Sauber critical of F1’s cost-cutting

The FIA and the F1 Strategy Group have agreed on cost-cutting measures for 2015 which include a reduction in wind tunnel time, CFD ratios and testing (no tests outside of Europe). According to Christian Horner and Red Bull, these cuts are fine as he told AUTOSPORT:

“We spent quite a while talking about things and so on and we’ve agreed a couple of things for next year which will save money.”

However, not everyone is happy about the changes being made or more to the point, the few changes being made. Sauber’s Monisha Kaltenborn was looking for more sweeping changes than they she received and as a team that isn’t represented on the F1 Strategy Group, she was asked to proffer her ideas to the FIA on what measures could be taken. Apparently those went nowhere:

“If you mention the World Motor Sport Council there was a decision taken last year in which they endorsed cost-cutting as a target and they also agreed in principle to the cost cap and the FIA was mandated to implement that.

“Since then other decisions have been taken by other groups going in a different direction.

“Following that other teams, ours as well, the ‘non-Strategy Group teams’ I’d say, were asked to bring proposals in about how you can achieve a sustainable cost base while still promoting competition.

“We did that, we also didn’t get anywhere on that. In my understanding I really wonder what the FIA is now going to do and how Formula 1 is going to be governed in this respect.”

Apparently Sauber, and other small teams, were looking for bigger measures in the cost-cutting initiatives but have come away with limited concepts. It seems difficult to be in a team not represented by the F1 Strategy Group and to be looking for serious cost-cutting in order to stabilize your team’s continued presence in F1 but there is another side of the coin.

If you consider that F1 is the highest form of motorsport, then surely the cost to compete is equally high and such is life in F1. Some may argue that to participate, serious enquiries need only apply. If a team can’t muster the resources then perhaps another series would be more appropriate.

The counter to that is that F1 will become a microcosm of Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren while the other teams will never be able to compete at the levels these teams compete at given their galactic budgets. Should there be a balancing element through regulations that render even the biggest budgets incapable of simply buying your way to the front row?

What do you think could be a regulatory concept that would render performance gains negligible when you pour cash into it? If by removing this element, no amount of money will improve your performance advantage and also by removing it, costs would dramatically be reduced? Any ideas?

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