Formula 1 teams discussed introducing an independents' championship

A plan for six Formula 1 teams to contest an "independents' championship" but remain in the constructors' standings if they abided by a cost-cap was discussed, Autosport can reveal

Formula 1 teams discussed introducing an independents' championship

Force India's deputy team principal Bob Fernley came up with the idea and ran it by rival F1 outfits Williams, Toro Rosso, Sauber, Haas and Manor.

The plan was for the six teams to abide by the cost cap of $100million, that would not include spending on marketing, hospitality and driver contracts.

It would be governed by the FIA and have a separate commercial agreement for their position in the independents' table, although talks with the FIA and the commercial rights holder had not yet taken place.

The six teams would still be part of the main constructors' championship and challenge for points, podiums and wins against the manufacturers.

However, Toro Rosso and Williams were not in favour and the idea was shelved.

"What I was looking at was whether the six independent teams wished to enter into a voluntary cost-cap arrangement, obviously policed by the FIA, which would have been a second phase of discussion," Fernley told Autosport.

"First of all we need to see if there was an appetite for it in the first instance. We were testing the water.

"In principle, they liked the concept, but they needed time to think about it.

"We were going to organise a meeting at Hockenheim with all the teams if there was a consensus.

"[But] there is no appetite for cost saving from two of the six independent teams, that represents 33%, and it's not worth doing."

Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost said his outfit was not in favour because Red Bull did not back it, but he insisted ways to cut costs must be found.

"From the Red Bull point of view, it doesn't make sense because it's a two-class society," he said.

"If you start doing this, with a cost cap $100m, you can't develop anything anymore and then, from the performance side, you are last.

"We should have a cost cap, but for all of us.

"The argument is you can't control it, but this is nonsense.

"The manufacturers don't want it because they get the money but we're in a situation where the rich teams get even more money and they spend it."

Manor owner Stephen Fitzpatrick told Autosport the concept "is worth investigating" but added: "Almost all teams given an unlimited budget, they would find a way to spend it.

"If we want to find a way to make it financially sustainable - and that means financially sustainable for fans, track owners and teams - then we need to look at how we can minimise costs without sacrificing performance.

"But I understand the reason why those who weren't in favour aren't in favour as it is almost accepting unequal status."

Haas team boss Gunther Steiner said: "We were approached about it, we wanted to hear more but it never got to the stage to be really discussed.

"It was an idea somebody threw out there and then some people didn't want to participate and then it was quickly gone.

"I didn't know a lot because it wasn't discussed with any of the authorities. It never got beyond the idea point."

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