Motor racing-F1 teams step away from cost-cutting clash

Fri May 2, 2014 11:44am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One's cash-strapped smaller teams sounded a note of cautious optimism on Friday after a meeting with the sport's powerbrokers to discuss how to slash costs in the face of opposition to a cap on spending.

"Force India was very encouraged by the meeting and was appreciative of the FIA (International Automobile Federation) responding so positively to the letter that was sent," that team's deputy principal Bob Fernley told Reuters.

"We are optimistic that following the Biggin Hill meeting a constructive process will now take place."

Force India, Sauber, Caterham and Marussia wrote to the FIA last month when the governing body announced that a planned cost cap for 2015 had been scrapped because leading teams were opposed to it.

The cap had been previously agreed unanimously by all 11 teams, who attended Thursday's meeting along with the FIA and commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, and the U-turn angered those struggling to compete on a fraction of the budgets enjoyed by the wealthiest.

Formula One set up a Strategy Group last year with champions Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams as permanent members and Lotus as best of the rest.

The Group replaced a Sporting and Technical Working Group, that had included all 11 teams, with the aim of streamlining decision-making.

Critics say it effectively disenfranchises the smaller teams, who could previously have blocked changes under a requirement for unanimity, and concentrates power in the hands of the wealthy elite.   Continued...