Renault explains why it would back F1 budget cap

Renault would back the implementation of a Formula One budget cap and say it has been “sensibly” building its team until a decision is made on the issue.

A budget cap is one of the political issues facing F1 owners Liberty Media in its sophomore season. F1 CEO Chase Carey last year said teams are in “broad agreement” on the issue, with a seasonal figure of £150 million per team believed to be the original proposal.

F1’s smaller teams have traditionally been the strongest advocates of such a measure but Renault’s chief technical officer Bob Bell thinks it is essential for the series to reduce the disparity in budgets across the grid.

“Renault is in favour of a reduction in the amount of money it costs to go Formula One racing and be successful,” Bell said. “At the minute the disparity in cost between the teams, income and expenditure, is huge. It shouldn’t cost as much as it does to be successful in Formula One.

“We need to find ways to pull costs down and level the playing field. We’re absolutely behind any initiative like that, if that’s a cost cap then we’ll be up for that. If it’s a revision to the rules to make it cost less we’d be up for that as well. I can’t imagine there’s anyone out there who voluntarily would want to sign up to spending more money.”

He added: “Realistically Formula One needs to get itself to a point where any team on the grid can sustain its financial situation, that it can survive and not keep losing money. You take a team like Force India, they’ve been kept alive in recent years by Vijay putting in money.

“Manor for example only survived because the owner was putting money into it. It needs to be at a place where all the teams on the grid can be self-sufficient with the income they are able to generate. That’s where it needs to be.”

Renault only returned to the grid as a factory team in 2016 and has been slowly rebuilding its F1 operation since. Bell explains why a budget cap decision would drastically change the scale of growth needed for Renault to contend with the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

“Our team is being managed for the very top in a very sensible way. I suppose one way to look at it is to say we were sixth in the championship last year, we need to get ourselves into a position where we can comfortably maintain fourth place in the championship. If you look at a team like Force India, they’ve been able to achieve that, so we ought to be able to do that same job with roughly similar resources. That’s clear.

“I think until we can do that and demonstrate to Renault in particular that we’re capable of achieving that then they are not going to start writing cheques for a lot more people and resources. We have to prove ourselves at every step of the way. Once we’ve done that, then we can start having a discussion about what’s it going to take to move into the top three and take on Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, because they are another league again in terms of resources.

“But we are prepared for that, Renault are prepared for that and so we will expand to a point where we believe is sensible to be able to consistently fight just outside the top three and be there. Then that’s another step to take and another discussion on resources. The beauty of that if the world of Formula One changes and there are cost caps and suddenly everything downsizes, it will come to us, it’s not that we’ll have to come back down again, hopefully, so we are trying to judge that sensibly.”

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