Stefano Domenicali on struggle for ‘old’ F1 people to accept the cost cap

Michelle Foster
Formula 1 flag. F1 Italy 2022.

Formula 1 flag. F1 Italy 2022.

F1 chief Stefano Domenicali concedes while some of the “old people” in F1 aren’t in favour of a budget cap, it is “crucial” for the competitiveness of the sport.

Formula 1 implemented a budget cap in 2021, the teams limited to spending $145 million with that figure dropping over the next two seasons.

But while it was heralded as one of the bigger steps towards levelling the playing field between the have and the have nots, Red Bull’s penalty for breaching it on their way to the 2021 Drivers’ title had naysayers mocking its worth.

Domenicali reckons the bulk of those come from the old school way of doing things.

“[It’s] something that has been very difficult to put into the hands of the old people who have been in Formula 1 since the beginning,” Domenicali said in the latest F1 investor call.

“But I think it is crucial in the intermediate term to have it because that will enable us to [have] more competition on the track.” recommends

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The former Ferrari team boss once again talked up the cap, saying it was one of the “most complicated in terms of policing” but believing that’s the way only to ensure it’s fair.

“First of all, I think what has been done has been phenomenal for the sport, and it [should not be taken] for granted that it has been a success,” Domenicali added.

“We added the financial [rules], made it the most complicated one in terms of policing because the physicality is different from country to country, the complexity of the details of teams that are part of a manufacturer – and then there are other entities that are building up to create some resources for the team.

“So the complexity is for sure something the FIA has to be very strong [about], and building up a team that is really very good in managing the control.

“But I think what has been done is one of the pillars enabling the system to be so strong is that it puts the teams in a different cultural frame, because now they need to think differently, how to manage the development of the year.”

He admitted that even F1’s growing number of Sprint races, up to six this season, factored into the budget cap such is the complexity of it.

“We’re talking about Sprint [races], that could be another factor,” he said. “You can have more accidents or crashes and so. It is part of the game.

“So they need to control in a different way that’s better for the unpredictability of the sport.”

Last season, although the F1 teams submitted their numbers on 31 March, Formula 1 only began to hear whispers about a team breaching the cap in October and it wasn’t until the end of the month that the matter was resolved.

That was at the third last race of the season, Mexica, where Red Bull entered an acceptable breach agreement with the FIA and were hit with a $7 million fine and a 10% deduction in their R&D time for 2022.

This year Domenicali has made it clear that needs to be resolved sooner, even before the summer break. That could be even more important for the 2022 financials as Red Bull reckon as many as six teams may have breached the cap.