The 2022 Formula 1 season is being a radical change for all the teams. Leaving aside the change of era in terms of car technique, the teams are finding themselves squeezed in terms of money. Formula 1 has imposed a budget cap for the 10 teams that make up the starting grid for this season, with the aim of knowing how to manage the money they invest in the development of their car. Formula 1 has imposed a cap of $142.4 million dollars for each team that they will have at their disposal over the 22 races this year, although a $1.2 million cut is yet to be confirmed due to the cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix. The real improvements and upgrades in the different single-seaters have already begun and we were able to observe them at the last Spanish Grand Prix. Ferrari has also already commented on some observations it has noticed against its biggest rival so far, Red Bull. The Italians have said that the energy drink team should stop developing upgrades to their RB18 as they are finding all the money they are spending so early in the season unusual. Here's what some team principals have been saying about the new cap.
When it was asked to Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s team principal, if the implementation of the budget cap surprised the team, Otmar commented: “We’ve set our budgets out early, we kind of anticipated a little bit of the inflation. If you look back in December, inflation was already at 7%. And most teams do their budgets between November and December for the following year. So, for us, it wasn’t a surprise.” Otmar commented during Alpine’s media session, in which MotorLat had presence. “So, therefore, we plan for it, we’re still under the cap, even though we didn’t plan for as high a freight cost, as we are now experiencing.”
“There’s a significant amount of money in the development budget for a year, especially in a year where the regulation are all new, you put in a lot of money for development, because ultimately, this year Is a development race. So, when freight costs go up by two and a half million, three and a half million, but your development budget is 20. Can you not make your development budget to 17 and still be under the cap?”
Also commenting on this topic, Red Bull Racing’s team principal, Christian Horner, affirmed that there is a possibility that some times may not race in the last 4 races of the 2022 season since the inflationary rate is getting higher and higher. “It’s the teams in the mid-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 we’d need the FIA to address the inflationary issue, because I think they basically, probably about seven of the teams probably need to miss the last four races to come within the camp this year from, again the consensus that there has been up and down the paddock.”
As for this abrupt quote made by the British, Otmar Szafnauer joked about the teams that might not race in the last four races. “That would be really good. So, we’re gonna get some good points that move us up in the championship. And I welcome that.”
From the Aston Martin side, Mike Krack has also shared his thoughts on this particular topic, as he claims that the British team is safe as for now. “There are sporting rules, technical rules and now financial rules and we try to comply to the three of them. I think that this is the time that we have to make the right choices. You know? I mean, if you overspend now, then obviously you will be tight later. We are monitoring the situation, but I think we are very efficient on how we spend [money]. So, from that point of view, we are not in a position where we will not make races.”
“But we are also watching now what are we going to do for this ‘special’ races. We have to make these decisions.” Mike Krack commented in terms of the position where Aston Martin currently is financially speaking.
As we can hear from all these three team principals, inflation is getting worse and this could be a nightmare for teams that still don’t have enough money to overcome this issue. As Christian Horner said, the FIA must take care of the teams that are not as safe as the top teams that have plenty of money to solve this issue.