FIA ‘on top’ of spare parts budget cap cheat

Date published: September 20 2020

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McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says the FIA are aware that teams could try and stockpile new parts to bypass the 2021 budget cap.

Initially the spending limit, which will be set at $145m per season for its first year, was going to be introduced as part of brand new sporting, technical and financial regulations for 2021.

However, the global pandemic has caused the new regulations to be pushed back until 2022, but the budget cap will still be brought in for 2021 as planned.

Since teams will be using the same chassis for 2021 to save costs, one way that teams could get around the limits of the cap would be to stockpile new parts this season to reduce the spending on production next year and therefore get a head start financially on 2022.

But Brown confirmed that the FIA are already “on top” of that potential cheat.

“There are indeed discussions going on about stockpiling for next season and so the money from next season to 2022,” he is quoted by Motorsport.com.

“The FIA saw that coming and is on top of it. They will draw up rules to prevent a lot [of the current] money from being used for 2021 and teams in 2022.”

Brown said he wasn’t sure whether or not any of the teams had already tried to pull such a stunt before the FIA made their stance clear.

“I’m not aware that it’s happening, but they will – if they can – no doubt try,” he admitted.

“But again, the FIA is on top of it and I don’t think anyone can get around the rules.”

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Another concern of the budget cap was the mass cuts that teams would have to make to their workforce, especially the top-three spenders Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

But what’s being called a ‘soft landing’ has now been put in place to allow those teams to redeploy staff over a six-month period from January.

“Obviously as Ferrari, when we have been discussing the reduction on the budget cap, we have been very vocal on the fact that the new number, the new budget cap, would have meant a lot of reduction in terms of team organisations and members,” explained Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto.

“We said we felt a social responsibility very strongly and we felt it was somehow a wrong move towards the people, because it being such a period – pandemic, COVID – people losing their jobs was wrong.

“So what we simply asked was a soft landing – it has been ourselves to ask it and to obtain it – a mechanism where we had time as a company to reallocate people in other jobs within our company.

“Simply, that gave us six months’ time – I have to be honest, we asked for a bit more but that was the compromise. We’ve got six months’ time from the end of the year to reallocate people in different jobs.”

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