Alpine boss eyes budget cap overspend allowance as factory upgrades underway

Thomas Maher
Alpine's Otmar Szafnauer at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Alpine's Otmar Szafnauer at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Alpine’s Otmar Szafnauer has revealed factory updates are underway at Enstone, and is hopeful of a budget cap allowance increase to improve infrastructure.

Alpine’s Enstone facility is one of the oldest Formula 1 factories currently in use, harkening back to Benetton in the early 1990s and having gone through several name and ownership changes in the years since.

With significant investment into facilities being undertaken by the likes of Aston Martin, who have recently moved into a state-of-the-art factory at Silverstone, McLaren currently constructing a brand-new wind tunnel, and Ferrari constructing a new simulator in 2021, Alpine’s facilities are in danger of being left behind.

Otmar Szafnauer: Alpine factory enhancements underway

Szafnauer was asked about his concerns regarding Alpine’s facilities and whether there would be any interest in building a new factory, particularly once the new investment finances from Otro Capital, RedBird Capital, and Ryan Reynolds & Rob McElhenney’s Maximum Effort Investments start flowing into the team.

But Szafnauer said a new facility isn’t happening – the plan is to bring Enstone up to a new, higher level.

“What we’ve discussed is enhancing Entone, and that’s happening,” he told media, including, after the British Grand Prix.

“We’re in the midst of improving our manufacturing facilities, we’ve purchased a state-of-the-art simulator – there’s a building that’s going in.

“There’s also a high human performance area that is being developed. Now we’re looking at other simulation tools that we need and once we get the go-ahead from the FIA to raise the CapEx part of the cost cap, in order to level the playing field, then we’ll be adding those simulation tools.” recommends

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Otmar Szafnauer eager to see budget cap increase for facility improvement

CapEx has been a major conversation topic amongst the teams this year, given the way the Financial Regulations are currently written.

Under the current rules, teams are able to build new factories and new wind tunnels without it eating into the budget cap figure, but any other equipment investment falls under the cost cap.

This has the unintended consequence of rewarding teams who had the best infrastructure in place for 2021, the first year of the regulations, while those who had fallen behind face having to spend car performance budget money if they want to improve facilities.

But talks are underway to open up the budget cap rules in order to allow teams, such as Alpine, to re-invest into their infrastructure without the undesired drawback.

Asked what kind of number would be needed over the current budget cap in order to get the desired facilities in place, Szafnauer said: “Well, we haven’t determined that yet. So the FIA are now canvassing all the teams to see what a sensible level it is.

“I think we need to open it up between $20 and $40 million in investment in order to level the playing field with all the teams. Just a one-time [increase] here, ‘you can spend 40 million over your cost cap over a time period, and before 2026’.”

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