Ross Brawn outlines plan to end Formula 1's grid penalty farce

Formula 1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn has outlined how the power unit limitations behind grand prix racing's current farcical level of grid penalties can be eliminated

Ross Brawn outlines plan to end Formula 1's grid penalty farce

With just one race of the season remaining, there have been a total of 730 grid penalties issued for power unit elements changes this season - excluding gearbox penalties.

Honda has picked up a mammoth 380 places worth of penalties and Renault 310, while Ferrari and Mercedes have just 20 each.

To put these numbers into context, the entire season of 21 races only holds 420 grid slots - but the of threat unintended consequences means there is no easy solution to the matter.

For example, if you dock constructors' championship points a team may be able to absorb the hit, and should one driver get a better engine without punishment it would be equally problematic.

Brawn has noted a division between internal combustion penalties, which account for about one third of the total, and those related to add-on elements like the turbo or energy recovery systems.

His idea is to introduce simpler, cheaper turbos and energy recovery systems, stopping the need for a need to limit on how many can be used.

"What I think we should try to achieve with the new engine is componentry that is economic to change whenever you want," said Brawn.

"If we go towards a different design of turbocharger, a homologated turbo, and it costs $2-3,000, why would you bother to even worry about limiting the number you use?

"It is not worth it in terms of the scale of the racing.

"But when your turbocharger is as expensive and complicated as it is now, then that's why we have the limitations.

"The engine is an incredible demonstration of engineering competence, but it is not a great racing engine."

The idea of simpler engines jars with grand prix racing as a proving ground for new technology.

But Brawn believes this cannot come at the expense of entertainment, highlighting the World Endurance Championship's loss of Audi and Porsche in LMP1 in successive seasons.

"It has been interesting because Porsche have been in the meetings and they have been able to add their opinion because they have seen both sides," said Brawn.

"And they have been able to add that understanding of what went on, and it did become too much of a technical exercise.

"Sportscar racing has its fan following but even in the environment where the fans were not the biggest thing, it faltered and it failed.

"In this environment, where the fans should be the biggest thing, we can't afford to have that sort of failure where we get so extreme we lose contact with the fans, because only a very few people can afford the technology and excel in the technology.

"We are four seasons into this technology and we are still getting so many grid penalties.

"All credit to Mercedes. They have done a fantastic job. But no-one else can catch up. That is the reality."

shares
comments
Michael Schumacher's 2001 Monaco GP winning F1 car sells for $7m

Previous article

Michael Schumacher's 2001 Monaco GP winning F1 car sells for $7m

Next article

The reality check that should worry McLaren

The reality check that should worry McLaren
Load comments
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Plus

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of “glory” if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1’s other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021
The F1 media favourite who lifted a broken Lotus Plus

The F1 media favourite who lifted a broken Lotus

Graham Hill was nearly 30 when he made his Formula 1 debut. NIGEL ROEBUCK examines the life of a gifted racer whose talismanic personality defined an era

Formula 1
Sep 11, 2021