Talking budget caps on TV tonight

I’ve been invited to appear on Sky News’s Sky.com programme tonight to talk about – what else? – the budget caps row.

If you’ve got Sky News tune in at 7pm tonight to see if I can explain budget capping, two-tiered regulations and FIA rules without confusing myself…

I’ve been on the programme a couple of time now and often get asked what fans make of the latest F1 row – so please share any thoughts you have on the subject either here or on this article: The FIA must not let its row with Ferrari become a split that would destroy F1

Do you think the budget capping plan is realistic? Can ehe FIA force through the controversial 2010 regulations? Are the manufacturers being genuine with their threat to quit? What would happen if F1 split?

I’m also appearing on another programme on BBC Radio Four next week – more on that later.

Advert | Go Ad-free

52 comments on Talking budget caps on TV tonight

1 2 3
  1. Internet said on 14th May 2009, 14:07

    I personally think budget caps are a great idea. But the two tiered implementation is unfair for a lot of teams. They should instead make cap gradual over the next few years.

  2. Chris said on 14th May 2009, 14:15

    What this fan wants –

    • No artificial 2 tyre compounds per race rule
    • More technical freedom, not standardization
    • New governance (not Max)
    • No two-tier rules
    • No budget caps — this will become self-fulfilling as no sponsor or manufacturer will continue to spend as the had. Formula One is about survival of the fittest.

    To answer your questions, the FIA is using the new regs as a negotiation starting point as always. I believe the manufacturers would quit if Max gets his way, but Bernie will smooth things over. If F1 split, next year might suck, but I don’t think it would end up like CART and IRL in the USA. All the best teams, money and drivers would migrate to one series (wherever Ferrari ends up).

    • Toby Thwaites 93 said on 14th May 2009, 20:54

      Am i right in saying Bernie made the teams sign an agreement that they wouldnt split up and form a new championship away from FIA or something?

  3. Patrickl said on 14th May 2009, 14:23

    I think having a budget cap is itself not such a bad idea.

    The problem is that car manufacturers have started blowing up tthe budgets starting in the late eighties. Porsche, Honda and then Renault put up ever bigger budgets to get better engines.

    Nowadays the car manufacturers are tripping over themselves to spend more and more money to outdo each other.

    It’s ridiculous. Once they spend their billions to go a few second a lap faster, the FIA steps in and changes the rules to make the cars slower again.

    If the budgets go down at worst the rate of development will go down so the FIA won’t have to change their rules so often. Who cares about that really?

    I guess enforcing the budget cap might introduce some difficulties, but that should be possible to iron out.

    What I think the teams are having problems with currently is:
    - The way they get rule changes forced down their throats
    - The budget cap is ridiculously steep
    - The two tier rules

    The last item is the least of the problems though. The teams really have no option but to go for the budget cap. From the press conference I got that the moving rear wing alone can gain 1.5 to 2 seconds a lap. No way is any huge budget going to compete with that.

    The teams don’t like the silly speed with which these proposals are hurried through (without even consulting the Technical Workgroup or the teams beforehand)

    The main problem that covers the other two items is the ridiculous negotiating tactic that Mosley seems to use.

    He did the same thing with the standard engine. The teams didn’t want to cooperate in selling engines for a low enough amount. So he proposes some ridiculous measures with an option out if the teams sell their engines for a small amount. Teams op for the latter and Mosley wins the day.

    Now it seems he tries the same. He proposes some ridiculously low budget cap. Says that the teams can spend all the money they want if they insist (which is pointless since no realistic budget is going to beat the budget capped car) and waits for the teams to come with a counter proposal that they beforehand would never have agreed to.

    Mosley realy shouldn’t fight these deals in public. FOTA should be part of the negotiating together with FIA and FOM. So all together they can come to a sensible conclusion and not create this senseless panic everytim he wants the teams to accept something they don’t want to accept.

    It doesn’t just create panic amongst the fans, it also alienates them and ridicules the sport. It makes people spend money writing up proposals which will never be used anyway (who’s going to buy that Cosworth engine?). There will be no 40 million budget cap. It’s just a negotiating startpoint. It will be revised, so all the people working on F1 teams based on that 40 mil budget cap are wasting their time.

    Personally, I’d hope the teams would break away. Set up an F1 type racing league organized like DTM. Which is by the teams themselves. FIA can approve rule changes and the money would stay within the organization rather than flowing to some Hungarian ex-wife.

    Unfortunately, instead I guess they will come to some compromise where:
    - the initial budget cap is set much higher
    - the budget cap will be gradually lowered
    - the budget cap will be mandatory for all teams

    On the other hand, if all else fails, I’d love to see Ferrari back at Le Mans.

  4. Nathan said on 14th May 2009, 14:24

    Anything that gives the teams a bit more technical freedom I’m for it. The budget cap does seem to do that, but I don’t like the two-tiered approach they’re trying to implement. You can’t expect the big teams to just slash their budgets like that over night.

    There are other ways to give more technical freedom. Someone suggested over on James Allen’s blog that the cars should just run with standard aero and brakes, since aero costs the most, and pretty much free up the engine restrictions restricting only the mileage it is allowed in a season. That seems like quite a good idea to me.

  5. persempre said on 14th May 2009, 14:36

    I think the really important thing is to make it clear that this is NOT all about the money. Every team, including Ferrari & Toyota (actually the biggest spender) has said they think cost-cutting is needed.
    This is about the governance of the sport – the arbitary way in which the FIA now changes regs; the impossibility of the current FIA suggestions actually working & the need for the teams to take a much larger part in the rules, regulations & commercial running of their own sport.
    The objection to the budget cap itself is almost secondary. Cuts must be made but on a sensible sliding & pre-agreed timescale where regulations are stable enough for the teams to be able to plan ahead & not have the usual FIA surprise change or interpretation thrown in at the last minute.
    Please just don`t let people continue to tink that it`s all about rich teams not wanting to have their budgets curbed. That`s not it at all.

  6. Bigbadderboom said on 14th May 2009, 14:46

    Good luck with this tonight Keith. I think it’s important that the fans views are aired and I’m sure you will do us proud.

    I think it’s important to understand where the FIA and Max are coming from on this. They are trying to preserve F1 and bring more competition to the sport. Budget capping was an obvious answer to their dilemma but it has been ill conceived from the start. Development restrictions, further regulation changes and the current economic climate combined with the squeeze all the sponsors are feeling, may have well bought the same result.

    I think it’s important to talk about how badly Max has dealt with the teams over the issue, by often employing schoolyard tactics to try and bully the teams and get reactive responses from them eg ” F1 could survive without Ferrari” Is just poking Ferrari with a stick. And using the situation to try and split the newly formde FOTA. For me this episode has demonstrated Max’s unsuitability for the role of head of the FIA.

    Finally, it’s going to be very interesting how this resolves itself. The majority of the grid are insistant that the cap is increased vastly, and there are at least 3 new teams who are in the process of trying to get cars to grid for £40 million, and almost everybody is against a two tier formula. I really think this will be the issue that splits the sport, is a breakaway series really as far fetched as we all thought not so long ago.

  7. Christian Briddon said on 14th May 2009, 14:46

    The budget cap is a good idea in principle but the way it is being implemented it just wrong.

    Max is surely just doing this to antagonise the teams. Let’s hope he will agree to a compromise as I truely believe the teams would leave if not.

    What F1 needs is a graduated reduction in budget, less constant fiddling with the rules which has to cost the teams millions, and to be rid of Max and Bernie as neither of them seem to have any love of the sport and are only driving it into the ground.

  8. Rabi said on 14th May 2009, 15:03

    Can we not look at this from another angle? If the FIA stopped changing the goalposts every other year over technical regulations then the smaller teams will eventually start to catch up. All what is needed is a prolonged period of stable rules so that the teams can eventually catch up to one another.

    It is a testament to both Force India and Williams that they are able to stay so close to the other teams with bigger budgets, I don’t count Brawn because they built this car on Honda’s budget, it’s another argument that I don’t want to discuss in this thread.

    To me the biggest risk for the FIA is to lose the manufacturers and the drivers. I am sure FOTA will create a breakaway series if they are pushed and you can bet the drivers will be going with them, simply put any new team coming into F1 on a budget are going to be small and they just won’t be able to match the £££’s that the FOTA teams will be able to provide.

    Going back to the budget cap has there ever in the history of business ever been a businessman who has shown an independant authority his red book? The fact that they want to govern via a cap is a joke. For instance how would the FIA decide over the cap limit’s on two teams such as Renault (WSR) and Ferrari (GP2) who are supplying racing equipment to other tiered series, surely they can just spend an unlimited amount on those series and bring the technology back into F1 and enjoy the unrestricted rules.

    So to summarise more stable technical regulations as well as stricter technical regulations which would limit the reason for expensive R&D is the answer not introducing a cap that is impossible to govern.

  9. Austin said on 14th May 2009, 15:05

    Good luck on tonight’s program Keith, I will be watching.

    If they were to implement this budget cap, how are they going to control it? If they go over the budget does that mean they will be penalised?. It does not seem a fair system. It will only hurt development and most of all the racing on the circuit. Once people see that its not racing and more economics, they will turn off there tv’s on a Sunday afternoon and be gone for good.

    If the FIA do go through with this then they will kill F1 for good in my opinion.

  10. scunnyman said on 14th May 2009, 15:11

    I do not have a problem with budget capping in principal Keith.
    However the main reason to me, is that the teams keep on spiralling their costs because the governing body keep changing the goal posts on them almost every year.
    Ever changing regulations just mean the teams have to spend more and more money on developing their cars to these new technical regs.
    If F1 was allowed to have several years of stabilised regulations then the teams would eventually reduce their budgets naturally.
    But as we seem to be heading for a budget cap then i have to disagree with the way it is being implemented. It can only cause chaos to the sport by demanding such a low cap in the first place and the possibility of a two tier system which just cannot work.
    Everyone is against it.

    I agree with Patrick when he says it is Just Max Mosley flexing his muscles and using it as a bargaining tool.

    Whatever happens i hope that F1 gets back to some sort of normality soon.

    Good luck on the show tonight Keith. By the way who else is appearing with you, or is it just you?
    And i wish i could get access to Sky News somehow. No chance with being in America.

    Please tell us all about it tomorrow.

  11. scunnyman said on 14th May 2009, 15:14

    Oh and Keith, have you sorted that idiot spammer using yours and other peoples name in vain?

  12. Howard said on 14th May 2009, 15:23

    Keith,

    I always enjoy your site and the discussion that goes on. Here is my comment for what its worth regarding budget caps.

    How can anyone enforce a budget cap when the exchange rates around the world are not fixed. Back in the early 90′s the £/$ rate almost halved overnight – so if you had a US team and a UK team overnight one team would in effect be able to double its resources. Surely no commercial outfit can work on that basis where it might have to lay off most of its staff half way through a season due to moving exchange rates.

    Additionally the cap will drive teams to low cost countries like India and China where they can get more for their money. anyone for a Chinese Ferrari? I read somewhere that the maximum team size and materials are specified in one of the US series which at least is easy to measure and fair, unlike the current proposals.

    Sadly will not be able to see you on Sky as its not available in Bulgaria.

  13. persempre said on 14th May 2009, 15:27

    Me again with apologies because I didn`t answer all your questions…….
    “Are the manufacturers being genuine with their threat to quit?”
    Yes. If the FIA (& to a degree also Bernie) don`t make compromises I believe the teams will walk away. The manufacturers are all to some degree or other involved in other series, anyway.
    Many in the UK don`t seem to know about Ferrari`s Challenge Series because it gets no real coverage here but it runs in the US, Europe & Italy & could be extended. There are always other alternatives.
    F1 isn`t the be-all-and-end-all if it doesn`t meet the requirements.

    “What would happen if F1 split?”
    F1 as we have known it would die.
    I can`t see a mad rush to form a break away series. It may come in the future but I don`t think it`s on the cards right now.
    Incidentally, I`d be really interested to know how many broadcasters have clauses in their contracts which allow them to opt out if the big names don`t appear.
    Mr E`s nails must be chewed down to the elbows. OK – that`s not so far we know ;-)

    What would happen if F1 split?

  14. F1Yankee said on 14th May 2009, 15:28

    tell them you’re the stig :D

  15. Charlie said on 14th May 2009, 15:45

    I think that this is all high level brinksmanship from the FIA and Ferrari. But with Ecclestone coming down on the side of Ferrari it looks like FIA will have to back down in some shape or form. I expect the budget cap to remain, but to be raised by a certain – probably signiciant – amount.

1 2 3

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.