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