Ferrari oppose budget cap

0713-0088Ferrari have joined rivals McLaren in voicing their opposition against the FIA’s budget cap for 2010.

The FIA confirmed this week that an optional £40 million budget cap would be available to the teams in 2010 in return for greater technical freedom.

The cap received mixed reaction from the teams with support from the smaller independent teams such as Williams and Force India, but concern from McLaren about the prospect of a two-tier championship.

Ferrari, traditionally one of the most well-resourced teams in the sport, have been hit hard by the FIA’s cost-cutting measures particularly the restrictions on testing – and it should come as no surprise to hear that team boss Luca Di Montezemolo, who believes that cost-cutting should go hand in hand with a more equal distribution of the sports commercial income has also voiced his concern about the proposal.

In a letter to FIA President Max Mosley obtained by the Reuters news agency two days before the budget cap was announced, di Montezemolo said he had “always been concerned” about the idea because of the “serious technical difficulties in making sure that any cap can realistically be monitored.”

“Additionally, any controversy on the actual respect of the cost cap would undermine the image of Formula One and could seriously damage any involved team,” he added.

Publicly, Ferrari have refused to comment on the budget cap. But a statement issued by the team on Friday reiterates the teams standpoint in favour of a traditional free-market in Formula One.

“As the only team to have taken part in every F1 World Championship since its inception in 1950 up to the present day, Ferrari strongly believes that this sport should maintain its principles of being at the cutting edge in terms of research, with the teams thus taking part in a sporting and technical contest,” the statement read.

Luca di Montezemolo has been proactive in his capacity as chairman of FOTA (Formula One Teams’ Association) to make Formula One more sustainable. The Italian has long been calling for a more equal distribution of the sports commercial revenue, something which the statement also alludes to.

“Ferrari, along with all the other teams in FOTA (Formula One Teams’ Association), has, for some time now, felt the urgent need for a significant reduction in costs as from this year, and believes that the future of this sport requires stability of the regulations and the gradual achievement over the next two to three years of a cost-profit balance which would allow current teams to remain in the sport while at the same time encouraging the arrival of new ones.”

‘This is the position Ferrari wants to underline today,’ the statement concluded, ‘in the interests of the sport without looking to cause pointless controversy which would be harmful to all those involved in this sport.’ The team’s view follows mixed opinions from Force India plus McLaren and Williams’ disagreement with running a two-tier championship.

Speaking elsewhere on the official Formula One website, di Montezemolo said: “We want Formula 1 to be a technologically competitive series where there is competition in which we can develop gearboxes, engines, electronics and, yes, why not KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems).”

“Competing in Formula 1 means extreme competition between teams, drivers, cars, technology and technicians. We want to maintain this kind of level. This is the reason why we’ve been against a standardised engine.

“What I feel is important is that we have stability and credibility of governance of Formula 1. What I think we need is a strong political authority, we need clear rules, we need teams that are very close away from the track and [have]good competition at the track and we need a modern, efficient company as the commercial rights-holder.”

“Having said that I don’t like to do polemics, as this is what Formula One doesn’t need as it is facing difficult times. I personally have a lot of passion and Ferrari has a lot of passion, but this is not a never-ending story, so we will see.”