FOTA supports budget caps, not tiers
|By Jonathan Noble
||Friday, March 27th 2009, 03:48 GMT
Formula One teams are not opposed to the introduction of a budget cap in the sport - but say the FIA's plans for a two-tier system are unacceptable.
Motor racing's governing body announced last week that from 2010 teams would be offered the chance for technical freedom if they signed up to a £30 million (GBP) budget cap. Teams that did not opt for the scheme would have their performance pegged to ensure a level playing field.
FOTA reacted angrily to the concept, saying it was 'concerned' about the way in which the FIA had introduced the rules. Senior team figures have said, however, that the opposition to the new rules is not about the budget cap but about having a class-system in F1.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "The real bigger issue is whether F1 wants to have a two-tier system budget cap, because I don't think too many of us are against controlling costs.
"FOTA has been the most positive force in that regard ever in the history of this sport. That principle is accepted by everyone. The idea of having a formula with two different sets of regulations which are dynamically changing is certainly radical.
"But I personally don't think that's the way we should be taking the sport. It's a very dangerous step. Before this sport goes that way, we should continue to work with FOTA, the FIA and FOM to make sure that we've got a sustainable F1 world championship."
When asked if McLaren would accept a budget cap set at the right level, Whitmarsh said: "Yes. The concept of controlling costs or budget capping isn't offensive to most people in F1. But we have to make sure F1 has consistent, stable regulations and it's the same for everyone.
"We remain the pinnacle of motorsport. It has got to remain technically challenging, but it also has to be sustainable to allow 10-12 teams to stay in the game."
BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen echoed Whitmarsh's comments that teams are open to a budget cap - but not a two-tier F1.
"In my view the budget cap is not the problem, I even think it makes more sense than too many individual technical restrictions on the technical side," he said. "The problem is to have an A and B league. That is something we cannot support.
"We could support a budget cap for all the teams. Obviously we would have to discuss the right number and there will be small teams aiming lower than the big teams, but the main thing is to avoid an A and B league."