Lotus boss Eric Boullier says the costs of competing in Formula 1 must be brought down in order to safeguard the future of the current grid.
Boullier believes that 80 percent of teams are in favour of negotiating ways to reduce expenditure, but that a select few teams are preventing a consensus and creating an effective impasse. That means smaller teams including Lotus face a financial deficit that they cannot plug indefinitely.
Lotus owner Genii Capital recently sold a 35 percent stake in the team to Infinity Racing to secure its immediate future, while Sauber announced a major partnership with a trio of Russian investors in July following rumors it was on the verge of bankruptcy.
“The problem is that some teams like Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes can still afford the old way and can spend a lot on the car; we can’t,” Boullier said. “To keep teams competitive, we need to keep a minimum budget with our resources, but this limit is above the revenue stream so we need our shareholders to bridge the gap.
“Don’t forget that in the beginning of the ’90s, a top team was spending maybe $60 million; by 2008, a top team was spending $150 million. We have to put that cost down.
“The problem today is 80 percent of the teams are in favor of this but 20 percent are not. I don’t think it’s fair if only three teams can afford F1, so we should find a way to bring the cost down.”
Boullier said the fact there are ongoing discussions with the FIA regarding cost controls, coupled with his team’s tie-up with Infinity, mean he is optimistic about his own team’s long-term health.
“I am happy that some discussions have been moving forward in F1, [with] the FIA, speaking that we want this [lowering costs] done and we want it done by the regulations,” Boullier explained. “We announced a new partner a few weeks ago, [which is] not completed yet but is on its way.
“Once this is done it will be a new era for us, because financially we will be secure for many years at another level. We still can’t spend the same money as Ferrari and Mercedes but, as a team, we can secure the level for where we now compete.”