The budget cap was partly introduced to narrow the differences between teams, but former world champion Jacques Villeneuve believes that the financial restrictions are more likely to ensure a status quo, so that Red Bull Racing cannot be overtaken by challengers such as Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, and others for the time being. Aston Martin.
Since 2021, Formula 1 has not only sporting and technical regulations, but also financial regulations, closely monitoring the spending of the teams below the budget cap. The purpose of the budget limit was on the one hand to ensure that the teams would end up in financially healthier waters, but also that the mutual differences would become smaller. That has only partially succeeded: the valuations of Formula 1 teams have risen sharply, and many teams are quite evenly matched, with the exception of Red Bull.
This week it was announced that all teams have adhered to the financial restrictions in 2022, while Red Bull Racing still spent too much in 2021. The team is still serving a penalty for this, until the end of October. In addition to the seven million dollar fine, Red Bull has ten percent less wind tunnel time and CFD simulations at its disposal. As world champion, Red Bull already has fewer aerodynamic testing opportunities than the competition anyway, but even with the extra penalty, Red Bull completely dominates this season, with fourteen victories from fourteen Grands Prix.
Red Bull slowed down by budget penalty
Former world champion Villeneuve thinks that penalty has made a difference for Red Bull. “They would be even better without this penalty, but if you already have a good car as a base, you also need less wind tunnel time to get good results, precisely because you already have that good base,” explains the Canadian. “That makes it a lot easier, and if you have Max (Verstappen, ed.) behind the wheel, you don’t need so many elements to be competitive.”
Behind Red Bull it is close together, and with small differences, the role of the driver is becoming increasingly important. In addition, according to Villeneuve, it is now more difficult to close the gap to the dominant team. ‘The budget ceiling makes it more difficult to close the gap, so it actually has the opposite effect. Look at Williams: they can’t invest in the team, they can’t improve the factory, so that means they’re never going to reach the top level. That is the result of the budget limit.’