Only £40m? Come on, boss…

F1 gridWelcome to the biggest shake-up in F1 since, er, ever. The FIA has just announced a £40 million team budget cap within Formula 1 for next season.

That’s not much by F1 standards, but it could have been even lower: the figure was originally expected to be £30 million, but FIA president Max Mosley agreed to the increase after discussions with F1 teams last week.

The £40m budget covers all team expenditure with a handful of exceptions including drivers’ pay, marketing and – good news for McLaren – fines. More significantly, engine costs will not be included within the budget for 2010, but this is expected to change in future years.

As expected, teams will be permitted to opt out of the budget. If they do so, they will be heavily restricted in their technical freedom: budget-capped teams will be allowed to run adjustable front and rear wings as well as engines without rev limits, and will not be bound by the current wind tunnel restrictions on scale and speed. They will also be able to run unlimited winter testing.

Teams that sign up to the budget cap and then exceed it will not be subject to fixed penalties. Instead, a new ‘costs commission’ will assess the ‘degree of misdemeanour’ and then advise the FIA on the penalty that should be applied.

Mosley also announced that the maximum number of cars in the championship will rise from 24 to 26 from 2010. Currently there are only 20 cars on the grid.

What do you think of the new rules, Sunday Afternooners? A much-needed kick up the arse for F1? Or the start of a two-tier dissolution?

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