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|
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.