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Ecclestone: Teams are setting "ceiling" for budgets

NEWS STORY
01/10/2012

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has been on a cost-cutting crusade recently. Last week we revealed that Ecclestone believes new V6 engines, due to be introduced in 2014, will be ditched because they will cost the teams more than the current V8s. Now he has gone back over the thorny subject of a budget cap. Ecclestone has not only revealed that the teams are discussing it but that it is "workable." But for some reason he doesn't want us to call it a cap...

In an article in the Express, Pitpass' business editor Christian Sylt reveals that the budget ceiling under discussion would cover the teams' entire F1 operations in contrast to the current resource restriction which merely limits key areas including staff numbers and the size of computer storage space. Ecclestone has told Sylt that "that is the direction people are going in. It is workable."

"I think there should be a maximum amount that the teams can spend on Formula 1 including the drivers. A ceiling, I don't like the word cap. I say there should be an amount that you spend on Formula 1. You can spend it on the chassis or the drivers if you don't mind. If they want to have bigger motorhomes or whatever they should do it but what we should be concerned with is reducing the need to spend to be competitive. Someone who starts a team shouldn't be any more disadvantaged than somebody who has got an enormous budget."

A budget cap was previously proposed in 2009 by Max Mosley, the controversial former president of the FIA. His proposal of setting a 40m spending limit led to a threat from the teams to set up a rival series - a move which was only dropped when Mosley agreed to retire.

Ecclestone says that his proposal is different because "the ceiling Max was suggesting wouldn't have even covered the cost of an engine." He agrees that setting a spending ceiling would bring F1 more into line with the principles of its junior series GP2 which has identical cars and maximum budgets of around 6m.

However, Ecclestone says that he would "not at all" be in favour of having identical F1 cars although he believes success should come down to driver skill. "If I had a GP2 team and I wanted to win I would have the two best drivers. If you had Formula 1 like GP2 I would go and get Hamilton and Sebastian."

Ah, Bernie's idea of a Fantasy F1 team, that's sure to put the cat amongst the pigeons.

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