Haas team principal Gunther Steiner believes the reduced Formula 1 budget cap from 2021 will make involvement in the series a “clear cut” decision for interested manufacturers.
The World Motor Sport Council is set to ratify a radical set of rule changes for F1 this week after teams agreed to new measures to help safeguard the future of the sport following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The budget cap for 2021 has been reduced from $175 million to $145 million, while new rules on aerodynamic development handicaps and usage of open-source parts are also set to come into force.
These changes are aimed at keeping all 10 teams on the grid for 2021 and beyond, with FIA president Jean Todt pushing to try to secure a “new deal” that will help make F1 more sustainable in the future.
Haas was the last new team to join the F1 grid in 2016, while the grid has featured the same four manufacturers – Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Honda – for the last five years, with little sign of fresh interest.
But Steiner believes the potential for F1 teams to offer break-even business models in the future could help stimulate more interest from manufacturers to join the grid.
“It’s a lot more interesting now. We need to push more that we can make this a break-even business at least going forward,” Steiner said on Sky Sports F1.
“That’s one of my jobs to do for Mr. Haas, trying to get this to a point where his investments are smaller.
“For teams coming in, when a budget cap is discussed, there are always some people out there which think they can make money with it. It’s still a very expensive sport. You still need to invest a lot of money to get somewhere.
“I think what the good thing is for the manufacturers, if a board of directors see there is a cap, they know how much they’re going to spend as a maximum.
“You [don’t] start with one number and after five years this number has tripled or quadrupled from what you said a few years before.
“Now there is a stake in the ground saying this is the maximum you are allowed to spend by regulation. It’s pretty clear cut now. Whereas before, it was always how much is a piece of string, how much do you want to invest.
“I think it’s a good thing, and hopefully gets corporates or car manufacturers to invest in Formula 1.”
Talks over reducing the budget cap for 2021 accelerated in recent weeks as the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic became clearer.
The leading F1 teams were initially uneasy about plans to reduce the budget cap by such a large amount, but ultimately agreed to the idea.
Steiner said it was crucial for all teams to be united in the plans to protect F1’s future.
“I think some of the small teams would have gone [without a budget cap], and that wouldn’t have helped the big teams as well,” Steiner said.
“I think it’s a fair compromise. They realised that, and made some cuttings as far as they could go, and the compromise came out.
“I think for sure that they are aware that without the smaller teams, there is no sport.”
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