Bernie Ecclestone Outlines How He’d Fix Formula 1— Using A Two-Tier F1 With A Difference
You’ll be aware that many of Formula 1’s problems are being widely ruminated over right now. A lack of competitiveness, with the “big three” teams of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull far ahead of the rest, combined with a shortage of on-track entertainment. The problems, which aren’t new, have been given focus by recent events. Mercedes has won all eight 2019 races, with six won by reigning champion Lewis Hamilton, itself an extension of Mercedes winning the drivers’ and constructors’ championship doubles every year since 2014.
The French round was noted as particularly dull, while in the one before in Canada winner-on the-road Sebastian Vettel was denied victory with a time penalty applied for how he rejoined the track in front of pursuer Hamilton. This brought scrutiny on how F1 polices on-track battles.
It also was announced subsequent to Canada that F1 owner Liberty Media and the teams have postponed until the end of October agreement on new rules for 2021, which are intended to resolve many of these problems. Hamilton also was publicly critical of the apparent ongoing direction of the 2021 overhaul.
Meanwhile F1’s former long-serving commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone has outlined what he reckons is a solution. This is a two-tier F1, but with a difference because it will have an extra championship created for teams operating with smaller budgets, who would run a spec car.
“I would be saying: We’re going to have two championships; one is the constructors’ world championship and the other is the teams’ world championship. The drivers’ world championship would not be affected in any way,” Ecclestone told ESPN. “The constructors’ championship is for the teams that manufacture the engine and the chassis; teams such as Ferrari and Mercedes.
“For the teams’ championship, I’d build a car—like a very sophisticated F2 car. I’d give you a complete car and a spare engine. And I’d give you $30 million a year…to get you going, so you need to go out and find some sponsors.”
And these teams would be helped to compete with the lavish constructors via certain rule breaks unavailable to constructors. “If you want to, you can refuel,” Ecclestone continued. “You have just one set of tires but, if you want to stop and refuel, you can also change tires. Then maybe we’d have to change the weight of the car. If we found the team cars weren’t quick, we’d make sure the constructors’ cars were a bit heavier.
“This may make people currently outside F1 think: ‘We can do that.’ And one more thing; the teams could enter just one car, if they wanted.”
As ever, Ecclestone’s suggestions should be taken with at least a potential helping of salt. He has been known to mischief make and throw curveballs, perhaps especially so with Liberty, which sidelined him. His previous wheezes have sometimes bordered the risible too, such as sprinklers to simulate in-race showers and an Olympic-style medals system replacing championships points.
There is one Ecclestone suggestion that will likely receive broad support however. “I wouldn’t be talking to the teams. It’s like having a committee and you don’t need that when making decisions like this,” he added.
It’s not the first time a “two-tier” F1 has been proposed, as in the late 2000s then FIA president Max Mosley suggested that teams operating under a cost cap be allowed to run an engine without the standard 18,000rpm limit, with other performance breaks. F1 in 1987 and ’88 also had a sort of equivalency formula for turbo and non-turbo engines, though no non-turbo car won a race in that time.
Images courtesy of Octane Photography