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Steiner calls for F1 budget cap rules rethink for minor overspends

Haas team principal Gunther Steiner believes there should be a rethink over Formula 1’s budget cap rules as the paddock awaits news of what action Red Bull may face.

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The FIA announced last week that Red Bull was deemed to have breached the $145 million budget cap last year, something the team has strongly denied.

The findings from the FIA’s financial audit claimed Red Bull had committed a minor overspend, which is within 5% of the budget cap – equating to $7.2 million.

Talks are now ongoing between Red Bull and the FIA about a potential Accepted Breach Agreement, but other teams and drivers have been clear in their calls for strict action.

Steiner said he had “no idea” what sanction Red Bull may face, but felt tweaks were needed for the financial rules moving forward, including a reduction of what is considered to be a minor breach.

PLUS: The steps the FIA must take to restore its authority inside and outside F1

“It should be smaller, in my opinion, now thinking about it,” Steiner said.

“I call it now a $140 million budget cap, 5% is seven million. But in the $140 million, you have got certain expenses which you cannot change.

“So these expenses are not seven million on development – these expenses, 5% on the development, it’s a bigger number. The percentage is the same, but it makes a bigger difference.

“I think we have to rethink that one when the next Concorde Agreement is written.”

Antonio Giovinazzi, Haas VF-22, leaves the garage

Antonio Giovinazzi, Haas VF-22, leaves the garage

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The 2021 season marked the first year in which teams had to comply with the financial regulations, but they were invited to do a voluntary audit in 2020 to prepare for the introduction of the budget cap the following year.

Steiner said that it was “difficult to comply” even for Haas when it did the voluntary audit given the complexity of the rules, saying the FIA was “very, very strict on it.”

“There is no leeway any more in how they present their stuff, you need to do a good job,” he said.

“It’s not only the finance people, it’s the people on the car like with the car parts you use and all that data. It’s hard work to get these all in order, so it’s not an easy task.”

Although the FIA has outlined the potential sanctions for teams who commit a minor overspend of the budget cap, if an Accepted Breach Agreement is reached, there can be no loss of constructors’ championship points, drivers’ championship points or a reduction in the cost cap.

Steiner felt it was a “weakness” of the financial regulations that had to be learned from in the future.

“All these things, it’s a first time,” he said.  “If it would be clear, we wouldn’t be here speculating what has been done.

“Going into this, achieving to have a cost cap, you need to have respect for however we pushed ourselves along to have one. Now we just need to better them. That will just come with time.

“There are a lot of things which maybe we need to make better. Not change, but make better – which includes change, obviously.”

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