FIA must step up to help sort 2021 F1 rules, says Brown
McLaren has urged the FIA to step up its game to get a deal on Formula 1's future rules beyond 2020 sorted over the next few months.
With clear differences of opinions between teams and F1 owners Liberty Media about its vision for grand prix racing from 2021, there have been predictions of some 'fireworks' in talks that are scheduled to take place in the near future.
And that is why McLaren executive director Zak Brown thinks the time has come for the FIA to do more to help push things along, and avert the possibility of Ferrari or Mercedes chasing a future away from F1.
"I think this year is a very important year," said Brown during pre-season testing at Barcelona in Spain. "Along with the FIA, there is a lot of conversation that Liberty needs to do.
"The FIA is their partner in the future of F1, and I think we need to quickly see them put on the table [the plans for the future].
"I agree with [Ferrari president] Sergio Marchionne, who is vocal at this time: we need to see the vision put on paper to the teams."
Although F1 is committed to its current rules packages until the end of 2020, Brown thinks that discussions about what happens after that date cannot go on beyond this year.
"We as McLaren need to have – as does any business – a five or 10-year business plan," he explained.
"2021 is around the corner and the teams agree with the strategic direction of the conversation of getting costs under control, and getting a more balanced engine. We also want to continue to be leading edge technology in motorsport.
"In the first half of the year we need to have 2021 locked down, because the big teams, such as ourselves are going to need to adapt to these potential new rules and that takes time.
"We are very keen to see their vision put on paper and put in front of us and that needs to happen very quickly."
Brown said that there had been little progress in moving forward the 2021 engine rules since a controversial meeting in November, which left Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari unhappy about what was being planned.
"We need to know what we are doing on engines kind of now," added Brown. "The FIA has put out the regulations, but I don't think there has been closure on that. The FIA needs to move to bring clarity to that so everyone can react accordingly."
Although Brown recently suggested that Liberty needed to focus on doing what was right for fans, he has made clear he is aligned with Mercedes and Ferrari is demanding things move along quickly.
"In my conversations with Sergio and Toto [Wolff, Mercedes boss], there is a lot of alignment and agreement on the future direction of the sport," he said.
"There may be some differences of opinions about how you land on those conclusions, but we need to see something definitely put on the table to give us something all to react to."
Speaking about plans for a cost cap, he added: "I think that potentially it needs better alignment between Liberty and the FIA. I've heard that they support the cost cap and cost containment, but we don't have anything definitive on the table which is what we are all asking for.
"Every other business in this day has worked out how to make their business more efficient and more cost effective and deliver more value both to the racing teams to create franchise value and deliver a better product to the racing fans. So it needs to be addressed."
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