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GP Week : Issue 159
Cost-cutting is back on the Formula One agenda in a big way, and it’s not just about the engines. The European Grand Prix took place against the backdrop of a country suffering an extreme financial crisis with unemployment rates of 24 percent, and the climate meant that F1’s response to the West’s financial collapse was high on the agenda. Speaking to the media over the weekend, a number of senior team personnel explained the second-wave impact that the financial crisis was having on Formula One, the first wave having been the manufacturer exodus in late 2009. “The economic crisis is not just this year,” said Caterham’s Riad Asmat. “It’s been around for the last few years. But the fact is that it affects everyone around the world and business-wise obviously Formula One. As a team commercially you will be affected because the companies that want to be part of it will have to reduce their marketing budgets, so on and so forth.” HRT team principal Luis Perez-Sala has been fighting to find sponsorship in a cash-strapped Spain: “Of course it’s touching us in some way,” he said. “We are getting less money from sponsors; you have less money to spend on the cars, on the team. ... We have economic problems in my house – in my team! I think it is for everybody, economic problems, I think not only in Europe. Europe now is focussing on the situation but it’s something that we have and of course it’s going to touch us in some way.” But Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost took a more global perspective: “For sure it’s not good,” he said; “the economic crisis in Europe and we are also working in Formula One to come down with the costs. But thanks to Bernie we are not only racing in Europe, we are racing in areas where there is some money and no economic crisis: like India, like Australia, like Canada, like Brazil and like Saudi Arabia, with Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. “We go to Russia, we are in China and I think that’s very, very important for Formula One, especially for the sponsors to be present all over the world,” Tost continued. “And this also prevents a major influence from the economic side on Formula One. Because all over the world, hopefully there is no crisis.” Despite Tost’s confidence that F1’s global reach could yet be its saviour, all agreed that the current financial climate made some form of cost-cutting an imperative. “We’ve had numerous meetings on this matter but one thing is for sure is that everyone agrees that we need to reduce costs,” Asmat confirmed. “I’ve been in this for two and a half years and I can see the level of exorbitant areas that could be managed better. The points are taken, we have discussed it. There are some ideas bandied around. The groups that are related to those areas will be talking to each other and hopefully soon enough we do come to a conclusion, but we have a position, obviously, and we will support anything with regard to resource restriction, we will support that all the while. I think there has been some improvement over the last two years from previous times, but there is a lot more we can do, I think, going for ward.” One cost-cutting suggestion made this weekend was a possible ban on tyre warmers in an attempt to reduce freight costs. While Pirelli are confident that they could develop suitable tyres given enough time, banning tyre warmers seems an odd decision when teams still choose to freight the contents of their hospitality suites – right down to the bottled water – around the globe. COST-CUTTING TALK GATHERS PACE EDITOR: Adam Hay-Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org ASSISTANT EDITORS: Naoise Holohan, Kate Walker F1 ANALYST: Peter Windsor MOTOGP EDITOR: Michael Scott email@example.com RALLY EDITOR: Martin Holmes firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION ARTIST: Cedric Dufour PHOTOGRAPHY: Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton email@example.com: Mark Sutton, Patrik Lundin, Dirk Klynsmith, Emily Davenport PUBLISHER: Chris Lambden firstname.lastname@example.org PUBLISHED BY: Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom ADVERTISING: n Richard Partridge email@example.com Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 n Mark Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org n Gaye Grinsted (WRC/MotoGP) email@example.com Ph: +44 (0) 207 254 8796 Mob: +44 (0) 7921 283 070 n Adam Hay-Nicholls firstname.lastname@example.org n SE Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) email@example.com .com WEEK 4 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS