Carey tells F1 fans: History can't 'become a straightjacket' to change

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Outgoing Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey has urged the most passionate fans to not let history "become a straightjacket" to future changes.

Over the next few years, F1 is set to undergo a radical overhaul with a new budget cap coming into effect in 2021 followed by all-new cars in 2022, along with other regulations aimed at closing up the field.

But while those have been largely welcomed, other changes are facing a tougher time in winning over the critics, in particular, a push to replace some qualifying sessions with a reverse grid sprint race.

However, Carey argues that opposition to altering the formats of sports is nothing new and then when it is introduced, more often than not those initially against are won over.

“Most sports, when they’ve talked about changes, the hardcore fans resist change,” the Liberty Media chief said on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.

Carey BraGP

“Major League Baseball, when they had a designated hitter, everybody didn’t like it. The NBA put in a three-point line, the hardcores didn’t like it. You added teams to play-offs, you used to have the league champions play in the World Series, this year they had 16 teams compete.

“Really in most of those cases, not all, but in most cases, those changes have ended up being viewed as positive, bringing fresh energy, bringing a fresh perspective," he claimed.

“I think you have to be careful that you don’t gimmick-up the sport, that you’re recognising the importance of history and the importance of what has made this sport special, but not let that become a straightjacket that doesn’t enable you to consider changes that may truly enhance the sport for fans.”

Over the past decade, F1 has adopted many such changes such as DRS, standing restarts after red flags, a double points finale and adaptations to qualifying, some of which have stuck, others soon thrown away.

As for the fate of the reverse grid qualifying sprint race, F1 had hoped an amendment not requiring a full majority vote would make implementing them easier as only Mercedes blocked the last effort earlier this year.

More teams and most drivers have since reportedly re-joined the German manufacturer however, and Carey accepts any final decision will be done collectively.

“I think a decision like the specific one about a qualifying race, I think is a group decision. From my perspective, we’re not going to dictate that," the American continued.

“Let’s tee it up, take about the pros and cons, do the appropriate homework of what we think again the benefits and issues with it, and have an honest discussion with everybody.

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“That’s where it’s important to have a spirit of partnership and not look at it as is this good or bad for me as a team, but is it good or bad for the sport, and make an informed judgement.

“Is this a decision that we feel is respectful to the sport and create greater races for fans? At the end of the day, this is what this is all about.

“Not every fan is ever going to like it, you're never going to get to 100%, which is why we have to make the judgement is it something we think on balance will improve the sport.

“Without making it sound like we’re just throwing ideas against a wall, we should always be trying to push ourselves to look at other ways to make the sport more interesting and exciting for fans.”