Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

Wolff: Mercedes need to “price up” an F1 budget cap

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In the round-up: Toto Wolff says that Mercedes would need to restructure their multiple motorsport concerns to accommodate an F1 budget cap:

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What they say

I think as an organisation we would need to adapt but we have several motor racing platforms and engineering projects and once it is clear what the cost cap will be we will need to look at our structure and say ok how can we best price that up.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Stephen Crowson argues that F1’s financial imbalance is against fans as well as teams:

I too agree with Otmar Szafnauer. From the outside it seems so easy to equalise payments. If teams can scrape up more money from somewhere or find some “free” factory facilities then good for them. Teams employ very good accountants, and they’d know how to use that money wisely. If a team wants to employ more people on lower pay, then that’s their business.
Currently approximately 70% of the TV rights payout is handed out more or less equitably. About 34% being an equal payment (Column One payments) and 34% being performance based (Column Two payments).
However there’s another 30% handed out in bonuses. Looking at the results from last season there seems to be about a $30M gap between teams with a bonus (excluding Williams) and those without. So, for example, Haas and Renault were given $70M and $73M respectively, while 6th in the WCC McLaren got $100M (with Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull Racing getting more than that).
We can all see that money buys performance, so the question becomes should F1’s TV rights payouts stay more or less as it is or be changed? I think the current bonus system has made F1 less credible as a racing series than it could be. We wouldn’t consider a cycle race credible if some of the competitors were allowed to use electric cycles or motor bikes and others rode mountain bikes, but that’s basically what’s happening. Yes, there will be a decline in performance by Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull, but that decline should be accompanied by an increase in performance by the teams without a bonus.
Consider Podiums and Pole Positions: Last season only one driver from a team without a bonus stood on the Podium at the end of a race. No one from a team without a bonus got Pole Position. I was going to say the same thing happened in 2017, but Lance Stroll got third place at Azerbaijan (Williams get a small bonus). The story is much the same for 2016. 2015 was a better year, but still no one from a team without a bonus took Pole Position.
Ultimately we, the fans, are loosing because of the bonus payments.

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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  • 17 comments on “Wolff: Mercedes need to “price up” an F1 budget cap”

    1. Happy birthday to […] Mashiat, Mashiat and Mashiat!

      @mashiat – are these your fellow sibling triplets, or just the voices in your head? ;)

      Happy birthday anyway, mate (and the voices in your head go “happy birthday tooo youuuuu!“).

      1. @phylyp I’ll just tell myself it’s because I’m valued three times as much as everyone else on this site. Joking aside though, thank you for your wishes.

        1. @mashiat – LOL, nice comeback :-)

      2. Happy Birthday ….. have a good one.

        1. Thank you.

    2. we have several motor racing platforms and engineering projects and once it is clear what the cost cap will be we will need to look at our structure and say ok how can we best price that up.

      This sounds like the beginning of a cat-and-mouse game between those framing the budget cap rules and the teams who try to find loopholes. Reminiscent of the ongoing activities for the technical regulations.

      Does this mean that alongside the WCC and WDC, we’ll get a WAC (World Accountancy Championship) for the team that found and exploited the most loopholes (or would it be the team who snitched the most)?

      1. I bet we’ll get something like: “Soooo the budget cap was agreed to be at 220m a year, plus the higher managment, drivers, top 76 engineers and the cleaning ladies’ salaries won’t be included.” And down at the page, font -4: “And the engine development as well.”

        1. Or suddenly they’re hiring “cleaners” with engineering degrees….

    3. On this day ! Confirms my comment re “boring F1” posted in yesterday’s roundup comments, hard to believe Jim Clark had 3 drivers ahead of him though.

      1. Jeffrey Powell
        14th June 2019, 8:27

        I must have missed this yesterday ,did Jim start a race on a different circuit.

    4. COTD. Just more damage inflicted on F1 by Bernie’s greed and “divide and conquer” tactics.

    5. @hazelsouthwell Thank you for selecting my comment as comment of the day.

    6. Many thanks for the birthday wishes !

      1. @tifoso1989 Happy Birthday.

        1. @mashiat
          Many thanks, the most akward thing about this is that we share the same birthday as Donald Trump !

          1. @tifoso1989 – happy birthday, mate. If your birthday is the only thing you share with him, I’d say it’s a good thing ;-)

    Comments are closed.