Wolff: $150m cap is not achievable


Though, like most - and certainly Ferrari which has maintained an ominous silence - Toto Wolff is opting not to say too much publicly about FOM's proposals for the future of the sport, the Austrian did at least open up on the proposed $150m budget cap.

Though full details have not been made public, it is understood that constructors will be allowed a budget of $150m from 2021, though this would not include driver salaries, marketing costs or the salaries of leading team members and executives.

Speaking to Sky Sports in the wake of FOM's presentation, Wolff admitted that from his perspective the $150m figure is not workable, certainly not for some teams.

"That number needs to be seen in perspective, because marketing is excluded, drivers are excluded, lots of other activities are excluded," he said.

"There is lots that we do as a manufacturer where we do work for the power unit that is for the benefit of customers as well," he added. "So that number is much too low for the big teams, but if you look into the detail, we need to work with Liberty and find a compromise.

"That number will not be achievable, but maybe something sensible can be," he continued, "we are all living in the same financial reality. When you add all the extra bits that are being excluded, you are probably looking at a much higher number than $150m, maybe $250m, then suddenly it doesn't look so crazy any more."

With the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari currently spending more than double the proposed $150m limit, lots of numbers are being thrown about together with a lot of euphemisms, contrary to some reports such teams wouldn't need to "shave" their staff numbers but rather decimate them, leaving hundreds of skilled people out of work.

"My utmost priority is protecting our structure and our people," said Wolff. "We have to consider that we have been here a long time, the same with Ferrari, and Red Bull, and some of the bigger structures. You need to lay it out and say 'this is our situation, how can we achieve success for F1, how can we cap costs, how can we achieve a sustainable business model', without having any hardship on anybody."

The one good thing to come out of the meeting however is that at least everyone now knows what is on the table, though few are commenting on claims that the proposals are not up for discussion and that teams (and manufacturers) cannot cherry-pick the bits the like and reject the bits they don't.

"Before it was all pretty much in the dark," Wolff admitted. "Now we know what the position is and we can work towards that position. Now at least you can properly assess this and say what do we like, what do we not like, what's feasible and what's not.

"We have to assess how we will achieve compromise, that will be our main priority. As long as we have confidence that there are good ideas kicking in that will grow revenue, that will grow our audiences and preserve the ones we already have, we are in.

"We want to preserve Formula 1's traditions," he insisted. "It's a high-tech sport, the best racing drivers in the best machines. As long as we can maintain that with a solid business model, we are happy."

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Published: 07/04/2018
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