David Richards says F1 costs are still too high – and he’s not buying Honda

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Rubens Barrichello in Honda's final Grand Prix at Brazil
Rubens Barrichello in Honda's final Grand Prix at Brazil

David Richards didn’t exactly say “I’m not buying Honda”, but he dropped a big hint today that he won’t be taking over the Brackley team in 2009:

The cost-cutting process that has been put in place has not yet seen its full benefit, and I don’t think it will be until 2010 that you will see those issues roll out properly. The teams have still got a burden of overhead that is unsustainable. So consequently, with the window of time for entry, I just question whether it is right at the moment.

FOTA and Max Mosley’s cost cutting talks continue as the search for a Honda buyer goes on.

Mosley and FOTA talk costs

Details emerged today of a letter sent from Max Mosley to FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo calling for deeper cuts in costs.

FOTA agreed at a meeting today on greater restrictions on aerodynamic testing and agreed on a transmission package to be made available from 2010 at a cost of ??1.5m per year.

But with some of these changes not taking effect until 2010 it seems Richards is still not prepared to commit to taking over Honda. So, who will?

Rumoured Honda buyers

According to Autosport Honda has received 30 expressions of interested and is seriously considering 12 different options. Nick Fry said:

Right at the start of this process Bernie Ecclestone said that he was 100% confident that we’d be on the grid in Melbourne, and I have to say that I wasn’t quite so sure where his confidence came from. But as we’ve gone through this process, my confidence based on what we’ve seen has increased – maybe not to 100%, but it’s pretty close.

There is inevitably much speculation about the potential buyers. Even Michael Schumacher has been linked to them with investment rumoured to be coming from Abu Dhabi if the seven times world champion puts his name to the team. Schumacher’s publicist denied the reports but Grandprix.com’s Joe Saward had this to say:

Schumacher’s PR people are denying the Honda story. I guess no-one told them the truth… It is real all right – but they have to find cash!

Conflicting aims?

But even as teams look for new ways to save money and Honda tries to find someone with enough cash to take over Honda, Max Mosley still seems confused about his goals. In his letter he expressed a desire to increase the use of moveable wings in F1, which are being introduced this year:

Using modern technology, moveable aero devices could be used to give a car more downforce and less drag whenever it was in turbulent air. This would produce wheel-to-wheel racing on all types of circuit. It would, however, require significant (possibly automatic) moveable aero devices.

The desirability of such an artificial means of improving the racing is doubtful. And surely pushing for further aerodynamic changes contradicts the teams’ goal of cutting costs by reducing aerodynamic development?

I’m all for better racing, but I’m not sure moveable aerodynamics is the way to achieve it – and certainly not if it compromises the imperative to cut costs.

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