Rivals reject big teams’ call for F1 cost cap increase

Teams are debating whether or not to raise the F1 cost cap

Formula 1 teams are at loggerheads on discussions surrounding a potential increase to the sport’s cost cap.

A number of leading teams have called for an increase to the $140 million cap in place for 2022, citing force majeure relating to inflation, increased logistics and energy costs.

However, that argument has been countered by a number of their smaller rivals.

“We all sat around for a long time trying to get the cap to the right level,” began Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer.

“We discussed inflationary pressures, there’s a mechanism in the cap itself to deal with inflationary pressures.

“I think [we should] stick with the rules that we have, that we’ve debated for a long time.

“The big teams had a different view on where the cap should be, the smaller teams wanted it at $100 million, I remember, and we came to a compromise, including inflation, you know, what we do with inflation.

“And the first time we face inflation that’s a little bit over two and a half percent, we want to change it.

“I think that’s wrong. I think we should stick to the rules as they were written and see this through.”

The argument from the big teams goes that, if they are unable to operate within the constraints of the cost cap, it renders it null and void.

However, the counter point is that change it now does nothing but undermine its value and impact going forward.

“For me, it’s absolutely not a case of force majeure, because inflation is not a case of force majeure,” reasoned Frederic Vasseur, Alfa Romeo Sauber team boss.

“We knew perfectly in November or October, when we did the budget, that we will have inflation.

“I think that at one stage that we have to agree on the fact that we won’t try to change the rule.”

Alfa Romeo Sauber is one of the teams which has not had to trim its operation in order to meet the budget cap, and is instead working up to the $140 million figure – which is set to become $135 million next year.

It gives Vasseur a different perspective to the likes of Christian Horner and Mattia Binotto at Red Bull and Ferrari respectively, who’ve both had to drastically reduce their costs since the introduction of the financial regulations last year.

“The difference is that we are not speaking about budget cap, we are speaking about budgets on our side,” Vasseur noted.

“It means that I won’t be able to overspend what I have.

“And I can understand their situation, but if we have some increase on the energy or freight, the best solution is to switch off the wind tunnel, to stop to bring updates every single weekend.

“We are in this situation, and sooner or later we will have to stop the development of the car because we will be at the limit of our budget.

“I think everybody can do the same.”

“Just to add, most teams do their budgets in November/December timeframe for the following year,” added Szafnauer.

“We were no different, and at that time inflation was already at seven-plus percent. RPI in England was 7.1, 7.2 percent.

“We took that into consideration when we did our budgets and laid out all the development work that we’re going to do, and we’re still within it – even though freight was a little bit more expensive than we thought.

“We’re still under the cap and we plan to be there at the end of the year.

“We’ll adjust the development accordingly, just like Fred said, so I think it can be done – where there’s a will, there’s a way.

“We set a budget cap and we should stick to it.”

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