Formula 1’s future under the new owner, Liberty Media is worrying Niki Lauda as he tries to understand Liberty’s plans to make the sport more exciting.
The 2021 New engine rules have created tension between the new owner and the participating teams. The reduction in the commercial rights income has led Lauda to think that the current direction F1 is heading is not right.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Gazzetto Dello Sport, Lauda said: “I’m worried,”
“It was right that the American owners needed time to understand what F1 is – but that is about to expire. And what they think about the future is worrying me.
“The FIA, Chase Carey and Ross Brawn repeat that we need to level the performance, but the DNA of F1 is the opposite.
“You are a fool if you think that to make grands prix more attractive you need to have a different winner every weekend. F1 is about competition.
“Developing cars is one of the important foundations, as well as the bravery of the drivers. Instead, you want to penalise the best teams, and protect the drivers as if they are babies – with the introduction of the Halo for example.”
Drop in income
For the first time in recent F1 history, prize money will go down for the teams, according to the earnings figures announced by Liberty recently.
The pool of prize money this quarter is around $273 million (USD), a 13% drop from last year’s $316 million in the same quarter.
Since no big money deals expected in the near future, there will not be any bounce back in the earnings and Lauda believes this is a concern.
When asked if Liberty was right to push for cheaper engines, Lauda said: “Yes, and I’m sure we will find a satisfactory compromise.
“But the heart of the problem is something else. In the face of cost growth of some 70 million (Euro) from one year to the next, revenues have declined.
“But where do we want to go from here? There should be ideas for generating more money, but I do not see them.
“I heard from Sean Bratches, who would like to see the drivers accompanied with grid kids. Is imitating football having new ideas?”
Formula 1 needs a grander vision and bigger Masterplan to work on ideas that will make the things better and bring in money to the sport, he added.
“It needs a more open project,” he said. “For example, the budget caps. It is logical and correct, but it needs a three-year plan to realise it.
“We have employees, so what do we do with them? Do we just cast them off and throw them on the road?
“For now Liberty has only announced that they want to introduce it, but they have not explained how they intend to realise it.”