Thought leadership series
Topic

Thought leadership series

Steiner: F1 mustn't row back on cost cut plans

Formula 1 must not row back on its recent drive to cut costs when the world's economic situation kicks back into gear, says Haas boss Gunther Steiner.

Speaking in the latest #thinkingforward series of interviews to discuss motor racing's management and leadership in these unprecedented times, Steiner said it is essential F1 stays committed to the positive action it has taken with moves to reduce spending.

He suggests that F1's stakeholders need to not forget the challenges everyone has faced in recent months, and so remain fully behind a new impetus to secure the long-term future of all teams on the grid.

"We came together and decided on a budget cap, a lower one and it is a good initiative," said Steiner. "We decided very quickly that we take the car forward from this year to next year… and the 2022 regulations should make the car cheaper.

"I think we learned already some [lessons from it]. Now, we need to make sure that we don't forget about and then, when the good times come, the first thing we do is, 'oh let's discuss about taking the budget cap up again, or take it away'.

"I don't think it will happen. But I will keep it in my mind that we shouldn't be doing it. And that is how we come out stronger."

Read Also:

One of the key lessons that Steiner says he has taken from the coronavirus lockdown is how teams and business have left themselves with too little margin in the good times.

"In the end what it shows to me is that as businesses, we are too much on the edge," he said. "Any little distraction takes us off the edge, you know, which isn't good.

"We don't have any reserve fuel in the tank, I would say. And I'm not referring just to money, I think on everything. You're just not thinking that there could be a bump on the road, you're just thinking it's smooth sailing all the way."

With F1 having introduced a 'New Deal' package of rules aimed at reducing costs and closing up the grid, Steiner is optimistic that, while the top three teams will still hold an advantage into the new rules era from 2022, that they will not be totally out of reach.

"We shouldn't expect in 2022 that everybody is equal, I think it will take a few years because the advantage the big teams have with their resources is pretty good…. And it's also knowledge they acquired over the last 20 years.

"So, I think they will still have an advantage. But in the end, I think, if you do a good job, just make a fast car, then it should get you there.

"I mean, it should take you there. Maybe not to win races but to have the chance to go on the podium, and a realistic chance: not just one that you need to be fortunate that at the right time at the right place, then you make it."

Although the impact of a reduced cost cap will not make any difference to Haas' own spending, Steiner thinks it will be a huge benefit to everyone in F1.

"The gap to the big teams is about $150-100 million for a small team," he said. "In the future it will be maybe $20m or $30m. Is that not a good step? I would say yes. We didn't equalize it yet. But it's a good step, the gap is reduced by five times, which I think is a big achievement."

Return to racing

With the F1 season due to resume in Austria on July 5, Steiner says that there is genuine enthusiasm from all teams to finally get going again.

And he thinks staff will be well-prepared for the intense schedule where there will be runs of three consecutive races.

"Everybody was eager to go back to work because for a racer, who really loves what he's doing, not to do anything for three months, for all our people, for all the people in F1, it wasn't a pleasure not knowing what is going to happen," he said.

"We didn't know if F1 comes back this year, if the team comes back this year, so at least going back now racing, it's good for them. And seeing light at the end of the tunnel, they would be motivated to keep it on. So I think they will be complaining a lot less than they would have complained a year ago.

"I think that is genuine because they realize it's not plain sailing there. There was no buffer. There was no emergency exit here, you know. We just need to do what we're doing, head down and work."

Related videos:

shares
comments
Ferrari set to bring engine, gearbox updates to Austria

Previous article

Ferrari set to bring engine, gearbox updates to Austria

Next article

Racing Life after F1: Martin Brundle

Racing Life after F1: Martin Brundle
Load comments
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Prime

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Prime

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed.

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat Prime

The unexpected benefit of F1's sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap-one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt Prime

The off-track considerations that led to Hamilton/Verstappen F1 shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming.

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021