D The FIA is not to be envied. The corona crisis has given the world association the golden opportunity to reorganize the future of motorsport and to throw overboard all the ballast that has accumulated over the past 20 years. It also has the opportunity to increase equality of opportunity by reducing the budget.
Nevertheless, a lot of tact is required. If the restrictions are too drastic, the large teams could be overwhelmed or annoyed. And push them all the way to the exit.
Three camps have formed in the field. There are hardliners like McLaren or Haas who are demanding a limit of $ 100 million. Ferrari is already struggling with the proposal to lower the budget limit from 175 to 145 million dollars. 'Which would still be a huge turning point for teams like us, Mercedes or Red Bull,' says Maranello.
Then there are the moderates. Red Bull and Mercedes could make friends with 145 million. On the other hand, 100 million is not enough for them. The objection immediately arises that the DNA of Formula 1 should not be diluted.
Six million for severance payments
But what is this DNA? Actually just that Formula 1 has to build the fastest cars on the planet. It doesn't necessarily depend on the budget. The requirement that the premier class should play the pioneering role in the development of the automobile has not been met for a long time.
What should the series learn from the aerodynamics, the transmission or the chassis of the ultimate driving machines? Nothing. The truth is much more bitter. Not even when the drive is goingthe transfer to the series consistently used. The principle of pre-chamber ignition has not yet been adopted by any of the four manufacturers for their mass-produced products.
One of the arguments against an overly dramatic cut are layoffs that threaten the teams that currently employ more than 800 people. The FIA has offered a solution for this. Anyone who has to cut staff can take a one-off sum of up to six million dollars in hand to pay out contracts until the end of the term or severance payments. This amount does not count towards the targeted budget cap of 145 million dollars for 2021.
Racing Point has an advantage?
It has not yet been determined whether there will be 145 million at all for entry, and whether this sum will be reduced to 130 million a year later. Ferrari advises against taking the second step a year later. In the first year with the new cars, Ferrari would like more freedom of movement.
The discussions about a reasonable cost cap have led to a real religious war. McLaren boss Zak Brown and Ferrari racing director Mattia Binotto fire at each other with heavy guns. One sees the chance to close the gap to the top teams more quickly through drastic disarmament. The other fears that the privileges of the top teams will be dismantled too much and that in future the decision for victory will no longer be made between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.
Racing Point is one of those on paper small teams. And you're a Mercedes customer. Owner Lawrence Stroll would be able to lift a budget cap of 145 million. The top teams would then only have a lead over Racing Point in the case of the exceptions. In the lap time, however, this is only noticeable in the driver's salaries.
With Sergio Perez, at least one cockpit in the team is well staffed. So Racing Point would be a winner in disarmament. If you only looked at yourself, you would have to support the 100 million dollar solution: 'We would be the best there,' believes team boss Otmar Szafnauer. 'With this sum, we managed to deliver good results for years. Nobody has as much practice in this as we do.'
Racing Point against customer team rule
Szafnauer can therefore live well with a budget cap of 145 million dollars: 'We have to consider both sides. With 145 million you are taking a good step towards the small teams. But we also have to take the interests of the big ones into account. If we punish them too severely, we run the risk of losing them.' /p>
The American doesn't necessarily think of Ferraris, who rattled their sabers last week. 'Ferrari will always stick with it. They have nothing else. I would be more worried about teams like Mercedes. If we go down to 100 million and lose a big team for it, we have won nothing.'
Szafnauer does not see the second step to 130 million dollars as decisive for the war. 'If we leave it at 145 million for five years, inflation will ensure that we end up with 130 million. Every year two percent means a loss of purchasing power of 15 million in the end. If inflation is only one percent , it would still be 7.5 million less. '
Szafnauer doesn't think much of the rule to financially punish the customer teams. He insists that all teams work with the same budget. In the opinion of the Racing Point team boss, there are two reasons why the manufacturer teams request that the customer deduct the nominal value of the development costs of all purchased parts from the budget limit:
'Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes have to develop the parts one way or another, whether they sell them to customers or not. At most, they could demand additional production costs. But the costs for supplied parts are not included in the budget cap. And we pay them with the purchase price. ' A colleague throws in: 'The customer teams save development costs for parts that they do not produce themselves and can therefore invest their entire development budget in aerodynamics. That is unfair to the teams that design each individual part themselves.'