governments can afford to host a race. With so much of the revenue going directly to CVC it's impossible for tracks to make any money other than throwing more of it on to ticket sales. Again, we are talking about changes that can't / won't be made by Ecclestone or CVC as they will cost them money.

The FIA are supposed to be the guardians of the sport. How much have we heard from Todt in the last 18 months? His lack of action is not helping. It's like the Captain of the Titanic saying 'Steady as she goes Mr Ecclestone, I'll be in my cabin if you need me". Wake up Jean the ship has already hit the iceberg, she's got a huge hole below the waterline and you've missed Kate Winslett's boobs (oops sorry, wandered off for a second).

Thanks to the fact it would seem that everyone is locked into this current set up (both technical and financial) until 2020 there seems to be no saving it.

Eccleston has to go. Someone with a more modern view of business has to come in and take over. He or she has to be firm, take the teams to task and put the house back in order otherwise CVC won't have a sport worth talking about.
 
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Mephistopheles

Banned
Contributor
I'm afraid Bernie's cash cow is very nearly milked out and all we have left are the cadaveric spasms of the poor animal it needs a massive jolt from an experienced vet to at least try and revive it, either that or putting out of its misery altogether and a new fresh breed brought in to replace it..
 
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KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
Here's one for you Formula One fans out there. Name a race. Any old random race since 1979. Not a famous race known for some incredible battle/incident. Just a top of the head, ho hum GP that you may not remember a single thing about.

I'll post as much and as many as I can and we can all marvel at the way the podium positions swapped around every couple laps or so. Or we won't. Because that rarely happened.

We just came off what was universally considered a spectacular event in Malaysia. There was always a darn good chance that China was not going to throw up a cracker.
 
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cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
To be fair, there wasn't much changing of podium positions in Malaysia, the thing that made is so interesting is that there could have been. It's that 'unknown' that's missing from F1. You're right of course, there were races that ended up with the front three set from lap 2 or 3, to be found in any season. The thing is, a lot more cars went bang, tyres went off of a cliff, teams put in outstanding laps in qually that left them right out of position while others had to battle back.

The biggest factor in a dull race is that it is predictable. 2 Mercs, 2 Ferraris and 2 Williams. The ants go marching two by two. Last season only 1 poll went to a non-Mercedes car. This year looks set to be exactly the same.

Toto Wolff summed it up when he said words to the effect "Our drivers have to think of the team, we have 1500 people behind these cars". Now I don't know how he came by that figure and how they are divided up but one thousand five hundred people !! Really? What hope do the rest of them have ??
 
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FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Nice to see all the points about different types of power units, DRS, tyre suppliers, race locations, the exponential growth of technology to a point where the drivers can't even get the car off the line without computer aid are being discussed.

F1, in it;s current state, is broken. There are far more exciting race series out there that allow designers, engineers and drivers to express themselves in a far more competitive manner and those controlling F1 either can't or won't see it.

As to the point about changes for the lead, that is not the point. What would be more interesting is if more than one car or one car and driver combination had a chance of winning. 2010 went down to the last race with 2 or 3 drivers still in the hunt for the title. 2011 and 2014 were very reminiscent of what we saw last year and what we are seeing again this year. These were not great seasons. Mercedes dominance is as bad for the sport as Red Bull's was then, as Ferrari's was before and back and back and back.

As I've mentioned before, the ultra restrictive rules surrounding engine development and usage along with the highly controlled chassis design and tyre options are strangling the sport. Once a team gets ahead it stays ahead and that isn't how F1 should work.
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
For all intents and purposes the season kicked off in Bahrain last year. Would anyone be shocked to see sparks fly between the Mercedes duo in less than a weeks time? With Nico's current demeanor I'm starting to expect it.

And I think Mad Max can now commiserate with his old man on the often cruel nature of F1. Ricciardo had a dreadful start reminiscent of the old days.

Only legendary drivers drag their cars into fights they don't deserve to be in. And quite frankly the two best drivers in the sport couldn't be further apart on the grid.

Here's another honest observation. Unless you're a Hamilton supporter, F1 is indeed more entertaining when Lewis is not in the best car. But it won't last forever.

Other than Brawn (for obvious reasons) when was the last time a team started the season with the fastest car and was overhauled in season?
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Renault in both 2005 and 2006. Williams and Ferrari swapped twice in 2001 and 2003, as did McLaren and Ferrari in 2000.

In addition, in 2007 McLaren were clearly stronger at circuits without long corners compared to Ferrari. In 1999, there were a range of cars capable of winning.

The last time there were two consecutive years (considering only the front two) of dominance like this was 1992-93.

Unlike then, it's Noah's Ark down to 6th. Vettel was the only one to break rank in Malaysia in the top 10. That's what's really dull.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
KekeTheKing you keep dragging this back to Lewis Hamilton, for whatever personal reasons you may have. Presumably you are taking this criticism of F1 as a dig at the dominance of one man, please go back and re-read my initial post and you will see a plethora of criticisms and suggestions of how F1, in my view, could be made better.

If you are just trying to drag out an argument about how all of this is is because "we are all Hammy Haters" I'd suggest you find a different thread to make your points. This is not about Lewis Hamilton it's about the current state of F1, a problem which has been brewing for many years and has now reached the point of no return.

1992 is the best comparison I can draw for what we are currently seeing in F1 in relation to the cars and for 1993 the authorities moved specifically to address the problems in the sport created by the Williams car that season. For 2016 they need to do the same.
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
People call for freedom and innovation. Mercedes stole a march in the regs that the teams spent years instituting.

At this point the only "solution" is to peg Mercedes back. Which is completely at odds with everything people want from F1.

The notion that the racing is measurably worse now than at many times in the past is a complete fallacy.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
For ****'s sake, have you even read the initial post? Unless there is the opportunity for teams to test and develop their cars and engines the situation we have at race 1 will be the same situation we have at race 20 which is very bad for the sport. This is not about "pegging back Mercedes" but creating a situation where other teams can, through technology and design, close the gap.

It was just as bad in 2013 when Vettel won 9 in a row but we all new the hybrid engine regs were coming in so were prepared to wait and see what happened. Mercedes. kudos to them, built the best engine/chassis package for 2014; just as Brawn did in 2009. For this continue in to 2015 indicates that there is something fundamentally wrong with the sport, just as there was in 1992 and 2004.
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
Mercedes would likely develop as well or better than the others. They've got the best people in place with nearly unlimited resources. The only way to achieve closer racing is regulation stability.

Scrapping the regs/opening them up is no guarantee for close racing.
 

Dartman

Pole Sitter
There is nothing wrong with the power units or the actual racing, the problem is the so called cost saving and rules to support it. The lack of testing to save cash/money actually costs more, the development of engines within the chassis is only now capable at the race weekend, having improved an engine for reliability the team suddenly finds out that that improvement in reliability allows the car to run faster and overheats cooking the HPU. Computer design is great but it can only compute the variables entered into the system, the outside world pleases itself, by constantly changing temperature wind direction and humidity, the cars are so refined by CAD for the day that non run at optimum on weather change. Wolff has stated there are 1500 people behind the two cars, mostly probably in software and CAD, perhaps 500 or so could be removed with a few hands on engineers and decent development drivers in a couple of days on a track every month. Why have the token system to improve the HPU, the BHP is fixed so is the rpm so a free for all to get there, perhaps the block head and crank should be the criteria for the four engine limit, anything else is free, this eliminates the bad batch syndrome
Don't start me on aero, single plane wings and a body tube will do me.
 
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KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
At the current moment I'm quite enjoying watching the racer I support do what I expected him to do given the opportunity again. Unashamedly I might add. If a Hamilton fan can't enjoy this, then they won't enjoy anything. It obviously hasn't been all roses and gravy for the guy since the early days of his career, and I take satisfaction that his time has come again.

I still anticipate a GP start more than any other moment in sports and nothing is guaranteed in Motorsport. Just because many people cant stand the current state of play it hasn't diminished my estimation of the exercise.

Wouldn't this thread be quite boring if everyone was just shitting on the sport post after post anyway?
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
In response to your last point, yes it would.

So, without wishing to put words in your mouth, you couldn't give a stuff right now if the other teams can't catch up because the guy you want to see win is winning. Stability to the current regualations would keep the status quo for as long as possible.

I think everyone on here gets a bit of a buzz to greater or lesser degrees at the start of a race, when they all pile into the first corner but it's after that where it all goes wrong.

Again, we all agree I'm sure that the achievement of producing a car as dominent as the Mercedes is impressive.

You must also agree that the global audiance is falling year on year. The growing spaces on the sides of cars shows that sponsorship money is getting harder and harder to find. Long standing race tracks fall away unable to find the money to pay for races while new tracks hold races with empty grandstands because no one wants to go. Above all, a great number of people came to F1 due to the technical side of the sport. The whole thing started over 100 years ago to enable engineers to display their technical ability. You can't expect those people who want to see close racing driven by technical development to be happy when all of the teams chasing the leader, have to do so with one hand tied behind their backs?

You're avitar is of the great Keke the King, the ultimate, smoke out, car out, balls out driver. He scored just five race wins and yet we still talk about him and his driving today.
 
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Greenlantern101

Super Hero And All Round Good Guy
Contributor
With regard to opening up the regulations I have said before that I am all for throwing the regs away and publishing these ones instead.

F1 TECHNICAL REGULATIONS

1.0 The racing car should fit inside a box measuring 1.8m wide, 1m tall and 5m long.

-end-
 
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Dash Racing

Points Scorer
You need another technical regulation there, and at least one for safety, though the safety ones may belong more appropriately in safety regulations.

2.0 The wheels may not be covered or obscured in any fashion by any part of the car. (It isn't open wheel racing if the wheels are covered!)
2.1 The front wheels must be attached to the car at least 30cm in front of the feet of the driver. (This is so suspension members don't impale your driver in the event of a crash, very important, do not violate, violators will be shot.)
 
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