The group that owns the speed race Liberty Media proposed a series of changes to make this sport more competitive and attractive.
“F1 has a long history and our mission is to preserve and develop speed sports, by exploring its potential,” said Liberty Media CEO and president Chase Carey. “We want the rich F1 to be more competitive and attractive, to become the world’s number one sports brand. F1’s criteria must be to satisfy fans, create commercial results, bring profits to racing teams and constantly improving technology “.
Competition and attraction are two important keywords from Carey’s statement. Liberty’s drafts are aimed at these two purposes. Competition is gradually disappearing in F1, when Mercedes is constantly dominating. In addition to them and two other big guys – Ferrari and Red Bull – few people care about the other teams.
In June 2019, Ross Brawn – F1 technical director – spoke about their strategy for the next two years. He outlined five major plans, the first being the financial aspect. The new point of view in F1 is that spending is more important than spending. F1 will apply the spending threshold for the teams, quite similar to the Financial Fairness Act (FFP) in football. In the period 2021-2025, teams are allowed to spend up to 175 million USD per season. While there were five teams outperforming this number in 2018, they were Renault (190 million), McLaren (220 million), Red Bull (310 million), Mercedes (400 million) and Ferrari (410 million).
But, some of the costs such as engine, travel, marketing or driver pay do not need to be included in the threshold. The figure of 175 million USD is also higher than the estimate of public opinion. This helps Liberty not be fiercely opposed by the big teams, whether Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull – who own about 1,000 employees – are not fully supportive.
“Change can cost thousands of jobs,” Red Bull manager Christian Horner told the BBC. “Just as when a big supermarket suddenly stops working, the media will make a big noise. I think Liberty or FIA need to consider carefully society, before setting a spending limit.”
Mercedes again expressed support for Liberty‘s proposal. “The idea of spending limit is very good, but it takes a few years to complete the mechanism,” said team leader Toto Wolff.