Formula 1

F1 should stay a “pure sport”, fans don’t want artificial racing

Formula 1 risks devaluing itself if it introduces gimmicks which artificially enhance the competition, Williams’ new CEO Jost Capito has warned.

Williams has finished last in the championship for the previous three seasons in a row. But Capito does not want to see F1 take steps to artificially increase the competitiveness of teams such as his.

The series is debating the introduction of Sprint Qualifying races at selected rounds in the upcoming season. A previous proposal to include reverse grids, an idea Capito is strongly against, was rejected.

“I believe that Formula 1 is the pinnacle of the sport and it should be attractive because it’s an attractive sport and not because it’s gambling,” he said.

“That’s why I’m not in favour of reverse grid. This is not because I think we are now in the front of the grid. That’s not why I don’t want reverse grids.

Interview: How a ‘dream’ chance to lead Williams put Capito’s retirement plans on hold

“If we talk about the regulations, I have to talk about what is the best for the sport, because only if the sport is in the right way, the teams can improve and be in the right way. If the value of Formula 1 goes down, then the value of everybody who is involved goes down.

“I will push strongly that when we discuss within the teams, we discuss what is the best for the sport. And when we decide what is the best for the sport, without just focussing on what is the best for my team in the regulations we have right now, it’s then what’s the best for the sport. Get that aligned and then fight within these regulations and have a competition there.”

Capito previously ran Volkswagen’s highly successful World Rally Championship team, which won four consecutive championships. He doesn’t want to see F1’s top teams being punished for their success and pegged back by the rules.

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“In rallying, at Volkswagen, when we were quite successful, [FIA president] Jean Todt came up to me at one rally and say, ‘hey, Jost, you are winning too much’.

I said, ‘go to the others and tell them they are losing too much’. Because you shouldn’t blame the guy who does the best job.

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“I think in motorsport, and especially in Formula 1, there shouldn’t be a balance of performance or some artificial competition because the guys who do the best job and the drivers do the best job should win. And if they win for 10 years, they win for 10 years, fine. Then everybody has to catch up and have to do a better job.

“But you shouldn’t be punished in Formula 1 for… doing the best job. If you do a better job and you catch up, you shouldn’t be punished by a balance of performance to move back again.

“I really like in Formula 1 that it’s a pure sport. It should stay a pure sport without making it artificial[ly] interesting because I think that it’s not what the fans want to see.”

Read RaceFans in-depth exclusive interview with Jost Capito who explains why he canned his retirement plans to take up the top job at Williams

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