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Wolff backs Mosley's budget proposal

NEWS STORY
07/07/2015

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff supports Max Mosley's proposal of a budget cap as a means of aiding some F1 teams.

Writing in the Telegraph last week, former FIA president Mosley warned that the sport is heading for a "major crisis" unless it addresses some of the challenges facing the sport.

Most important of all, according to Mosley, is the spending gap between the sport's haves and have-nots, a situation that cannot be addressed under the current system, yet if it isn't threatens the existence of several current teams.

Of the 500m prize money in 2014, Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull received around 46%. Indeed, due to its status in F1, the Italian team is guaranteed around 65m before a wheel has turned.

Last week, Mosley suggested that teams that opt for a (suggested) budget cap of 60m should be allowed significantly more technical freedom. "Overnight it would make the grid more competitive and more interesting for the public," he argued.

"I think Max's idea is interesting," Wolff told Forbes. "If you want to follow budget caps and you are prepared to follow a budget cap you could have a bit more freedom in the development. It is an interesting idea.

"The devil lies in the detail," he admitted. "It's about how to implement it in the rules with the current governance structure because you need majority agreement."

Whilst one of the sport's biggest spenders, Mercedes F1 programme is sustainable, thanks largely to Wolff's management.

"85% of our costs are covered by cashflow," said Wolff, who agreed a new commercial deal with the F1 Group in 2013. "We are nearly at break even."

Looking down the pitlane, particularly at the teams known to be under threat, and not forgetting Caterham and Marussia, he says: "If you look at the historic context, teams have come and gone. Actually at the moment we have a very stable environment. The teams which have gone were all the very new teams and this is a high entry barrier sport. So if you look at the mid-field teams, Sauber, Force India, Lotus have been there for a long time."

While it is claimed that it is the cost of the new (for 2014) formula and the inevitable rise in engine costs, Wolff disputes this.

"The old engines were somewhere between €10 million (7.1m) and €14 million (9.9m)," he said. "If you had a Mercedes engine the price was around €14 million (9.9m), today you are around €16.5 million (11.7m).

"The wrong figures are flying around. I would say that if you look at the complete market, including our competitors and us, it costs between €15 million (10.6m) and €17 million (12.1m) - it's about 15 to 20% more for the new generation of hybrid power units. I don't know where the other figures come from. They are wrong numbers."

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1. Posted by Jigsaw, 09/07/2015 2:55

"It's funny when MB spends almost twice the money as everyone else,(because they're the richest), and then say boo hoo for the poor teams. They just want someone to beat. Silverstone wasn't an anomaly because it seems it was planed that way. All they had to do was up the power setting and would have left Williams in the dust with everyone else. And testa rossa is right about them never allowing fair competition. If they set a maximum that's within every teams affordability then maybe we will see several drivers fighting for 1st instead of 10th. Let's hope!!"

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2. Posted by testa rossa, 08/07/2015 11:28

"The problem will be that the cartel teams never will allow a fair competition from the non carlel teams."

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3. Posted by scf1fan, 08/07/2015 6:28

"This sounds like they are going to tell the guys who can barely afford a meal off the $5 menu that they are going to help them out by not ordering off the $20 menu any more; they'll limit themselves to items off the $10 menu. (Should the other guy say thanks?)

The 15 million (whatever) is for an engine package, which would be either for the team or perhaps per car for the entire season. (I'm sure an editor can correct me on that if I'm wrong; I'm not sure what happens if they blow the engine up every race though.) Pretty cheap for MB considering what some individuals on their team make . . ."

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4. Posted by C5, 07/07/2015 22:27

"@nonickname

"So at 15 Mil per motor your budget cap would buy 4 motors,which is good if you don't need gearboxes, chassis,tyres...drivers...mechanics."

It's €15M for a season, not per engine..."

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5. Posted by Kkiirmki, 07/07/2015 20:07

"Ironic comments from the team who has probably spent the most money in order to achieve it's domination of the last couple of years"

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6. Posted by nonickname, 07/07/2015 19:39

"So at 15 Mil per motor your budget cap would buy 4 motors,which is good if you don't need gearboxes, chassis,tyres...drivers...mechanics.
If he is looking after Mercedes books he must be Greek,not German."

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