There will be an 'option' for Formula 1 teams to adhere to a strict budget cap of £30 million as of next year – but no official requirement for them to do so, the FIA has announced following the World Motor Sport Council reunion in Paris today (Tuesday).
The meeting came to a number of decisions regarding cost-cutting within the top flight over the coming years, but the overall outcome did not go so far as to actually enforce what equates to as much as a 90 per cent reduction in teams' spending – a move that had previously been proposed.
As it is, teams can choose to slash their expenditure by that much should they so desire, and in an effort to sweeten the deal, those that do will be granted incentives in the form of greater technical freedoms – a more aerodynamically efficient (but standard) under body, movable wings and an engine which is not subject to a rev limit or a development freeze – than those teams still running to full budget.
'As an alternative to running under the existing rules, which are to remain stable until 2012 (when the current governing Concorde Agreement expires), all teams will have the option to compete with cars built and operated within a stringent cost cap,' read an official FIA statement.
'The cost cap is £30 million (currently approximately €33 million or $42 million). This figure will cover all expenditure of any kind. Anything subsidised or supplied free will be deemed to have cost its full commercial value, and rigorous auditing procedures will apply.
'To enable these cars to compete with those from teams which are not subject to cost constraints, the cost-capped cars will be allowed greater technical freedom. The FIA has the right to adjust elements of these freedoms to ensure that the cost-capped cars have neither an advantage nor a disadvantage when compared to cars running to the existing rules.'
The theory behind the new rules is that those competitors that choose not to limit their expenditure to £30 million will be disadvantaged technically and so will eventually comply, whilst the budget cap is also intended as a method by which to attract new teams to the sport in an age in which keeping costs down is absolutely key.