In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says it is a “concern” that F1 teams may not be deterred by the rules from exceeding the sport’s cost cap.
Lack of deterrent for breaching cost cap a concern – Hamilton
Hamilton does not believe F1’s financial regulations deter teams from exceeding the total budget allowance. Red Bull were handed a fine and received limitations on their aerodynamic testing allowance for a year last season after the FIA determined they overspent the budget cap during the 2021 season. Williams and Aston Martin also received fines for procedural breaches over the season.
With the FIA currently auditing all ten teams’ submissions for the 2022 season, Hamilton said the possibility that teams who saw the punishment Red Bull received for a material overspent being tempted to do the same was “definitely a concern.”
“I mean, there wasn’t really a big punishment last time, so there’ll be people that’ll probably go for it again and know they’re just going to get slap on the wrist,” he told Sky.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali recently said teams who exceed the budget cap should face sporting penalties.
FIA working to speed up budget cap auditing process
The FIA says that it is working to speed up how its financial regulations team audits each F1 teams’ submissions for the budget cap for the previous season.
Teams must submit their full accounts for the last year by the end of the financial year on March 31st. However, last year, final punishments for breaches were only announced in October.
Federico Lodi, the FIA’s financial regulations director for F1 and Formula E, says the governing body have more than doubled its permanent staff to help try and speed up the process.
“It’s clear that there is an interest from the stakeholders to have a quick outcome,” Lodi said. “We, as the FIA, understand these requirements, so we have strengthened the department, and now we have 10 full-time employees working on Formula 1 financial regulation. This is a significant increase over last year, when it was just four.
“However, it is still clear that it’s difficult to commit to a rigid timeline, as there are many variables that need to be taken into account. First, there are the findings themselves – what we identify and what we need to dig into further. On top of that, we also have to take into account the fact that we do the review with the support of the team, and obviously, the finance department of the team is also busy with running its business; they may also have a reporting commitment to their shareholders for example. So, while we need to work as quickly as possible, for us the most important thing is not to undermine the robustness of the process.”
Williams’ progress puts pressure on us – Zhou
Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu says that being overtaken by Williams in the constructors’ championship increases the pressure on his team.
Williams have scored ten points over the last three rounds to jump from tenth and last to seventh, two places ahead of Alfa Romeo. Zhou says his team need to make sure its upgrades over the rest of the season are effective to be able to battle back against Williams.
“We were very close together with Williams, and also Haas, for the whole season and unfortunately got overtaken for that last weekend, so it’s not ideal,” he said. “The pressure is high, but I think the main focus is really to get more out of the package, to be quicker in terms of developing more upgrades coming through the second half of the season.”
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