Formula One spending caps - necessary or not?

Discussion started by Thomas Lane , on Monday, 04 July 2016 11:24

Last week iSportconnect spoke to the Alex Tai, the Team Principal for Formula E team DS Virgin, formerly Team Principal for Virgin's Formula One team.

One of the key issues he discussed was the spending caps, which have seemed have largely faded away in Formula One but have become a mainstay in Formula E.

What do spending caps offer to Formula One teams; are they a blessing or a curse?

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Stanford Crane
Bernard, you make some interesting points, but I have a question for you. How easy would it be to construct a car that is more spectacular, faster and more entertaining than an F1 car? If 3 liters was good would 4 or 5 be better? Would V10s and V12s sound better? Would those engines married to a Red Bull X1 be more exciting? Oh, by the way we wouldn't limit what the teams could say to the driver over the radio either. I bet it could be cheaper too. Then you might focus it in the world's largest advertising market. Do you know where that is?
324 days ago
Bernard Ferguson
Having spent many years supplying engines to F1 teams, many of which were perennial back markers or chronically underfunded, I feel I must respond to the points raised in Stanford's input to add some balance to the discussion.

TESTING - The massive IT infrastructure would remain and testing would just be an additional cost not a replacement cost. Too many teams habitually turned up at every test with no real test plan and spent three days droning round circuits testing engine developments, which are now outlawed. I personally feel that the reintroduction of testing would be used by the more impoverished teams to get cash from pay 'test' drivers rather than develop the package

V6 ENGINES - Introduced at the request of participating manufacturers to protect racing budgets from CFO's by 'making them relevant' to the road car customer. Bernie didn't want them and doesn't like them

ENGINE/GEARBOX - The reduction in the number of engines and gearboxes allowed for each driver has been a cost reduction. In the early 90's top teams used as many as 500 engines and countless gearboxes to support two cars for testing and racing per season and the better funded teams used twice as many as the less well heeled. It has also demanded a massive increase in reliability of both engines and gearboxes

POINTS SYSTEM - I am not sure what you are suggesting here, points for turning up? The teams at the top would still be at the top and the others would be in the same position relative to the leaders.

FERRARI - Ferrari get more cash because they are the biggest draw and to lose them would be a major catastrophe for F1. Look at the spectators at any F1 race and there is a sea of red, not only in Italy but world wide. With all due respects to Manor etc, who do a fabulous job, which one is worth the most to the sport?

FEES - Can't really argue with that point Stanford, but unfortunately there is always a queue of countries willing to pay the price for their own purposes and they fund the infrastructure rather than circuits being self funded.

I don't see spending limits being introduced anytime soon.

324 days ago
Stanford Crane
Spending limits in motorsport are part of the continuing farce that is Formula 1 today. The real culprits are actually a broken and massively convoluted ecosystem coupled with a totally misguided desire to exhibit a sense of "social consciousness" within the context of sport and entertainment. One might speculate that this ludicrous detour was conceived after a few too many glasses of Romanee Conti during a planning luncheon by the detached aristocrats of the FIA.

Steve Matchett, former F1 mechanic and commentator for NBC Sports, professed his confusion that somehow the FIA believes F1 cars are related to passenger cars. Do passenger cars change their treadless tires in less than 100 kilometers? Are they laden with wings to create as much downforce as possible in corners?

F1 is entertainment, which unto itself should be considered socially conscious in this troubled world of global terrorism and middleclass decay.

The reason for considering spending limits is because the nightmare of F1 finance not only harms the nature of sport, but that also demonstrates the utter contempt the FIA "aristocrats" and to some extent CVC, have for the very history of innovators in sport from Colin Chapman to Adrian Newey. One of the most revered names and innovators in the sport, Williams, struggles to make a profit and over 100 other teams have come and gone.

Here are a few of the ridiculous aspects of the regulations, formula structure and financial distributions that ruin F1.

No testing allowed. This is the only sport where you substitute computer simulations for actual training. Does this save money? No, it creates massive IT infrastructures and expensive wind tunnel complexes that only the biggest teams can afford.

The hybrid 1.5 liter V6 engines are a disaster. From an entertainment standpoint they sound awful and from a financial perspective they are crushingly complex with little "green relevance". The only benefit to the green aspect is that less fans drive to see the event due to lower competition and lesser entertainment value. It therefore seems appropriate that we should ban other forms of entertainment where citizens have to travel and therefore "ruin" the carbon footprint.

If you change a gearbox, you get a five grid spot penalty. In their minds the aristocrats believe it saves money, much in the same way that limiting the number of engines does. In fact, the cost of a gearbox pales in comparison to the travel and salary costs of the 100-plus people from the team engaged during a typical F1 event. So we see Nico Rosberg start the race further behind Lewis Hamilton because he damaged his gearbox in a practice crash during the Austrian, or should we just say, Red Bull Grand Prix.

There are points allocated only to half the field. This is to keep poor teams like Manor in the F1 ghetto. If you can't score enough points to be in the top five positions, you have little or no chance of surviving over the long run. Why shouldn't everyone get some points like NASCAR? Because the system is rigged especially for Ferrari who always gets the most money.

The ridiculous F1 event licensing fees are killing the sport, as is the utter lack of a sense of F1 history and a sense of respect for that history.

When France, Germany and Belgium struggle to have Grand Prix races, while Baku hosts the European Grand Prix, any claim to respect for the achievements of the "garagista" history can only be laughed at.
Finally, dealing with the complexity of the rules costs the most money and it stifles innovation, while keeping entertainment to a minimum.

So if revenue were distributed more justly and at every race weekend, with greater event and media entertainment value, the racing world would be better for it.

That must be the reason we are launching World Moto Clash.
325 days ago filesmonster