FIA on budget cap rumours: Wild speculation and reputational damage

Michelle Foster
FIA logo lit up at Mexican Grand Prix. Mexico City 2021

FIA logo lit up at Mexican Grand Prix. Mexico City 2021

FIA vice president for sport Robert Reid isn’t happy with the “wild speculation” about potential breaches of the budget cap that have been doing the rounds for the past 10 days.

Last week Wednesday the FIA was scheduled to release its report into the Formula 1 teams’ 2021 spending.

But a few days prior to that rumours began about what’s in that report, Auto Motor und Sport claiming two teams – Aston Martin and Red Bull – have overspent.

It was initially said that Aston Martin’s breach was a minor one but that Red Bull had exceeded the cap by as much as $10 million, that number now down to just $1 million.

Both teams have denied it with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner even threatening to seek legal action unless defamatory statements from rival team were detracted.

Reid feels there’s been “too much talk”.

“I think the unfortunate thing for me is there’s been so much speculation, and wild speculation,” he told

“And that’s caused situations where potentially there’s even some reputational damage now, which is unfortunate. There’s been too much talk.”

The FIA, though, didn’t help with that when they delayed the release of the report, postponing it to the Monday after the Japanese Grand Prix.

Reid doesn’t seem to be too worried about what could be revealed come Monday.

“Monday will come and go, and I’m sure we’ll quickly move on to the next year’s analysis,” he said. “And we’ll see what comes.

“Personally, I actually don’t know the figures. It is a process, we do have a department who are doing that, they will come with various steps in the process.

“If there were to be any breaches, I think everybody knows what those breaches would be classified as in terms of procedural, minor and material.

“The regulations are there for everyone to read. We’ve already had the Williams situation [when the team was fined in June] so everybody understands what would happen or what the next steps might be, certainly in terms of procedural breach.

“I don’t know if there will be some procedural breaches, or there might even be some overspends. So let’s wait and see and deal with it at that time.”

As for the delay in releasing the report, he believes as both the teams and the FIA adjust to the budget cap, auditing it will be a quicker down the line.

“We certainly hope in years to come that it happens quicker than that has happened, now that we’ve walked through,” he said.

“But the clarifications that happen on the ’21 results are obviously valid for ’22 and ’23.

“By the law of physics, we’re kind of narrowing down where we can interrogate. There’s a huge chunk of it that is absolutely clear, and clearly within the cost cap, or clearly outside the cost cap.

“And the grey area is hopefully getting smaller and smaller as we go forward.”

Reid does, however, concede the FIA may need to tweak some parts of the cap as, like with any new regulations, there could be “some unintended or unrealised consequences”.

“They need to work,” he said. “There’s a process. It’s early doors in terms of the regulations. You look at how many changes there are to F1 technical and sporting regulations on an ongoing basis. I think anything new needs to be tweaked.

“Potentially there are some unintended or unrealised consequences in the way things are written. It’s the old classic. If you put push the balloon down here, it’s going to pop up somewhere else that you’re maybe not aware of. We had a trial run in 2020, so this is our first proper one.

“We still have situations from a sporting perspective that people say, ‘Oh, we’ve never seen that before.’ Now, how long has the sport been going on? So I’m sure we’re going to see the same, not just for the ’21 analysis, but ongoing in financial regulations as we go forward.

“It’s a complicated set of regulations, so a complicated process to try and achieve. But I think everyone agrees it’s absolutely essential for the future of the sport that we have some control on the on the costs.”

Read more: No official appeal process is in place for FIA budget cap rulings