Stefano Domenicali’s ‘very clear’ request to FIA on cost cap breach punishment

Jamie Woodhouse
Stefano Domenicali watches on from the grid. Bahrain, March 2023.

Stefano Domenicali watches on from the grid. Bahrain, March 2023.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali wants the FIA to be handing out sporting sanctions, not financial ones to anyone found to be in breach of the cost cap, amidst rumours of further transgressions.

Last season saw the first FIA process for handing out certificates of 2021 cost compliance for the 10 Formula 1 teams.

Seven passed with flying colours, but Aston Martin and Williams were called out on procedural breaches, while Red Bull were found guilty of a minor overspend breach and fined $7 million, while they were also docked 10 per cent of their allotted wind tunnel time.

Stefano Domenicali wants sporting cost cap penalties

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton recently claimed that Red Bull’s penalty has had no impact on the team at all, perhaps a very valid point with the Austrian outfit having won all 10 grands prix in F1 2023.

But, should the FIA find any fresh breaches this time around in the 2022 figures, which could reportedly come to pass with three teams said to be heading for a breach, then sporting penalties, like the wind tunnel time portion of Red Bull’s punishment, is the route which he wants the FIA to go down. recommends

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“I would like the penalty to be sporting in case of infringement, it is something we asked for very clearly,” Domenicali told Autosport.

“There are three regulations to be respected: sporting, technical and financial. Any infractions must be punished with sporting measures. You can’t go in other directions.”

What Domenicali has also made clear is that he does not want the wait for confirmation on cost cap breaches and subsequent punishments to go on as long this time as it did last season, when the matter finally came to a close in mid-October.

“Control is in the hands of the FIA. Personally what I have asked is to anticipate as soon as possible the publication of the investigations made by the staff of the FIA,” he said.

“But I say this only because, in this way, it does not give rise to speculation and comments that are not good for anyone.”

FIA may need to get tougher on F1 cost cap penalties

The range of penalties on the sporting side available to the FIA is rather broad, including a reprimand all the way up to points deductions or a reduction in the cap ceiling for the offending team.

And while it was claimed at the time that Red Bull would feel the pinch of their 10 per cent reduction in wind tunnel time, that has certainly not yet manifested on-track.

Red Bull’s undefeated run and clear performance margin over the chasing pack means that even if, as anticipated, the impacts of the penalty may start to show up towards the end of the F1 2023 season, by then both titles will be in the bag, while Red Bull have already started focusing their resources on next season’s RB20.

If the FIA then is to set a proper deterrent for breaking the boundaries of the cap, then it seems like they may need to dig deeper into their arsenal of penalties to make sure that happens.

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