F1 cost-cutting pact discussed in Singapore

Tue, 28 September 2010, 10:01

Sep.28 (GMM) A major topic of conversation during a team bosses meeting in Singapore was the so-called Resource Restriction Agreement.

At the resolution of last year’s political crisis, and the signing of a new Concorde Agreement, the teams promised the FIA to reduce their spending to the levels seen in formula one in the early 90s.

The intention, championed by departed FIA president Max Mosley, was to make the sport much more affordable for private teams, like the 2010 newcomers Virgin, HRT and Lotus.

But despite receiving applications to fill the 13th team spot for 2011, the FIA ruled that none had the necessary financial resources, and there are signs that some of the sport’s existing teams are also struggling.

“Many of the technical changes that were brought in to reduce costs haven’t done so, and in many cases they have actually increased costs,” Lotus team boss Tony Fernandes told F1’s official website.

And according to Michael Schumacher, another cost-cutting measure – completely banning in-season testing – was also not well thought out.

“Efficient testing might be cheaper than now, when we build parts and then throw them away because we can’t test them and they didn’t work,” the Mercedes driver is quoted by Die Welt newspaper.

The seven time world champion also said the testing ban has led to the “very expensive” development of simulators.

Nick Wirth, the technical boss at struggling new team Virgin, said it was “really sad” that Mosley’s plan for team budget caps was scuppered.

“It was a huge mistake,” he is also quoted by the German publication.

Another consideration is the new engine formula, with 4-cylinder turbo units allied with sophisticated energy recovery systems touted for 2013.

But considerations about F1 becoming ‘green’ are arguably secondary to the independent teams, like Sauber, who can no longer count on the vast support of departed owner BMW.

“I think what’s important to us is obviously the costs being kept under control, because obviously changes cost money,” said the Hinwil based team’s technical boss James Key.

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