23 November 2013
Brazilian Grand Prix: Brawn: We could run on half today’s budgets
Mercedes' Ross Brawn lamented the failure of the Resource Restriction Agreement as he suggested that F1 would survive on half the amount of money currently being spent by teams.
Ross Brawn has set a cat amongst the F1 pigeons by claiming that teams could run on half the amount of money they currently throw at the sport – but then admitted that the possibility of that happening was very unlikely.
Speaking in the second FIA press conference of the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend, the Mercedes team principal confirmed that the introduction of new engines and associated drivetrain technology was going to increase spending for all eleven teams, but insisted that all would still be on the grid if they were told they had to cut their budgets by 50 per cent.
“I think it is challenging next year, but we all have to remember that, if we cut the budgets in half, we would still go racing,” he announced, “It's the standards of which we want to go racing that causes the pressure on the budget. It's not that there's insufficient money, it's the fact that we all want to compete at the highest possible standard, and that means that we push the budgets as hard as we can. If everybody's budget tomorrow was reduced by 50 per cent, it wouldn't make any difference.
Asked whether he could ever see that happening, Brawn sounded a touch regretful, conceding that measures to try and restricting the amount of money flowing through the sport were unlikely to be voted in, let along have the chance to succeed in their ambition.
“No,” he admitted, “But that's a fact. It wasn't so many years ago that we were able to come to every race at every track with reliable cars for half of what we are spending now. That's the nature of F1.
The teams have already tried to police escalating costs by introducing the Resource Restriction Agreement after Max Mosley's plans for a budget cap disappeared along with his presidency of the FIA but, after a few years, that too ended in a rift between teams, amid claims that some were finding ways of bypassing the regulations.
“I think the conclusions for me for the RRA is that there was a structure of a system that could work, but quite clearly wasn't a system that could work with self-regulation from the teams themselves,” Brawn reflected, “It was a system that had to be policed, we believe by the FIA, but it seemed that we couldn't get enough agreement within the teams that that should happen, so it failed on that basis.
“I don't think it failed because it wouldn't work - in my view, it failed because we couldn't engage the governing body in policing the system. I think, whatever system we have, is going to affect the competitiveness of teams, and therefore it has to be controlled by the sporting body. It can't be controlled by the teams themselves and I think any attempt to have self-regulation of something as important as budget and resource is futile, because of the nature of the teams.
“We're very competitive and will always be looking to push the boundaries. If you look at the technical regulations, we push the boundaries all the time, quite rightly, and then we have a governing body that taps us back into place, and also a governing body that we can get a reference from. If we have a query, we can go to them, we can ask them, we can argue and we can get an opinion on whether something is legal or not. Unless you have that process with the financial control, it can never succeed because one team's interpretation of a regulation with be different to another team's interpretation of a regulation so you have to have this process going on where you introduce a constraint, a control and then a mechanism to police it and a mechanism to answer queries and regulate queries and questions on the regulations to refine the regulations because no set of regulations will be a hundred per cent perfect from day one, they need refining.
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