McLaren executive director Zak Brown has slammed the current financial strategy in Formula 1 and urges owners Liberty Media and governing body FIA to put a plan in place “as the highest priority”.

Since Liberty’s takeover and the axing of Bernie Ecclestone, three key pillars of change have been revealed by the US owners to improve the health and sustainability of the sport. While engine configurations and revenue redistribution have gathered the most information and headlines, the issue of cost capping remains a difficult subject which has split opinion.

While works teams like Mercedes and Ferrari currently balloon above an estimated cost cap of £150m, smaller customer teams like Force India, Williams and Sauber struggle to reach that figure. McLaren’s Brown, who concedes the Woking-based team would have to revise its team structure if the estimated cost cap was introduced, says the subject as proven the most divisive between all teams and is staggered by the spending war in F1.

“Formula 1, of all the major sports, has the largest discrepancy from first to last and they’ve got to close that gap,” Brown said. “Costs are totally out of control, we’re probably the only industry in the world, let along sport, that has not addressed cost in today’s day and age. That needs to happen, I think that happens as the highest priority.

“I think Liberty has told the teams when they want to go, not in total but directionally. It’s engine, it’s cost cap, and it’s revenue distribution – those are the three things we’ve all known about. They’ve not put on the table what the revenue distribution will look like other than that it will go from here to here.”

Over the past three seasons McLaren’s fortunes on the track have deteriorated with its Honda engine partnership and the Woking-based team suffered its worst-ever F1 season in 2017 finishing ninth in the constructors’ standings.

With Brown eager for a fresh start for McLaren after securing a fresh engine deal with Renault, the McLaren chief says his reasons to support a cost cap aren’t to help his team climb the F1 grid but feels teams will find ways to spend money to gain advantages unless a cost cap is in place and wants the FIA needs to do more to support Liberty’s plans.

“If people end up making more money than others, I’m okay with that, as long as they’re not able to spend it to cause this great gap we’ve got in the field,” he said. “I’m not exactly sure the FIA’s position on cost cap verses cost containment but I think cost containment is very difficult and the cost cap is the way to go. At the end of the day if you have the money, you’re going to do.

“The engines are obviously very complicated and expensive and their probably needs to be an independent manufacturer in there to give teams greater choice because the engine situation does get very political. The FIA announced a direction of a more simplified engine and we support that.”


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