Formula 1 sporting director Ross Brown commented on some of the preliminary results of the season, spoke about plans for the future and said that he believes in Mick Schumacher.
Question: The Championship is nearing completion, but this year it was held in an unprecedentedly tough pandemic – how do you assess what has been done?
Ross Brown: Fortunately, in Formula 1 everything is organized on the basis of protocols and clear procedures, this helped us. When we returned from Australia in March, we were in a state of shock, did not know what to do, how events would develop, did not know if we would have the opportunity to hold races this year.
It was not clear how to proceed, but gradually the script began to take shape, an idea began to form. We have good relations with the teams and with the FIA, and together we were able to find a solution. I must admit that if something like this had happened even five years ago, it would have been much more difficult for us, because then we did not yet have such a structure and such an organization.
Although back in March the task seemed extremely difficult, we managed to hold the championship, in which there were many interesting races, because thanks to the circumstances we had the opportunity to return to the historic tracks or to hold the Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimão for the first time. Therefore, I am proud of what we have done.
Q: Many Grand Prix were held in front of empty stands: how great were the economic losses?
Ross Brown: I cannot say this, but it is worth emphasizing that at the end of 2019 we were very pleased with how everything was going: Formula 1 entered a phase of confident growth. Then this crisis began, which no one could have foreseen, which greatly affected both our income and the income of the teams. But we at Formula One Group did everything in our power to ensure that the teams could survive. We have not lost any of them, and this is the main thing. I am convinced that a successful future awaits us.
Question: The calendar for the next season has already been published, in which there is a dash, because the stage in Vietnam, originally scheduled for April 25, has been canceled. How likely are the chances that the Imola race will take his place?
Ross Brown: The races in Imola, Portugal and Turkey were interesting, but while the question remains open, let’s see how everything goes. Of course, we regret not being able to go to Vietnam again, but we will find a good alternative.
Question: On the basis of what criteria will you make a choice? Are they related to the economic aspect?
Ross Brown: Yes, of course, next year we want to return to a normal situation, so everything is considered from a commercial point of view. Some countries are in a better position to make more attractive proposals, and we must take this into account. Financially, we must return to normal as soon as possible.
Question: Do you really believe that it will be possible to carry out all the races planned for 2021?
Ross Brown: Australia currently has a good epidemiological situation. I believe that in this country they understand: the Formula 1 community knows that when visiting other countries, one must behave as responsibly as possible. In addition, a vaccine should appear. By the way, I remember that when I just started working in F1, before going to some countries we were vaccinated. Returning to this practice would be a reasonable compromise.
Q: Where are you planning to hold the winter tests, in Barcelona or Bahrain?
Ross Brown: We are discussing this with the teams and will make a decision in a couple of weeks.
Q: From January 1, you will again work with Stefano Domenicali, who will replace Chase Carey as CEO of Formula 1: what do you think he can make?
Ross Brown: A new chapter begins. Chase Carey is a very knowledgeable and experienced businessman, perfect for this role at the end of the Ecclestone era. And Stefano is the perfect choice for the next stage of Formula 1 development, he has a deeper understanding of the world of motor racing. Chase laid the necessary economic foundation, now we have a more transparent and understandable Agreement of Consent, but Stefano will have his own individual approach, so the next, no less interesting period lies ahead.
Question: The weekend in Imola was a shortened two-day program: is this experience worth continuing in the future?
Ross Brown: Such an experiment was dictated by reasons related to logistics, since machinery and equipment had to be delivered from Portugal in time. In some aspects, he turned out to be more successful, in others – less. But such a scenario has already been tested by us, even if it will not become the norm in the future. Let’s just say, if necessary, we can use it.
But, as you know, starting in 2022, weekends will be held according to a new program: only two workouts will remain, the number of tasks that teams can work on will decrease, and in the face of an increase in the number of races, this will allow them to come to the tracks a day later. …
Q: If the number of races increases, the teams will be forced to introduce shift work – obviously, this will help avoid staff cuts?
Ross Brown: This is what their approach should be. At one time, when the championship consisted of 18-19 races, numerous tests took place in between them, which began before the start of the season and continued after its end. And then, in all teams, teams were created that worked alternately.
Q: Lewis Hamilton became world champion for the seventh time: can he win ten titles?
Ross Brown: This is possible, because Lewis is in an extremely strong team, and he has at least three or four years ahead when he will remain at his peak. It is still difficult to predict who will be able to resist him.
Question Everyone expects that in the coming days will be announced the upcoming debut of Mick Schumacher in Formula 1 – you know him from the time when he was a child …
Ross Brown: Yes, both him and his sister Gina Maria. Both are distinguished by a real sporting spirit, she has demonstrated this since childhood in equestrian sports, and Mick in karting. It was very interesting to watch him grow and he has been showing great promise over the past few seasons. We do not know how he will show himself in Formula 1, but he can already be considered quite a mature driver. I believe that he has skill and other necessary qualities.
Undoubtedly, he feels a lot of pressure, but so far he is doing well. Nico Rosberg, the son of the 1982 world champion, managed to repeat his father’s achievement. When your father is a seven-time world champion, the burden of responsibility is even greater, but I believe in Mika.