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

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.

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

  1. Robert McKay said on 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.

  2. Arthur954 said on 30th April 2009, 21:49

    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”

  3. Jeff said on 30th April 2009, 21:54

    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.

    • Richard said on 30th April 2009, 22:10

      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

    • 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.

  4. Chalky said on 30th April 2009, 22:14

    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?

    • F1Yankee said on 1st May 2009, 3:05

      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.

  5. Oliver said on 30th April 2009, 22:24

    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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th April 2009, 23:04

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

    • 159Tom said on 1st May 2009, 9:51

      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?

  6. nicb said on 30th April 2009, 22:30

    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!

    • Hallard said on 30th April 2009, 22:47

      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…

    • Lewis said on 1st May 2009, 1:43

      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…

  7. Xanathos said on 30th April 2009, 22:57

    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…

  8. Gustav said on 30th April 2009, 23:02

    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.

  9. Dane said on 30th April 2009, 23:08

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

  10. Kovy said on 1st May 2009, 0:05

    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.

  11. Fer no.65 said on 1st May 2009, 1:03

    4 wheell drive F1s possible, then? :O…

  12. Hollus said on 1st May 2009, 1:31

    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?

  13. Hollus said on 1st May 2009, 1:33

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

  14. Mahir C said on 1st May 2009, 2:11

    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.

    • Gman said on 1st May 2009, 2:31

      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.

    • 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.

  15. Gman said on 1st May 2009, 2:36

    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.

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