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When is a limit not a limit?

NEWS STORY
17/05/2008

Clearly a cap on team costs was never going to be something which was met with unanimous agreement. The last few weeks have seen a spectrum of suggestions as to how high it should be set and tapered down. The latest proposal is for it to start at €175m (139m) in 2009 then be reduced to €140m (111m) the following year and €110m (87m) in 2011.

Given that the cap is designed to secure the future of all the teams, sense would say that those who are struggling should have greatest say in the system. Gerhard Berger (right), whose Toro Rosso team could soon be an entirely privately-funded venture if Red Bull sells its stake as it hopes, thinks that the budget cap is being set so high as to be irrelevant.

Berger describes the €175m limit as "madness" explaining "where is the saving then? Neither driver salaries nor engine costs are included in the 175 million. That means that the manufacturers don't want to save anything. A private team cannot afford these sums in a thousand years."

In contrast, GP2 teams are running on budgets of between €3m (2.3m) and €5m (3.9m) per year and Berger asks the valid question "must Formula 1 be 100 times that?"

As Pitpass reported in March, Toro Rosso had revenues in 2006 of 45m - €57m (35.7m - 45.2m) and Berger adds that "if we level off the limit at €60m (47.6m) we would still have enough technology on board and not one iota of worse racing."

True, the departure of Red Bull is likely to send its chassis costs up but, according to industry monitor Formula Money, this would be around €30m (23.8m) at most.

Toro Rosso could be an ideal template for the FIA to follow.

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