At-a-glance: 2010 Budget Cap

Teams taking up the FIA’s optional budget cap in 2010 will be forced to limit their spending to £40 million per year in exchange for greater technical freedom. This is £10 million higher than the original proposed budget cap.

  • The teams must apply by May 29 saying whether they will take up the option of a budget cap or not
  • Those teams who sign up will be able to run adjustable wings, engines with no rev limits and a more powerful KERS system. They will also escape the restrictions on wind tunnel testing and earn unlimited track testing out-of-season
  • The limit on spending will not include driver salaries or engine costs
  • A new Costs Commission will monitor and enforce the budget cap

Full statement from the FIA:

2010 FIA Formula One World Championship

Applications to compete in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship are to be submitted to the FIA during the period 22-29 May 2009. Teams must state in their application whether they wish to compete under cost-cap regulations.

The maximum number of cars permitted to enter the Championship has been increased to 26, two being entered by each competitor.

The FIA will publish the list of cars and drivers accepted on 12 June 2009, having first notified unsuccessful applicants.

From 2010, all teams will have the option to compete with cars built and operated within a stringent cost cap.

The cost cap for 2010 will be £40m per annum*. This figure will cover all team expenditure except:

Marketing and hospitality;
Remuneration for test or race drivers, including any young driver programmes;
Fines or penalties imposed by the FIA;
Engine costs (for 2010 only);
Any expenditure which the team can demonstrate has no influence on its performance in the Championship;
Dividends (including any tax thereon) paid from profits relating to participation in the Championship.
* For the purposes of these Regulations, the financial year is 1 January to 31 December.

A new Costs Commission is being set up to monitor and enforce these cost-cap financial regulations. The Costs Commission will consist of a Chairman and two other Commissioners, appointed by the WMSC for terms of three years.

One Commissioner should be a finance expert and the other should have high level experience in motor sport. The Chairman should have appropriate experience and standing in motor sport or sports governance. All members of the Costs Commission shall be independent of all teams.

In addition to the payments which it already makes to the top ten teams in the Championship, Formula One Management, the commercial rights holder, has agreed to offer participation fees and expenses to the new teams. This includes an annual payment of US$10 million to each team plus free transportation of two chassis and freight up to 10,000 kg in weight (not including the two chassis) as well as 20 air tickets (economy class) for each round trip for events held outside Europe.

To be eligible for this, each new team must qualify as a “Constructor” and demonstrate that it has the necessary facilities, financial resources and technical competence to compete effectively in Formula One.

To enable these cars to compete with those from teams which are not subject to cost constraints, the cost-capped cars will be allowed greater technical freedom.

The principal technical freedoms allowed are:

1. Movable wings, front and rear.
2. An engine which is not subject to a rev limit.

The teams will also be allowed unlimited out-of-season track testing with no restrictions on the scale and speed of wind tunnel testing.

Changes applicable to all teams

It was confirmed that from 2010, refuelling during a race will be forbidden in order to save the costs of transporting refuelling equipment and increase the incentive for engine builders to improve fuel economy (to save weight).

It was also confirmed that tyre blankets will be banned and that the ban on other tyre-heating devices will be maintained.

Full details plus information on further amendments to the 2010 Sporting and Technical Regulations will be available shortly on www.fia.com.

By exception, if supported by the Safety Commission, the FIA WMSC may approve the issue of the Formula One Super Licence to persons judged by the Council to have met the intent of the qualification process.

At-a-glance: 2010 Budget Cap

Teams taking up the FIA’s optional budget cap in 2010 will be forced to limit their spending to £40 million per year in exchange for greater technical freedom. This is £10 million higher than the original proposed budget cap.

  • The teams must apply by May 29 saying whether they will take up the option of a budget cap or not
  • Those teams who sign up will be able to run adjustable wings, engines with no rev limits and a more powerful KERS system. They will also escape the restrictions on wind tunnel testing and earn unlimited track testing out-of-season
  • The limit on spending will not include driver salaries or engine costs
  • A new Costs Commission will monitor and enforce the budget cap

Full statement from the FIA:

2010 FIA Formula One World Championship

Applications to compete in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship are to be submitted to the FIA during the period 22-29 May 2009. Teams must state in their application whether they wish to compete under cost-cap regulations.

The maximum number of cars permitted to enter the Championship has been increased to 26, two being entered by each competitor.

The FIA will publish the list of cars and drivers accepted on 12 June 2009, having first notified unsuccessful applicants.

From 2010, all teams will have the option to compete with cars built and operated within a stringent cost cap.

The cost cap for 2010 will be £40m per annum*. This figure will cover all team expenditure except:

Marketing and hospitality;
Remuneration for test or race drivers, including any young driver programmes;
Fines or penalties imposed by the FIA;
Engine costs (for 2010 only);
Any expenditure which the team can demonstrate has no influence on its performance in the Championship;
Dividends (including any tax thereon) paid from profits relating to participation in the Championship.
* For the purposes of these Regulations, the financial year is 1 January to 31 December.

A new Costs Commission is being set up to monitor and enforce these cost-cap financial regulations. The Costs Commission will consist of a Chairman and two other Commissioners, appointed by the WMSC for terms of three years.

One Commissioner should be a finance expert and the other should have high level experience in motor sport. The Chairman should have appropriate experience and standing in motor sport or sports governance. All members of the Costs Commission shall be independent of all teams.

In addition to the payments which it already makes to the top ten teams in the Championship, Formula One Management, the commercial rights holder, has agreed to offer participation fees and expenses to the new teams. This includes an annual payment of US$10 million to each team plus free transportation of two chassis and freight up to 10,000 kg in weight (not including the two chassis) as well as 20 air tickets (economy class) for each round trip for events held outside Europe.

To be eligible for this, each new team must qualify as a “Constructor” and demonstrate that it has the necessary facilities, financial resources and technical competence to compete effectively in Formula One.

To enable these cars to compete with those from teams which are not subject to cost constraints, the cost-capped cars will be allowed greater technical freedom.

The principal technical freedoms allowed are:

1. Movable wings, front and rear.
2. An engine which is not subject to a rev limit.

The teams will also be allowed unlimited out-of-season track testing with no restrictions on the scale and speed of wind tunnel testing.

Changes applicable to all teams

It was confirmed that from 2010, refuelling during a race will be forbidden in order to save the costs of transporting refuelling equipment and increase the incentive for engine builders to improve fuel economy (to save weight).

It was also confirmed that tyre blankets will be banned and that the ban on other tyre-heating devices will be maintained.

Full details plus information on further amendments to the 2010 Sporting and Technical Regulations will be available shortly on www.fia.com.

By exception, if supported by the Safety Commission, the FIA WMSC may approve the issue of the Formula One Super Licence to persons judged by the Council to have met the intent of the qualification process.

Budget cap will bring “two-tier F1”, warn McLaren and Williams

martinwhitmarsh-3.jpgToday’s €45million budget cap proposed by the FIA for the 2010 season could make the sport a ‘two-tier’ operation, McLaren Mercedes have warned.

The cap would be optional, with teams who accepted it allowed more technical freedom. This is seen as a way to make cost-cuts in the sport more attractive to FOTA, the teams’ organisation, which traditionally has opposed slashing budgets.

“We understand that some teams’ operational budgets may still be unnecessarily high in the challenging global economic situation in which we now find ourselves,” said team principal Martin Whitmarsh today.

“Nonetheless, we believe that the optimal solution – which may or may not include a budget cap, but which ideally would not encompass a two-tier regulatory framework – is most likely to be arrived at via measured negotiation between all parties.

“We at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes are happy to contribute to that process as and when required.”

Nevertheless some teams are in favour of the cap announced today, with Williams thought to be one of the interested parties. It is likely to appeal to an unusual alliance of manufacturers – concerned about money in the current economic climate – and privateer teams with limited budgets. However, bigger teams such as McLaren and Ferrari will obstruct any attempt to introduce a two-tier system.

Frank Williams today agreed with McLaren that one set of rules should apply, although he announced his continuing support for a budget cap.

“Williams has supported the introduction of a budget cap since the idea was first put forward early in 2008,” said Williams. “Since then FOTA has made tremendous steps forward on costs but the rationale for a budget cap has also grown even stronger.

“We would like to see all the teams operating to one set of regulations and under a budget cap in 2010 and that is the position we will be advocating within FOTA when we meet next week.

“We understand that this will represent a serious challenge for some of the teams but we expect that FOTA will work together to find a unified and constructive way to take the FIA’s initiative forward.”

Quote credit: Autosport

McLaren dealt suspended race ban

d07esp150McLaren have been given a suspended three-race ban for misleading stewards after the Australian Grand Prix.

The team faced the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris today and accepted five charges of bringing the sport into disrepute.

The FIA were satisfied with the organisational changes McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh made to the team in the wake of the incident – which included sacking sporting director Dave Ryan – and dealt the team a suspended race ban.

The penalty will only be enforced if “facts emerge regarding the case or there is a further breach by the team of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code.”

The FIA had a range of tougher sanctions available to them, including disqualifying the team from the world championship.

The sports governing body said in a statement: “Having regard to the open and honest way in which McLaren Team Principal, Mr Martin Whitmarsh, addressed the WMSC, and the change in culture which he made clear has taken place in his organisation, the WMSC decided to suspend the application of the penalty it deems appropriate.”

“The penalty is a suspension of the team from three races of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. This will only be applied if further facts emerge regarding the case or if, in the next 12 months, there is a further breach by the team of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code.”

McLaren accepted the decision and described it as a “very fair hearing.” Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “I would like to thank the FIA World Motor Sport Council members for affording me the opportunity to answer their questions this morning.”

“We are aware that we made serious mistakes in Australia and Malaysia, and I was therefore very glad to be able to apologise for those mistakes once again.

“I was also pleased to be able to assure the FIA World Motor Sport Council members that we had taken appropriate action with a view to ensuring that such mistakes do not occur again.”

After a difficult star to the season the team are now turning their attention to closing the gap to the current championship leaders.

“We now look forward with enthusiasm to continuing our efforts to develop a closer and more co-operative relationship between ourselves and the FIA,” the team said in a statement.

“We will also continue to focus our efforts on closing the performance gap that exists between our car and the fastest cars.

“Following Lewis Hamilton’s encouraging fourth place in Bahrain last Sunday, we are now optimistic that we will be able to play an increasingly competitive part in what is fast developing into a very exciting season of Formula 1 motor racing.”

Nelson Piquet springs to son’s defence

piquetrenault.jpgThree-time world champion Nelson Piquet Senior has spoken out to defend his son Nelson Piquet Jr. The Renault driver has endured a difficult start to his second season in the sport before an improved performance saw him finish only one place behind team-mate Fernando Alonso in Bahrain.

But team boss Flavio Briatore is suspected of having delivered an ultimatum to the Brazilian after his poor Bahrain qualifying session – to the effect that he must impress in the next few races or so, or he would be summarily sacked. Piquet’s father told German newspaper Auto Motor und Sport that he had talked with the Italian team principal.

“I said to Flavio that he will only get the maximum from Nelson if he gives him cover.

“If the engineers are roaring on the radio that he is driving badly because he lost his first quali lap in traffic, then how can a driver develop confidence?” said Piquet.

The legend went on to say that the team were not giving his son adequate support.

“Too often he has to drive in practice with a lot of fuel in the tank. The team knows that his problems are with lower fuel so they should let him drive more often in qualifying trim,” Piquet Senior said.

Decision day for FIA over McLaren “lie-gate”

fia-1.gifMcLaren-Mercedes today face the World Motor Sport Council of the FIA to answer charges of lying to race stewards over an incident at the first grand prix of the season in Australia.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh will face the Council alone and without legal representation, forumula1.com understands. He will read a statement and then answer questions from the panel about the controversial incident.

McLaren are in the dock because they were found to have lied about whether Lewis Hamilton was instructed by the team to let Jarno Trulli’s Toyota back through after Hamilton had legitimately passed him. Initially the team told stewards no instruction had been given, which was later proved to be false by recorded radio transmissions.

McLaren will face charges of instructing its employee to back up, and then repeat, its false statement. The team will then be charged with not seeking to correct the error, despite Toyota and Trulli having been punished wrongly.

Although team manager Dave Ryan lost his job over the issue, there are suspicions that the falsehood was sanctioned by higher levels in the organisation. Today’s hearing will also seek to establish whether that did indeed take place.

McLaren is expected to receive a punishment, most likely a fine, although some form of sporting sanction could also come to pass. There are suspicions, however, that both parties are seeking to draw a line under the issue, which does not show the sport in a particularly good light.

Brawn pays tribute to “exceptional” Button

button3.jpgBrawn GP team principal Ross Brawn has paid tribute to lead driver and championship leader Jenson Button. Button has excelled so far this season in a car which has finally allowed him to show off his talent, and his boss led the accolades after Button’s win in Bahrain.

“His speed is quite exceptional, yet you would never know it watching him because he’s so incredibly smooth.”

Brawn told journalists after the grand prix that he had always believed in Button’s skill, which apparently even showed through last year, when the Honda RA108 car was uncompetitive.

“Even with the car we had last year I saw little flashes of something exceptional from him and the guys on the team that had been here a few years were always telling me he was a bit special,” said Brawn, quoted by the BBC. “I just had not been privileged to see it on a regular basis.

“But now with a good car he is able to deliver and I think that first proper win from the front in Australia [Button’s Hungary win in 2006 was by all standards an unusual race] has given him a confidence that has brought an extra dimension.’

Button has always been a good driver, in the second rank of talent behind the real phenomena who arrive and change the sport, such as Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton. A good way to judge the relative talent of a driver is how he deals with uncompetitive machinery, and a Hamilton or an Alonso will shine despite bad cars, something they both are proving this year.

However, there is a school of thought which suggests that because of Button’s uniquely smooth style he needs a stable car to show his talent. This year he certainly has that in the Brawn BGP 001, and is showing his dominance over team-mate Rubens Barrichello, something he did not always do last year.

Williams: We need to improve in Europe

Sam MichaelWilliams technical director Sam Michael admits the team are not where they hoped to be going into the European season.

The Grove-based outfit, one of the three teams to have a split-diffuser on their car in Melbourne, started the season strongly with Nico Rosberg qualifying in fifth and fourth place in Melbourne and Malaysia.

The potential of the FW31 was unleashed in Sepang as Rosberg vaulted into the lead, only for heavy rain to spoil his chance of a possible win and podium.

In general though Williams have not been able to produce the same race pace as the Brawn GP, Red Bull and Toyota cars. The best Rosberg could manage in Bahrain was ninth place, as McLaren and Renault, now with interim split-diffusers, got the jump on Williams too.

Technical director Sam Michael knows the team will have to improve the FW31 ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix in a fortnight.

“We didn t leave Bahrain in the position where we needed to be,” the Australian said. “We ve only accumulated 3.5 points from four races this season and we need to improve upon that going into the European rounds if we re going to stay in the game.”

“It s clear from this weekend s Grand Prix that we definitely need to perform better in qualifying and to assist the drivers going into the first corner, among other things.”

Montezemolo explains reasons for Ferrari malaise

0713-0088Ferrari and FIAT President Luca di Montezemolo has taken the unprecedented step of listing a number of his reasons why his team are not at the front of the grid in 2009.

The Italian, who is widely credited with leading the team’s renaissance from the mid-1990s onwards, principally blamed the rules, complacency and KERS for the problems his team are suffering.

In an interview with the BBC, Montezemolo firstly looked at the rules.

“We have seen very badly written rules. They are what I call grey rules, with different interpretations.

“And if teams that have won the last three world championships, like Renault, McLaren and Ferrari, and important team and car manufacturers like BMW and even Red Bull, have one interpretation, it means that at least the rules are not clear.

So, very unclear rules means different interpretations, which means different cars in the field.”

He went on to discuss the advent of KERS, with which his team has persisted despite doubts over its reliability and usefulness.

“It represents a lot of money. It represents something that has been introduced to have a link between F1 and advanced research for road cars in terms of energy, and in terms of green [technology] and in terms of innovation.

“We have done the Kers immediately, even if it means a lot of money, safety, and reliability and it means to project a completely different car – as McLaren have done and as a lot of other teams have done.

“But we have been surprised to see Kers was just a suggestion, not a [requirement]. And today we are facing a very strange and in my opinion not positive situation.”

Montezemolo linked the use of KERS to the discrepancy he sees between the 2009 competitors.

“We have three different F1 on the grid – we have F1 competition cars with Kers, F1 competition between cars with no Kers and a different floor, and third competitors with no Kers and no floor.

“This is bad, and it is one of the reasons why unfortunately we are not competitive and we are forced to invest time, and extra money in such a difficult moment, to do a heavy modification to our car.

Finally, Montezemolo laid some blame at the door of the team itself. He reinforced the popular perception that Ferrari’s woes are connected with its late-season championship challenge in 2008 and the ensuing drastic rule changes, which precluded a linear approach to 2009.

“Another reason is that we have started to work in a hard way to the new car late,” said Montezemolo.

“And this was a pity, particularly in a year in which the rules have been completely new. It is not, in other words, an evolution of last year’s car, and this is a second reason why we have not been competitive.

“And the last reason is that I feel inside the team there has been a little bit too much of a presumptuous approach.

“Sometimes to put the head down in the ground is useful to looking ahead, but I must say that sometimes having your whole head, feet, everything in the ground, even more underground, is better.”

Montezemolo’s outburst will come as no surprise to the paddock. He is thought to be taking more interest in the management of the team this season, having withdrawn from the front line while the team were enjoying success.

Pressure will come from Munich, warns Theissen

p90044825-zoomBMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen has warned that the BMW Sauber F1 team will come under pressure from bosses in Munich if results do not improve.

The Hinwil-based squad has endured a difficult start to the season with wildly fluctuating form, culminating in an ignominious Bahrain weekend when Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld finished dead last.

While the squad were expected to be one of the dark horses for success this season, they have struggled with an unreliable KERS system and a car which has proved difficult to set up at some circuits. Theissen said that although the sport was good value for the German marque, results have to come.

“Formula One (for BMW) is valuable,” Theissen is quoted as saying by RTL.

“Before the season the project was evaluated again in detail and the financial situation was part of the analysis, but in the long-term we also need success,” he said.

The German marque are thought to be in reasonable health as far as carmakers go in the current global climate. But such is the expense of F1, the teams need to justify themselves regularly to maintain investment from manufacturers.