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Dispute over cost controls: there is a threat of war between the F1 teams

Agreement on cost ceiling postponed
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W hen twelve team bosses miss the first training session, one of them has to be give an important reason for it. At nine o'clock in the morning on Friday (25.11) before the Brazilian GP, ​​the meeting of the FOTA teams, which had failed in Abu Dhabi, was scheduled. It was about the cost brake and the Concorde agreement, which expires at the end of 2012.

Ecclestone as a laughing third party?

The outcome of the negotiations on the limitation of costs is considered to be future-oriented. If there is no agreement, the team association FOTA can break. It is their first real test. Bernie Ecclestone would be the laughing third party because from January 2012 he will haggle with the teams about a new Concorde agreement from 2013. Nothing is better for him than a dispute with his negotiating partners.

The most important meeting of the year came to an end with the checkered flag of the first training session. Judging by the faces of the team bosses, it wasn't a success. It was later leaked that Red Bull is still not satisfied with the existing RRA regulations and control mechanism. The competition claims that the world champion racing team counts wrongly when it comes to wind tunnel hours and computer capacity and that the agreement is probably broken elsewhere if you consider the production costs for new parts.

Blockade tactic from Red Bull?

The opponents suspect that Red Bull's disruptive maneuvers were a delay tactic. The original RRA contract expires at the end of 2012. If no agreement can be found by then, there would be no more action against contract breakers. Red Bull has been advised that the blocking tactic may not work.

Last year, the teams in Singapore agreed on a modified version of the cost brake, which will apply until 2017. With the signature of team boss Christian Horner. Red Bull withdrew its commitment with the argument that Horner was not authorized to sign. Whereupon the other teams warned Red Bull, if necessary, to sue the Singapore document in court. If Mr. Horner can sign contracts with drivers and the FIA, then his signature is also valid in the case of the cost brake.

Some teams under the leadership of Ferrari continue to put Red Bull under pressure. You want to put the control of the cost brake under the FIA, instead of going through an independent auditing companyto control yourself. The world federation could then also impose sports penalties that hurt. The threat of fines does not seem enough. A top team pays them out of the postage.

Do the teams trick the teams with the employee numbers?

The suspicion that some teams are not adhering to the restrictions is further reinforced by the business figures for 2010 recently published at Companies House in London. Red Bull is the front runner with 175 million pounds (205 million euros) and 646 employees, ahead of McLaren with 135 million (158 million euros) and 628 employees. Mercedes looks comparatively modest with a budget of 126 million pounds (147 million euros) and 487 employees.

The number of employees alone should arouse suspicion. According to the cost brake, only 315 employees are allowed to build and use the cars this year. As a result, Red Bull and McLaren would have to employ over 300 additional people who are responsible for administration, the press, marketing and external services. Even Santa Claus doesn't believe in that.

Without an agreement, the cost war threatens

The Brazil conference went without any tangible result. The four top teams now want to meet before the next FIA World Council meeting on December 7th to come to a solution. If not, there is a threat of war among the racing teams.

Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes are unwilling to allow an unlimited arms race. They know very well that in an emergency they cannot compete with Red Bull. Manufacturers have not been able to burn unlimited money for a long time. Domestic political pressure forces them to streamline their organizations. 'Red Bull,' says one of the camps, 'spends what they think is right.'


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