Villeneuve has no budget cap sympathy: ‘You signed it, stick to it’

Sam Cooper
1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve. Abu Dhabi December 2019.

Jacques Villeneuve is pictured in the paddock. Abu Dhabi December 2019.

Jacques Villeneuve has said team principals should stop complaining about the budget cap as they are the ones who signed up for it.

The $140million spending ceiling has been a big point of discussion since the start of the season with some, like Christian Horner, warning that teams are bound to exceed that mark while others, like Guenther Steiner, argued it levels the playing field.

Horner has gone as far as stating he believes the Championship could be decided in court and that the sport was heading towards a “catastrophe” as a result of the limit.

Nine races into the season and teams have yet to break the budget but there is so far no concrete ruling as to what will happen should a team exceed the cap.

One man who is not sympathetic to the likes of Horner and Toto Wolff is Villeneuve who said teams should be forced to stick to the established rules they agreed on.

“You signed, stick to it,” he told FORMULE 1 magazine.

“They [Mercedes] have to patch up their car. But everyone agreed and signed up for it. And if flying then costs more, it costs more for all teams. Then just develop a little less.”

“You agreed and then you don’t back down. The smaller teams don’t even touch it, why should they accept it? Alpine is a big manufacturer, has enough money but also sticks to it. Because they play by the rules and they are still competitive too.”

The 1997 World Champion also hypothesised that teams were most likely looking for a way to increase the limit before the season had even begun. He also suggested that the punishment for the teams who exceed the budget should be to give money to the other teams.

“I suspect that before the season they have already decided to look for ways to increase it,” he said.

“But for now they have to stick to it, but what is the penalty if they do go over it? I don’t know. A financial penalty doesn’t work, they just swallow it. Point deductions already hurt more. If they had to give money to the others as a punishment, that would make it interesting.”

“You are in business to win and make money. That’s the way it is with everything, that’s life. And then if you can bend the rules in such a way that you benefit from it, good on you!”