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Author Topic: Would new proper lower budget OEM 'B' teams help fill F1 grid?  (Read 870 times)

Offline John S

A thought struck me last night that with the rumoured budget cap coming into force there will be a need to cut workforces in the top teams, whilst there is clearly too few cars on the F1 grid these days.

How about letting the big boys fund new 'B' teams (not current teams already on the grid) which could be limited to a lower budget cap of say 50% - or even less - of the main entry cap?

This could have the effect of adding to the grid numbers, offering younger drivers a step up to F1 and soaking up the pool of personnel laid off due to the original cap.

Sure this is bound to p*ss off the so called mid field teams, but they'll just have to up their game to stay ahead of these young and hungry 'B' teams.

Yeah I know there is an argument against having 2 or 3 tiers in F1, however haven't we really had two tier racing for years. I'm not suggesting different points for the 'B' teams, but they could introduce a rookie drivers championship prize of some sort

I reckon it could add a whole lot to the excitement at races with a larger grid, and more importantly make sure the F1 budget cap doesn't put a lot of good people out of work. 



Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline Scott

If it really happens (the budget cap) without most or all of the manufacturers leaving, then I think it would be a great idea.  The more, the merrier, imo.  It would solve a lot of problems.  The other way would be to allow the top teams to simply field 3 or 4 cars each, allowing them to proportionately increase their budgets while keeping their engineers under one roof.
The Honey Badger doesn't give a...

Offline Jericoke

My suggestion is to allow 'new' teams to use customer parts for 3 years.  They can use those three years to develop the understanding of how to run a team and compete in F1 without the added complication of having to know how to build an F1 car.

After three years, they have to start designing their own cars, so the grid isn't just full of customer cars.

It also provides customers to offset the costs of chassis development for the experienced teams.

Three years seems like a fair amount of time to get an F1 team running at full steam.  Even if teams fold after three years rather than making their own chassis, they've still provided an opportunity for people to join F1 who have the experience to move to established teams, or be experts for the next 'new' team that joins.

Offline John S

I can see your idea has some merit Jeri, however I see no queue of investors ready to put up the money to open new teams. After the resulting problems and poor results that the previous batch of new teams experienced I'm not sure there's any interest out there.
I'd suggest that there is very little guarantee that new teams will either want or be attractive to workers laid off from other teams, a lot of staff may simply take the money and go for other employment having been dumped by F1.

The beauty of the big boys being involved is to offset the large sums in severance pay they will need to pay out when they shed staff by using it to part fund the 'B' teams.
Rather than hand this money direct to staff they simply transfer staff to their subsidiary operation allowing the money to be a good part of the start up costs of the new 'B' teams.
The regs could also allow them to use tubs from previous seasons to get them started for the first couple of years. They wouldn't be allowed the whole previous car though.
Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline Alianora La Canta

A thought struck me last night that with the rumoured budget cap coming into force there will be a need to cut workforces in the top teams, whilst there is clearly too few cars on the F1 grid these days.

How about letting the big boys fund new 'B' teams (not current teams already on the grid) which could be limited to a lower budget cap of say 50% - or even less - of the main entry cap?

Because 50% of the budget cap manages to be both too high for B-teams to afford entry and too low to complete the series with a car capable of 107% (there's more to it than buying last year's chassis, as Haas demonstrates).
Percussus resurgio
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Offline John S

A thought struck me last night that with the rumoured budget cap coming into force there will be a need to cut workforces in the top teams, whilst there is clearly too few cars on the F1 grid these days.

How about letting the big boys fund new 'B' teams (not current teams already on the grid) which could be limited to a lower budget cap of say 50% - or even less - of the main entry cap?

Because 50% of the budget cap manages to be both too high for B-teams to afford entry and too low to complete the series with a car capable of 107% (there's more to it than buying last year's chassis, as Haas demonstrates).

OK Alia if the figure is wrong that can be adjusted, all I'm suggesting is a handicap for the 'B' team to be run mainly for development of young drivers and engineers. Because they could share some facilities like CFD & Wind tunnels, and also use most of the rear end of the main teams car, Engine, Drivetrain, Gearbox; these small budget teams should be on the pace of the final quarter of the grid.

How else do you suggest they prevent big job losses amongst the top teams and get more cars on the grid?
Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline Dare

Why not allow single carrace teams. There' plenty
of billionaires in the world that may back one car like
Hesketh and Walker did in the good ol days
"The
democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those
who are
willing to work and give to those who would not."
--
Thomas
Jefferson

Offline rmassart


OK Alia if the figure is wrong that can be adjusted, all I'm suggesting is a handicap for the 'B' team to be run mainly for development of young drivers and engineers. Because they could share some facilities like CFD & Wind tunnels, and also use most of the rear end of the main teams car, Engine, Drivetrain, Gearbox; these small budget teams should be on the pace of the final quarter of the grid.

How else do you suggest they prevent big job losses amongst the top teams and get more cars on the grid?

Ultimately this idea could lead to manufacturers simply becoming to suppliers to the race teams. If the sport legislated the price of an F1 car (including all parts, engine etc) then the manufacturers might cut costs because they would not recuperate them.  I think breaking the direct link between manufacturers and race teams might be a good thing. Although I am sure brighter minds than mine can think of 100 reasons why it would  not work!

Offline monty

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As always we (the enthusiasts) have lots of ideas to try to make F1 better. The problem is that the teams are all businesses and want different things for different reasons. I actually feel the biggest problem is that F1 just isn't attracting enough outside investment. With pay-to-view TV coverage limiting the total TV audience, there are not enough advertisers interested in getting behind teams. Arguably, if F1 was attractive enough, there could be 3, 4 or even 5 teams on the grid owned just by energy drinks companies. Monster must spend as much as Red Bull in motor sports advertising but they do not see F1 as being important enough to concentrate the spend. F1 is probably still the pinnacle of motor sport technically but its marketing dominance is falling behind other series. I do not know the Global figures but I understand that in the UK, British Touring Cars coverage on terrestrial ITV4 now has a significantly larger audience than Sky F1 coverage. 

Offline rmassart

I do not know the Global figures but I understand that in the UK, British Touring Cars coverage on terrestrial ITV4 now has a significantly larger audience than Sky F1 coverage.

Viewing figures aren't necessarily everything in F1. I don't believe sponsors put their logos on the cars so that we see them during the race.  They do it so we see them at all other times.  Further, how many people know who the current BTC champion is. Or any other current motorsport world champion. Or could name three active racers in any other motor racing format.  The thing about F1 is that even people who would never watch a race (on TV or in person) will have heard some names and seen highlights about the sport. There few other sports which can honestly say this. Football (soccer for those in the US) being the obvious other one.

Offline monty

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Quote
Further, how many people know who the current BTC champion is.

Literally hundreds of thousands of people know that Colin Turkington is BTCC champion and that he drives a BMW and that his main personal sponsor is SAP. All of this due to TV coverage. Of course this is 'local' to the UK but sponsors only utilise their massive marketing spend where they will get maximum exposure to the most relevant demographics. For household brands this means TV coverage to the masses.

Offline Alianora La Canta

A thought struck me last night that with the rumoured budget cap coming into force there will be a need to cut workforces in the top teams, whilst there is clearly too few cars on the F1 grid these days.

How about letting the big boys fund new 'B' teams (not current teams already on the grid) which could be limited to a lower budget cap of say 50% - or even less - of the main entry cap?

Because 50% of the budget cap manages to be both too high for B-teams to afford entry and too low to complete the series with a car capable of 107% (there's more to it than buying last year's chassis, as Haas demonstrates).

OK Alia if the figure is wrong that can be adjusted, all I'm suggesting is a handicap for the 'B' team to be run mainly for development of young drivers and engineers. Because they could share some facilities like CFD & Wind tunnels, and also use most of the rear end of the main teams car, Engine, Drivetrain, Gearbox; these small budget teams should be on the pace of the final quarter of the grid.

How else do you suggest they prevent big job losses amongst the top teams and get more cars on the grid?


Sorry, but that wouldn't be mathematically possible, given the way the current economic situation:

1) We established last year that $100 m is not enough to run a F1 team now. If the budget cap works, it brings that limit closer to that gap - and it's $175 m on the current proposal (which won't change as it got set in stone last week). If it doesn't work, the figure will rise even higher because hidden "cheat" funds (structurally available to all except Williams) will become a prerequisite for keeping up with the true price of being on the grid. The fact that the non-fixed costs (not the biggest element of F1 budgets) will change by $1 m every time a race joins or exits the calendar shows how expensive F1 inherently is.

2) WEC can't get privateer entries on a budget cap of $20 m because teams don't have that sort of budget nowadays (hint: Formula E is considerably less than this). Even if one argues that there is more value in F1 than WEC, you're not likely to get takers far above this because the economy isn't carrying that for those companies with motorsport team interest.

If you can find a number that is less than $40 m and more than $100 m, please let me know.

The moment a budget cap is instituted that doesn't exclude the bulk of payroll, given how much payroll factors into the F1 budget equation, big layoffs are inevitable. Even if new teams are found, they won't need as much staff as large teams because they've got enough trouble integrating a team together (this gets much more difficult above 150-200 people, and recruiting from the original team's pool doesn't get round the issue) and are far less likely to be able to hit the budget cap than the team that's already overspending it. Even if the big team literally hands over the money, the wise team won't spend as much on staff as the big team is, because it won't know where to spend it.

There's also the matter that people's skills are not generally fungible; even if staff numbers were maintained, a lot of them would have to be different people because of the degree of specialisation needed to become good enough to be employed by a F1 team. There'll still be long queues at the JobCentre (or at least, the Autosport job advert pages), it's just that there'll be lots of new faces in the series as well.

Single-car teams are cheaper - but with half the exposure, which means half the sponsorship. Unless F1's situation improves to the point where TV payouts allow most of a new team's budget to come from TV revenue (think $80 m-$90 m in the current scenario and considerably more under the proposed budget cap), single-car teams are a tool awaiting other tools to be used in combination.

Legally, manufacturers already are (generally) suppliers to the race teams, and invariably there are other quirks involved in every team's financial construction. That's part of the reason the budget cap isn't enforceable. If any loophole exists to get round a ban on manufacturers, it will be used. A good example is Ferrari in sportscars. It has a policy of non-competition with its client racing teams. Try telling that to AF Corse, who not only get very close assistance from the Corse Clienti organisation within Ferrari... ...but sometimes gets interfered with. On one occasion in 2013, it is believed to have received an instruction from Ferrari to split the #51 AF Corse driver crew to maximise their title chances. Nobody at AF Corse, including the team boss was happy about this but they didn't feel like they could argue with this and retain their link, so they controversially broke one of the strongest driver pairings in GTE on command. (And there is half of the tale of why Giancarlo Fisichella technically still isn't a world champion). You can take the race team out of the manufacturer, but if the will exists, you can never take the manufacturer out of the race team.

More people in the UK know who the BTCC champion's primary sponsor is than the current F1 champion's primary sponsor. Outside the UK, that wouldn't be the case no matter what BTCC's strategy was (nationality is powerful), but for the same reason, if the F1 champion was ever not British, the sponsor power of F1 in the UK would be even weaker.

This is not helped by F1's recent trend of putting series sponsors front and centre - it wouldn't be the first time I've heard someone assume Lewis Hamilton is primarily sponsored by Rolex (and not by someone commenting on his win record). Apart from this week and last week (thank you, extensive and free Le Mans coverage on Quest), I'm not sure most people in the UK could name - or would care to name - another motorsports champion, because motorsport as a whole (including F1) has become niche here. This is sad, because a decade ago, F1 was very much mainstream, and there'd probably be as many people who could name most of the grid as can now name 2 active F1 drivers.

They couldn't name 3 active F1 drivers. The quiz show "Pointless" is a good barometer of this, because the series quite likes F1, and rarely goes a season without asking a few questions about it - and points are issued according to how many people know a particular right answer (the fewer, the better for the contestants and the worse, presumably, for the sponsors). People in 2009 (the year it started) and 2019 (which was recorded at the start of 2017) alike can name Hamilton and Vettel, and they scored similarly in both time periods (between 30 and 50 people out of the 100 can name them). Other well-known drivers in the 2009 period scored similarly (Schumacher, in his second stint at Mercedes, scored 50, but the likes of Alonso, Massa and Button) Mid-tier drivers tended to score between 5 and 20 depending on how their season was going, and backmarkers scored between 0 and 5. (Rollin' Strollin' drivers have typically been a good way of scoring low on F1 questions where such a driver is a valid answer).

Nowadays, Vettel and Hamilton still score 30-50 points (to give a comparison of fame levels, Theresa May, while Prime Minister at the time of recording a question about Members of the House of Commons, scored 1 less than Hamilton did in the same fortnight). However, other F1 drivers don't do so well any more. The transition occurred between 2013 and 2014. Since that time, people would waver at Raikkonen as they're not sure he's active, and he scored around 10-15. Due to the 2009-2011 intake mostly exiting F1 between then and now, and Grosjean and Riccardo not having enough "fame power" to be well-known here without the reminders free TV gives, people plain don't know/recall any active drivers who started after 2008. These drivers score single figures. Drivers who started after the pay/free TV split of 2012 do even less well, and hardly ever exceed a score of 5 (out of 100). Even Verstappen doesn't stick in people's minds here unless they are in the motorsports-supporting niche (I can't apply the Pointless test to Leclerc until next series, which starts soon, but I doubt he'd perform any better).

Asking them to name 3 active members of any other series would be asking a bit much, and Pointless generally doesn't try (though quite a few could do that with BTCC, as that's the "cool" niche, and some can with Formula E and, for the next couple of weeks, Le Mans). They just ask why "Rolex" doesn't put its money into [insert favourite football team here] instead.

Brand recognition matters when it comes to deciding whether particular series are worth a price, and F1's reducing brand recognition means something when companies decide how much to pay teams to be associated with them.
Percussus resurgio
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Offline Jericoke

A thought struck me last night that with the rumoured budget cap coming into force there will be a need to cut workforces in the top teams, whilst there is clearly too few cars on the F1 grid these days.

How about letting the big boys fund new 'B' teams (not current teams already on the grid) which could be limited to a lower budget cap of say 50% - or even less - of the main entry cap?

Because 50% of the budget cap manages to be both too high for B-teams to afford entry and too low to complete the series with a car capable of 107% (there's more to it than buying last year's chassis, as Haas demonstrates).

OK Alia if the figure is wrong that can be adjusted, all I'm suggesting is a handicap for the 'B' team to be run mainly for development of young drivers and engineers. Because they could share some facilities like CFD & Wind tunnels, and also use most of the rear end of the main teams car, Engine, Drivetrain, Gearbox; these small budget teams should be on the pace of the final quarter of the grid.

How else do you suggest they prevent big job losses amongst the top teams and get more cars on the grid?

Brand recognition matters when it comes to deciding whether particular series are worth a price, and F1's reducing brand recognition means something when companies decide how much to pay teams to be associated with them.

Keeping in mind that For the last two decades F1 has been working at expanding it's presence OUTSIDE the UK.  Thanks to Bernie's efforts to grow the fan base, there have been plenty of races in 'non traditional' countries.  Look at the recent F1 team ownership:  investment from Russia, India, Indonesia, USA, Canada.  Races across Asia and more in North America.

Maybe fewer Brits know Lewis Hamilton, but I'd bet more people world wide know him than knew Senna when he was alive.

Eventually they'll have to shore up their 'traditional' support, but it's tough to say when the best time to do that is.

Offline John S

So all we've got to look forward to for 2021 if Alia is right is lots of job losses amongst the teams without a single new entrant coming onto the grid. - Oh and dwindling interest from the public and the commercial world at large.

Golly.... Liberty and the FIA sure know how to bake flat cakes. 
Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline Alianora La Canta

I only have that level of engagement factor for the UK, having not seen how Pointless's international series approach the topic of F1, or how much other specific countries consume other series (in the latter case, what I do have is total global figures). However, the fact the total audience is just over half what it was in 2008 doesn't fill me with much hope about the UK's loss of awareness concerning F1, and WTCC having higher viewing figures than F1 (more due to F1's losses than WTCC's gains) doesn't help either.

Senna raced when the worldwide audience was similar to the worldwide audience now (after the first phase of growth in the early 1980s, the second big phase of growth was during the mid-to-late 1990s. Schumacher is probably better-known in his era than any other F1-on-TV-era F1 driver was in theirs. He was probably is in a similar boat to where Hamilton is now in terms of awareness.
Percussus resurgio
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