sport

Todt blasts 'cost-cutting' plans

FIA president Jean Todt has slated as "a joke" the plans of the Formula One teams for cost reduction.

Earlier this year F1's Strategy Group - comprising Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes, Williams and Lotus - vetoed Todt's hopes to introduce a cost cap from next season, claiming it to be unworkable.

That infuriated the smaller marques - Force India, Sauber, Marussia and Caterham - who wrote a stinging letter to Todt, suggesting an abuse of power by the bigger teams, as well as what they saw as an erosion of governance within the sport.

That prompted a crisis meeting on May 1 involving all 11 teams, Todt and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, but with little headway made and a further meeting planned later this month.

Todt himself is angered by what he sees as proposals that fail to address the need to slash costs considerably.

The teams have talked about making cuts through the technical and sporting regulations, but Todt said: "My advice - make a contribution as to how we reduce the costs.

"We know they have budgets of between 100 and 400 million and the proposal they seem happy with is to reduce by two million, which is ridiculous.

"When we speak about costs we are talking about reducing them by 30 to 40 per cent, and then we can feel comfortable.

"I have some ideas, some input. Now I want to see what the teams say.

"We will meet all of the people again. Hopefully they are sensible people and they come up with some sensible suggestions.

"But what was proposed was a joke."

Todt feels there are various ways for the teams to slash their costs, notably by reducing the number of staff.

Mercedes are understood to have 1,250 people on their programme; Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren around 700-900, whilst Marussia have just 200.

"We have too many people in a team," added Todt.

"I was in Pau the other day attending a gala dinner and I saw a movie with Fangio, Nuvolari, Jim Clark and Jack Brabham, and there were maybe 10 people in a team.

"Times change, we must accept that, but between having 800 to 1000 people or 30, there has to be a proper balance.

"What costs money are people. It is big.

"Then we have the number of developments that are made, the number of parts. This is what we are assessing."