General Message Board
A lot has been said about cost cutting recently, especially since it was revealed that Williams are losing so much money.
At the same time we see what the FIA intend to do.
They are introducing KERS which is costing a fortune for the teams to develop. The top teams will invest in 2 or 3 different designs and then go for the best one. The small teams can't afford to do so and will end up being lucky to make the right decisions. After a season or two everyone will end up with the same basic system (i.e. the one that a team makes which works best will be copied) and it will then cost millions to get those extra hundredths of a second out of the system.
Next season they are cutting downforce again, so everyone will invest millions in developing small bits of stuff to stick all over the car. Every bit will cost millions because of the hours it takes to simulate and then test in a wind tunnel. Nearly every circuit will need another few little bits designed to work on that circuit.
What is the basic problem with all this ? In my opinion it's down to the fact that there are too many regs which mean that to get any sort of advantage it costs the team millions.
So in my opinion they should go in exactly the opposite direction.
Drop any restriction which isn't safety related.
No changes to the car parts from the start of the season to the end of the season. Make the teams build a car that works on every circuit.
Up the minimum clearance to something ridiculous so that the cars have very low grip and drag a huge slipstream behind them..
Allow any wings the teams want to build or make a minimum wing size rather than a maximum one.
Allow any engine they like up to (for instance) 5 liters.
Up the minimum weight by 200 kilos so that there's no point in using ridiculously expensive materials.
Make tyres that will last a whole race and cars that don't need to stop every 5 minutes to fill up, and no more compulsory pit stops.
Realistic ? Probably not. Would teams find holes in the rules and cheat (or "push the rules to the limit" as cheating is often called) ? Yes.
What would change ? Very little in terms of who's at the front and who's at the back. But the teams wouldn't need to invest so much to squeeze that extra hundredth of a second out of the car.
There are loads of things wrong with my suggestions, but it's about the direction the FIA need to think in rather than the solutions.
As for budget capping - do the FIA really think that a team wouldn't end up with wings designed on Fiat computers, developed by Shell engineers, and tested by some other sponsor ? Or the costs could be hidden under "5 star spaghetti cook in the hospitality tent". It is impossible to find out what costs go where in a modern international company, even if you are the tax man.
Who would lose out? The small teams. The very people that cost capping is supposed to help.
Finally, how about Bernie actually putting some of his massive income into helping small teams ? No other sport that I know of puts so little of its income back into the sport.
I have always thought that the point of Formula One was to develop the cars and engines within a given formula.
Both cars and engines in production cars have improved enormously in the last twenty years. In my opinion, motorsport has had a significant part to play in this.
Where could Formula One go now to cut costs and benefit us all in our road cars?
I like the idea of restricting the total dimensions and wheel sizes. I like PG's idea of weight restriction and ground clearance. I agree with him that apart from these restrictions, anything goes.
But I am not an engineer. So I would be interested in informed opinion as to whether these sort of changes to F1 would result in cost reduction.