Veteran Williams technical boss Patrick Head is here this weekend, and was typically good value in the FIA press conference this afternoon. He got stuck into several meaty topics, but the most interesting point was about the proposed two tier formula for next year where teams running under the £40 million budget cap will have technical freedoms such as more KERS boost, unlimited engine revs and an adjustable rear wing.
“If you are able to move your rear wing and lower your drag level going down the straights it has a number of interesting effects on your lap time but also on your fuel consumption, ” he said.
“I don’t think anyone thinks that a two tier championship is a good idea. Even on the basis of being able to adjust the rear wing alone..you are going to be talking about a second and a half to two seconds per lap..No amount of expenditure anywhere else will make up for that difference. It’s a difficult environment at the moment.”
The general feeling seems to be that if any of the current teams ran under cost capped conditions against the rest of the current field uncapped, the cost capped car would have a massive advantage, probably two to three seconds per lap, so it is unworkable for the current field to be divided and everyone recognises that.
There is one school of thought going around this weekend that if all the current teams, collectively as FOTA, were to choose to run uncapped, accepting that the three new teams would run capped, it might work out that the balance would not be destroyed because the three new teams would not be able to build a state of the art car in their first year, which was within three seconds a lap of a current top team anyway. This would buy some time to get the budget cap negotiated better and eliminate the two tier system for 2011, while not preventing the new teams from coming in next year.
This is all theoretical, because no-one knows yet what is going to happen before the window for entry to the 2010 world championship opens later this month.
Despite the death of his son, FIA president Max Mosley has today written to the teams saying that if they want to talk, he will meet them all in London next week. But as he said last weekend, he hasn’t got much room to negotiate because raising the budget cap could prevent the three new teams from entering.
I understand that two teams, Lola and USGPE have paid deposits on a supply of Cosworth engines, so they appear to be serious about coming in.
As for talk of the teams all refusing to put an entry in later this month, can you imagine McLaren, post the Melbourne lie-gate judgement risking that? Or Williams or Brawn, whose sole reason for existence is to go F1 racing?