All the CONTROVERSIES of BUDGET CAP
FIA has notified teams that its analysis into the accounts for the 2021 season has been completed and it is ready to issue formal documents on the matter.
Rumor in the F1 paddock have suggested that two teams are at risk of exceeding budget. One team may have had a minor breach of the regulations, while the other is a more serious material breach. While sources are pointing towards the two teams involved being Aston Martin and Red Bull, both teams have remained tight-lipped on the matter.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner aware of all the rumors, felt that with the cost cap rules being in their infancy, there was no surprise that issues would crop up during the auditing process.
“Inevitably it is a brand-new set of regulations, and a set of very complicated regulations, so how rules are interpreted or applied, inevitably, are going to be subjective between the teams,” he explained.
“I'm sure, as the years go by, things will get tidied up. But we're confident in our submission.”
“The FIA are in a process, and I think there's always going to be rumors. I've heard of major breaches and whatever, but I'm certainly not aware of that.”
An Aston Martin spokesman said: "We have submitted our 2021 reporting. We are in discussion with the FIA, and we are awaiting certification."
Amid mounting intrigue about there being the need for cost cap hearings over last year's figures, the governing body said that the matter would be dealt with in due course.
"The FIA is currently finalizing the assessment of the 2021 financial data submitted by all Formula 1 teams. Alleged breaches of the Financial Regulations, if any, will be dealt with according to the formal process set out in the regulations," statement released by FIA on Friday.
F1's regulations lay out a range of options as punishment for teams that have breached the cost cap.
- For a minor breach, which is less than 5% overspend, penalties can include a public reprimand, a deduction of constructors' or drivers' championship points, exclusion from events, limitations on aero testing or a fine.
- A material overspends, which is deemed as being more than 5% over the limit, includes stricter sanctions as options. These include deduction of drivers' or constructors' championship points, suspension from events, limits on aero testing, exclusion from the championship or a future reduction in the cost cap.
Red bull’s main rival Ferrari and Mercedes has already been vocal about the cost cap. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff wants more clarity and stricter punishments.
Asked if a potential breach by Red Bull compromised last year's title battle Wolff declined to go into specifics.
"I have no information at that stage if they are in breach, by how much they are in breach. And obviously being in breach in one year, means you're probably in breach of a second year, and potentially a third year."
"And once that is clarified, I'm sure lots of discussions are going to take off. about what effect it would have. But it's too early at this stage to comment."
Even though Ferrari is following up the situation closely, team principal Mattia Binotto haven’t made any comments.
Other teams are also vocal about the matter, making it a serious issue since the whole budget cap hurt the whole grid.
Williams CEO Capito said if somebody doesn't stay in the cost cap, it has to have serious implications. Because not having stayed in the cost cap last year is most likely development for this year's car.
“For this year's cars, you have an impact for the whole season. So, it has to have a sportive impact on this season. It doesn't make sense to have any financial penalty on top that you spent the money."
“That would be completely contradictory to work to the rules. And for me, it's a more serious breach than cheating on the car on the track.”
Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur is adamant that any financial transgression should be treated as seriously as a technical infringement.
"I think from my point of view, the cost cap was crucial for F1,” the Frenchman told. “I know it was a great achievement to put it in place. But now that it's in place, the most thing is important is to police it. And for sure there is no room for flexibility.”
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer, who ran Aston Martin last year, but left before its final budget numbers were submitted, agreed that overspending teams can reap significant benefits.
“At the margin any spend above the margin is spent on performance,” Szafnauer told. “Once you start spending on performance where others don't get a chance to, because they've actually stuck to the budget cap, that's serious.”
Haas boss Gunther Steiner also insisted that penalties need to be tough, even if the 2021 World Championship was concluded over nine months ago.
"When we had to turn in our accounting, that was one of the things which was discussed,” he told.
“So how do you deal with it, if someone breached it, a year after? It was always going to happen. But in the end, if you now take the World Championship result away from last year, who cares?”
If teams get minor penalty in comparison of the gain they make in championship, it is highly likely that every team who are able to afford, will break the rule in future.
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