The future of F1 Q&A: What’s happening off track in Bahrain

What are we expecting to happen off the track this weekend?
Formula 1 is set to present the full details of their plans for the future of the sport post-2020 on Friday at the start of the Bahrain GP weekend.

Who is making the announcement?
Liberty Media, the commercial rights holders of Formula 1, will present their plans – with the backing of the FIA, the sport’s governing body.

Who gets told?
The 10 teams plus the four current engine manufacturers (Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda), as well as prospective engine manufacturers, are expected to be in attendance.

Why is 2021 so important?
The present Concorde Agreement was signed in 2013 and expires in December 2020.

2021 therefore represents the first year of the next engine formula regulations and the first season after the present commercial deals with the teams expire.

What’s the Concorde Agreement again?
The Concorde Agreement is the binding contract between Formula One Management, the FIA and all the teams which specifies how Formula 1 is run and its revenues are distributed.

And Liberty’s proposals will shape F1’s next generation?
Sky Sports F1’s expert analyst Martin Brundle believes the next six months are “the most important” in Formula 1’s history.

“The media, sporting and motoring landscape is changing both dramatically and dramatically quickly and so Formula 1 2021 has to be absolutely right first time,” Brundle said last week in Australia.

“Where are we heading and what do we do? What do we stand for? How do we engage the fans and sponsors? What are we trying to achieve?”

Haven’t we heard all this before?
New engine regulations from 2021 form a key part of Liberty’s plans and a draft proposal was put forward last October.

The blueprint unveiled featured F1 cars powered by a V6 turbo hybrid engine, without an MGU-H, a more powerful MGU-K and a move towards standardised parts with limited areas of development.

But since that meeting in Paris, Ross Brawn has held discussions with the teams and manufacturers, with the refined plans expected to be unveiled in Bahrain.

When will we hear the response of the teams?
It will probably only be a matter of minutes before the first team boss goes on the record with their views about F1’s 2021 blueprint. A selection of representatives will be present in the team bosses’ press conference on Friday afternoon, streamed live on the Sky Sports website, while the media will inevitably canvas the others during the course of the Bahrain weekend.

There will be plenty of opinions shared, but Liberty will hope that there are more supporters than detractors given the goal is seemingly to reach final agreement on the engine regulations by the end of the year.

What is the teams’ position?
As ever in F1, opinions and agendas are myriad.

Ferrari’s criticism of the initial proposals courted the main headlines, particularly once they threatened to quit the sport, with the Scuderia saying that an increased in standardised engine parts goes against their racing DNA.

But a change in the engine format, and the possibility of more independent manufacturers joining the sport, has gained support from Red Bull and McLaren, while F1’s smaller teams are generally receptive to the prospect of anything that helps level the playing field and ultimately cuts their running costs.

Will there be anything about cost control?
That remains to be seen, but reducing the cost to compete in F1 is central to Liberty’s long-term plans to improve the sport’s competitiveness.

Where can l follow all the news?
On Sky F1, of course! Our full Bahrain GP schedule can be found here while our Digital channels will have around-the-clock updates on events on and off the track this weekend in the desert.

Sky Sports F1 is the only place to watch every Formula 1 Grand Prix, qualifying and practice session live in 2018. Get Sky Sports F1.

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