Jean Todt: "We need to focus on the problem of costs at all levels of motor sport, not only Formula One."
Dec.10 (GMM) A 'cost cap' in Formula One is coming, the FIA said in a surprising announcement on Monday.
Although many teams are facing financial difficulties, the idea of compulsorily capping annual budgets has remained highly controversial.
But FIA president Jean Todt told France's L'Equipe last week: "We need to focus on the problem of costs at all levels of motor sport, not only Formula One."
So, after a Paris meeting of the sport's new strategy group and the F1 Commission, and with Todt declaring a "mandate", the sport's governing body said the "principle of a global cost cap has been adopted" for F1.
"The limit will be applied from January 2015," the FIA declared.
Current F1 team budgets are believed to range from about $60 million at the back of the grid, to several hundred million for frontrunners Red Bull and Ferrari.
The actual number eventually set for the cap is therefore the crucial detail.
"If we're all at 50 or 100 million budget, the show will be no different at all," Caterham boss Cyril Abiteboul argued recently.
The FIA said it will now establish a 'working group' tasked with having the 2015 budget cap regulations approved by June of next year.
"In the end," Lotus chief Eric Boullier added, "if we don't do this, it's going to be more and more difficult to survive."
Meanwhile, in addition to the highly controversial 'double points' rule for the 2014 finale, the FIA on Monday also announced that drivers will choose a permanent race number, between 2 and 99, to keep for their entire F1 careers.
And the FIA said every team was invited to attend Pirelli's Bahrain tyre test with 2013 cars next week, but only Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso took up the offer.