26 July 2013
Hungarian Grand Prix: Friday press conference - Pt.2
It's my job to get the money into the team so it always worries me when I'm looking at an escalation in costs and as I said in my answer before, whether it's sensible and whether it's sustainable, this is a sport that we race in and as someone said earlier, it's an expensive sport but as Toto said, we have to be mindful of the outside world as well. I think my biggest concern is the disparity between budgets of teams and I think that in order to have a level playing field in F1, in order to remain competitive in F1, there has to be some kind of control over costs so that we are actually operating on a fair and even platform in this sport, rather than having some teams racing with a 50 million pound budget compared to teams racing with a 250 million pound budget or 200 million pound budget and I think that that's one of the biggest issues we have facing us at the moment.
Toto, it might be said that you're one of the wealthier teams out there.
Well, I'm not sure but Franz always said it very clearly and directly; there is a bunch of new regulations kicking in next year and we have to look carefully at all the steps and decisions we are making because we cannot allow costs to escalate. This is very important for us as well. And then on the other side what we are seeing is the team environment is very difficult but as Claire said, it's about getting the money in and finding the sponsorship and at the moment, I have the feeling that it is getting a little bit better and we must not forget that F1 is the number one sport platform in the world. We are going international with all the new races coming in so I am nevertheless very optimistic.
It's a tough environment out there at the moment but I very much agree with Claire. If you have teams operating with a budget delta of maybe 200 million, what does it do for the sport? It doesn't make it any more attractive so I think there needs to be a way of keeping costs under control and a more equal distribution of revenue.
I'm not so worried about costs, I am more worried about performance and I think that one can affect the other, obviously. The only thing that we need to make sure is that there is the question about distribution and cost control and level playing fields but I think we need to make sure that F1 as a whole is properly valued so we are not living above our standards. Like any household, we are making sure not to spend more than we receive, generally. Then there is the question of distribution which is something different and it is true that there are some studies that demonstrate that as a sport we tend to be struggling in comparison to other sports like the NBA, like NFL which do not have the sort of costs that we have. We are highly technological, we are driven by innovation, we need to be manufacturing I don't know how many composite parts per year. So I think maybe we need to put the efficiency of the business at the foreground of performance. It may not be the case by now.
Q: (Zolt Godina – Best of Radio).
Toto, next season will be your last as a partner of the McLaren team; will you have any difficulties in terms of the working relationship between the two parties?
No, I think both organisations are very professional and of course it's sad losing a customer who has been with Mercedes for so many years and a very successful partnership but I have no doubt that it will be handled in a very professional way from McLaren as well.
Q: (Dieter Rencken – The Citizen).
Toto, following on from what you said earlier on about new regulations coming in and costs and whatever else, if one looks in the back of Autosport one regularly sees one team advertising enormously for staff, full page adverts week in, week out. How much are you ramping up the operation? Will you still be able to remain within the resource restriction agreement or are you that far below that at the moment you can afford all these extra people?
You know, I think if you look quite carefully at Autosport we are not the only ones advertising there. This is the number one or one of the good publications in the UK for hiring staff and whether it's in Autosport or any other platform, I think this is just a normal process. There is a certain fluctuation in personnel and also at Mercedes we are very interesting in getting and keeping the best possible people. Obviously you much watch how RRA is affecting the operation.
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