‘Budget cap shouldn’t affect Racing Point/Mercedes link’

Jamie Woodhouse
Racing Point

Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer doesn't think the Mercedes link is at risk under the budget cap.

Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer doesn’t think the upcoming budget cap will prompt Mercedes to rethink their relationship.

The cap will start at $145m per season from 2021 and reduce further over the following years, with the aim of making Formula 1 more sustainable and competitive.

This means that the big three teams, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, will have to slash their budgets and so the ability to comfortably outspend their rivals will go away.

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul suggested that this may cause those top three teams to cancel their relationships with their so called B-teams further down the grid.

Racing Point have struck up a particularly controversial link with Mercedes for 2020, revealing an RP20 which looked very much like the title-winning W10 of last year.

Not only does it look similar, but pre-season testing suggested it was also quick.

But Szafnauer doesn’t think the relationship is in jeopardy.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, he said: “I understand the theory, I just can’t predict the future.

“I still think the big teams will have an advantage, even in 2022. They’re not going to going to wake up, bump their heads and forget how to develop a fast racing car. That just doesn’t happen.

“There’s more than just having the right tools, it’s also having the right people, and they’ve had the right people for a long time, which is why they are where they are. They’re not going to forget.

“And usually from what I’ve seen in the past when you have wholesale technical change it’s the well-funded big guys who do a better job. I still think that’s going to be the same trend.

“Maybe the difference won’t be so big, and we’ll be able to catch up more readily, but I still think the guys with the bigger resources and better knowledge will end up doing the better job.

“There will always be some kind of differentiator in F1 where one team does a better job than the others.

“I think in time once we know what the regulations are, and the details, then we’ll figure out where those differentiators are.

“If they are for example the fact that if you do your own gearbox, you’ve got a huge advantage, then I can see Mercedes saying, ‘Well you know what, you can go and do your own gearbox, I don’t want to share my gearbox with you.’

“There might be a little bit of that. I get it from an economic standpoint, but it’s really, really hard to predict that.

“If it’s just a general thing that the whole grid is going to get a little bit close, therefore I don’t want to give you access to my wind tunnel and sell you my gearbox, I can’t see that, because there will be all sorts of other differentiators. But you don’t know, so let’s see where that goes.”

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