Formula One budget cap 'unrealistic' says McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh

 

Bernie Ecclestone's latest budget cap idea for the Formula One teams has been described as “unrealistic” by McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

Ecclestone confirmed over the weekend in India he had proposed to the 12 teams the possibility of a cap of 250million US dollars (£155m) which would include all costs, including driver salaries.

The notion of reducing exorbitant costs in F1 has long been mooted, notably since the end of 2009 after three major manufacturers in BMW, Toyota and Honda had pulled out of the sport in the space of a year.

The resource restriction agreement (RRA) has since been on the table, but has faced strong opposition from Red Bull, in particular, and Toro Rosso.

Frustrated at the lack of progress, Ecclestone has now proposed the kind of budget cap figure under which every team could comfortably operate.

It is understood, for instance, Red Bull's total spend last year en route to winning both championships was 270m US dollars (£168m).

But Whitmarsh believes it is flawed as he said: "It (the 250m US) sounds like quite a lot of money, so I don't know how much it is going to help many teams.

"The philosophy on controlling costs in Formula One is important to our sport and we all agree on that, although there are different opinions as to how that is best achieved.

"Bernie wants one that controls driver salaries and all those kind of things.

"What we should be trying to do is ensuring we are spending money in the appropriate places and controlling excessive spend in development.

"Personally, I think it's a little unrealistic to have a global budget cap because it becomes even more difficult to pin down and to know everyone is comfortably operating within it."

For Whitmarsh, the RRA pioneered by McLaren, he feels is a more workable solution.

"The budget cap from Bernie has the elegance that you can describe it quickly, but it is very difficult to find out where the money is and control it," said Whitmarsh.

"The resource restriction agreement asks: How much money do you spend externally and how many people do you have? It's difficult to hide either of those.

"They're also the core elements of a budget cap, but then it goes on to wind tunnel hours, CFD (computational fluid dynamics) etcetera, and we should be free to pay drivers whatever we want to pay them.

"What we should be doing is finding the easy, clear, measurable, definable elements of spend and control those.

"They (the RRA and budget cap) are both trying to do the same thing. They're not against each other. They're just a different philosophy."

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier, however, can see the benefits of Ecclestone's idea, but believes further discussion is required.

"Bernie is very serious," said Boullier.

"The budget cap is one of the best ways to have control over useless expenditure and to end the competitive war.

"Clearly, this is a good start, that Formula One starts to understand and to put in place a budget cap, and I can back up Bernie's idea.

"You need to do it in a clever way and build it up over the years, and it's something that could happen because it's coming from the right authority."

Asked whether it was a better idea than the RRA, Boullier added: "I don't know yet.

"We have been working for years on the RRA, and we have a better understanding of what we could achieve with that. It's a complex system.

"The idea of a budget cap from Bernie is quite new and we just need to look at it a bit more."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference