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Horner sceptical of budget cap

NEWS STORY
29/01/2014

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says he is highly doubtful that the FIA's proposed budget cap, due to be introduced in 2015, will work.

The limited amount of running, due to the numerous problems incurred as teams attempt to deal with the new regulations, was enough to see F1 make the headlines for the wrong reasons yet again.

Then, especially for the British media, there was Lewis Hamilton's crash shortly before the lunch break, and let's not forget those ludicrous protrusions at the front of the 2014 contenders.

However, there are far more serious issues facing F1. Fact is, as in the real world, a parallel universe Planet Paddock can't quite comprehend, the difference between the haves and have-nots is growing. A number of teams are known to be in financial trouble, not all of them at the 'wrong' end of the pitlane.

Consequently, not for the first time, the FIA is aiming to introduce budget capping measures aimed at reducing spending and thereby levelling the playing field. Similarly, not for the first time, those teams with money are not happy.

Backed by Dietrich Mateschitz' billions and the numerous sponsors attracted by his team's success, Horner's team can count itself comfortably amongst the haves. Speaking in Jerez yesterday, while sympathetic to the plight of smaller teams - as people always are in such situations - he cast doubt on whether a cap is workable.

"A top down way of dealing with costs is not the right way of doing it," he told BBC Sport. "Bottom up is a better way."

The magic figure being mentioned is $200m, which, while enough to comfortably finance some team's racing for a season, is around less than half of what the big guns are spending.

Revealing that at last week's meeting of the F1 Strategy Group, "absolutely everybody" agreed that spending had to be reduced, Horner admitted that a number did not believe that budget capping is the way to go about it. Indeed, it's understood that when the assembled team bosses were asked if they were opposed to budget capping he and McLaren's Sam Michael raised their hands.

Ironically, budget capping, the 'false carrot' that enticed Hispania, Virgin and (Tony Fernandes) Lotus into F1 in 2010, is back on the agenda at a time when costs have been forced even higher courtesy of the introduction of new rules that very few wanted.

"We're introducing the most expensive power unit in the history of the sport and all the associated costs with it," said Horner. "It's a bit stupid talking about controlling costs when we're inflicting ourselves with the most unbelievable cost hike the sport has ever seen. I don't know how the little teams are coping."

Accused of wanting to see the status quo remain, and that he is guilty of standing in the way of measure that would control costs, he replied: "To say we are not in favour of cost-saving is absolute nonsense."

Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by White Lightning, 30/01/2014 9:30

"As much as I agree with GoodPublicity about sport representing free enterprise, there has to be a limit.

A totally unrestricted version of F1 would end up like 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' or that experimental run of the game 'Civilization II' in which 3 superstates emerge in a state of stalemate and set about nuking each other to nobody's benefit."

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2. Posted by F One, 29/01/2014 17:47

"Horner is so full of crap. Red Bull pulled out of the RRA so they could buy their way to the championship and they have done and now it's all "Oooh I don't know how the little teams are coping hahaha, I'm not sure a cost cap would work"
Yes and we all know why you don't want it to work. So you can keep on spending your way to boring success."

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3. Posted by GoodPublicity, 29/01/2014 14:57

"Cost-capping in F1 is not only a fantasy but unnecessary. Motorsport's purest form should represent free enterprise, not socialism.

If the FIA really wants to make F1 more appealing to the public (and, in turn, commercial sponsors), then it should stop stifling the technical innovation that used to be one of motorsport's principal attractions.

The governing body should also eliminate aircraft-style aerodynamics that make racing cars look ridiculous when they're stationary and boring when they're at speed. "

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