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While you may be happy to know that there is a F1 team summit called by the FIA for January 22, the notion of the group calling off their decision for “double-points” for the last race may not be reversed. Instead, the FIA will be focusing on the cost cap consideration and challenges it placed before the series to have sorted by 2015.

There are so many dynamics and nuances to this issue it is nearly impossible to include them all but suffice to say, a team spending twice what other teams are spending in Formula 1 is likely, but not guaranteed, to perform at a higher level or win titles. However, the FIA has initiated several tactics to neuter that advantage through high degradation tires, DRS and other regulations with mixed results and this is a bit akin to moving the furniture around the elephant in the room and still hoping to achieve feng shui.

Now the FIA and teams have come to the conclusion that addressing the elephant, or in this case the cost of competing and the resources deployed by teams, is really at the heart of the matter and must be addressed. Lotus Boss Eric Boullier said:

“In principle, we have to understand that you have maybe three or four teams who can afford to spend twice the average budget of the rest of the grid.

“For me the problem is not what they spend because the more they spend, the better it is for F1 in some ways.

“But we need to have a competitiveness that allows most of the teams to fight for podiums.”

To be perfectly honest, I’m not even sure how that is achievable or desirable for the series. Not that they shouldn’t meet and try to sort it out but in the end, if you were McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull, why would you even participate in the series and spend the resources you do if there was a mechanism that neutered your investment and meant that spending twice what Lotus F1 does wouldn’t gain you any competitive advantage?

The amount a team spends is not directly tied to world championships. Toyota would be a recent example of that in Formula 1 but it typically means you won’t be running at the back of the grid. Let’s hope the cost cap scheme can find some common ground without marginalizing the big teams spend or they’ll simply choose to find a series where their resources carry a bigger ROI.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Tom Firth

    Hahaha , Got this image in my head of the six F1 strategy group teams at a table debating and the rest at a kids table pleading for the FIA to listen to them.

  • KevinW

    Cost controls designed to level the playing field are a fallacious idea, and counter to the purpose of the top level of any motorsport. If teams don’t want to buck up for the game, and want podiums, they can always chose any number of lower classes where costs are controlled tightly, specifications choke out innovation, and competition is held under tight restrictions. There are literally hundreds of other calsses and venues to compete in, there is no need to crush F1 to fit their needs. If they want to race in F1, they need to either buck up and accept they will not succeed without matching the effort of those in front, or accept being in the back half of the grid. Demanding the sport be changed so they can all have their fair chance at the podium is a downward spiral that ends in spec racer formats and fakery, just like Indy Car and NASCAR – once giants in the game of innovation wars between builders, now cheapened into spec racer formats that are a bore to follow and no longer representative of any leading edge of technology or sport at all. We’re already seeing the end of F1 as it once was. Power is down by half from its peak in the 1980’s, weight is up, aero is being gutted one box at a time, and the crushing of innovation almost complete, makign F1 more about ticking boxes than thinking outside them. Much more of this and F1 will just be another boring, over hyped, over marketed spec racer series, which ends badly for everyone.

    • marco

      then dont watch it anymore mate … easy no ?

  • Shocks&Awe

    It’s a matter of what the money is spent on, really. If the top teams spend money on materials research, or the ‘rabbit hole’ type exploration, the other teams will eventually benefit from this too, or at least they might happen across the same or better answer by chance, even if they can’t test all the possibliites. But Aero is killing the sport, because to be competative, you MUST spend gobs of money on aero research. Is Marussia _seconds_ slower because the don’t use carbon fiber? No. Is it because their suspension isn’t as good? Probably not. ECU? Nope, that’s standard. Engine and transmission surely have something to do with it. Weight distribution, sure. But what the thing really holding them back? Aero. They don’t produce nearly the same amount of downforce for the same drag. Because they can’t spend gobs of money and time in the wind-tunnel.

    Who the heck benefits from all this Aero research anyway? When’s the last time you saw a (functional) winglet on a sedan?

    • Shocks&Awe

      Oh, and the disturbed air from all the aero bits makes it really hard to pass, thus ruining the spectacle.

      Seriously, why is everyone on these FIA committees a blithering idiot?

      Sorry for losing my decorum there.

      • the drivers seat

        Here! Here! well said

      • Max Smoot

        Have to agree. In the regulations, where the FIA defines ‘boxes’ that determine what can or cannot be installed, there should be large blanks where the aero bits are currently situated — these areas must remain empty. No aero possibilities equals no consequent investment equals a more level playing field. Then practice and qualifying could include more than the usual eleven teams (or possible 12 under the regs). Bring back and enforce the 107% (or less) rule. Sadly, some teams will be on the sidelines on most weekends but occasionally some might qualify. Now that would pique interest.

      • Jack Flash (Aust)

        Agree totally. Well stated mate.
        The inability or incompetence of the FIA regulatory body address this fundamental blight on Formula 1 (aero over dominance) is now at Pantomime levels of ridiculousness…. and the problem is getting worse each year. The $$$ money drain on teams is now huge for aero development wars (for teams that actually can afford to compete) and largely wasted for any wellbeing of the sporting & financial health of Formula 1 itself. It just pisses me off… JF

    • Mr. Obvious

      F1 – aero = NASCAR…sorry to dissent, but it would seem to be self-evident.

      • Jack Flash (Aust)

        Respect your opinion mate – but I also need to make sure ours are not misrepresented.

        None of us propose to totally REMOVE aerodynamics variations from the design of F1 vehicles, just ARREST its total over-domination of the sports engineering competition, and therefore money-spend. We propose that the aero should have a BALANCED place with chassis (mechanical grip), engine, transmission and tyres etc. in determining performance. Not overbear all else, to the point where passing is very difficult to get in position to attempt (ergo DRS abomination required).

        Aerodynamics should always be very important in Formula 1, just as it should be in LMS or any top level racing series, but it should not be almost EVERYTHING to success and budget-spend. It shouldn’t be neutered out of relevance either. Respectfully JF

  • Rapierman

    You could go with a method that’s used in a few sports leagues: For every x amount of dollars (sample currency) over a limit of y amount, you pay a percentage extra as a tax, to be collected by the FIA and distributed among all the participating teams. That way, you have the choice of staying below the limit or paying for your rival team’s operation.

    • charlie w

      A luxury tax? Sounds good to me but the devil is in the details in defining “x” and “y” and which teams receives the tax.

    • Shocks&Awe

      I agree with Charlie. This is a good idea, but it suffers from the same auditing problems as a cost cap. I think the solution is to remove the incentive to spend money (e.g. no aero) rather than try to cap what’s spent. I do think they could do something with the revenue sharing.

      Maybe they should have a lottery. The top 4 teams contribute to a 30 million dollar jackpot that randomly gets awarded to one of the other teams each year.

      • Rapierman

        I don’t think you have to limit the beneficiaries of a “luxury tax”. You could make it all the teams, split evenly, or pro-rated by performance.

  • Jack Flash (Aust)

    Quote: “… this is a bit akin to moving the furniture around the elephant in the room and still hoping to achieve feng shui.”
    Excellent. Best descriptive line I’ve seen written in quite a while Todd. Perfect suits the story narrative. Bravo. JF

  • gsprings

    Customer cars here we come

  • niyoko

    How?! How is it that this FIA financial pow-wow is allowing double points to be slipped through? I understand that F1 is expensive and if costs are not controlled then some teams will have to drop out, but that is F1. It is expensive. More than anything I don’t want to see another contrived device added to F1 to “spice up the show.”

    While the FIA is chasing it’s own tail by trying to implement cost cutting, other actually problems are hurting F1.

  • gsprings

    I joke (about the customer cars that is) but come to think of it ,it would be interesting to see what racing would be like if a team or two more would be running the same car as red bull, Ferrari or mclaren, or mercedes

    • oidoug

      one example I can recall was 1995 Benetton and Ligier, from the outside they looked exactly the same, but probably had differences that made the Benettons perform a lot better than the Ligiers which could be the case with the customer cars as it is on MotoGP.

  • gsprings

    Could imagine the big boys would’nt give the customers everything, but they probably would be a lot better than they better than they are now, speaking of teams like marussia and caterham or even williams

  • gsprings

    Wonder what kind of savings a team would have buying a cars from, merc, ferarri or mclaren, or red bull?

  • Mike

    The top 4 F1 2014 Rule Amendments voted by FIA not to be considered at 2014 Summit

    # 5 the newly minted, $679 F1 keyfob will not be offered to all crew members of the 2015 winning team

    # 4 Water delivery at tracks. Sprinkler systems were on the table to ‘spice up the show’ until the retractable-shrinking garden hose proposed as the universal, water delivery system platform fell into dispute. Apparently, color copyright similarities between the 2009 Brawn F1 lime green pigment and the color used in the proposed TV-offered hoses is currently under investigation.

    #3 Sprinklerheads on curbs. SInce the sprinkler system is on hold due to the color issue (see #4), this is not being voted on. However, the plan was to have pop-up automated sprinklers on curbs that are triggered by the 1-second DRS signal. However, if a car cuts the corner, the snap-off sprinkler heads will disable that cars ability to use DRS for 5 laps and a orange paint charge will be detonated, marking that car for the remainder of the race.

    #2 a special prize at the last race, where the winner receives both double points and the secret Adrian Newly aero-decoder ring.

    #1 Podium award ceremony where someone dressed as Yoshi is to award gold medal against a Mario Cart Castle backdrop.

  • Mike

    actually, top 5 :)