Formula 1 risks becoming engulfed by a spending arms race between the manufacturer teams amid increased pressure to succeed under the new regulations, fears Caterham boss Cyril Abiteboul.
With much intrigue about how Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari will fare with the new 1.6-liter turbo V6 engines, Abiteboul thinks that the arrival of Honda in 2015 means that the pressure on the car makers to succeed is going to increase dramatically.
That is why he thinks the bigger teams will up their spending in a bid to try to guarantee victories — but he is worried that that could open up the way for a two-tier sport where only the manufacturers can succeed.
When asked by if he believed the 2014 rules gave small teams like Caterham a chance of more success, he said: “I think it is a small opportunity for us in that it is an opportunity to join the midfield — but I believe that we will only join the midfield.
“There is a reset but the midfield will be quite far away from the leading teams because I see the amount of resources that some teams are capable of putting into this. The other thing is that in 2015, you will have four players — Ferrari, Red Bull with Renault, Mercedes and Honda — that have an obligation to be successful.
“They need to justify the level of spending that is currently being put into it, and that obligation to win is going to create a massive arms race between them. That is a big danger for Formula 1 — that it will be those four and the rest of us behind.”
Ferrari technical director James Allison recently suggested that factory teams would have “massive advantages” over independent and customer squads moving into the new rules era.