F1 Today – 01/06/2022

F1 Today

Top three teams fear exceeding budget cap

Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes all believe they are at risk of exceeding the budget cap this season, with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner calling on the FIA to act quickly to avoid an “accounting world championship.”

All teams have to stick to a £119m cap designed to create a level playing field and improve the competition, but the war in Ukraine, pandemic recovery, the rising cost of inflation, energy and freight costs have put teams under more strain. The sports big three and most com competitive teams, all stressed that the budget cap to be increased due to the “force majeure” circumstances.

Horner told Sky Sports “At the time we all agreed to those reductions, nobody could have predicted what was going on in the world and how that is driving inflation in every household globally. We’re seeing it in Formula 1, we’re seeing it with logistics, we’re seeing it with energy costs. That to me is something the FIA need to take into account.”

“They have the ability through force majeure to apply an inflationary effect because we don’t have enough levers to get down to the cap. I think that’s the same for probably seven of the teams in Formula 1.” With six months remaining in the year it is getting likely that teams will breach the cap as costs continue to rise.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said there was “no way” the team could stick to the cap, and pointed out it could see teams go five per cent over, which would be considered a minor breach. The question of how you police that, remains unclear as it is only the second season with these regulations.

He added “No idea – but I don’t think there is any way for us – and for many teams – simply to stay within, and even laying-off people, I don’t think that’s a good and right choice”

Horner also stressed that Red Bull “were going to end up with more people in our financial department than we have in the drawing office” and added: “What we don’t want to see is that Formula 1 becomes an accounting world championship, rather than a technical or sporting one.”

Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff added, “There shouldn’t be a bargaining every year to lift the cost cap up.” He explained that the teams energy and freight costs have tripled and that inflation was above seven percent.

He added “this is a force majeure situation, having a raging war in the Ukraine and the consequences that it had on energy prices is not something anybody could have foreseen. There needs to be some sort of compromise for the teams that are against an inflationary adjustment and the teams that are for it.”

However Alfa Romeo and Alpine have rejected these calls, Alpine CEO Otmar Szafnauer saying that seven per cent rise was forecast back in November and they had accounted for it in their budget and were still within the cap.

Alfa Romeo’s Fred Vasseur, meanwhile, said that teams can just stop developing their cars sooner, reducing costs. Saying, “We are in this situation and sooner or later we will have to stop the development of the car because we will be at the limit of our budget. And I think everybody can do the same. It’s absolutely not a case of force majeure, because inflation is not a case of force majeure.”

However, Horner insisted they want to increase the cap wasn’t about bringing new parts, and says that Red Bull hadn’t brought many upgrades and were being selective in the parts they were producing.

 

Jos Verstappen accuses Red Bull of “throwing away points”

Jos Verstappen has criticised the strategy given to his son Max during the Monaco Grand Prix, insisting valuable points were “thrown away” because they favoured eventual winner Sergio Perez.

Verstappen finished third in the race on Sunday as his teammate Sergio Perez took his first win of the season, both hailing Red Bull afterwards for outsmarting Ferrari with their pit strategy. However, Verstappen Sr, believes Perez was wrongly prioritised by the team given his son’s title lead.

Writing on the Verstappen website, Jos said “Red Bull achieved a good result, but at the same time exerted little influence to help Max to the front. That he finished third, he owes to Ferrari’s mistake at that second stop of Charles Leclerc.”

“Max was not helped by the chosen strategy. It turned completely to Checo’s favour. That was disappointing to me, and I would have liked it to be different for the championship leader.”

Perez went from third to victory in Monaco after outqualified Verstappen, opted to pit him first onto intermediates, allowing him to undercut Leclerc and ultimately Sainz. Verstappen would follow him in, although was far behind Sainz on track. Verstappen has still extended his championship advantage over Leclerc to nine points, but is only 15 ahead of Perez.

Jos added, “Perez actually won the race because of the earlier pit stop. The team can perhaps explain that as a gamble, but they had already seen, with for example Gasly, that the intermediates were the best option at that time. I would have liked them to go for Max, but of course I am not entirely objective.”

He says that ten points have been thrown away in Monaco, and with Verstappen retiring twice this season he needs every point. Jos also said the Red Bull was not suited to Max’s driving style, saying he has too little grip at the front axle.

 

Sainz frustrated by FIA’s consistency

Carlos Sainz says he was left frustrated by the lack of consistency from the FIA stewards after the €25,000 fine he received for impeding Lance Stroll in Monaco Grand Prix practice.

In FP3 the Spaniard held up the Aston Martin driver and was summoned to the stewards who gave him a fine as well as his third reprimand of the season, putting him on the urge of a ten-place grid penalty. While Sainz accepted blame and apologised to Stroll, he was left frustrated on Sunday night at the lack of consistency of punishing similar offences.

On his out-lap after a crucial pitstop sequence, Sainz lost the lead and potential victory after being held up for half a lap by Williams driver Nicholas Latifi, amid numerous other incidents on the narrow streets of the principality. The time lost allowed Red Bull’s Sergio Perez to overcut him and snatch the lead, which he kept until the finish.

Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc was also held up by lapped traffic during an important phase of the race, as the other Williams of Alex Albon emerged in front of Leclerc after pitting for slicks, while the Monegasque driver was still using intermediates.

Albon said he thought he could stay ahead due to the extra pace of the slicks, but finally held up Leclerc for an entire lap before going straight at Ste Devote.

Sainz says he couldn’t understand why neither Williams driver faced action for a less impactful offence. He told Motorsport.com, “cannot count the times that I got impeded in Monaco this weekend, both being dangerous and not dangerous. What I don’t understand is why we got fined 25,000 euros as a team for an impeding which I did.”

“I accepted the blame and I apologised to Lance and I don’t understand why other cases are not investigated and other people are not fined for exactly the same thing. It cost us both the same and no further action. That was proper impeding, so this is where we want more clarity and we want more consistency, as simple as that.”

Team principal Mattia Binotto believed Sainz’s fine was not the right choice as he felt his impeding of Stroll was not dangerous and the team tried its best to avoid it on Monaco’s busy streets.

 

Gasly explains Monaco fightback

Pierre Gasly wanted to look for “unusual places” to overtake in his Monaco Grand Prix fightback, leading to his move on Daniel Ricciardo on the entry to Swimming Pool.

After looking competitive in practice, the Alpha Tauri driver was prevented from setting a time at the end of Q1. The Frenchman told his team to “be prepared” to take risks on strategy in the race, prompting him to be the first driver in the field to switch from wet to intermediate tyres after the red flag restart.

Gasly survived a couple of sketchy laps in the wet before conditions improved and he became the fastest driver on track, allowing him to quickly catch those still running on wets. He then closed up quickly on Ricciardo through the Nouvelle Chicane on lap fourteen before having a look through Tabac.

Thanks to his superior grip, Gasly was able to pull alongside Ricciardo exiting the corner before then completing the move on the entry to Swimming Pool, which is rarely an overtaking spot in Monaco.

He explained after the race, “It was pretty tight, but I was so much faster than these guys, I just needed to calm myself. I’d caught them so quickly, and then after you are like, OK, I want to pass, but it’s like if the guy is defending well, suddenly you’ve got no space on the right, no space on the left.”

“Then you have to be creative. That’s what I tried to do. At the end of the day, F1 drivers, we are kind of artists, we need to find always new idea. I tried to come up with unusual places to overtake, and that worked out, so I’m pleased with that.”

Gasly admitted that he didn’t know “how many times I almost crashed” and that when he initially exited the pit lane on intermediate tyres, he thought it “might have been a very bad idea”.

Explaining he needed to make it work somehow but he described it as a big challenge to find grip, and accepted that the team started to far back and paid the price for starting too far back.

 

FIA F1 director leaves

The FIA has announced that its secretary-general for sport and Formula 1 executive director, Peter Bayer, has left the governing body. Bayer took up the role as secretary-general for sport in 2017, overseeing all activities in the FIA’s sporting department right the way from go-karting up to F1, as well as working closely with member clubs across the world.

The Austrian became the FIA’s F1 executive director at the end of last year prior to the controversial end to the season in Abu Dhabi, overseeing its F1 operations. He was put in charge of the inquiry into the race where Lewis Hamilton lost out on the F1 title to Max Verstappen on the final lap restart after former race director Michael Masi failed to implement at least two articles of the sporting regulations.

In a statement issued by the FIA on Wednesday, the FIA announced that Bayer had left his roles. It read “The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile announces the departure of Peter Bayer, who served as Secretary-General for Sport since 2017 and also as F1 Executive Director since 2021. The FIA warmly thanks him for the achievements he has contributed to the development of motorsport over the last five years.”

“In particular, he has supervised, with the entire Sport Division, the building of the single-seater pyramid from karting to F1, the creation of the new World Rally-Raid Championship, as well as improving safety and sustainability in all disciplines. The FIA wishes him all the best for the future.”

Under president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA has since restructured its F1 operations, including the appointment of two race directors to alternate the role and the introduction of a new virtual race control room.

The FIA confirmed that Bayer would be replaced on an interim basis by Shaila-Ann Rao, who previously spent two years with the FIA as its legal director and has recently rejoined the organisation. At the end of 2018, Rao left the FIA to join Mercedes as general counsel before becoming a special advisor to Toto Wolff in January 2021.

 

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Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.