Fred Vasseur has a novel idea for teams worried about using up their budget cap before season is over: stop spending.
This season the Formula 1 teams are operating under a $135 million budget cap, but even before the first race of the season some of the teams – Red Bull and Ferrari the most vocal – have began complaining about rising costs eating into their allowance.
Those complaints have grown of late, so much so that Formula 1’s powers-that-be are open to have the conversation about an inflationary increase.
Vasseur says no, if teams are spending too much that they fear they won’t see the end of the season, they must simply curtail their spending.
And if that means shutting off their wind tunnels and cutting back their development plans then so be it.
“The difference is that we are not speaking about budget gap, we are speaking about budget, on our side,” said the Alfa Romeo team boss. “It means I won’t be able to spend what I have.
“And if we have some increase and I can understand their situation, but if we have some increase on energy or freight, the best solution is to switch off the wind tunnel to stop bringing updates every single weekend.
“We are in this situation and sooner or later we will have to stop the development of the car because we will be at the limit of our budget. And I think everybody can do the same.”
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has claimed that as many as “seven teams would probably need to miss the last four races to come within the cap this year”, adding that the FIA has a “duty of care”.
Vasseur says it was the duty of care of all the teams to factor in inflation when draw up their 2022 budgets.
“For me, it’s absolutely not a case of force majeure, because inflation is not a case of force majeure,” he said. “We knew perfectly in November or October when we did the budget that will have inflation.
“And now it’s up to the teams to decide if they want to develop the car all the season and to miss four events or if they want to slow down now and to do the full season.
“Honestly, I think that at one stage that we have to agree on the fact that we won’t try to change the rule.”
The Frenchman pointed to the FIA’s decision to increase the minimum weight of this year’s cars after the majority of the teams were able to get down to it.
Alfa Romeo was the one team that did, and Vasseur feels it was an unfair decision to increase it just because the other teams didn’t meet the brief.
“If after two events that it was exactly the same story with the weight,” he said, “the way it was clear, some teams didn’t achieve it, they wanted to change the minimum weight, you know that and the numbers of teams were not able to achieve the target.
“It’s not a topic, that if you have eight cars under the weight after the qualifying the eight cars will be disqualified. It’s not because you have one or two teams, it doesn’t matter.”