Formula 1 owners from Liberty Media really wanted a change. They believed that only this would allow them to move on. Having bought Formula 1 from Bernie Ecclestone, they wanted to make it brighter, larger, more expensive – more American, more entertaining. But Formula 1 was not ready for this.
At first, fans were skeptical about any changes – even a change of logo and music screensaver, and when in 2017 the qualification of the US Grand Prix was shifted by two hours due to the concert of Justin Timberlake, and the starting procedure was delayed for the riders to be presented by ring announcer Michael Buffer, the reaction was sharply negative. The fans were looking forward to a Formula 1 race, not a pretentious show in the spirit of the Indy 500 prelude.
But the main opposition to the changes in Liberty Media was met by teams that considered and consider this championship theirs – they find sponsors, build cars, educate and hire riders, play the title and the Constructors’ Cup, and the owner of commercial rights only sells tours of the “big circus” the world and collects a tribute, a part of which he shares – this is how Bernie Ecclestone came up with, and it worked successfully. And the decision-making system was built in such a way as to exclude any changes without the consent of the participants. Including the right to veto Ferrari.
Faced with resistance, Liberty Media eased the pressure. New logo, new music, new awards ceremony, new infographics, new official app, F1 TV – some new services really helped. But the teams were waiting for something else – contracts with new tracks, an increase in prize money, more opportunities to work with sponsors, which was impossible under Ecclestone.
The pandemic changed everything. The main victory for Liberty Media was last year, when Formula 1 had a full season, becoming an example for the rest. The stage in Saudi Arabia has been confirmed, which will bring Formula 1 a lot of money and offset the modest income from the new race in Miami, which everyone also needs. Previously, the teams invited potential partners and sponsors to negotiations in Monaco, now the Miami Grand Prix will have a similar status. Liberty Media started to get what they had in mind – and the championship participants appreciated it.
At Silverstone we will see the first evolution of the Grand Prix proposed by Liberty Media. After lengthy agreements, including even with the riders, the parties agreed to an experiment, which the stage promoters were enthusiastic about. At Silverstone, they even paid extra for Formula 1 for the fact that the first stage with a sprint will be held with them.
When the new format was first formulated, the short extra Saturday race between Friday qualifying and Sunday Grand Prix was called a sprint race. But now in Formula 1 they ask not to call it a race, because a race is a Grand Prix. And there can only be one winner of the Formula 1 race during the weekend. The official name is a sprint, the winner of which is considered to be the pole holder.
The number of sessions during the weekend has not changed. On Friday afternoon, the teams will hold an hour-long training session, and in the evening they will qualify according to the usual knockout format.
On Saturday, there will be a second one-hour training session, followed by a short sprint – 100 kilometers of distance, about half an hour of struggle, as a result of which three riders will receive points – 3 points for the first place, 2 points for the second and 1 point for the third. Sprint results will determine the starting order of the Grand Prix.
Everything looks very interesting, the idea of replacing one of the workouts with a competition seems very attractive, but how everything will turn out in the end – we’ll find out this weekend. This year, Formula 1 plans three stages with a sprint, but a lot depends on the calendar – there is no certainty that all the races will take place, but next time such a stage will take place after the summer break in Monza.
In the UK, they decided to experiment, removing most of the restrictions on attending outdoor sports events. The second week of Wimbledon was 100% attended, as were the UEFA European Football Championship finals at Wembley. A full house is also expected at Silverstone this week.
The situation in the championship is very curious, for the first time in recent years Mercedes are forced to catch up. The idol of the British public, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton – the owner of seven poles and seven victories on the home track – he has more victories only on the Hungaroring, 32 points in the individual standings to Max Verstappen charged for another victory.
The British Grand Prix opens the second third of the season (but this is not certain), until the end of the season is still a long way off. The Dutchman’s advantage looks very impressive, but Mercedes brought new items to this stage. The weekend will be interesting!
Source: Формула 1 на F1News.ru by www.f1news.ru.
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