Talking budget caps on TV tonight

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I’ve been invited to appear on Sky News’s programme tonight to talk about – what else? – the budget caps row.

If you’ve got Sky News tune in at 7pm tonight to see if I can explain budget capping, two-tiered regulations and FIA rules without confusing myself…

I’ve been on the programme a couple of time now and often get asked what fans make of the latest F1 row – so please share any thoughts you have on the subject either here or on this article: The FIA must not let its row with Ferrari become a split that would destroy F1

Do you think the budget capping plan is realistic? Can ehe FIA force through the controversial 2010 regulations? Are the manufacturers being genuine with their threat to quit? What would happen if F1 split?

I’m also appearing on another programme on BBC Radio Four next week – more on that later.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 52 comments on “Talking budget caps on TV tonight”

    1. I personally think budget caps are a great idea. But the two tiered implementation is unfair for a lot of teams. They should instead make cap gradual over the next few years.

    2. What this fan wants —

      • No artificial 2 tyre compounds per race rule
      • More technical freedom, not standardization
      • New governance (not Max)
      • No two-tier rules
      • No budget caps — this will become self-fulfilling as no sponsor or manufacturer will continue to spend as the had. Formula One is about survival of the fittest.

      To answer your questions, the FIA is using the new regs as a negotiation starting point as always. I believe the manufacturers would quit if Max gets his way, but Bernie will smooth things over. If F1 split, next year might suck, but I don’t think it would end up like CART and IRL in the USA. All the best teams, money and drivers would migrate to one series (wherever Ferrari ends up).

      1. Toby Thwaites 93
        14th May 2009, 20:54

        Am i right in saying Bernie made the teams sign an agreement that they wouldnt split up and form a new championship away from FIA or something?

    3. I think having a budget cap is itself not such a bad idea.

      The problem is that car manufacturers have started blowing up tthe budgets starting in the late eighties. Porsche, Honda and then Renault put up ever bigger budgets to get better engines.

      Nowadays the car manufacturers are tripping over themselves to spend more and more money to outdo each other.

      It’s ridiculous. Once they spend their billions to go a few second a lap faster, the FIA steps in and changes the rules to make the cars slower again.

      If the budgets go down at worst the rate of development will go down so the FIA won’t have to change their rules so often. Who cares about that really?

      I guess enforcing the budget cap might introduce some difficulties, but that should be possible to iron out.

      What I think the teams are having problems with currently is:
      – The way they get rule changes forced down their throats
      – The budget cap is ridiculously steep
      – The two tier rules

      The last item is the least of the problems though. The teams really have no option but to go for the budget cap. From the press conference I got that the moving rear wing alone can gain 1.5 to 2 seconds a lap. No way is any huge budget going to compete with that.

      The teams don’t like the silly speed with which these proposals are hurried through (without even consulting the Technical Workgroup or the teams beforehand)

      The main problem that covers the other two items is the ridiculous negotiating tactic that Mosley seems to use.

      He did the same thing with the standard engine. The teams didn’t want to cooperate in selling engines for a low enough amount. So he proposes some ridiculous measures with an option out if the teams sell their engines for a small amount. Teams op for the latter and Mosley wins the day.

      Now it seems he tries the same. He proposes some ridiculously low budget cap. Says that the teams can spend all the money they want if they insist (which is pointless since no realistic budget is going to beat the budget capped car) and waits for the teams to come with a counter proposal that they beforehand would never have agreed to.

      Mosley realy shouldn’t fight these deals in public. FOTA should be part of the negotiating together with FIA and FOM. So all together they can come to a sensible conclusion and not create this senseless panic everytim he wants the teams to accept something they don’t want to accept.

      It doesn’t just create panic amongst the fans, it also alienates them and ridicules the sport. It makes people spend money writing up proposals which will never be used anyway (who’s going to buy that Cosworth engine?). There will be no 40 million budget cap. It’s just a negotiating startpoint. It will be revised, so all the people working on F1 teams based on that 40 mil budget cap are wasting their time.

      Personally, I’d hope the teams would break away. Set up an F1 type racing league organized like DTM. Which is by the teams themselves. FIA can approve rule changes and the money would stay within the organization rather than flowing to some Hungarian ex-wife.

      Unfortunately, instead I guess they will come to some compromise where:
      – the initial budget cap is set much higher
      – the budget cap will be gradually lowered
      – the budget cap will be mandatory for all teams

      On the other hand, if all else fails, I’d love to see Ferrari back at Le Mans.

    4. Anything that gives the teams a bit more technical freedom I’m for it. The budget cap does seem to do that, but I don’t like the two-tiered approach they’re trying to implement. You can’t expect the big teams to just slash their budgets like that over night.

      There are other ways to give more technical freedom. Someone suggested over on James Allen’s blog that the cars should just run with standard aero and brakes, since aero costs the most, and pretty much free up the engine restrictions restricting only the mileage it is allowed in a season. That seems like quite a good idea to me.

    5. I think the really important thing is to make it clear that this is NOT all about the money. Every team, including Ferrari & Toyota (actually the biggest spender) has said they think cost-cutting is needed.
      This is about the governance of the sport – the arbitary way in which the FIA now changes regs; the impossibility of the current FIA suggestions actually working & the need for the teams to take a much larger part in the rules, regulations & commercial running of their own sport.
      The objection to the budget cap itself is almost secondary. Cuts must be made but on a sensible sliding & pre-agreed timescale where regulations are stable enough for the teams to be able to plan ahead & not have the usual FIA surprise change or interpretation thrown in at the last minute.
      Please just don`t let people continue to tink that it`s all about rich teams not wanting to have their budgets curbed. That`s not it at all.

    6. Bigbadderboom
      14th May 2009, 14:46

      Good luck with this tonight Keith. I think it’s important that the fans views are aired and I’m sure you will do us proud.

      I think it’s important to understand where the FIA and Max are coming from on this. They are trying to preserve F1 and bring more competition to the sport. Budget capping was an obvious answer to their dilemma but it has been ill conceived from the start. Development restrictions, further regulation changes and the current economic climate combined with the squeeze all the sponsors are feeling, may have well bought the same result.

      I think it’s important to talk about how badly Max has dealt with the teams over the issue, by often employing schoolyard tactics to try and bully the teams and get reactive responses from them eg ” F1 could survive without Ferrari” Is just poking Ferrari with a stick. And using the situation to try and split the newly formde FOTA. For me this episode has demonstrated Max’s unsuitability for the role of head of the FIA.

      Finally, it’s going to be very interesting how this resolves itself. The majority of the grid are insistant that the cap is increased vastly, and there are at least 3 new teams who are in the process of trying to get cars to grid for £40 million, and almost everybody is against a two tier formula. I really think this will be the issue that splits the sport, is a breakaway series really as far fetched as we all thought not so long ago.

    7. Christian Briddon
      14th May 2009, 14:46

      The budget cap is a good idea in principle but the way it is being implemented it just wrong.

      Max is surely just doing this to antagonise the teams. Let’s hope he will agree to a compromise as I truely believe the teams would leave if not.

      What F1 needs is a graduated reduction in budget, less constant fiddling with the rules which has to cost the teams millions, and to be rid of Max and Bernie as neither of them seem to have any love of the sport and are only driving it into the ground.

    8. Can we not look at this from another angle? If the FIA stopped changing the goalposts every other year over technical regulations then the smaller teams will eventually start to catch up. All what is needed is a prolonged period of stable rules so that the teams can eventually catch up to one another.

      It is a testament to both Force India and Williams that they are able to stay so close to the other teams with bigger budgets, I don’t count Brawn because they built this car on Honda’s budget, it’s another argument that I don’t want to discuss in this thread.

      To me the biggest risk for the FIA is to lose the manufacturers and the drivers. I am sure FOTA will create a breakaway series if they are pushed and you can bet the drivers will be going with them, simply put any new team coming into F1 on a budget are going to be small and they just won’t be able to match the £££’s that the FOTA teams will be able to provide.

      Going back to the budget cap has there ever in the history of business ever been a businessman who has shown an independant authority his red book? The fact that they want to govern via a cap is a joke. For instance how would the FIA decide over the cap limit’s on two teams such as Renault (WSR) and Ferrari (GP2) who are supplying racing equipment to other tiered series, surely they can just spend an unlimited amount on those series and bring the technology back into F1 and enjoy the unrestricted rules.

      So to summarise more stable technical regulations as well as stricter technical regulations which would limit the reason for expensive R&D is the answer not introducing a cap that is impossible to govern.

    9. Good luck on tonight’s program Keith, I will be watching.

      If they were to implement this budget cap, how are they going to control it? If they go over the budget does that mean they will be penalised?. It does not seem a fair system. It will only hurt development and most of all the racing on the circuit. Once people see that its not racing and more economics, they will turn off there tv’s on a Sunday afternoon and be gone for good.

      If the FIA do go through with this then they will kill F1 for good in my opinion.

    10. I do not have a problem with budget capping in principal Keith.
      However the main reason to me, is that the teams keep on spiralling their costs because the governing body keep changing the goal posts on them almost every year.
      Ever changing regulations just mean the teams have to spend more and more money on developing their cars to these new technical regs.
      If F1 was allowed to have several years of stabilised regulations then the teams would eventually reduce their budgets naturally.
      But as we seem to be heading for a budget cap then i have to disagree with the way it is being implemented. It can only cause chaos to the sport by demanding such a low cap in the first place and the possibility of a two tier system which just cannot work.
      Everyone is against it.

      I agree with Patrick when he says it is Just Max Mosley flexing his muscles and using it as a bargaining tool.

      Whatever happens i hope that F1 gets back to some sort of normality soon.

      Good luck on the show tonight Keith. By the way who else is appearing with you, or is it just you?
      And i wish i could get access to Sky News somehow. No chance with being in America.

      Please tell us all about it tomorrow.

    11. Oh and Keith, have you sorted that idiot spammer using yours and other peoples name in vain?

      1. GOOD LUCK KEITH!!!

        Think i know who the spammer is!!! more info contact me Keith.

    12. Keith,

      I always enjoy your site and the discussion that goes on. Here is my comment for what its worth regarding budget caps.

      How can anyone enforce a budget cap when the exchange rates around the world are not fixed. Back in the early 90’s the £/$ rate almost halved overnight – so if you had a US team and a UK team overnight one team would in effect be able to double its resources. Surely no commercial outfit can work on that basis where it might have to lay off most of its staff half way through a season due to moving exchange rates.

      Additionally the cap will drive teams to low cost countries like India and China where they can get more for their money. anyone for a Chinese Ferrari? I read somewhere that the maximum team size and materials are specified in one of the US series which at least is easy to measure and fair, unlike the current proposals.

      Sadly will not be able to see you on Sky as its not available in Bulgaria.

    13. Me again with apologies because I didn`t answer all your questions…….
      “Are the manufacturers being genuine with their threat to quit?”
      Yes. If the FIA (& to a degree also Bernie) don`t make compromises I believe the teams will walk away. The manufacturers are all to some degree or other involved in other series, anyway.
      Many in the UK don`t seem to know about Ferrari`s Challenge Series because it gets no real coverage here but it runs in the US, Europe & Italy & could be extended. There are always other alternatives.
      F1 isn`t the be-all-and-end-all if it doesn`t meet the requirements.

      “What would happen if F1 split?”
      F1 as we have known it would die.
      I can`t see a mad rush to form a break away series. It may come in the future but I don`t think it`s on the cards right now.
      Incidentally, I`d be really interested to know how many broadcasters have clauses in their contracts which allow them to opt out if the big names don`t appear.
      Mr E`s nails must be chewed down to the elbows. OK – that`s not so far we know ;-)

      What would happen if F1 split?

    14. tell them you’re the stig :D

    15. I think that this is all high level brinksmanship from the FIA and Ferrari. But with Ecclestone coming down on the side of Ferrari it looks like FIA will have to back down in some shape or form. I expect the budget cap to remain, but to be raised by a certain – probably signiciant – amount.

    16. Hey Keith,

      You had anohter interview sometime back. I dont get skynews (US)and I did not see you post it. Are you going to be able to post this one?

    17. Good luck on Sky tonight.

      I feel the budget row is another problem caused by the way the sport is run. The way that this and other issues have been handled by Max Mosley and the FIA gives me the impression one of two things to be case, either they are incapable of running F1 as it is now, or if as some suggest, that these are deliberate tactics being used by Mosley, which I think is even worse.

      In any case I think the best thing that could happen to F1 is regime change, with Max and Bernie both retiring.

      Budget capping can only work in F1 if everyone works out the details together, the teams and the FIA, not just Max dictating what he thinks should happen, and trying to make sure he gets his way by creating a two tier Formula One where the budget capped teams will be much faster.

      I believe the manufactures’ threat to quit is genuine, but that they probably think a compromise will be reached in the end, which is what I think/hope, will happen.

    18. I think one thing that seems to be overlooked in this whole Ferrari vs FIA debacle (wow, havent heard anyone say “FIArrari in a while…) is that Ferrari’s F1 team constitutes a huge portion of their overal R&D efforts. So Max is basically telling them to cut research and development to the quick (and the headcount that comes with it) for a budget cap that CANT in reality be enforced. I certainly hope their quit threat is genuine. Wouldnt mind seeing the Scuderia return to sports prototype racing…

      1. Yeah the currently proposed cut is so deep that they might as well close up shop completely.

        Going from 400 milion to 40 milion is hardly worse than straight down to 0 milion.

    19. As a fan, I have no problem with the idea of a budget cap per se.

      However, the premise of a two tier championship is awful. Furthermore, 40 million is far too low a number. Even if they were to start higher and parachute down to that figure. It is true that obscene amounts of money are currently spent. But, Formula 1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor sport and I can’t see it being the same on 40 million in today’s world. Somewhere nearer 100 could be acceptable. Even then, it should be in exchange for genuine freedom in design. Not just the right to more KERS and so on. Think how exciting it would be to see cars designed from the ground up having to adhere only to certain core rules to preserve key F1 features and safety.

      One final thing of which I am certain: this whole incident has made it clearer than ever that Formula 1 needs fresh blood at the top. I have great respect for Ecclestone and the show he has created. I have some respect for Mosley. But I find myself often appalled at the way in which they manage the sport. Why on earth should Formula 1 continue to be considered a great sport if it is run in an apparently ad hoc and unfair manner? It makes a joke of motor racing.

    20. Budget cap personally will be a good idea, to cut cost etc. it is time to reign in the big guns, and to b honest i wouldnt be upset to see renault go, i think that they have had their day. UNfortunately Keith i will miss have to go round the in laws!! Good Luck!

    21. Good luck Keith, I’ll be watching :-)

      Most important: GET RID OF MAX MOSLEY!

    22. Which ones I’m ok with:
      Budget Cap = Yes, if workable
      2 Tier rules = No
      F1 Split = No
      Ferrari leave = Don’t mind either way
      More technical freedom = Yes

      Maybe better rules to reduce costs would be better than a budget cap and would be more workable to start with, like limiting the number of engineers a team can hire etc. Suddenly dropping to £40m is a big change.

    23. The fundamental problem is that it’s too much too soon. (The FIA may be well aware of this and may be using this as an effective negotiation tactic).

    24. Good luck tonight. I’ll be another viewer!

      My prediction on how this will end: £60m with 1 set of regulations kind of in-between the two-tier solution.

      The teams are not going to budge, and although Max has a history of always forcing through what he wants, I think he’s going to end up easing back this time a little.

      Dialectics is the word I believe.

    25. I am in favour of the budget cap, but not in the way it is being introduced. You cannot expect the big teams to slash their budget in the space of 1 year, this should be gradually phased in.

      I know there are teams waiting in the wings to join in but should we take in Prodrive, Team USA etc and let Ferrari, Toyota, Renault and Red Bull go? Absolutely not. Phase it in over a number of years, gradually reducing the max budget. This will keep the same regulations and specifications for all teams on the grid.

      This two-tiered system is nonsense!

    26. Sush Meerkat
      14th May 2009, 18:51

      Max is trying to split FOTA, united they stand still?

    27. Dirk Gently
      14th May 2009, 18:55

      How about a gradual reduction. £70m for 2010 £60m for 2011 etc etc until £40m .. With no two tiered nonsense.

    28. Just watched the segment surely by chance – it was Sky’s pictures of a Ferrari that made me realise I haven’t visited for a couple of days, and there you were!

      Good job Keith – you’re a natural on TV!

    29. Well done Keith. At least they gave you time to talk tonight rather than cut you off short like the 1st time you were on.
      Great job!

      1. The chap who interview me (Matt) mentioned afterwards we’d got an extra minute, that’s the way these things go I guess.

    30. Oops, missed it. Hope you upload the video Keith.

      1. Sorry I’ve not got a video recording card thing – will get one sorted soon for this kind of thing.

    31. Hope you told them that MAX has caused all the problems in F1,by continually changing reg’s since the mid 90’s.
      Everyone is saying that the teams spend to much etc etc and must be reigned in but the real cause is from the cars shape and performance being altered on a yearly basis.Noone is stopping these other teams from joining,the manufacturers are not saying they can’t afford it and their about to leave.MAX has started this and now it’s up to us and the team’s to get ride of him he’s a cancer cut him out.

    32. HounslowBusGarage
      14th May 2009, 20:02

      Congratulations Keith!

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        14th May 2009, 20:04

        I meant to finish that brief comment with-
        The internet blog has really come of age when mainstrema media rely on the expert blogger!

    33. Nice work. They seem to plug f1fanatic quite well at the end :)

      1. Thanks! In the ad break before the interview I took a look at his script which had “” on it. So I leaned over and made a quick correction… :-)

    34. Thanks for all your kind comments guys – sorry I’ve not got any video of it to share with you, will try and get it sorted in case they have me on again.

      It’s fascinating getting to go on these things and seeing how it all works behind these scenes. Was looking at the monitors they have tuned in to all the rival stations to make sure they aren’t missing anything (BBC, CNN and Fox). That particular show I was on, even though it’s just a 30-minute segment on a 24-hour news channel, looked very complicated, the present was always up and moving around, going over to the big video wall and having to keep up with all the different graphics. Very impressive.

    35. I’m not against a CAP as long as it’s done together with all involved parties, and it has to be done gradualy.

      One thing that no one seams to talk about is the jobs that will be lost if this cap is implemented. Many people are working in development/testing/manufacturing and these are areas that would suffer very much under a cap.

      It’s not very smart from FIA in this hard economic times and the high unemployment rats in the world to make sure that even more people lose their jobs, and it’s not only people in the companies that will suffer, many people connected to the companies will get a swing of the sword.

    36. Keith could you make a written request for them to release your segments over the internet through their sports pages or give you a low quality versiont that you can put on here? Offer them an advertising space or something lol

    37. Keith is there any chance of you doing an article about your television appearances please so those of us who can’t watch SKY NEWS so we can get an idea of how it went and what questions were asked and how you answered.

      Maybe there is someone who has a video capture card who may have the videos of you and can upload them here for us to watch.

    38. ILoveVettel
      15th May 2009, 7:23

      I completely agree with you scunnyman….
      Keith you should present an article on your interview…..

    39. Budget cap proposal is unrealistic – your telling teams that spend 300 – 400 million a year to put on the same show next year for 40 million? Say you earn $400 a week and your boss suddenly said I’m going to pay you $40 a week to live the same life – you think that would be a realistic and fair? The answer is too obvious…
      Two tiered – I’ll stop watching
      Ferrari leave – I’ll stop watching
      The FIA need to slow their approach to this whole process, and look at making gradual changes. And I think it is time for Max Mosley to stand aside…

    40. Bernie and Max have done a lot for F1 over the years and it would not be the spectacle that it is today without them, however. They have become arrogant and heavy-handed in the way the dictate terms to the teams. Wouldn’t it be great if Ron Dennis was secretly putting together a new series that would mean F1 would no longer exist and perhaps F-Zero would be born and all the teams including Ferrari chose to compete in this series and not F1, leaving Max with nothing to Govern and Bernie with a worthless license. I expect Max to back down as bullys always back down if you stand up to them.

    41. Bigbadderboom
      15th May 2009, 11:54

      Congrats Keith, good job, you came across very well, got a nice plug for the site as well.

    42. Good to hear you’ve been on the box again, Keith. Is there any way we Continentals can see the interview online?

    43. To sum up my feelings:
      Budget caps are a good and necessary idea, but they need to be implemented better and differently than how Max is currently proposing.

    44. Everybody says a 2-tier system won’t work and yet the big teams and some commentators say the “capped” cars would be 1-2 seconds a lap faster, just due to their aero freedoms. If that’s the case why don’t all the big teams choose to become capped teams, then we’d have a level playing field again. They all claim to be aiming to cut their costs. No fan should care how LITTLE any team spends, as long as we have fast and CLOSE racing.

      Mosley bribed Ferrari to break the original manufacturers’ teams alliance. It has been said recently that Ferrari, as a brand, commands more sponsoship dollars than any other team, by a big margin. Without a budget cap, Ferrari could dominate for a decade, just like they did a few years back. That wasn’t proper racing.

      I agree this dispute is as much about governance as about budgets. Either or both Mosley’s intransigence and Ecclestone’s greed could destroy F1, but they would destroy their own influence in the process. Maybe that’s what we all really need, distasteful as it might be, until a new F1 rises from the ashes.

      We live in tumultuous times. Who would have predicted GM being in, or even close to, banruptcy? F1 cannot be immune to the changes in finance and credit availability.

    45. Budget cap would bring new “Alex Yoong’s” back to F1, simply because they would buy their seat in f1 from teams that barely can afford to be in f1! Moving chicanes!

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