After previous attempts have failed it appears Formula 1 may finally introduce for a budget cap in 2015, according to FIA President Jean Todt.
The subject of spiralling costs in the sport has been on the agenda for years with many blasting this year’s huge rule changes for the spike in costs caused.
There has also long been calls for a ‘levelling of the playing field’ so to speak with teams such as Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull spending into the hundreds of millions of dollars which has caused other teams to barely stay afloat financially as they try to exhaust every last resource they have.
The last major attempt to introduce a budget cap was in 2010, at that time the number mentioned was just $40m, this encouraged three teams to join the F1 grid that year, Virgin Racing, Team Lotus and Hispania Racing.
Four years on Virgin has become Marussia, Team Lotus is now Caterham and Hispania, which was briefly HRT, has gone out of business.
However. as the $40m cap failed to get off the ground, that amount that those three teams came in expecting to spend was literally loose change to the amount being spent at the front.
Even now, despite all the rule changes, Marussia and Caterham remain lodged at the back of the grid a couple of seconds off the midfield and have yet to score a point.
Since 2010 a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ was in place called the RRA (Resource Restriction Agreement), however, it was since realised the big spending teams were simply ignoring this and it was also scrapped.
The figure being mentioned this time is €150m – still around 4-5 times the amount of the cap that failed to be installed in 2010 – but according to FIA President Jean Todt even this cap may not be accepted by the leading teams.
“If the teams don’t want it, we won’t do it,” he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
“We do not have the mandate to do something against the will of the majority.
“But from all of my discussions I conclude that the majority of the teams, the FIA and the rights owners do want this cost limitation,” revealed Todt.
The news of this cap comes just a day after F1 Chief Bernie Ecclestone announced a bid by American Gene Haas to fill the vacated 12th spot on the grid will likely be successful.
Prior to yesterday’s positive assessment of the NASCAR team owners chances, Ecclestone’s worries have all come back to the same issue, whether Haas’s bid had the financial backing to work.
“A billion would last a new team owner four years,” Ecclestone is quoted by the Independent. “I’ve spoken to Haas but I don’t know what they are going to do. It’s America, so I don’t know.”
Though some teams are in dire straits financially the aim of this new €150m cap is to allow room for more teams to actually make a profit out of running a F1 team, as some company’s, notably Ferrari, do participating in endurance racing.
“If the revenues are higher, the team makes a profit, that would be a healthy model,” Todt added.
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