Not enough done on reducing costs – Kaltenborn
Teams have been working on ways to reduce costs through changes to existing regulations after plans for a budget cap that had been expected to come in at the start of next season fell through.
Measures like a reduction in in-season testing, restricting testing to Europe and a scaling back in wind-tunnel usage have been agreed by teams ahead of a deadline next week when changes to the rules will be ratified.
But Kaltenborn feels not enough has been done.
“Well, in my view we are clearly not there, where we should be and where we wanted to be, at least from our team’s perspective,” Kaltenborn told reporters at Austria’s Red Bull-ring circuit on Friday.
“I also don’t think we have achieved so far any measurable cost cutting.”
The sport’s governing FIA’s World Motor Sport Council, is scheduled to meet next week to finalise rules for the 2015 season.
The WMSC is the FIA’s top decision-making body but essentially rubber stamps changes to the rules agreed by the stakeholders of various motor-racing series and Kaltenborn questioned how binding the rule changes, despite having been given the nod by the body, are.
“For us the situation is a little unclear actually at the moment, at least in my understanding,” she said.
“If you mention the World Motor Sport Council there was a decision taken last year by the Council in which they endorsed cost-cutting as a target and they also agreed in principle to the cost cap and the FIA was mandated to implement that.
“Since then other decisions have been taken by other groups going in a different direction,” said Kaltenborn referring to teams in Formula One’s new Strategy Group, which leaves out the smaller outfits but includes the sport’s leading teams, voting against the budget cap.
Red Bull team-principal Christian Horner, however, said the measures agreed would save money and had unanimous agreement from all teams.
“We spent quite a while talking about things and so on and we’ve agreed a couple of things next year which will save money,” Horner said.
“But I think what’s important to say is that everything that was agreed in the Formula One Commission meeting earlier this week was agreed unanimously.
“That means every team was around the table and every team had the right to vote against it but everything that went through went through on a unanimous basis.
Ferrari’s new team boss Marco Mattiacci conceded more could have been done to bring down costs but said the sport should balance the need to lower budgets with efforts to appeal to a wider audience.
“I think we did some progress (on costs),” Mattiacci, who took over from Stefano Domenicali in April said. “Probably we could have achieved some more.
“But I keep stressing the point that according to me Formula One should focus at the same time on how to appeal to a broader audience, because I think there is a huge potential for this sport.
“So I guess even cost reduction has to be faced in a much more complex point of view, a large point of view: how to make this product more appealing, how to attract more sponsors.
“I guess yes we are working extremely hard to see where are the opportunities to reduce the cost. I would like to work even harder to see where we can increase the appeal to wider audience.”
Images courtesy Octane Photographic