Williams: $145 million budget cap a 'middle ground'
Claire Williams believes the introduction of a $145million budget cap for Formula 1 is an important step in ensuring "that our businesses are sustainable going into the future".
The lowering of the budget cap for 2021 from its originally planned $175m to $145m will help those towards the rear of the grid, but Williams acknowledged the sacrifice the big spenders have made to preserve the future of F1.
"As everyone knows, we’ve always been really supportive of the cost cap coming in and we’ve been talking about it for nearly a decade now, the need for Formula 1 to have a cost cap," Williams told the Sky Sports F1 Vodcast.
"It’s so important for teams like ours who are independent, who don’t have unlimited amounts of budget, and so we were delighted when the $175m budget came though, and then obviously with coronavirus, we’ve had to readdress that situation, and it’s going to be coming in at an even lower level, which is even better news for teams like ours.
"There is, on the flip side, the difficulties for the big teams with that. They’re operating on budgets that are so much greater than that, and I think the very fact that they’ve seen the reality and the gravity of this situation for everyone else on the grid and those of us that are running teams, it’s not going to be easy moving forward and they’ve had to come down even further.
"I have great sympathy for them, but I’m so pleased that they’ve seen the enormity of the situation and have reacted in a way that they’ve needed to.
"You’ve got the top three teams who are working with such a greater budget than that, and then you’ve got a group in the middle that are somewhere closer to the $175m, and then all of us down at the other end that can’t even meet a $145m budget.
While Mercedes and Ferrari are reported to spend in excess of $300m before considering driver contracts each season, teams like Haas, Racing Point, Alfa Romeo and Williams operate on just a fraction of this.
Even with the much-reduced cost cap, Williams has said they may still be unable to spend as freely as their rivals.
"We might not meet it straight away, but it just brings that ceiling down, and that will then create more competitive racing, better racing for the fans at the end of the day, and [will] give us the opportunity to ensure that our businesses are sustainable going into the future, and also be successful going into the future as well," added Williams.
"I think, in this day and age as well, there needs to be a kind of semblance of reality and responsibility with expenditure in Formula 1.
"Teams going out and spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, going out racing every year, is that really relevant anymore?
"And I think this sport has to ensure that it retains its relevancy in society and people aren’t just looking at us going, what are they doing, spending all of this money going racing around and around race tracks?
"That’s something that we need to tackle and through this situation, we’ve been able to do that as well as a by-product."
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