Progress has been made in the debate over future cost-cutting measures. That is the claim of several reports after a meeting of all 11 teams and other officials in London.
While much of the F1 world’s attention was focussed on Imola, commemorating 20 years since the death of Ayrton Senna, the high-level meeting was called as the four teams not involved in the rule-making ‘Strategy Group’ voiced their anger at the recent scrapping of a cost cap.
Indeed those teams, consisting of Marussia, Caterham, Force India and Sauber, sent a letter to FIA President Jean Todt claiming the sport was breaching the EU competition rights law.
Brussels admitted that it was “monitoring” the ongoing situation and now it appears that threat has caused movement from the sport’s biggest names.
In the meeting, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Lotus and Williams all backed cost-cutting measures, including a ban on tyre warmers, further extensions to paddock curfew times and other regulations likely to be introduced in two to three years time.
With the spiralling costs of F1, allied to the perceived unfair distribution of the sport’s income, which is handed out by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, German news agency DPA admitted the bigger teams were “more open” to the idea of radical cost-cutting measures and a swifter implementation.
The report concluded those four smaller teams will respond to the meeting with further solutions in the coming fortnight.
The battle for radical cost-cutting is nothing new, indeed as the sport embraced the new V6 hybrid era for 2014, costs went up sharply just as some teams, namely Sauber and Lotus, were reaching the very bottom of their wallets. What was the most worrying aspect of this is the thought that it has taken the threat of action from the EU to finally kick-start serious talks.
It is natural for any team in any sport to try to keep an advantage they may have over a rival, in F1 that has mostly been a financial one, but it will concern some parties, potentially sponsors who pay millions to be associated with Formula 1, to think the sport was being run in a way that is considered illegal.
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