The principal 'technical freedoms' available to teams willing to adhere to Formula 1's new stringent £40 million budget cap include movable front and rear wings, an engine that is not subject to a rev limit, unlimited out-of-season track testing and no restrictions on the scale and speed of wind tunnel testing, the FIA has announced.
Max Mosley's proposal for an optional limit on what teams are able to spend over the course of a season – albeit £10 million greater than his original £30 million target – was formally approved by the governing body's World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) today.
The idea is to enable competitors that choose to sign up to the initiative to compete on a budget that won't break the bank – thereby in theory avoiding the threat of other teams following Honda out of the exit door against the backdrop of the current global credit crunch. Whilst the cap will not be compulsory, it is intended that only those who subscribe to it will benefit from the above perks, designed to guarantee the continuation of a level playing field.
The £40 million must cover all expenditure save for marketing and hospitality, driver salaries, FIA-imposed fines or penalties and – in 2010 only – engine expenditure. A new, independent Costs Commission – composed of members boasting expertise in both the financial and motorsport fields – will be set up to effectively monitor and enforce the cap.
Meanwhile, a carrot has been offered to potential new entrants – including, it is understood, Aston Martin/Prodrive, Lola, US GPE and iSport International – of an annual payment of $10 million USD, free transportation of two chassis and freight up to 10,000 in weight (not including the two chassis) and 20 economy class air tickets for each round trip for events held outside Europe, all courtesy of Bernie Ecclestone's commercial rights-holding Formula One Management (FOM) company.
To be eligible for this, each new team must qualify as a 'constructor' and demonstrate that it has the necessary facilities, financial resources and technical competence to compete effectively in F1. There will be a maximum figure of 26 cars – or 13 teams – on the 2010 grid, with the full entry list set to be published on 12 June, 2009.
In changes for all teams, finally – budget-restricted or not – in-race refuelling is to be outlawed from next season onwards, in order to save the costs of transporting refuelling equipment and increase the incentive for engine builders to improve fuel economy. Tyre blankets are also set to be banned.