'Benefits' of cost cap won't kick-in until 2022 and 2023

While all the teams are now focussing on 2020, yesterday even trying Pirelli’s prototype tyres for next season, the big boys, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are already looking ahead to 2021.

With the regulations ‘confirmed’, their financial and technical resources will allow them to start preparing for the biggest overhaul of its regulations the sport has witnessed in living memory, a luxury out of reach of the smaller teams.

With the budget cap not enforceable until 2021, the big teams will take full advantage in the meantime, leaving their smaller rivals fearing that initially the current status quo will be maintained.

Asked, given the financial advantage enjoyed by the big guns, if it will be harder for the smaller teams to catch-up, once the budget cap in in place, Zak Brown admitted: “It’s hard to catch them right now.

Ferrari and Mercedes are fantastic racing teams and they have tremendous resources,” he continued. “This is going to be a journey, the cost cap. There will be a lot of spending in ’20 that will have implications for ’21. And of course once you get a head start when you see regulations, whether it’s on the power unit front, stability over time tends to bring things together.

“So, I think Ferrari and Mercedes are in a great position and we’re all trying to catch up and it will take some time.”

“We’re in a slightly different position to McLaren,” said Claire Williams. “Our budget is much smaller than theirs. For teams like ours, for Alfa, for Haas, they’re operating on considerably less budget than the rest of the grid.

“It’s a really difficult piece of work at the moment to try to marry up the programmes we are running for not just this year but for next year and ’21. But I would say it is probably the lesser of two evils.

“We did try, in the Strategy Group, to see if we could bring the cost cap in earlier, so the bigger teams wouldn’t have to spend all this money they’re worried about spending for next year. That would be clearly a bonus.

“There’s clearly going to need to be some convergence, which I’m sure we will see – we’ve got stability on these regulations for five years from ’21 and beyond.

“It is difficult. It is incredibly difficult. But these regulations, particularly as I said earlier, the financial regulations that we are seeing, are the right things for teams like ours that are truly independent and rely solely on sponsorship.”

“It’s clear that the top teams have an advantage,” said Franz Tost. “They will use the next year, even this year already for developing the ’21 car.

“They will have this performance advantage for ’21. The cost cap, real, will count from 2022 and ’23 onwards – 2021 will be a difficult one. But this was discussed anyway.”

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