Alpine have warned that some smart money allocation measures could be a “new battleground” for F1 teams to comply with the cost cap.
The cost cap has been at the front of teams’ CFOs’ minds since the 2021 season and Red Bull falling foul of a breach last season proved how costly an overspend can be.
But in the ever-competitive world of Formula 1, every team is looking for a way to get an edge and Alpine believe that some teams are benefitting from this new “battlefield” more than others.
Financial optimisation key to F1 success says Alpine
Up until recently, a loophole existed in the FIA financial regulations that allowed many of the top teams to benefit from their non-F1 engineering divisions.
The likes of Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren all have either road car production departments or other areas of focus away from the F1 team.
The idea was that these departments, who operate outside of the cost cap, could design a part or technology that could then be passed on to the F1 team for a small fee, greatly undervaluing the actual cost of designing it.
The FIA have taken steps to close this particular loophole though with the Technical Directive 45 that stated any costs incurred by these departments that were then passed onto the F1 team would be counted towards the F1 team’s cost cap.
Alpine’s technical directive Matt Harman, who as well as being part of the wider Renault group also produce the A110 sports car, said that financial optimisation is “a new battlefield.”
“For the first time, there are separate regulations for this,” he told Auto Motor und Sport. “Everyone is trying to push the limit. That is our mission.
“We should, however, retain a degree of understanding of what these rules are for. The FIA has therefore issued a Technical Directive on this subject and it will be interesting to see how this plays out, and not just for this year.
“Because the TD applies at the beginning of the year. I’m also curious how some teams have to adjust their organisational structure now.”
Alpine will soon join Ferrari in competing in WEC and Harman did have concerns that this department in particular could be used to aid an F1 outfit but trusted the FIA to deal with it.
“We have some concerns about that kind of interpretation. But we trust the FIA. I think they monitor the rules very thoroughly and fairly. And we also trust that it will close the loopholes.”