Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has doubts that a cost cap will be the right way to bring Formula 1’s spending crisis under control.
F1 teams are united in believing that costs need bringing down, and they recently approved plans to limit spending in certain areas from the start of 2015. It is planned that a working group will be set up to define the areas and scope of those financial limits, with representatives of the teams, the FIA and the commercial rights holder involved in the discussions.
However, di Montezemolo is skeptical that a cost cap will work, even though he admits that urgent action needs to be taken to secure the long-term future of all teams on the grid.
“For the first time it has been said that we have to define a [cost] cap. You know why I have doubts about the cap — because it is very easy to cheat, particularly for [manufacturer] teams. And Ferrari could be one. I could go to Chrysler in Detroit to ask them to do something for us. Mercedes could ask their company.
“We have to find something that is credible, but the cost is the problem number one.”
Di Montezemolo believes that the fact that the midfield driver market this season has been dominated by pay drivers is a warning sign that F1 is not in a good situation.
“If we look at the teams today, in my whole career of F1, I have never seen teams survive with the money of the drivers,” he said. “This year, all the movements of the drivers has been basically based, except for [Kimi] Raikkonen to Ferrari, based on what money drivers can give to the teams. This is for Force India, for Sauber, for Lotus and for Williams. It is not healthy…”
Di Montezemolo is also skeptical that engineers should get involved in defining areas of cost control, as he suggests a more unilateral approach from the FIA may be the best way forward.
“The cost cannot be decided by the technicians, because if so we will never achieve it,” he said. “The only way to approach this is to say to the FIA that all the teams are unanimous in agreement to cut the costs. Do whatever you want, come back to us with a proposal that for sure can decrease the costs in a heavy, heavy way. Then we adjust ourselves.
“We have to achieve a goal to decrease in a heavy way the costs.”