Richards says budget cap not viable

Prodrive boss David Richards has said he doubts a budget cap in Formula One is workable - and thinks the sport instead needs better technical regulations to keep costs in check

Richards says budget cap not viable

F1 teams are due to meet with the FIA later this month to discuss ways of implementing a budget cap from the start of the 2009 season. The concept has backing from a majority of outfits, who are keen to pursue the route as a way of stopping their finances getting out of control.

But Richards, whose hopes of entering F1 this year were dashed after a legal challenge over customer cars, does not think a budget cap is realistic.

And he thinks the lessons of the Australian V8 Supercar championship, where a similar Total Racing Expenditure Cap (TREC) was scrapped after one season, should be heeded.

"I don't believe it is going to work," he told autosport.com. "I don't think it is a viable proposition. I have seen it in Australia where it has been abandoned.

"Maybe it plays to my strengths because I started life as an accountant, but I got out of accountancy to go into motor racing and I don't want to go back there."

Richards believes it is virtually impossible to legislate against the biggest spending teams being successful.

"I think budget capping is an excuse for poor technical regulations. With proper technical controls, you should be able to manage the costs of F1. It is also about sporting regulations as well.

"It is a bit like a government trying to control a situation through measures that are inappropriate. At the end of the day, you should make sure in motorsport that there is a level playing field as best you can. But you cannot fight market forces and try and artificially influence that the best guys aren't going to come to the front."

Richards' scepticism about a budget cap in F1 means that his interest in getting his own Grand Prix team has not been rekindled.

He remains adamant that unless customer cars are allowed, it is highly unlikely he will reconsider making the move to F1 again.

"I haven't got the time to spend or the finances to invest in a start-up," he said. "A start-up will take five years to get right and get competitive, and that is not even winning Grands Prix.

"I don't believe that is viable. There might be a possibility of acquiring one of the teams in the future and coming in at that level, but the solution we came to of acquiring a complete package from a team was the only viable solution."

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