Steiner: Budget cap won’t bring grid together

Date published: November 13 2019

Guenther Steiner thinks that performance gaps will be reduced not eliminated by the budget cap in 2021.

Haas principal Guenther Steiner thinks the budget cap coming from 2021 may reduce performance gaps in F1, but not eliminate them.

As part of the major overhaul to the series from 2021, a $175m-per-season budget cap will come into play, though some expenses such as driver salaries won’t be included.

The hope is that the cap will help the teams to converge together, doing away with the top three of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull that have established themselves as the leading teams, while the rest battle for midfield supremacy.

But, Steiner doesn’t think it will be efficient enough to eliminate the performance gaps.

“I think in the beginning the cost cap – how it’s defined now – will close the gap, but it will not take the gap away,” he said in Haas’ Brazilian GP preview.

“We are far from spending $175 million at the moment, and the big teams are well over that. The big teams need to come down, and they will get down to $175 million, but most of the other teams are well within that figure.

“Hopefully, it closes the gap to start off, then we’ll see. Maybe there’s a second step in the cost cap.”

Steiner also dismissed the criticism surrounding the increased number of standardised parts from 2021, saying that aerodynamics is the area where teams develop the most and it will still offer plenty of scope to do so.

“The development, whatever the regulations, is always in aerodynamics,” he explained. “That’s the main thing to develop.

“There is still enough freedom where we can develop areas of the car to make them different from each other. We’ll try to get a little bit more performance out than our competitors.

“The floor is always one of the most important things on a Formula One car. It’s always been important and will continue to be, so not a lot will change in that respect. You’re always working to get everything out of the car from wherever you can.”

The heavier cars are expected to be slower by 3-3.5s a lap in 2021, but Steiner thinks the aero uncertainty is to blame for that, not the weight.

“Nobody wants heavier cars in racing in general, and even more so in Formula One,” he admitted.

“It doesn’t make the cars look as smooth when they ride around. With all the technology and the safety aspects and the hybrid technology, you cannot do without it.

“I don’t think the 25 kilos will be the biggest factor in making the cars slower – it’s more the aerodynamics. Maybe at the beginning we are not where we want to be, but I’m pretty sure we’ll end up with the cars back to being as fast as they are now. A lot depends on the tires, as well.”

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