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SBD Global/May 5, 2014/Finance

Smaller Teams 'Optimistic' After F1 Teams Step Away From Cost-Cutting Clash

Mercedes F1 Exec Dir Toto Wolff is against a hard budget cap.
F1's "cash-strapped smaller teams sounded a note of cautious optimism" on Friday after a meeting with the sport's powerbrokers to "discuss how to slash costs in the face of opposition to a cap on spending," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. F1 Deputy Principal Bob Fernley said, "We are optimistic that following the Biggin Hill meeting a constructive process will now take place." Force India, Sauber, Caterham and Marussia wrote to the FIA last month when the governing body announced that a planned cost cap for '15 "had been scrapped because leading teams were opposed to it." The cap "had been previously agreed unanimously by all 11 teams." The smaller teams had also suggested in their letter to the FIA that the situation "could be brought to the attention of the European Union's Competition Authority as 'an abuse of a dominant position'" (REUTERS, 5/2). AUTOSPORT reported smaller teams "have now been asked to contribute their own cost cutting ideas, after the sport's chiefs failed to agree on a firm plan in Thursday's meeting." FIA President Jean Todt called together F1's team bosses, plus F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone. Although no firm agreement about a way forward was agreed by teams in the meeting, it is believed that "further talks are being pencilled in for later this month." In the meantime, sources suggest that the smaller squads "have been requested to return with their own money-saving proposals within the next two weeks, while Todt is to look at more detail in to whether or not a cost cap is possible to impose" (AUTOSPORT, 5/2).

AGAINST CAP: KURIER reported Mercedes F1 team Exec Dir Toto Wolff "is against a hard budget cap for F1." Wolff said that the 11 F1 teams "are essentially on the same page when it comes to the question of cost reduction." Wolff said that the goal now is "to make a decision 'that helps everyone and not only the small teams' during the next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council" on June 30. Wolff: "It's the unanimous opinion of all teams that we want to drastically reduce costs." Wolff added that he "is against a hard cap because, among other things, it would be difficult to monitor at certain teams." Therefore, a hard cap "is not the right solution" (KURIER, 5/4).
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