he prospect of radical cost-cutting in F1 is hanging in the balance, as Jean Todt’s end-of-June deadline looms and Formula One teams dither.
That is the claim of Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, reporting the risk that June 30 could come and go without significant reforms being put to the World Motor Sport Council.
After Saturday, the 2013 rules can only be influenced by the teams in the unlikely event that they can completely agree. There were heated discussions – even involving FIA president Todt and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone – at Valencia recently, but large areas of common ground are yet to be trodden.
“At least seven of the 12 teams are on a fine line if for example they lose a sponsor,” journalist Michael Schmidt said. “In this environment, it’s a mystery why the teams are still arguing about the introduction of cost control in the FIA sporting regulations.”
Toto Wolff, a shareholder who is gaining increasing influence at Williams, urged the need to police breaches of the cost rules, citing rumours some teams are simply ignoring the current resource restriction agreement.
“We need clear penalties as deterrents,” said the Austrian.
But his boss Sir Frank Williams said in an interview this week that he is “against any kind of interference”.
“I don’t want any third-party interference with one’s business, to have people sneaking around wanting to check this and that,” he said. “It’s just like waiting for the taxman every day.”
That interview has now disappeared from F1’s official website. And Auto Motor und Sport reports that Lotus and Force India – teams that arguably should welcome cost cutting – are opposed to the further culling of allowed wind tunnel testing time.
It seems the middle-ranking teams are most worried about the cost of buying a V6 engine and KERS package.
“I will ensure that it remains affordable,” Todt is quoted as saying, but the prices being quoted behind closed doors by F1’s engine suppliers tell a different story.