Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes say ‘no way’ to stay below budget cap as they fear F1 penalties

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 leading Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving (16) Ferrari F1-75 during the F1 Monaco GP on May 29, 2022 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.

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Formula 1’s top teams Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes all believe they risk fines if they exceed the sport’s budget cap this season, with Christian Horner calling for the FIA ​​to act quickly to avoid a “world championship”.

All F1 teams have a cost cap of $140m (£119m) for 2022 – with the cap aimed at improving competitiveness – but the dramatic rise in inflation and operating costs The move has put the teams’ budgets in unexpected trouble.

That has led to Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, the biggest and currently most competitive sports teams, all insisting that budget limits be increased due to “force majeure” circumstances.

However, there is opposition on the network – such as Alfa Romeo and Alpine, who have no reason to increase the limit.

“By the time we all agreed to those cuts, no one could have predicted what was happening in the world and how that was driving inflation in every household globally. come on,” Red Bull principal Horner told Sky Sports F1.

“We’re seeing it in Formula 1, we’re seeing it with logistics, we’re seeing it with energy costs. For me, that’s something the FIA ​​needs to take into account.

“They’re likely to have an inflationary effect due to force majeure because we don’t have enough leverage to bring the cap down. I think it’s probably the same for seven of the teams in Cong. formula 1.

“We’re still six months away this year, inflation still looks more likely to be rising than falling, and hopefully the FIA ​​will act soon.”

Agreeing with his rival team boss, Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto added: “I don’t think there’s going to be any way for us to stay at the bottom. So I’m pretty sure that at some stage they are. I’ll pass.

“In the regulation, there’s a threshold, it’s 5%. If you don’t go above 5% above the budget cap threshold, that’s considered a minor breach. And what is a minor violation in the case of What Happens? force majeure What will the manager and the FIA ​​decide about that, about the penalty?

“No idea – but I don’t think there’s any way for us – and for many teams – to simply stay in and even fire people, I don’t think that’s an option.” good and right choice.”

Horner also stressed that Red Bull “will end up with more people in our finance department than we have in the drawing office” and added: “What we don’t want to see is Formula 1 becoming the world champion in accounting, rather than technical or athletic.”

Mercedes are also siding with their rivals on the grid.

Toto Wolff explains: “Cost caps are put in place for specific purposes, to allow small teams to spend the same amount as large teams,” explains Toto Wolff. “Don’t haggle every year to raise the cost limit.

“But I think we’re facing a unique situation, where we have real inflation north of 7% at the moment. Our energy prices in Brackley have tripled. times, our freight costs tripled.

“I think that’s something that needs to be looked at because we want to avoid any situation where reorganizing the restructuring of the big teams in a way that could really harm us as a team. is a team and an entire industry.

“This is a situation of force majeure, there is a war raging in Ukraine and the consequences it will have on energy prices are unpredictable.

“There needs to be some sort of compromise for the teams against inflation adjustment and the teams against it.”

‘This is not a case of force majeure’ | Why did the other teams disagree?

Two of the teams that are resisting the regulation are Alpine and Alfa Romeo.

Alpine’s Otmar Szafnauer emphasized: “Most teams set their budgets in November, December for the following year and we are no different. “And at that point, inflation was at 7%+. The RPI in the UK was 7.1%, 7.2%.

“We took that into consideration when we budgeted and mapped out all the development work we were going to do. And we’re still in it.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way and we set a budget limit and we should stick with it.”

Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo’s Fred Vasseur says that teams can stop developing their cars earlier to reduce costs.

“We are in this situation and sooner or later we will have to stop developing cars because we will be at the limit of our budget. And I think anyone can do that.

“It is not a force majeure case at all, because inflation is not a force majeure case.”

Still, Horner said wanting to increase the budget “isn’t about new parts.”

“We didn’t introduce that many components, especially compared to a standard season,” he continued. “Of course what we’re trying to do is be very selective about the parts that we’re making.

“It’s a very different tactic and a very different way.

“I think what we need is clarity and clarity quickly. Because, quite simply, it’s not right to be ransomed by some perhaps ineffective group – because that’s never been the case. Design of limited budget.

“The budget cap is there to limit the top teams from spending frenzy.”

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