Mercedes would support budget cap “if it can be policed”

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Mercedes director Toto Wolff says it would support a budget cap if introduced in the right way.

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Comment of the day

Should Sergio Marchionne’s latest threat about Ferrari’s future in F1 be taken seriously?

Marchionne is playing politics here. Brawn and Liberty are looking at everything from all angles and from what I gather, they seem to only want to improve everything about F1. They have talked of bringing back some older traditional venues for example ie. keeping the DNA of F1 alive. They have indicated the US GP style of driver introductions wouldn’t work in Europe and other parts. They have not indicated they will be turning it into a NASCAR-like spec series.

We all know there has been a big imbalance between the have teams and the have-nots for a long time. What has Marchionne ever offered as solutions to the problems? Very little of any substance from what I can tell, that would take anything away from their have position. Understandable from a business standpoint I suppose, but to then make threats as if everything can’t be changed too much or they’ll leave, is to disregard the bigger picture. But then I guess Marchionne thinks they, Ferrari, are the bigger picture.

Because I think Liberty and Brawn are on the right track and aren’t looking to do the things Marchionne is fear-mongering about, I predict Ferrari will not observe enough changes to cause them to leave, yet changes there will be. And because I choose to look at the glass half full for F1’s future, and I don’t think F1 will be ‘taken away’ from us with poor changes, I will continue to follow F1 post-Ferrari and not the series Ferrari might go to or form themselves.

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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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76 comments on “Mercedes would support budget cap “if it can be policed””

  1. No doubt everyone would be just as happy with the forensic accounting stewards as they are with the actual racing stewards.

    Especially when it comes to handing out penalties for infringements the race fan cannot even see.

    1. They will learn to like it. Cap circumvention is a known rule violation in all sports that have a budget cap. The Minnesota Timberwolves lost a handful of draft picks and not only do fans still watch the NBA, but the Timberwolves themselves are still around nearly two decades after the fact, which is more than the majority of F1 teams could ever claim.

      For the long-term well-being of the sport, a budget cap is essential. Policing it is not hard, it is all a matter of willingness by the FIA.

      1. @klon – In leagues, like the NBA, where each team is an equal entity it is much easier to police. In F1 where essentially every team is a different kind of entity, or set of associated entities, with numerous variables within all those entities it would be far more difficult to honestly separate the true costs and accounting. How to separate the teams that are engine manufacturers and suppliers from the ones who are not for example. How to police teams like Mercedes and Ferrari who may be able to hide development costs in their auto manufacturing business somehow could be a problem. How could it be detected without opening the complete books of the racing team and the auto manufacturers too? That could be a difficulty.

        The money spent on this kind of accounting, policing and enforcement and not on racing would be counterproductive. It puts the focus off track instead of racing.

        The penalty phase would be another pitfall. How should the penalties for overspending be applied? Retroactively? As in changing results after the fact? That would be distasteful. If applied to future races to disadvantage teams in some way, how would that work? I have yet to hear a well thought out explanation or idea.

        I’m all for making things more fair and equitable for better competition in F1. A good start as has been mentioned many times would be better distribution of prize money. Also better regulations to reduce cost. Does F1 really need 50-100, or more, wings, winglets, vanes and other aero devices all around the car to be the pinnacle of motor racing? Simplify and save.

        1. Indeed we heard about cost caps for quite some time now and yet we still have to hear a credible way of doing it. As you say The best things to do are fairer prize distribution and standard parts. For those we heard very credible ways to go forward.

      2. @klon What they have in the NBA and NFL are salary caps not budget caps. They are two very different things and I doubt the teams in either league would agree to a cap on how much they can spend in total. Facilities, scouts, coaches, medical staff etc all would fall under a budget cap and these thins are not currently a part of the salary caps you refer to.

  2. re: COTD – Maybe Marchionne should try reading up on Tony George if he really wishes to start up an alternate series. It really would be best for everyone if Ferrari stays in F1, but how many threats to leave does it take before fans stop caring?

    1. Ferrari plays a pivotal role in f1. The role of the villain. For any achievement to matter, to mean something, it needs to been seen in perspective, relative to loss, relative to who almost did it, in contrast. To win by yourself like toyota is doing this season in France is not a victory, it’s a win. To win without anyone to root against it is to just lap around in circles.
      Ferrari plays like the queen in chess, all it matters is the king yet the queen is the most powerful piece, why keep the effort? The game goes on without the queen but it’s a doomed game when you lose such an important piece. Like in chess, if F1 wants to survive it needs it’s queen and Ferrari knows it but at the same time Ferrari is F1, so like in chess the queen stands by the King, if F1 makes a move that puts itself on the wrong trajectory Ferrari is gone, and so will F1 eventually. Ferrari is hated for making these threats and to act so selfishly, still people love Ferrari.
      Ferrari can’t change f1 it can only force F1, this is their only way. Some people might not understand but Ferrari has been acting out for the good of everyone in f1, take the last veto, had they not vetoed, there would be nobody but Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault in f1 as neither would’ve sold their engines for just 12m a year, they might’ve not last that many years until they realise their investment could not be met.

      1. @peartree That’s very eloquent but F1 is supposed to be a sport, not a pantomime (oh no it isn’t! ;-). Certainly there has to be actual competition but I think we’d get that without paying Ferrari an extra $100M just for showing up.

      2. @Peartree
        Only bad players feel doomed after losing their queen, proper players go on and salvage a draw or a win.
        F1 without Ferrari will survive.

        “Some people might not understand but Ferrari has been acting out for the good of everyone in f1”. Hahahahahahahahaha, really? God, that just put a smile on my face.

      3. @peartree I think Ferrari isn’t that important. It’s like that super employee that everyone respects and one day he leaves and everyone panicks but soon after the company just finds its path again and it’s back into business.

        Everyone seems to think the world will collapse if Ferrari leaves but I think it would be a great opportunity to change some things and evolve to something a bit different and probably fairer and better.

        So even if it would be a pity I’d tend to wish Ferrari would leave and so its prize would be redistributed and the veto power would disappear. But I’m pretty sure it’s all politics and neither side wants to cut ties and probably won’t happen anytime soon.

        1. Thanks for the cotd mention @keithcollantine I agree that it would be better for everyone if Ferrari stays in F1, however, it would appear we have an F1 with Ferrari in it now, that needs changes, so along with Ferrari’s presence being so pivotal, why are changes needed? Their presence has not been a guarantee of a well oiled machine, growing in popularity. Answer: even with their presence there can be dysfunction, and some of that dysfunction is from Ferrari’s and BE’s and Mosley’s meddling to coddle them over the last few decades particularly. They are in no small way a part of the reason F1 has become so expensive to compete within for the teams. I’d feel for them more if they genuinely appeared to be offering solutions to problems they helped create, rather than coming across like they want the dysfunction to continue in their favour. For all their long standing tenure in F1 gets honoured and has them favoured, they sure seem ready to dump it if it no longer serves their purpose, just as many other manufacturers have been slighted for doing…so what really makes them any different? Other than the extras they get that is.

          1. @robbie
            “even with their presence there can be dysfunction, and some of that dysfunction is from Ferrari’s and BE’s and Mosley’s meddling to coddle them over the last few decades particularly”

            exactly, yet in your ‘comment of the day’ you were expecting them to offer ‘substance’ .

            They are like a kid who hasn’t been nurtured properly. I don’t expect them to be able to think the same way as other teams or have anything to offer the sport in an unselfish way. Give them 5-10 years of being treated the same as Force India or Williams then maybe they will adapt and then bring something useful to the table.

            I remember Marchionne being focused on the Chinese market for road cars. He stated EVs wern’t important at one point and now we have China adding more factories and take-overs almost on a monthly basis. This is an out-of touch company who could drag F1 down with it. The trouble is if another financial crisis is around the corner then we’ll see other big boys start to withdraw and Ferrari wil get its b#m licked again.

        2. @spoutnik Maybe. There’s are always new generations, new fans, new opportunities to change the “formula”, Liberty did change “our” beloved logo so I think what you describe might as well happen. @Negger I did call Ferrari selfish, but honestly, both entities are so intertwined that you could say anything either does is for the betterment of the other. I think for the fans, it depends on what F1 means to them.

      4. That is the most ridiculous attempt to justify the Ferrari me attitude I have heard here for while. Look, Ferrari are an important part of the sport, them leaving would damage the f1 brand, but you know what, so too would Ferrari. Ferrari have only ever acted in their own self interest. To try to argue otherwise is childish. Will everyone in f1 defend their advantages and perks handed down by our former lord and master, yes of course, but Ferrari eggs the pasta too much. The threats have become tiresome, and barely credible. This is meant to be a sport of grown ups, and yet no matter who is in charge at Ferrari, they behave in the same childish way once negotiations start. To read Ferrari supporters you’d think f1 survived and thrives on them winning everything. Despite having one of the biggest budgets, the biggest head counts, winning is at best hit, and miss. You have been in the sport the longest, the oldest team since the start of f1, maybe you should act like it, then maybe, just maybe people will take your threats seriously.

        1. @bonbonjai Not justifying, it’s the reality. F1 and Ferrari are almost one of the same, hence their relationship hence their behaviour. I guess F1 means different things for different fans. I’m sure many fans are unaware of F1 and Ferrari’s tight connection or just defy it’s valour, I don’t think it has to make sense maybe it doesn’t make sense, but it’s the reality, it’s f1. Many must be careful for what they wish for, they might turn F1 into LeMans, a faceless farce, highest bidder race.
          I do believe F1 and Ferrari can part ways, ask for a divorce. It might work because there’s always new generations watching f1, so the formula can change and what f1 stands for, can change. About the threats and the veto, Ferrari and f1 are like major partners in this sport, that’s how they mould the “sport”. Ferrari is big and doesn’t win, hey maybe F1 is a sport after all.

  3. I desperately hate these persistent calls for a level playing field. Basically all of motorsport is spec Series nowadays. Do You really Need to ruin the ONE non-spec single seater series left? Just Go play With your miserable indycars and f2s and f3s and FEs and leave f1 be that different Thing that it has always been. That attitude is why we can’t have nice things.

    1. Though I completely agree with you, it’s worth noticing that IndyCar and FE allow different engines/powertrains.

      BTW, F1 is not only the last non-spec single seater series left. It’s the only REAL constructors’ championship with the SAME rules for every team and that doesn’t punish best cars/drivers with additional weight ballasts or any other kind of Balance of Performance. Arms war is the core of F1. Do we want to get just another spec series with a little bit faster cars and slightly worse racing at a cost of everything that makes Formula 1 unique? Hell no!

      1. I think a number of people are getting the wrong idea here. A budget cap will not stop F1 being a meritocracy. What it will do is give a fighting chance of success to teams not willing or able to throw half a billion euros a year at a race team.

        Will the best team still be rewarded with success? Yes. Is that the case now? Maybe. But what is the case now is the teams willing and able to spend the most win most of the time. Is this the DNA of F1 – that simply having the most money means you deserve to win?

        Not to me it doesn’t.

        If the 150 million euro limit is the number that is eventually decided upon, surely that is enough to race really fast cars 20 odd times a year.

        1. Two points:
          A) You can’t seperate these arguments as freezing development and proposing more spec parts are the goto bring-down-costs proposals and also likely to be part of the Budget cap. Makes policing easier or what have you.
          B) it’s not as though Ferrari are on a title roll. Neither were Toyota. Merc spend years making fools of themselves in the midfield. It is not pay to win, no matter how Loud you cry it is.

          1. Can’t argue with this. Not even a little bit. It’s never been pay to win in the 30+ years since I’ve been watching. Lots of other (borderline & downright) unfair advantages, of course, but it’s never been down to just money.

        2. Basically the mere existence of Sauber and the performance of Force India with their budgets shows that it is a Formula overly dependent on money. So, a budget cap, at least in the long term, should be the highest priority for the top decision makers.

          1. It’s not been down to just money, ok, but money are atm absolutely needed to make a top car, so they’re not the only part of the picture but they’re still a requirement.

            Look at force india, they’re doing an awesome job but they will never bridge the gap to the top teams when they can spend probably thrice what they can afford.

  4. Huh, well that’s rather an interesting twist in the Kubica story there… don’t really know what to make of that.

  5. I read the entire Joe saward piece, it further goes on to say that the delay in the announcement is actually time being given to Kubica to find more money (from 11 to 22) because that is what Sergey is bringing in.

    1. That’s an interesting development. It suggests they actually want to contract Kubica, and use the time available until the start of the season to let him gather as much money for the team as he can.

      Seems smart. Maybe Sirotkin got a similar assignment: find even more money. 30 minutes before the first test, they’ll announce the winner.

      1. Lol that would be hilarious. Reminds me of the money ‘Rat Race’. Eventually Kubica and Sirotkin will both come running towards Circuit de Catalunya wearing tattered and burnt clothes, holding briefcases and with burnt hair…what a scene!

        1. It’s like a poker game where the cards reveal the true speed of the driver.

          Williams will make both the two drivers add money in the pot. If at any moment one driver folds and says no more, the seat goes to the other one. If (and only if), both drivers match each other exactly will the cards be opened to determine the faster driver who will then get the seat.

          Sad, but true.

  6. Concerning the Raikonen comment about it would terrible if Kimi leaves Formula One…

    I believe the statement is incorrect.

    It should read how sad it would be for Raikonen to leave Formula One before seeing the true potential of the Ferrari….and we are waiting. And will be through 2018, 2019 and most of the years between 2020 and 2030 also.

    As long as Mercedes and Hamilton, the greatest driver of all time are around, you may not see red on the podium for quite some time. Not on the top step anyway,
    unless it was somekind of a Silver gift.

    1. you may not see red on the podium for quite some time. Not on the top step anyway

      You might want to read up on what happened this season; 20 or so podiums with 4 top steps ;)

    2. Vettel was superb in dragging the Ferrari into leading the championship as along as he did. He’s also won more titles than ‘the greatest driver of all time’ this decade, so we shou’dnt be surprised really.

      If Ferrari do match Merc’s power, reliability and management next year, then Hamilton fans have surely got to hope he *improves* to be able to beat Vettel? not harp on about him reaching perfection.
      Then you’ve got Verstappen ready and waiting to knock anyone of their perch the moment he gets a decent car, just as Schumacher was knocked off his.

  7. Last time I checked, there is no reward for qualifying. Points are in the race.

    Not if you’re slotting the car one or two rows behind it’s capable of…., every weekend.

    1. @praxis I think Vettel can tell you a thing or two about how important pole is these days,…it’s half the race win if you can also keep it into T1.

      1. Strolls race pace was never close to his team mate as well. Then what use is it to be in control?

        Money talks at Williams.

        1. @br444m

          Strolls race pace was never close to his team mate as well.

          As I said a few times through the year Stroll’s biggest problem according to both him & the people within the team that I know was getting the tyres to work over 1 lap, During a race where he was better able to get them into there optimum operating range over a few laps his pace was as good as Massa’s if not a bit faster more often than not.

          The only races where his race pace was nowhere was Brazil & Abu Dhabi where he simply couldn’t get the tyres into there somewhat tiny optimum range which resulted in him not only having significantly less grip but also a lot more degredation which is why he ended up having to make more stops than others in those races.

          Stoffel Vandoorne was suffering similar problems, However he was helped by a change Mclaren made to the suspension which improved tyre warm up which made getting tyres into there working range quicker & easier.

          1. After all, at season’s end Massa may have out qualified Stroll the vast majority of the time, but barely scored more points. As bad as many make Stroll out to be, surely the vastly more experienced and engrained on the team Massa should have been able to do way better than him on the days Lance points are the points paying ones. Surely we know drivers are coloured by their cars, and these days it’s bad enough having a slow car, let alone one that makes it difficult to make the difficult tires work.

  8. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    20th December 2017, 7:08

    I actually feel quite down after reading the (excellent) Joe Saward blog regarding Williams. What a situation. I guess they just have to keep building the company and their infrastructure for a time in the future when maybe the regs will level out the playing field a little more.

    1. I was actually quite pleased to read the article when he speculated that it was still money and not skill that is determining that 2nd seat at Williams. I was afraid that Robert didn’t make the cut in Abu Dhabi, which would have been a whole lot more disappointing. If it’s just up to Robert getting a few more quid, I still think there’s a better shot at him getting that seat than if he was lacking pace as compared to Sirotkin.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        20th December 2017, 8:52

        True. Which also explains why Sitorkin came out of nowhere to get that test. Just a shame it comes to this.

      2. @todfod, the way that the article is written suggests that he is just guessing that it is down to money rather than performance though and does have a speculative tone throughout, so it is debatable whether it is really telling us anything that meaningful compared to before. It also has to be said that he’s been a bit off with some of his recent predictions – he was also predicting for some time that Giovinazzi would be racing for Sauber in 2018, right up until the announcement came that Ericsson would be retaining his seat.

      3. @todfod I feel the same way. So happy to know that Kubica is still proper quick.

        Maybe Kubica should start a crowd funding effort? I’d donate in a heart beat.

      4. @todfod

        I was afraid that Robert didn’t make the cut in Abu Dhabi

        From a purely performance POV he didn’t, Robert’s pace was OK but not great & everything i’ve heard from people at Williams as well as other teams/media people who were monitoring everything was that pace corrected Sirotkin was faster & Stroll was only 1 tenth slower despite running on a slower tyre & more fuel.

        The thing that is keeping Robert’s chances of getting that drive alive is that the engineer’s liked him & his feedback was as good as you would expect somebody of his experience to provide. Sirotkin got on well with the engineer’s but his lesser F1 experience resulted in him been a bit less confident with his feedback.

        1. So we perhaps have a slower driver bringing less money supposedly being afforded more time to come up with more money? Doesn’t seem to add up. To me, if RK was assuredly faster, and better at feedback, the approximately 10 mill difference he isn’t bringing would be quickly made up with better results on the track and quicker more efficient feedback that could save them a lot of development money right there.

          I suspect it’s going to be Sirotkin and the only delay is to properly cross the t’s and dot the i’s on his contract.

  9. The articles regarding the Ferrari quit threat are becoming redundant, LOL.

    1. You think it feels redundant now, the annual Midwinter Lull is just creeping upon us. There is no real “news” until March.
      Expect recycled content, out-of-context comments made months ago appearing as screaming headlines and fluff upon fluff upon fluff…

      If only there were a, I don’t know, a Tasman series in the Summer -part of the globe…

    2. If Ferrari really has the kahunas to quit F1, they should do it as soon as FIA and Liberty have finalised the 2021 regulations. There’s no point in them sticking around till 2020 as they’re highly unlikely to win anything in that time frame anyways.

      1. @todfod They can’t leave until 2020 (when the current Concorde-agreement expires) even if they wanted to. Same with Mercedes.

    3. I do wish he’d stop using the word “Ferrari” and say “Fiat” or “Fiat-Chrysler” instead.

  10. “Last time I checked, there is no reward for qualifying. Points are in the race.”

    I can’t fault you there Lance but in modern F1, where it is so difficult to overtake, being able to extract the maximum from the car over 1 lap has become a key skill you have to have in order to score big points on Sundays.

    1. True yet it didn’t really help Massa after almost always out qualifying Stroll. Methinks Stroll’s weak season has much to do with the car and it’s difficulty getting the still ridiculous tires to work.

  11. While i do agree that kimi hasn’t been great, i do think it’s a bit harsh to use him tactical as a blocker, give him the lesser strategy and make him let Vettel pass and then complain that he should do better.

    1. I agree. My guess is they will expect the same from his replacement, unless, of course, his replacement is such a desirable driver that they can negotiate being the Number One driver and have Vettel move to being Number Two. I believe the Number Two shoes are less comfortable than the Number One shoes.

  12. A child has a balloon. He’s sat blowing it up, glancing at his friends as it gets larger and larger, saying “I’ll make it burst if you don’t give me 10p each!” His friends don’t really like loud bangs, so they’d rather he stopped. However, they don’t want to give him 10p each, so they’re just sat watching with a kind of bemused fascination as the balloon gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger…

    Everyone would rather your balloon didn’t burst, Sergio, but by all means… if you want to burst it, burst it quickly so everyone else can get on with their lives. It’s getting boring now.

  13. Well, great news.. Cost cap to F1, etc. This will be done 2022? F1 might nolonger be road relevant by then.

  14. Ah…another plot by the Italians to humiliate Hamilton on the world stage by making him do ridiculous stuff after he beat their darlings.

  15. This round-up almost didn’t have enough Hamilton. Almost!

  16. RBR has an option to run Honda PU’s (link)
    “Und dass wir auf dem Motorsektor eine Alternative haben. Wir sind zu Honda nach Sakura geflogen, die haben eine unglaubliche Fabrik. All das hat ihn (MV) überzeugt.”

    first time I read this, and too interesting to wait until tomorrow’s round-up.

    1. Egonovi, I don’t think that he is referring to running the engine until 2019 at least, which is when Red Bull’s current agreement with Renault would expire and they would have the option, if they so chose, to sign a deal with Honda.

      From what the engineers at Toro Rosso have been saying, they are struggling a bit to redesign their car to accommodate the Honda engine, which has a fundamentally different architecture than the Renault one, before the pre-season tests kick off in Feb 2018. That is especially the case when it comes to the layout of the ancillary components (oil and water coolers, electrical systems and so forth), which has been compounded by the fact they are also changing the design of their gearbox.

      Given that Toro Rosso have had six months to prepare for that change, and they’re still struggling a bit to get it done in time, it’s extremely unlikely that Red Bull would try to redesign the RB14 during the 2018 season and try to slot the Honda engine in, as some have wildly speculated (mostly Honda fans, it must be said).

      Designing the car from scratch around a new engine would make more sense, which they could do for 2019. It’s all highly speculative though, since the biggest unknown is whether Honda’s engine would actually be competitive enough for Red Bull to even want to make that switch. If Honda are still behind the rest of the field in 2018, then Red Bull might well just stick with Renault until 2020 and try to leverage the 2021 regulation package to their favour instead.

  17. The problem with a cost cap is not only that it will be largely unenforceable but that it could also have potential negative effects on the competition.

    I’ve had it pointed out by more than 1 engineer that should a team go the wrong direction or start off the year with a fundamental design flaw in there package (Like McLaren in 2009 for instance) under a cost cap they would never be able to recover from it as the development cost’s required would see them hit the cap within half a season.

    It was also brought up that how does it work if you have $100m for a year when your not only working on the current car but also doing work towards the next year’s car?

    And something else was having to downsize to meet the cap will result in the mechanics having to do more hours to work both current/next year programs on top of the potential of moving to 25 races with additional activities in the week leading upto a race that will result in guys having to travel to races a day or 2 earlier.
    There are a lot of people at teams who don’t like the budget cap idea & not just because a few hundred/thousand of them are going to be losing there jobs.

    1. I can’t say I know much at all about the idiosyncrasies of a spending cap, but I believe that in the case of Major League Baseball for example, where a team like the Yankees have by far the deepest pockets, they can afford to go over the cap and buy the very top players, and pay a fine to do so at the same time. Not 100% sure that’s how it works nor what happens to that money they’ve been fined, but what if F1 was to do something like that?

      Say there’s a base cap, the ‘have’ teams may choose to go over that, but they get fined for doing so, could even be an ever increasing scale to prevent them from going hog wild with spending, and perhaps the lesser teams get that fine money, which would help those who can’t even come near the cap anyway.

      So with respect to what some have told you @gt-racer perhaps if they found they had missed the mark that badly, they would still be able to spend some money to correct things with the car mid-season, but beyond the cap, which really could include some room for this type of eventuality, they’d have to pay a bit more but it might be worth it for them, and would help the lesser teams financially too.

      Also perhaps F1 could have the teams segregate their budgets between current cars and future cars, so they’re not fined in one year for going over a cap for working on their next season’s car.

      I’m sure I’m oversimplifying, but even if they do have trouble policing this, perhaps they need to at least try something, and see what shakes out. I think it can be a combination of many things that could help. The cap doesn’t have to be too too restricting, combined with theoretical better revenues from hopefully a better product on the track as things evolve with Liberty and Brawn, with better money distribution as well. A little here, a little there, and the top teams aren’t too downsized from their bigger than ever current states, while the lesser teams are elevated.

      1. @robbie, I think that, by the looks of things, most of the excess money goes to the organisers of the series, who then use it to fund a combination of player benefits and their investment fund for the series.

        However, it has to be said that there are questions over whether the penalty system is actually that effective, particularly in recent years as a rising number of teams seem to be more willing to simply take the hit of paying the penalties in order to get the players they want.

        As others have pointed out, there are a few subtleties in the way that the caps are enforced in other series, as often the caps apply just to the salaries of the players – so spending on other resources, such as on training facilities, is less heavily restricted or unrestricted.

        It also has to be said that, in a number of those series, the governing body has the right to set most of the terms of the contracts that the teams sign with their players, since the fundamental nature of the contracts is effectively the same for all participants. That gives those series organisers a level of direct control over the financial operations of the teams that I am sure no team in F1 would allow the FIA to have (even the independent teams have been bitterly against the idea – I recall Frank Williams saying that he would rather shut down his team altogether than allow the FIA to have control over how they spend their money).

        That model isn’t so easy when you are dealing with the more amorphous nature of a racing team, which often has a series of sub-divisions within it that carry out different tasks. As a quick example, the defunct Caterham team – which was a small team by the standards of the sport – had at least three different entities within it as far as I can tell (one which owned the rights for the team to race in F1, another which was responsible for preparing the cars for the races and a third which was the division that carried out development work on the cars).

        It also starts to get more confused when you start looking at the interconnected nature of the teams and their sub-divisions to the wider motorsport world.

        For example, the wider McLaren Technology Group has a sub-division of a sub-division known as the McLaren Electronic Systems group – that group is responsible for developing the standard ECU components that the teams use. That division also produces electronic sensors which can be used both in F1 and also for other motorsport series, such as IndyCar and NASCAR, along with motor generator equipment for Formula E and electrical components which are used for McLaren’s GT3 racing customers.

        Now, in that instance there is no clear cut division on how much of that development work would be for the benefit of the McLaren F1 team and how much should be apportioned to those other motorsport series, because the same components have dual uses between different racing series – and that is just one comparatively small division of one team in F1.

  18. Marchionne likes to natter eh.

    On Raikonnen – “I think that would be a shame if he would leave F1 without showing his real potential.”
    He was World Champion in 2007.

    “We see Leclerc, [Max] Verstappen and [Antonio] Giovinazzi, drivers with great skills, who can deliver a big change in the driver market,” Marchionne said. “I’m still happy to have chosen Leclerc.”
    You didn’t ‘not choose’ Verstappen. He chose Red Bull.

    Raikonnen, as far I understand, would have won Monaco this year had it not been engineered otherwise by the team. OK, not a match for Vettel, but obviously has no chance when he is deemed a support driver.

    Marchionne blabs like Trump.

  19. Forget all this smoke & mirrors. Threats have been made and the gauntlet thrown. I say it’s time for F1 to shake off these “manufacturers” who have brought us nothing but pain. F1 has been brought to its knees by the demands of Mercedes & Ferrari. They approach F1 like its their own personal fiefdom and I cannot tell you the amount of damage they have caused and will continue to cause if they have their way. Remember the PU’s you hate so much? Ferrari & Mercedes think they are wonderful. The tail is now wagging the dog. Liberty! Give them their marching orders and let’s get our F1 back! Budget cap? Yessir! We’ll Police it for you. Seriously, this is beyond a joke. Get shot of them now!

  20. Seriously, Marchionne’s ‘Moses’ comment is really insulting to the one guy (Brawn) that brought Ferrari a decade of success which they have never repeated.. This guy has no passion for F1, or racing. He is a soulless number cruncher. Wolff clearly sides with him and together they now control F1. Time to get rid.. I’m sorry this is probably the wrong thread but I’m very angry…

  21. Each team to send their budget of say £$150m to Liberty, then Liberty pay their bills, wages etc. Interest could be calculated and given back to the teams to use as bonuses etc.

    1. @bigjoe, how exactly are you defining what a team is under your definition, given that teams usually tend to have multiple sub-divisions within them?

      For example, with Red Bull, the parent team is Red Bull Racing, but the design work is undertaken by Red Bull Technologies, an organisation that is officially independent and also undertakes design work for Toro Rosso (which has its own separate racing team). Which entity exactly would be subject to the budget capping?

      Equally, are you imposing that restriction as a total restriction across the engine development division of teams as well, or on the racing teams themselves? If it is across the engine manufacturing divisions too, then your proposal sounds like it would act against teams like Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault and make it effectively impossible for them to both build engines and race teams – your overall proposal sounds like it would probably end up heavily favouring Red Bull, since they’ve offloaded most of their costs onto other outfits that probably would not fall under your cap as you’ve proposed it should be structured.

      1. Everyone working in F1 would get paid by Liberty it doesn’t matter how many sub companies teams have, if they want paying they have to submit their bill to liberty. Same for suppliers. Basically it becomes illegal for a team to pay anyone or company for parts or services directly.
        It would also save money as there would only be one payroll department for all of the teams. Also having one accounting department means they would soon see what others are spending and the teams could be Policed easier.

        This was obviously an extreme suggestion but it’s a lot better than a spec series. It has both tight controls and freedom for teams to build want they want within the cap, where teams spending carefully and innovating could come out on top.
        teams wouldn’t be as wastefull where they simply throw money and long hours repeating something until they get it right. Wastage is an area a lot of people want to reduce.

        There are problems that wouldn’t make it work.
        Firstly Humans are motivated by money and greed, so my system wouldn’t generally go down well as it will expose some dirty parts of F1, not least tax dodging and creative accounting.
        Strict accountancy/budget control would almost become a sport in itself, which might turn people off.

        What would happen to the racing. Worse case scenario is a team with a shout for the title wouldn’t be able to attend the last race as they’ve ran out of money, but then this is pretty much like real life where there are many guys with the same talent as current F1 drivers but they couldn’t find the same amount of money as their competitors and they had to pack it in. Think of Jenson Button who was almost finished, no money left, then he found an investor offering to take 40% ? of his salary for life to fund another season.
        Motorsport is all about money which is why my idea is extreme.

        1. BigJoe, so what you are proposing also gives Liberty Media a monopoly power over the entire supply chain of F1 and gives them leverage over the wider motorsport industry by being able to effectively pick and choose who can sell parts through them to an F1 team – that sounds like a pretty terrible idea to me.

  22. There’s no reason to think that a budget cap could be policed any better than the current technical and sporting rules. but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.

  23. A budget cap is nice distraction from reality, but the biggest, most cost-effective method to even the playing field would be to give Liberty the boot. That would free up over 50% of the revenue to split between the squabbling teams.

    Of course, it’s the squabbling that allowed Bernie to swoop in decades ago and make more money than any team involved – including Ferrari.

    If Liberty were serious about leveling the playing field and making F1 fair to the smaller teams, they would reduce their far too rich share of the revenues. But, they won’t. And can’t. Because they paid way too much to Bernie/CVC.

    The last real chance for the sport to become more financially secure was when the Grand Prix Manufacturers’ Association threatened to create their own series in 2009. But Bernie divided and conquered the teams into the current Concorde agreement that expires in 2020.

    The Bernie model for F1 is not sustainable – which is why he sold out – Twice! Smart guy. A brutal money-grubbing dictator, but very clever. Wish Liberty good luck post 2020 – they’ll need it.

    F1 running milk-toast motors + aero extras spec series wouldn’t be F1. F1 without Ferrari would lose the Tifosi. Possibly the biggest fanbase in the series. Will the Tifosi suddenly gather round the fizzy drink Torro Rosso banner?

    At best, Bernie, and now Liberty, act in the role of F1’s booking agent and promotional agency – more of the former from Bernie and more of the latter it seems from Liberty. Those functions are worth 20%-25% of the cake. At best.

    Kudos to Liberty for at least keeping one Bernie practice alive and kicking – distracting attention from the real issue – the real money.

    1. Good points there.

  24. The only way I would be in favor of any sort of budget cap is if they also opened up the rules & gave teams more freedom to try new things & come up with creative & innovative design ideas.

    Introducing a budget cap along with further restrictions & more spec components is not the right direction to go as your essentially moving towards turning F1 into something like an Indycar+.

    OK so opening up designs may see somebody find something to gain a big advantage but that is what F1…. Heck this whole sport is meant to be about. The whole push towards been a ‘show’ & making things more equal in most categories over the past 15 odd years has taken away a lot of the innovation & technical showcase which the sport used to be & TBH I find a lot of it to be rather uninteresting nowadays from a technical standpoint.

    1. The races are too well managed by the engineers. I would like to see going back to pit boards only.
      Many of the legends of F1 have stories behind them where they were managing the races themselves into wins. Drivers doing their own thing and sometimes getting it wrong. When every team’s engineers are on top of their game, the end result is a train of cars in fastest team order.

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