F1 rumours: Fresh controversy looms as three teams set to breach cost cap

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen leads into Turn 1 at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2023. Time penalties

Here we go again? A report has claimed there is “well-founded doubt” that once more not every team will be given the green light of compliance with the F1 cost cap for 2022.

The cost cap was first introduced into Formula 1 for 2021, with 2022 then serving as the first year where the FIA would confirm compliance or a breach across the 10 teams on the grid.

And it was Red Bull who felt the sting most severely as they committed a minor overspend breach, bringing about a fine of $7 million and a 10 per cent reduction in their allotted wind tunnel time for the 12-month period.

Aston Martin and Williams also fell foul, though for those teams it was procedural breaches.

And according to a report by the Italian branch ofMotorsport.com, once the FIA issues certificates of compliance with the 2022 cap, expected to arrive by the end of July, rumours indicate that a trio of teams will be found not to be in compliance.

It was not until October of last year when the 2021 cost cap dramas were settled, Formula 1 known to want a swifter resolution this time around, with the prospect of further breaches to deal with now looming.


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Red Bull dominance not a good look for F1 budget cap

While Red Bull’s spending in 2023 and that of their rivals will not come under attention until next year’s budget cap review, their current performance on the track, and how the FIA deal with any potential 2022 breaches, could have a huge impact on the future of this concept.

While Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had previously said that the reputational damage of a cost cap breach would ward off any potential offenders going forward, the current all-conquering dominance of the Red Bull team could make rival teams think otherwise.

That $7m fine and 10 per cent hit in wind tunnel time is yet to have any real impact at all on the Red Bull team, who have won all 10 grands prix so far in F1 2023. Even if as anticipated the cap may start to bite towards the end of the year, by then another title double will likely be in the bag, and Red Bull have already begun directing resources to their RB20 for F1 2024.

The FIA then would need to get tough if any further overspend breaches are confirmed when it comes to the 2022 cap, as now armed with the knowledge of what Red Bull were still capable of even after their punishment, it would not be unimaginable for some teams to believe the breach punishment would be worth it for the on-track gains perhaps available.

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