Mick Schumacher, Haas, Imola, 2021

$600,000 budget cap break for crash damage in ‘Sprint Qualifying’ races

2021 F1 season

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Plans to introduce ‘Sprint Qualifying’ races this year are to go ahead after an agreement was reached to allow teams to exceed the budget cap to pay for crash damage.

Formula 1 teams are limited to a maximum expenditure of $145 million on their programmes this year under the sport’s new Financial Regulations. This limit excludes certain items but includes crash damage.

Top teams, which have already had to restructure their operations to bring their budgets beneath the new limit, raised concerns the extra Saturday races could increase their costs and cause them to exceed the cap.

Formula 1 has been pushing to introduce sprint races in one form or another for the past two years. In order to ensure teams’ support for the latest Sprint Qualifying proposal, a financial package has been agreed to cover their costs.

RaceFans understands each team will receive a $75,000 payment from Formula 1 Management per Sprint Qualifying race to cover the cost of participation. On top of that, any team which suffers significant damage in one of the extra races will be permitted to spent up to $200,000 more over their budget cap limit per round.

To qualify for the budget cap break, teams will have to demonstrate a car had to pit for repairs or retired from the race due to the damage sustained. F1 intends to hold Sprint Qualifying races at three rounds on this years calendar, bringing the total possible allowance per team to $600,000.

Feature: F1 almost had Saturday sprint races 35 years ago – this time it probably will
On response to a question from RaceFans, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto confirmed teams will receive an “extra” budget cap allowance if they suffer damage in Sprint Qualifying races. “I’m expecting that what we discussed and agreed in Bahrain are the final [regulations], so yes, happy with that,” he said.

Although full details of the Super Qualifying races have not been announced, the format’s approval is expected to be a formality. It will go before the F1 Commission next week, and is likely to pass unanimously, before being rubber-stamped by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

The British, Italian and Brazilian grands prix have been earmarked for the first Sprint Qualifying races. At those rounds, a regular qualifying session will be held on Friday in place of second practice, and decide the starting grid for a short race on Saturday. This will in turn set the grid for Sunday’s race, and award points for the top three finishers.

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 12 comments on “$600,000 budget cap break for crash damage in ‘Sprint Qualifying’ races”

    1. Can Bottas use repaired chassis from Imola and retired his car during race to give Merc permission to spent additional $200,000?

      1. Or can Vettel retired his car three times during sprint race to give Aston Martin permission to spent additional $600,000?

    2. While I’m not opposed to sprint races as some are, as long as Qualifying continues to exist, I do feel that it’s pretty weird to have three sessions like this and not allow the teams any extra parts. 23 races is a hell of a lot for 3 or 2 components to last to begin with, and now with the added sprint races I’d find it very remarkable to expect any team to not go over their limit.

      Besides, with the budget cap coming in, I find the whole idea of handing out penalties for using too many bits and bops to be ridiculous enough to begin with. It just cheapens the competition to penalise drivers over an engine failure.

      1. I do feel that it’s pretty weird to have three sessions like this and not allow the teams any extra parts.

        These sessions are replacing a FP sessions in which they drive approximately the same distance as a Sprint Qualifying session, @aiii.
        It might be less ‘in anger’, but should not make a big difference other than (which is actually very important) they probably cannot choose to use older PU’s/etc in these sessions.

        The increased risk of damage is covered by the $200k allowance.
        Although we saw yesterday that some accident can cause a lot more damage ;)

    3. The fact this terrible idea will see the light of day is beyond worrying.

      1. It is not a terrible idea, it is a midway course to balance things out.
        Some teams have had to disengage staff to fall within the cost cap. A few other teams are no able to exceed the cost cap. For some teams, the cost cap is similar to forcing a man with average pay to live on the street when he can afford a reasonable accommodation.

        1. I am talking about the qualifying race.

    4. Lewisham Milton
      19th April 2021, 10:10

      Will there be a TV caption (with “ker-ching!” sounds) for the value of each driver’s damage? And will they be ranked by money, like golfers?

    5. Of course, the photo of Mazepin, perfect illustration.

      1. NotAlexYoong
        21st April 2021, 3:48

        I think that if you had done some research and read the drivers’ individual choice of numbers, you’d know that no. 47 belongs to Mick Schumacher and that this photo was after Schumi Jr. spun and hit the wall during the early part of the Emilia-Romagna GP.

        Reply moderated
    6. Kudos to F1 for laying the foundation stone that will round-off their format in the future (After the noise of 20th century is no more).

    7. DeeAnn Hopings
      20th April 2021, 5:01

      The problem is that if you have to write of ONE tub, that represents about 80% of that $600,000…

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