F1’s budget cap comes under even more scrutiny: ‘It bothers me more and more’

Henry Valantine
Start of the Spanish Grand Prix. Barcelona, June 2023. Results

Start of the Spanish Grand Prix. Barcelona, June 2023.

Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher is bothered “more and more” by the budget cap concept in the sport, given that smaller teams will still never be able to reach its heights and compete on an even basis.

The budget cap itself was introduced with the intention of levelling the playing field in Formula 1 by halting the amount the biggest-spending teams can pump into a season, which in itself should have the double impact of making the sport more affordable for other teams to compete.

While this has put a lid on how much teams can spend at the top end, Schumacher highlighted that it is not as much help to teams operating towards the bottom end of the budget scale, without investment or a takeover from another significant brand.

“The topic of the budget cap somehow bothers me more and more,” Schumacher told Formel1.de on YouTube.

On top of the misgivings around how the finances of Formula 1 are policed, Schumacher believes there are rumours “about how many companies are being used somewhere to push some money somewhere, that you can go around it.”

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With the grid already trending towards larger brands coming in and team values skyrocketing as a result of the sport’s growth in popularity, the six-time grand prix winner questioned whether or not the budget cap may even have a detrimental effect later on.

“I’m not at all sure whether Formula 1 shouldn’t get honest again and dispense with the issue, because it will remain the case that a Haas will probably never be able to raise that much money – unless the team is sold to another manufacturer at some point,” Schumacher said.

“[Formula 1] is the top class of motorsport. I don’t know if what they are trying to do there is so good in the long run.”

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner recently warned against a “race to the bottom” over team staff and wages, given that the vast majority of people’s salaries are included in the budget cap, with only drivers and the top three earners in the team exempted.

“You have to make sure it’s not a race to the bottom,” Horner said.

“The problem is you have long-standing personnel that have contributed a significant amount that you don’t want to see forced out of their roles because of the cap, just because you can justify 10 youngsters versus an experienced hand.

“And that’s the constant debate that you that you have, and where we’ve had redundancies through the cap.”