- Resource Restriction Agreement
Teams struggling to agree on spending restrictions
Formula One teams are still struggling to agree on a fair and effective way of restricting spending and have taken the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) out of the Formula One Teams Association's (FOTA) remit in order to remain united.
For some time the teams have been at odds over the RRA with suspicions that certain teams have been interpreting it differently to others in order to gain an advantage. Due to its success Red Bull has often been held to account over its spending although the other teams have not accused it outright of flaunting the RRA.
The danger is that the RRA splits FOTA at a time when the teams need to be united in order to negotiate better terms with Formula One's rights holders over the division of the sport's revenues. The team principals met on Friday morning in Brazil to discuss the RRA and Red Bull boss Christian Horner revealed they had made some headway, but were still short of an agreement.
"We met this morning and it has been decided that the RRA has effectively been taken out of FOTA for the time being, to try and achieve a solution," he said on Friday. "I think it's important to try… I think an RRA is important for Formula One and I think all the teams are unanimous on that.
"I think the thing that isn't quite clear is how to achieve it in a way that fits everybody's business models, that some of the teams are different, and I think the key thing for us is that the treatment and transparency of it is consistent and obvious and probably needs to go beyond the chassis and incorporate the engine as well. You can't cherry-pick, you need to look at the package as a whole."
According to reports in Autosport and Auto Motor und Sport, one definite outcome of the Friday meeting was the scheduling of another, with only the big four teams - Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes - to be involved. One proposal on the table is the transformation of the current agreement from a voluntary one to an actual regulation, punishable in sporting terms.
"Hopefully, in discussions prior to the end of the year a solution can be found," Horner added. "I think that inevitably we [Red Bull] come more under the spotlight because, as I said earlier, perhaps if we hadn't had as much success this year then it would be less pertinent but that's the way of the world, but from a Red Bull point of view we're keen to find a solution and we're hopeful that one can be found between now and the end of 2011."
Spending on engines is set to increase significantly as the manufacturers continue to develop entirely new units for 2014. Work on the new 1.6-litre, turbocharged V6s has already started, but Renault Sport F1 managing director Jean Francois Caubet said the engine manufacturers are open to some sort of restriction on spending.
"Yes, it will be totally different but we are working hard with Mercedes because we share the same philosophy and we want to avoid the same situation we had three or four years ago [when each would attempt to outspend the other]. I think in the cost of engines, you have fixed and variable costs. All the people are selling the engines on the variable costs, so if you control the fixed costs it will be easier. We agree with Mercedes to share the same philosophy with Ferrari. It is a little bit late because all the investment for the 2014 engine has started, but the problem will be after 2013, probably, to accept the RRA."