Zak Brown,. McLaren, Sochi Autodrom, 2019

Five F1 teams will spend less than budget cap – Brown

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In the round-up: McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown predicts half the grid will spend less than the budget cap when it is introduced for the 2021 F1 season.


What they say

Teams will be limited to a maximum budget of $175 million from 2021, though some significant items will not be included, such as drivers’ salaries.

I don’t think there’ll be much of a difference between us. I think Renault will probably race at the budget cap. So I think you’ll have five teams at the budget cap and five not.

See how much F1 teams spent last year:

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Mercedes' sixth world championship celebrations, 2019
Mercedes’ sixth world championship celebrations, 2019

Mercedes celebrated their sixth consecutive constructors’ championship and the sixth title in a row for one of their drivers at their factory earlier this week.

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

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Comment of the day

Is F1’s rising television audience in the USA due to the change of channels or something else?

I wouldn’t give ESPN too much credit for the ratings growth. NBC is doing just fine growing IndyCar ratings. It seems to me start times have been much later in the morning than they were a few years back. That helps a ton.

And F1 back at Indy? Mr Penske is too smart for that. The rest of the grand prix-hosting world would be upset if they saw the deal he got from F1 to host again.
Steve K

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Author information

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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13 comments on “Five F1 teams will spend less than budget cap – Brown”

  1. F1 getting better ratings in the US due in part to the Netflix series. I had my coworker mention it. He liked F1 about 10 years ago but gave up. He watched the series as did many female viewers in Mexico as mentioned on the Sky F1 broadcast of that race.

    1. The Netflix series has don’t a great job of exposing F1 to those who didn’t know it existed. But ESPN have also done a lot in that regard as they advertise F1 races during their most popular morning sports talk shows which again goes a long way to expose it to those who normally wouldn’t watch or wouldn’t know about it.

  2. In case anyone’s interested the cars in one of the snapshot-images are from left to right as follows: W05, W07, W09, W10, W08, W06.

    Re COTD: ”It seems to me start times have been much later in the morning than they were a few years back. That helps a ton.”
    – Except they aren’t. Only a little later compared to how they had been for a while before 2018. As for Indy: I don’t see a problem with F1 going back there. I’d be open with that.

  3. Good insight from Mark Hughes. Though the curse of infer/imply strikes again

  4. I can definitely see five teams running at the cap, as Brown says (Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault), but I suspect Racing Point might join them. They’re making huge investments in bringing their facilities up to date and have at least two $2bn+ net worth guys in their ownership group, one of whom most likely wants his son to have the best possible car.

    Maybe they won’t push as high in overall budget as they won’t go as deep into the exemptions as others (they don’t have a superstar driver taking home $30m+, for example) but I think the temptation to match the big teams on the capped spending will be very high.

  5. Many thanks again for the birthday shout out (twice), more than I got from my kids :) :)

  6. Nice to see Mercedes honoring Rosberg like that :D

  7. Something I was told in the week is that they won’t actually be able to see if anyone has broken the budget cap until March of the following season.

    So if a team was to go over the cap in 2021 the FIA/Liberty wouldn’t know until March 2022 which means we could actually have a situation where a team/driver could win the championships by exceeding the cap & then potentially (Depending on the severity of the breech) be stripped on the championship/s in March the following year.

    I’ve always been a fan of the idea of a budget cap from when I first heard the idea been floated in the early 2000’s but as the years have gone on & i’ve heard more about how it would be implemented as well as some of the potential issues it will throw up i’ve actually soured on it a bit.

    The idea I always liked was a budget cap with less restrictive regulations to take F1 back closer to what it was in the past. A budget cap with even more restrictions doesn’t sound much like F1 to me so not a fan of how they have done that.

    1. This is something I’ve been squeaking on about since the idea of budget restrictions was first mentioned. Creative accounting and delayed charging can move expenditure from one season to the next quite easily. And it might remain obscured until the end of that season too.
      So what are the FIA going to do? Are they really going to demote or sanction a team that overspent as long as two seasons ago? No one will care. Perhaps they will try to dock the team points in the next season. But the team might have transformed in the meantime just like Force India/Racing Point or Sauber/Alfa Romeo have done. “It wasn’t us! We did not overspend”, they exclaim. “We are a new team and nothing to do with the rule breakers who just happen to have used the same factory and personnel”.

  8. I strongly believe that the budget cap idea was approved by all the teams for the simple fact that :
    – There are teams that have mother companies can easily find a workaround to legally bypass the cap : Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Renault.
    – There are teams that can operate within the budget cap : Haas, Racing Point, Alfa Romeo, Torro Rosso and Williams.

    It’s not that hard for a team like Ferrari to around the budget cap when we already know that its President John Elkann is controlling the whole FCA group and is about to control PSA group as well.

    I have seen it myself how IT managers in the financial industry used to get around budget restrictions within the same company across different business units.

    If this cap would apply to the suppliers (I am not actually sure it does), consider the following scenario :
    Ferrari buys PU technologies from MAHLE for 5 million a year, with the budget cap now Ferrari (the car company) gets the technology from MAHLE and would gave it to the F1 team for free. How in this case liberty would act.

    I think people like Ross Brawn knows exactly that the budget cap can be easily bypassed, and I think this is just a political move to better promote F1 as a fair sport in order to get more teams entering and as a result creating more value to the shareholders.

    1. @tifoso1989

      It’s not that hard for a team like Ferrari to around the budget cap

      They cannot simply come with new parts for the car and pretend they cost nothing.

  9. Re: COTD. I think ESPN has been able to grow the audience by having the races be uninterrupted by commercials. NBC invariably would have commercial breaks at critical points in the race and would return from the break showing b roll footage for a minute before they returned to the actual race and then would have to do a recap. It’s hard to build excitement in new fans when the sit through the build up but the pay off to that build up is not viewed live and comes after an ad for mobility scooters for old people. To be fair, ESPN in their first outing last year did the same and were roundly criticized because the Sky coverage broadcast on ESPN isn’t built around commercial breaks in the race. This is not to say I agree with everything ESPN has done. Having so many channels allows them to broadcast practice and qualifying on third or fourth tier channels (ESPN U, I’m looking at you) which are only available with more expensive cable packages than ESPN or ESPN 2 (where most of the races are broadcast) are offered on.

  10. McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown predicts half the grid will spend less than the budget cap when it is introduced for the 2021 F1 season

    So that’s great right? Clearly that is exactly what the budget cap set out to do!

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