Formula One Sporting Chief Ross Brawn has enacted a new shift in policy that will see the Strategy Group invitation formula revised.
It’s strange how the changes that have been happening to Formula One over the last several months manage to feel both game-changing and like a wake-up call that has gone unanswered for far too long. Then again, maybe such a result isn’t so surprising when once remembers how long the sport had been ruled under by the seemingly sole governance of former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. Ross Brawn, F1’s Sporting Chief, has emerged as the driving force behind one of the latest and greatest changes to the sport: open Strategy Group meetings.
In the past, the Strategy Group meetings were reserved for the FIA and six select teams which included: Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Force India, and Williams. Liberty Media has made it their task to clean up and update relics from the Bernie Era. Ecclestone did one thing very well, and that is that he sold Formula One as if it was a Five-Star restaurant – one might be waiting months on end to experience the real thing, but when they did, their experience would be unforgettable.
Unfortunately for Ecclestone, reality – as it often does – went in a different direction. Social Media and a fundamental altered perception of the way people use and consume media gave way to a stagnant Formula One that was bogged down in the bloated and rotten regulations of days long gone by. The step towards opening up the Strategy Group meetings in an excellent step in the right direction, but some believe it may not be enough.
Sauber’s Monish Kaltenborn believes that while the move is a step in the right direction, it’s not a step big enough:
“We at least know what is being said there. We can theoretically have the opportunity to understand why certain proposals are coming from there.
Earlier on, we couldn’t understand why they were coming up with certain decisions – nobody could, actually.
Maybe that helps us a bit more in getting a better understanding as you can see what the different views are.
But we don’t feel more included, because that would mean we could participate in the discussion. At the end of the day, the group can’t work in the way it is.
We don’t agree with any group having this kind of decision power.” – Monisha Kaltenborn
The “power’ Kaltenborn alluded to is what has arguably been plaguing the sport for far too long. The accusations of “favorites”, the idea that the midfield will never realistically catch the top trio of Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull, and any sort of other annual throw-about phrase that gets repeated ad-nauseum. The sport is ready for an overhaul, but how much will tradition stand in the way?