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F1 to begin introducing budget cap from 2019

NEWS STORY
22/08/2018

With the final proposals for the engine rules and redistribution of the prize money post-2020 yet to be presented to the teams and manufacturers, far less agreed, according to the sport's technical boss, Ross Brawn, the sport simply cannot afford another two years of what is effectively three teams battling for supremacy and the remaining seven fighting for best of the rest.

Indeed, with an eye on the recent issues surrounding Force India, and the admission from both McLaren and Williams that they too are struggling, there are fears that unless action is taken soon more teams could fall by the wayside.

As a result, having already admitted that it is seeking to introduce a budget cap in 2021, the sport is now looking to begin the process as early as next year.

"On the economic side we're pushing through cost control initiatives," said Brawn ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix. "Working with the FIA and in consultation with the teams we are progressing well on the economic initiatives. Work on the mechanism of a cost cap is going well.

"At the moment we are looking to introduce it in a soft form, with dry runs in 2019, and 2020," he revealed, "then it will be become regulatory in 2021.

"I would say that barring some last-minute discussions that's pretty much finalised now."

While a figure has yet to be confirmed (or agreed), it is widely understood that the sport is looking at a cap of around $150m.

"To be clear, we want the grandees to still be the big names in the sport," said Brawn, aware that Mercedes and Ferrari are far from happy with the proposals, "we don't want a system or a situation where there aren't big targets to aim at. And at the moment, those targets are Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.

"However, the void between those three teams and the rest of the field is too big," he continued. "There are two divisions in Formula 1, and we want to stop that, we want to introduce constraints on the amount of resource you can use. And doing that involves both an economic perspective and a technical perspective.

"At the moment a top team spends twice what a midfield team spends and if we reduce that margin to around ten or twenty per cent, then there is something for the midfield teams to aspire to. There will still be an aura around the big teams, but a midfield team doing a great job will be able to compete.

"We only have to look at the situation Force India finds itself in to understand how crucial this is," he said. "The financial burden on teams is not sustainable in the long term and we are taking steps to put a limit on how much a team can spend. We hope the cost controls will make smaller teams more sustainable, as they'll be in a better position to show sponsors and investors that they have a chance of getting on the podium, and in the right circumstance, of winning a race.

"That's so important for a team that's aspiring to become a grandee. At the moment, the void is too big; it's almost impossible for a team to bridge that gap."

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1. Posted by boatdesigner, 23/08/2018 14:49

"In the US we have some lower forms of racing where at the end of the season the winning driver has to sell his engine to whoever asks for it at a pre-determined price, usually lower than what the driver/owner has invested. That tends to keep the cost of the engines down. How about a similar thing for F1? At the end of the season, the top 3 teams must bring their cars to a predetermined location and leave them there for a couple days. During that time, 2-3 engineers each from teams 4-? get to crawl all over them with rulers, cameras and micrometers and take notes. At the very least, the other teams will be able to catch up a little and make things a bit more competitive at the front.

I do like that S5000 car though, it reminds me of the old Champ Car series that produced great racing. Maybe that car could be fitted with stock based engines from the different manufacturers to keep them interested."

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2. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 23/08/2018 2:57

"Perhaps this https://www.speedcafe.com/2018/08/23/new-s5000-car-revealed-ahead-of-2019-launch/ is a better way to go."

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3. Posted by Egalitarian, 22/08/2018 23:17

"Short of one business doling out the money to all of the teams (even then, who would you trust?), I cannot imagine how this will be policed. Imagine retaining the same number of staff but the official staff costs reduce, but magically they're all driving late model cars and their home loans/rent are completely paid for. And that is just one component of team costs. Imagine what happens when the the really creative accountancy kicks in.
I think OB below makes a valid historical point too."

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4. Posted by Oldbuzzard, 22/08/2018 22:49

"This is a serious question: Will someone please research the history of F1 - as far back as one wishes, but at least 30 years - and check the points differentials between the teams at seasons ends? My guess is that there will be a pattern of the top three, perhaps four at times, teams having sizable margins in the points column over the "rest of the field". I am also fairly certain that we would find similar differentials in the Indy Car series, IMSA GT series, and, yes, even NASCAR. Seems like some teams and drivers are just better than others. Equaling the budgets of Mercedes and Force India will not make Force India a challenger for podium finishes, dare I say, ever. And, yes, you will see some teams rise to the top and then sink back to mid grid, but over the long term, the best will be best. It's nature, I think.
"

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