Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Suzuka, 2022

FIA must ensure fairness say drivers as F1 awaits budget cap decision

2022 Japanese Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers expect the FIA to take action against any team found to have violated the budget cap rules to ensure the competition is “fair”.

The sport is waiting to learn whether all 10 teams complied with the new Financial Regulations, including the $145 million spending limit. The FIA was due to issue certificates of compliance yesterday but has postponed that to Monday.

Any team which exceeded the cost cap last year could have gained a development advantage during that championship and potentially in subsequent seasons. Sebastian Vettel says drivers need the FIA to make sure any benefit gained by breaking the rules is suitably punished whether it occurs on the track or off it.

“We try to control our driving and I think we know when we are right and when we are wrong in terms of being fair, giving enough space,” he said. “We try to be fair most of the time.

“I think that’s the same for any governance of the sport, is to supply the fairness or to ensure the fairness is there across the team, across the year, across a season, across the sport. The FIA is in charge of that and we have to trust them of doing the job.

F1’s budget cap is a “difficult topic” for drivers – Alonso
“If you fail to comply with the rules then there should be consequences. I mean, it’s a complicated or complex matter, probably and we are not the best judges to understand. But I think the art is to break it down, make it simple and make it clear. So we’ll see what happens.”

However Vettel’s fellow world champion Fernando Alonso pointed out the difficulties the FIA faces in imposing a spending limit on teams which have different corporate structures.

“It’s a difficult topic from our side,” said Alonso. “A driver’s point of view I think is not really relevant here and we rely on our teams to really control everything they do.

“I guess we all expect from the FIA to police as good as possible all these things because we want to race in a fair environment and things.

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“I think it’s a very difficult topic because there are a lot of things that we need to make sure that they are controlled. The budget cap is one thing, but there are many teams with different structures, with different things, with their own circuits and their own factories – things that we need to control a lot. So it has to be really well done.”

George Russell, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2022
Russell says Mercedes had to reduce their development rate
George Russell said teams such as Mercedes cannot develop their cars as quickly as they could because the cost cap forces them to limit their spending. “I know from our experience with Mercedes how hard the whole team have worked to stay within that cost cap,” he said. “We know we can bring more performance to the table if we had more money to spend, and it’s as simple as that.”

He believes FIA president Mohamed Ben Sulayem should punish any team found to have exceeded the cap by cutting how much they can spend in future seasons.

“I trust in Mohammed and the FIA to bring an appropriate punishment for anyone who’s found guilty of the charges accused,” said Russell. “It should be quite straightforward. You’d expect the amount that’s gone over should be the amount that’s taken off for next year’s budget and probably a bit more on top of that as a punishment. But let’s wait and see.”

Charles Leclerc agreed that “any team found guilty of that, they should be punished.”

“Then what’s the punishment, I’m not the one to decide,” he added. “But for sure it should be punished.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “FIA must ensure fairness say drivers as F1 awaits budget cap decision”

  1. Yet, team bosses dont have to and can just launch narratives whenever they want

    1. This is about the cost cap issue, which some team obivously has. You expect other teams to be quiet, while one team and FIA can secretly put things under the carpet? Not going to happen, and the longer it takes the more the topic will get focused by everyone (press, teams, fans).

      1. I expect teams to be quiet as long as there is nothing to talk about yes.

        1. There is lots to talk about, just one team and its fans dont like the topic

          1. Like you where parroting Wolff about the illegal floors? Talk when there are facts, till now it is just british press hyping up this subject

  2. Punishment needs to be severe.
    That being said a fine is not enough, those that break the rules need to lose all their points along with any prizes & if they win a championship be it WCC & or WDC lose that as well.
    Any podiums along the way lose that & the next driver/s & team all move up a place.
    Then the following year whatever they were deemed to have exceeded the budget cap cut twice that from the next year.
    Will F1 suffer, yes but only for a short time before the fans come back in droves knowing that if a driver or team breaks the rules punishment will be severe.
    It’s happened in other sports, remember Lance Armstrong & cycling.
    Even infringements like Checo’s failure to keep within 10 car lengths of the safety car should carry a penalty of 30 seconds (severe) or a driver leaving the track & gaining an advantage 30 seconds (severe), then see hoe they manage to stay within the rules.

  3. If ANY team have breached the cost cap in 2021, what should be the punishment that is consistent across all teams that breach goin forward? Point deductions? Fines? Disqualification?

    Personally, the only way you are going to control this is to implement a points deduction as ultimately, that’s the benefit the team received from overspending. The outcome of that point deduction is irrelevant.

    1. DSQ, money = performance, if a team ran a car that was too wide or underweight then they would be DSQ’d, the playing field needs to be level if we’re going to call Formula 1 a sport

    2. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo
      7th October 2022, 2:38

      Any doesn’t mean all

  4. Oh, great. Yet (another) example of post-race penalties. Wait for several years for formal results … pull Fred’s championship, etc. Hows ’bout NO “caps”? Let the Big Dogs run.

    1. No caps means a grid consisting of 3 teams.

  5. ”as good as possible” – the first time I’ve ever seen anyone use the word ‘good’ in this context, which otherwise is always ‘as well as possible.’ Good works equally well, though.

  6. There will always be a cat-and-mouse game between the team’s accountants and the FIA forensic accountants investigating their books for compliance with the cap if the benefit of attempting to conceal a cap breach outweighs the potential risks.

    Really the only way to ensure that the teams are adhering to the cap is to make the punishment so severe that it is just not worth even considering breaching the cap and trying to cover it up through complex corporate structures and accounting magic.

    It may be draconian but given how much of an advantage can be gained throughout an entire season by spending more in certain areas, exclusion from both championships is warranted and a deduction of the cap by a multiplication factor of the amount breached. For example, a breach of $10,000 may only have a multiplication factor of 1 but a breach of $1,000,000 may have a multiplication factor of 3 for a total reduction in out-year cap spending of $3,000,000. As even more incentive to not breach the cap, the amount that the team cap has been reduced for the year, the team has to give to the FIA for equal distribution amongst the other teams.

  7. The problem is going to be what is expensed to the P&L or capitalised to the Balance sheet. It’s always open to interpretations because F1 don’t have parts standardized like Indy does.

    1. To explain further, Red Bull might have found a way to bring upgrades to last year’s cars that were wholesale to the car for the next two years. Thus, because the upgrade was going to used in subsequent years, it would have been capitalised to the balance sheet and then depreciated in amounts over the life of the upgrade. This effectively spreading the cost across multiple years.

  8. I would assume that FIA would lean on IFRS accounting standards but this is just my hypothetical.

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