Interested to note that overnight Ron Dennis has made some comments which show that the top teams are shifting their view of the severity of the situation in F1 and the need for drastic action. Up to now they have been very resistant to the idea of talking percentages or numbers in terms of how much budgets might be brought down. But last night Ron said,
“I think the top teams will manage to reduce their costs from between 10 and 50 per cent. But for the smaller teams it will be more dramatic, to the order of 30 to 50 per cent. That is the aim we have this year.”
When I did a story on this for the Financial Times last week, even Flavio Briatore, the cost-cutter in chief among team bosses, was taking about only a 25% reduction. But for Ron to put in a range of up to 50% is very interesting. I sense that there will be some remarkable developments in the next few months, change and progress on shaping the sport which would have been unimaginable two years ago.
Ron still reckons that the top teams will spend upwards of €100 million a year on engines and gearboxes, but surely if that becomes an area of non-compete, what’s the point? Small teams, he points out, will get the engines and gearboxes for €6.5 million. If it’s all free from development, I cannot see why or indeed how, a top team would spend that money and what the expected returns would be.
Ron made these comments having just been presented with a Palme D’Or by the FIA in Paris. How times change.