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F1: FIA Announces F1 'Cost Cap' Coming In 2015, Heavier Cars Out Photo:
 
 
TMR Team | Dec, 10 2013 | 0 Comments

A 'cost cap' in formula one is coming, the FIA said in a surprising announcement this week.

Although many teams are facing financial difficulties, the idea of compulsorily capping annual budgets has remained highly controversial.

But FIA president Jean Todt told France's L'Equipe last week: "We need to focus on the problem of costs at all levels of motor sport, not only formula one."

So, after a Paris meeting of the sport's new strategy group and the F1 Commission, and with Todt declaring a "mandate", the sport's governing body said the "principle of a global cost cap has been adopted" for F1.

"The limit will be applied from January 2015," the FIA declared.

Current F1 team budgets are believed to range from about $60 million at the back of the grid, to several hundred million for frontrunners Red Bull and Ferrari.

The actual number eventually set for the cap is therefore the crucial detail.

"If we're all at 50 or 100 million budget, the show will be no different at all," Caterham boss Cyril Abiteboul argued recently.

The FIA said it will now establish a 'working group' tasked with having the 2015 budget cap regulations approved by June of next year.

"In the end," Lotus chief Eric Boullier added, "if we don't do this, it's going to be more and more difficult to survive."

Meanwhile, in addition to the highly controversial 'double points' rule for the 2014 finale, the FIA on Monday also announced that drivers will choose a permanent race number, between 2 and 99, to keep for their entire F1 careers.

And the FIA said every team was invited to attend Pirelli's Bahrain tyre test with 2013 cars next week, but only Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso took up the offer.

(GMM)

 

F1 says no to heavier cars, mandatory pitstops

Formula one teams this week blocked moves to raise the minimum weight limit for 2014.

Drivers like Daniel Ricciardo are hurriedly trimming muscle ahead of the next world championship, as the new turbo V6 and ERS regulations add crucial weight to the single seaters.

A proposal to simply lift the mandatory weight limit further was discussed at the strategy group and F1 Commission meeting in Paris on Monday, but rejected, according to the BBC.

Because the proposal was to raise the limit for 2014, it needed an unanimous vote, but correspondent Andrew Benson said Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus all declined.

"It would be unfair to change something in the rules this late," Mexican driver Sergio Perez is quoted this week by Brazil's Totalrace.

"If something could be changed, it would be the weight limit. But even that would be unfair, and some teams are against it because they have worked well and have been able to make a car lighter than the others," he added.

The BBC report also said the teams on Monday voted down a proposal to force drivers to make a minimum of two pitstops per race in 2014.

Pirelli reportedly pushed for the rule after its calamitous and image-damaging 2013 season, where in trying to build aggressively-degrading tyres, the quality and safety of its products was called into doubt.

But despite Pirelli's problems this year, Bernie Ecclestone insists the Italian marque has done a good job.

"Pirelli did a wonderful job for us," he wrote in the foreword to the official formula one season review.

"I told them we don't want tyres that last the race, we want tyres that nobody knows how they are going to last. We've got that too with the new engines next year," the F1 chief executive added.

(GMM)

 

Patient Hulkenberg still waiting for winning car

Nico Hulkenberg insists he is having to be patient as he waits for a front-running car.

The highly rated German was almost signed by Ferrari for 2014.

Told by the Kolner Express newspaper that he might have been Fernando Alonso's teammate had Kimi Raikkonen not "lost patience" with Lotus, he answered: "It was a shame.

"Of course in the long term I want to be in a car with which I can win races," said Hulkenberg.

"But there are many examples of drivers who had to wait years for that. Let's see what the future holds for me."

After Ferrari, Hulkenberg's next-best option for 2014 appeared to be Lotus, but ultimately the financially-struggling team signed the lucratively-sponsored Pastor Maldonado.

Team boss Eric Boullier admits Lotus is struggling.

"Nobody knows where they are going to be next season," the Frenchman, referring to the radically new 2014 rules, is quoted by France's L'Equipe, "but given our budget, we are clearly not in a position to dominate."

Although Lotus are struggling, some have described Hulkenberg's move from the also-struggling Sauber to Force India for 2014 as a "backwards step", particularly as he only left the Silverstone based team a year ago.

"Everyone will have his own opinion," the 26-year-old said.

"You have to look at the overall situation. There are many teams that have financial problems, so the options are very limited.

"On the other you have to see this is only my fourth year in formula one," Hulkenberg added.

(GMM)

 

Drivers to play bigger role in 2014 - Alonso

Fernando Alonso hopes F1 drivers have a bigger role to play next year, as the wave of radical new regulations hit the 2014 grid.

This year, as Pirelli's heavily degrading tyres set the tone, drivers often had to take a back seat to full throttle as they nursed their cars through race strategies, at the beck and call of engineers' informed advice.

But Ferrari's Alonso thinks the new rules for 2014, featuring the introduction of turbo V6s and fuel limitations, could play in favour of the smartest drivers.

"Let's see what kind of driving style will be needed," he told Brazil's Totalrace.

"I hope that the decisions of the drivers becomes more important and the engineers have less control," Alonso added.

World champion Sebastian Vettel agrees that the drivers will have a big role to play in 2014.

"Imagine having only 100 kilos of fuel available for a race!" he exclaimed to F1's official website.

"That might require looking for completely different techniques that allow you to go as quick as normal but also save fuel."

On the other hand, with the formula changing so much, 2014 could be a good season for a rookie to arrive freshly on the scene -- like McLaren's Kevin Magnussen.

"It'll be a new challenge for everyone, not just for me," he said.

"The fact that I won't have as much experience as some of the other drivers actually counts a little bit less," the Dane added.

German driver Nico Hulkenberg, however, thinks the actual truth won't be known until the racing gets underway next year.

"Nobody knows," German media quote him as saying at the Essen Motor Show. "It's a new era in formula one.

"You would have to say that Red Bull and the other big teams have the money and the resources to still be at the top," Hulkenberg, who is switching midfield teams from Sauber to Force India for 2014, added.

(GMM)

 

World champion Vettel to become father

Sebastian Vettel is set to celebrate his meteoric F1 success with the ultimate prize -- fatherhood.

Multiple authoritative German media sources on Tuesday, including the Bild-Zeitung newspaper and the Bunte magazine, report that the quadruple world champion's long-time girlfriend Hanna Prater is pregnant with their first child.

Red Bull driver Vettel, 26, guards his privacy very closely, but his spokeswoman confirmed the happy news: "Yes, it's true."

Vettel was quoted as saying: "Of course we are very happy about it, and want to enjoy this time in peace."

Vettel and Hanna have been a couple since they graduated from high school in Heppenheim.

(GMM)

 
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