The rationale behind the cost cutting is that it enables profit for the teams, as they simply develop big areas of the car and not something minuscule for a lot of money, as Prisoner Monkeys pointed out. This brings closer competition, and lets Bernie’s model win – otherwise teams could spend more, employ more people in the supply chain etc. with a bigger share of the FOM revenues split between the teams. This is probably holding up the concorde agreement – last time it was less than 50% revenue split between the teams, this time it’ll be more (maybe approaching 60%? Bernie could still make massive profit with it at 75% for the teams, but would the CVC bankers accept this loss of profit?), but Ferrari always break the team union by accepting more money from Bernie in a special kickback (2.5%, soon to be 5% etc.). They always guarantee they are the biggest fish, even if in a smaller pond.
The FIA rules are strict now, and the cars could go a lot faster with more things brought back like that active suspension (I think FRIC was probably developed because of this), e.g. no more flat floor. No wings and GE – probably closer racing. The teams should man up and develop some GE floors, instead of DRS flaps, to promote better racing and better show. Then they could loosen up the tyre rules (it’d be good racing with or without tyre deg then). Of course, for peak efficiency – only certain rules really are needed. Amount of fuel… number of tyres.. driver safety features.. Now that would be some category. I think V6 turbos are a good idea – F1 should have kept up where it was headed in the 80s, before bad rule changes after the unlucky death of Elio de Angelis, which was down to lax French/testing rules/marshalling than anything.
I think the weight increase is to even out the shift in balance. With the KERS introduction, BMW found out for Kubica it was better to have no KERS due to improved weight positioning with ballast instead and this is exacerbated when you have heavier drivers. Webber lost a lot of poles to Vettel by the intrinsic half a tenth his car is always slower by because he weighs more than Vettel and carries the weight higher up in the car, giving a higher COG. This problem is strange given that base weight is 440kg, but it shows that even with a lot of ballast that the 20kg shift of weight up in the car still makes a difference to the car potential.