Zak Brown calls for lowering the cost cap

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown sees the current crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic as an excellent opportunity for Formula 1 to lower the cost cap even further in order to guarantee the financial situation and the competitiveness of the sport.

The 2021 Formula 1 season was set to introduce arguably the biggest changes in the 70-year history of the sport by implementing key tweaks to the sporting, technical and financial aspects of the championship. However, the revolutionary set of alterations has suffered a setback as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus that forced even Formula 1 to implement urgent changes in order to promote financial stability.

While the technical overhaul, set for 2021 has been delayed until 2022, the cost cap that will heavily limit teams’ expenditure has been retained. With teams receiving no income in this time when no races can take place, it has also been agreed by the teams unanimously that the current chassis will be carried over into 2021 to decrease the costs caused by the development battle.

The current cost cap will force teams to spend no more than $175m per year, covering a team’s expenditure which relates directly to the race car’s performance. The cap excludes all marketing costs, race driver fees and the costs of the team’s three highest-paid personnel.

During a video interview with Sky Sports, Brown said that the sport needs to consider introducing an even lower limit for expenditures. The American thinks lowering the cost cap would eventually result in a more competitive Formula 1 that could drive more fans, enticing more sponsors to join the frame as a partner.

"I think in life when you have something that's hit you, a crisis or an issue, you can either run towards it and try and solve the problem or run from it. But we also know that the business model of Formula 1 has really not been sustainable for a long time and I think it does kind of take an event like this to maybe wake everyone up and realize we now don't have the luxury that we have had in the past."

"And we need to make some tough, aggressive decisions to give all the stakeholders who are committed to Formula 1, the confidence and the reason to continue to stay committed."

While trying to persuade the bosses of the sport’s biggest participants, Brown thinks that the cost limit that he intends to define does not present a radically low and unknown level as it is what the Commercial Rights’ Holder and the governing body targeted when the discussion over a possible cost cap began two years ago.

“If we look back to what Ross, Chase [Carey, F1 CEO] and the FIA presented in Bahrain two years ago, which the majority of the teams were supportive of, that’s where the sport needed to be, and if we look at where conversations are now that’s effectively where we’re headed back to.”

“We weren’t able to get that through in round one, but maybe it takes the situation we’re in now for everybody to wake up and realize that what Formula 1 presented a couple of years ago in Bahrain was spot on and while we maybe didn’t have the luxury of not doing it two years ago, today the world has changed, and we need to do it,” he concluded.