Shortly before the publication of comprehensive reforms for Formula 1, the top teams warned of a cost spiral in the coming year before the new rules are implemented in 2021.
“2020 will be a year of extra spending to be ready for 2021,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
The series management (Liberty Media) and the FIA will announce on Thursday their concept for the period after the current Basic Agreement, which expires at the end of 2020, and the FIA will also be announcing its plans for the next year.
The key point is a budget limit of 175 million dollars per team. In addition, from 2021, extensive changes in the technology and design of the cars are to take effect.
“I think it would have been better if we had introduced the 2021 spending limit, taken more time to develop the regulations and put them into effect in time for 2022. Then every measure would fall under the umbrella of the budget limit,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
Mercedes team boss Wolff warns: “All this change is expensive”. The Austrian is the direct link between the racing team and the board of the manufacturing giant, the source of the team’s budget.
The big teams Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are going to have a financial arms race in the next season in order to be able to start the following year again with a head start under the new rules and regulations. Further, this will, in all likelihood, compound the gap between the so-called ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. F1 and F1.5 (the midfield) will very likely as far apart as they are now as only the manufacturers and Red Bull have the budgets in place to invest next year.
“We will do things differently than today. And that’s why it’s clear that we have to adapt and change in 2020. And all this change is expensive,” said Mercedes boss Wolff.
In addition to the implementation and monitoring of the budget limit, other central points of the reforms are controversial. Instead of the strategy group and Formula 1 Commission, in future only one committee with representatives of the management, the world association, and the teams will decide on reforms. Especially the top teams see their influence waning.
Another reversal of former ‘ringmaster’ Bernie Ecclestones’ tactic to keep the manufacturers interested, especially Ferrari, in taking part in F1.
The pressure to produce many standard components for the cars and less technical freedom for the engineers also met with resistance.
Very possible we could see a set of events that herald the start of Mercedes and possibly Red Bull depart Formula 1 for good. Ferrari will, of course, threaten to do so, but almost certainly they would negotiate retention of their veto and influence over decision making.
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