Today is now the4th date set by the FIA to deliver there verdict on which teams honoured the 2021 Formula One budget cap and which teams are in breach. A decision was expected last Wednesday before the Japanese GP but for the third time it was deferred by the FIA.
The budget cap regulations were introduced for the 2021 Formula One season and a limit of spend by the teams was set at $145m. However a number of items sit outside that limit including power units, drivers’ salaries to name but two.
The FIA received submissions from all the teams in March this season detailing their previous year expenditure and have since been queueing certain items to clarify whether the teams should include them or not.
F1 cost cap row erupts
At the Singapore GP a huge row broke out as Toto Wolff accused Red Bull Racing of “massively” overspending and Lewis Hamilton commented that’d Mercedes spent just $300 more he may well have been the 2021 F1 drivers’ champion.
Christian Horner admitted there were 6 items outstanding the FIA wished to clarify and that they were fully confident their submission would comply with the spending limit.
German publication AMuS however claimed Red Bull had spent around $10m more than the FIA cap allowed.
Mercedes Boss outlines the process that should be resolved today and how it may end up in a legal feud.
Wolff outlines legal process
The teams will either be issued with a certificate of compliance or need to enter into a settlement agreement with the FIA as to the overspend they have made.
“If it doesn’t come to the settlement agreement, because either the team doesn’t want to do it, or the FIA thinks it needs to go to the Cost Cap Adjudication Panel, then there is a group of judges, independent judges, that are going to look at the regulations and the case and come to a conclusion whether they should be penalised or not,” explained Wolff.
“If the team is not happy with the outcome, then you can still go to the ICA and appeal there, so it’s a lengthy process, but I think super robust in terms of the governance.”
There were paddock rumours between Singapore and Japan that Mercedes itself may e in a minor breach of the regulations and it was notable Toto Wolff planned not to attend the Japanese GP before the FIA postponed its final adjudication.
Storm in an F1 tea cup?
Clearly all the teams will have had queries made by the FIA around their interpretation of which items are to be included and those which are properly outside the regulation,
The FIA robustly defended its position and pushed back against the wild claims being made by certain team bosses stating.
“The FIA informs that the conclusion of the analysis of the 2021 financial submissions of the Formula 1 teams and the subsequent release of Certificates of Compliance to the Financial Regulations will not take place on Wednesday, 5 October.”
“The analysis of financial submissions is a long and complex process that is ongoing and will be concluded to enable the release of the Certificates on Monday, 10 October.
The Financial Regulations were agreed unanimously by all Competitors, who have worked positively and collaboratively with the FIA Cost Cap Administration throughout this first year under the Financial Regulations.
“As previously communicated, there has been significant and unsubstantiated speculation and conjecture in relation to this matter, and the FIA reiterates that until it is finalised, no further information will be provided.
“The FIA also reiterates that any suggestion that FIA personnel have disclosed sensitive information is equally baseless.”
FIA leak to Mercedes?
Following the apparent leak to AMuS and Mercedes there was a significant amount of speculation that the ex-Mercedes legal advisor now at the FIA had secretly passed information on prior to the FIA’s final conclusions.
Clearly Formula One’s governing body denies this strenuously.
Later today, if the deadline is not again pushed back, the FIA should release the names of the teams who are in compliance and those who need to make a “settlement agreement”.
This of course includes penalties such as reduced wind tunnel and CFD time, budget cuts and even championship points dedeuctions.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 9, 2022