Ecclestone: Budget cap is workable

Bernie Ecclestone insists a budget cap for F1 teams is “workable”.

That is despite the fact that when the idea was proposed by former FIA president a few years ago, the teams banded together and threatened to quit the sport. But F1 chief executive Ecclestone has now told the Sunday Express newspaper that working to an imposed maximum budget is “the direction people are going in. It is workable”.

His comments are in contrast to those he made earlier in the year when he told Auto Motor und Sport, “It (the Budget Cap) wouldn’t work. You can’t stop people from spending the money they have. They will always find a way to get around whatever you try to do to control it. Instead, the technical rules should be written so that it is not possible to just use money to make a faster car.”


Behind the glitz, F1 looks to solve costs crisis

Formula One is always glamorous and shiny, but this weekend in Valencia, a harsh alter-reality is also obvious.

Floating in the port city’s harbour is the Indian Express, one of the world’s biggest and most valuable private superyachts that is owned by Vijay Mallya, the boss not only of Force India but also the sinking airline Kingfisher. That the Indian billionaire’s boat is such a centrepiece this weekend is a paradox, amid near-empty grandstands in crisis-struck Spain and frenzied discussions in the motor homes about the urgent need to slash costs.

“He (Mallya) probably doesn’t know whether it’s good times or bad,” Williams co-owner Toto Wolff shrugged to the Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung.

F1 is considering a number of measures to reduce costs, or increase incomes. One option for the latter is simply to expand the calendar, collecting and sharing new promoters’ money. One rumour is that up to three or four new races could be added to the 2013 schedule.

“The year has 52 weeks. We should have 26 grand prix!” Toro Rosso’s Franz Tost said half-seriously, causing his Lotus counterpart Eric Boullier to explode with laughter.

“There is no exact number, no magic number,” the Frenchman agreed, “but I’m rather like Franz — more races, why not?”

Another idea could provide a new source of income for the bigger teams, whilst reducing the vast design and manufacturing costs for the minnows and providing better value for their sponsors — customer cars.

“I would like to see some of the smaller teams with a single car sold by a top team, which had been used the previous year,” Bernie Ecclestone is quoted by the Sapa-AFP news agency. “Perhaps it could be driven by a rookie. Some teams would certainly get better results compared to now and spend less, immediately,” he added.

The F1 chief executive seemed to rule out a “budget cap”.

“It wouldn’t work,” he is quoted by the Spanish newspaper AS. “You can’t stop the teams from spending all of the money they have.”


2013 F1 budget cap possible

It is possible Formula One teams will be limited to a budget cap in 2013, according to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

The budget cap idea saw the sport almost implode amid the bitter political war of 2009, when proposed by controversial former FIA president Max Mosley. But it is back on the agenda in 2012, and according to new rules – where a majority of teams can now push through a change – it could be imposed next season.

“Ten of the 12 teams are in favour,” Auto Motor und Sport said, referring to the push to have cost-cutting moved from the FOTA gentleman’s agreement to the actual sporting regulations.

It means that the two dissenting teams, the Red Bull-owned Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, will have no say.

“The cost to be competitive in Formula One at present is too high,” the boss of the energy drink company’s premier team, Christian Horner, said recently. “I don’t think anybody will dispute that. The debate is how we achieve it.”

Not only that, the German report said nine teams are in favour of Mosley’s old budget cap idea, with annual expenditure limited initially to EUR 170 million and then diminishing to 100 million over a few seasons.