Whitmarsh believes that F1 is in cost ‘crisis’

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Formula One has been on a crusade to reduce costs for the past few seasons following the withdrawal of BMW, Toyota and Honda in 2008 and 2009, but McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes that the sport is currently facing a crisis.

“Formula One works best in a crisis but it is a shame that we have to create a crisis to deal with,” Whitmarsh explained to British newspaper The Guardian. “This sport needs ten or eleven teams and we should fight to keep the eleven teams we have now. But we are not good at doing these things. We seem to drop the ball.

“I fear that we will have a crisis and then we will have to get real and sort it out.”

An informal budget cap was put in place in 2010 to coincide with the arrival of Lotus Racing (now Caterham), Virgin (now Marussia) and HRT (now defunct). Although costs have fallen, the sport lacks parity between the front and back of the grid. This may be considered as ‘normal’ in F1, but Whitmarsh fears that the sport could become unsustainable for some, especially with the new engine regulations being introduced next season.

“What is frightening is that we have adopted important new engine regulations. They are the right thing to do in many regards. They are technologically interesting and relevant to society. But F1 badly mismanaged the cost of the development and supply of those new power plants. We allowed the engineers to be unfettered in dreaming up the regulations, which means teams are now facing big bills. We got costs down to £10m ($15m) and now we are talking about double that.”

Despite Whitmarsh’s fears, Honda have announced that they will returning to the sport in 2015 with McLaren due to the improved financial landscape, and Tony Fernandes has dismissed all rumors suggesting that he may sell Caterham in the near future.

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

SMP Racing
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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.