F1 Budget Cap: Unwarranted

When the lights are on, its ‘Full Throttle’! Some of the best cars that man can develop, compete against each other in fiery races high on adrenaline. The spectators are left amazed with the speed and those daring maneuvers of highly skilled drivers. Everything which we see on the race tracks is the outcome of some highly sophisticated research involving huge funds and years of hard work of some great engineers and all of this is a continuous process. So Formula1 is a sport which involves huge money and not everyone can look for excellence here.

So what’s the newest latest controversy? The FIA president, Max Mosley has come up with his unique proposal of introducing a budget cap of £40m per annum per team including all the team expenditures. Now this is a serious dip from the current budgets of top teams such as Toyota, McLaren and Ferrari which hover around £250m per annum. And some more new rules such as ban on refueling to save costs of transporting refueling equipments will also be introduced in the next season. The argument behind these changes is to prevent the sport in such dismal monetary conditions prevailing in the world and also to provide the new entrants a level playing field with the already established teams. No doubt these are some revolutionary changes for Formula1 which have the capability to either make or break the sport. But the initial response has been devastating for the sport. Just two out of the 10 teams in the current season have unconditionally signed up for the next season while the other teams have revolted and are planning to set up a parallel championship.

Formula1 is the display of the best of the technologies that teams have developed while following some of the guidelines laid down by FIA. The sport was never meant to be just a competition testing driving skills, for which we have not so successful A1 GP, but was meant to be a team sport involving all the aspects from designing the car to developing a great engine to having the best drivers. And this is the way the sport has grown and become immensely popular today. It strives on the oomph factor it generates when a car passes a stretch at over 300kmph, the exciting maneuvers of the drivers at such high speeds and the rivalries between some of the finest drivers and constructors. People never expected all the 10 teams to be in contention for the top spot and this is the way formula1 has continued over the years and has been a huge hit. Then why is there a sudden need to ensure a level playing field?

Last year there were 5 different drivers who made it to the top in different races and in 2007 season there were 9. And in the current season we have a whole new team Brawn GP dominating the season right from the word Go. These things suggest that the field is not so monopolized. And when the teams are ready to spend their own money then why is there a need for a budget cap. There might be new teams, new competition but this is being unfair to the already established ones who’ve spent so many years and a big fortune to have reached this level and now they are asking them to take themselves to those early 1990s era. For the viewers, the whole meaning of formula1 will change. Further, no refuelling will force the teams to run their cars on high amounts of fuel and thus increasing the weight of the car and decreasing the speed significantly. Earlier it was a spectacle of the very best man could develop but now that aspect will be snatched from us. Witnessing cutting edge technology at work is one main reason of F1’s success. No doubt the other 8 teams who haven’t yet registered for the next season, members of FOTA, are considering having a parallel championship which is bound to be a huge hit.

So what’s in store for F1 in the future is still not known. Its mere existence at this moment of time is debatable. As a viewer, I’ll love to see the issues resolved but not at Mosley’s conditions. For the motorsports lovers a parallel league will salvage their interest rather than an F1 low on adrenaline.

There are many leagues and championships of motorsports but F1 still stands out and this has been because of the ultramodern tech used in the cars. The way they zoom past and the way drivers escape those heart-stopping crashes leaving the viewers with their jaws dropped. So F1 will be better without these short-sighted and anti-development rules and regulations, both for the viewers and the teams.

Pawan Gupta
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