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Formula 1 Qatar GP

Bottom four F1 teams land $20m CapEx boost

Formula 1 teams have landed the capital expenditure increase they were seeking, with the four least successful outfits receiving a $20m spending boost to help them level the playing field.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43, Alex Albon, Williams FW45, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43, at the start

The other teams have also been given smaller extra spending limits in an effort to reach a consensus for an agreement. CapEx became a talking point this season as the FIA financial regulations hit home.

Teams like Williams who had lagged behind in investing in their facilities complained that it would be impossible for them to improve their infrastructures and eventually compete with the frontrunners.

Various options have been discussed in recent months. The big challenge was that giving the same extra limit to all teams would not have close the performance gap, as the big players would always find somewhere to spend the extra allowance and ultimately make their cars faster.

The FIA and the teams have finally settled on a league table of spending that in effect splits the field into three "divisions", with the world championship results of 2020, 2021 and 2022 used to determine the order.

The arrangement is somewhat similar to the aero testing restrictions that give more tunnel time to the teams at the bottom of the pecking order, except that there are three stages, rather than a sliding scale for all 10 teams.

Within the financial regulations the maximum CapEx figure quoted for each year is actually a rolling total for that season and the three preceding seasons added together.

The original CapEx headline figure for the 2024 season was $45m per team, which represented the maximum spend for 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 combined.

For the teams in the top “division” – namely Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari – that number has now increased to $51m, giving them an extra $6m to invest compared to what was originally planned, although sources indicate that the FIA didn’t want to give the big teams any extra allowance.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Alex Albon, Williams FW45, chase the pack

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C43, Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Alex Albon, Williams FW45, chase the pack

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

For the teams in the middle group, McLaren, Alpine and Aston Martin, the total allowed spend has increased by $13m to $58m.

For the four teams in the bottom group, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo/Sauber, Haas and Williams the spend allowed has risen by $20m to $65m.

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That represents a net gain of $14m in spending relative to the big three players, creating a genuine opportunity for them to close the infrastructure and performance gap.

For the 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2028 seasons the rolling four-year numbers then drop to $42m for the top group, $49m for the middle group and $56m for the bottom group.

By 2029 teams are all back on an equal footing with everyone on a total of $36m for that year and the three preceding it added together.

Williams boss James Vowles, who was pushing hard for an extra spending allowance, thanked rivals for backing the new arrangements.

"Some good news, from my perspective, anyway,” he said. “Good work with all the teams has meant that we've managed to unlock an exemption in our favour of $20m or so. So there was agreement and good discussions taking place since February.

“We have CapEx to spend now, not perhaps the $100m I was looking for, but a good step in the right direction.

“We have an agreement on the table after six months that is sloped, so teams at the front will not get as much as teams at the back. We all benefit more, which is in line to a certain extent with the facilities.”

Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren, in the team principals Press Conference

Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren, in the team principals Press Conference

Photo by: FIA Pool

McLaren boss Andrea Stella also backed the extra spending allowance, which will help the team with its ongoing improvements to its Woking facility.

"First of all I would remark it was a positive process where teams and the institutions that led the process have managed to find an agreement,” said the Italian.

“For us, this is welcome news, we're going to use the extra allowance. And so I think that's a good thing for us.”

Meanwhile Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur was more sceptical about the change.

“I'm not very convinced,” he said. “First, if you ask your engineers, if they want to get more, they will always say, yes, we want to get more. It's a no-end process.

“And I think that we opened the door a couple of times to change the cost cap regulations, and this is very dangerous.”

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