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Ross Brawn: Accusations of messing with F1's DNA 'personally offensive'

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Formula One's managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn says he found it "personally offensive" when Ferrari's chairman Sergio Marchionne accused him of dumbing down the sport.

In his current role in F1's management, Brawn is responsible for coming up with a new direction for the sport once the existing commercial agreements expire after 2020. He has proposed a new set of simplified engine regulations and a budget cap to help contain costs and make the sport more competitive, but has met resistance from Ferrari and Mercedes.

Ferrari threatened to quit over the winter if the proposed engine regulations are introduced and Marchionne accused Brawn of taking F1 in "a direction that is not in the DNA of the sport". Speaking in a recent interview with Radio Sport New Zealand, Brawn said his plans have always had the good of the sport in mind.

"It's critical that we have a vision of where we see Formula One," he said. "I find it very frustrating when people accuse us of spoiling the DNA of this, that or the other. F1 has a long history of incredible competition, and it's the pinnacle of motorsport and why would we choose to damage that?

"I find it personally offensive when people accuse me of dumbing down the sport because we know if we did that we'd spoil the sport at its core, and we'd spoil the commercial basis of the sport as well. The teams at the top are probably spending two or three times what they were spending five or six years ago, and yet you wouldn't say five or six years ago that the sport was dumb. So it's just a question of degree.

"We have to help the teams at the top recognise and realise that to have a sport for the future we've got to rebase the commercial revenues for the teams, we've got to rebase the amount of scope that the teams are allowed to explore technically in order to give a more exciting competition."

Brawn claims the teams largely agree on the technical regulations beyond 2021 but says politics has the potential to get in the way.

"There are always vested interests, and it's not just a simple technical problem, we have the political problem of what is the governance going forward? In other words, what role do the teams play, what role do we play, what role do the FIA play? Governance is a sensitive topic. The commercial revenues to the team is a sensitive topic. Budget control, which is something we're very enthusiastic about, is a sensitive topic.

"When you've got three or four areas that are being hotly debated, sometimes it colours or clouds other issues. So what would seem like a simple technical challenge or objective is sometimes clouded because the teams are sensitive to other areas and therefore don't cooperate.

"But I think broadly-speaking, the technical side, which we're discussing, is well supported by all the teams. They recognise that if we're talking about solutions for 2021, they're not affected in the short term, they're not disadvantaged in the short term, and we should work towards better solutions for the future."