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Tost: Spending cap can work

NEWS STORY
26/12/2016

Toro Rosso boss quick to throw his support behind Liberty's plan for a budget cap.

It is a topic which has divided the sport for as long as anyone can remember, and one which on a couple of occasions has threatened to tear F1 apart as teams sought to start their own championship in reaction to the FIA’s demands.

Keen to develop a show which will mean more races and more teams, Liberty Media, F1's prospective new owner, is eyeing the idea of a spending cap.

Quite rightly it argues that the spending gap between the haves and have nots has created a chasm that can never be closed while those teams that have the money are allowed to spend whatever they want, leaving the lesser funded teams to fight for the remaining scraps.

As in other sports it leads to several tiers, with those with the biggest budgets enjoying the most success.

In Formula One, teams such as Force India and Sauber have long argued not only for a limit on spending but also a more equal division of the prize pot, hence their complaint to the European Commission.

However, teams such as Haas would also benefit from such a cap, as would Manor, which in a previous incarnation was encouraged to enter the sport on just such a promise.

Should Liberty go ahead with its plan and seek to introduce some form of cap, the move will surely lead to further division in the sport, however, one team boss who is in favour of the idea is Toro Rosso's Franz Tost.

"Give each team, for example, 150 million euros with the FIA watching over it," he told Austria's Tiroler Tageszeitung. "The big teams will cry foul, that there is no way to control costs but this is nonsense. Over at Toro Rosso, I know how much each screw costs.

"Many claim you cannot control it," he continued, referring to the policing of teams' budgets, "nonsense as well… if somebody doesn't want to present their expenditures, it could be pretty easy: then the FIA could charge this team twice the average price of the part in question. Then you'll see how fast all invoices would be filed with the FIA.

"We need to reduce the costs," he insisted. "It shouldn't be that a team spends 450 million euros a year. On the other hand, we bargain for a few cents when it comes to road cars. Even the manufacturers cannot accept sums like this forever. It's not feasible. We spent way too much money on F1."

Meanwhile at sister outfit Red Bull...

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Mad Matt, 28/12/2016 13:15

"The teams are already limited on wind tunnel time, so if what you proposed could happen I'd have thought it would have already happened.

In fact I don't believe it does happen (from contacts who run some of the wind tunnels in F1) and that it is fairly easy to spot.

"

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2. Posted by ryanhellyer, 27/12/2016 15:16

"@Mad Matt - I think you are underestimating how easy it is to hide costs. All a car company needs to do is pick up a mockup, stick it in one of the internal company wind tunnels and send the data back to the team. The cost disappears into the internals of the car company and the team doesn't spend a single cent."

Rating: Negative (-2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Mad Matt, 27/12/2016 12:30

"I don't think hiding expenses is as easy as some teams would have us believe. Companies already have audited accounts and there is a limited amount of things an F1 team needs to buy so any discrepancies between teams would be a red flag. Physical audits then back this up to make sure there's nothing hidden.

None of the problems seem specific to F1 as a business.
"

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4. Posted by ryanhellyer, 26/12/2016 14:50

"I don't think this is a good idea, simply because teams will find ways to hide their expenses.

I think reversing the prize pot would help a lot. Instead of giving the most money to the winners, give the most money to the people at the back of the grid."

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5. Posted by GrahamG, 26/12/2016 11:38

"So why not take the pressure off teams to support two dozen races by having two "leagues" with promotion and relegation each season, maybe allowing GP2 cars into the second division as well to allow new drivers to show their worth. You could have a first division with say 15 races and a second division with 15 differently located races, hence 30 F1 races per year and the betting could be that the second division would be the more keenly contested and have closer races. You could have different spending caps for the two divisions as well to make entry more affordable and perhaps slightly looser regulations for them to allow innovation but a single tyre to reduce costs
This would allow the current smaller teams to be contending for genuine race wins and attraction for sponsors rather than sponsors knowing they were going to be trailing around at the back with no TV coverage. Their would have to be control to ensure that both divisions had the same TV exposure (perhaps free to air for division 2 and only restricted free to air for division 1).
"

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