The FIA examination of the F1 teams spend during the 2021 season is reaching a conclusion. Last weekend in Singapore a war of words erupted between Toto Wolff and Red Bull boy Christian Horner. Red Bull were accused of “massive” overspend in 2021 but Horner questioned how Wolff could know this and threatened legal action for defamation.
Ferrari’s sporting director Learnt Mekies had called from transparency from F1’s governing body over how they have handled the 6 months plus investigation.
The problem for Ferrari is not long ago they were accused of having an illegal power unit and the matter was dealt with behind closed doors between the FIA and the Italian team.
How is the FIA counting spend?
Neither Mattia Binotto nor Toto Wolff are attending the Japanese GP which was due to be the first race following the FIA issuing certificates of compliance to the teams who had met the 2021 budget cap criteria.
However, as with any audit of a company’s accounts there are grey areas to consider like stock valuation. A team may pay a certain price for stock, the the market price increases that total stock held at the end of the reporting period is worth more – and should be valued accordingly.
Conversely if stock becomes obsolete but the company still retains a quantity of it, then the stock value should be written down.
Will the grey areas be discussed by the FIA?
Of course the teams are accounting on merely a spending basis, so in this example the value of the stock would be the price the team paid for it.
Yet there are other grey areas particularly for the manufacturers.
Does person X work exclusively on power units which are outside the cost cap? Or do they spend some time working across the power unit fit into the chassis?
Where does such a person’s salary sit?
These grey areas are all part of the FIA’s subsequent enquiries to the teams of which Red Bull racing admitted in Singapore they had 6 items outstanding.
Binotto fears the ‘melting snow’
However, given the fact the FIA has again delayed issuing compliance certificates for spend in 2021, Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto has expressed concerns over the FIA’s handling of the matter.
Speaking on Sky Italia today Binotto believed the delay demonstrates there are obviously still “points that are unclear and still need to be defined” in the audit.
The issues are allegedly points of contention raised by the FIA
“There are points which the FIA is contesting and the team is trying to defend itself,” Binotto continues.
“Regardless of what comes out, and I fear it will be snow melting in the sun, I think all these decisions, how they have interpreted the regulations, what they have granted – because they will certainly have granted something – it all comes out clearly and transparently.”
Hypocrisy from Ferrari call for transparency
Managing a budget of $145m will never be a single case of adding up the receipts and keeping a running total. So the FIA will need to decide over where the boundaries fall which was not particularly clear in the first set of budget cap regulations.
Binotto believes that all parties “need to know what the discussions were” with teams where subsequent questions were asked. The Italian boss believes its only fair that all teams know the interpretations made by the FIA
Naively Binotto believes, ”The rules were clear from the beginning, they were discussed.”
“We don’t understand the need to have to change them today beyond the fact that this is the first year with the budget cap.
“Because with the FIA, there have always been constant exchanges and we have always tried to clarify them.
“I am a bit pessimistic about this, but first of all, clarity and transparency from the FIA will be important.”
FIA cost cap team short staffed
Given the lack of personnel the FIA have dedicated to this process, its unlikely that they will be able to deliver a full disclosure of all the decisions they have made over each item the team has spent money upon.
Christian Horner repeated his assertion made in Singapore to Sky on Friday in Japan.
“We were expecting the certificates as well on Wednesday, hoping for them on Wednesday, but that’s obviously been delayed for all of the teams,” Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner said on Sky Sports on Friday.
“The FIA have obviously taken that choice. We wait with interest to see what happens on Monday.
“But again, we feel that we’ve absolutely complied with the cost cap, with the regulations.
“We’re happy with our submission, and await to hear what the feedback is.”
Binotto’s comments appear to reveal he believes all the teams will receive compliance certificates and that will be the end of the matter for the FIA.
If this is the case then surely Ferrari and Mercedes will press for further information, though as noted before, Ferrari have made secret deals with the FIA just three years ago.
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Overtaking… during qualifying! 👀#JapaneseGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/8mkONQOr1z
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 8, 2022
It’s obvious that the English press has no love for Red Bull. Repeated dramatic headlines of unsubstantiated allegations, revisiting historic events from the “English perspective” massaged to fit into current allegations jyst some examples. However referring to Christian Horner as a ” boy” sets a whole new standard Just how low can you go.
If Enzo were still alive Binotto would be working for Aldi. He was not one listen to excuses for failing, and Ferrari have had plenty this year. Ferrari should have won this championship and the wdc title but no, they cocked up and have no one to blame but themselves. Now Binotto has got together with Toto to go up and down the pit lane like a pair of jillted lovers looking for sympathy because they’ve been well and truly beaten. Toto should know better, the roles have been reversed and he doesn’t like it, tough! As Ron Denis said” Welcome to the piranha club” F1 is eat or be eaten.