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.