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Kaltenborn still backing a budget cap

Sunday 4th May 2014

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Kaltenborn still backing a budget cap

Kaltenborn still backing a budget cap

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has rubbished claimed by F1's big teams that it would be difficult to police a budget cap.

Last month FIA President Jean Todt announced that a proposed budget cap had been taken off the table after F1's Strategy Group refused to push on with it.

One of the reasons cited by several of the big teams that make up the Strategy Group is that it would be almost impossible to keep tabs on all the teams.

The Group's rejection resulted in a crisis meeting last Thursday as all the teams met to discuss cost-saving as many of the sport's smaller teams are concerned for the future.

Kaltenborn was one of those in attendance although the Sauber team boss had already made it clear what she thinks of the argument about policing a cap.

"That's an argument I really cannot understand," she told ESPN ahead of the meeting. "As far as I know in England you do have bookkeeping, and they are based in England, and you also have to submit your results.

"I think they know how to keep books and how to put figures in there, and I assume everybody sticks to the laws there when you are given these kinds of figures. So we have already worked out quite a good basis on how you can quantify the different positions and what the principles are.

"The tricky part of it is what you do with inter-company transactions, but that is nothing new to Formula One, nothing new in the world, and there are other areas where this is done and other sports where this is done. It doesn't take rocket science to get that in there as well. What really matters is not only a good system, which is not difficult to do, but the penalties you put on.

"You need, of course, an authority to control it, but you don't always have to suggest that everybody is going to be cheating and that you will always need a control there. How often do books and companies get checked? After years you have a revision and auditors coming in to check, so why should it be different?

"Every time I get this feeling that people think all the time people will be checking, but how many times did we do it under the RRA [Resource Restriction Agreement]? Not once. So you shouldn't always look at the worst case and suggest there is going to be constant checking."

Kaltenborn, however, adds that if any team steps out of line there should be a "harsh" penalty with a "catalogue of penalties" from which to choose depending on the infringement.

"If you had that system, you need penalties that are harsh. It's like when you are driving and you are speeding, if the penalty is £10 you will probably do it, but if you know it costs £10,000 you are not going to do it. You just need to have, not draconian, but the right kind of penalties.

"Then you need to have the certain amount of natural circulation of people [between teams], so that if somebody is doing something wrong - like if I constantly had a 1:1 car in the windtunnel - and somebody sees that they would go and say somewhere else - there would be this whistleblowing as well. So it's absolutely doable, and one should not always come from the position of 'you can't do this and you can't do that', because actually you can."

She added: "Look at the penalty system we have now, maybe we don't have to change it that much [to bring ina budget cap]. If you have a set of financial regulations, it would be just like the sporting and the technical regulations. Maybe you could even treat them the same way.

"Maybe you would have a catalogue of penalties that any judge can choose from. That's like the real world out there. Sometimes people try to make Formula One look so complicated, but actually the situations are very similar to the real world."

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