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F1 must cut costs - Todt

2012-09-08 14:28

COST CUTTING FOR F1: While the richest teams' annual war chests are estimated in excess of R1.6-billion, those at the bottom, such as HRT, are likely to scrape by on around R327-million.

MONZA, Italy - Formula 1 risks becoming unsustainable and must cut costs further to keep all 12 teams in the championship, International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Jean Todt said.

Todt spoke to reporters at the Italian Grand Prix after an informal meeting at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters with the team's president Luca Di Montezemolo and Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

Todt said: "Anyway, it's a will to move in the right direction.

"Formula One is too expensive...what are the priorities? reduce the cost, improve the show, implement new technologies, have a vision for the future because the world is changing."

Todt said in an interview after the Belgian Grand Prix that costs needed to be reduced by 30% in the next three years or several teams would be lost.

THe FIA president, was reluctant to put a figure on the savings required or offer details about how they would be obtained.

Todt said: "Don't ask me for a commitment. It's up to the teams to work with our people, the commercial rights holder. We need to agree what to do otherwise it will be unsustainable.

"We must reduce the costs in order to keep everybody on board. I prefer to present it like that."

NEW ENGINE


All of the leading teams except for Mercedes have signed up for a new "Concorde" commercial agreeement, committing them to the championship until 2020 in return for a greater share of the revenues.

The existing agreement expires at the end of this year and the teams' renewal is an important element of plans, currently stalled, for a flotation of Formula 1.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said that the discussions had been tough but Mercedes were very committed to the sport and he was optimistic a solution was near.

Next season promises to be more expensive for teams, however, with an all-new hybrid 1.6 litre V6 turbocharged engine to be developed for 2014 along with the 2013 cars. Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault are likely to be the sole suppliers.

There is no renewed "Resource Restriction Agreement" in place to keep costs under close control and there are fears of a new 'spending war' breaking out with some teams already having budgets far greater than others.

While the richest teams' annual war chests are estimated in excess of R1.6-billion, those at the bottom - such as HRT who are based in recession-hit Spain - are likely to scrape by on around R327-million.

The FIA had set a June deadline for agreement to cost-cutting measures to be policed by the governing body but that came and went without a deal.

June was the cut-off point after which decisions for next year must be agreed unanimously, always hard to achieve in a sport of vested interests, rather than by a majority vote.

Some of the smaller teams would like to see some sort of budget cap with the FIA as policeman but others disagree.

Christian Horner, principal of champions Red Bull, told reporters at the Belgian Grand Prix that Formula One should not be run by accountants.

He has also pointed out the difference between the engineering resources of a major car and engine manufacturer like Mercedes or Ferrari and Red Bull, a company that sells energy drinks.

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