Bob Fernley: “Do we have to get into such a crisis before anybody reacts?”

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley says that the small grid and other issues that surfaced at the Australian GP should be a wake-up call for F1.

While circumstances combined to provide the grid of 15 cars, Fernley agrees that it was a sign of the direction the sport could take if some teams collapse. In addition the Sauber saga and Manor’s failure to take to the track showed how tough teams are finding it as they try to survive.

“I think we’ve still got to focus on the fundamentals,” Fernley told this writer. “We need to get F1 in a position where it’s sustainable for all teams, and not just the four manufacturer teams. We’re seeing a situation where even Red Bull are reacting because they want to see a slightly different programme. That opportunity should have come a long time ago. Do we have to get into such a crisis before anybody reacts?”

Fernley is adamant that F1’s problems have been caused by all the power lying with Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Red Bull, the key players in the Strategy Group.

“The four manufacturer teams are not remotely interested in what happens to the other teams. In Australia Red Bull changed their position, and maybe that will be reflected in the future. And they also came out with banning wind tunnels. Red Bull have voted twice against that, and now all of a sudden we’re getting these things.

“There needs to be more momentum. The basic issue is that the four manufacturer teams are controlling F1, they’re not remotely interested in what happens to anybody else, and they think they can put the show on with or without anybody else.

“And I think we are starting to see some of the damage that’s been done over the Strategy Group’s decision. A lot of our situation today has come since the Strategy Group was put in place, because there’s no balance any more – it’s just four manufacturer teams dictating what’s going on in F1.

“It’s something that we’ve been very vocal about for two years. I don’t want to say I told you so, because you want to be constructive. It certainly needs to be looked at.”

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Bob Fernley: “Do we have to get into such a crisis before anybody reacts?”

  1. If there was ever a time for a rival series to be set up now is the time. If I was Renault Id say stuff investing in a team that is going to hemorrhage cash and instead upgrade their F3.5 series to take on F1. The cars can go faster for a fraction of the cost. Series could start with a Nissan, Renault and Infiniti works teams and Lotus, Force India, Sauber, Manor, Prodrive, Caterham and whoever else likes the idea of going concern. I think you’d be surprised how people would react to it, if only for their distaste of the current offerings

    The fans will chose it simply out of principle. Good opportunity to cut out the greedy middle man who has caused so many of these troubles.

    • GeorgeK

      We’ve all touted the notion of a competing series for years and the reasons it would fail have not changed.

      F1 needs to collapse (just like CART) before a replacement can rise from the ashes.

      • Disagree.

        The difference between this and the Cart situation is with F1 the fans have already left in their droves.

        – 1000hp engines
        – Team can build their own car
        – Constructors must produce parts for competitors in 5 categories (aero, brakes/suspension, engine, electric/kers, chassis)
        – No car can have more than 3 of the above parts from the same constructor, unless they are that constructor.

        A big reason behind all of this is simply to put an end to Bernies reign on the sport – it is wrong. At the current rate him and CVC are taking roughly $2m out of the sport a day.

  2. I agree with f1yarn. The upside is huge. Bring back the tracks that cannot afford the F1 fees.

  3. Tony Dowe

    Any series that allows the partisipants to make the rules is doomed to fail!
    Now, what were we talking about!

  4. starbert

    Let’s revive the A1GP series, with the same car for every team. It was a sensational series, with a lot of action. That is what the public looks for.

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