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As American businessman Gene Haas continues to prepare for the 2016 Formula 1 season, rumors in the paddock suggest that some current teams may not see the dawning of the 2016 season due to financial struggles.

These rumors come on the back of the recent cost-cutting decisions that left some teams a tad critical as to the lack of sweeping changes they were looking for.

If you were to ask F1 boss Bernie Eccletsone—which is exactly what AUTOSPORT did—about the situation, he would say that having fewer teams on the grid is just fine.

“They should not be in the game. You should not be in this business if you cannot afford it.”

As for Ecclestone, he’s more interested in the regulations and stewarding of F1 at the moment even citing this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix as an example of what has been alleged as a nanny state in F1 saying:

“We have too many rules that are not necessary,” said Ecclestone.

“When a driver crosses a white line he will be punished. That’s wrong.

“Drivers are racers and they want to go racing, so let them do so.

“The stewards should be locked in their room [during the race] and take a look into any infringements after the race, not during the competition.”

Recent conversation amongst F1 fans has been focused on the balance between safety with run-off areas that do not penalize drivers for taking full advantage of the circuit’s safety features to their advantage by running wide etc.

Inevitably the guest steward program has been a good addition to F1. The intent was to get an actual driver’s perspective to each race. Like all good ideas, good intentions can sometimes start to fester in that some stewards feel that getting the call to participate means they need to make their mark on the race in order to be seen as bringing something to the race weekend.

Perhaps a re-think over race stewarding and certainly the regulations that are moving F1 into directions that are less palatable to fans should be the focus and with the lack of sweeping cost-cutting regulations, this may be the direction F1 is looking at for 2015.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • The pit entry line in Austria was a joke it was on the racing line of a very difficult corner not unlike Brazil.
    They need to correct this.
    Grid penalties for the next race suck as well, people pay to see their favorite driver do well in their race not get put down the order from something that happened before they arrived.

  • Tom Firth

    What happens in Britain will be interesting, the MSA has clamped down massively on drivers putting wheels off the track this year throughout the sport. So expect a number of deleted times in practice and qualifying over the British Grand Prix weekend.

  • MIE

    Didn’t Bernie state a few years ago that it was wrong for fans to leave the circuit without knowing the result, i.e. the stewards needed to impose penalties during the race, not hours afterwards.
    Still, when has Mr E ever been consistent?

  • Too many rules – absolutely. Too many regulations – absolutely right. Weird thing is, the guest steward was a good idea but then they came up with “racing line” (as if there were car lanes on track – not in any rule book they can show) and obscure comments like “he shouldn’t have jinked…” Says who? What book rule was that? (yes, I am still pissed about Perez’s penalty).

    • Andreas

      If there is a clearly defined “braking zone”, in which you cannot defend, doesn’t one actually have to brake in that zone? If you don’t brake in the braking zone, and therefore run into someone from behind, whose fault is it? Not to try and incite you or anything… :-)

      Anyway, Bernie has clearly lost it. Either that, or he’s just being Bernie, complaining to make sure he makes the paper today too. The more decisions being taken during the race, the better. If there is a penalty to be paid, it should ideally be paid during the race, so the result at the flag stands. The “white lines” Bernie is referring to are the track. That’s what’s left of what was once part of natural selection – stay on the island, or you’ll crash. It was Bernie’s own favourite track designer Tilke who took that part out of racing, leaving us with just the white lines to determine what’s the track and what isn’t. So Bernie, whose fault is that?

      Not that I disagree with the safety measures that has been implemented – of course you should be able to accidentally go off-track and still survive. But when you do that, you have to find another way of rewarding those who manage to keep it on the black stuff. At Red Bull Ring, you could have a great big gravel trap outside turn 8, but somehow I don’t think Bernie would want that either…

      • I get your point, but if there are braking zones and racing lines – why the hell aren’t they painted onto the surface. Why? Because they simply do not exist except in the eye of the beholder. It’s like baseball, one umpire calls a strike at the knees, another calls it half way up the shin. Okay, in baseball no strike is ever life threatening, only game threatening. But all this ambiguous “definitive” demarcation of racing line and braking zone is so much BS. It varies with every car, it varies with every driver, it varies with ERS and pads, it varies with every tire which changes every lap (don’t get that discussion started)… so how in the hell can a steward sitting in a booth on his or her rear end make a decision based on a fluid, ever-moving, ever-redefining, “racing line” or “braking zone.” Nonsense.
        As for “painted on the surface” – yup, they have those – pit entry, pit exit, do-not-cross-4 tire track limits… those they mark. So they could decide to mark the other ones, but they CANNOT because they change all the damn time.

        • Andreas

          Actually, that was my point. I found the “it was in the braking zone” argument a little odd, especially since Felipe himself admitted he wasn’t braking at all. That said, the stewards are no couch racers – in Canada Derek Daly was there, and in Austria Tom Kristensen. Either way, it’s water under the bridge. I’m happy for both Felipe (first pole in ages, good race result) and Sergio (drove a really mature, patient race and moved up 10 places in the process). Don’t know what to make of Bernie’s latest antics, though. The CGI message at the end of the race was weird/creepy/odd, and lately he’s been doing everything he can to undermine and devalue F1. People keep saying he’s up to something, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what…

  • Tony Geinzer

    1. I think Ecclestone has just lost it. 2. I feel Ferrari,Mercedes,BMW, and Porsche are seriously looking at NASCAR at this time. 3. I doubt I love any chicanery that makes the Weekend 18th on the List.

  • Rapierman

    Yes, there’s a lot of rules in #F1, and it probably is too many. Perhaps there should be just one rule: “Fastest with the mostest wins.” I could probably go out there and win it with this thing:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JENG0Z8AMk

    Well, okay, maybe not.

  • Does Bernie set the rules for the current situation or FIA?, one could say the double points for the last race is Bernie’s idea. The 2014 rules does not bode well for fans. Too many rules does kill a sport of this nature. Ask drivers for their frank opinions and I can be sure they will have similar answers to fans. But well, they’re professionals and it’s not nice to talk down the hands that feed you I supposed. PR is part of the agenda but not necessary the truth.

  • Andreas

    Too many rules or not, could we all agree on adding a rule that prohibits Bernie from coming within 30 feet of the TV production room, especially the CGI controls? Thank you.

  • Rik

    Rules, rules and more rules.. Seem’s everyone was wanting F1 to be democratic and serve everyone’e needs while pleasing no one in the process. Meanwhile the democat’s are complaining and thus they want more rules which in turn makes no one happy so more rules to fix the unhappy rules.

    It’s plain an simple.. This is Motorsports racing not a lobby of Motorsports. Look at a particular good year of racing, say the late 80’s where everyone was fast, there was technology abound, testing all the time, qualification engines, race engines, practice engines, practice chassis, race chassis and just a spare car sitting there in case things when to shit.

    The economy was good allowing things to get funded, however even in today’s economy it is still possible. Possibly not for the smaller teams but with absolute disrespect, what value are the under funded teams bringing to the sport anyways? A conversation piece of how X person is now broke after funding his lifetime dream with his family’s fortune? Or they crashed into the back of a front runner at a start. Borrowing from Bernie, natural selection. Attendance nor tv viewership did not drop when HRT dropped out, same could be said for the other two bottom warmers.

    Racing just as in life needs an asshole to run it right as no matter what someone is going to be unhappy and that’s just the facts of life. Race on and makes some noise as long as no one is getting injured it’s all good for racing.