Mattia Binotto, Ferrari Team Principal, Silverstone, 2022

“Big question marks” remain over policing of Formula 1’s budget cap – Ferrari

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has expressed concerns over Formula 1’s cost cap following rumours Red Bull will introduce a lighter chassis mid-season.

Binotto’s opposite number at Red Bull, Christian Horner, dismissed suggestions the team has produced or is about to introduce a lightweight chassis after their dominant performance in last week’s Belgian Grand Prix.

“No, we didn’t bring it, and no, we don’t have one,” Horner emphasised. “So no, it wasn’t a factor in the performance.”

Red Bull’s performance confounded expectations a new technical directive aimed at reducing porpoising could set them back. “A lot was made and a lot of expectation was placed on that technical directive,” Horner added. “But arguably, perhaps it’s hurt others more than it hurt ourselves.”

His counterparts at Ferrari and Mercedes believe constructing a new chassis at this stage in the season would not be possible under Formula 1’s current financial regulations.

“I think we already mentioned it through the season because now we’ve got a technical, sporting but as well financial regulations which can make differences between teams in the way that they are integrating, optimising and executing it,” Ferrari’s Binotto said.

“And we know that we need to have a very strong FIA to make sure that they are properly focusing, because otherwise the regulation itself would not be fair and equitable. So now I cannot judge on the Red Bull for the lightweight [chassis], because maybe not.

“As Ferrari, we will never be capable of introducing a lightweight chassis or a different chassis through a season simply for budget cap. I would be very surprised of other teams being capable of doing it. And if they are, again it’s back to the regulation itself, is it fair enough? Is it equitable enough? Is the policing sufficient? It’s big question marks.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said the cost cap meant “we wouldn’t be able to introduce a chassis at that stage of the season”, though they could have done before it was introduced.

“We are massively overweight, which we haven’t been really able to dial out because we are trying parts on the car in order to solve our various issues. So, can’t afford that, full stop.

“So it’s definitely what was aimed by introducing the cost cap, it absolutely hit the target. It’s what they wanted to achieve, that the big teams can’t just throw money at it.”

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2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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17 comments on ““Big question marks” remain over policing of Formula 1’s budget cap – Ferrari”

  1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    1st September 2022, 10:16

    Like Toto and Mercedes, Ferrari and Binotto should just focus more on themselves, what they are doing and what they can improve and learn rather than focusing on others.

    Like their track side operation, most likely Red Bull is running their factory more efficiently and effectively than Ferrari. Fairly sure they might have found some loopholes as well but finding loopholes is part of F1 and isn’t illegal.

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer
      You’re not wrong.
      But he isn’t making statements like these, he is answering questions. His answer will be published somewhere, so he better make his answer fit his goals. It’s not helping him if he answers with: “Those are just rumors, I can’t comment on rumors”

      1. Actually I would prefer they answered those questions with “it’s just rumours, and we’re focusing on our own car”.

        As long as teams stay within the technical regulations and budget cap others should not care what they do.
        Spend your time on making your own car and organisation as fast and efficient as possible.

    2. some focus on opponents is never wrong, as the past teaches us, that some teams with big performance improvements just cheated.

  2. So if someone crashes hard, Ferrari and Mercedes would not be able to replace their chassis with a new one? That’s rather worrying isn’t it.

    1. There’s a difference between making a copy of a homologated part, and designing, testing and homologating a new chassis (where you need to make one extra for crash tests. But I think you’re well aware of that :)

      1. If the alleged rumors are correct, there is no design change to the chassis, it would simply be constructed with a different construction method. So no, I don’t think I was aware of that it was a completely new design.

        1. Any changes require a new test.

          1. That’s fine, manufacturing isn’t as expensive as Binotto pretends it is, hence my original comment that it would be very curious if a chassis replacement would be unfeasible under the cost cap, even if you have to produce one more than you have cars.

            Most teams build more than 1 chassis per car a season.

          2. It’s not so much about the chassis and “building a new one” though @sjaakfoo

            And yes, most teams use at least 3 and up to 5 chassis during the season to rotate them between fly away races etc and allow for checks and repairs in between.

            If this is one that is planned to be lighter, they have to make several extra to get through multiple dynamic crash (destructive) tests first. That takes time and money to do.

          3. All teams produce at least 3 – usually 4 to 6 – chassis over a season, and have them in constant rotation, @sjaakfoo.
            But they are all made in the same moulds with the same tooling, and with the same layups, resins and curing – as per the homologated crash test model.
            An original copy under these conditions is fine, and relatively inexpensive.

            Binotto is saying that a different chassis is more expensive because it needs to be re-homologated, perhaps even requiring retooling and/or new moulds from a modified design.
            You seem to think that just making a new layup in an existing mould is fine – but it isn’t. It’s a new product and requires new certification.
            Same is cheap – different is expensive.

    2. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      1st September 2022, 11:06

      Well that is actually a good point – don’t know exact numbers but my memory says Red Bull has crashed very little and had little damages in the racing weekends so far.
      Certainly Ferrari had more so it could very well be Red Bull can spend more on development simply because the money isn’t wasted on replacing broken/burned parts/chassis.

    3. dont know which article you read, but this one is about introducing a new lightweight chassis, not about bringing one more of the currently used spec. lol

  3. Is Binotto seriously thinking that RBR will risk both world championships already in the bag for a budget cap infringement ? I have already said that teams like RBR and Mercedes with stratospheric resources will not be making concessions and sacrificing their advantage for the sake of the sport so the small teams will have a chance to compete with them.

    There must be certainly a way for them to hide costs which we are seeing this year. I remember last year development was stopped after Silverstone for both RBR and Mercedes apart from some minor adjustments for the remaining races. Both teams were talking about the budget cap but in reality it was all about transferring resources to this year’ cars. This year RBR were developing their car at a higher rate than the 2021 season.

    I have said it countless times here that Ferrari should never have accepted the budget cap because they are only cornering themselves because whatever what they were thinking about the ways to hide costs, RBR and Mercedes will probably get the upper hand in that department too. Not the first time thought that Ferrari with Binotto in charge agree on something then to find out they were tricked and complain about it.

    As for the RBR lightweight chassis, the rumours broke in Spa and some even confirmed the chassis was raced. Can anyone have a reliable source on this matter because I have seen a lot of stories… Some suggest RBR have passed a crash test with the new chassis but they didn’t race it, maybe this is a development for the 2023 season or RBR cleverly chose not to race the chassis in question because they are already crashing the opposition and some might start lobby the FIA to get it banned….

    1. Red Bull wouldn’t be risking anything– first off, I don’t think the penalties for violating the budget cap have been fully determined. I know there’s a financial penalty, but I don’t think it’s tied to the championship.

      Secondly, Ferrari ran an illegal engine for at least a full season– and their total penalty was “don’t do that again”. The FIA has been very lenient with teams that were demonstrated to be in violation of the rules– there’s no reason to expect Red Bull would have a title taken away because of the budget cap.

  4. Essentially this is a non story as Binotto made his comments based on fake news. Horner denied developing a new lightweight chassis, which were the basis of the remarks Binotto made.

    So no new chassis, no potential budget cap infringement. No need to worry.

  5. As rumors go things tend to inflate with each iteration until they are blown out of proportion. What the truth/origin may have been is, “Red Bull is still focusing on introducing some lightweight components which may improve their points lead in the remaining races” somewhere through the rumor mill that’s escalated to, “Red Bull are introducing a new lightweight chassis”

    What is plausible around a “new, lightweight, chassis” is a plan for 2023 to cut weight overall under the new budget.

    It’s no surprise that any/all teams are still trying to reduce the weight of their car in any way that may help their 2022 campaign, what is left of it.

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