The FIA was scheduled to announce on the Wednesday prior to the Japanese GP its findings in relation to the team’s compliance or not with the new F1 budget cap, which was introduced starting at £145m for the 2021 Formula 1 season, and has reduced to £140m for 2022. But the announcement was delayed, and according to the FIA, this was due to it being a “long and complex process that is ongoing and will be concluded to enable the release of the Certificates on Monday, 10 October.”
The statement also addressed that there have been “significant and unsubstantiated speculation and conjecture in relation to this matter”, a view which Haas team principal Guenther Steiner shared, as he talked to the media on Thursday ahead of the race in Suzuka, saying that rumours can’t be taken as truth:
“I expected it to come out, but it didn’t come out, I got the information as well that it is delayed now.
“No, I’m not afraid about this. I’m more afraid about the other ones,” he said jokingly. “I’m not afraid about the other ones as well, I’m pretty cool about it, we’ll see what is getting done, [but] I’m not afraid about other people.
“I will put it this way: again, at the moment we don’t know if anybody has breached it, I always put that forward before we get to it, because we need to be fair about it. We haven’t been told [about any breaches], it’s all from [the media] talking a lot and then everybody believes it.”
Steiner is clear that if this “first test” of the cost cap reveals any breaches, it shouldn’t be taken as failure and make it “weaker”, but rather as an opportunity to learn and improve the rulings for the future, given “no regulation is perfect”, and underlined the value that the cap brought to the sport:
“I think it’s a first test, and it can wrong, I always say. Because you cannot make a regulation which is perfect, it doesn’t exist. No law exists which is perfect, in my opinion. So we’ll see what or if anything happened, and how we fix it going forward.
“We shouldn’t make it weaker, the budget cap, because I think it’s a good thing, it has given value to the sport, it has given competitiveness to the teams in the sport, which makes the sport more interesting.”
Steiner also stressed the need for a “right punishment” for any breaches, to avoid situations of spending wars like in previous seasons:
“We need to stay strong, and if someone has overdone it - did a mistake or intentionally, whatever it is, I’m not a judge – there needs to be the right punishment for it, because otherwise it goes out of hand. And then we are back to the old days – if you’re not fast enough, you just try to out-spend somebody,” he concluded.