McLaren CEO Zak Brown has scolded Ferrari over it’s opposition to a further reduction in Formula 1’s budget cap.
Ferrari says it is against a plan to reduce the planned cost cap from $NZ290million to less than $NZ240million – labelling it as a “demanding request”.
Team principal Mattia Binotto told the Guardian newspaper that it was against the proposed cost cap as it did not want to get rid of staff or have them deployed to other racing series.
Binotto also suggested that if teams were struggling to cope with costs to compete, Ferrari would happily offer customer cars.
However, Ferrari’s stance on the issue has left Brown less than impressed. Speaking with Motorsport.com, Brown stated that F1’s future could be jeopardised if budgets are not brought down.
“We are in a situation where if Formula 1 goes by its old habits, we’re all at extreme risk for the future of F1.
“And I think if we think forward and get with the times, we can not only survive what’s going on right now, but I ultimately think the sport can can thrive and we all win. I’m all for a good healthy debate. But I think the comments that I’m being seen put forward don’t stack up, contradict themselves, and don’t accurately reflect what I think is reality.”
“Unfortunately, there’s not many teams, if any, turning a profit. I don’t believe that the people involved in Formula 1 are involved to drive a profit: I think they’re there to drive franchise value.
“Each team has a different reasons why they’re in F1. And a lot of that is to deliver value to other businesses, whether that’s in the drinks business or the road car business.”
Brown also said he was at a loss for words over Binotto’s comment that F1 should take its time on deciding cost-saving measures. He says the seriousness of the current situation demands decisive action.
“I’m almost at a loss of what you say to that. I think we all recognise that in modern times we’re going through the biggest crisis the world has seen. You have countries shut down. You have industry shut down, and to not be in a hurry to address what’s going on, I think, is a critical mistake. It’s living in denial.
“I think you would find pretty much every president or prime minister or CEO around the world is operating in a hurry to tackle this issue head on.”
Customer cars were also a subject of conflict with Brown, labeling it an antiquated idea that belongs in the 1970s rather than the present day.
“The last time there were customer cars, I believe, was the 1970s. So, for Formula 1, which is all about being a constructor, I don’t see how that potential solution is consistent with other comments that the DNA of F1 is a constructors’ championship and technology evolution: that feels like a solution from the ’70s.”
While Brown would not like to see The Prancing Horse depart from the sport, he says it is important for the sport not to lose its smaller teams if the budget cap was not reduced.
“I would hate to see them leave the sport. I would hate to see anybody leave the sport, so that’s certainly not something that we’d like to see happen.
“However, I think the sport can survive with 18 cars on the grid. And I think there are other power unit manufacturers that could cover the two [customer] teams that are currently powered by them. On the flip side, I think if we land on a budget cap too high and that ends up turning off those that are putting their hands in the pocket investing in F1, I don’t think F1 can survive with 14 cars on the grid.
“I think 16 is right on the line, with 18 it can. So, I think it could survive without them, but I really much prefer to have them stay in the sport. I think the sport’s much better off with them than without.”