29 July 2013
Fears persist that F1 costs are 'simply running away'
Teams continue to fear for their future as spending in F1 shows no sign of being brought under control - and sometimes through no fault of their own...
Toro Rosso principal Franz Tost has admitted that his backing for more races on future F1 calendars is driven by the fact that they would provide more revenue for the teams.
The Austrian was in the minority when it came to backing the possible addition of two or more races to the schedule in coming seasons, but later explained that, with no signs of the sport becoming any cheaper for its competitors, the other option was to earn more from it.
“There is no cost-cutting in F1,” he told journalists during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, “F1 is expensive, we all know that. Next year we will have an increase of – I don't know – 15, 20 million [dollars] and that's reality.
“This is the reason why, as I said before, the more races we do, the more income we have. We have to show a good entertainment, that sponsors are interested in F1 and we have to go all over the world to different countries which are important for our sponsors. I think that real cost cutting will not happen - F1 was expensive and F1 will always stay expensive.
“As long as the cars are on the starting grid, as long as we are racing, this is the reality of F1. We should think how we could come down with the costs but, if I look at next year, what has been decided is we get a new power unit package, which is more expensive than the current one, and we've brought back testing, which costs even more money. That means we are discussing different directions.
“The most efficient cost-cutting was from 2009, 2010 when we said 'okay, we don't do any more testing' and when the engines were frozen, [with] no development on this side. That meant that engine costs came down and, during the last [few] years, everything was quite stable. But, next year, I'm worried about the costs because they are simply running away….”
Tost's fears were echoed by other team bosses, particularly those at the 'wrong' end of the grid who can only watch as the rich get richer – and continue to spend vast amounts of money on the tiniest of time improvements.
“It's human nature to spend whatever people have to spend, so I guess that limiting expense is difficult,” Caterham's Cyril Abiteboul admitted, “I think the only time that F1 did a fairly good job limiting costs was by putting some cap on engine costs and also limiting the number of engines used, so I think it's only by policing the product that is on the track that you will have a more direct influence on the overall costs, rather than looking at what's happening in the factory. That's my belief.
“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.
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