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Fernley seeking progress on budget cap discussions

NEWS STORY
14/10/2017

Like its rivals, the new regulations for 2017 meant extra spending for Force India. While around 50% of the team's current car can usually be carried over to the following season, the new regulations for this year meant that 90% of the VJM10 was new.

With the car designed in 2016 in anticipation of this season, the cost are reflected in the latest balance sheets, and at 11.6m, Force India's loss is the biggest of the nine teams that provide end of year accounts.

The Silverstone-based outfit has made no secret of its desire to see a budget cap, indeed various previous incarnations of the team have demanded little else, money - or lack of it - seemingly in the DNA of whoever inhabits the Dadford Road factory.

While, for some, the honeymoon following Liberty Media's purchase of the sport continues, speaking last month, Force India's deputy team boss, Bob Fernley, essentially accused the American company as being 'all talk and no action', demanding that it get to grips with spending.

Next month, Liberty is due to reveal its initial plans for a budget gap, with the intention of finalising the plans by the end of the year.

Fernley can't wait.

"We need to be delivering it this year," he told Racer, "I think that's important. It looks promising that they're on target for that."

The proposed figure is $150m (112m) a year, a figure well above the budgets of the likes of Sauber and Haas but almost a third of that of the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari who would need to scale back considerably.

"There are different figures bounded around every now and then," says Fernley of the precise limit. "But I think the main thing to do is get the presentation and the format of it and then develop it from there. Hopefully we can agree something in principle that can then be implemented.

"I'm sure that it's going to have to go on a glide path," he admits, "I don't think for one minute that you can do it overnight. So we've got to be fair to the teams that have got to cut back."

Like Liberty, Fernley believes that the budget cap will not only prevent the current 'arms race' from spiralling completely out of control, but will level the playing field and thereby produce better racing if more than a select few teams are capable of winning. That said, even the most agreeable budget cap cannot overcome the aerodynamic rules that are currently compromising the racing.

"It probably won't affect us at all," says Fernley, "and probably won't affect half the grid at all if the truth be known. But what it will do is bring us closer.

"Would Force India be willing to have a go with a $30 million budget difference to the big teams? The answer's yes, as opposed to the $230m difference that we've got today!"

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