Friday 15th May 2009
Never one to pass up on the chance to have a go at the FIA, Sir Jackie Stewart has slammed motorsport's governing body, saying they have "no business" telling the teams how much they can spend.
Formula One is set for arguably its most important day in its history today as the Formula One Teams Assocation takes on Max Mosley. On the one side of the table Mosley and his FIA are determined to press ahead with their budget cap even though it could result in a two-tier Championship, and on the other side the teams, including Ferrari, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, are threatening to leave the sport if Mosley gets his way.
Stewart, a three-times F1 World Champion, has now weighed in on the debate, saying its up to each individual team - and not the FIA - to decide how much money they want to spend.
"I agree that there should be a reduction in costs," Stewart told the Daily Express, "but the governing body of Formula One was set up to regulate the sport, not to tell free enterprise teams how to spend the money they earn.
"Compromises will have to be made. What has the FIA got to do with the economics of motorsport? These are private enterprise companies that are run to make profit by building cars. It is for the people who run the teams to decide what the cap is on spending annually.
"Everyone does what they can afford to do. For those who lead the teams, they will be the ones who decide if they will make big losses, and so go out of business.
"The FIA simply take money, they don't make money without the teams and yet they want to tell BMW, Ferrari, Renault, Toyota, Mercedes, these huge successful companies, how much they can afford in F1. Why should I be told how to spend by someone who is not investing in my business?
"The teams employ a lot of people and if they decide they cannot afford to keep these people then that is their prerogative. But it is one thing for a team to decide to make redundancies, it is another for the FIA to decide that they have to do so by insisting on budget cuts.
"I think we have all become extravagant, inside and outside F1, but we are all learning to make savings.
"It is one thing to want to attract new teams in, but you cannot bring them in promising that they will be able to beat teams like Ferrari who have spent a lifetime becoming what they are. No one has a right to survive in F1, they all know that. If teams pull out, they are replaced. Don't forget teams like Vanwall, BRM, Tyrrell, Lotus and Brabham.
"Great names who have all gone, but the sport continues. That is what happens and we don't need the FIA artificially trying to prevent that. And let's not forget that then the FIA have to police a budget cap and that opens up a whole grey area of how money is spent on different parts and areas of the team."
Stewart also added that it's rather ironic that while the FIA are preaching cost-cutting to the teams they are themselves increasing fees for the drivers and proposing to up the teams' entry fee.
"The FIA will have to have a lot of people going around, and why should private companies open their books to them? These companies know they are in a tough economic world now, they are making cuts but I don't see the FIA cutting costs. They are raising drivers' licence fees and threatening to raise entry fees. Have the FIA grounded their private jet?"
Source : Planet F1