At the beginning of 2021, a cost cap was introduced. This was seen as a good idea since it meant big teams couldn’t spend too much money to have a huge advantage over others. Unfortunately, it also stopped small teams from making the progress they wanted.
Recently, teams have been limited in how much money they can spend on improving their infrastructure back home. They are allowed to build new factories but any other expenses needed to upgrade their equipment must fit within their budget limit. Additionally, there is an exception for building new wind tunnels.
The teams with the best equipment at the start have an advantage, while the teams who didn’t invest as much will have to use money from other things like car performance to build better facilities. But recently there has been talks about giving teams more freedom to upgrade their factories with capital expenditure.
Recently, the Formula 1 Commission met up to talk about an important topic. The Williams team leader, James Vowles, wanted some changes to be made in this area of the rules. Other teams agreed with his plan and even the FIA and FOM were open to it. To investigate further, people are now preparing to have more discussions about potential alterations to how much money can be spent on capital equipment in a few weeks’ time.
Vowles said it’s important for F1 that teams get help to upgrade their facilities if they need it. He believes if there is to be fairness, his team should have the chance to get the same resources as bigger teams. Stefano Domenicali is the CEO of Formula 1 and Sam Bloxham took a picture of him.
Vowles stated that when he joined Williams, he was surprised to find out that there were lots of systems missing compared to what you’d find from a bigger team. He also pointed out that these systems couldn’t be updated without taking up some of the yearly budget money.
He said, “It’s been like this for nearly fifteen years while other teams have been using those same systems.”
Williams Company have built an amazing car. It has 15,000 different parts put together perfectly and it can drive around the track quickly. This was an amazing achievement since they don’t have any software to help them keep track of all these parts.
“We need some regulations and plans in order to make progress. This would help the smaller teams more than anyone, but even larger teams are ok with this as long as the final details are figured out. For this rule to be changed by 2024, 6 current teams will have to agree on it which might be possible. If 8 teams agree, then the rules could change for 2021.”
Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer thinks that the current rules about how much money teams can spend are unfair.
He said, “What these rules do is they keep some people from competing fairly forever. For example, if you don’t have a lot of money and can’t build a wind tunnel, you don’t have a chance to succeed. That’s why there are exceptions in the rule for new tunnels.”
“There are things like brake dynos and full car dynos that the very big teams have, but small teams don’t. If we don’t let these teams spend money on them, then it means that the difference between the two is there forever, and I think that’s a bad thing.”