Ferrari did not “voluntarily” decide to stop updating their car at the Singapore Grand Prix – they were forced to after running out of money.
That is according to team boss Mattia Binotto.
This season, Formula 1 is again operating under a budget cap, one that has made the teams think carefully about their updates as they look to balance speed versus finances.
Ferrari, though, did not get their numbers right, Binotto revealing they blew their budget and had to stop working on the car.
“This is not a choice we made voluntarily,” the Italian explained to Auto Motor und Sport. “We simply ran out of money.
“We can’t afford the extra costs for the production of the parts.”
As such, the Italian is surprised to see Ferrari’s rivals were still bringing updates late in the season.
While Ferrari called time on their upgrades at the Singapore Grand Prix, Red Bull’s chief technical officer Rob Marshall said there were “still some very minimal things to come”.
Mercedes, meanwhile, introduced a big upgrade at the United States Grand Prix before running a new front wing in Mexico.
Mercedes’ updates saw the Brackley squad not only close the gap to Ferrari on track but also in the standings, helped by their first 1-2 of the season in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
Binotto was asked by Motorsport.com how a car that had been a second down on Ferrari could ‘close the gap, bringing technical innovations to the track until the end’.
He replied: “I don’t know how much it helps to understand.
“I remember we were at Imola when I said we were worried about the budget cap and the way it would be controlled, because the financial one is a whole new regulation that still needs some adjustments.
“Then it is clear I too am surprised to see teams that manage to develop throughout the season.
“We can only rely on the FIA and their inspectors to seriously check the accounts of each of us.
“Having said that, we will have the results for 2022 next year. We cannot wait for October 2023. It was like this this year, but I hope the FIA will increase the number of inspectors because we cannot wait for October to get some answers.
“And I say this for sport. It would be a shame if any team had exceeded the spending ceiling.
“And to see other teams developing so much in the season, some doubts may arise.”
Back at Imola, Binotto spoke of Red Bull running through their budget, the Milton Keynes squad seemingly introducing upgrade after upgrade while Ferrari ran pretty much the same car for the first five races.
“I hope,” he said at the time, “because there is a budget cap that at some stage Red Bull will stop developing, otherwise I think I will not understand how they can do that.”
While there has been no suggestion Red Bull have breached the cap this year, they did last year, overspending by $2.2m with the team hit with a $7m fine as well as the loss of 10 per cent of their 2023 R&D time.
They were the only team to exceed the cap, although Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko reckons there will be more names on the 2022 list when the FIA’s report into this year’s finances is released next year.
“I think the current status is that six teams are over it,” Marko told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
“Inflation is something that was not calculable to that extent, especially when it comes to energy costs.”