Driving into the unknown


There’s a lot going on in our sport than we could imagine in the past week or so it seems. After the classic Bahrain GP, ironically the criticisms have emerged lounder and the future of F1 racing is under jeopardy with the smaller teams (Force India, Sauber, Caterham and Marussia) holding hands together against the abandoned Cost Cap. FIA’s president Jean Todt scrapped the idea of budget-induced F1 at the council meeting in Morocco with the influential Strategy Group(consist of six members from six big spending teams, six from commercial rights holder and six members from FIA) refused to agree such an idea.

The four teams with limited resources were enraged according to sources and felt they were robbed off their voices with Force India’s Bob Fernely describing them as “disenfranchised” outfits and forced Todt to organise a meeting on May 1 with a written letter depicting their dissatisfaction. He stated that,
“Let’s keep at it, because we (smaller teams) have not backed off at any point”

Todt seemed to show no remorse pointing out the Concorde agreement terms on the Strategy Group despite being sympathetic. F1 can’t run with six teams alone or neither the costs can be allowed to hit much bigger margins than it have already been. There might arise some situation wherein even the wealthier squads run short of money they intend to cash-in due to internal financial reasons. To stabilise the sport and lure in major brands or businessmen to set-up a team there must be defined costs list. After all, F1 is not just about cutting edging technologies and will to compete but the viability of money being spent in. This could ensure competition at the highest level with the majority of teams be in a position to not just cling on to the final grid spot but to fight in the midfield at least. Of course this would make the likes of Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren or Mercedes pointless but for the goodness of sport there must something be done to ensure a level playing field and not affect the purity in any sense.

The painstaking increase in costs over the new greener engines take centre stage but that’s the way “changes” are, they always come at a price and as a premiere motorsport F1 has stuck with it quite well so far. The issue with the noise is something to be addressed though but the time has come to restructure how things used to be. Something like the long-gone Resource Restriction Agreement could be put in place but it’s hard to convince everyone involved as ever. Many names came and went in a blur over the last decade as even automotive giants like Honda, Toyota and BMW pulled off their operations during the hard-hit recession time. Recent talks are bringing back active suspension, simplifying the wing design, implementing cost reduction on expensive parts, and so on in a few years time.

Relying on electronics will definitely bring the expense down by employing less personnel but what would the dreaming young engineers wanting to work in F1 do if the availability starts dwindling? F1 is known for being intrigue simplifying something doesn’t cut the mustard whatsoever. Look at Sauber, they were so good a team when they had money in hand through sponsors backing. Lotus mounted a title challenge with Raikkonen when everything was in place. Their struggle to get among points or make it into second phase of qualy portray what they lack in a nutshell. If it can happen to the well-reputed teams like Sauber and Lotus, ponder on the plight of Caterham and Marussia – it could only be worse. The minnows on the grid are trying to stay alive in the cash-strapped environment and without sorting out the needs and assuring a certain criteria for granted the future of the sport goes nowhere.

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