Caterham F1’s Mike Gascoyne says that a budget cap is an absolute must in Formula One if there is any chance of the newer teams to survive. Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports F1, Gacoyne says that the budgets have gotten out of hand:
“It is absolute madness. If you look at the budget a team like us run off, which is £50million and is still a huge amount of money, and then you have teams spending six times that – if you had 20 Caterhams on the grid painted different colours, would you actually notice a difference? I don’t think you would. And in this era, I think a budget cap is the only way for this sport to survive.
“I think £50million is absolutely the right level to set it at, including drivers’ salaries and even my salary. [Former FIA President] Max Mosely tried to bring it in and it was very unpopular. But he didn’t do it in the right way and I didn’t agree with the way he did it, but you have to say what he wanted to do was correct.”
Mosley’s concept of a budget lured three new teams to F1 and unfortunately one of those teams, HRT, closed it’s doors at the end of the 2012 season. This leaves Caterham F1 and Marussia still standing as one of the “New” teams and Gascoyne says that could even change:
“You can’t suddenly spent £100million on all those facilities, seven-post rigs, wind tunnels etc, that these teams have. So it is a huge step up to move into Formula 1 and the most important thing for Caterham is to make sure it is sustainable and it survives, which I don’t think any of the other new teams will do.”
It’s a sober warning of just how much money is spent in Formula 1 and how small teams live on a razor’s edge with resources and the capacity to survive. Securing 10th place in the Constructor’s Championship was a massive victory for Caterham and worth approximate £7 million and you can see just how damaging that would be to a team like Marussia, who held the position heading into the final race of the season.
How can small teams survive in F1 at these spend levels? If smaller budgets were the certain doom Gascoyne claims, one wonders if Sauber, Lotus or Force India are all teetering on the edge of extinction. Perhaps to participate in F1 at whatever level you can muster is the point. If £50million gets you two cars that run at he back, then that’s what it gets you. Will it garner sponsors? That’s another difficult question.
What do you think of the current state of F1 and it’s continued concern of budget caps? Can the small teams survive or should the series look at 3-car teams or customer cars?