Horner warns F1 teams could miss races if budget cap is not raised

F1 teams could be forced to miss the last four races of the season unless the budget cap is increased, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. 
Horner warns F1 teams could miss races if budget cap is not raised

The current limit stands at $140m (£111m) for this season after being steadily reduced from 2021 and 2020 as per F1’s new financial regulations that have been introduced with the aim of cutting spend. 

Since the start of the season, there has been an ongoing debate about whether the budget cap should be adjusted to reflect rising inflation levels around the world, as well as increased freight costs. 

This has led Red Bull team boss Horner to call on the FIA to “address the inflationary issue”. 

“Probably about seven of the teams probably need to miss the last four races to come within the cap this year, from the consensus that there has been up and down the paddock,” Horner said. 

“It’s not just about the big teams now, it's teams in the middle of the field that are really struggling with the inflationary rate that we're seeing that could even get worse in the second half of the year.

“I think the FIA have a duty of care in a situation like this. I know they're taking it very seriously because as I say, you'd almost be at the point where I think for certain teams, from numbers that were presented earlier in the week, that they would have to miss a few grands prix to even get anywhere near the numbers.” 

Horner warns F1 teams could miss races if budget cap is not raised

Horner added: “Nobody wants to be in that position, which is why I think the second six months of the year, the FIA need to address the issue. 

“Things like energy bills, just cost of living, we see that the costs are growing exponentially and Formula 1's not exempt from that.

“We see it in freight, that’s quadrupled. And that's not something we can control.” 

Big teams face opposition amid budget cap row 

While Red Bull has found support from rivals Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren, the likes of Alpine, Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams all voted against a proposal to boost the cap at the last meeting of the F1 Commission. 

Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer argued that F1’s top teams should simply spend less on development if they are at risk of going over the budget cap. 

"We've set our budgets early, we kind of anticipated a little bit of the inflation,” he explained. "Inflation didn't just creep up on us. If we can do it, for sure others can do it too. I'm not for just increasing the cap.

"When freight costs go up by 2.5m or 3.5m but your development budget is 20m, can you not make your development budget 17m and still be under the cap? You can.

"What that then does is it limits your development. So it's a lot easier, if you have the money, to go to the FIA and lobby to raise the cap and keep your development budget the same.”

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team A522. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 6, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Race
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team A522. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur expressed a similar view when speaking to select media, including Crash.net, last weekend at Barcelona. 

“If someone is able to overshoot a little bit and is able to bring updates to two or three races in a row, it will be a mega sporting advantage,” Vasseur said. “This could decide the championship, and that’s why we have to police it.”

Vasseur vehemently rejected the notion of inflation being used on the grounds of force majeure, describing the suggestion as “bullshit”. 

“Inflation is not force majeure,” he added. “Force majeure, it’s war, or a pandemic, it’s not inflation. 

“Everybody knows today that you have inflation, you have still time to reduce costs, to stop to bring updates, to stop to run the wind tunnel. 

“Inflation is absolutely not a force majeure. If you want, you can stop today with running the wind tunnel and you can finish the season with the same package. Then it’s up to the stewards to decide, and they need to apply a penalty in relation with the infringement. 

“If the consequence of the infringement is a technical advantage and the capacity to bring updates for 10 races, this is a mega sporting advantage, and it has to be a mega penalty on the sporting side.”

Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Alfa Romeo F1 Team Team Principal. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix,
Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Alfa Romeo F1 Team Team Principal. Formula 1 World…

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