Brawn ‘offended’ by Marchionne criticism

Date published: April 4 2018 - Editor

Ross Brawn says he finds it “personally offensive” when people such as Sergio Marchionne accuse him of “dumbing down” Formula 1.

Last year, following the release of Liberty Media’s engine proposal for 2021 onwards, Ferrari president Marchionne hit out at F1 sporting boss Brawn.

“The main thing that bothers me is that inside Liberty Media there is a person with great experience in F1, which is Ross Brawn, who is trying to giving a direction that is not in the DNA of the sport,” he accused.

“We have been part of F1’s history, so we understand bullshit and we understand F1.”

Brawn, Ferrari’s former technical director, says that criticism is “personally offensive”.

He told Radio Sport New Zealand: “It’s critical that we have a vision of where we see Formula One.

“I find it very frustrating when people accuse us of spoiling the DNA of this, that or the other. F1 has a long history of incredible competition, and it’s the pinnacle of motorsport and why would we choose to damage that?

“I find it personally offensive when people accuse me of dumbing down the sport because we know if we did that we’d spoil the sport at its core, and we’d spoil the commercial basis of the sport as well.

“The teams at the top are probably spending two or three times what they were spending five or six years ago, and yet you wouldn’t say five or six years ago that the sport was dumb. So it’s just a question of degree.

“We have to help the teams at the top recognise and realise that to have a sport for the future we’ve got to rebase the commercial revenues for the teams, we’ve got to rebase the amount of scope that the teams are allowed to explore technically in order to give a more exciting competition.”

There is, however, some good news.

Brawn added that the teams largely agree on the technical regulations for 2021 onwards, they’re just stumbling over things such as revenue and Liberty Media’s proposed 150m budget cap.

“There are always vested interests, and it’s not just a simple technical problem, we have the political problem of what is the governance going forward?

“In other words, what role do the teams play, what role do we play, what role do the FIA play? Governance is a sensitive topic. The commercial revenues to the team is a sensitive topic. Budget control, which is something we’re very enthusiastic about, is a sensitive topic.

“When you’ve got three or four areas that are being hotly debated, sometimes it colours or clouds other issues. So what would seem like a simple technical challenge or objective is sometimes clouded because the teams are sensitive to other areas and therefore don’t cooperate.

“But I think broadly-speaking, the technical side, which we’re discussing, is well supported by all the teams. They recognise that if we’re talking about solutions for 2021, they’re not affected in the short term, they’re not disadvantaged in the short term, and we should work towards better solutions for the future.”