How Liberty Media are planning to make Formula 1 less predictable after 2021

The latest plans for Formula One to cut costs and make races less predictable includes the scrapping of ‘mission control’ style virtual garages.

RaceFans has reported that new restrictions are being tabled that would prevent teams from having large numbers of engineers working remotely during race weekends.

Proposed changes for the 2021 season include new engines, cost caps, and now a possible ban on large teams of remote engineers.

Virtual garages are also known as ‘operations centers’ and have gained popularity due to the restrictions that teams face on physical staffing at the track.

These ‘mission control’ centers have allowed teams to circumvent curfews on working hours and staff number limits and have been criticised by new F1 owners Liberty Media for making restrictions ‘pointless’.

Virtual garages also allow the teams to utilise large number of engineers to study race strategy options in great detail in real-time during a race.

This allows teams with larger staff numbers and therefore bigger outgoings to respond quicker with tactical decisions during key in-race moments such as safety car deployment.

F1 commercial rights owner Liberty Media have committed to cutting the costs of Formula One, improving the quality of racing, and moving the focus away from engineers and back onto drivers.

A key part of this process would seem to be the banning of these virtual garages or at least the restriction of their use.

The changes proposed by Liberty Media haven’t been met with widespread acclaim, but F1 managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn told SkySports earlier this month: “What we are proposing, the purpose is to improve the sport. The purpose is to make the business more sustainable, bring the cars closer together but at a level that is still incredibly exciting.

“We think there is a need to readdress our references on what is correct to spend in Formula 1 and what isn’t. Out of that, I think we will have closer competition, teams with better business models and we’ll have a better sport.”

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