If I was Bernie – 3 car teams in #f1 – my thoughts

I’ve been considering over the last couple of days quite what the options for F1 are around filling the grid and as well as putting my own thoughts down I’ve asked a few people to give their views too (coming up over the next week or so).

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It is fair to say the FIA seem to be powerless and lacking influence under Todt to the point we only ever really hear from Charlie nowadays. I can’t imagine Max would fever have been so invisible at a key time.

It strikes me that F1 could react in 3 different ways to the loss of Marussia and Caterham – although I personally hope both might find a way to continue against the odds.

3 car teams

This seems like the preferred option for Bernie and would result in Ferrari and Redbull running three cars.

I’m strongly against this idea, unless cars were banned from constructor points and drivers had to be juniors.

What sort of credibility would F1 have if you had 3 Redbulls on the podium dream on Christian) and one didn’t score points.

Another ill conceived idea in my view, purely designed to stop the triggering of the penalty clauses in commercial deals.

Allowing Customer chassis run by independant teams

If a new team were allowed (effectively how Ligier in the 90s and Toro Rosso more recently have done to some extent) to run an at least 1 year old chassis from a larger team, plus the option to tweak aero etc, that might allow a lower base spend to become sustainable.

But why they when Dave Richards pitched the idea was that not allowed?

Better revenue share/aiding smaller teams

Take a sport like the NFL and look at how the revenue from commercial deals is shared.

The great majority of revenue is shared equally, and the draft system allows flexibility are refreshing of the chance to succeed.

Is that completely impossible to achieve in F1?

This sport is currently a loaded deck – the larger teams have an advantage that is inbuilt in their financing. Why shouldn’t F1 have a base payment that is equal (say 40m) then have the majority of the rest shared based upon success.

Redbull and Ferrari seriously expect the sport to fund most of their spend then complain at the first instance of anyone doing a better job. Redbull have spent some 800 million in recent times on F1 – staggering….

Where is the capping of engine costs for customer teams. The technology is great, but an extra option from a Cosworth or similar (someone who can actually develop to a reasonable budget) would greatly ease the funding squeeze.

How many times in the NFL or Basketball to you see previously I fancied teams have a spell of success.

That brings more supporter engagement and reinvigorates their support.

Coming up over the next few days will be some additional comment from a wide range of fans, those in the sport etc to see what they’d like to see.

That is why the blog is called If I was Bernie after all..

What do you think out there?

Is hell about to freeze over – Alonso – McLarens marmite man?

You’ve heard the phrase – he’s like marmite – you either love him or hate him right?

Well if Autosports sources are correct (and they rarely aren’t), hell has frozen over – Fernando is coming back to Woking. The McLaren fans version of marmite.

Interestingly as many of my fellow Mclaren fans are disgusted at the news as there are those of us who think it’s positive.

This is a key piece of Honda and McLaren “throwing the kitchen sink at it”. Big technical signings, another top driver, it’s a big statement of intent.

It’s with that thought that I’d also expect McLaren to re-sign Jenson to partner. I am a big fan of Kevin Magnussen, but you can’t underestimate how much points plays into a serious constructors bid.

I joking tweeted in 2011 the following picture taken at Mercedes Benz World in Brooklands with the caption “a meeting of the Fernando Alonso mclaren fanclub meeting).

2011 Brooklands meeting of the McLaren Alonso fanclub
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I’d heard in early October about the possibility of an Alonso deal and couldn’t quite believe it. But I’ve got to say he’s a great driver and we need a huge push to get the team back where it belongs.

It will be interesting to follow over the next week or so whether this does play out or not.

It certainly provides an interesting side story to the big WDC battle between Rosberg and Hamilton. Possibly the best battle we have seen for many years.

Imagine a McLaren “prodromou” B spec car getting in the middle of the title battle in Abu Dhabi!

McLaren are back, you just don’t know it yet 😉

Is F1 losing the plot – Marussia and Caterham

I seem to be relatively alone in thinking F1 is in the process of losing the plot. You might pick up that from the blog name I chose I think we are steadily creeping away from the sport that inspired me as a youngster.

There are two views of the current state of F1s smaller teams. Those that think the Marussia’s and Caterham’s of this world did not deserve to continue to be in F1 as they weren’t good enough, and those (like myself) who grew up watching a succession of great drivers and technical staff emerging from the smaller teams – and recognising the value they bring to F1.

If the figures in Joe Sawards recent blog post (and he’s generally switched on) are to be relied upon, F1 has an annual income in the region of $1.8 Billion per annum. Clearly a healthy slice of that is hived off by the commercial rights holder (which is a phrase used in F1 in such a mythical way that you’d compare it to “he who must not be named” in the Harry Potter series), but a great deal goes to the teams.

So how can a series with such a huge income stream fail to provide a reasonable base income from the revenue?

Only the top 10 constructors get paid, and the current proposition for Sponsors in F1 would seem to be limited. If you wish to find proof of the problem here, then go an look at a picture of a midfield F1 car in the 90s – where have all of those sponsors gone? Many of those have remainder in sports advertising spend, only in different sports.

With the incredibly sad demise of Marussia (and no doubt suppliers will be heavily affected), and it looking like barring a significant change of fortunes the demise of Caterham, F1 seems to be unable to see past the end of its nose.

We have all heard the rumours of financial strife at Lotus, Sauber and others but the big teams seem like they do not care.

If we get three car teams that will be one of the first nails in the coffin. If that is the sport the fans want then that’s the sport we will get I guess – but I will miss the days a team like Minardi others could exist in F1 without having to have a billionaire owner.

What will happen to the increased chance a smaller team bringing through capable drivers or technical staff – it will be massively reduced. Ah well…….