Ferrari doubt Formula 1’s ability to effectively enforce the sport’s budget cap

Ferrari doubt Formula 1's ability to effectively enforce the sport's budget cap

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto doubts Formula 1’s ability to enforce the budget cap

Ferrari have questioned the ability of Formula 1’s governing body to police the sport’s budget cap effectively.

Team principal Mattia Binotto said the cap was “a very green regulation”, adding: “The number of people in the FIA monitoring it is very little.”

He said: “It has to improve for the future because it would be really bad if somehow a championship was dictated by a financial regulation and not technical or sporting.”

His comments come in the wake of claims Red Bull will introduce a lighter car in forthcoming races.

It is a widespread belief in F1 that Red Bull will introduce a new chassis that is 4kg lighter than its existing one as it seeks to close off Max Verstappen’s second world drivers’ title and the constructors’ championship.

The Singapore Grand Prix at the beginning of October, in three races’ time, is said to be the target event, although it could be sooner.

Red Bull have said a number of times this season that they have been working on reducing the weight of their car this year and 4kg would amount to a lap-time gain in the region of 0.14 seconds.

Asked whether this was Red Bull’s plan, team principal Christian Horner said: “No, there is no [lighter chassis]. These chassis will run for the next few races.”

And asked whether the team would stay within the budget cap this year, a spokesperson said: “Yes, we have had less upgrades than Ferrari and Mercedes.”

Asked about the governing body’s monitoring budget cap procedures, an FIA spokesperson said: “The FIA is committed to robust monitoring processes and will continue to strengthen, develop and refine all areas of its activities in this new era of Formula 1.”

Max Verstappen of Red Bull leads Charles Leclerc of Ferrari during the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 28, 2022 in Spa
Red Bull are widely expected to introduce a new, lighter chassis before the end of the season

Binotto said: “I cannot know what they are doing, if they have a [lighter] chassis or not, but the budget cap is always a concern.

“The financial regulations can make differences between teams in the way they are interpreting and somehow executing it.

“And we know we need a very strong FIA to make sure they are properly focusing, otherwise the regulations will not be fair and equitable.

“Ferrari would never be capable of introducing a lightweight chassis or a different chassis through a season simply [because of the] budget cap and I would be very surprised if a team is capable of doing it.

“And if they are, it is back to the regulation itself – is it fair enough, is it equitable enough, is the policing sufficient?”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said: “We wouldn’t be able to introduce a chassis at that stage of the season. We are massively overweight, which we haven’t been able to sort out because we are trying parts on the car in order to solve our various issues, so can’t afford that, full stop.

“So what was aimed for by introducing the cost cap absolutely hit the target. It is what they wanted to achieve. The big teams can’t just throw money at it.”

The budget cap was introduced in 2021 and was set at $140m (£119m) this season, but teams have been permitted a 3.5% overspend because of the rise in inflation.

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