McLaren’s new team manager Andreas Seidl says that Formula 1 is spending at ‘unsustainable’ levels and that something must be agreed to curb costs.
“It is clear there is a huge gap at the moment between the top teams and all the other teams here in Formula 1,” explained Seidl, who arrived to take up his new post at McLaren at the start of May.
Seidl worked in F1 a decade ago with BMW before taking charge of Porsche’s LMP1 sportscar operations, with great success.
“When I look back 10 years ago when I left Formula 1, the top teams kept increasing budgets and the number of people, infrastructure and so on.
“How it is now, [Formula 1] is clearly not sustainable,” he continued. “If you want to be competitive you need to put big money in.”
Finding a way to reduce costs in the sport has been one of the leading topics for years of discussion between team principals and owners, the governing body and commercial rights holders.
Currently all the interested parties are trying to reach an agreement that can be put in place from 2021 with the next big overhaul of F1’s sporting and business rules and regulations in the form of a new Concorde Agreement.
Seidl is under no illusion that finding a consensus agreement will be no easy feat, but says there are grounds to believe that a positive outcome is within reach.
“We are quite optimistic with Formula 1 and FIA that some good changes are coming up from 2021 onwards,” he said. “I am optimistic that it is possible to be more competitive from the sporting side but also on the commercial side.”
Also looking on the bright side was Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media which owns F1’s commercial rights.
“I think that huge progress has been made,” Maffei told a media and communications conference in New York this weekend.
“Sure there are issues to be debated. F1 has talked about putting cost caps in for 15 years or more,” he continued, insisting that after initial resistance the concept of a cost cap “is pretty much accepted.”
“We’re tens of millions apart, not hundreds. And how the splits will work, people are arguing.
“The theory is that we are trying to create more race competition, more on-track passing or overtaking, more balanced spending with cost caps, more balanced payouts.
“All those things are generally accepted. We are moving towards some sort of a conclusion. What will be the catalytic event that brings it to a signing is perhaps less clear, but I think generally a good direction.”
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