Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2022

Ferrari stopped developing 2022 car because they hit budget cap

2022 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the team halted development work on their 2022 car because they reached the limit on spending imposed by Formula 1’s budget cap.

The restriction was introduced for the first time last year. The cap was originally set at $145 million but was reduced to $140 million this year. It excludes several items, including driver salaries, but includes car development costs.

Ferrari began the 2022 season strongly, winning two of the first three races. However they have found it increasingly difficult to compete with rivals Red Bull and Mercedes as the season has gone on.

The team introduced its last update for the SF-21, which it described as a “minor” revision to its floor, at the Japanese Grand Prix one month ago. Prior to that its most recent change came at the Italian Grand Prix where the team introduced a lower-downforce beam wing to suit the high-speed Monza circuit.

Binotto confirmed no further development of this year’s car followed those upgrades because they couldn’t spend more money on the car under the rules.

“It was not a choice,” he told media including RaceFans after last Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix. “We simply finished the money for the budget cap.

“So simply we were at the cap and had no more opportunity of developing the car. So we simply stayed where we were.”

As next year’s technical regulations are largely the same as this year’s, teams will be able to carry much of their development work over onto their 2023 designs. However Binotto pointed out the new parts still need to be built, and the budget to do that for this year wasn’t available.

“We didn’t compromise next year’s car development, but certainly we decided to stop the current one,” said Binotto. “Because on top of this normal development, on the current one, you would need to produce the parts and bring them on-track. And that was the extra cost that we couldn’t afford.”

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    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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    32 comments on “Ferrari stopped developing 2022 car because they hit budget cap”

    1. The Germano-British-USD must go further than the Italo-USD, then …

      1. Well, it helps if the updates you bring actually make your car faster @proesterchen. If not, as seems to be the case at Ferrari, you have to then come up with new bits to do that same job, so you run out of budget earlier without achieving as much!

      2. Germany and Italy both use the same currency, Euros. Although Red Bull is Austrian, the team is based at Milton Keynes and I know Red Bull submitted its accounting in GB Pounds. Mercedes is based not that far away from them, but I don’t know if they submitted in Pounds or Euros. It does seem wierd that you can have a cost cap in US Dollars when the majority of the teams use Euros or Pounds.

        1. I believe the F1 entry is owned by the Ltd Company that operates the Brackley team (therefore if, for example, Daimler decided to sell the team, its entry goes with it), ergo it’s accounts would likely be submitted in GBP.

          Here’s the Companies House records –

    2. Red Bull broke through that cap last year to keep developing to win the championship. And then Masi gifted it to them.

      Lewis was robbed. Twice.

    3. I remember @bascb and a lot of others disputing me when I had said earlier this year that this is a Ferrari trademark: start strong, and then be completely unable to develop your car while others do more per unit of currency spent and overtake you in the standings. Well, now it’s plain as day.

      1. I would be quite surprised if I did in fact that @wsrgo? Maybe you rather misunderstood what I was saying?

        Ferrari has been worse than Mercedes (and Red Bull, and often the likes of McLaren and Alpine too) with car development for years now.

        1. @wsrgo, @bascb
          This has been a Ferrari trademark in the past but the technical team in charge of the car development in Ferrari have been doing their job. I’ll explain because apparently Mercedes and RBR picked up a lot of pace after the summer break and Ferrari start struggling which allude that Mercedes and RBR developed their car a lot better than Ferrari did.

          In the first part of the season, Ferrari and RBR were trading upgrades with RBR developing their car at a higher pace. Mercedes were struggling with porpoising and and were all over the place. The engineers at Mercedes were confident that their sidepodless concept has a lot of potential if they could resolve their porpoising issues.

          Ferrari and before the budget cap was introduced invested heavily in its infrastructure and sorted out all their wind tunnel and track correlation issues. A new cutting edge simulator developed by the Bristol-based firm Dynisma has been used to develop the F1-75. They have been relying on AWS’s powerful capabilities (advanced analytics, machine learning, AI…) that enabled them to run greater simulations faster than ever before to quickly gain insights into the design and performance of their car.

          In the first part of the season, Ferrari upgrades delivered the expected result and their PU is probably the most powerful in terms of peak performance, albeit less reliable. So, what happened ?

          The TD039 and this what I have been talking about for the past 7 years and here at RaceFans. The amount of political power Toto have is unprecedented especially now he managed to place his former personal assistant who is in charge of the sport now. Even Christian Horner who is the only one matching him in that aspect and with the entire powerful Red Bull PR machine behind him have lost lots of political battles against him.

          The current ground effect cars relied heavily on the floor to produce downforce by being as close to the ground as possible. Though being close to the floor wears the plank. Ferrari designed a mount for the T-tray similar to the one used on the F2003-GA to get around this issue. Though this time the T-tray mounting included a damper. It’s worth to mention that Rory Byrne who designed the F2003-GA oversaw the design of the F1-75 as an external consultant.

          RBR, Ferrari and even Haas were using springs/damper system at the T-tray to basically work as a suspension system. It moves up when the plank hit the ground, to absorb the energy that would go to the plank without it. RBR were using some kind of sponge to absorb the energy if I’m not wrong while Ferrari and Haas were using springs/damper systems. The TD039 outlawed the use of both RBR and Ferrari clever solutions and the only way to work around the plank wear issue is to raise the ride height of the car.

          Some might argue that Ferrari should have not exploited that grey area of the regulations and played it safe, but that wasn’t the real reason why they have lost performance. The real reason why Ferrari have lost performance and Mercedes came alive again is the second stipulation of the TD039, the anti-porpoising measure ,that is related to the vertical oscillations of the cars.

          Ferrari were already hit by the first plank-wear related measure that forced it to run its car higher because of the way the F1-75’s floor and sidepods were designed. They have to run an even higher ride height because of the second paragraph alone.

          The Ferrari concept is all about maximizing the ground effect while RBR’s concept relies on working better the diffuser which is Adrian Newey territory. Ferrari invested heavily into making a floor with a very low roof. Everything (PU, auxiliaries, radiators…) had to be installed as low as possible which also explains the low engine cover that improved airflow to the rear wing.

          Ferrari novel sidepods design improved the airflow to beam wing and allowed for a stronger upwash that enabled even more airflow through the floor. The downside of this approach is the drag it creates and this comes the “bathtubs” solution on top of the sidepods that reduced drag. As mentioned before, the anti-porpising measure meant that Ferrari has to run its car even higher which the floor was just simply not designed for and as a result their novel sidepods design become obsolete.

          This suggests that Ferrari for the 2023 season will switch to a Red Bull style sidepods that will also imply the redesign of the radiators. It’s worth to mention that the RB18 was designed with porpoising in mind that’s why they didn’t suffer the sudden loss of performance Ferrari have suffered.

          Ferrari will still lose to Mercedes and RBR if they cannot start to play the political game like them. As shown this year, even starting the season with the fastest all around car they are struggling to finish 2nd in the WCC.

          1. Really good points about the background of this @tifoso1989 as well as pointing to where Ferrari have made progress in development and what hurt their trajectory this year. That is an encouraging view because it means that they will more likely to build a good chassis and follow up on that with in season development next year.

            As for the part about “toto being too powerful” and finding it unfair that this development was banned – It is pretty clear to me that this was a bit of a grey area that these teams must have expected the FIA to close down since it in effects makes the floor flex where a sturdy one was the intent of the design and the FIA had warned up front they would be looking at these kind of things to close such options.

            1. @bascb
              Thanks for your comment ! I agree with you with regard to Ferrari exploiting grey areas but as I said that’s not the main cause of their loss of performance. It’s the anti-porpoising measure and the way Toto lobbied hard to get it introduced on safety basis.

              I may be biased when talking about Toto and Mercedes, I don’t deny that. Though they play the political game like no one else, even Horner who is the only one matching him in that department and with the entire Red Bull PR machine behind him have lost many political battles against Toto.

              Last week after the Brazilian GP, the French Canal+ released a documentary “Jean Todt, la methode” which was about Todt’s career. The Canal+ crew were with him in Abu Dhabi GP that he didn’t attend and watched from his home. Straightaway after the race, Toto called him and was furious in the telephone. Todt who never interfere with the race officials kept telling Toto that he can’t give him an answer and he doesn’t have all the elements.

              This is Jean Todt who is no joke in motorsport. Imagine the influence Toto for example have on someone like Ben Sulayem with all my respects to the man.

        2. Jeez I shouldn’t have opened my stupid mouth @bascb. It wasn’t you, it was Srdjan I think. Really sorry for calling you out like that. Will be careful in future to engage brain and coffee before commenting early morning.

      2. You forgot about the tech directive!

    4. “It was not a choice,” he told media including RaceFans after last Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix. “We simply finished the money for the budget cap.

      Clearly Binotto didn’t get Horner’s memo on how its OK to cheat the budget cap.

      Seriously though.. even if they broke the budget cap, Ferrari would still be rubbish. The issue was not the car this year… it was Binotto and the chief strategist.

      1. Yeah, the car was good enough to fight for…. 2nd (in both champs).

        1. @mg1982

          Car was good enough to take more poles than any other. It was a championship contending car up until the summer break for sure. Then Ferrari’s signature plateau in car development comes in to play.

          1. Yes, but we’re past summer for quite some time now, and that was like 1/2-2/3 of the season. I was saying how things look on the whole as of now, and given the reliability issues + the tech directive too, it doesn’t look like a champ contending car anymore. Their Quali performance was like a “lie” in many cases since that performance didn’t translate in the Race too. But, without all the bad strategical calls, should have taken 2nd in both champs without trouble. It seems they still need to work on another problem that seems eternal to me for them: tyre wear. I just hope in 2023 they have a car at least as good at the start. Binotto should go tho, work strictly in the engineering department.

      2. The car was definitely a problem, as well. Even at the start of the season, only in Australia did Ferrari look comfortably faster on Sunday. They’ve had problems keeping their qualifying pace all throughout the year, and their lack of top speed has been a problem from the first race onwards. The DNFs didn’t help either, and we can only guess what they had to do to prevent those from happening again, while Red Bull’s DNFs seemed rather unrelated to the engine itself so it didn’t seem to hinder their use of the Honda PUs much if at all.

        Ferrari also failed to learn the lesson that it’s only okay to exploit the rules to their fullest extent if you have the will and ability to play politics over said rules. Instead, Ferrari failed to prevent the FIA changing the rules midseason, blatantly at Mercedes’ request, which harmed Ferrari’s car concept much more than Red Bull’s.

    5. I think the word ‘migrant’ is at its all time high now.

    6. Other outlet published this interview with Binotto comment that Mercedes was the fastest car in the last races and simply not winning before Brazil because of tyre choices.

    7. Binotto is out. This has been reported now in Mediasat and La Gazetta Dello Sport. Vasseur is replacing him.

      1. Interesting @tifoso1989. I guess we’ll see how that pans out – only a change at the “top” is probably not enough to get Ferrari hammered into an efficient machine. But Vasseur is a really capable guy able to instill a sense of purpose and unity.

        1. @bascb
          There were rumours yesterday made by Turrini that Elkann was furious after the Brazilian GP and he decided that enough is enough. We’ll discuss more thoroughly the impact of the decision once @keithcollantine will report the news here at RaceFans.

      2. @tifoso1989

        About time. He’s been hands down the worst team principal Ferrari has ever had since I’ve been watching the sport. I’m not taking in to account interim principals such as Mattiaci.

        Don’t know if he should be fired from Ferrari’s F1 team though. A demotion would be the best for Ferrari if they want to avoid another ‘management change period’ effects. He would still be good as head of the engine department or an Engineering lead. But he’s definitely not team principal material at all.

        1. @todfod
          Let’s not forget that Binotto was the head of Ferrari PU department and then the team principle of Ferrari when the team showed progress from a technical standpoint under his leadership. We all agree that Binotto is a brilliant engineer, though a bad team principle. You’re making a good point here about Ferrari putting the right people in the wrong positions and beg the question about the selection criteria and how people evolve in such organization.

          Binotto’s situation reminds me of Aldo Costa. Costa was a brilliant chassis designer though he never was, never will be a technical director. When he joined Mercedes in early 2012, Brawn who knew him very well assigned him to the chassis department, a role he kept also under Toto. Mercedes chassis wise improved a lot since he joined the team. He oversaw the design of both the DDRS and the FRIC systems.

          For me personally, in the pitwall you need strong leaders that understands racing and have killer instinct to take on the fly decisive decisions. You don’t need brilliant engineers who rely heavily on data and AI to tell you that the sky is blue.

          1. That is very nice but how can you convince a brilliant engineer that he is not good enough for team director?
            Both Costa and Binotto wanted to fully lead Ferrari.

            1. Its just not the same skill set. Does Toto Wolff or Christian Horner strike you as great engineering and design minds? Why isn’t Adrian Newey the team principal of Red Bull then? Or Allison the principal of Mercedes.

              Not everyone can be a Ross Brawn. And lets face it, how much success has Brawn tasted as a team principal?

    8. How is that possible? We have seen barely any uprades on ferrari compared to mercedes. Mercedes has 6 rear wings or variations, a gazillion floor variations, at least a couple sidepod covers. Oqpp

      1. Alpine has 10 floors, 5 sidepods, a couple wings.

      2. It tells me that Ferrari are not efficient in their spending. Simple as that… or is it not?
        How Mercedes were able to build as many different cars as they have is trully astounding. And they kept developing…

    9. FIA F1 Cost Cap Regs ….

      ” 1.2 These Financial Regulations introduce a Cost Cap that limits certain costs that may be incurred
      by or on behalf of an F1 Team in each Full Year Reporting Period, while leaving that F1 Team
      free to decide how to allocate resources within that Cost Cap. ”

      Sounds like Ferrari is choosing to spend their resources on next years car. Probably a smart move.
      Problem is if you are perpetually focused on “next year” you will always miss out on the Grand Prize.

    10. Has there been any analysis on whether Mercedes were faster (than their earlier races) in Brazil or were RB just slower?

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