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Among his other ideas are reversing the grids and giving points for qualifying and the setting up of a “ladies’ championship” with a race for female drivers on Sunday mornings before the main event.
Williams test driver Susie Wolff has described that idea as a ‘backward step’, and others have remarked that it smacks of sexism.
“With a wet T-shirt competition and champagne show in fireproof panties,” one senior figure remarked sardonically, “I’m sure it would attract a lot of viewers.”
Team bosses want to make the cars look more dramatic for 2017, with wider track, wider rear tyres and lower-profile wheels – the ideal model being something like the cars from 1992.
Another aim is to introduce 1,000bhp engines by 2017. There is an agreement that the current turbo hybrid engines will remain, but that there may be a relaxation of restrictions on fuel flow.
Toto Wolff, however, points out that the manufacturers are likely to have reached that figure anyway by then in the course of normal development, without the need to change the engine rules at all.
There are a couple of spanners in the works, though. For the rules to be changed for 2017 and new-look cars to be introduced, a majority decision would be required by the end of June – and an agreement looks a long way off.
The other issue is that TV viewing figures have bounced back after the first two races of 2015, especially in Germany, one of the major markets of concern. Sebastian Vettel’s victory for Ferrari in Malaysia should help that figure rise further, and will likely lead to a similar bounce in Italy. • Mercedes boss Toto Wolff answers your questions on page 48
Coming to a grid near you soon? Contingency plans are being examined to stop the grid dropping below 20 cars