Well, the proverbial poop is about to hit the fan. Or at least it seems like it is. Just today it was announced that both Renault and Ferrari will boycott the FIA’s plan to introduce a budget cap and effectively turn F1 into a two-tiered race series. If this plan goes through, Toyota, BMW, Red Bull, Renault and Ferrari have threatened to pull out of F1 next year. Of course, Bernie Ecclestone says it is all a ploy, even though there is a lot of public support for the teams quitting and forming their own series. And even though Mercedes hasn’t officially said anything about quitting, Norbert Haug, Mercedes’ racing chief, insists that the threats are very real. Hell, even the drivers for Ferrari are completely behind this move. Felipe Massa has called the two-tiered system “absurd” and Kimi Raikkonen acknowledged that having two sets of rules in F1 would be the wrong thing for the sport.
For the record, I also fully support the teams getting up and getting out. I have never like Bernie Ecclestone and the way he runs the business of Formula One. He rules it like a dictator when the teams should have at least some say in how they go about their business, since it is them doing all the dirty work. The two-tiered system involves cars that use the budget cap and can have things fitted to their cars like moveable rear wings and an engine devoid of a rev limiter. These two things (actually just the rear wing alone) are said to be good for a full second and a half to two seconds a lap. Just so everyone is clear, the qualifying times from the first teams to the last teams at the previous race in Spain were less than two seconds apart. In essence, you could have a start-up team using different rules that could run rings around the rule book and the teams. Although it may sound like a great way to introduce more of a spectacle to the sport, it would probably make it worse because there would be constant fighting and bickering between the teams – that means even more than there is now – and it wouldn’t be a fair way to do things. The teams that would accept the budget cap would also be allowed in season testing and other perks like unlimited wind tunnel use that the unrestricted teams wouldn’t be allowed.
There really is a lot going on here and it is hard to keep up with it all as it changes from one hour to the next. I will try and stay on top of most of these things because there is a meeting between the teams and the FIA coming up later this week so something more should be found out then and there. This is probably the biggest event to happen in the world of F1 and it has been brewing for some years now. The teams have threatened to leave before, but this time, they have a legitimate reason and if it does happen, it will shake the world of motorsports to its very foundations.