Steiner fears disparity if budget cap rise is approved

Jon Wilde
Guenther Steiner, Haas, walking through the paddock. Monaco May 2022.

Guenther Steiner fears any increase in the Formula 1 budget cap this year would benefit the top teams more than outfits like Haas.

Rising inflation has led to significantly increased costs for the 10 constructors, putting them under pressure to adhere to the sport’s spending limit for the 2022 season of $140million.

With that figure due to decrease by $5million for the second consecutive year in 2023, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has said: “I think the only thing we can do, as F1, is increase the budget cap for inflation. I think there will be no way for us simply to stay below. I’m pretty sure at some stage we will go over.”

But Steiner, the Haas team principal, suspects any increase would merely be used by the leading teams to try and make their cars faster, rather than offsetting the greater costs involved simply to participate.

Charles Leclerc's Ferrari ahead of Mick Schumacher's Haas. Miami May 2022.

“The three top teams are pushing for an extra budget and assuming this proposal is somehow accepted, what would it lead to,” pondered Steiner during an interview with Motorsport.com.

“Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari would bring one or two extra updates to the track, which would eventually cancel each other out, and the only result would be to widen the gap to the rest of the teams.

“This was not the idea behind the budget cap when it was proposed and voted on. We, as a company, are also obliged to make savings, we have a budget we cannot exceed, and if costs increase on the one hand we have to make savings on other fronts.

“I think it works that way in all companies. If a managing director is not able to cope and solve such a situation, he is fired.”

 

There is one area where Steiner sees some leeway, however, and that is the increased cost of transporting freight – because it is an area comparatively easy to police.

“This is a problem that can be addressed, I see no downside,” said the Italian.

“The costs have risen a lot but in the case of transport the advantage is that Formula One Management manages everything, so they are well aware of the extent of the increases that have happened in recent months.

“I don’t see any problem in giving extra budget on that front, a figure equivalent to the difference between the figure budgeted at the beginning of the year and the real cost we are facing.

“If expenses then fall in 2023, this extra will be removed or reduced as costs fall.”