F1 » 29 September 2013
Sauber: Teams need each other
Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn says F1 teams need to work together to reduce costs to benefit all those involved in the sport
Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn insists that F1 teams need to work together to ensure the long-term future of the sport.
A number of proposals have been made in recent years to try and reduce the costs involved in the sport, even after a much discussed budget cap failed to materialise.
Rumours continue to persist about the financial stability of many of the teams on the grid, including Sauber, and Kaltenborn said that teams needed to find a way to work together to reduce costs for the benefit of everyone on the grid.
“We understand that the big teams have the big brands, their own brands, which are of course important for generating income in F1, along with the sport, the drivers and the other teams,” she said in an interview with the official F1 website. “But in my view you cannot do without the other teams. It's give and take - and that asks for a different kind of balance.
“You don't have to put everybody at an equal level. I don't believe in that at all, because after all we are a competition, so we don't have to have the same things for everyone. What has to be the same is the field we are playing on, and there has to be stability, as this will bring the costs down. That you know. The next five years we are looking at that direction.
“If you look back [at car development], nearly every year somebody comes up with an idea which you know there and then will be banned for the following year, but everybody goes for it, fearing that if they don't it will mean a setback in performance for them. At the end of the day it was a waste of money. So you don't need these kinds of developments to have the engineering challenge that high. This brings us to a cost cap where you can mark out a field with its boundaries. Within that the engineers' challenge can be as you choose - but within that field.
“Clearly there is no need to have equality at every point, because every team makes a different contribution to the sport and has a different value. But in the entire value of the sport, everybody plays a role. So it's not only about costs. You also have to look at the technical stability. And never forget, we all need each other! You can differentiate - but it should be clear how.”
Kaltenborn added that the first step for teams would be to start being more proactive, as opposed to instead dealing with problems when they have already arisen – citing the impending costs involved in 2014 as an example of where teams could have done more.
“It is true that we don't have a good track record on either being proactive on things, or reacting quickly,” she said. “So I think it is not only about whether we can we agree on a common goal, which I think we should be able to, as we are all in this sport and in the same boat. It's more an issue of how strong can we be about it when you are all actually positioned at different levels.
“But if nothing happens and if teams drop out, I am convinced that the teams that are left will not be able to provide this kind of a show to the fans. And that might mean that you don't get this kind of income, as the ones that are left will very likely have similar costs. So how are you going to make that work?
“We teams have in theory known for a long time what 2014 is going to mean regarding costs - and actually no one has reacted. So I think it is our own fault if we are in that position today, as it will be a very cost-intensive year. That's where I still have my hopes that our federation will take up this topic and will implement sensible measures very soon, as I think it is the job of a federation to give the whole step credibility.”
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