Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes the solution to Formula 1’s budget cap discussions could be different teams having different limits.
F1 is already bringing in a restriction of $175 million in 2021 — with certain items such as driver salaries excluded — and the teams had provisionally agreed to lower that to $150m in response to the current crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, further reductions were discussed at a meeting on Monday and some of the bigger teams are pushing back, with Binotto telling Sky Sports the way teams are structured should mean different amounts are considered.
“Certainly it’s a concern (how teams could struggle amid the crisis),” Binotto said. “Firstly it’s a concern on a wider and global scale, and being obviously a concern on a global scale somehow it will affect F1. We are fully aware of the difficulties of some teams. We are fully aware that we need to somehow address costs for the future of F1, reducing costs which is the first driver of making sure each single team survives.
“We are obviously discussing with F1, the FIA and all the teams a budget cap reduction, but we should not forget when doing that exercise that we’ve got different structures, we’ve got different assets. There are teams that are constructors – as Ferrari and other top teams – where we are designing, developing, homologating and producing each single component of our cars. Other teams are customers, so buying some parts, so not having the same structure obviously because they are not designing, developing etcetera all those components.
“So I think when discussing a budget cap we should not forget that we’ve got different situations and it’s important that we find a common ground somehow that is fitting to the different situations. And maybe the answer is not a single budget cap equal for all the teams.
“But more importantly we had a meeting with all the teams, FIA and F1, and it has been a constructive and positive meeting. I think there are still analyses that are required to make the right decisions.
“We should really avoid being emotional at the moment — we know that we will face difficult situations but we also need to somehow maintain what is the DNA and essence of F1 which is competition. We should not forget what F1 and motorsport is about. So I think it’s important to really look at all the details but make a rational decision that has really been based on considerations and not emotions.”
Binotto insists he is not simply protecting Ferrari’s potential advantages, saying the delay of the 2021 regulations does not necessarily play into his team’s hands but was backed regardless.
“I think it was the right and good decision because it has to be a responsible decision. I think the situation and the emergency we are facing counts as a priority. We cannot only act in the interests of a single team, in the interests of Ferrari, but really looking at the wider picture and wider situation.
“Obviously we know that if some smaller teams were in difficulty, time would become very tight to develop new cars for 2021 so I think at the end that was the right choice.
“Is that somehow not being in favor of Ferrari? Very likely yes, maybe, but we are people who each time want to do better compared to what we did in the past. There will be times eventually — even if they will be tight — that we can recover and be stronger.”