Frederic Vasseur, Alfa Romeo Team Principal, Circuit Zandvoort, 2022

FIA “must take action” if teams are found guilty of budget cap breaches – Vasseur

2022 Singapore Grand Prix

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Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur says the FIA “must take action” if it finds any team has breached the budget cap due to the potential scale of the advantage gained.

Multiple reports have suggested that the FIA may announce next week two teams failed to fully comply with the Financial Regulations it introduced last season.

The FIA have said their assessment of all teams’ budget submissions is ongoing. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has repeatedly denied claims his team exceeded the spending limit.

Vasseur said any breach of the spending limit should be viewed seriously by the FIA. He believes the sport’s governing body must consider how the potential benefit gained by exceeding the limit would compare to technical infringements.

The Financial Regulations define a “minor” breach of the spending limit as up to 5% over the $145 million cap. Vasseur said that extra $7.25m would be extremely valuable to a team.

“We have to take action,” he said. “It’s not a matter of ‘X millions’ or whatever because I don’t want to disclose numbers, but the budget of development of Alfa Romeo… we are speaking about three times this,” said Vassuer. “It’s three times this. It’s a mega amount.”

He pointed out the team has suffered disqualifications in the past for failing to comply with the technical regulations by small degrees.

“I was disqualified for 0.9mm two years ago – Mercedes, something like 1mm in Sao Paulo last year. You have to put everything in perspective.”

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All 10 teams should have no ambiguity over what is and is not permitted by the financial regulations, Vasseur argued, due to the extensive discussions held between the teams and the FIA around their introduction.

“We had two years now to discuss with the FIA to ask for clarification,” he said. “I think we had a clarification on the financial regulations almost every week.

“It means that teams are asking questions to the FIA and they are replying to everybody and if we have a grey zone, I think it was also our job to ask for clarifications.”

Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies echoed Vasseur’s view, saying any team that has over-spent could gain significant performance benefits

“We take it very seriously because this is a serious amount of lap time,” he said. “Seven million would be like 70 engineers, 70 engineers will give you a serious amount of lap time. That’s one example.

“So if you think about the power that the financial regulations have, it’s probably overpowering both the technical and the sporting regulations at the same time, if you think about the amount of lap time that is lying into that sort of numbers. So this is where you why we are very much looking forward to a transparent and severe approach.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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13 comments on “FIA “must take action” if teams are found guilty of budget cap breaches – Vasseur”

  1. As someone elsewhere said – Time to grab the popcorn and find a good seat, this one is likely to run long…

  2. So, can we finally declare Lewis Hamilton as the 2021 champion already? Or can anyone just break the regulations and win championships now?

    If true, Red Bull should be completely disqualified from the 2021 season. By finishing 2nd in the constructors they gained a significant sum of prize money that could had gone to Ferrari and McLaren (and other teams down the ladder) if Red Bull had played by the book. Considering it was extremely close between top teams and midfield teams last year, and Ferrari claiming that €5M can be good for 5 tenths, it is not a given Red Bull would had finished where they’ve finished now. Let alone win the WDC.

    1. Honestly, even if RBR’s breach is really bad, I can see the 2021 championship going vacant at worst.

      1. The next week is likely to be way more interesting offtrack than ontrack

    2. We don’t even know what the breach is yet. It could be something as simple as the timing on which “Red Bull Powertrains” was set up meaning that the staff working on that come under the budget cap according to the FIA… Until we know more, we can’t possibly suggest what a suitable punishment is.

      1. @petebaldwin that suggestion that it’s just the timing seems doubtful, because Red Bull Powertrains was incorporated on 16 February 2021 (i.e. the incorporation date pre-dates the start of the 2021 season).

  3. Ferrari demanding transparency… not that’s a laugh. Let’s be transparant on engine-gate first alright?

    1. This is just answering Media’s questions, same as in what you call engine-gate. You must have read a fun narrative

    2. I can see where you are coming from, however even if the details of the agreement with the FIA is not public the consequences for their performances for 3 years showed they paid by a very heavy price for that be agreement.

  4. This was always going to be tricky. Maybe FIA has to act very firmly to discourage others from doing so and review the rules to have a stronger deterrent if 20% of the teams are cheating on the second year of cost cap introduction.

    But what lead those teams think they could break the rules ? Is the gain worth more than the penalty or did they think they would go unnoticed ?

    1. I think they did it on purpose and then let theatrics, narratives and politics play out about it as soon as it came to light.

      1. Bit risky taking that approach especially if it is red bull, after last year. This is going to be a test for the FIA though, and cost cap. I don’t think it’s melodramatic to say what they decide could make or break regulating the cost cap. If only a small fine is applied other teams will almost certainly follow the same path, come down like a ton of bricks this will end up in the courts and only lawyers win down that road.

  5. Fred is my personal hero ever since he fought the mighty Ferrari to retain Sauber’s rights to choose their drivers!

    Of course, this venerable feat was then used to put in a so-so pay driver holding a convenient passport …

    But you go give ’em hell, Fred!

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