Ross Brawn insists budget cap is vital for the future of Formula One

‘If we throw it open again Formula One will crash and burn’: Ross Brawn insists budget cap is vital for the sport’s future amid new regulations unveiled for the 2021 season

  • Formula One are set to introduce a new set of regulations for the 2021 season 
  • These address issues including racing format, car design and a budget cap 
  • F1 chief Ross Brawn believes the cap is vital to safeguarding the sport’s future 

Formula One chief Ross Brawn believes that without the new budget cap the sport will ‘crash and burn’.

Alongside a raft of new regulations covering car design, commercial rules and racing format to be introduced from 2021, teams will now only be allowed to spend a maximum of $175million per season, excluding driver salaries and other elements.

Now Formula One’s managing director, who spent three years working on the new rules, has issued a stark warning to the teams that continuing with stricter financial controls could spell the end of the sport.

Formula One managing director Ross Brawn led the formation of the new regulations

Brawn told Sportsmail: ‘F1 is a victim of its own success. If you win, it is so valuable in terms of the rewards it brings, therefore you can justify increasing the budgets to succeed because the rewards are so high.

‘Suddenly you can’t afford to fail and you have to keep ploughing money in.

‘You’d imagine budgets would stabilise at some point but they haven’t. I have seen budgets escalate on a yearly basis.

‘It takes an economic crisis for those things to be redressed but we don’t want to wait for an economic crisis.

‘I don’t see what the options are, if we throw it open again Formula One will crash and burn, it will be a victim of its own success.’

Eeach team will, from 2021, have to operate on a budget cap of $175million per season

Teams attempted to introduce resource restrictions in 2010 that were self-policed, but the idea eventually broke down and was abandoned.

Brawn was clear that this time the regulations allowed for a range of penalties, adjudicated by the FIA, to be handed out to teams who breach the spending cap, up to and including the removal of any world championship titles.

Each team will be subject to a mid-season audit to judge their level of spending, before a full end-of-campaign assessment is carried out by a major accounting firm.

Brawn added: ‘We have a big challenge to make sure it is applied fairly but there is no alternative, we have to grow through the challenge of making the cost cap work.

‘If a team in the last three races had a lot of crashes you’d have some sympathy for that situation.

‘If a team turned up to the last race with a big upgrade there could be no sympathy, so there has to be some flavour put into that.

‘Then there will be degrees of transgression, until ultimately you could say there has been fraud where a team has purposely tried to deceive you and hide that expenditure.

‘That would obviously be the major category. It is up to the FIA as the regulatory body what the punishment is but there is a proper process now.

‘Teams have been advised like any transgression, if your car is illegal, this will have teeth. It has to otherwise it will get played strategically. The teams are so competitive.’

In designing the new car, all 10 F1 teams worked together with F1 officials and FIA staff

In designing the car, Brawn established working parties involving all ten teams, F1 officials and representatives from the FIA to help reach mutually agreed conclusions on various technical issues. 

Brawn admits there is still plenty to be negotiated within the new regulations, but believes the current agreement is the result of effective collaboration – particularly in deciding the cap. 

He added: ‘It is the art of compromise, we started with a target cap of $150m and we ended with $175m and it was talking to those large teams and understanding what would be the impact. In the end it was no use being $150m if we couldn’t bring the top teams along with us.

‘Having a system of $175m where the big teams buy in is better than having a system at $150 where we have confrontation and no buy-in.

Once the system is robust and it is settled in, if you need to dial it up then you can and if we have an economic crisis in the future feels the need to adjust then it can be adjusted.’

Brawn also focused heavily on technical changes to the cars, looking to significantly decrease the turbulent wake of the current cars and removing fragile appendages that can affect performance.

Lewis Hamilton claimed his sixth world championship title and is on the verge of history

Brawn also had praise for his former driver Lewis Hamilton after the Briton secured a sixth world championship title at the US Grand Prix.

That puts him one behind Michael Schumacher’s record of seven, with Brawn the mastermind at Ferrari during the German’s prime years.

Brawn also worked with Hamilton at Mercedes in 2013, and felt there was one attribute that set the Briton apart.

Brawn said: ‘His competitiveness is astonishing. If he hasn’t won he is grumpy as hell. It is a nice thing to have. He is built to win, that is all he knows and all he wants to do.

‘The circumstances don’t matter. He won the championship at the weekend but not the race and he was grumpy he didn’t win the race!

‘When you look at someone like Lewis, you have to have huge self-motivation every day to go to the gym, to fit it in. He never displayed any weakness in that respect.

‘At the end of the race he was always as fresh as at the start

‘He drives himself in all the essential elements to be the best racing driver of the last 10 or 20 years. ‘

While Brawn initially felt Schumacher’s record would not be touched for a while he now believes Hamilton can continue to dominate the sport for as long a she wishes.

Brawn added: ‘I am surprised Lewis has challenged the record so quickly, quite honestly. It didn’t look to be possible.

‘When a driver as strong as Lewis gets in the right team, it is the potential for domination and I don’t see it ending

‘Lewis may decide he wants a new challenge, he might go to another team and help that team succeed. How many titles is enough?’

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