Renault boss Flavio Briatore is adamant that Formula One’s image and popularity will not be damaged by drastic reductions in teams’ spending amid the global economic crisis.
The FIA unveiled a radical package of cost-cutting measures earlier in the month with estimated budget savings of around 30 per cent in 2009.
The options for 2010 and beyond including the availability of cheaper engines to smaller teams and the standardisation of major components are expected to slash costs further still.
While the FIA’s cost-cutting proposals have been welcomed by the Formula One community there have been fears that the increasing shift towards a standard ‘spec series’ could tarnish the sport’s popularity.
Briatore is confident however that Formula One will survive the global economic crisis, even with budget reductions in the region of up to 70 per cent cuts which he believes are entirely feasible providing Formula One’s powerbrokers commit to a total overhaul of the sport.
“The time for looking around the garage for different ways to cut costs is gone,” he told F1 Racing this month. “We have to take an overall look at Formula One.”
“I believe it’s possible to have the same show, or better, for 70 per cent less than we spend now.”
While Briatore believes that is possible to obtain a balance between cost-cutting and standardisation on the one hand, and technical innovation on the other, the Italian has stressed that improving the racing spectacle is of even more importance.
“Fans want to see racing,” he said, “I don’t think they’re interested in what your suspension is made of. We need to keep technology, but races are too predictable”
“Every time we have a good race it’s because something happened with a Safety Car or the weather. We need more fights between drivers.”
“The races should be held at a better time as well – 2pm on a Sunday night is not right. We need to be starting 6pm or 7pm.”
– With thanks to Bradley Lord and F1 Racing for quotes.