F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Race

Marussia cry foul over F1 cost cap, but Mercedes call it unviable

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It’s no secret that Formula 1 is something of a rich man’s playground, but efforts have been made over the years to try and bring the cost of competing down in order to ensure a fairer playing field.

However, the likes of Marussia and Caterham do not have the kind of backing that Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull enjoy, meaning that it is no surprise that they languish at the back of the grid.

The idea of a cost cap to alleviate this problem has been spoken about for years. FIA president Jean Todt was keen on introducing one in the next couple of years, only for the F1 Strategy Group to reject it.

Said group is made up of Ferrari, Williams, Lotus, McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull, who of course have the money to spend.

Marussia sporting director Graeme Lowdon feels that this isn’t good enough, though. “We want to see Formula One grow, and there is an important lesson to be learned from sports that have demonstrated huge growth over the last five to 10 years,” he explained to the Press Association.

“There are two elements that are a feature of those sports. One is an equitable distribution of finances within the sport, and the second is cost control of some description.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a cap. There are other techniques used – ceilings, luxury taxes, financial fair play mechanisms. Some people have said it’s too difficult to implement financial rules. Frankly, that’s absolute rubbish.”

‘Some people’ can certainly include Mercedes executive business director Toto Wolff, who – despite being in favor of the cost cap – believes that such limits are simply too hard to regulate and implement.

“Engineers are always going to find loopholes,” he said. “If you reduce something on the left, you are going to find possibilities on the right. This is why the concept of the cost cap would be a difficult one to police. If you are going through sporting and technical regulations it makes sense.

“I was for a cost cap actually, but we realised some of the other big teams could not follow that path. Ferrari are a good example as they have everything in one entity, the road car business and F1, and it’s difficult for them to have everything screened.”

Perhaps it’s a matter of perspective. It once again underlines the importance of organisations such as FOTA, which recently disbanded, that allow all of the teams in Formula 1 to have a say in the future of the sport.

Sainz keen to race in Russia; decision to be made on Sunday

xxxx during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 10, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.
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Carlos Sainz Jr. has been discharged from hospital in Sochi following his practice accident, and is now hoping to take part in tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix.

Sainz crashed at turn 13 with considerable force during final practice on Saturday, pitching underneath the TecPro barrier that made extracting him from the car difficult.

After 20 minutes, the rescue staff on site were able to remove Sainz from the car before transporting him in an ambulance to the medical centre.

Sainz gave a thumbs up to fans on the way there, and tweeted from hospital that he was unharmed after undergoing a number of checks.

In a statement issued by Toro Rosso after qualifying on Saturday, it was confirmed that Sainz had been discharged from hospital. The Spaniard has now set his sights on starting tomorrow’s race.

“My back and my neck are just a bit sore from the accident, but I’m totally ready,” Sainz said. “Hopefully tomorrow I will wake up in a good shape and maybe I can try and race – this is definitely the intention!

“Obviously we need to be cautious. I’ve always been conscious. As soon as the accident happened I tried to talk to the team on the radio, but it wasn’t working and those must have been some scary moments.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their support, it’s really nice to receive all your messages at a moment like this one! I hope to see you all tomorrow out there!”

Team principal Franz Tost confirmed that a decision will be made on Sainz’s participation following further medical checks on Sunday before clarifying the suspected cause of the accident.

“I’m very happy that Carlos is okay and out of hospital, this is the most important thing for us,” Tost said. “I hope he will have a good night’s sleep and tomorrow morning he will have to go through the FIA medical checks to decide if he will be able to take part in tomorrow’s race.

“Now, just to clarify what happened. Prior to the accident, Carlos had completed a long-run on the option tire, before changing to the prime to do two further laps. On primes the grip level is lower.

“In addition he had changed the brake shape on the steering wheel, which meant he had more braking rearwards. A combination of these two factors might have been the cause of the rears locking, which made the car uncontrollable.”

Should Sainz be deemed fit by the FIA medical delegate, he will have to start the race from the pit lane.

The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.

Hamilton unsure about Mercedes’ race pace in Russia

xxxx during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 10, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.
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Lewis Hamilton remains unsure about Mercedes’ race pace after losing the majority of practice running to a number of incidents on Friday and Saturday.

The entire field was limited to just one hour of dry running on Friday when a diesel spillage caused the session to be shortened.

Heavy rain washed out FP2, and FP3 was red flagged after 35 minutes when Carlos Sainz Jr. crashed hard at turn 13.

Mercedes showed few signs of weakness in qualifying, though, as it locked out the front row of the grid with Nico Rosberg scoring his third pole position of the season.

Hamilton admitted that he made a mistake on his final lap in Q3, but is unsure how Mercedes will shape up in the race compared to the rest of the field.

“Everyone was in the same position today with the limited practice,” Hamilton said. “I didn’t get a hooked-up lap together but Nico did, so well done to him.

“It’s going to be a long race tomorrow though, so hopefully I might have a chance. There’s a long run down to turn two, so we’ll both be studying the line to take tonight. Maybe I can get a good start, we’ll see.

“We haven’t done a lot of laps, so I’m not really sure what our pace is like compared to the others. Our goal in the race as always is to finish well for the team, so we’ll be trying to do that.”

The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.