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HomeNewsMcLaren F1 boss on Supercars cost cut

McLaren F1 boss on Supercars cost cut

ZAK Brown has stressed the importance of cost containment in the Repco Supercars Championship amid the changeover to Gen3.

As McLaren Racing CEO, Brown was a leading advocate for Formula 1 to introduce a hard cost cap which he is adamant has proven successful.

“If you look at the grid this year, short of the guys at the front, there’s no longer a back of the grid,” he said in the Walkinshaw Andretti United garage at Albert Park.

“It’s Red Bull and everybody else, and I think that is a big benefit of the cost cap.”

Brown and his fellow WAU director Ryan Walkinshaw made no secret of their desire to see cost reductions in Supercars.

“I think anything you can do to control costs and ultimately max costs out is good for all sport,” Brown said.

“Most sports have some sort of cost cap, salary cap, so you either do that through regulations – like IndyCar doesn’t have a cost cap, it’s kind of hard to spend more because of the way the formula is set up.

“But cost containment is important.”

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Supercars currently adopts the approach Brown credits to IndyCar, as the tight Gen3 regulations limit avenues for spending money on development.

The subject of a Supercars cost cap has been raised at various stages over the years, including a planned implementation for 2007 that was scrapped due to being deemed unenforceable.

The Mustang Supercars of Nick Percat and Chaz Mostert. Pic: Walkinshaw Andretti United/Daniel Kalisz

Walkinshaw believes a cost cap could be workable if applied to certain areas of the sport.

“Another sport I have been involved in was rugby union in the UK where they have got a salary cap and similar sort of things,” he said.

“You’re trying to put everyone into a position where it’s a more even playing field and you have got more ability for teams to compete against each other and don’t have any teams running away into the distance and making it boring for the fans.

“At the moment, Supercars is incredibly tight. We have kind of got a performance cost cap in the sense that we have parity in Gen3 which so far has been pretty good, it has been hard to argue that it hasn’t been pretty good so far.

“But there are other areas of the sport where potentially a cost cap would make sense.

“It’s not top priority at the moment for us but it is certainly something which could add value if done the right way.

“We have seen it in other sports and it works really, really well so here would be no different.”

Talk of the concept comes against the backdrop of Gen3 expenditure exceeding all expectations.

Not only is each car being valued at roughly $1 million including spares, running costs have been high due to signs of fragility, poor repairability, and an increased wear and tear factor.

Zak Brown with Ryan Walkinshaw (left) and Bruce Stewart (right). Pic: Walkinshaw Andretti United/Daniel Kalisz

“They are a little bit more expensive to run and maintain than the previous cars,” Brown noted.

Walkinshaw agreed, albeit expressing optimism that the situation will improve.

“So far there’s more expensive parts in certain areas of the car which used to be a lot cheaper but we’re going to be working with Supercars on a sustainability plan which will try to bring some of that cost down moving forward,” he said.

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“I think the main thing is we have got cars that look great, sound great, are fast and they look harder for the drivers to actually steer, which I think is a good thing for fans, it’s going to make for much more exciting racing. I think the product is good.

“There’s things we can improve on but there was always going to be.

“There’s some expensive parts at the moment but like everything, once things start settling down, there’s a lot of smart teams in pitlane in Supercars who are obviously incentivised to make sure that we bring the cost of Gen3 down going forward… and it will happen.

“Even Car of the Future was more expensive than we initially thought and parts were more expensive… eventually over time you manage to make it work.

“They do appear to be a little bit more fragile but again that comes into how we are going to develop them over the course of this season and next season to make them a little bit stronger.

“At the end of the day you want to have drivers that can go out there and have a crack.

“You want to be able to rub panels and have good, close racing. I think we have got that. If there’s some areas that we can improve on in that front, then the sport and the teams will work together to make that better.”

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