Lopez calls for stricter cost cutting
Lotus team co-owner Gerard Lopez is keen for Formula One to agree on a stricter Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) and sees no reason why the sport cannot put an enforceable cap on costs.
The RRA was a divisive issue last year as teams tended to insist they were adhering to the cost cutting measures, but were suspicious of their rivals. It was originally drawn up under the Formula One Teams Association, but over the winter Red Bull, Ferrari, Sauber and Toro Rosso have all left the organisation, although they say they are still committed to driving down costs.
Asked whether it's possible for an F1 team to turn a profit under the current agreements, Lopez said: "I hate to say it, but I don't think it is. It's probably as close as you will get to being neutral because, either you have a very strict Resource Restriction Agreement, which we hope will be put in place and in which case you could [be profitable], but if not you're racing for sponsors and racing for points and racing for money at the end of the day - whatever you get you invest to try to make your car faster. That is kind of a conundrum, a very difficult question to answer."
But Lopez believes the main priority should be to put an enforceable and transparent RRA in place, rather than focusing too much on the level of cost cutting.
"It's not a question of numbers, it's more a question of deciding once and for all what it has to be and then making sure that everybody respects it," he said. "I'm not going to give you a number, because at the end of the day a lot of people have tried that before and not succeeded in targeting the right number. It would be good for the sport, we see it in other sports, the NBA has a very successful salary cap and so forth. I think there would be nothing wrong with having a high one, but saying this is it and even up the playing field."
Asked whether it would be possible to monitor costs fairly between F1 teams, Lopez said: "If you put the right way of checking you also get the right answers. It's just a question of whether you are willing to do it or not."
And he revealed that Lotus had considered leaving FOTA.
"I think everybody else has. We've certainly considered it, but we haven't decided yet what we're going to do."