The F1 2021 rules haven’t even started to be discussed and the teams that are lining up to threaten pulling out of F1 over it just keeps increasing. McLaren became the latest team to parrot that line joining the likes of Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and Renault in threatening to pull out, with half the grid now threatening a pull out.
The entire debate is around the whole new set of rules that Liberty Media, owners of F1, along with technical head Ross Brawn have proposed for the sport after the current deal expires in 2020. A whole host of things have to hashed out regarding various aspects such as remunerations for the teams, car designs, hard/soft caps on spendings.
Team spending might be one of the biggest challenges for the new deal. Teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull have massive budgets that dwarf the rest of the field and for that very reason their cars see more development and success as compared to the rest of the field.
The smaller teams have long wanted to put a cap on the amount that F1 teams can spend on developing their cars and while the big 3 of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull have shown willingness to rules that would reduce the gaps, a total hard cap that would produce absolute parity would not be something they would agree to as per most sources.
Spending caps have been tried out in F1 before by Max Mosely and that did not work, but Ross Brawn and his team have tried to posture themselves to show that they have certain ideas that would lead to a different result. This coming Tuesday in London is when the teams will have a sit down with the officials of Liberty Media and have the first discussion on the proposed rule changes. That is when we could first hear of the regulatory propositions and how far they go in their promise to change things.
Teams will certainly go back and forth on various things and it will take a few months before we see a final version of what the new rules might look like.
However the demand from teams like McLaren and Renault remains the same. They want cap on spendings, remuneration numbers have to be closer (Ferrari currently gets $65 million from F1 per season, Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren come in the second bracket at $35 million), “B-teams” need to be checked.
Remunerations might be the easiest solve here. Most teams agree that history of teams and their global impact should determine their pays, but the massive disparity might be discussed and closer numbers might be proposed however the order is likely to remain same. The B-team concept is more weird to address.
The complain from teams like McLaren is that teams like Ferrari and Mercedes use teams like Haas and Sporting point to test new concepts and then use that data to perfect the engines for their cars that gives them an advantage over other teams with no “B-Teams” of their own.
Whatever the case, we hope teams will come to an agreement that uplifts the parity and improves the sport that can help keep teams like McLaren, who are second behind only Ferrari in total appearances in F1 races all time, in the sport.