Flavio Briatore and the Renault team do not fail to blow their trumpets on them being the team that uses one of the lowest budgets yet managing to win races and championships. But we must ask them, “for how long”. With their so called low budgets, they won two titles and then? Promptly became also-rans. For the 2007 season and again this season, they’re, at best, lower mid-fielders. What about the highest spenders, Ferrari and McLaren? They’re the two title contenders. This despite the two teams having had a dog-fight for the championship until the last race of the last season. In contrast, Renault stopped the development of last year’s car well and truly before the final few races and instead concentrated all their resources on their new car. The result? Two fortunate-points finishes this season. I’m not belittling in anyway the expertise of the Renault engineers. They’re the ones who won two titles on the trot. But I would like to emphasise the point that budgets DO matter in F1.
I believe, only because Ferrari spend what they spend every year, are they able to be at the highest level of competitiveness year on year (they’ve always been in the fight for the titles continuously since 1997!). When their form suddenly slumped in 2005, they just got back to their usual self the following year. That was no fluke. They had one of the best resources–lot of team personnel and budgets and they put all of them to effective use. The result was a massive performance gain. Renault’s strategy of trying to ‘sip’ resources will work only for a short stint and will have its phases. That is, it’ll take a few years’ culmination of work to get them back to the top, where they’ll remain for only a relatively short period, until the other teams start flexing their muscles.
If anyone wants to dominate F1 (like Ferrari), they’ll need to be both efficient in using whatever resources they have and also have huge resources. They must be prepared to spend like top teams and not just like mid-fielders.
An analogy: when you super-charge a 1.5 litre engine, you get 300 bhp. When you supercharge a 6 litre engine, you get 700 bhp. Supercharging is like efficient use of resources. 1.5 or 6 litre is the amount of resources you spend. The 1.5 litre engine will wow you with its power only until the 6 litre doesn’t come around. When it arrives, the 1.5 litre is no more. That’s the case with Renault.
Be efficient. Be huge. Follow neither, you’re not gonna be on top.
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