Former Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve has suggested a whopping £1million punishment for teams who breach the sport’s budget cap. Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari have all complained about the spending limit amid ongoing car developments.
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The FIA are keen to limit the amount a team can spend in a bid to enable healthy competition. Ahead of the 2022 season, teams were told they could not spend more than £116million (€145m), with hospitality and driver salaries two of very few exemptions.
But several teams have complained that the cap is too low, with Red Bull chief Christian Horner pointing out the increased rate of inflation. Former Williams star Villeneuve has pointed out that the punishment for breaching the budget cap is unclear.
The 51-year-old believes teams have just decided to ignore the rule and has suggested that for every pound spent over the budget, teams should have to pay all other teams the exact same amount. The Canadian gave an example of a team spending £1m over the budget and having to pay £1m to their rivals.
“It’s as if they decided from the start that they would go past it anyway. Also, there’s no clear penalty. It could be a financial penalty, then who cares? It could be a few points, but it could also be exclusion from the championship,” Villeneuve told the Dirty Side of the Track podcast.
Suggesting his new punishment, he added: “If you overspend by one million, you have to give one million to every other team on the grid and they’re allowed to spend that million even beyond their cap.”
Horner has been an outspoken critic of the budget cap and has pointed out that some team staff might need to take a hit. He said in June: “The problem with the uncertainty with the cap, with the rate of inflation we are seeing, there is only parts and people that are really the biggest cost drivers.
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“It would be a catastrophe for Formula One that people would have to take a hit for something that is beyond their control. There is a moral issue that needs to be dealt with and I know the FIA are looking at it together with the Liberty [Media] guys.”
“Nobody could have expected this kind of inflation. Perhaps I am the one who speaks out about it the most but our problems are not the biggest in this area,” Horner added.
“I think Mercedes employ more people and have higher salaries within their group than ourselves. Ferrari is again another big team with high costs.
“When you hear of teams in the midfield that are also going to be in breach of the cap that were pushing for the cap to be lower originally, it shows it is not about development being the biggest contributor to these costs. It is just the fixed costs of going racing, with freight, with energies, with the supply of components which has just gone stratospheric.”