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Formula 1 | Brown calls for reform: “The teams have too much power”

Formula 1 and its governing body, the FIA, have come under fire for the way the 2021 season ended in Abu Dhabi. With an investigation into events underway, McLaren CEO Zak Brown reiterates that the lessons of 2021 show that change is needed.

The American sees the arrival of newly elected FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem as a great opportunity for a much-needed new approach.

Speaking on McLaren’s website, Brown writes: “It is clear that some of the rules and their application are unacceptable as they stand. No one is happy about the inconsistencies in the application of the regulations, with teams constantly trying to gain competitive advantage from them draw.”

As if the sport were ruled by specific teams

“I’ve said before that teams have too much power and that power needs to be reduced,” Brown said. “We play an important role in the regulation and governance of Formula 1 and that influence is not always guided by what is best for the sport as a whole.”

From Brown’s point of view, the teams should be consulted and their views taken into account, especially when it comes to long-term strategic issues. “But sometimes it seems that the sport is ruled by certain teams.”

“We must not forget that we, the teams, have contributed to the inconsistencies in the enforcement of the regulations like no one else. It was the teams who put the pressure on to avoid, at all costs, racing under a safety Car be finished”, he addresses the season finale.

Brown criticizes the influence of the teams via radio

“It’s the teams that voted for a lot of the rules that they complain about. It’s the teams that radioed race officials to try to influence penalties and race results, to the point where a overwrought team boss puts pressure on race control.”

That is “not exactly edifying” for Formula 1, warns Brown. “At times it felt more like a pantomime audition than the pinnacle of a global sport.”

After former FIA President Jean Todt’s bet on governing the sport by consensus, which gave teams a lot of leverage in setting the rules, the McLaren CEO hopes Ben Sulayem will do things differently going forward.

“It is obvious for the FIA ​​investigation to focus on the events in Abu Dhabi at the end of the season, but they were, in my opinion, symptom rather than cause. There were systemic issues in terms of alignment and clarity of who sets the rules – the FIA ​​or the teams.”

McLaren CEO wants stronger, central leadership

As an example, Brown cites “organizational difficulties” at the 2020 Australian Grands Prix (cancelled at short notice) and Belgium 2021 (abandoned after one lap), both of which were marked “by an apparent lack of preparation for events and temporary inertia in resolutions”. .

“More clarity on the role of the FIA ​​and Formula 1 and the need for stronger governance of the sport will undoubtedly therefore be on the agenda for Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Stefano Domenicali and their respective teams.”

While moving the sport in the right direction has required a more consultative approach. “But now that the sport has been successfully refocused,” Brown says, there is a need for stronger, more direct leadership and return to leadership at the top of the sport”.

He added: “I am confident that we will see greater leadership from the FIA ​​and Formula 1 and that together as guardians of the sport we will focus on developing the sport and not shirking responsibility when it comes to tough decisions.”

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