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.