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.”