Fernley: Strategy Group finally gets some bite

Formula 1's Strategy Group has finally shown some bite in laying out a framework for changes to make the sport more exciting, says long-time critic Bob Fernley.

The deputy team principal of Force India has long questioned the validity of the Strategy Group, which is made up of the FIA, FOM and the six top teams, including his own.

But after it made progress earlier this week with a driver aid clampdown and other plans to spice up the show, Fernley reckons that things have changed after a push by Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt.

"I thought it was the most constructive meeting I have attended, and I have to say that was encouraging," Fernley told Motorsport.com.

"I think there were some good decisions made, and three or four good initiatives that have been sent for referral for getting guidance on for further improvements. I thought it was good.

"I think both the FIA and the commercial rights holder realised they needed to get it under control. I thought they controlled the meeting very well. We are not the easiest group of people to control: it is a bit like herding cats but they did a good job."

Fernley is especially happy that in areas where the Strategy Group did not feel confident enough to agree on change – like a new race weekend format – it has requested a consultation process.

"It is a bit like the refuelling situation," he explained. "Refuelling was brought in as a suggestion to solve a particular initiative, and it went back to the teams for referral.

"It came back with a decision that it wouldn't enhance the show and that has been adopted. And if that process continues on, then there is light at the end of the tunnel."

Costs still an issue

Although there was no consensus on the idea of a cost cap, nor agreement on a price limit for engines, Fernley thinks that such matters are not directly the responsibility of the Strategy Group.

"That is a separate issue to what we are talking about," he said. "We are looking at trying to promote competition and get a more equitable and stable competition between the manufacturer teams and the independent teams.

"That is not necessarily an issue for the Strategy Group when you consider that five of the six are privileged teams."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams Force India
Article type Breaking news
Tags strategy group