Mercedes have pulled out of the 18-inch tyre test they were due to participate in next week out of concerns it would have caused them to exceed F1’s new budget cap.Paul Ricard on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Mercedes believe participating in the test would have put them at risk of exceeding a total of 5,000 kilometres of testing using their power units. This is the limit set in the Sporting Regulations, beyond which the costs involved would have counted towards their budget cap limit.
Teams are permitted to spend no more than $145 million, with certain exceptions, under the new financial regulations introduced this year.
Mercedes was also understood to be concerned they would have required an extra crew of mechanics for the test, which would have further added to their costs.
“We are trying to make the budget cap, which is not trivial, and we couldn’t take the costs related to the tyre test and we wouldn’t have been able to send our mechanics on such a long journey,” said Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff in response to a question from RaceFans.
Mercedes suffered a setback this year when Valtteri Bottas’ car was heavily damaged in a collision with George Russell at Imola. Wolff said at the time the costs incurred could compromise their development plan under the new budget cap.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto pointed that out while explaining why his team had taken up the opportunity to conduct the test.
“As Ferrari we always said that 2022 is our priority over 2021 and testing Pirelli tyres, helping Pirelli develop the new tyres, we believe it’s important for us.
“Luckily enough, we didn’t have a crash in Imola so eventually we have some more contingency to Mercedes today. And so we are happy to accept and support.”
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