A budget cap of $150 million is not realistic to achieve for the bigger teams in F1, says Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. He also said they are willing to find alternatives to control the finance.
On Friday, Liberty Media presented their vision for the future to all the F1 teams. One of the proposed ideas was to bring a cost cap to level the playing field between the bigger teams and the smaller outfits. A cap of $150million has been suggested as a possible limit.
Speaking with Sky Sports in Bahrain, Wolff said the cap did not encompass several spending heads and the big teams will find it impossible to reduce their budget to such levels.
“That number needs to be seen in perspective because marketing is excluded, drivers are excluded, lots of other activities are excluded,” Wolff said.
“There is lots that we do as a manufacturer where we do work for the power unit that is for the benefit of customers as well.
“So that number is much too low for the big teams, but if you look into the detail, we need to work with Liberty and find a compromise.
“That number will not be achievable, but maybe something sensible [can be] – we are all living in the same financial reality.
“When you add all the extra bits that are being excluded, you are probably at a much higher number than $150m, maybe $250m, then suddenly it doesn’t look so crazy anymore.
“My utmost priority is protecting our structure and our people.
“We have to consider that we have been here a long time, the same with Ferrari, and Red Bull, and some of the bigger structures.
“You need to lay it out and say ‘this is our situation, how can we achieve success for Formula 1, how can we cap costs, how can we achieve a sustainable business model’, without having any hardship on anybody.”
Wolff said he is willing to discuss on any specific parts of the car for standardisation if not “for benefit of the fans, for the sport” and after considering its cost.
Clarity is better
The presentation brought in clarity to all the teams about the proposal so they can give feedback to Liberty on what is achievable. “Before it was all pretty much in the dark,” he said. “Now we know what the position is and we can work towards that position.
“Now at least you can properly assess this and say what do we like, what do we not like, what’s feasible and what’s not.
“We have to assess how we will achieve compromise, that will be our main priority.
“As long as we have confidence that there are good ideas kicking in that will grow revenue, that will grow our audiences and preserve the ones we already have, we are in.
“We want to preserve Formula 1’s traditions. It’s a high-tech sport, the best racing drivers in the best machines.
“As long as we can maintain that with a solid business model, we are happy.”