Mercedes Brackley factory 2018 - wind tunnel

Sliding scale? BoP? Call F1’s new aero rule what it is: A handicap


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Before RaceFans first revealed details of Formula 1’s planned aerodynamic handicap rules two months ago, we debated internally what was the clearest way to describe a somewhat complex idea.

The new rules, referred to by some as the ‘sliding scale of ATR’ (aerodynamic testing restrictions), will impose tighter limits on aerodynamic testing depending on how high a team finishes in the championship.

For example, the team which finishes fifth in this year’s championship will be allowed to conduct 100% of a set amount of testing in the first six months of 2021. The champions will get 90%, those who finish last 112.5%.

We asked Guenther Steiner, team principal of Haas (ninth in the 2019 world championship), whether this should be thought of in the same terms as the ‘Balance of Performance’ regulations used by the likes of the World Endurance Championship. The WEC BoP imposes variable limits on cars’ weight and air volume intake (and therefore engine power) levels depending on their performance in previous races, in order to equalise the competition.

Steiner said drawing a comparison between the two was “quite disrespectful”. And, up to a point, he’s right. BoP is a much cruder and more easily exploited regulation. Teams can, and have, masked their true performance at some races in order to gain favourable BoP dispensations at later events, such as the blue riband Le Mans 24 Hours.

Wind tunnel, McLaren Technology Centre exterior, aerial view
F1’s ‘aero handicap’ will get much tougher in second year
Mercedes have won the last six Formula 1 world championships and obviously have the most to lose from the new rules, yet team principal Toto Wolff supports the new regulations.

“I am a fan of the meritocracy of Formula 1,” he explained earlier this week. “Best man and best machine wins. This is how it always was. No gimmicky stuff like in some other sports where the ‘show people’ have added components that have diluted the sport.

“I hate any kind of Balance of Performance. It becomes a political game and a political world championship and has no place in Formula 1.

“What has been introduced with the new ATR is a possibility for the lower-ranked teams to slowly creep back in terms of development scope to the leading teams. It’s tiny percentages every year so that’s not going to make a big difference from one year to the other. But it’s going to balance the field out after a few years.”

Wolff’s support from the idea may surprise some. After all, he opposed the reverse-grid qualifying race plan, which he described as a “baseball bat” approach to equalising the field as compared to the ATR’s “fine adjustment”.

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Less surprisingly Claire Williams, deputy team principal of her eponymous squad which took F1’s wooden spoon in the last two seasons, is also a fan of the new rules.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2020
“I hate any kind of Balance of Performance” – Wolff
However, when first asked about the “aero handicap”, Williams didn’t initially realise what the question referred to. Advised later it referred to the “sliding scale of ATR” she enthusiastically described it as a “really neat solution”.

Williams is not being singled out here – plenty of others have adopted the term “sliding scale”. It is a PR-friendly euphemism which refers to the mechanism of the rules and not their purpose.

It obscures the uncomfortable detail that F1’s rules now punish competitors for their success. And in that respect, it does bear comparison with Wolff’s hated BoP.

The definition of a “handicap” is “a disadvantage imposed on a superior competitor in order to make the chances more equal”. Whether or not you support F1’s new aerodynamic rules – and our ongoing poll indicates a strong majority of RaceFans readers don’t – the more accurate term for them is not a Balance of Performance or a Sliding Scale but an aero development handicap.

And come the end of next year, should a team which benefits from the handicap beat the 2020 champions to the title by a narrow margin, I suspect many will find a few more choice ways to describe it.


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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 117 comments on “Sliding scale? BoP? Call F1’s new aero rule what it is: A handicap”

    1. F1 should try BoP

      1. This is a BoP system – only potentially much more devastating in the long term.

      2. crippling cars to reach for parity is a very bad solution.
        If F1 is the fastest and technological highest development in cats then you should never cripple a car.
        The different approach in development time is a neat and honest try to level the playing field without ruining the sport.

        1. Edwin Moscoso
          12th June 2020, 6:09

          I hear what you are saying but the problem they are solving is not how do you punish ingenuity and technology. But rather how can we allow a team that has 3 times a smaller budget to even have a chance of being competitive. In an ideal world I would very much agree, but this is a not so impactful solution to allow some fairness to the engineers and that don’t have access to the resources available to some of the higher teams. We must also consider that a big gripe that people have with F1 and racing in general is that the better car wins and people kind of want to feel that the better driver won.

      3. @rb10 how familiar are you with the way which it is implemented in the World Endurance Championship?

        In series such as the WEC, as Dieter notes, the Balance of Performance is a constant flashpoint for arguments because there are so many different performance factors that, quite often, the Balance of Performance regulations work poorly in practice.

        As Dieter notes, there have been frequent complaints of teams deliberately seeking to throw the Balance of Performance to gain an advantage for a particular race, with the Ford GT at Le Mans in 2016 was a notorious example. Even in qualifying, they deliberately underperformed so that, when the ACO introduced further measures to try and reduce their performance, they still had a 4-5s advantage over most of the field and could lap faster in race trim than they did in qualifying.

        However, equally notable is the sometimes underappreciated, but quite damaging, effects when the Balance of Performance tips too far the other way and makes a car that was originally competitive no longer competitive. A few years ago, Porsche complained pretty bitterly that they were really heavily hammered by the BoP regulations, which meant they went from being able to compete for race wins to lucky if they made it into the top six. BMW, meanwhile, cited it as a reason for quitting the GT category entirely, as their M8 was so heavily hit that it was uncompetitive.

        Even the ACO admits that the BoP system is flawed, with the biggest flaws appearing when a new car is introduced into the field. The way that the BoP system is intended to work relies very heavily on track data that doesn’t exist when a new car is introduced – so it’s extremely common for a new car to be introduced into the field and to then either be significantly faster or significantly slower for an extended period of time because the ACO doesn’t know how to balance its performance.

        The article undersells quite how difficult it is for the ACO to try and implement a Balance of Performance in reality, because the sort of tweaks that they try go far beyond just restricting the air intakes or changing the vehicle weight. You have constant changes in the amount of fuel that a team is allowed to use, or even having specified changes in boost pressure – it’s not uncommon for the ACO to issue a BoP tweak that is along the lines of “Car A is allowed to use an additional 0.2 bar of boost between 4,500rpm and 5,500rpm”, effectively intervening to change specific parts of the torque curve of a particular car.

        Furthermore, the ACO admits that taking into account the effects of driving style is a subject they have not got a grip on, and that can have a fairly significant impact. One set of simulator trials between two drivers showed how one driver might be particularly sensitive to a change in engine power if the car was mid engined, but was far less impacted if the car was front engined; the other driver, meanwhile, might have been quicker with a mid engined car if the tweaks were to the power or total weight, or might not be quite so noticeably impacted if a front engined car had its power changed, but was far more heavily impacted by the subtle change in weight distribution when a small weight penalty was added.

        The Balance of Performance regulations are often the single biggest cause of political and technical arguments in series such as the World Endurance Championship, particularly as the ACO hasn’t released the full details of the algorithms that they use to balance the performance.

        What is published, though, is a confusing mess of different sliding scales for different factors (rear wing height, weight, fuel consumption, straight line speed, weight distribution and “any other factor considered necessary”, as the ACO puts it) that fans no longer understand and are now a point of discontent amongst fans because it is so opaque. Given the frequent complaints about the opacity of decision making in F1, is it really attractive to introduce something from the WEC which is considered to be even more opaque and confusing?

        1. Not attractive at all, anon.

        2. This was written by me, not Dieter.

          1. @keithcollantine apologies and credit where credit is due – I had been reading one of Dieter’s articles before yours and mistakenly mixed the two authors.

    2. This rule should not be applied in case of significant technical rule changes. So it should not be applied in 2022. And what about developing the following season’s car? Especially with big technical changes. Do most successful teams suffer in that area, too? So, Mercedes won’t be able to develop their 2022 machine in 2021 as much as Willams or tobe Aston Martin?

      1. You are right. If F1 was to remain with stable aero Regs this might help over a few years. But with new reg every few years, all this does is give the lesser teams a few more hours to come up solutions to the new rules. What is missing is the handicapping of the brain trust. Smarter people in the bigger teams will always come up with the better solution first. No amount of extra wind tunnel time will help with the ah ha moments

        The best way to equalize the field is to follow the yachting example. At the end of every year, all teams must show off their cars to all the other competitors.

        1. Well it’s hardly a few more hours. At some point the no 1 will get only 70% and the last placed 115% of the allowed time. That’s a bonus of 65% more development time for being the worst performer.

        2. At the end of every year, all teams must show off their cars to all the other competitors.

          I like this idea a lot. Building a great car only wins you 1 year, then it’s all in the know and level playing field again for further improvements. Teams will boost each other to greater heights.

        3. The “Brain Trust”, clearly the key to success and the major flaw in the system.
          Always interesting to see the more successful F1 teams and designers jump directly to the logical (for them) solution and technically successful approach, in spite of discussions to the contrary. Always enjoy the “ah ha” moments.

    3. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      5th June 2020, 8:09

      A sport by definition should be a competition where all parties have an equal chance to win, but success should not be penalised. So for me this goes against what I believe F1 should be. I know not all take my view. F1 is wholly a sport. It is unfortunately also a business. This new rule is wrong and it shouldn’t be introduced. Certainly not after 2022.

      So what handicaps currently exist in F1?

      Well you could argue not having so much money is a handicap. I’d prefer rules which mitigate the advantages of spending rather than the budget cap, but at least something is being done about this.

      Another handicap is a temporary one, DRS, but its still a handicap, you can’t use it when you’re in front. We need to get rid of this.

      Part of the problem is the way aerodynamics represent such a large percentage of the lap time difference between cars. For me a better solution would be:

      Massively reduce down force. Less effective wings, perhaps open source them.
      Massively increase tyre size, 15cm wider at the rear, 10cm at the front.
      Shorten the cars by 1.5m, reducing the amount of aero surface and overall effectiveness.
      Increase fuel allowance and flow rate. Another 200 bhp would be nice.
      Have as many open source components as possible within reason.

      These cars may be slower, but they would be better to watch, more closely matched, better all round in my view. I know this would be everyone cup of tea, but it’s mine.

      No handicapping please.

      1. Equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.
        It’s like you make Usain Bolt carry weights in his next race because he ran a world record in the last.
        The age of mediocrity: instead of raising the level of competition it gets lowered.

        1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
          5th June 2020, 8:33

          Well said regards opportunity and outcome.
          Not so sure about mediocrity. Lap time maybe, but the only metric for competition is closeness.

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          5th June 2020, 10:10

          You can’t compare F1 with runners. If Bolt had 0% chance of winning any races because of the quality of his running shoes, that would be similar to F1. Bolt wins because he is the fastest – not because he has spent the most money.

        3. “It’s like you make Usain Bolt carry weights in his next race because he ran a world record in the last.”

          No, it is not.

          It’s like giving Usain Bolt less training days than his competitors. But, if Bolt is the better runner and trains more efficiently, he will still win.

          And that is how it will be in Formula 1. Giving a team like Williams more testing days will not automatically mean, that they can put them to good use. They still won’t have the money, they still won’t have the best engineers.

          People say this rule goes against the idea, that all teams should have an equal chance to win. Nonsense! Teams don’t have an equal chance to win at the outset, because Formula 1 gives teams drastically different payouts. This rule change is actually leveling out the field.

          But like DRS, Formula 1 again chooses to address the symptoms and not the causes. I would like them to fix the aerodynamic rules, so we don’t need DRS. But as long as they don’t I would like to have DRS. Likewise, I would like them to fix the financial differences, but as long as they don’t I would like them to even out the field in different ways.

        4. Equality of outcome.
          Kurt Vonnegut addresses this in his book Harrison Bergeron.
          There’s a movie by the same name from 1995 that is still posted on Youtube.
          Personally, I wouldn’t want to live in Harrison Bergerons world.

      2. Well you could argue not having so much money is a handicap.

        Indeed, and that’s built directly into the sport through the prize money structure. It makes no sense to me that F1’s prize money payouts are so unequal, given that that money can be directly spent by the teams on performance. In the EPL, the best team receives only 1.6 times what the worst team receives, while in F1, Ferrari received nearly 4 times as much as Toro Rosso last year.

        In the NFL that distribution is entirely equal—every team receives the same amount of revenue collected by the league, regardless of performance. And isn’t that the way it should be? The reward for winning is, well, being the winner. The Super Bowl champions don’t get an extra $50 million that they can then spend signing better players for the next season.

        It’s one thing for prize money to go directly to the drivers and the team staff. But why should any form of unequal payout go directly into the teams’ coffers?

        1. @markzastrow I like this idea. As you say, the front-running teams aren’t racing to win money, they’re racing for prestige and advertising purposes, and both of those are increased when the racing is closer. Mercedes don’t care whether they win any money for the WCC, they care about looking cool because they’re winning constructors’ championships in the pre-eminent motorsport category in the world. The big teams are still going to rake in advertising money anyway, so an even split of the constructor money would mainly serve to keep smaller teams solvent and (hopefully) more competitive.

        2. I think this is the correct approach. The same money for all contenders. If you are giving different money to each team, you are creating the problem. If you win the championship, or at least have much points and win races, your name is going to be famous, and you are going to have plenty of people wanting to put his name in your car at whatever price. You don’t need extra money from the TV contract. If you get that extra money, the difference in financial terms between you and the lower teams is going to be bigger and bigger. Other thing is that the big teams have to see that without the little, they are nothing. Nobody wants to see a race with only 4 or 6 cars or more cars but only from 2 or 3 teams.

    4. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk

      Money is not a handicap. The other teams could potentially go out and receive the same funding.
      DRS is not a handicap. It’s not even a benefit. It’s a device to diminish the actual handicap of loss of downforce behind another car. To give the lead car DRS (which would then indeed be an advantage) on top of the advantage it already has is just ludicrous.

      Sure you could turn F1 cars into carts, but that’s also not really a solution for the downforce issue.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        5th June 2020, 8:44

        Well I suppose it depends on your viewpoint. If you think F1 is in a good place now, leave it as it is.
        Money supply is finite. Only so many businesses and individual want to sponsor F1 teams. I’m glad you think other teams potentially could go out and get the same funding as Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull. Why don’t you let them know? I guessed they missed that one.

        As for DRS we could argue all day, but its artificial and in the right circumstances it wouldn’t be needed. No team has the right to a clean airflow so its loss isn’t a handicap.

        Readjusting the aero versus mechanical grip balance is part of the solution for sure.

        1. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk I don’t agree that F1 is in a good place now, with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull being so far ahead of everyone, it’s like having LMP1 and LMP2 in the same race. And of course, they’ve done a good job, but the main reason they are able to be so far ahead year-after-year and hire all the best engineers is down to their budgets. It’s no coincidence that the top five teams in F1 in 2019 consisted of the teams with the five biggest budgets in F1. A more equal distribution of money is a good start, but manufacturer teams still have huge budgets regardless and will continue to invest colossal amounts of money into their F1 programme. Some teams don’t have revenues from their parent company to fall back upon.

          1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
            5th June 2020, 10:48

            That’s what I said. I agree F1 is in a bad place right now, but money is only part of the problem. There are lots of ways the technical and sporting rules could be changed to make it easier to be competitive on less money. See my earlier post. That’s where the FIA should start. This handicap and the budget cap are attempts to treat the symptoms rather than attack root cause.

      2. @f1osaurus Lack of money is certainly a handicap. There are a bunch of teams that can’t get enough money together to even meet the proposed spending cap, and a smaller budget is going to mean that the team can’t employ the best engineers (who will sensibly want to work at a team with a larger budget, that is more likely to win and that pays better). It’s exacerbated by the fact that lower-placed teams get a smaller share of the prize money, and are less able to attract sponsors because they don’t get as much air-time.

        1. @hiperr It’s not a handicap. It’s something that teams should work on. It’s a metric of how well they perform in gettign sponsorship.

          A handicap is something forced upon them.

          1. @f1osaurus (cc @hiperr) The lack of money is effectively forced upon the teams through the prize money structure. If every team’s budget were purely a function of how well they raised sponsorship, that would be one thing. But the big three can cover the entire budget cap purely through their prize money from the previous season. They don’t have to raise a single cent in sponsorship to hit the cap, while most of the midfield is staring at a $70+ million shortfall. How is that a fair competition?

            As @hiperr says, winners will naturally attract more sponsorship and investment. That is something I accept as part of the nature of business, and F1. But there’s no reason for the sport’s own rules to amplify that inequality. Just give every team an equal amount of money.

            I would much, much prefer that over this aero development handicap system. But given that commercial realities seem to preclude it, I am grudgingly willing to accept (or at least not complain about) the aero handicap as something to offset the prize money structure, which I see as an inverse handicap.

            1. @markzastrow

              The lack of money is effectively forced upon the teams through the prize money structure

              No it is not. Williams spends 125 million per season. The top three spend about half a billion. The bonuses are only a minute part of that budget inequality. Because of that it’s only important for the status quo between the big teams anyway.

              Other than that, it only makes sense that the winner gets more money. With the budget cap in place it doesn’t matter anymore anyway.

            2. @f1osarus

              The bonuses are only a minute part of that budget inequality.

              Minute? Not sure how you reach that conclusion when the gap in prize money from the front of the grid to the back is larger than the budget cap itself.

              Other than that, it only makes sense that the winner gets more money.

              Sorry, but it does not to me. The winning is the prize. Sure, a winner’s purse paid directly to the staff is one thing. The drivers world champion and the mechanics can buy themselves a new flat, a new car, whatever. They can enjoy the fame and accolades—which themselves bring in more money. But for the winning team to be spotted a $150 million head start by the governing body itself over the back of the grid for next season makes no sense to me. You can hardly call such a competition fair.

            3. @markzastrow Ferrari bonusses are about 110 million. Budget Gap = 500 – 125 = 375. So yeah 375 is a lot more than 110.

              More importantly the budget gap does not exist because of the bonuses. It more or less compensates the top teams for spending so much more money on the show than the back markers.

              Prize money distribution is fine and will remain pretty much the same.

            4. @f1osaurus I’ve done the math this way, with actual numbers from Dieter’s reporting:

              Ferrari prize money: 205 million
              Toro Rosso prize money: 52 million
              205 – 52 = 153 million
              Budget gap: 425 (Mercedes) – 150 (Haas/Williams) = 275 million

              In other words, the prize money gap accounts for well over half the gap from front to back.

              153 million is also larger than the 2021 budget cap itself, and roughly equal to the size of the entire budget of half the teams on the grid.

              Even granting your numbers, I’d say they disprove your own thesis—110 million is 30 percent of the entire gap from front to back.

              I’ll repeat mine, which is that lack of money is is a definite handicap forced upon them by the prize money structure. If you asked any team boss if reducing their budget by $153 million (or even $110 million) would prove to be a handicap to them, I suspect they’d say yes.

            5. @markzastrow Again. I’m talking about bonuses. The prize money will not change and it shouldn’t.

              So 375 is a lot more than 110.

            6. To make clear why prize money doesn’t matter … every team can get it.

            7. @f1osaurus Haha okay that’s very clear, but I couldn’t disagree more. There’s no benefit to the sport for teams to receive such unequal amounts of prize money, whether based on performance or on bonuses.

            8. @markzastrow Well I couldn’t disagree more. Winners should be rewarded. That’s what sport is about.

              I don’t like teams just competing just for the base payout. If you pay every team the same amount then where is the incentive to perform?

            9. @f1osaurus The incentive is to be the winner! That’s reward enough for the Olympics, for the NFL, for every league in the world that does an equal revenue share.

              Actually, I’m all for rewarding winners as well, in the form of a purse paid directly to the staff themselves. They can enjoy the spoils of victory—I think that’s great. What I don’t like is the teams being given funds that can then be spent directly on improving performance. If I recall correctly, one of Liberty’s proposals for reforming the prize money structure was stipulating that Ferrari’s bonus be written directly to profit, which I think is a step in the right direction.

            10. @markzastrow Lol, the Olympics. That’s an amateur sporting event yes. And then you should see how much money the winner gets. Some directly from their countries, but also through sponsoring.

              Yeah all NFL teams have the same budget

              And how much is the bonus per player of the team that wins the Super Bowl?

              There is always something where they monetize their advantage.

            11. @f1osaurus Lol did you read my previous comment? Of course people will monetize it—that’s literally what I said I support. What I don’t support is baking that disadvantage into the rules and revenue sharing agreements of the sport itself.

            12. @f1osaurus

              If you pay every team the same amount then where is the incentive to perform?

              I think you just answered your own question:

              then you should see how much money the winner gets. Some directly from their countries, but also through sponsoring.

              And how much is the bonus per player of the team that wins the Super Bowl?

              There is always something where they monetize their advantage.

              The bonus is $124,000, paid directly to the players under their collective bargaining agreement with the league. Which illustrates my point: unlike in F1, that does not go towards the team’s budget that they can spend on gaining an edge.

          2. The sponsorship value of any given team is dependent on the amount of exposure that the team is able to provide for the sponsor, correct? If a team is running near the back of the race, the coverage (provided by the F1 world feed) will show less of that car, therefore provide less coverage of the sponsor, and in turn reducing the value of any potential sponsorship that the team might garner. They’re handicapped by the broadcaster, because the value proposition that they offer to sponsors holds less worth than the value proposition of the front-running teams.

            1. @hiperr Every team could potentially get a big budget. It just needs to persuade the right people to fund them.

              Williams did it at some point. Mclaren did it at some point. Renault did it at some point etc etc etc.

              In fact Williams started this whole budget race when they started accumulating championships with their Saudi money.

              They are not handicapped by the broadcaster. If they perform well they get more money from the prizes too. It’s simply an investment. And yes they then need to perform to benefit from that investment, but that’s no different in any business.

            2. @f1osaurus But to perform well they need the money in the first place, and it’s much easier to get that money if they are at the front of the pack. Generally speaking sport is too highly regulated, and the big teams have lawyers that are too good to allow real technical innovations from smaller teams in anything but the rarest of cases. At the moment it’s a self-perpetuating cycle, with the front-runners established and the back of the field either relegated to mediocrity and potential insolvency, or reliance on either a big-fish investor or a hail-mary technical approach to try and make it to the front of the field (which most times won’t work, and will leave the team with an under-performing car).

              In a lot of ways it’s similar to that other British sporting colossus, the Premier League. The big teams are settled at the head of the pack, and lower-placed teams either hope to land a big investor (Middle-Eastern money is always popular there too), or over-borrow in the slim hope of moving their way up the ladder. It results in a boom-and-bust cycle for the lower teams, constantly sees them going bankrupt, and nothing much changes at the top of the table from year to year. And the prize-money is even less equitable in F1 than it is in the EPL.

            3. @hiperr “But to perform well they need the money in the first place”

              Yes and it’s part of their performance to acquire this money.

              With the budget cap it should be much less of an issue really anymore anyway.

              The notion that every team should be just as competitive as the top teams makes no sense anyway. There will always be teams that do not have the true aspiration to be champions. Every race class has top teams and teams that just participate with no hope of winning. Even with kids this is already the case. Why would this be something that has no place on the highest level. We should have some communist system where all teams are equal and then nobody does anything anymore since why would you.

            4. @f1osaurus I hope that the budget cap does reduce the disparity between teams, but in response to your suggestion that fundraising is a measure of team performance, I would counter that I don’t watch F1 to see which team raised the most money from their sponsors. I’m far more interested in what the engineers can do within the constraints defined by the rules, and would be happier if every team had the same funding, allowing us to see what the engineers could create within that budget.

            5. @hiperr Good for you. They need to get this 500 million somewhere though. Even the backmarkers need to find 125 million.

            6. @f1osaurus As @markzastrow posted in a comment above, if equalisation measures like aero testing restrictions are to be avoided, a more equitable split of revenue for each team would be a good alternative approach. It works well in other sporting competitions (the ones that come to mind are the NFL in the USA and the AFL in Australia, which both have powerful clubs, but which also exhibit reasonably even competition), and a more even split would mean that the back-marker teams wouldn’t have to spend all of their time scraping together funding, and could focus on vehicle development with a good idea of the budget they have available for the task.

              If every team got $100M at the start of the year irrespective of their finishing position, there would be far less need for technical approaches to equalise the performance of different teams. There might need to be some kind of performance criteria instituted to ensure that teams weren’t just showing up with a GP2 car and pocketing the excess funds that they saved from avoiding any development, but that shouldn’t be too hard (something like a reduction in payments should a team regularly fall foul of the 107% rule should be fine for that).

    5. I think the use of handicap is fine. And it’s a good way of doing it without actually impacting the show in a way that’s hard to understand for casual viewers. Like if it was ballast weight being added, or reverse grids, or other such more prominent measures, Crofty would be explaining it to us every damn weekend just to make it clear for the lesser informed.

      Rather, this way there’s a measure for trying to make the grid more equal over time, without anyone really needed to be told this is happening. They’ll just see the racey cars do their racey thing as normal.

      1. @aiii Yes. This.

        Importantly, the handicap is highly unlikely to affect the top teams in any negative way, but provides those running at the back of the grid an opportunity to get closer. But we all know aero development is expensive and slow. That extra 10% (or whatever) isn’t suddenly going to propel Williams to the front of the grid. But over time they should slowly get closer as they figure their car out.

        And best of all, fans wouldn’t notice it. Only the hardcore fans might—but the majority would never know. And we don’t have to hear about it during commentary every race.

    6. I have always been fascinated with the NFL draft system, the team with the worst record gets to pick the best prospects yet time after time their is a pattern of the same teams picking high, performing worse even after a cycle of three to four years of top ten picks and the teams with better management and structure with lower picks doing well. Even with an upper hand in development a team that isn’t primed to use its advantage will just continue with its trend. I like this sliding scale method and hope it accomplishes narrowing down the gap to a point that top teams account for the other teams during a race not the comfort they have where Mercedes pits after fifteen laps and it’s already a pit stop ahead of p3

    7. ColdFly (@)
      5th June 2020, 9:11

      Even the sport widely known for handicaps doesn’t use them in professional competitions!

      1. Horse-racing?

        1. Golf?