F1 urged to resist teams’ call for “ridiculous” budget cap increase over sprint races

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Some Formula 1 teams are pushing for “ridiculous” increases in the budget cap for the 2022 season due to the addition of three extra sprint races next year, says McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown.

The 2022 F1 calendar includes a record-breaking 23 rounds, six of which will be sprint events.

F1 introduced a budget cap of $145 million – with several exceptions – for teams in 2021. It subsequently added three sprint qualifying races to the schedule, and teams were give an additional allowance of $450,000 to cover any damage incurred in the extra competitive events.

The budget cap is due to fall to $140 million next year. But with the number of sprint events doubling, a number of teams are pressing to increase it, which Brown opposes.

“Some want to take the opportunity to raise the cost cap, a few of the teams,” Brown explained. “We’re adamantly opposed to raising the cost cap on anything. So we’re going to need to work through that issue.”

“You could bring in the revenue to match the expense or just accept that this is motor racing and it’s the same challenge for everybody,” he added.

This year’s sprint qualifying events did not result in as much damage, and therefore expenses, as teams expected, according to Brown. “The reality is there was very little damage [this] year,” he said.

Only one driver failed to finish any of the sprint qualifying races. Pierre Gasly crashed out on the first lap of the Monza event.

“When this was proposed to us a year ago, they did a report on the damage that was occurring on opening laps,” said Brown. “[It] showed there was very little damage. I think we came into this thinking there could be a little damage, it turns out there was very little damage.

“And yet a couple of the teams still want to take the opportunity to raise the budget by a ridiculous number. Almost like ‘what if I write off a car every race?’

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“I saw more crashes in practice than I have in the sprint races. I think it might be new to some teams to actually have to manage a budget. But I think that’s in the spirit of the sport.”

Brown expects any costs arising from the extra sprint races will be met by increased revenue as Formula 1 grows in popularity.

“The revenue will grow over time. I think we need to be very careful, we’ve put a lot of work to be fiscally sustainable, that certain teams take the opportunity to try and raise that all the time. We need to resist that.”

Teams will discuss changes to the sprint format for next year. While overall viewership increased at this year’s sprint rounds, where regular qualifying sessions were held on Fridays instead of second practice, fans showed limited support for the innovation. An F1-backed survey of over 167,000 fans revealed 40% felt sprint qualifying had “improved the show” while 34% disagreed.

Brown said the teams are aware the format needs improvements for next season.

“This was discussed last weekend with all the teams. It has had a very positive impact on viewing figures, specifically on Friday and that’s a fact. So that’s a good thing, more people tuned in.

“I think the format, we’ve yet to really get into as teams. But I think we all have ideas. Last year was a bit of a test and I think it drove viewership first and foremost, it’s now driving some sponsorship for the league. “You have some promoters that are prepared to financially support it. So TV likes it, promoters like it.

“Anytime you do something new in any sport, you’ll get an element of different fan reaction. I don’t think the format is perfect, but I don’t think anyone’s claimed the format is perfect, so that needs to be discussed.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

15 comments on “F1 urged to resist teams’ call for “ridiculous” budget cap increase over sprint races”

  1. I can’t watch *live* quali on fridays. That’s it, the sole reason why I’m vehemently opposed to sprint races

  2. This screams of Mercedes and/or red bull and/or Ferrari

    1. Probably all three of them yeah @djarvis.

  3. “It has had a very positive impact on viewing figures, specifically on Friday and that’s a fact.” Well… if you move a competitive qualifying session to Friday to replace an hour of “useless” practice then that’s bound to happen.

    1. @kaiie was there not also a suggestion that the evidence seems to be rather more mixed on whether sprint races have actually had the benefits that Zak suggests they did?

      In the case of Monza, there was a suggestion that having the sprint race on the Friday ended up dragging down viewing figures on Saturday so, over the course of the weekend, the viewing figures weren’t really any better than before. In terms of ticket sales, meanwhile, that seems to have been mixed at best, or possibly even had a negative impact at Monza.

      1. anon @kaiie I think the ultimate goal is to reduce the race weekend to two days and two races.

      2. There is no reason for F1 management to push with a solution that would push the viewing down… And I believe Brown bases his decision on fact, not “suggestion” made by “someone”, “somewhere”.

    2. A fact just because Ross say so? Also, counting DNF only as damage is totally disingenuous. A damaged floor will not cause a DNF but still cost a pretty penny in F1$. Brakes, dampers, Hoses, paint, radiators, bodywork, all high ware parts cost boucoup F1$.

  4. Why even ask F1 teams for an opinion? Why do contestants even have say about rules?
    Grow a pair of ballz F1 and FIA, make rules and who doesn’t want to follow them, can pack it.

  5. Although I was initially against the budget cap I’m now a supporter and hope it can be enforced despite the pressure from the money’d up teams.

    1. I fully agree. If this cost cap can help all the teams be more closely competitive with each other through the next critical season, then we will have a better show. Limiting spending to an lower level shouldn’t compromise the creative thinking that makes or breaks a team. In fact, it might generate innovation.

  6. Of course it doesn’t look like a reasonable excuse to increase the cost cap, and tampering the ongoing test of limited budgets.

    Overall though there has been very few conclusions drawn about cost cap so far, if at all. Has the cost cap affected the 2021 season? Is there evidence it played a role or just not yet, bar some whining from top teams after a few chassis write-offs?

  7. To me it makes sense to discuss an increase to the CAP and/or increase the allotment of parts. The sprint race means at minimum that teams will have their engines “turned up” in two pre-race sessions whereas without the sprint race, they could get away with doing it in only one. So I do think there needs to be discussion about the impact of the sprint race on the budgets and components.

    1. An extra “engine” allocation seems fair.

  8. They should just make the Crypto bros pay for any damages on a race by race basis (oops, I mean qualy by qualy basis). Then we might see some more spicy action! Of course, they cannot be allowed to pay these bills with cryptocurrency.

Comments are closed.