Brawn praises F1’s entry into ‘new world’

Date published: September 23 2021 - Finley Crebolder

Ross Brawn at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Brazil November 2019

Ross Brawn thinks that Formula 1 is changing for the better thanks to a “new world” that it is entering with its ideas. 

Since taking over from Bernie Ecclestone, Liberty Media have been keen on making changes to the sport to increase its audience and reach.

They’ve tried to do so in a variety of ways such as becoming more active on social media, allowing Netflix to make the hugely popular ‘Drive to Survive’ series, introducing sprint qualifying this year as well as new races.

Brawn is encouraged by the willingness throughout F1 to embrace such things and thinks the sport is getting to a better place as a result.

“What I like is the fact that F1 does seem to be changing,” the sport’s managing director told Motorsport.com.

“It is more open-minded, and people within the sport are looking at more of the whole overall good of the sport, not just in their own personal positions.

“I don’t know if this format [sprint qualy] particularly helps or doesn’t help any team or driver, so that probably helps. I think when you introduce an initiative, some team may see if it is in their interest or not in their interest, and then it gets difficult. But I think that’s been really encouraging.

“And what I see is this sort of new world of F1 having effects in all sorts of ways. Social media has exploded in F1, it was very small five years ago, and Zandvoort, would that have happened five years ago? We had that opportunity to develop the track and we had the promoter who was on board to do all that.

“It’s a real frustration that Vietnam didn’t happen, because that would have been our first sort of Liberty designed track and that would have demonstrated the direction we want to go in. But Saudi is going to be spectacular. So you’re seeing this new world of cooperation.”

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All of the teams have been willing to give sprint qualifying a go this season with it meeting little resistance, and that’s more than can be said for past proposals.

Brown feels that getting their support is made easier these days by the fact that data can be presented.

“I think that what the teams wanted to see was it based on evidence, analysis and simulation, because that’s the world they are used to,” he said.

“When you sat in a room, prior to this period, everyone had an opinion and nobody had anything to substantiate it.

“After this sprint experiment, we can sit down with facts, figures and numbers. And sure, there’ll be some subjective views on how we should move forward, but at least we’ll have a lot of objective information to judge it on.

“I think that’s what excites me about F1, and we’ve got the new car next year that’s based on objective analysis of what we needed to do. So all of it is pretty encouraging, and I’m optimistic for the future.”