Motor-racing-F1 expects a great year after a positive start into a new era
By Abhishek Takle
MANAMA (Reuters) – Formula One chief executive Ross Brawn has predicted a great year ahead after saying the most sweeping rules overhaul in decades delivered on promise at the Bahrain Grand Prix which opened the season Sunday.
The lit race around the desert track of Sakhir saw a reshuffle of the top order with a resurgent Ferrari setting the benchmark and a struggling once-dominant Mercedes.
There was also an exciting driving battle for the lead between Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull world champion Max Verstappen.
The aim of the new rules, which feature redesigned cars with cleaner, sleeker aerodynamics and larger 18-inch (45.7cm) wheels, is to spice up the racing action by allowing drivers to follow each other closely behind each other.
Brawn said based on the evidence from the first race, they appeared to have delivered, with a lot of chopping and changing throughout the field.
“I remember some pretty tedious first races,” the Briton told reporters after Leclerc led team-mate Carlos Sainz to Ferrari’s first season-opening one-two finish since 2010. “We didn’t understand that today. I’m pretty happy.
“I think when you watch the cars race, you can see that they can race.”
In addition to the design rules, Formula 1 has introduced a stricter budget cap of $140m, which is expected to drop to $135m in 2023.
He also implemented a new governance structure that only requires a “super majority” instead of unanimity to push through any last-minute changes, meaning any big breakthrough discovered by a team can make the difference. vetoed by its rivals.
“No one right now will be able to invest another $100 million in a program to solve their problems,” Brawn said. “So no one is going to walk away.
“I think there’s a lot of things that have come together that we can look forward to in a great year.”
However, Brawn cautioned against getting carried away with the successful launch of the new rules.
He said the 2022 cars were just a starting point and the work to make them even better in competition had to continue.
Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali agreed.
“We have to take it step by step but, for sure, the first signals are really encouraging,” said the Italian.
“Formula 1 at the moment is undoubtedly in great shape.”
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Clare Fallon)