Saturday 9th May 2009
Ross Brawn fears today's Formula One teams are becoming nothing more than an army of "Swiss watchmakers".
Like many of his fellow team principals, Brawn is frustrated by the FIA's budget-cap regulation for next year that paves the way for a two-tier sport.
Motor sport's world governing body last week announced a £40million cap with the dual purpose of slashing spending among the present teams, but also to attract new marques.
Those that work within the cap would have a performance advantage courtesy of an increase in engine power, via KERS and aerodynamic aids such as flexible rear wings.
However, for those teams who decide not to be capped, they will be required to operate within the currenct technical guidelines.
As the latest to speak out against FIA President Max Mosley's idea, Brawn insists such an unappetising prospect goes against the grain of being in F1.
"We don't want to see a two-tier Formula One," asserted Brawn.
"We think that would confuse the public, that if there is a big disparity in the regulations there would be no merit for those teams that succeed using the most advantageous regulations.
"It's a fact that stability, when the rules are right, is the cheapest way of going forward in many ways because you can plan, you can organise yourself.
"But one of the difficulties of Formula One is that we are turning into Swiss watchmakers.
"We are just refining everything to the nth degree instead of being able to make conceptual or innovative changes because the rules are becoming more and more constrictive.
"To try and contain the costs, we are just closing everything down so much, and I'm not sure that's what Formula One should be.
"We, as a team, both in Honda days and now, support the idea of a constraint on resources of some sort, be it financial, be it people, some constraint where everything is enclosed.
"Within that enclosure there is more freedom because most of the technical changes are designed to save costs.
"We can save costs by saying 'That's all you're allowed to spend, but have more freedom'.
"For me, that's a more exciting Formula One for us, the public, and we've always supported that concept.
"We don't want difficulties in Formula One, we want to work with the FIA, work with all the other teams and find a solution that fits with that.
"But for me, going down the Swiss watch-making route, is not what I believe Formula One should be."
It is apparent Brawn backs a cap, and although not pointedly saying as such, he feels the figure of £40million is too low.
The question now is how quickly the teams can meet with Mosley and discuss the situation given the death of his son, Alexander, earlier this week.
With the clock ticking towards the May 27 deadline by which the teams have to confirm their entry for next season, Brawn added: "There will be discussions over the next week or so.
"It's very unfortunate what has happened with Max. It was a terrible thing, so we all have to be sympathetic in that respect.
"But as soon as it is possible, we would like to meet with Max and try and find another way forward where teams can be united and consistent in their solution.
"For us there has to be some constraint on resources, not a constraint on the technical regulations."
Source : Planet F1