During the waning years of his tenure as FIA president, Max Mosely was a champion of cost caps and mitigating Formula 1 team expenses. Sure, he argues—in an AUTOSPORT article—that the way the commercial rights holders are running things could be more equitable and measured so as to cover the entire cost of a season for all team but that’s not how things are ran.
Perhaps more telling is his comment about the errors he made during his time as president of the regulatory body of F1—more specifically his attempt to drive costs down through regulations. This, as Mosely explains, did not work:
“Eventually I realised that it didn’t matter what we did with the regulations. We demonstrated that you cannot control costs through regulations. We had to bring in a cost cap.”
Depending on your level of trust in Mosely’s words, you could make the case that he is completely correct in that any regulatory change hasn’t spared F1 of massive spending. What he offers now—with the beauty of hindsight—is a competitive incentive for small teams that keep them in the same league with top teams. He may have a point here:
“Why not allow a Formula 1 team which is prepared to operate within a very small budget to have greater technical freedom to bring them within a second or so of the frontrunners?” he said.
“To me that is so logical. It lets you demonstrate that somebody sitting in the grandstand will not be able to see the difference between the £50million team and the £500million team.”
Perhaps this is a similar realization to the system in MotoGp where small teams have open software and other advantages such as tire selection etc. The ability to have greater technical freedom would, perhaps, see small teams remain more competitive.
Using MotoGP as an example, the small teams are not beating the Yamaha and Honda factory efforts but they are qualifying better and some remain relatively competitive and high in the points at the end of races.
The result of MotoGP’s format has been met with pro and con support but perhaps there could be a level of freedom for sub$100 million teams?
Perhaps a third tire compound that is grippy and last the whole race for teams at the back? Maybe open software for more performance or unrestricted fuel flow? Maybe the chassis itself is different in dimensions and restrictions?
Do you think this would be the way to move forward? As Mosley says, the series can’t control costs through regulations so maybe teams that allow for closer scrutiny of their balance sheets get a host of technical incentives to be more competitive at a lower price. Sounds good but would it work?