Malaysia GP proved exactly why a budget cap would make F1 much more exciting

Behind the big three teams there was a superb midfield battle in Sepang

2y ago

23.5K

If the future is to be bright then the future surely has to be ‘budget caps’ – and the Malaysian Grand Prix was a great example of how that could make Formula One more exciting.

One of Liberty’s aims for the future of F1 is to try and level the playing field and give more teams a chance of glory - and I’m right behind that plan. I always hope that somehow, we can have a situation where a modern-day Lord Hesketh could build a car, hire some talent and win a Grand Prix.

It’s why I love Indycar and NASCAR so much because the little team always has that chance of winning a race. Yes, the big budget teams still have an edge but tight regulations mean that edge is never too far away and a surprise result is always on the cards.

No, I don’t want F1 to have similar one-design regulations so the freedom to build your own car has to remain - and that means the only way of not letting big budgets buy an advantage is to cap that budget.

Behind Max Verstappen’s brilliant display out front all the entertainment was provided by a hectic midfield battle. Take away the big three teams and, with twenty laps to go, we had Sergio Perez heading for a win for Force India - a team renowned for punching above its weight - but behind him a battle royal was being fought out for ‘second place’ between nine cars covered by just over ten seconds that would rage on till the very end.

Stoffel Vandoorne was in superb form in Sepang (Pic: Sutton)

Stoffel Vandoorne was in superb form in Sepang (Pic: Sutton)

Stoffel Vandoorne was the star of the show having outpaced his more illustrious teammate in qualifying and was fending off a pair of Williams that were equally busy trying to beat each other. Then came Ocon, charging back from an early stop, Hulkenberg, also delayed by an off, and teammate Palmer sitting on his gearbox for a change. Magnussen and Alonso were next up, about to bang wheels for position with impressive debutant Pierre Gasly close behind hoping to pick up the pieces.

Nine cars from six teams all seemingly equally matched and surely the sort of fighting we all want to see. While most of their Super Soft tyres had melted after just a dozen laps the highly developed big boys up front can make their rubber last twice as long, as exotic aerodynamics look after their compounds so much more efficiently.

Now, of course capping budgets is a pretty tricky thing to regulate but I’ve got another brilliant plan. When the team’s prize money is dished out, instead of giving the most to the best you do the opposite! Give Sauber £100 million and bung a quick £10 million to fat cats like Mercedes and Ferrari – and cancel all those ‘historical’ loyalty payments. Champions can more easily find big sponsors while back of the grid teams can’t.

Sauber and Ferrari working together - but is the Swiss team that should get the cash, not the Italians (Pic: Sutton)

Sauber and Ferrari working together - but is the Swiss team that should get the cash, not the Italians (Pic: Sutton)

Ferrari will dance up and down and threaten to quit but what else are they going to do to promote their image, join the Formula E exodus?

Of course, we will need those much talked about, simpler, cheaper, more powerful and noisier engines so teams don’t have to grovel to prima donna manufacturers, but can instead pop down to the Cosworth or Ilmor shop and buy a competitive engine – and, once you’ve chosen your qualifying settings, there’ll be no ‘turning up’ the power or altering the mapping in any way for the rest of the weekend.

Goodbye Malaysia - we will miss you

'Designed to thrill' - and it did. Farewell, Sepang (Pic: Sutton)

'Designed to thrill' - and it did. Farewell, Sepang (Pic: Sutton)

It’s sad to see Malaysia leaving the calendar because it’s one of the few tracks that produces close racing - especially from Turns One to Five.

Yes, you need the dreaded DRS to get alongside into One but if you can then hang on round the outside you can almost make the pass into Two. But, even if you don’t, you push the car ahead wide and compromise his exit so you can sit in his slipstream through Three and hopefully get the job done into Four – and even if that doesn’t work you can play chicken on the run to Five!

Overtaking should never be a simple thing...

By the way, when oh when did we start calling locked brakes ‘under rotating’? Those F1 folk just love to make their world as complicated as it can be!

**

Do you agree with Tiff about a budget cap for F1? Have your say in the comments below, or join our live chat to argue your case:

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Comments (22)

  • I call bullsh*t

    If you cap spending, it will only make it harder for the bottom-feeder teams to get competitive.

    Say Mercedes starts off the season with the best car in the field, Sauber dumps their entire budget just to get competitive before Mercedes even spends a dime... they can spend at their leisure while everyone else struggles.

    This is the exact same as the stupid ‘development token’ system they just got rid off.

    The reason it doesn’t work is because throwing money at a problem doesn’t work.

    Design talent and creativity are what build great cars, look at Brawn the year Jenson Button was world champion. They didn’t win because of money, they won because they came up with the genius “double diffuser”.

    Why do you think McLaren-Honda has struggled? Its not for want of funding... its because their development process is shit

    Don’t cut off spending, expand the rules so that we see more unique cars, allow flexibility and experimentation, etc

      2 years ago
    • Love the idea of less regulation to see what teams mi hgt create but it would only serve to spread the field wider apart with even more processional racing.

        2 years ago
    • Pehaps, but the most exciting racing I’ve ever seen was not a one-make race.

      There was a video that went around Drivetribe a while back of a semi-professional race at Bathurst with lightly modified street cars.

      There was a kid in a Honda...

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        2 years ago
  • Nope, remove the cap altogether, you can spend what you like, BUT the higher up the points you are, the further back you start. It can be done, as Vettle proved yesterday. No qualifying, no " fastest car starts at the front bollox" We do it in lots of other race formula. If you think you're the best driver in the world, you prove it from the back, not the front FFS

      2 years ago
    • Sorry but I never want to see 'reverse grid' or 'success ballast' in the premier formula.

        2 years ago
  • Agree with Tiff again...also reduce Aero elements on front wings...

      2 years ago
    • Watch the recent video from Peter Windsor, the rear wing wake does next to nothing to cars behind. The front wing is what produces the bulk of the dirty air, as it along with the bargeboards create almost all of the vortices which are what make...

      Read more
        2 years ago
  • Moto GP works well without salary cap. At least 4 teams a year have at least one win. I also recall some old F1 season (90s) when we had memorable races. Again, basic rules, basic regulations, pure racing.

      2 years ago
    • Works brilliantly because they have to share common ECU. Try getting F1 teams to agree to that!!

        2 years ago
    • Since we have only 3-4 manufacturers, I don't see why this wouldn't work. I remember smth like that was in the works some years ago, so I don't see the reason why not try it.

        2 years ago
  • salary gap does not work tiff plain and simple, they find a way around the rules.

      2 years ago
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