Formula 1

Franz Tost: ‘Nonsense’ to believe policing F1 cost cap would fail

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Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost says it is ‘nonsense’ to suggest a cost cap will not work in Formula 1 on the grounds it will be too hard to police.

F1 owner Liberty Media is working on a costs cap as part of its wide-ranging overhaul of the championship for 2021.

One of the arguments raised against the budget cap is that teams will find ways to get around the financial limits, particularly through the growing concern of “servant” teams.

But Tost believes the point is misguided, because the FIA has been able to properly regulate activities like CFD, testing and windtunnel work in the past, meaning it would be able to do the same with a cost cap.

“I have been fighting for years for a budget cap and it is coming now hopefully,” said Tost in an exclusive interview with Autosport. “I think it is doable.

“There were always arguments that you cannot control it, which is nonsense. You can control everything.

“The FIA, and FOM, whoever, just have to start [thinking] from the very beginning onwards about how to control it.

“If I decided, I would send to every team a person to control all the financial statements every week or every month. That’s it.

“Like now, for example, on the technical side you can control everything.

“We are not even allowed to test without passing crash tests and all this kind of stuff.

“So why you shouldn’t you be able to control [budgets]? This is nonsense, you can control everything if you want.”

Tost believes a cost cap is essential because the manufacturer competition has accelerated budgets beyond independent teams.

“When the teams were private teams we didn’t need it, because private teams never spend so much money,” he said.

“The reason why the costs in Formula 1 increased so dramatically, it’s because of the manufacturers.

“For a big manufacturer, $500 (£380) million is a lot of money, but not so much.

“Because you must not forget that Formula 1 is I think the best marketing tool you can have.

“But private teams, they simply didn’t have this money, and they couldn’t achieve this big amount.”

Tost fears that F1 could split into a two-tier category if action is not taken.

“There are three top teams, and the rest are in another league.

“Because if you look to the results, the cars behind the three top teams are 20-40 seconds behind, and the commercial rights holder must find the way, so that we have interesting races.

“Fortunately this year and also last year [Sebastian] Vettel is fighting against [Lewis] Hamilton for the championship because otherwise people would not watch Formula 1 any more, because it’s boring.

“We must be aware about this and what we have to achieve is that a minimum of three or four drivers, and five or six teams, are fighting for the championship, and the championship is decided in the last race and not a couple of races before.”

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