Briatore calls for cost cuts, Ecclestone rejects
Although the start of the season is extremely close and F1 is set for another glamorous season, things are a little more worrying for teams not so much up the front of the grid. Since the demise of HRT over the winter, people are wondering who might be the next team to succumb.
It is no secret that Marussia is severely cash strapped as they aim to build a car while spending as little as possible. Taking on Pat Symonds in the team will certainly help with performance, but without a considerable injection of money, the team is hardly ever going to threaten any of the midfield runners.
Caterham F1 appear to have a reasonably solid structure, but them fielding a car that is nearly identical to their 2012 contender and publicly confirming that their first real updates will only come by May, this too seems to be due to limiting expenditure. The team is already strongly focused on the 2014 challenge, but it remains to be seen if the company is willing to continue spending when that would also end up in a disappointment.
Force India meanwhile is also struggling as its founder and owner Vijay Mallya continues to suffer setbacks with his businesses in India. This will undoubtedly limit cashflow to the team, although it seems the situation is not nearly as difficult as with Marussia.
Talking about the topic, former Renault F1 team principal Flavio Briatore called for urgent cost cutting in Formula One to prevent further damage to the sport: "When you see that Lotus or Sauber who have more or less the same budget, 90 million to 100 million euro can compete closely with McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes, all with three times that budget, I would say that there is something in the system that does not work."
Ecclestone however, in an interview with the official F1 site said income regulation to limit spending would not help: "Why? If they were to get the money according to an allocation formula but still overspend, where would that money come from? What would change to what we have now? Teams will always spend what they can get - from wherever. And if there were a cap on it it wouldn’t make any difference. They will still find ways to get money and spend it."
As team principals continue to negotiate about a new Concorde Agreement that could include further resource limitations, it is surely still going to be a far cry from the budget cap that Max Mosley proposed. It was with this in mind that Caterham, Marussia and HRT initially entered Formula One, only to realise later on that the budget cap would not make it.