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. i agree with the idea of greater technical freedom, afterall that has created a lot of this years excitement. i can’t see a true 4WD f1 car, but how about driving the front wheels with the kers system? no need for a front to back drive shaft only a motor and some wiring to the kers storage system. the only thing I don’t agree with is max and bernie getting there way all the time. more power to the teams and circuits!

    1. Thats exactly what I was thinking! Get the Kers driving the front wheels maybe, but I think the bulky packaging up front required for that would negate any advantage thereof. Also it is confusing that engines are essentially unfrozen for 2010 (for the capped teams), since there will be no rev limit, no limit to the number of engines they can use, and the engine is excluded from the cap. Sounds like Ferrari and McLaren may still have a way to spend tens of millions more than the little guys…

    2. Hub motors for the Kers are feasible in theory (and very efficient), but surely in an F1 car the need for brake cooling and the ultimate in controllable handling would make them undesirable…

  2. I don’t think that any team will NOT enter under the limited-budget rule. It’s just too tempting.
    Where does all the money go at the moment? Mostly into aero development, and those rules won’t change that much. And as the rules regarding aerodynamics are very restricted (Look at all the teams being so close right now) I don’t think that the teams can gain a lot of performance there anymore. i think that the current teams will take their 2009 aero package, adjust it a bit (moveable wings) and put it on their 2010 car, then spending most of their remaining budget into engine/KERS development. They’ll still have a huge head start compared to any new teams.
    Also, all the money they are currently spending on drivers, motorhomes and hospitality won’t be included in the 45 million €, so the top teams will still spend about 70-80million €. And if their Sponsors keep on paying, they’ll be making profit, and not just a little bit…

  3. If 4WD is allowed, then trust me this is where the teams will spend most of their money. There are sooo many advantages to a 4WD than RWD, especially better acceleration which is all F1 is for.. I like the idea of technical freedom, but this will in no doubt make F1 unsafer, is that what they want? Not that I complain, I don’t have to drive those hell-machines.. Regarding the RPM limit, McLaren was pushing 20500 race-trim rpm before the limitation to 19000 – I could well imagine most teams going close to 22000 rpm now.

  4. There has never been a better time for new teams to enter F1

  5. The capped teams would dominate the rest with those regulations. I don’t like to idea of 4 wheel drive, though, rear wheel drive is more fun.

  6. Fer no.65
    1st May 2009, 1:03

    4 wheell drive F1s possible, then? :O…

  7. Didn’t Cosworth have a 8 cylinder engine already developed? If they can sell it to 6 or more teams, I can easily see this engine revving 20000 or 21000 RPM for 5M$ a year. Add the extra KERS power, a 10 degree!!! adjustable rear wing, where most drag comes from, and I can see some capped teams being 40-50 Km/h faster in the long straights that the non-capped teams. This is going to be spectacular, but a ridiculous mess. Of course, one can only develop so many things under the budget limit, but at least one team has it all in place: Williams. Their Flywheel KERS will be already developed and working, they hold the patent and they claim that it runs for 2M$ a year. And that is the only KERS design able of holding more power by making it work better rather than making it heavier with more batteries.
    And by the way, all teams will have to develop a completely new car. With a 620Kg weight limit and 150+ Kg of fuel in the tank, most of today’s designs will go right to the trash bin.
    Shall we call this a Mess Mosley product?

  8. I meant that the flywheel KERS can (potentially) hold more energy, not more power, of course.

  9. What does unlimited KERS power for capped teams mean?. I thought we were gonna have standart KERS next year. unlimited testing sounds all well but remember it is limited by the cap.

    From the disparity of regulations it seems FIA wants every team to go capped way. Here is a thing I mean to ask, where did FIA get the idea that it owns the sport? It is like FIFA telling Man U how much Christiano Ronaldo gets for salary. If the costs get out of hand, it is teams problem. If gaps between rich teams and poor grow too much, racing becomes uninteresting, nobody watches so no TV money or sponsors; teams problem again. why cant teams just say mind your own business to Max.

    1. No, FIFA isn’t dictating Ronaldo’s salary. But on our shores, the NFL dose regulate how much teams can have on their payroll, so stars like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady can’t make too much. And honestly, it makes the sport more interesting, because the big-money teams cannot just pay to collect talent the way teams teams in uncapped leagues can.

      The big problem is that driver salaries will not be included- this means that Ferrari can still overpay for a driver who will be the key ingredient in victories. Cap the driver’s salaries, and let the good drivers choose between better teams instead of better money.

    2. KERS power is limited for all teams. Cost-regulated teams may use twice the power (and twice the energy per lap) in their units while the non-restricted teams must use the same power and energy levels as this year.

  10. I like the whole concept, but I do not like that driver salaries are not included. I would imagine that is where there is a great deal of expense, and this would help all the teams compete on a more level playing field.

    The tech side is something that is not my strong point, but the political side is obvious- Max is making it very difficult for any of the teams to say no.

  11. But what is there to stop the FIA from selecting only those teams that prefer the budget capping option?

    keith, surely you’re not that jaded, are you? do you really think the fia would turn away a current team?

    THIS is why i like max. despite missteps here and there, he has usually dragged the sport where it needs to be.

    i expect every team to go low-cost by 2011 at the latest. ignoring cost, the incentives are massive, and i don’t expect the current incarnation of an f1 car to be competitive at all.

    i credit max alone (unless someone knows of another) for saving f1 from financial suicide. his cost cutting for 2009 was an immediate improvement, in terms of finance and spectacle. ruthless cost-cutting is already drawing in new teams and the more, the merrier. what sport doesn’t need fresh blood, particularly when there’s a 4 foot tall white-haired vampire in charge?

    max stated years ago that f1 must have relevance to road cars in order to survive, and he was right. only ferrari and mclaren are content with incinerating money on such a highly specialized, highly evolved (and yet highly homogenous) affair. i think f1 evolution is about to be blown wide open, with more major differences between the cars. i see all-wheel-drive as a precursor to fully electric drive and an open engine spec when it becomes affordable to do so.

    some say max was slow to act following the deaths of senna and ratzenberger, but remember where the sport has come from. safety is definitely front-and-center, in every facet of the sport. goodbye gas tanks strapped to legs, paper mache construction, and bales of hay between a speeding car and a cafe full of fans – hello crash testing, survival cells, fuel cells, HANS and more. if anything, i think the regs regarding tracks go too far, eliminating excellent tracks like leguna seca and the nordschlife.

    not only are drivers walking away from horrific crashes, but a mechanical retirement is now considered unusual. how can you do better than that?

    i think the refuelling era was fun, adding another dimension to strategy and action, but the wheel of fortune turns, turns, turns. for what it’s worth, i think refuelling was handled well and when there were issues with saftey, exploits or cost those issues dealt with. one thing i would have changed here would be not having Q3 sessions on race fuel.

    the only reason tire ( with an i ;) ) warmers have made it this long is because they were paid for years ago. the grooved tires were not good, but not as bad as the 1 set per race rule. rather than mandating use of all available compounds, i’d like to see soft, medium and hard tires used as the team wishes during the weekend. one less compound for bridgestone to make would drive costs down a bit, too.

    if you’ve read all that, i’m sorry but i cannot give you your time back. i won’t do it again :)

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      1st May 2009, 8:49

      if you’ve read all that, i’m sorry but i cannot give you your time back. i won’t do it again


    2. do you really think the fia would turn away a current team?

      Whether they would or they wouldn’t is besides the point – they now have a mechanism to do so.

      Imagine all the present teams stay for next year and another five enter – say Prodrive/Aston Martin, Lola, USGPE and a couple of GP2 teams. Those five plus the existing non-manufacturers (Brawn, Force India, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Williams) all choose budget-capping.

      Already we’ve got as many teams as this year running with a budget cap. The FIA can then pick and choose from the remaining manufacturers depending on which ones choose to go for the budget limit.

      Flavio Briatore has been in favour of a limit so expect Renault to stay. That’s 11 teams. Now, why should the FIA allow in any more that have not chosen to adhere to the budget cap?

      Maybe they wouldn’t force the issue in that way, but it could be enough to worry the manufacturers into accepting a budget cap. And plenty of their board members will be more than happy to knock a zero off their F1 budgets.

    3. Whether they would or they wouldn’t is besides the point – they now have a mechanism to do so.

      just as the aco selects applicants for le mans, but it’s a cold day in hell when they turn away audi and pugeot.

  12. there’s such a huge advantage of being capped it’s as if they are forcing them into it.

    even just the rpm advantage is huge. but a movable rear wing and double the kers. how can any non capped team compete?

  13. FIA is not Formula One ruling body… It’s a dictatorship…

    I’m anxiously waiting for the constructors (FOTA) to wake up and take charge. Then, if that weasel of a man (Mosley) continues driving Formula One to its dead, they can send him to organize go kart races and (re)create the real Formula One – the one that has been slowly killed with rule changes every year, always for worst, the one from the Senna/Prost/Mansell/Piquet/Rosberg times.

    That is the real deal. Now we spend more time and the times money talking about KERS or less down force so the cars can’t turn as fast as they did – the goal IS TO GO FASTER, not SLOWER… Who is afraid, get out…

    I only hope they don’t take too long… There is still time to save our sport from ignorant hands…

  14. 26 drivers mean the point scoring positions should be increased.

    1. No. The current points system is just fine! F1 was just fine when it had only 6 drivers scoring points when there was 24/26 cars on the grid.

  15. i note with interest that you said teams could spend 50% of there 2009 budget on developing next year’s car’s. So half the field after monaco could sign up to the budget teams and do a brawn for next year is it just me or is this turning into a farce I bet you one of the big manufacturer’s pull’s out say the sport has lost it’s technical edge and is no longer at the top end of automotive technology.

  16. Assuming you get your standard engine, gearbox and KERS for about £10M, that leaves £30M to buy raw materials, design and build your cars and pay the staff. Where is the money to develop more complex adjustable front wings, four-wheel drive, etc, pay the staff and then go testing?

    The majority of established teams won’t go for it, and it might actually force some out. How many of you are going to be genuinely happy with a two-tier formula?

    1. So Ferrari leave F1. oh well.

  17. Even if teams are tempted to go for the budget limits, Max can just change the regs the very next season. Even possible that same season, as the FIA reserve the rights to regulate the performance differences. between the two options

  18. schumi the greatest
    1st May 2009, 8:39

    i think it is the way forward…and i think it will bring back the real “racers” your eddie jordans, frank williams & patrick head figures rather than your ceo of honda etc who are only intrested in competing in f1 if it shows thier company in a good light e.g. if their team is winning!

    Was formula 1 that bad when the likes of bennetton, jordana and sauber were on the gird?? the engineering and designers were the same the only difference now is the multi millions ploughed into the teams by manafacturers.

    i think its a good move for f1 as a whole.

  19. These proposals are all very interesting. Could make for some great racing. But £40m isn’t a lot of money – surely it would cost half that much just to transport the cars across the globe?

    Also, does this mean that the revenues Bernie is demanding of the venues will diminish, or is the just an excuse for Bernie and Max to cream more of the profits off the top?

    1. I think that the FIA will pay for transport of 2 cars and Freight to all races for the Cost capped teams, it said so in some FIA FAQ about the cap. FIA currently does so for all teams anyways. So only the cost of moving the cars for testing falls to the teams.

  20. Why would an engineer or designer want to leave the comforts of his present team if he’s going to be earning the same minimum wage as his present employment. The engineers and mechanics love F1 too, but they also have to grow and aim for better comforts.
    Why doesn’t Bernie cap his own salary or Max, his excesses? Max was willing to fine a team a hundred million, there are no caps on fines.

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