Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says spending in Formula 1 must be reduced if teams like his are to maintain their involvement in the series.
The Enstone team has struggled financially since 2012, and is reported to be $150 million (£96m) in debt.
Lead driver Kimi Raikkonen recently admitted the team has failed to provide his full salary, admitting it was “not ideal” for the team to have monetary woes for two consecutive seasons.
Boullier, who has run the team since 2010, has blamed F1’s big spenders for the struggles at Lotus.
“The problem is that some teams – like Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes – can still afford the old way and can spend a lot on the car; we can’t,” Boullier told Autosport.
“Don’t forget that in the beginning of the 90s, a top team was spending maybe £40 million; by 2008, a top team was spending £100 million.”
“We have to put that cost down,” he said.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone suggested in late 2012 that a budget cap should be introduced into the series, limiting how much teams could spend.
The 82-year-old proposed limiting each team’s spending to £160 million, £56 million less than Red Bull spent securing the 2011 World Championships, but the idea failed to gain unanimous support.
“The problem today is 80 per cent of the teams are in favour of [a budget cap] but 20 per cent are not,” Boullier said. “I don’t think it’s fair if only three teams can afford F1, so we should find a way to bring the cost down.”
Lotus announced Altran as an engineering partner in July, which the Lotus CEO hoped would give the team a boost, but the contract has not yet been finalised.
“Once this is done it will be a new era for Enstone because financially we will be secure for many years at another level,” Boullier added.
“We still can’t spend the same money as Ferrari and Mercedes but as a team we can secure the level for where we now compete.”
Lotus have slipped to fourth in the Constructors’ Championship and Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean are second and eighth in the Drivers’ Championship respectively.