F1 in deadlock?

12/06/2019
NEWS STORY

Nothing in F1 is ever easy.

In an ideal world the rules and regulations for 2021 should have been done and dusted, well in time for this month's deadline.

However, with the teams yet to be presented, far less agree to, the definitive package, both in terms of the technical regulations and the far-reaching plans for the financial side of things, much like Brexit, it is widely anticipated that Friday's meeting of the World Motor Sport Council will see everything postponed until October.

However, for that to happen, all ten teams would need to agree, and as ever, there is dissent.

As it stands, Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Racing Point, Renault and Williams are set to object to the postponement, convinced that the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are seeking the delay for their own interests. As if.

All ten teams meet on Thursday, ahead of Friday's WMSC meeting, and if agreement cannot be reached the sport has a major issue on its hands, for without unilateral support there will be no delay and the 2021 rules and regulation will have to be finalised by the end of the month.

The only trouble being that they are not ready.

"We want what will bring the best balance to the sport," Zak Brown tells the BBC. "As a sport we spend way more money than we need to go racing and put on a good show for the fans.

"We're one of the few industries that hasn't adjusted to today's economic realities," he continues, "and as a major sport we have more financial imbalance among competitors than any other.

"We need to push forward so that every team has a reasonable opportunity to be competitive. We need to lock down the future of the sport before it's too late."

The technical regulations aside, and they are far from settled what with the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari concerned at the move towards standardised parts, among other things, there is the plan to do away with certain bonuses, a more equal division of the prize pot and the introduction of a budget cap.

At the weekend it emerged that whereas the figure originally proposed was a sliding scale agreement that would eventually see teams limited to $150m (117.3m), it is now intended to set the limit at $175m (137m). Furthermore, rather than starting at $200m (156.4m) and coming down to $150m as originally intended, the figure would be set at $175m from the outset, coming into force in 2021..

While this would be a major reduction for the big teams which currently spend in excess of $300m a year, many of the small teams don't spend - or have - anything like $175m.

Furthermore, in an added F1-style twist, certain things are not included in the $175m... little things like driver salaries, engines, marketing, hospitality and the salaries of the three highest paid executives.

Whether Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Racing Point, Renault and Williams can be persuaded tomorrow to agree to the postponement to October remains to be seen, and while some teams might be cajoled into falling in line, it is highly unlikely that Renault will be one of them.

At a time headlines scream that Sunday's controversial penalty for Sebastian Vettel was a case of the sport shooting itself in the foot, Formula One really may be seen with a pronounced limp this weekend unless the teams can put self-interest aside and agree what's best for the sport as a whole.

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Published: 12/06/2019
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