FIA aims to get all teams to cap budgets using one-sided regulations

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Budget-capped KERS users will get a bigger boost in 2010
Budget-capped KERS users will get a bigger boost in 2010

The publication today of the FIA’s budget cap plan for 2010 shows it intends to get every team competing under the spending limit.

Rather than offering technical regulation that would allow cost-capped teams to compete on parity with the unlimited spenders, it seems to me the rules for next year would favour those sticking to the spending limit.

They will have no rev limit on their engines, a KERS with twice the power of their rivals, more adjustable wings and the ability to develop four-wheel-drive if they choose.

Since Max Mosley first mooted the possibility of a ‘voluntary’ budget cap there has been widespread suspicion about how his plan for a ‘two-tier’ F1 could work.

Rather than making budget capping mandatory, the FIA has to offer it as a voluntary option, as it cannot assume the right to inspect the teams’ finances without their permission.

The publication of the new rules today strongly suggests Mosley intends to make the alternative to the budget cap too unappealing for anyone to consider. Here are the advantages that capped teams will be entitled to under the 2010 rules:

Non-capped teams Capped teams
Adjustable front wings Maximum six-degree adjustment twice per lap Maximum ten-degree adjustment any number of times per lap
Adjustable rear element Not permitted Permitted
Engine performance 18,000rpm maximum No rpm limit
KERS power in Max. 60kW No limit
KERS power out Max. 60kW Max. 120kW
KERS energy release per lap Max. 400kJ Max. 800kJ
Transmission No more than two driven wheels Any number of driven wheels
KERS power delivery May only power the rear wheels May power any wheels
Wind tunnel use Limited Unlimited
Testing Limited testing outside racing season Unrestricted
Engines and gearboxes Limited number per season No limit

Source: FIA technical and sporting regulations, 2010

As an extra incentive to comply, the teams have been set a deadline of May 29th to apply to compete in 2010. The total number of entries that may be accepted has been increased to 13 two-car teams. But what is there to stop the FIA from selecting only those teams that prefer the budget capping option?

Several new outfits have already expressed interest in doing so: chassis builder Lola, David Richards’ Prodrive operation, and GP2 team iSport.

As the new cost cap is likely to force most of the teams to make large number of redundancies, these new teams may at least provide some places for out-of-work engineers to go.

The ??40m limit ($59.18m / ??44.73m) will not include engine costs (2010 only), driver salaries, marketing and FIA fines.

Do you think the FIA intends to make budget capping too good an offer to refuse? Will any teams opt for unlimited spending? Have your say in the comments.

101 comments on “FIA aims to get all teams to cap budgets using one-sided regulations”

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  1. To be honest I quite like the capped regs, and it’s a clear move on the FIA behalf to entice all teams to move to it.

  2. capped / non capped headings are the wrong way around i think :)

    1. Fixed :-)

  3. Are Capped and Non Capped the wrong way round on the table, it suggests the ones without the budget cap get unlimited revs and more powerful kers etc. Contradictory to the opening of the article.

    Sorry if i have misinterpreted :)

  4. HounslowBusGarage
    30th April 2009, 20:36

    So the £40m cap does not include engines for 2010 only, but may do/will do for 2011?
    Difficult to see how you could plan a team finances on that basis unless you had a ‘free-supply’ engine contract for 2011 already.
    How much to Brawn pay for their engines?
    I love the idea of multiple wheel drive under the ‘capped’ regime. Kers driving all four wheels under acceleration and then completely feathered front and rear wings for maximum straightline speed?
    Could be fun.
    According to the Telegraph website, Bernie is forseeing a 26 car grid next year under the new regulations. Hope so.

  5. I have no idea how they’ll weigh up against each other….but a 26 car grid would be AMAZING.

  6. 4 wheel drive!

    1. 6 wheel drive!!

  7. How complicated. This is all politics in anticipation of the Concord issue.
    On TV you cannot distinguish all these technical things. What really matters for the spectator is if they are racing in the glory of Spa or in the emptiness of East Arabia.

    In general I am in favor of lowering costs.

    No wonder Ron Dennis has quit. This crazy world of Bernie and Mo is not worthy of a giant like Ron.

  8. mciahel.counsell
    30th April 2009, 20:58

    Now the question is will anyone choose to pay more.

    What stops a car manufacturer setting up a wind tunnel company which rents out its expensive windtunnel and wind tunnel engineers at a very reasonable rate to its F1 team which it can use it 24/7…

    1. Now the question is will anyone choose to pay more.

      And if they do, will they get a place on the grid…

      What stops a car manufacturer setting up a wind tunnel company which rents out its expensive windtunnel and wind tunnel engineers at a very reasonable rate to its F1 team

      I have no idea. It seems there must be dozens of potential workarounds like this, though.

    2. The commission overseeing budgets will determine reasonable values for all third party goods and services that the team acquires.

  9. I was thinking that a lot of the other options (better KERS, 4wd) is limiting in itself due to the costs that would be incurred.

    But a manufacturer could well have prior knowledge of 4wd so would be able to develop it cheaper?

  10. I think it’s too low to start with.
    Should reduce it in stages. There is nothing stopping teams competing for £40m. Williams manage with a budget far lower than the big spending teams.

    I like the technical freedom though, may lead to some unique developments like the six wheeled Tyrrell.

  11. so where are the engine’s ,ker’s unit’s and chassis’s coming from one would assume that the big team’s will just refuse to sell there technology to any one else which of these new team’s are going to stump up with money to develop there own version’s.This is just getting bloody stupid first we had diffuser gate then mclaren gate P2 now this rocket powered booster engine,s show me in the rule it say’s you cant have them.

  12. And how are the cost capped teams going to get their 800kj of burst, will the FIA design that for them?

    Does the FIA knows how much load goes into those rear wings? You want to adjust them you will need a very complicated mechanism for that. And its going to cost some money. A minor start line rear ending might make just destroy teams race completely.

    How would a drive shaft get to the front wheels to drive them? Is it going to pass through the driver’s legs underneath the seat or located on one side of the car?
    Who wants do design a steerable front will driven F1 car with so much power going through it?

    With 8 engines per season costing about 5-10 million, how do you get an unlimited set of engines :-)

    This is just MAD Max the school headmaster trying to Bamboozle his kindergarten with his vocabulary :-)

  13. By the way most race tracks I know have garage space for only about 24 teams max.

    1. Tops teams are too big as seen when mclaren went down to smaller garages for 08 after being kicked out in 07 a bit of reshuffling will sort it out

    2. Don’t forget that some tracks have the garages for scrutineering and all- perhaps that would move to a different area and you would have more garages then.

    3. Don’t the top teams get three or four garages each at a lot of circuits though? Should be possible to accommodate them after all series like GP2 and WSR bring more cars.

    4. GP2 cars aren’t in the garages are they? They usually put their cars in tents somewhere on the paddock.

  14. Anyone else expecting Ferrari to give up after British GP build its ’10 car this year then only has to get operating costs and further development in under 40 mil

    To some of the comments above the teams will have to prioritise which areas to develop obviously they cant do them all for 40mil

    1. Apparently they’re only allowed to spend the equivalent of 50% of their 2010 budget developing their 2010 car during 2009, so might not work that way.

  15. The 2010 Sporting Regulations still show a limit of 8 engines per driver for the season. I doubt anyone will push that unlimited rpm too high.

    While the rules open up a lot for the Cost Regulated Teams I can’t see the money left over for four wheel drive.

    It looks interesting for start up teams because of the removal of wind tunnel and testing restrictions. (To build a new car you have to test to gain knowledge)

    1. The 2010 Sporting Regulations still show a limit of 8 engines per driver for the season. I doubt anyone will push that unlimited rpm too high.

      My reading of the regs left me with the impression that the cost-capped teams don’t have an engine use limit?

    2. Keith, you are correct. The cost-regulated teams can use as many engines as they wish however they wish. The trouble is that these engines still have to be the same homologated ones that everyone else uses and they are designed with the 18k limit in mind. As a result, those teams which have customer engines may not be able to use the extra revs without risking blowing their engine up at an awkward moment (such as in the middle of the race).

  16. Robert McKay
    30th April 2009, 21:43

    It’s a formula within a formula. If there was any sort of split between capped and uncapped you may as well denote the two with separate championship tables, because they’re not really running to the same regulations.

    I think we can only hope that all the teams will go for the cap, or to an extent the sport will be very oddly-layed out.

  17. One interesting consequence of all this is that smaller, agile teams with a star engineers like Adrien Newey in RBR, or Brawn, are going to be ahead consistently of many old leading teams like Ferrari, Renault, McLaren, BMW ….
    this is really quite a revolution !!!

    Ferrari might not win a WDC in thirteen years. Then Lou will tell Mo: “Mo, make it that any car with paint that is not all red will carry an extra 25 kgs. of dead weight”

  18. At at still feel hesitant about a two-tier system and hope everyone converts to a budget-cap. It’s ridiculous to think of how Ferrari, Mclaren, and Toyota spend almost quadruple some of the other teams per season.

    The freedom in regulations is quite fascinating for people like Adrian Newey, Ross Brawn, Sam Michael, and engineers to flex their technical know-how which I would incredibly love to see. Also seeing a 26-car grid would be absolutely wonderful.

    But the technical freedoms might be a little too great considering that some teams even with their unlimited budgets can’t get a functioning 60kW KERS unit let alone a 120kW KERS unit. So theoretically, all the teams on a budget-cap will have to decide on focusing development on mostly KERS, Aerodynamics (because of the wind tunnel costs), or engine power.

    I can’t even begin to imagine how a team could possibly develop a 4WD F1 car under that budget. And packaging the front driveshafts into the front chassis without having to remove most of the moveable ballast?

    But I really hope that the 2010 technical regulations change can keep the racing close (Bahrain all 20 cars within 1.3 seconds) like the 2009 techincal regulations change.

    1. But teams would prioritise on which bits to develope and it will be a gradual thing over a few years to get it all there, but we need some stability to the rules soon in my opinion, getting close to farcical

    2. I’m not sure I’d rate Sam Michael that highly — after he took over from Patrick Head, Williams have been sliding steadily backward: the disastrous nose in 2004, and then an uncompetitive 2005 leading BMW to pull out.

  19. I don’t get it.
    You don’t start to design your 2010 car on 1st Jan 2010.
    Will teams have to keep two accounting books on 2009 \ 2010 car designs from now?
    What if McLaren perfect KERS now in their 2009 car? Then they move it into 2010 car with minimal changes. R&D already done, huge saving for 2010.
    How do you police this? What value to you put on effort of parts that span more than one season?
    Do engineers claim they are working on 2009 car parts to avoid the budget cap?
    I still can’t see how this will work?

    1. hey, if an entire car can compete for multiple years, i think that’s just awesome. some of the greatest race cars in history were competitive for several years.

      on a practical note, recycling parts means saving money – our theme of the day. longevity will be an area of developement like never before.

  20. If Redbull agrees to this, I doubt they can afford to bay Newey for his services. Newey may then end up going to design sail boats.

    Lets face it, a team should be able to spend money to attract the top designers and engineers. The driver is just one piece of the puzzle, sometimes, the work of the engineers is more valuable.

    1. How much are they paying him? Must be multi-millions I’d guess.

    2. What if, say, Toro Rosso go for the cap but Red Bull stay uncapped. Could Red Bull Technology advise both teams on design?

      They could somehow get the best of both worlds – Adrian Newey on the uncapped payroll, and all the testing and wind-tunnel work they like for the capped team?

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