“The question of distribution 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 [or the] 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.”
While back of the grid rival Marussia concedes that its rising costs are largely the product of its planned expansion as a relative newcomer to the top flight but, for seasoned veteran Williams, there is the realisation that it needs to work harder away from the track in order to keep pace on it.
“I think cost control is the most important thing,” deputy team principal Claire Williams
confirmed, “But then we're looking at an escalation in engine costs next year which, for a team like Williams, is always difficult.
“We've always found a budget which we need to go racing, [and] our costs, over the past couple of seasons at least, have remained relatively stable. Obviously, those are escalating next year, but it's our responsibility to ensure that we find the budget that we need in order to keep us racing at a competitive level.
“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, whether it's sensible and whether it's sustainable, this is a sport that we race in and it's an expensive sport.
“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, 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. That's one of the biggest issues we have facing us at the moment.”
Even Mercedes, reckoned to be amongst the wealthiest teams thanks to the backing of the German auto giant, realises that costs can't be allowed to spiral out of control, with Toto Wolff linking the sport to the wider economic realities of the wider world.
“We can't close ourselves out from the real world and it's pretty tough out there at the moment,” he admitted, “On one side, we want to be competitive and successful on track, because this is the reason why we're here, but, on the other side, there is an economical reality which we must respect.
“For us at Mercedes, it's all about being efficient, about not spending money where it's not necessary, but staying competitive – or being competitive. 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.
“The team environment is very difficult but, as Claire said, it's about getting the money in and finding the sponsorship. At the moment, I have the feeling that it is getting a little bit better - 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.”