Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer has warned Formula 1 officials against from dumbing down the sport when it comes to form the new regulations for the 2021 season.

Since its takeover of F1 in January 2017, Liberty Media has been working hard to outline what the future of the sport will look like, making moves both on- and off-track to expand its reach and appeal.

F1 officials presented their vision for 2021 to teams during a meeting at the Bahrain Grand Prix at the beginning of April, and have since begun to discuss further details with individual teams.

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Crash.net revealed last month that part of the plans for 2021 was a clampdown on telemetry in a bid to give greater control to drivers and create greater unpredictability in F1. A removal of teams’ ‘virtual garages’ which process data back at base was also part of the vision put forward by F1 bosses to the teams, as is a cost cap of $150 million to aid smaller teams.

Speaking to Crash.net, Szafnauer said that while he was “happy” with the plans F1 had put forward, he was wary of the plans to clamp down on some technical areas, fearing it could dumb down the sport and turn some fans away.

“We have a virtual garage, so we’ll have to get rid of it like everybody else. We just have to be careful that we make those types of decisions in the areas that are actually going to save us money,” Szafnauer explained.

“So for us, once a virtual garage is up and running, we don’t populate it with extra employees. We populate it with employees that have day jobs, so to speak. The head of vehicle science or dynamics is there, the head of the aero analysis group is there.

“We’re not going to be able to get rid of those people. If they just work every other Sunday, it doesn’t cost us any more.

“We’ve got to be careful that we don’t dumb down the sport with gaining any benefit. Because dumbing down the sport also has an impact on the fan that cares about the sophistication and technology of Formula 1. You don’t want to alienate those guys.

“But if it saves us money, that’s a different story. We’ve got to really concentrate on making good decisions and informed decisions. That’s the key.

“Those are the facts I’ll point out.”

A new set of technical regulations are set to be introduced for the 2021 season, with discussions in the coming weeks and months laying the groundwork for F1’s future direction.

 

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