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Ecclestone to push Strategy Group to throw away F1 rulebook

Bernie Ecclestone will canvass support for his plan for a simplification of Formula 1’s rules when the Strategy Group meets in Geneva on Wednesday.

Ecclestone to push Strategy Group to throw away F1 rulebook
Bernie Ecclestone
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid leads team mate Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing talks with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone
The start of the race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid leads at the start of the race
(L to R): Bernie Ecclestone, with Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari Team Principal
(L to R): Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 and Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31 battle for position
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31 locks up under braking
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director

Ecclestone is adamant that the sport is over-regulated, and he is particularly frustrated by anything related to driving offences, such as the recent focus on moving under braking that was triggered by Max Verstappen.

“Generally we need to have a good look,” he told Motorsport.com. “There are too many rules and too many regulations. You need lawyers and doctors and God knows what else to be in F1 today.”

Ecclestone is adamant that the FIA’s Charlie Whiting – the man responsible for writing the rules – should start afresh.

“You can’t repair an old house, better to pull it down and start again. He’s got enough people. We don’t need to wait.”

Ecclestone believes that the threat of penalties has spoiled the racing: “I think what we should do is head our rules up, ‘It’s forbidden to race. Whatever you do, don’t race.’

"Because it takes away everything what people can do and can’t do, so they’re driving wondering what they can or can’t do. It’s ridiculous.

“If you and I are watching the race and it’s our decision, you might think that’s wrong, and then I say I don’t see why you’re saying it’s wrong, it looks alright to me, the guy’s a racer. Let them get on with it.

"If I was trying to block you, it’s up to you to find a way past. The only thing you can start giving them trouble with is if they cause an accident through dangerous driving, then you deal with it. It’s very easy.”

Ecclestone has little sympathy with F1 veterans such as Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso who have suggested that standards have dropped recently, with particular regard to moving under braking.

“The world is changing. You have to think about what did those people, when they started driving, what did they do. I haven’t had the time, but I’d like to look at some of the old races and see.”

The team bosses who form the Strategy Group are generally sympathetic to Ecclestone’s suggestion. “I’m aligned with him, and I think many of us agree that the rules should be simplified,” Toto Wolff told Motorsport.com.

“It’s very complex for the fans to follow when some things are penalised and some are not, but equally it’s very difficult for the stewards and Charlie to judge, so there is no easy solution to this. But I think the trend should be going into simplifying.”

Wolff acknowledged that safety issues, such as the potential for collisions in the braking area, should still be addressed.

“Safety is of the utmost importance, and I think this is where Charlie has been coming from. His role is to protect the safety.

"But we just need to sit down and say how can we improve the show and simplify the rules without risking the safety of any driver. I think if we can get it started and push in the right direction, it’s already an achievement.”

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