As Liberty Media and the Formula One teams postpone agreement on the 2021 regulations until the end of October, Bernie Ecclestone has come up with a bold alternative. Compared to the complexity of what we have now, his proposal is straightforward.
As ever with the former F1 boss, however, his plan could be controversial -- but food for thought nevertheless. The aim, says Ecclestone, is to move F1 away from the current situation where one team has dominated every race so far, with people being turned off F1.
Ecclestone spoke exclusively to ESPN about how he would fix the sport he presided over for four decades. Here is the plan in his own words.
Firstly, I wouldn't be talking to the teams. It's like having a committee and you don't need that when making decisions like this.
I would be saying: We're going to have two championships. They're both world championships; one is the Constructors' World Championship and the other is the Teams' World Championship. The Drivers' World Championship would not be affected in any way.
The Constructors' Championship is for the teams that manufacture the engine and the chassis; teams such as Ferrari and Mercedes.
For the Teams' Championship, I'd build a car -- like a very sophisticated F2 car. If Honda decided they weren't going to be in F1 -- or if Renault decided not to be a constructor -- I'd do a good deal for one of them to supply everyone. These would be engines similar to those we have today. But one engine has to last a full season, with one spare engine only to be used if the original one has a failure.
So if you want to start a team, here's your chance. I'd give you a complete car and a spare engine. And I'd give you $30 million a year. That way we can forget all this cost cap nonsense. You've got to run the team as best you can. You've got $30m to get you going, so you need to go out and find some sponsors.
People would then say: "Wait a minute! Even with a good driver, there's no way we're going to beat the constructors. How are we going to beat Ferrari?"
Don't worry, you're going to be okay. We're going to balance things out by doing a couple of things to help the Teams' Championship.
Firstly, if you want to, you can refuel. You have just one set of tyres but, if you want to stop and refuel, you can also change tyres. Then maybe we'd have to change the weight of the car. If we found the team cars weren't quick, we'd make sure the constructors' cars were a bit heavier. That way, you could easily find two seconds.
With a refueling strategy and change of tyres, you'd find another, say, second a lap. But only if you want to do that. It's up to you. And one more thing; the teams could enter just one car, if they wanted.
The rules governing the design of the constructors' cars would be as they are today. That way, they couldn't complain. The only thing I'd do with the rules is point to where the weight is stated and say we may need to change that a little.
This may make people currently outside F1 think: "We can do that." I know for a fact that Volkswagen -- through Audi -- very nearly did it four years ago because I had come close to an agreement with them. But then they had all that trouble with emissions in America. They're confident their engineers are talented enough to design a car and engine that would be competitive within two years.
You'd have the Constructors' World Championship and the winner could go out and say: "We're World Champions." The team people could say: "We won the Teams' World Championship." You'd have a sponsor for each championship.
The guy in the grandstand isn't going to say: "That's not fair, because this team is spending $350m a year and that one is spending $70m." All he wants is good racing. And we'd get that. In my opinion, it would be bloody good. The idea is to balance up the two types of car and the teams spending $70m may have a chance on some occasions to be on the podium.
Some people will say: "That's all very well, but what about the investment that teams such as Racing Point have made with their facilities, and the redundancies that might follow?"
The answer to that is Racing Point would have had to close their doors had Lawrence Stroll not made his investment. There's other small teams in a similar situation. If they want to stay in F1, this is a way to do it.
It's something that's brand new. Saying that, if you think back, Stirling Moss beat Ferrari and everyone else to win a couple of grands prix in a single car entry for Rob Walker, with what were then customer cars (Cooper and Lotus). The idea of 'brand new' is because we've moved forward technically, but who's to say we can't go back to a single entry? Obviously, the constructors have more chance of winning races than the teams. But that's not new because when Moss won for Rob Walker, it was at a time when the factory teams [constructors] usually had the best chance of winning.
By having two championships -- aside from the drivers' -- in this way, we're helping the small teams while letting the manufacturers race the way they want. But if Ferrari want to stop, they can stop. Or they can join the team people if they want to. The choice is theirs.
It's the same for the engine manufacturers. If you're Renault, you would be looking at being a constructor and spending $350m. Or being an engine supplier -- and I'd make them supply the engines free to all -- but in return there's a big space on the car saying it's a Renault engine. They would gain more publicity than they get now, and it would cost them less.
F1 has to get people's attention again. If you've got four friends going to a race, you want to have a situation where none of them can agree on who is going to win. This is all about Ferrari and Mercedes racing up front, but other teams having a chance to be in among them for about a fifth of the budget.
Everything is up for discussion. But the bottom line is having affordable entertainment rather than very expensive technology.