The subject of cost cutting is Formula 1's equivalent of a bad penny: despite every attempt to eradicate the topic, it remains in circulation, ready to spoil every F1 gathering, whether team boss meeting, Strategy Group session, Formula 1 Commission summit or World Motor Sport Council assembly.
Back in the days when team owners were true gentlemen, the question of money was seldom, if ever, discussed - those in trouble would rather stiffly fade away than cheerfully admit to a distinct shortage of the folding stuff - but then came a new breed of owner, some of whom happily washed their torn linen in public and wheeled out begging bowls without shame.
Admittedly, the entire financial structure of F1 had by then changed for the worse after the FIA, then presided over by Max Mosley, sold the sport's 113-year commercial rights to a trust operated by Bernie Ecclestone, the former barrister's friend of 30 years.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken