Posted on March 18, 2009
Strong reaction to £30 million budget cap | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

There’s some very good writing in reaction to yesterday’s shock announcement of the £30 million budget cap and the new system for deciding the champion.

There’s no doubt that a big part of the background to this is a response from Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone to the formation of FOTA and its recent announcement of a ‘road map’ for F1. Mosley and Ecclestone do not want the teams deciding the rules or the share of commercial revenues and they are reminding them who’s boss. The £30 million budget cap is designed to repel calls for teams to receive a greater share of the revenues. It means that all the teams would be fully funded just from the share of money Bernie currently gives them, the ruse would be to pay high earners, like drivers, with a dividend from the massive profits the teams would be generating.

In the Gazzetta dello Sport, veteran writer Pino Allievi is highly critical of the budget cap, comparing it to a football league where the relegation zone teams are allowed to field 12 players against the 11 of the top teams.

“Behind this blow is the reborn alliance of Ecclestone-Mosley which faces the team’s association. It’s the beginning of a new war, whose consequences in such a fragile economy, could be devastating. Because there are a couple of big teams who have had enough of these power games and are thinking of leaving.”

Ed Gorman in the Times looks at the political iron fist behind the move and also sees the alliance of Mosley and Ecclestone as being in robust shape, in the face of the teams’ association,
“Mosley has a history of wielding a big stick to frighten the horses only to compromise and adjust his ideas through subsequent negotiation. If that is the case this time, expect to see a series of amendments to a remarkably pure concept and the budget limit figure to increase. However, there was no mistaking the mood of those close to Mosley yesterday – they genuinely believe that they have come up with the answer to Formula One’s long-term health problems. The reaction of Fota was viewed as weak by Mosley’s coterie and there can be little doubt that the FIA president and Ecclestone regard this initiative as firmly putting the teams in their collective place. And, as one source put it: “The Max and Bernie show is rolling into action in vintage form.”

Although the teams are refusing to allow FOTA be split up over this, the budget cap idea has been cleverly formulated to drive a wedge between the teams, to appeal to the poorer teams, whose very survival is a concern. The feeling is that some of them may go for some form of budget cap. It is the manufacturer teams who have the dual struggle of fighting this plan and keeping FOTA together.

As for the points debate, veteran Maurice Hamilton, now installed at the Guardian as well as the Observer, is in favour of the winner takes all approach,
“So have the FIA made the right decision? My view is that there certainly is a lot to be said for recognising the driver with the greatest number of wins. After all, if you ask any team member why they are at the races, the answer will always be: “We’re here to win. What else is there?” Sir Stirling Moss, now 79 and in happy retirement, should have at least one championship to his name.”

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Strong reaction to £30 million budget cap
11 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: Ben G
        Date: March 18th, 2009 @ 12:27 pm 

    Yes, this is a clever deal by Max & Bernie to forestall calls for a greater share of the TV revenue. But it may turn out to be too clever by half.

    Because of course the flipside is to not cap the costs, but to uncap the TV revenue. So if the teams break away with their own series, they will control both the revenue and the costs. They just won’t be ablet to call it “Formula One”; but who cares?

    I’m convinced this is the beginning of the end for FIA & FOM. Yippee.

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  2.   2. Posted By: Peter
        Date: March 18th, 2009 @ 12:57 pm 

    I don’t think Ecclestone – Mosley can win this political battle, however I have to admit I find this strategic game very interesting. Manufacturers not going to play this game for long, but quit and than we will have private garages to race in F1 for petrolhead fans (like myself). F1 will not remain the global spectatel it is now and other series (and sport events) will be more competitive in terms of sponsorship and exposure. In my opinion the essence of the F1 are the manufacturers with long years of racing history in different classes and with strong brand image. If marketing expenses will be under the budget cap how they supposed to develop the show? I want to see F1 teams at Goodwood and street demos where I can get really close to the cars and drivers and I want to be able to buy the make of car which won the championship with adopted technology etc. This is the XXI century, F1 nowadays is bigger then just this two old foxes, let’s have sensible savings on unnecessery engineering development costs, and let’s have green technology, but do not kill the show and do not change the rules a week before the first GP. I will go and watch Le Mans and GT or “FOTA GP” and other sports.

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  3.   3. Posted By: Liquid
        Date: March 18th, 2009 @ 12:59 pm 

    It just really bugs me when politics takes control of F1.. Its a sport.. not a political party.. Please dont ruin it!

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  4.   4. Posted By: lbh
        Date: March 18th, 2009 @ 1:08 pm 

    After messing up the technical regulations its quit natural for the FIA to start messing up the sporting ones as well.

    Still the winner takes all approach is a surprising … I cant call it a decision really, since the word implies some thinking.

    Firstly it is unfair. Unlike a solid performance throughout the season, a win can be circumstantial and should not be weighed so heavily.

    Secondly, with this ruling, team play (what others call team orders) becomes an absolute necessity, since a single race win makes a driver a clear favourite for the title over his team-mate, and team orders are something the FIA wanted to avoid.

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  5.   5. Posted By: john g
        Date: March 18th, 2009 @ 3:35 pm 

    as you say just another example of max and bernie trying to split FOTA and regain the power in F1. they are a wounded animal lashing out. hopefully they’ll go and rest peacefully in a corner soon and leave F1 without all the politics that they carry, without delivering a fatal blow to the sport.

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  6.   6. Posted By: Alastair
        Date: March 18th, 2009 @ 4:27 pm 

    How can you have the Best of the Best (engineers, drivers, etc.) when you have Bernie pulling the strings and Max swinging the paddle?

    All that will happen in 2010 is that F1 will become second-rate and another series, where only those who can afford it will race, will emerge and the best drivers, engineers, etc will go there.

    It’s called Natural Selection.

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  7.   7. Posted By: Jose Arellano
        Date: March 18th, 2009 @ 7:07 pm 

    How do they plan to equalize performance ?? and they would equalize to Ferrari performance? or force india Perfomance?? so max its going to decide where the budget teams are positioned in the grid????

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  8.   8. Posted By: sean
        Date: March 18th, 2009 @ 7:42 pm 

    im confused for years f1 teams have spent 100′s of millions to gain seconds on the track now all of a sudden its only going to cost 30 mill.Maybe max is smoking something dodgy to go along with everything else he’s up to.Would be good if someone could find out how he got to 30 mil.

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  9.   9. Posted By: Stephen Kellett
        Date: March 18th, 2009 @ 10:44 pm 

    They just won’t be ablet to call it “Formula One”; but who cares?

    What about “Formula Won”? :-)

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  10.   10. Posted By: Peter Freeman
        Date: March 19th, 2009 @ 6:41 am 

    Ben I dearly hope that you are right! I just can’t understand why the FOTA would be interested in signing another concord agreement…

    1)With no FOM there would be plenty of money to go round

    2)with no FIA the sport can be professionally governed and managed for once!

    What is the downside? It won’t be called F1? If all of the current teams and drivers take to the tracks of the world next year, with their current names and familiar faces, who would care if the title they raced under was not F1?

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  11.   11. Posted By: Michaeljc
        Date: June 29th, 2010 @ 3:55 pm 

    Your blog keeps getting better and better! Keep it up!
    And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)

    [Reply]

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