2022 was meant to be a revolutionary year in the history of Formula One. Indeed, the introduction of new rules and technical guidelines, with the shift to ground effect cars, aimed at making it easier to assist to wheel-to-wheel action.
However, HAAS’ team boss Gunther Steiner thinks the technical regulations alone are not the only reason there have been so many exciting battles this season.
More specifically, during his interview, he talked about how the cost spending cap has resulted in a much closer fight among mid-field teams.
The spending has been equalized – to $145.58 million, up from the initially set $145M, due to the rising inflation – thus putting all teams on the same level.
And while top teams wanted the spending cap to be lifted a lot, smaller players have been adamant that the spending limits are working.
The Italian team leader Steiner in particular feels that one of the successes of the budget cap lies in the fact that the racing order is no longer dictated by which team has the most money to spend.
In his view, this has served to homogenize the battle ground and down the grid, which is having a direct benefit on the racing.
"I think what is happening in the moment is there's a lot of fighting going on – and in many areas fighting in a good way out on the race track," he said.
"There's a lot of racing going on. And I think that's down also to the cost cap. We have created a successful rule and we shouldn't go away from the principle."
Steiner, who voted in favour of the compromise lift in the budget cap last week, said F1 would take a wrong turn if it ever thought of moving away from a budget ceiling.
"It should not be the intention to go back to the good old days, where just who's got more money is going to win and then take the championship away," he added.
"I think that for FOM, what happened at [races like] Silverstone was fantastic in my opinion, and for the spectators it was fantastic.
"You always have to think why did we have this? I think the cost cap is part of it. And therefore, I think we should try to protect the cost cap as much as we can by not hurting teams this year."
One of the impacts of the cost cap has been limited scope for teams to make developments, which means an outfit like Haas, which is still racing its original spec car, can remain competitive.
But Steiner believes not only the spending limitation but rather the whole ethos of the 2022 regulations, that have created more restrictions on what teams can do with their cars, have also helped on this front.
"It's not just the cost cap, it's also the technical regulations with this car," he said. "I think it is a bit harder than it was in the old days, because the upgrades people brought, they were not as big as they were years ago.
"It's much more difficult to find performance with these technical regulations than it was before. So we have also to say these technical regulations are pretty good."