Formula 1's optional budget cap will go ahead, will be introduced from the 2010 campaign onwards, will be 'a little bit more than £30 million' and will likely gain the approval of all of the sport's teams – that is the conviction of Max Mosley following the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) meeting in Paris today.
Mosley had proposed an annual budget cap of £30 million for teams, which if signed up to would guarantee them a range of greater 'technical freedoms' than their free-spending rivals. The move has been designed in a bid to prevent any more manufacturers or independent outfits from following Honda out of the exit door in the wake of the debilitating global credit crunch and escalating expenditure in the top flight.
Whilst full details will not be made clear until tomorrow (Thursday), FIA President Mosley has conceded that the cap will be available with immediate effect from the start of next season – rather than introduced gradually via a staggered process over two or three years as had been speculated – and even if the final figure is not quite as low as he had hoped, he is nevertheless confident the option will be a popular one.
“There's going to be a full release tomorrow, because there's quite a lot of detail in it,” the 68-year-old told the BBC
, “but everything is going ahead as planned. It's a little bit more than £30 million, but yes we have been successful.
“If [we don't do it] we're going to lose a lot of the teams. People simply cannot in the current economic conditions get enough money to survive without that. I suspect that when they see the figures, everybody will want to come in under the cost cap. I certainly hope so.”
One team that has been vociferous in its opposition to the initiative is Ferrari, which regularly spends in excess of £100 million over and above the budget cap – but Mosley reckons the idea will find favour even with the notoriously hard-to-please Scuderia
“When they see the detail, I think they may find it attractive because like everybody else they need to save money,” the Englishman explained. “They've got to think of their shareholders' money, and not just spend like in the old days.”
The budget cap has also elicited interest from potential new entrants including the David Richards-led Prodrive/Aston Martin effort, illustrious British operation Lola, North Carolina-based US GPE and leading GP2 Series squad iSport International. F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has stated his desire to see 26 cars from 13 teams on the grand prix starting grid in 2010.