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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How do you Solve a Problem like Marussia?

Journalists, commentators and fans have, in recent years, regularly discussed how to make the lower Motorsport categories of GP2, F3, etc. more relevant to F1 and also how best to break new F1 drivers into the top echelon of motorsport on merit.

Having never reached a consensus on how this might be achieved I was listening to the news today that Wigan had been relegated after losing to Arsenal last night and it suddenly struck me that F1 could operate in a similar manner, with a little help from the Concorde agreement and the FIA.

Let us assume that, at the end of this season, Marussia and Caterham are at the bottom of the F1 table why not relegate the bottom team and promote the top GP2 team.  This team would be provided, through the Concorde agreement, with a customer midfield F1 car for its first year - the midfield teams providing same on a rotation basis - and would have to give the GP2 and F3 champions a race seat.

A basic cost associated with going racing for the first year would be paid (a la Marussia at £38 million p.a), while 60% of any team revenue from sponsorship or other income would have to be saved to enable the design and build of a new constructor F1 car by its third year in the sport.

Should the new team survive its first year the Concorde Agreement provides half the racing costs for the second year with 40% of the previous season's sponsorship and another 40% of the second year's sponsorship paying for the rest and then are given £10 million the third year at which time the team becomes liable for all its costs and must operate as a full constructor. If the team does not survive the 60% saved revenue from each of the first two years is recycled by F1 to pay for the next promoted team.

F1 is then a meritocracy rather than simply monetary and the teams at the bottom are given an incentive to move up the grid and become de facto constructors.

Now I know the plan has flaws and it's probably easy to pick them out, but I do think there is the germ of a workable solution here.  This would provide for 11 teams on the grid, with the option for a 12th team to enter the sport should they have the money to do so.

Were a 12th team to seek a grid slot they would be given a 3 year grace period before becoming subject to the relegation rule.

I'm interested in your thoughts on this idea, especially those which point out the flaws.