McLaren executive director Zak Brown believes the next set of regulations in Formula 1 need finalizing by the summer of this year in order to attract new teams to the sport.
Liberty Media and the FIA have been working together on proposals for new power unit regulations beyond 2020, with a simplified version of the current V6 turbocharged hybrids being suggested to the teams late last year. That direction received a largely negative response from the current power unit manufacturers, while Ferrari has also threatened to quit the sport as topics such as a more equitable revenue distribution are discussed.
Brown believes F1 needs to risk losing manufacturers in order to make the changes it wants, and says a quick decision on the sport’s future direction will limit the impact on both current teams as well as helping new entrants prepare to join the grid.
“It’s definitely going to be turbulent, the negotiations for 2021 and beyond,” Brown said. “I think they’re doing all the right things commercially – they’re going to make some mistakes along the way but it would be unfair to think they will to score a 10/10 on everything. They’re going to learn but I’m happy with all the efforts and incremental things they’re trying.
“On the rules front you’ve got 10 teams which probably means eight different opinions, so that’s a difficult situation. I think they need to move quickly and align with the FIA. There’s a lot of conversation about ‘Liberty, Liberty’… the FIA has much impact on what happens in the sport moving forward as Liberty so I think the conversation has to be ‘Liberty and the FIA’ not just ‘Liberty.’
“In some areas the FIA has a greater responsibility because of the technical aspect of the sport, [such as] engine changes. I think the FIA and Liberty need to move quickly so we can have as little or as short a time of negotiations, because they will be turbulent, so the longer that goes the more disruptive it becomes.
“Also to be fully prepared for 2021, if new manufacturers and teams are going to come in we know it takes a couple of years, so time is ticking. I want us landing on what 2021 looks like by the middle of this season. I think anything longer than that starts to become technically challenging.”
The current bilateral agreements between F1’s commercial rights holder – Liberty – and the teams expire at the end of the 2020 season.