Brown: $100m cap demand was a tactic

Michelle Foster
McLaren boss Zak Brown

Zak Brown led the charge for F1’s budget cap to be slashed to $100m but says that was merely a tactic to get a lower cap.

Last year the Formula 1 teams agreed to introduce a budget cap of $175 million in 2021.

However, with the start of this year’s championship delayed by more than three months, teams haemorrhaged money and entered talks to lower the cap.

While F1’s big teams initially agreed to $150m, some teams – led by McLaren – pushed for $100m.

The teams eventually compromised on $145m for 2021 which will fall to $130m by 2023.

Brown explained to Auto Motor und Sport: “It is a common tactic to make higher demands to get what is acceptable in the end.

“I think we met in the middle.

“We threw 100 million in the ring. The counter party wanted to stay at 175 million. The 145 and later 135 are a good limit.

“I believe that five or six teams will be able to fully utilise the budget cover. That means much better competition and is great for sport.”

Brown is confident the reduced cap will allow teams such as McLaren to close the gap on Formula 1’s top three teams.

However, he acknowledges that it could also see those behind McLaren close up on them.

“We can use this to close the gap to the three teams that are currently spending more than we do,” he said. “But there is also risk involved.

“There will also be some teams behind us who will be able to catch up with us.

“So in the future we will have a sport in which more than half of the teams compete on a similar budget. That promises more variety.

“Nothing will change with which teams win the World Championship the most. That will make up four or five teams among themselves.

“But I can imagine a scenario like in the IndyCar series. The title always goes to a driver from Penske, Andretti or Ganassi. But others can also win. Rahal, Coyne or we with our new team.

“I hope McLaren will be one of the four or five teams that can win the title. But there will be eight or nine teams that can win a chaotic race with a change of weather or a crash at the start.”

As for Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko predicting that McLaren will be the big winner from the reduced cap, Brown says it will benefit all the teams used to operating on smaller budgets.

“I think a lot of people can emerge as winners if they do everything right,” he said.

“First of all, this reform is good for all of us. Very special for us. We are no longer in a position where we are missing something.

“There were times when McLaren was one of the richest teams alongside Ferrari and Williams. In the past five years, we’ve been missing $ 150 million on Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull. You cannot make up for this deficit. It’s just too big.

“Now we’re fighting at eye level. It gives us an opportunity that we simply haven’t had in the past five years.”

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