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F1: Button, Bahrain And Budget Caps

by on April 2, 2012

 

Button:

Jenson Button has been in the news quite a bit lately.  He stood on the top step of the podium after capturing victory in the first GP of the year in Australia.  He quietly tried to stay out of the headlines (somewhat unsuccessfully) after the Malaysian monsoon disaster where he finished in 14th and out of the points. More recently, he was linked to a story/rumour that he was being courted by Ferrari to replace Felipe Massa last season (although I haven’t seen any hard evidence of that).  Truly newsworthy however is the former F1 champion’s latest accomplishment.  Jenson Button competed in the Lavaman Triathlon in Hawaii and won his age group while finishing sixth overall. I would like to take this opportunity to Congratulate Button and thank Jense’s girl Jessica Michibata for notifying me of the results yesterday.

Bahrain:

This is a subject, you may have noticed, I have tried to keep my distance from.  It is politically charged with human rights undertones and civil unrest headlines.  F1 is set to venture to Bahrain for a Formula One GP which is to be held on April 22nd.  Last year’s GP was cancelled due to the civil unrest and at least 34 lives that were claimed during the violent protests. Here we are, weeks away from the race whom all (FIA, Bernie F1 teams etc…)  have said is safe to move forward with and news erupts of further protests.  Aljazeera.com reports of protesters calling for the cancellation of the grand prix being tear-gassed and arrested by Police.  As tensions escalate, there seems to be no move from Ecclestone indicating that there is any intention of cancelling the GP.  On a personal note, I hope and pray for the safety of all involved in the GP if it is to go through.  Money should take a back seat to people’s well-being, a race in Bahrain is not worth the life or safety of any one person or group.

Budget Caps:

Cut costs, reduce testing, ban full scale wind tunnels, implement budget caps in F1… Anyone getting tired of the ranting?  Seriously, teams save two quid on testing and spend three on mobile hospitality suites.  This sounds a lot like the story of a child who cried wolf. 

Do I believe that F1 needs some sort of method to restrict spending? Sure!  

Do I believe any team will actually abide by such a rule? No chance!

Why? Because there are ways around it.  F1 engineers will find a way to split a hair, their accountants will find a way to hide it in the books and their lawyers will find a way to defend it if every brought to light. 

So apparently, the talk of budget caps is back on the table, smaller teams such as Sauber (perhaps Williams and others) would be in favour of it, while bigger teams are dead against it. 

There are too many factors to consider, but here are a few: Does limiting testing really save teams any money? Not if you consider that they have to develop parts that they can’t test before a race weekend.  Does the F1 schedule make sense in terms of cost redution? Let’s consider where they race and when, the distances and logistics etc…

Limiting engines and gearboxes is somewhat irrelevant; it’s not the cost of producing these units that is costly as much as the research and development that goes into designing them.  Perhaps keeping the rules the same for a while might help teams. How about better defining the rules so that they cannot be misinterpreted (F-Duct/W-Duct, Re-active suspension…)

Let me clarify, I am not against a budget cap in F1, I simply don’t believe anyone will abide by it…thereby making the suggestion and its implementation irrelevant.

Author: Ernie Black

TWITTER: @Goggs_on_F1

Blog: https://thef1poet.wordpress.com

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