Symonds: F1 had to change because the 'manufacturers are in trouble'

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Formula 1 needed to change in 2021 because the "manufacturers are in trouble", veteran technical director Pat Symonds claims.

Next year will see the sport introduce a major overhaul with new cars designed for closer racing and a budget cap of $175m, around half what Mercedes and Ferrari currently spend.

Despite early opposition, the fabled Italian brand eventually agreed to the changes while the German manufacturer was much more reluctant, arguing F1 needs stable regulations to become more competitive. 

But as automakers turn to Formula E and WEC for their motorsport programs, Symonds explained why F1 had to essentially save itself. 

“Successful people tend to welcome change and deal with change a lot better than others. With F1 teams, it’s a little bit different because you’ve got to remember the huge investment involved as well,” he said at the Autosport International show and was quoted by Crash.net.

“When we were working on the 2021 regulations, I have to say that those at the front were more resistant and those at the back were less resistant – well, not less resistant, they were fully supportive.

"I think that’s only natural, but what we’ve got to do is make it a viable business. It’s not a sustainable business at the moment."

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Currently, there are also question marks over the long-term presence of Mercedes, Renault and Honda in F1 and Symonds fears the sport lacks appeal.

“It’s very healthy, but it won’t stay that long. The car manufacturers are in trouble, they’re not selling cars, they’re spending a fortune on electrification and things like this," he claimed.

“We need to protect the future of the sport, and we will only protect that by making it more attractive, particularly to the younger audiences and that will involve levels of change.”

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