New Formula 1 bosses target budget cap

A budget cap is one of the areas being explored by the new owners of F1 as they try put together a long-term strategy for the sport.

New Formula 1 bosses target budget cap
Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations; Chase Carey, Chairman and CEO of Formula 1; Ross Brawn, Managing Director, Motor Sports
Felipe Nasr, Sauber C35 and Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing MRT05 at the start of the race
Start crash with Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C35, Rio Haryanto, Manor Racing MRT05, Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1 Team VF-16 and Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM09
Ross Brawn, Mercedes AMG F1 Team Principal in the FIA Press Conference
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C35 and Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing MRT05 battle for position
Zak Brown, Chairman, Motorsport Network
Fernando Alonso, McLaren
The team work on the car of Fernando Alonso, McLaren in the garage.
Zak Brown, McLaren Executive Director

Capping expenditure by teams has been tried several times in the past, but while some cost saving areas have been addressed – such as restrictions on testing and the number of personnel at races – the bigger concept of an overall budget cap has always been rejected by the big players.

Naturally they want to maintain their competitive advantage, while insisting that it would be impossible to police a cap, particularly with regard to manufacturer-owned teams who have access to wider resources.

However, new F1 managing director Ross Brawn has made it clear that reducing expenditure is one of the items on the agenda, both to help close the gap between the large and small teams, and to ensure that the latter can survive.

Brawn also confirmed that we can expect a revamp of the way income is distributed beyond the end of the current agreements in 2020.

"Undoubtedly we are going to have a whole list of objectives, and one of them is to enable small teams to stand on their own two feet," Brawn told BBC Radio 4

"I think that at one end involves the money paid to the teams, and at the other end the cost of going racing and putting on a decent show.

"The monies paid to the teams, we can't do very much about for a number of years, until the commercial agreements get reviewed again.

"But on the costs to the teams, I think the commercial rights holder has a valid input into trying to ensure that those are pegged back. The costs of a well organised decent small team, the whole thing can add up, the numbers make sense.

"When we do that then of course those remaining entries in F1 become attractive, because there's a viable business there. At the moment I'm not sure there is, and that's what we have to focus on."

McLaren open to it

While the big teams have traditionally been opposed, new McLaren CEO Zak Brown has made it clear that his team supports the idea of a budget cap being part of a new financial structure for the sport, in conjunction with an expanded calendar.

"I don't think that they would go to 25 races overnight," he told Motorsport.com. "As we look towards 2021, and the direction of F1, there's talk about budget caps, something that I'm a supporter of. There's a lot of discussion around what is the cap and what's included and how you get there.

"I think that is going to need to be discussed and debated. But McLaren is a supporter of the concept of a budget cap. I think how many races you do, and how you do them, ties into that conversation.

"It won't be easy to make it happen, but we have new owners, and it's now their sport. It's been a hot topic for a long time, but the distribution of economics is too out of balance.

"I'm not suggesting that it should be equal for everyone, but I think the disparity between first and last is too great, and that's why we see these teams going out of business, and we don't see enough teams winning races."

Brown concedes that other top teams will probably oppose the idea: "For sure it's going to be a heated discussion.

"Those that are getting a lot of the money you would imagine are going to be the ones most resistant to change, and those getting the least amount of money are going to be pushing most for change.

"It will be a hot topic, but it's something that needs to be addressed, because the way it fits today is not healthy for everyone. And we all need a healthy F1."

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