McLaren: cost cap reduction ‘a crucially important moment’

McLaren has praised the decision to reduce F1’s cost cap

McLaren boss Zak Brown has lauded the World Motor Sport Council’s approval of a reduced cost cap in Formula 1 by calling it ‘a crucially important moment’.

Overnight the WMSC voted in favour of a number of sporting, technical, and financial regulation changes.

The most significant was the lowering of the cost cap set to be introduced into F1 next year.

Originally set at USD 175 million, teams agreed to reduce that figure to USD 140 million with a glide path down to USD 130 million in coming seasons.

That was duly ratified by the WMSC as part of its e-vote, enshrining the decision into the 2021 financial regulations.

“Formula 1 wins today,” Brown said in reaction to the decision.

“This is a crucially important moment for our sport.

“F1 has been financially unsustainable for some time, and inaction would have risked the future of F1 and its participants, who are to be commended for resolving this issue collectively and determinedly.

“A uniform budget cap, in concert with more even distribution of revenue among the teams, will ensure greater competition and more people wanting to watch live and on TV, driving more sustained revenues to underpin the long-term financial health of the teams and the sport.

“Ultimately the fans win, and if the fans win, the whole sport wins too.”

Brown has been vocal in his support of a reduced cost cap, the WMSC decision coming shortly after it was announced McLaren Group will shed 1200 workers.

It’s understood as many as 70 of those could come from its Formula 1 team.

Like Brown, McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl has applauded the changes.

“These are very tough times for everyone,” he said.

“There have been months of hard work under difficult circumstances but it’s great to see how, under the leadership of the FIA and F1, all teams pulled together to define the right actions to navigate through this crisis and work towards the future for a sustainable sport, that will enable all the teams to take part on a level playing field.

“It has been clear to everyone for some time that a budget cap would be applied and we pushed for a lower limit to support a financially sustainable sport.

“It is a big challenge ahead of us. Adjusting the way we work and right-sizing the team to this new cap over the next months is a massive and painful task and, highlighted by our news earlier this week, will sadly mean losing team members, but our aim is to be the best-sized and most efficient team in the future.

“The cooperation and understanding of our team members have been great and with shutdown coming to an end from Wednesday onwards, it is important the team had clarity on the various regulations, which will now allow us to start work again on our cars and understand the implications of the regulations for the future.”

Aside from the financial aspects of the changes approved by the WMSC were a number of technical changes.

That included freezing a number of components between 2020 and 2021.

However, Seidl believes there remain enough freedoms for Formula 1 to retain its essence.

“While McLaren supports the cost-saving measures in general, we are pleased with the compromise to provide teams with enough aero freedom to retain the competitive element that is core to Formula 1 throughout 2020 and 2021, until the new technical regulations kick in for 2022,” he said.

“We are now fully focused on preparing, together with Carlos and Lando, for an intense second half of the year with hopefully as many races as possible.”

The 2020 Formula 1 season is set to kick off on July 3-5 with the Austrian Grand Prix, with a second event at the Red Bull Ring expected to following a week later.

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