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McLaren boss accuses F1 teams of "holding the sport hostage"

McLaren boss accuses F1 teams of "holding the sport hostage"

F1 News

McLaren boss accuses F1 teams of "holding the sport hostage"

McLaren boss accuses F1 teams of "holding the sport hostage"

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has suggested F1 is being 'held hostage' by a number of 'chequebook racing teams' who have failed to come to terms with the budget cap.

Last season, in a bid to prevent spending from spiralling out of control as teams like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull engaged in an arms race, F1 introduced a cost cap to at least help their rivals try and compete on a more level playing field.

A limit was set at $145million, dropping to $140m for this year and $135m from next year, yet Brown has claimed lobbying is going on behind the scenes to increase the limit, with sprint races being used as the excuse.

The sprint was trialled at three grands prix weekends last season, and although there were mixed reviews, six races will feature the one-third-distance event this year.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto and Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner both suggested last year the budget cap should be raised to accommodate the prospect of damage sustained, in particular, as well as general overall racing costs.

Yet a defiant Brown, via a column on McLaren's website, said: "We must continue to drive economic sustainability across the sport.

"Some teams still look for excuses to raise the cost cap and win world championships with chequebooks.

"The ongoing lobbying by certain teams to increase the cost cap for sprint race damage is a continuing example.

"The Saturday sprint race initiative by Formula 1 has added new viewers and raised the profile of the sport to expand its global fanbase.

"However, these teams continue to demand a raise to the cost cap by an inordinate amount of money, despite the clear evidence that little damage was incurred during these races last year, in a thinly veiled attempt to protect their competitive advantage from being eroded.

"The current governance structure of the sport enables a situation where some teams, to protect their own competitive advantage, are effectively holding the sport hostage from what’s best for the fans and therefore the sport at large.

"These teams seem unable to accept that a budget cap is in the best interests of the sport and cannot kick their habit of spending their way to the front."

Highlighting the benefit to McLaren of the cost cap, Brown added: "The combination of our talent and know how with investments from our shareholders, partners and robust financial stewardship has positioned us well for the next stage in our competitive journey.

"And our opportunity to be competitive has been underpinned with the introduction of the budget cap in F1.

"With the spending limit reducing to $140m this year and $135m next, the new financial regulations present us – and the sport as a whole – with a fairer framework to compete by reducing the inevitable advantage of the biggest-spending and best-resourced teams."

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