Open Letter to Executive Chairman & CEO of the Formula One Group Chase Carey

Open Letter 
to Executive Chairman & CEO of the Formula One Group 
Mr. Chase Carey
to Formula One Managing Director of Motorsports and Technical Director
Mr. Ross Brawn

My little Story

I'm a F1 fan since my parents took me at six years old to see a F1 GP in Montjuïc. Since then, I went with my father every year until the fateful accident of Rolf Stommelen, who took away the lives of five spectators. 

I remember seeing an accident of James Hunt in front of me, when he was driving a Hesketh 308 Cosworth and seeing him off the track smoking a cigarette with a steward. My father and I sneak into the closed park talking Italian to get autographs from Jackie Stewart or Emerson Fittipaldi. 

I was a racing driver in karting for many years and I did a test with a Formula Renault. My passion for driving is total. I returned with my father the stands on the occasion of the Spanish Grand Prix of 1991 in the opening of the new Circuit de Catalunya. I went every year since then with my father or my children, always in front of the pit box, which offers in my opinion the biggest show, even better than going to the VIP Paddock where I also had the privilege of being when Pedro de la Rosa drove for Arrows. I have stopped going there many years ago because of the high prices and the lack of show. I have stopped going even to the winter tests because the saddening sound of hybrid motors

Many many years ago we lost that characteristic perfume of the mixture of F1 gasoline, but F1 had something that neither MotoGP nor any engine discipline had: the spectacular sound of the V12 and the V10. A sound unable to appreciate on TV but on the track even the least fans did not leave them indifferent. It was an extraordinary experience -that with hybrids has been lost forever- and that compensate for the many boring races that F1 has had. This is not something recent. I remember the ages when the Williams doubled twice to the third. There was boredom but with a good user experience on track. Not now. There is a lots of exciting leisure offer against a boring F1 that the only remarkable experience is luxury and elitism. We will end up like the Formula E with engines that sound like a domestic mixer. However, I'm not nostalgic. I went to the first Formula E tests in Donnington and I loved it.

Designing a Better User Experience and Innovating the Show

That's what we're talking about, user experience, designing an experience for fans, who are completely forgotten. I get the impression that nobody is doing a proper design and innovation study. We only talk about restrictive rules, budget limitations and sharing the money. Of course it will be important, but the fan is the goal of the show and what he wants is more spectacle. Not only with surveys can we know what users want. Formula E is demonstrating how to innovate and how reach a younger audiences. Innovation have to be done not only by engineers but with business designers in order to looking for the right balance between technology and driving competition.

At the end fans appreciate a very few and simple things that we need to ensure:

  1. The start of the race and the first lap
  2. Overtaking
  3. Accidents, exits off track, spins (without accident for anyone)
  4. The fights, that is, follow closely trying to overtake
  5. The spectacular driving: drifting or braking in extremis
  6. Unexpected events: breakdowns, penalties, performance drop
  7. Go to the maximum potential all the time

Frictions that make the Show boring

The problem is that most of the track decisions are made by engineers as if they were playing with Slot Cars. This must be completely reversed. We must give prominence to the pilot who have to make his own strategy and take his risks. F1 is boring because track engineers drown the human factor, because the predictive analysis are extremely good, that all the pilots have to do is not to crash and follow instructions to reach his predetermined theoretical position: "do not get in trouble at the start", "save tires", "save gas", "do not force the engine", "do not overtake", "let your partner pass", "get up the pace", etc. The risk aversion of the engineers kills the Show.

I'm telling you, today Senna would not win a single Grand Prix. Who would let him drive in the wet as he did or in Monaco trying to go every lap faster or perhaps you would have to hear things like "Prost is faster than you"

Bernie Ecclestone created a great Show and a lucrative global business, but this has made us forget the fans. The audiences are not forever, (see F1 TV Audience Crashes by 4.3 Million Viewers On Britain's Channel 4. here), not even through the new digital streaming platforms. It's happening with football, audiences are shrinking. We watch the F1 by inertia, but the F2 is the only one Show that still carries an honest dignity of authentic spectacle. Not to mention the official F1 eSports Series Championship that is much more exciting than reality and they are the same cars, but virtual.

Let's make the pilots free from engineering guardianship

We don't want to lose an essential part of F1 as is its engineering and its ability to innovate and push to the edge the regulations. This is also part of the DNA of F1: build every car and every engine different and designed from scratch to improve constantly. This carmaking technology is for off the track. Although it should be reduced. The Ecclestone model of unlimited budgets must end. Brand Marketing does not work like this anymore. To sell a street car, just need a click on a targeted audience. With a maximum of 50 million a year budget, a F1 team should work. 

We need to make the pilot great again and put him in the center of the Show stopping track engineering.

  • The sensors should be prohibited to transmit data during the race. Perhaps it could be allow to the teams, to collect the data at the end to do their analysis. The position sensors of the car, which should perfectly mark the footprint of the car - especially front and back - and which are also necessary for timing, if they could send data in real time.
  • The track and remote engineers and analysts should be prohibited. (What would also be a great savings). 
  • The car simulators should be approved by the FIA ​​and no racing driver could use them only development pilots.
  • Every pilot would have a Manager who would act as analyst and strategist with same official data for all teams and could only communicate with him when cas is stopped but never in the race.
  • Team rules should be allow pre race but never to force a pilot to alter his real position or potential position with his partner. Freedom to compete between partners. That should heaviliy enforced.
  • The communication between the pilot and team should be prohibited: only the FIA ​​stewards should be able to communicate with the pilots in case of sanctions or danger, and may even reduce the power of the engine remotely in case of non-compliance or even a complete stop.
  • Pilots of the same team could talk to each other to coordinate specific help between them.
  • The steering wheel would have only the drink button. On the screen they would have information about their time and times of the other cars and your current position, distance from the previous and subsequent car in time. Nothing else.

Let the pilots be free to make mistakes or gain the glory.

Let's switch to Open Source Technology
  • The cars could be configured to adapt to the circuits but there would only be 3 evolutions per year.
  • All parts except the chassis, aerodynamics, suspension and engine would be common to all equipment (gearbox, brakes, etc.)
  • The engines would be atmospheric that made noise like the last V10 with an electric motor powered by energy recovery that will deliver all the power without interference.
  • The uncommon pieces would have a common original specification on paper, agreed by all the teams or facing a probable lack of agreement, imposed by the FIA ​​and the FOM. 
  • Everyone should have at least 75% Open Source shared design (software license model GPL), that is, common and known, the rest could be secret but only for two seasons, after which it would become public domain. This would also give other business opportunities and some technologies could reach other motor disciplines or even industrial level, with the business support of those who have invented them.
  • An association of F1 manufacturers would manage and support Open Source technologies, as well as the definition of standard protocols or certifications, training and necessary inspections.
  • The components of the car should at least last a race at maximum performance. Each race would change the necessary worn components.

A few common sense insights

  • The ideal number of teams should be 15 (30 cars).
  • The ideal time of a race would be 60 minutes.
  • There would be only two types of slick tires, for qualification and race. The tires compounds would be adapted to each type of circuit by the manufacturer. Additionally there would be only one Full Wet compound.
  • Friday's Free Practice should be canceled: only FP3, Qualification, and Race.
  • Every 3 months there could be some track tests with all the teams with the car evolutions.
  • The distribution of rights should be more equitable. All teams should be able to be profitable.
  • The VSC should group the pilots as the real SC.

Innovating beyond the track, some crazy ideas

  • The circuits should have sensors by zones and on white limit lines. Exceeding them would cause the loss of points in the championship, as long as the car returned to the track.
  • The sanctions of the FIA ​​would be in points.
  • When a car collided with another, it would immediately lose points in real time according to the damage caused to the other car, as detected in the sensor system and parameterized according to score tables.
  • There would also be positive events. When one car tried to overtake another, it would add 1 point. For each position gained, it would earn 2 points and for each position lost -0.5. All with live scoring.
  • The scoring system would start with 100 points per pilot as a margin for negative events.
  • The points of each race will be assigned as a pool among all the cars that finish the race, which would probably be different in each race. There would be 2,325 points to be distributed among the theoric 30 cars. The first with 150 and on order of -5 for each successive position. And for each DNQ car their points should be added to the first and so on.
  • The cars would be equipped with rotating cameras in front of and behind the car, as well as on the sides for a more immersive watching TV experience.
  • The pilot of the day voted by the public would have 1 additional point.
  • The pilots would have a microphone to be heard saying what they wanted to the audience or stewards.
  • The point's score would be in real time and it would be seen on TV, it should be like the stock market charts. The pilots raise and lower their points and point expectations according to their driving and tracking record.
  • The statistics of F1 sports and techniques should be public upon payment.
  • Finally the standard time table should be free for all users and should be taught even on open free TV. That's is one of the greatest inventions of F1 without which it is impossible to follow the competition.

I know you will not listen to me, my mad advising, so then for the first time I'm thinking about seeing the Stadium Super Trucks as recommended by a friend or just watching F1 races before 2010, the year the decline began and in which Alonso should have won the World Championship.

Yours faithfully,

Rais Busom