iSport’s team principal Paul Jackson has come up with the best imaginable response to being ridiculed by Ferrari for not being worthy of a Formula One grid slot next year.
Norwich-based Jackson, who already runs a perfectly successful GP2 team, told Autosport: “There’s so much shit that comes out there that I just try to keep my head down and do what I have to do.”
Well said, that man.
“I mean, Ferrari are obviously hurting because they lost their case,” he continued. They are now between a rock and a hard place, and they’ve got to jump one way or the other.”
He also gave his thoughts on the reasons why car manufacturers and Formula One don’t always prove to be the ideal partners, accusing the big companies of “dabbling” and then fleeing when it proves harder than they expected.
“They’ve got out again, because running a Formula 1 team, or a racing team of any sort, doesn’t fit with a big corporate structure. That moves too slowly; this has to move very quickly.
“You need quick decision-making and adaptability, and big corporations don’t fit with that philosophy. In the past it hasn’t worked, and it’s got to the point now where it’s not working. Big, big corporations have got to look after their core business, which is manufacturing cars.”
As well as getting that sorted out, Jackson also confirms that his outfit is waiting on discussions between the existing entrants before deciding what its next step should be, including lodging an entry for F1 next year.
He said: “We’ve got a few things to put in place before we do that, and that’s all depending upon the outcome of the politics.
“If certain things happen then we have one set of options, and if other things happen then we have to go down a different route. So we can’t finalise our strategy until they have decided that they are doing.”
He said there were times when he did wonder what the squad might be getting into if it joined the F1 paddock: “We know it’s a bit of a nightmare politically. But I think to some degree, that’s what they want to get rid of. The politics is generated by the big organisations.
“If they’re dealing with a smaller team structure, it’s a lot simpler to deal with. Whoever is in charge is going to go ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and ‘yeah, OK, we’ll do that’. Whereas the big corporations are, ‘OK, we’ll have to the board, and then back to the board, and then there’s a meeting in a month’s time, and then there’s a committee’. It just bogs the whole thing down.”
Certainly if a swathe of new entrants manage to dilute the influence of off-track manoeuvring, they should be able to command the support of fans who would rather see their action on the track.
Jackson can see room for an outfit like his to manoeuvre within the £40 million budget cap – not in technical development but in complementary areas like hospitality: “That’s just whatever you have got to spend on it. If you have got serious sponsorship coming in, you have got to deliver the hospitality.
“If you haven’t got an awful lot, you can scale that down a bit. I think even in year two, yes, we’ll probably creep up to that £40m, but I don’t think we’ll go over it.”
However, he can understand why the larger teams would struggle: “It requires a different philosophy to how they operate now. They need to just completely stop and change it.
“And that plays into our hands, because that’s what we do. OK, we are scaling up. The big teams are in a really difficult position. But what can I do about that? That’s their problem.”