Ross Brawn, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2011

Brawn: Resource Restriction Agreement is “at a crossroads”

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ross Brawn, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2011
Brawn: concerned about 'innuendo and accusations'

Ross Brawn says the Resource Restriction Agreement is coming under greater pressure and must be strengthened.

Speaking in today’s FIA press conference the Mercedes team principal said more must be done to ensure all teams are sticking to the spending limits.

Brawn said: “I think for us, we?re respecting the RRA but I think it?s at a crossroads, I think it?s at a crossroads because it?s now starting to bite to those three or four teams who have to control their resource to comply.

“I think there?s seven or eight teams for whom RRA means nothing because they?re always going to be below the limit.

“Now we?re at a stage where the targets that were set are starting to bite into the three or four teams and this is where it starts to get contentious and we haven?t structured it well enough yet to have the controls and checks and reassurances in place that gives everybody comfort and [that] leads to the innuendo and accusations that get thrown around.”

Mercedes has made recruited several major figures to its technical staff this year, including Bob Bell, Geoff Willis and Aldo Costa.

Following claims – none of which have been proven – that some teams may have broken the RRA, Brawn said: “We?re total supporters of the idea of RRA, but for us, it has to be much more robust in how it?s controlled, how it?s monitored, how it?s policed, because it is a performance differentiator.

“You can?t deny that a team spending five million more each year will have an advantage over a team that doesn?t do that, and therefore it has to be very well controlled, very strongly audited and it has to be done by a reference which is the same for all teams, otherwise we have no guarantee of parity, and I think for us, RRA is at a crossroads.

“We support it totally, but the teams have to come together to find a solution to make sure that we?re all comfortable with the way we go forward or else we will have a continuation of the problems that we?re having at the moment, all the comments, the rumour, the innuendo, the distrust that we have.”

Formula 1 Teams Association chairman and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “Each of the teams and team principals continue to assure FOTA that they are abiding by the limitations that are contained within the Resource Restriction Agreement.

“Bear in mind that although, clearly, there is a lot of media interest we are doing this for one reason. We are doing it for ourselves. We are doing it for the sustainability of Formula 1.

“It is not intended to be part of the show or the spectacle of Formula 1. It is an internal process, but I understand people are interested in it and like to speculate if there is some controversy behind it, but certainly my view is it isn?t perfect, there will always be challenge.

“I think we have got to improve it, I think we have got to work together to enhance trust and mutual respect in the process. Will we ever reach a stage where everyone is very comfortable, has no concern, no accusation? I doubt [that], just as there isn?t with technical regulations in my experience.

“But I think it has been the right thing for the sport and I think we have got to continue to persevere with it.”

Virgin team principal John Booth said the RRA is “very, very important” to his outfit:

“Remember we gave up a lot, together with the other new teams, we gave up a lot in the entry to the sport. We gave up the option B and we gave up the price cap and bought into the RRA wholeheartedly and it?s very, very important to us that it continues and we work towards the agreement.

“I think a spending formula where three or maybe four teams could thrive is not what people want and we must work very hard to avoid that.”

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20 comments on “Brawn: Resource Restriction Agreement is “at a crossroads””

  1. The RRA has to stand, Brawn is absolutely right. If they fail to stay within the limits they gave themselves they could aswell admit to being idiots and dissolve FOTA.
    Obviously they face major problems, to make sure everything is fine they’d have to review eachothers accounts but obviously they can’t give eachother access to those because sponsors might be unhappy about it and more importantly the accounts would show other teams pretty exactly what they are doing within the team. A solution might be an external controlling company with access to everything but without the right to disclose details. Wouldn’t be perfect but there has to be a way to make 100% sure everyone sticks to their word.

  2. “You can’t deny that a team spending five million more each year will have an advantage over a team that doesn’t do that”

    Didn’t BAR/Honda spend tens of millions of pounds more than several of the teams they finished behind for each of the seasons they were in F1 ?

    And didn’t Brawn spend considerably less than Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull the year they won the WDC and WCC ?

    1. @beneboy But the RRA wasn’t in operation in 2009.

    2. So did Renault in 2005 and 2006.

      And the opposite prime example: Toyota.

    3. But thats not really a brilliant argument. Sure Honda spent millions and millions and all for just one title and that not even to their own name.
      On the other hand when you look at the top teams most of them have a rather good “yield rate” when it comes to making ideas inti developments into parts on the car. Sure it is possible the 5 million can be blown entirely without an effect but when we are talking about the teams Brawn has in mind thats simply unlikely.

      1. Brawn were pretty poor, though, I don’t think you can associate Honda’s millions with them for the most part of that season. The amount of staff they had to lose and allegedly the pay cuts Jenson and Rubens took were extortionate.

        1. Which is exactly why MercedesGP has not really had brilliant cars for the past 2 years.
          The Honda millions built the great BGP001 car but nothing was there for further development, nor starting work on the 2010 car in earnest.

    4. In F1 (or any other sport), having money is not a guarantee for success, but not having money is a guarantee for failure.

      1. Spot on @journeyer.
        Once again Brawn demonstrated he is very intelligent and clearly knows what’s going on and how things should be.

  3. Once RRA is gone then…

  4. How to efficiently use those millions i the difference between success with a “normal” budget and wasting it like oyota and Bar/Honda. Toro Rosso got a victory (well, Ok, in the rain) with a minor budget. So the winners arent necessarily the rich, but the ones with good engineering solutions. Obviously that money can get the best brains in ost cases… and don’t forget the drivers of course!

    1. STR got a victory in an Adrian Newey RBR driven by Wunderkind Vettel, nothing to do with RRA or budget. Then they were allowed to share chassis design.

  5. Other interesting comments from the press conference about changing names:

    Unfortunately, if it becomes a trading position and I guarantee those teams that are trying to change their name will have had approaches from other teams who want different favours paid in order to agree to the name change, and that’s not correct. I know that happened to us when we wanted to change our name. People sought to get favours from that decision. That’s what we mustn’t have.

    (Whitmarsh): The issue that Ross that just raised… I recall, within the last couple of years, when there was a desire to change the team name to Mercedes Benz, how a number of people conspired against that, which was a ridiculous position to take and very damaging to the sport.

    To which we can only reply: WHO? What did they ask for? Who wanted what?

    Never mind what happened in wet practice sessions today, this sounds fascinating! :)

  6. “We’re total supporters of the idea of RRA, but for us, it has to be much more robust in how it’s controlled, how it’s monitored, how it’s policed, because it is a performance differentiator.

    In other words, ever more similar in style to Mosley’s budget cap, just a few years later and a little gentler. Sometimes I do wonder.

    1. I always thought that was the point of the RRA. Reaching the same point, just more gently than the blunt path pushed by Mosley, to make it easier to actually change the way these teams work.

  7. The RRA is very important and should be policed properly. Clearly, external auditing is the only way they can do that.

    Makes you wonder though…with HRT not being a part of FOTA, if they had a massive cash injection tomorrow and blew it all, they wouldn’t be breaking any rules, would they?

    1. Does the RRA just apply to FOTA teams? Interesting thought, that!

      It couldn’t be that simple though…it’s not like Ferrari or Mclaren could leave FOTA and suddenly spend what they like, surely?

      1. @Electrolite Well, good point about Ferrari and McLaren. They would certainly be frowned upon though ;)

  8. That’s not very likely though, is it.

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