Finding the best way to comply with the FIA's demands for a ceiling to be placed on the cost of competing in Formula One is going to need substantial work, three team bosses have admitted in Bahrain.
Speaking in Friday's official press conference, Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali, Red Bull's Christian Horner and Renault's Flavio Briatore all agreed that simply slashing the amount of money each team was allowed to spend on their F1 programme was not the best way forward, as there are elements that cannot easily be accommodated by the model. Domenicali, however, confirmed that talks were underway among the teams, via FOTA, with a view to going back to the FIA with proposals of their own.
"What we can say is that we have replied to the president of the FIA, as FOTA, that our intention is to discuss, for sure, this item in our next meeting," he reported, "We will come back to him as soon as we have had this meeting.
"It is a very strategic point for the future of all the teams, and for the future of all the constructors, so we need to detail all the points that are connected to the budget cut. In all fairness, I think that you should already know that we, as Ferrari, don't like completely the approach of the budget cuts as we feel that there are a couple of things that need to be addressed, that are difficult to manage and police and it is important to make sure that certain things are pretty well covered. But, at the end of the day, we agree with the Federation that we need to cut down costs and this is a job that we have already started to do with FOTA.
"The other point connected to the budget cut situation is that I don't see how we can pass from one year to the other with a massive reduction as we have to consider that the constructor, at least with our situation, has a lot of things that he is doing and it is not possible to go straight away to certain figures."
Domenicali's views were shared by both Horner and Briatore, the former admitting that, naturally, 'the idea of a budget cap for an independent team is appealing', but echoing the belief that 'the devil is always in the detail'.
"The last thing we want is for the championship to be decided by accountants," the Red Bull boss confirmed, "It is important that we discuss it thoroughly within the association and work closely with the FIA on it - but the crucial aspect is that we absolutely need to reduce costs."
Briatore, meanwhile, remained committed to a cause he has champion, often vociferously, for several seasons. Revealing that his Renault team had reacted to the current economic situation by enforcing paycuts across the workforce - 'the top people: myself, Bob Bell and Pat Symonds, have taken a cut of 20 per cent, the second level have taken a cut of ten per cent and everybody else has taken a cut of five per cent - the Italian claimed that a budget cap was not something that could be implemented overnight, but had to be laid out over several seasons.
"We need to have a target for 2010, 2011, 2012," Briatore insisted, "It is very difficult to cut it dramatically in one year, but I am sure we are arriving in 2012 with the number that everybody will be happy. Again, like Ferrari, for me the budget cut is very difficult to put in place. I believe what we need to do is have a clear rule - like wind tunnel, like CFD, etc - and be sure the rule is black and white and everybody understands.