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Formula 1

Domenicali: Drivers front and centre for more sustainable F1 future

New Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has said that drivers are the sport’s most important asset as it builds for the future, while praising the work done in recent years to make F1 more viable for teams in the long term.

Article
To news overview © Stefano Guindani

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali highlighted the key role of drivers in promoting the sport, saying that the current crop represented one of the most competitive ever with the likes of Sir Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen and others all together on the grid.

The Italian sat down with for a wide-ranging interview with Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle and highlighted how the quality of the grid has improved over the past few years, which will no doubt benefit the sport.

"[The drivers] will be at the centre of the future of Formula 1," Domenicali stated. "I think that they represent the real soul of our sport - their faces, their ability. I would say to interpret them, not only as drivers, but as the ambassadors of our sport. They will be crucial for the future."

"And I want to make sure that they understand that because I do, and you [Brundle] know, far better than anyone else we didn't have in the last decade, so many good drivers as we have now. So drivers, I would say that is not the problem for today. Incredible, young, talented drives and incredible records to be achieved."

The executive also pointed to the return of Aston Martin for the 2021 season after a 50-year absence from the paddock as proof that F1 remains an attractive brand for teams and manufacturers to launch their own initiatives while changes to regulations have made the sport more financially sustainable.

"I think that what has been done in the last few years to make sure that the system is strong enough to make sure that the teams can stay alive with the cost gap with the new regulation that will be ready in 2022. I think that the fundamentals are really there," he said.

Regarding the 2021 race calendar, which is scheduled to include 23 races but has already suffered the cancellation of both the Australian and Chinese Grand Prix before the season started due to coronavirus restrictions, Domenicali said there remained a need to be “flexible”.

While the executive said there were no changes yet to report, including no confirmed replacement for what would have been the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix on May 2nd, he assured fans that the commitment to make the season a reality remained.

"What I can share is that I'm personally speaking on a daily basis with all the organisers," he said. "We know the pandemic is still there - that's why we changed the place in the calendar of Australia.

"But so far the information we have is that everyone really would like to go ahead with the plan. Of course we need to be flexible enough to understand that maybe in the first part of the season we may have some events with no public or with restricted members of the public.

"But what I can assure our supporters, our fans, is that really we want to make sure that the season is there, we have a commitment and we want to take that on board, and we have possible alternatives in case - but so far no one has given us different information to what we have shared.

"This is what we know today, but we know how the pandemic has evolved so we need to be ready for a flexible approach on the season."

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