F1 must find compromise in cost cap inflation debate

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McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl said F1 needed to find a compromise and a “clearly defined solution” to the cost cap inflation debate at a critical meeting on Friday.

The F1 Commission will meet in Austria, with the FIA’s cost cap and technical porpoising directive among the main items on the agenda in what is expected to be a lively discussion.

Several teams have made it clear that they have no chance of staying within the 2022 cost cap limit of $141.2 million (including the additional allowance for a 22nd race), thanks to the inflationary pressure created largely by the conflict in Ukraine.

Teams have been pushing for an additional inflation allowance – which is currently baked into the rules for future seasons – while there is also debate over removing things like freight from the cap.

Meanwhile, some teams, including Alpine and Alfa Romeo, have argued there should be no adjustments.

“I’m still confident that in the end we will find a good solution for the best interest of the sport,” Seidl said.

“There are several teams, including us, who, due to unexpected circumstances and with great financial consequences, are simply not able to reach the milestone this year.

“Knowing that, again, I think the best [option] would be to remedy the situation and put in place, let’s say, a clearly defined solution.

“The FIA ​​did an intense analysis with all the teams, I would say last month, to get a clearer picture of what the reality is, and of these big unexpected cost increases, which have nothing to do with normal inflation.Mainly on freight side and utility bill side.

“And based on that, I guess, the FIA ​​has a clear idea of ​​what makes sense and what is reasonable.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Asked how much leeway McLaren might need, he said: “I know what we need, but there’s no point in spreading it! upgrade for the year.Although we know we will definitely go above the ceiling.

“Again, my goal is to find a solution. And that’s where we put our energy. Everything else, you create headaches afterwards.”

Seidl said part of the discussion is about advancing the inflation indexing that is built into the rules for future seasons.

“An important point to understand is that the discussion we’re having isn’t really about increasing the budget category. So the $135 million limit [for 2023] is not under discussion.

“The discussion is that if you just introduce the inflationary increase, which was part of the regulations from 2024, if you introduce that earlier, that’s the discussion we have. But we’re not talking about an increase cost ceiling. limits.”

There is a feeling in the paddock that some teams are ready to go over the limit and suffer the consequences later, basically on the basis that if more teams are over it it will be more difficult for the FIA ​​to apply strict penalties.

The financial regulations contain a list of potential sanctions, but there are no details on what exactly could be applied for a given breach.

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Seidl insists McLaren doesn’t want to test the rules in this way: “I can’t speak for the other teams. It’s certainly not something we want to do. I don’t think it would be either good for the sport, and that’s why I think it’s best if we agree on a compromise, and on a definite solution.

“We’re very supportive that it’s not clear what the penalty is, in general, when it comes to cost caps, because as always, when you know what the penalties are for certain breaches, you’re playing with it. that. So I have no problem with that.”

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Despite the current problems, Seidl says he still supports the cap principle.

“Of course, you can now pick out the small little negatives of the overall very positive cost cap concept that we have put in place.

“And, again, for us at McLaren, it’s well known that we were strongly in favor of the introduction of the cost cap.

“I think it’s great, not just for us, it’s great overall, for the sport it puts a lot of teams now in a position where you can compete in F1 in a sustainable way financially, and being competitive at the same time sportingly.”

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