• 2010 Season

New teams' 'budgets not sufficient' - Ecclestone

ESPNF1 Staff
March 10, 2010 « 'There is so much to come' - Senna | »
Bernie Ecclestone: 'I always warned that a budget limit would not work. Now the new teams find that their budgets are not sufficient' © Sutton Images
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Bernie Ecclestone has said the budgets the new Formula One teams are working with are not sufficient to allow them to have a chance of being competitive.

Virgin and HRT drew up their business plans on the assumption there would be a £40 million budget cap but after the leading teams threatened a breakaway, the FIA climbed down. Lotus, who were admitted later on in the year, are also believed to have drawn up financial plans based on the cap being in place.

"The cap would have given them a chance," Ecclestone said. "I always warned that a budget limit would not work. Now the new teams find that their budgets are not sufficient."

Nick Wirth, Virgin Racing's technical director, said he thought the establishment teams would be happy for it "to fall flat on our faces".

But Virgin boss Richard Branson, who has made a career out of taking on bigger and richer rivals, remained undaunted. "I think the one thing the Virgin team will prove is that you can have a really good racing team, running very fast, within a very tight budget. There's no need to do massively expensive wind tunnel testing, or all the other things that they do to get the extra second or two. Give it a year or two. You cannot just build a new team from scratch and immediately start beating Ferrari.

"We'll show the other F1 teams that they could reduce their budgets … and have just as much fun. You don't need to spend hundreds of millions to have fun."

Not everyone has sympathy for the minnows. "It's no use them bleating about the fact that the goalposts moved after they joined under a £40-million budget cap," wrote David Coulthard. "The Formula One Teams' Association never signed up to that cap."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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