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Wolff offers hope to the smaller teams

NEWS STORY
23/04/2014

Despite the scrapping of a budget cap, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, Toto Wolff, believes that there is still hope for the sport's smaller teams.

Not for the first time, plans for a budget cap, which, in theory, would have levelled the playing field by limiting the amount of money teams could spend, have been scrapped, and in its place the FIA and the F1 Strategy Group is hoping to agree on regulatory changes that will limit spending and thus ensure the survival of some of the smaller teams.

In the wake of (FIA president) Jean Todt's recent admission that plans for a budget cap in 2015 had been scrapped a number of teams wrote to him warning of seismic damage to the sport in the near future with several teams going under.

Next week (May 1), the teams will sit down with Bernie Ecclestone (on day release presumably) in an attempt to find a way forward that will appease all parties.

Though he was initially in favour of a budget cap, Wolff, who still retains a significant shareholding in Williams, which although part of the F1 Strategy Group is widely considered one of the teams under threat even if the situation isn't as bad as it is elsewhere in the paddock, is now against the idea but feels that there is a solution.

"We realised some of the other big teams could not follow that path," he said, according to the Independent, referring to the cost cap. "Ferrari are a good example as they have everything - the road car business and F1 - in one entity, and it's difficult for them to have everything screened.

"It doesn't make sense to go against two or three of the big teams, so going through the sporting and technical regulations is the way," he said. "We're working to find the best solution, we're getting together in a few days, and we will try to implement what we can.

"What we are looking for is a ceiling, so we are not running away in a spending war with the other teams, and for a glide path downwards so we can reduce the gap between the larger and smaller teams."

One wonders if this would still be his view had he not been recruited by Mercedes and was still fully involved at Williams as it has a certain feeling of 'pulling up the ladder' about it.

Chris Balfe

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