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Brawn ready to change Formula 1

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 05-03-2017 skysports.com

Morpheus Bulletin

Morpheus Bulletin
© Provided by BSkyB

New F1 supremo Ross Brawn has told Sky Sports he "dreams" of staging a non-championship race in F1 to experiment with different race formats. 

Brawn, the mastermind behind Ferrari's record-breaking success before laying the foundations for Mercedes' current domination, has been appointed the sport's managing director by Liberty Media following their takeover of Formula 1.

Brawn has been presented with a blank canvas on which to project F1's future direction and an in-tray overflowing with the day-to-day minutia of the world's most complex sport.

"There is quite a lot of inertia in F1 so it's going to be difficult to get it absolutely right but l think we can get a lot closer," Brawn said.

"It won't be perfect because F1 is a bit of an oil tanker so you nudge it but l hope we can get it going in the right direction."

But while Liberty Media have already displayed an active willingness to open up the sport by relaxing rules around social media for the teams, one radical option currently off the table is ripping up the race weekend format from its current Friday practice-Saturday qualifying-Sunday race routine.

"I'm a bit nervous about that," Brawn told Sky Sports F1's Ted Kravitz in a special edition of Ted's Notebook. "When we change format we have to be very sure we have it right.

"My dream is a non-championship race once a year so that we could try a different format in that race.

"A non-championship race would enable us to vary the format and try something different - and evolve it.

"You can't take the risk of swapping a format in a championship race and not getting it right."

Brawn's wariness of the "unintended consequences" of change has seemingly been reinforced by the early signs from pre-season testing. Despite the winter's 'rules refresh', the early indication from the timesheets is that it has only made the strongest - Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull - even stronger.

"We expose ourselves whenever we make changes like this. Fingers crossed, it is going to work out but l think it is a good example of where we didn't go through the right principles to begin with. And if this was a principle to stop Mercedes winning, you could argue the exact contrary.

"A team that strong and with that resource will relish change. It was naïve to think it would destabilise Mercedes.

"If anything it gave them an advantage."

Aside from his success with both Mercedes and Ferrari, Brawn was also in charge of the eponymous team which won a championship double in 2009. But, just months after the collapse of Manor, he is sympathetic to the plight of the have-nots at the back of the grid and acutely aware that F1, like all sports, needs to posses the potential for a giant-killing fairy tale.

"In the long run, we need to make sure more teams have the capability to compete," he said.

"At the bottom of the grid, the commercial consideration of the driver is much stronger than it is at the front of the grid. If we can put the smaller teams on a sounder footing then l think the whole sport will improve and you will get more Verstappens coming through than you do now."

Not, of course, that concern for F1's flyweights was uppermost in Brawn's mind for the majority of his F1 career.

"If I'm honest, my objective for thirty years was not to have close racing and my objective was to compete at a level where nobody can beat me.

"I'm poacher turned gamekeeper now because my priority is closer racing!"

"But we must not do it artificially and we must not penalise a team because they are doing an exceptional job. Someone has suggested that if a team is winning then they should have their development frozen until the rest catch up. The fans will just see straight through it and become disillusioned."

Something, on all levels, Brawn is determined won't happen on his watch.

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