Information from the paddock suggests that both Red Bull and Aston Martin would have exceeded the budget limit of Formula 1 during the past season, and it is believed that the first of them would be facing the most serious problem of “non-compliance with regulations”.
The penalty for such violations exceeding 5% of the cost cap could even end with the exclusion of a team from the championship.
Williams principal Jost Capito explained that a breach of the 2021 financial regulations could also have helped the development of this season’s cars.
“If someone does not meet the cost limit, they must have serious punishments. Because not meeting it last year could have also affected the development of this year’s car.
“So if it has a sporting impact this season, it doesn’t make sense for the punishment to simply be a financial fine.”
“That would be completely contradictory. And to me, it’s a more serious violation than [technical] cheating with a car that’s already on track.”
“I don’t think the sanction should focus on last year, because most of the impact is for this year. I think it would be completely wrong to punish them with something from last year, because the story is written, everything is done, the marketing is done. , etc.”.
“So if that was the case, I think no one would respect the budget cap anymore, because it has an impact towards the past. It should have an impact by the time it is applied. And that’s why I think the FIA, if a team breaches it, it should be pretty quick to spot it.”
“There is no other option, they have to react because most of the teams did. So I’m pretty sure whatever it is, they will react correctly.”
Frédéric Vasseur , director of Alfa Romeo, was unrelenting in stating that any breach of the financial regulations must be treated with the same seriousness as a technical infringement.
“I think from my point of view the cost cap is crucial for F1,” he told Motorsport.com. “I know it cost a lot and it was a great achievement that it came into force. But now that we have it, the most important thing is to comply with it. There can be no room for flexibility.”
“I think we have to be very strict. You can be disqualified from a race for 0.9mm deviation in the front wing, like it was two years ago. If you are 300 grams under the minimum weight, you are also excluded.”
“If you can spend X million more than other teams on upgrades, it’s completely unfair. If something like that were to happen, the FIA would have to take action.”
“You have to understand that sometimes with €200,000 you can make a big upgrade. And if you go over budget by that amount, it can be a couple of tenths more per race.”
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer , who led Aston Martin last year but left before its final financial 2021 figures were released, agreed that overspending teams stand to gain big.
“Any expense that is above the limit gives you performance,” Szafnauer said. “And once you start spending what other people aren’t spending because they can’t, because they’ve really hit the budget cap, it’s a big deal.”
“I think that the FIA has to punish those who have exceeded. First you have to understand the magnitude of the infraction and then what is the appropriate sanction for each specific case.”
Szafnauer revealed that Alpine made great sacrifices to stay within the cost limit.
“The team made some decisions as to whether to lay off people or not hire other people, before the start of this year, basically to not exceed last year’s cap,” he said.
“Once development stops, because you’re going to go over budget, getting that development back and that learning back is almost impossible.”
“So that’s what I mean when I say we have to understand the seriousness of the breach, and then have the appropriate sanctions.”
“If, for example, a team has won by doing more wind tunnel testing, then maybe you should have an appropriate punishment for that, like restricting their testing the following year. Things like that.”
Haas director Guenther Steiner also defended that the sanctions must be harsh, even though the 2021 World Cup ended more than nine months ago.
“When we had to hand over our accounts, that was one of the things that was discussed,” the Italian said. “So how do we deal with it, a default, a year later?”
“It’s something that can happen. But in the end, if now the result of last year’s world championship is changed, who cares? If they get disqualified, everyone behind them will laugh.”
“If it is breached, and the regulations say that the sanction has to be X, then it has to be X, because in the end we are talking about money,” he concluded.