Midfield teams fear 2014's 'runaway costs'
Midfield teams have expressed genuine concerns about the cost of competing in next year's championship as Formula One prepares for the introduction of new engines and a return of in-season testing.
2014 will herald the introduction of new 1.6-litre turbocharged engines in Formula One as well as more advanced energy recover units ERS. The new powertrains will result in an overhaul in chassis design, which in turn requires more testing during the season, and midfield teams are bracing themselves for significant increases in costs.
"There is no cost-cutting in Formula One," Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost said. "Formula One is expensive, we all know that. Next year we will have an increase of - I don't know - 15, 20 million and that's reality."
Tost said he had genuine concerns about the escalating costs.
"As long as the cars are on the starting grid, as long as we are racing, this is the reality of Formula One, yeah? Nevertheless, we should think how we could come down with the costs but if I look at next year, what has been decided is we get a new power unit package, which is more expensive than the current one and we've brought back testing, which costs even more money. That means we are discussing different directions.
"The most efficient cost-cutting was from 2009, 2010 when we said 'OK, we don't do any more testing' and when the engines were frozen, no development on this side, that meant that engine costs came down and during the last years everything was quite stable. But next year, I'm worried about the costs because they are simply running away."
Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams also admitted to being worried and pointed the finger at the way prize money is distributed within the sport as one of the main issues.
"It's my job to get the money into the team so it always worries me when I'm looking at an escalation in costs," she said. "Whether it's sensible and whether it's sustainable, this is a sport that we race in and it's an expensive sport but we have to be mindful of the outside world as well.
"I think my biggest concern is the disparity between budgets of teams and I think that in order to have a level playing field in Formula One, in order to remain competitive in Formula One, there has to be some kind of control over costs so that we are actually operating on a fair and even platform in this sport, rather than having some teams racing with a £50 million budget compared to teams racing with a £250 million budget or £200 million budget and I think that that's one of the biggest issues we have facing us at the moment."
Marussia boss John Booth agreed: "It's a tough environment out there at the moment but I very much agree with Claire. If you have teams operating with a budget delta of maybe 200 million, what does it do for the sport? It doesn't make it any more attractive so I think there needs to be a way of keeping costs under control and a more equal distribution of revenue."