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. F1Yankee said on 1st May 2009, 2:41

    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 :)

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 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

      Lol!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st May 2009, 13:25

      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.

    • F1Yankee said on 1st May 2009, 15:00

      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.

  2. todd said on 1st May 2009, 3:06

    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?

  3. Mikeman said on 1st May 2009, 4:41

    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…

  4. Nayanesh said on 1st May 2009, 5:29

    26 drivers mean the point scoring positions should be increased.

    • Smitty said on 1st May 2009, 8:53

      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.

  5. sean said on 1st May 2009, 6:34

    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.

  6. ceedas said on 1st May 2009, 8:06

    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?

  7. Oliver said on 1st May 2009, 8:32

    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

  8. schumi the greatest said on 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.

  9. 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?

    • Hollus said on 1st May 2009, 19:15

      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.

  10. Oliver said on 1st May 2009, 9:04

    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.

  11. HounslowBusGarage said on 1st May 2009, 9:06

    @ Schumi the greatest.
    I think that’s what Max wants – the replacement of the manufacturers with smaller, more easily dominated ‘garagista’ teams. The idea of international manufacturers being in the sport like Mercedes or Toyota is attractive from a marketing point of view, but they are difficult to control and bully. Smaller teams would have less clout overall and Max would find it easier to rule over them in his aristocratic fashion. Problem is though, smaller teams in the past were the ones who really tested the rules and regs to destruction. Max could be swapping one set of difficult teams for another.

    @ El Gordo.
    As I understand it, the transport of the cars around the world is not charged to the team. In exchange for their F1 entrance money, the teams are provided with space for two cars, spares, tools etc on the F1 transport planes to all the flyaway races. I think they are also given 20 economy class air tickets for the mechanics etc as well.

  12. Greup said on 1st May 2009, 9:41

    So after the last GP of the year we will have a large accountants meeting i Geneva where it will be decided who won the championship? Can you imagine the uproar if the top team or two get discualified because of economic issues. Max is talking a lot about comparing costs between teams to see if there are any hidden freebies from parent companies in for example R&D.

    I thought bad race stewards was a problem and now we are gonna have crooked accountants to deal with too?

    • It’s worse than that. The accounting year for a season ends only on December 31, so if they allow a month for the end-of-year reports to come through, the accoutants’ meeting will be in February.

      This also means that results for F1 cannot be frozen at the WMSC meeting in November/December as is currently the case.

  13. Bigbadderboom said on 1st May 2009, 9:55

    I only hope all the teams adopt the cap, I can’t be doing with a two tier formula, it doesn’t make for good viewing.

    It would be interesting to know how the big spending teams can use previous development research and apply it under the capped regulations. Any team using the battery KERS is going to struggle to balance the car, 150kg fuel and all the extra batteries will make balance difficult. It puts Williams flywheel KERS development in a new light.

    I presume engine capacity and layout regs still hold, unless anyone knows different? Revving the existing units to 22krpm would reduce reliability. So if you detonate enough blocks you could double the budget cap in replacement engines, as these are not included.

  14. A Singh said on 1st May 2009, 10:04

    Forget the capped/uncapped. I’d love to see all the teams competing under those new regulations. There’s so much freedom in the design – the KERS, 4WD etc. But I doubt how those could all be developed with £40m.

  15. scunnyman said on 1st May 2009, 10:37

    I can’t see any team not going for the capped system. They are being forced into it really. No team is gonna go for the uncapped route as it would really disadvantage them too much.

    As for the £40 budget cap i think the teams may struggle to cope so long as everyone down the line still charges what they do now for parts. Most companies have charged formula one teams too much for each part of the car (tyres/supension/brakes etc…) because the teams could afford it and was willing to pay. Now these companies have to greatly reduce the cost to the team so the team can do what they need to do to be competative.
    And i see no problem in having 26 cars on the grid for next season and the points are ok as they are now, no need for more tinkering.

    I do feel that the FIA need to stop messing with f1 now and have a cap on changes to the regulations from 2011 on wards for at least 5 yrs so everyone can get used to how everything works.

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