A key weakness in the F1 budget cap financial regulations could be tweaked, if enough Formula 1 bosses can come to an agreement.
Formula 1’s financial regulations are now in their third year, with the budget cap introduced in 2021 shrinking gradually year-on-year in order to reduce team expenditure and attempt to level the playing field.
The budget cap restricts team spending in certain areas of their business, mainly concentrating on car development and performance-related expenditure.
However, a particular restriction on one area of spend is now under the spotlight due to a perceived lack of equality, namely that of capital expenditure.
Investment into new infrastructure to improve equipment is corralled under the restrictions of the budget cap, but investment into new factories and exemptions in the cost cap rules allow for new wind tunnels – meaning teams with strong infrastructure at the beginning of the Financial Regulations coming into effect have an advantage which lesser-resourced teams will now be struggling to overcome.
It effectively means that, should a team wish to improve its infrastructure, it will have to dip into its car performance-related spend.
However, according to Motorsport.com, initial discussions have begun to free up this particular weakness in the Regulations in order to allow teams the ability to improve factory facilities.
According to the report, the situation was discussed at the last F1 Commission meeting, highlighting new Williams’ boss James Vowles as a vocal proponent for the rule changes.
Initial discussions appear to have resulted in the idea gaining traction, with the FIA and FOM also said to be amicable to the idea to allow smaller teams the chance to improve their factories.
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Vowles made it clear that, without such rule changes, it won’t be possible for teams like his to close the gap to the front – the sole purpose of what the budget cap is intended to do.
“I personally think if we want a meritocracy, we need the ability for my team to be given the chance to catch up with some of the big teams and have the same resources,” he explained to Motorsport.com.
“There are some what I would consider basics, which are in place in other teams and have been since almost 15 years. For example, there are software systems that allow you to properly understand where all your parts are, and they simply don’t exist [at Williams].
“As a result of that, what impresses me is that before I joined, they’ve built the car you see in front of you, 15,000 pieces coming together fitting, working, and seemingly going around the track fairly quickly. That’s an incredible accomplishment. But clearly, it’s not how we can move forward. So we need systems in place and structures in place.”
The report also details that, until now, none of the bigger teams have offered resistance to the rule change. For such adjustments to be ratified into the regulations, a majority of six of the 10 teams would be needed to signal their agreement.