While the majority of teams are expected to sign up to the FIA's recently-confirmed cost-capping initiative, leading privateer Williams has actively called on its rivals to back the motion to bring in an upper limit to spending in future seasons.
With the ten current Formula One teams united under the FOTA banner and working with the governing body to find ways of ensuring that none of their number follow 2008 victims Super Aguri and Honda out of the sport, the £40m budget cap announced on Thursday is expected to widely acknowledged. Williams, however, would like to see its rivals cement their agreement to operate under the ceiling, rather than have the option to opt out, as currently exists, albeit with different technological freedoms.
“Williams has supported the introduction of a budget cap since the idea was first put forward early in 2008," team principal Sir Frank Williams said in a statement responding to the FIA's confirmation of the initiative, "Since then, FOTA has made tremendous steps forward on costs, but the rationale for a budget cap has also grown even stronger.
"We would like to see all
the teams operating to one set of regulations and under a budget cap in 2010 and that is the position we will be advocating within FOTA when we meet next week. We understand that this will represent a serious challenge for some of the teams, but we expect that FOTA will work together to find a unified and constructive way to take the FIA's initiative forward.”
The plan to limit the amount of money that teams can spend in future seasons - the £40m ceiling covers all aspects of competition except driver pay, engine costs (for 2010 only), marketing and hospitality; young driver programmes; any fines or penalties imposed by the FIA; and any expenditure which can be demonstrates as having no influence on a team's on-track performance - has also been welcomed by current championship leader Jenson Button, whose career appeared in jeopardy following Honda's December exit from F1.
"For teams that are not manufacturers, this is what we need," the Brawn GP driver said at Thursday night's Sport Industry Awards in London, "For us and Williams - and a few other teams - we'll be reasonably happy with the decision. It's going in the direction that we need it to."
The FIA has confirmed that a new 'costs commission' will oversee the budget cap regulations, ensuring that those who sign up do not exceed the £40m limit, but also ensuring that those who don't are not benefiting from the freedoms that will allow signees to run adjustable front and rear wings, unlimited engine revs, more powerful KERS systems, unlimited out-of-season test miles and unrestricted wind tunnel programmes.