Todt cost-cutting plea at odds with 2014 changes
8 September 2012
FIA president Jean Todt has again warned the twelve F1 teams that they need to agree on cost-cutting measures in order to ensure the future of the sport - despite the fact that he is behind moves to introduce a new, and expensive, engine formula for 2014.
Attending the final European round of the 2012 world championship campaign at Monza, Todt told reporters that fall-out over the extension of the current Resource Restriction Agreement threatened to derail the progress already made in a bid to curb excessive spending in the top flight. Red Bull Racing, in particular, has expressed its opposition to the a new RRA, believing that there are other ways to control costs, while rival teams believe that there need to be stricter policing of the policy amid fears that the rules are being bent.
"With motorsport, I've always said that our priorities are to reduce the cost, improve the show, implement new technologies and have a vision for the future - because the world is changing," Todt claimed, "We must reduce the costs in order to keep everybody on board. It's up to the teams to work with our people and with commercial rights holder [CVC]. We need to agree what to do because otherwise it will be unsustainable.
"Clearly, the FIA is a regulator and legislator of the sport. My job as president of the FIA is to make sure that that's the way it goes and, as long as I'm president of the FIA, that's the way it will go."
Todt's comments, however, are at odds with the expense being forced on the teams by the introduction of a new engine formula ahead of the 2014 season - a point that was raised among the team principals facing the media in Friday night's FIA press conference.
"We have been very clear about our position [on the change of engine]," Sauber's Monisha Kaltenborn insisted, "At the moment, a lot of details are unclear on the technical side and also the price. We've also very clearly said that we don't want to go [back] to those times, many years ago, where engines were so horrendously expensive. I think, in the last year, in this whole movement with cost-cutting and the engine freeze, costs have really gone down a lot and we don't want to take three steps back again with this new engine and end up at a point which was there many years ago."
"It's quite clear that this new powertrain in 2014 will increase the costs," Toro Rosso's Franz Tost agreed, "It's not possible to make it cheaper, as we get it now, because there's a new engine, we have the new ERS system, there's the new batteries and everything will, for sure, increase the costs - and 2014 will become an expensive year. Now the question, how is the depreciation in the following years? Just maybe to level the costs, on an acceptable amount. This we will see and I hope that we can negotiate this with the manufacturers. I hope the manufacturers will be as fair as they were in the past. Then I'm convinced that we will find a solution."
Ironically, there is another FIA-instigated issue that could make it more expensive for teams to compete, amid rumours that entry fees could also be on the rise.
"It's a potential increase," Lotus F1 boss Eric Boullier cautioned, "We have not been officially informed yet about this change by the FIA [but], if that's the case, we obviously will need to understand why and what will be the justification for such an increase, because there is a massive difference, as you can understand, between the current level [and the rumoured fee]."
"I think it's important to understand what's involved in the increase, what's included within it, what we pay that's external from the current entry, for example," RBR's Christian Horner concluded, "There's only been a brief discussion about it at the moment, [but] I'm sure there'll be further talks in the coming weeks...."