Back in 2009, the FIA tried to introduce a budget cap to F1, but the teams hated it and eventually shut the idea down. That was bad news for four new teams – Lotus, Virgin, HRT and USF1 (remember them?!) as they all joined the sport under the promise of a budget cap, and ended up suffering badly as a result – none of those teams even exist any more!
With extreme costs once again becoming a concern, however, a method of restricting budgets in an attempt to level the playing field has been one of the things Liberty Media has been investigating.
It’s rumoured that it could potentially be introduced for 2021 (when the the new engine formula is also set to begin) and that the cost cap will be somewhere in the region of $150 million. That’s a lot more than many teams currently spend, but will force the likes of Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes to reevaluate how much money they throw at their F1 programmes.
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said his team would be in favour of a budget cap, and that he’s expecting everyone to be informed of the plan by the end of the year. He told Racer:
“We need to wait until Liberty gives us a proposal for a budget cap, because there’s not point going over it to go under it again. I don’t think we’re anywhere near where the budget limit will be, but still we don’t want to get too aggressive and we need to grow consistently.
“We were promised to have it by the end of the year. That’s what we were promised, so I hope it happens. That’s their aim, by the end of the year, to give us some information about how it will be done.”
Although you might think the top three teams would be massively against having their ability to spend their way out of trouble taken away from them, Steiner suggested they may actually be in favour of a cap too:
“The gap is just too big. If we were the only ones standing out who could not keep up then it would be OK, but there are seven teams who cannot keep up with it and three which are having their own fight. I think even the three that are having their own fight realize.”
It’s an interesting prospect, and just because it failed last time it doesn’t mean it will this time around. Mainly because, you know, it seems like Liberty Media is actually trying to work with the teams on it, rather than last time when Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley basically strong-armed the teams into going along with it.
What do you reckon to the idea of a budget cap? Let us know in the comments!