New kids will change F1, says Lotus boss

Lotus boss Tony Fernandes believes that the arrival of new teams and new faces in Formula 1 will act as a force for positive change in the sport throughout 2010

New kids will change F1, says Lotus boss

The Malaysian entrepeneur, who twins his Lotus role with his AirAsia business, reckons F1 has been held back in the past by too much off-track politics and conflict.

"Teams compete, but there are many ways that they compete stupidly - trying to kill each other doesn't benefit anyone," he told AUTOSPORT.

"In many ways it also shows a lack of professionalism in the sport, and sponsors are aware of that as well.

"I've been on that side, so I know the bad things and the good things - I know what can be improved as well."

Fernandes thinks that a new order arriving in F1 in 2010 will allow it to move forward and make the changes that he thinks will allow it to flourish on the global stage.

"With new people come new ideas and new thoughts," he said. "Maybe the ultra competitiveness will go and perhaps there will be a sense of real camaraderie, not a 'hey I love you' and the knife goes in behind your back as you leave. So, we will see.

"You can never get away from the competitive angle, and I am sure I will do the same. We all want to win; otherwise we would not be in this sport. But, I think there is more to be gained by working together - and I think FOTA is a good thing."

Fernandes thinks, however, that the unity that exists within FOTA should not hinder individual teams from going off and doing their own thing.

"FOTA also has to not cramp creativity," he said. "You can't have a Marxist F1, where everyone agrees to everything and goes and does it. You have got to have some individualism. So I think it needs to be a balance between the two.

"One thing I hope people pick up is that F1 should not be about those who have and those who haven't. That is where I think the Marxist approach is good - and where for example the NFL, in perhaps the most capitalist country, works.

"You want a healthy grid of 13 teams, and the money is very skewed towards five or six teams. If a team pulls out, the remaining money goes to all the teams that are there - the column three teams gets nothing. That needs to be a little bit redressed because I think it is good to have 13 strong members.

"All I heard about over the past few months was who is not going to turn up on the grid. That is not a good sign. It is much better to say there are 13 other people who want to join. The questions like: will Lotus be there? I think that is just unhealthy. So a redistribution of wealth is needed, without me sounding too much like Karl Marx."

Fernandes is upbeat about the progress that Lotus is making with its 2010 preparations - and reckons his team spirit will get the best out of technical chief Mike Gascoyne.

"One of the things we have given Gascoyne is the fun to be back in F1," he said. "I have been asked by people that Gascoyne has had great years and bad years, and what is my view?

"Well, I come from the artistic world and you can have a phenomenal artist like The Beatles, but put them in a terrible environment and they just would not be able to perform. But if you give them the freedom and spirit to perform what they are, then they will be great at it.

"My gift, if I have one, is my ability to manage talent - and Mike is a talent, an artist, and I will give him the freedom to do it. We believe that we will do alright."

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