Formula One budget cap off the table

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A budget cap for Formula One teams, planned to be introduced by 2015 is now off the table, according to FIA president Jean Todt. He says the FIA will now look at further regulation changes to reduce costs.

In December 2013, the World Motorsport Council announced that it approved the principle of a cost cap. A working group, including 6 of the 11 Formula One teams was subsequently established to negotiate the specific details of the cost limit. The working group at the time was said to be targeting a finalization of the regulations by June 2014.

Teams part of the strategy group include Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, Williams and Lotus. It looked like there was to be an agreement on a €150 million budget until the three largest teams, name Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Mercedes countered with a suggestion of €260 million, a limit that is likely only to top off the biggest budgets but one that is not going to be a solution for most of the teams.

Evolving around the demise of FOTA, this new strategy group of 6 teams jointly have 6 votes, as many as Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management and the FIA itself.

It appears that Ecclestone has somehow persuaded teams to back out of the cost cap discussion, as Todt said in Bahrain: "So clearly, if the commercial rights holder (Bernie Ecclestone), and if six teams...are against, I cannot impose. It's mathematics. In this case, no more cost cap. In a way I am disappointed because it may be more difficult to achieve the reduction which I feel is needed, who was attending his first race of the year."

Todt added it appears everyone is still in favour of reducing costs, albeit apparently without the planned cost cap.

Meanwhile, smaller teams are getting frustrated for not being part of the decision making, especially because the cost cap would be most important for them. While Toro Rosso is somewhat presented by sister team Red Bull Racing, the likes of Force India, Sauber, Caterham and Marussia have little to say, while they are notably the ones asking for a strict budget cap to make the sport sustainable.