Brawn: Budget cap and aero restrictions have likely kept all 10 teams in F1

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Formula 1 motorsport chief Ross Brawn believes lowering the budget cap and introducing aerodynamic restrictions has kept all 10 teams on the grid.

The measures were agreed and have been implemented in response to the financial impact from Covid-19, which has F1 scrambling to put together a 15-race calendar to at least minimise some losses.

Perhaps the most notable change is the spending cap, which has been reduced to $145m in 2021 from its original figure of $175m, and that clarity, Brawn thinks, has stopped some manufacturers, notably Renault, from pulling the plug.

"This crisis gave us the opportunity that we knew the budget cap always would," he said at the FIA Conference.

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"Once you set a budget cap, you can always adjust it. Before this [pandemic] ever happened we said that if we ever have a crisis in the future we can adjust the budget cap to take account and all accept that the ideal level of the equilibrium changes.

“Without the ability for these teams to go back to their boards and go back to the manufacturers saying ‘Look, F1 is vital, it’s important, and it’s going to cost less in the future’, I don’t think we would have retained the number of manufacturers or big teams that we have.”

The measures have also potentially expedited F1's push for greater equality on the grid by limiting car development to critical areas and introducing a sliding scale of permitted windtunnel testing.

Brawn though insists the changes aren't pushing the sport towards a single-spec series like IndyCar.

"I'm pretty happy," he told Sky Sports' F1 Show. 

"We've got the budget cap and a number of standard parts are coming into Formula 1, open-source design parts, so if you design a part you have to put it into a library that other people can access to see if they want to use a part the same as you've made.

"So there are a lot of equality things going on but we need to keep the competition, and we're keeping the competition in the areas that are of most interest to the fans, so aerodynamics, there's still some differentiation on the engine side, the suspension.

"So we've got those areas the fans can engage with, they can understand. For those areas which don't matter [to the fans], and which are generally only more relevant to those teams that have the funds they have now been neutralised.

"You still have to do a great job to win a Formula 1 race," Brawn insists. "We always want to have a meritocracy in Formula 1, and a great team that finishes first in the world championship may have a little less aerodynamic [testing] capacity than a team at the back of the grid.

"But if that team at the back of the grid doesn't use that extra resource sensibly, then it's wasted."