The FIA’s Max Mosley announced this week that F1 would offer a budget cap of Â£40 million for teams wishing to participate in the 2010 season. The teams agreeing to be cost regulated would have additional perks and benefits that the non-participating teams would have. Including unlimited testing, wind tunnel, CFD and engine revs to name a few. All of this is to ensure that the smaller teams would be as competitive as the large teams with much larger budgets. As there is no way to manage or re-distribute the amount of revenue the teams bring in, the only other way for Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone to manage the situation is to limit the amount of revenue spent…or so conventional wisdom would tell you judging by their statements. The details of just how to manage the outgoing cash and expenditures of a particular team has yet to be disclosed other than Max suggesting there is a certain amount of a self-governing and the honor system involved. I guess he is new to F1.
As expected, Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and even Force India have serious concerns about the proposed two-tier system. Ferrari’s Luca di Montezemolo has spoken out against the idea in a letter to the FIA. Mr. Mosley has fired back a retort suggesting that F1 will survive without Ferrari should the choose not to participate in the series over objections the the budget cap. The first shots of this war have been officially fired and some could argue they were actually shot across FOTA’s bow back in Australia.
“The sport could survive without Ferrari,” Mosley explained to the Financial Times. “It would be very sad to lose Ferrari. It is the Italian national team.
“I hope and think that when a team goes to its board and says, ‘I want to go to war with the FIA, because I want to be able to spend Â£100m more than the FIA want me to spend,’ the board will say, ‘Why can’t you spend Â£40m if the other teams can do it?'”
“The cost cap is here to stay,” he said. “There is room for discussion, it might go up or down in 2011 and if the economy picks up, say in 2014, then it might go up. You might adjust the cap in the interests of the sport, but you’ll have everyone on a level playing field.
“The credit crunch hasn’t really hit F1 yet. Obviously we lost Honda, but the real crunch will come when current contracts come to be renewed.
“Those contracts were signed before their share prices took a dump. I believe FOM [Formula One Management, the commercial rights holder of F1] will not be able to give the teams as much money as they have.”
“The difficulty and danger of cheating would be enormous,” Mosley said. “If we had the slightest suspicion that anyone was cheating, we’d send a team in to check. That’s part of the deal.
“The [Inland] Revenue can’t put even one tax inspector into each business on a permanent basis, we can put several in.”