Lance Stroll, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018

Williams says Liberty’s 2021 proposal will ensure team’s survival

2018 F1 season

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Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams says Liberty Media’s proposed changes to Formula One in 2021 will ensure the survival of the team.

The sport’s commercial rights owners presented their plans for future changes to the sport to teams today in Bahrain.

“I was extremely positive about today’s meeting,” Williams told media afterwards. “I think we hoped for change under our new management and today they’ve presented change. For a team like ours, based on what they’ve presented, it was an extremely good day for us.

“I came back thinking let’s crack open some champagne because from our perspective if we can get these new regulations and if FOM do everything that they presented this morning then from our perspective I know that Williams’ future is safe. Not to say that we were on the brink or anywhere close but today’s sport, the way it is structured and with the financial disparity between teams, then the likelihood of Williams’ survival in the medium to long-term was bleak.

“So everything that they presented from revenue redistribution to cost cap is absolutely everything we want to see from 2021 and beyond. I’m personally delighted at the proposals they laid down.”

Asked whether all the teams including Ferrari would react as positively to the plans Williams said: “I’m sure some people aren’t going to be very happy, if you know the intricacies of that meeting.

“There’s always going to be winners and losers in this situation and sometimes it’s about compromise if we’re to protect the future health of this sport. I can’t comment on Ferrari’s feelings around the proposals that were laid out, all I can comment on are our teams’.

“If their proposal is blueprinted then it does protect the survival of Williams. At the end of the day that’s all that matters to me. I want our team to be competing and hopefully winning in this sport for the next two, three, four decades.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 8 comments on “Williams says Liberty’s 2021 proposal will ensure team’s survival”

    1. As also spelled out by Dieter, it’s about compromise. The big teams, ala Ferrari, and especially in the last decade under BE, have had an inordinate amount of power to go along with their deep pockets. I don’t think of the big teams as having things taken away by Liberty so much as adjustments being made that bring things back to something more reasonable from where they shouldn’t have gone to begin with, but for BE/CVC.

    2. I read somewhere that the $150 Million cost cap would affect the employees of the teams and lead to lay offs, but that is entirely untrue. The cost cap does not include marketing costs or salaries of the teams’ empoyees. Personally, I feel that is the correct way to go, but enforcing it may prove to be difficult.
      Liberty media’s attitude towards this whole process of restructuring, which involves inclusion and the patience to listen to the viewpoints of each stakeholder in the sport, whether it be someone from the management side, technical side, marketing side, drivers or the fans, is commendable. I hope Mercedes and more importantly Ferrari agree to these changes without making huge noise about it, and think about the better of the sport.

      1. @major-dev

        I read somewhere that the $150 Million cost cap would affect the employees of the teams and lead to lay offs, but that is entirely untrue. The cost cap does not include marketing costs or salaries of the teams’ empoyees

        There will undoubtedly be mass layoff’s because while the cap may not count towards marketing or employee pay, With significantly less resources available for things like R&D (Among other things) it’s inevitable that the bigger teams will scale down which will lead to layoff’s.

        Also consider that with a lot of the additional restrictions such as a lot of the parts that will become standardized, Areas of car development that will be more restricted & things along those lines again many people within the bigger teams will become unneeded & this be laid off.

        1. I see. The plans are still in the early stages but maybe they will figure out a way. Thank you for your response.

      2. The cost cap does not include marketing costs or salaries of the teams’ empoyees

        If I understand correctly, it is just the senior staff and drivers who have been carved out of this. The remainder of the staff salaries would fall within the budget cap.

    3. Really?

      As I’ve said before, this cost cap will be purely cosmetic. How can the FIA police it? Especially when you’re dealing with large manufacturers like Mercedes? Ferrari’s entire car manufacturing operation shares a facility with the F1 team. Even in the case of Red Bull. RBR pays Red Bull Technologies for engineering services, which means that RBT is essentially RBR’s sub contractor. Will sub contractors to F1 teams need to open their books to the FIA as well?

      Consider an example of the whole pre-chamber combustion technology that Mercedes introduced to its PU. This was something they have imported from their truck division. So, in a future scenario, in the interest of keeping costs down, what if Mercedes F1 team just got the truck department to keep developing and refining a similar technology at high cost? This cost would not appear on the books of the F1 team, as the Mercedes conglomerate will easily absorb the cost.

      This may seem like a victory on paper, but at the end of the day, if the technology remains complex, the increase share of revenue will be nullified.

    4. Claire Williams’ statement is unfortunately something that many arguments against … and even for … a budget cap do not grasp. A budget cap is not about F1 becoming an equal playing field. That’s not happening. That never was a thing in F1 and it never will be.

      A budget cap is not necessary because F1 needs to give small squads a chance to win. It is necessary because F1 needs to give small squads a chance to survive. 50% of the grid are made up of the Red Bull marketing machine and manufacturers, both highly fickle entities (with the exception of Ferrari). That is not a sustainable endeavour. We are a handful of lucky breaks away from the current grid being like 16 cars. As much as Ecclestone may have tried to deny it and as much as big-name driver and team fans are too ignorant to understand it: the lifeblood of F1 is the midfield and the rear end. Short of Ricciardo’s wins, Bianchi at Monaco was the best story 2014 had to offer. Enrique Bernoldi’s defensive driving against David Coulthard is still a popular Youtube clip. We still talk in reverence about the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix, where insane circumstances gave the midfield-Jordans a 1-2. I could go on and on.

      That is why a budget cap is needed and that is why I am in favour of one. Policing it is not so much a matter of logistics but more a matter of will: the will to insist on the rules and the will to ruthlessly punish those who disobey them. I just hope our sport’s management will have it.

    5. Williams are a shamble at this time, a shadow of what once was…carry on this way, and they won’t be there in 2021.

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