According to a recent report from F1 Flow.com, the FIA has taken steps to close a potential loophole that some teams may have exploited by engaging non-F1 personnel to contribute to car design and development projects. Concerns arose that certain teams were employing staff outside the cost cap limits to work on unrelated ventures like road cars, yachts, and bicycles, while benefiting from the additional knowledge gained that could be advantageous to their F1 operations.
This approach gave these teams a significant advantage over their counterparts who diligently accounted for all their activities, as their official expenditures appeared lower due to these off-the-books personnel. Responding to fears expressed by several teams regarding the exploitation of non-F1 staff, the FIA issued a technical directive earlier this year, aiming to prevent any undisclosed knowledge transfer to F1 teams falling outside the cost cap limits.
Now in effect, the technical directive, referred to as TD45, explicitly states that any intellectual property shared from a technical division to an F1 team must be included in cost cap spending. The FIA has taken a serious stance on this matter and, as part of a comprehensive analysis of team operations, it has intensified efforts to scrutinize the activities of non-F1 staff.
Sources indicate that enhanced monitoring, implemented since the initial cost cap submissions in 2021, includes a thorough investigation of non-F1 activities. As part of this process, interviews are being conducted with staff previously exempted from the F1 cost cap to gain a better understanding of their specific projects. Additionally, work samples produced by such personnel are being analyzed to ensure complete separation from the F1 team and to prevent any knowledge transfer.
Christian Horner, Team Principal of Red Bull Racing, and Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO of Mercedes AMG, have been actively involved in discussions on this subject.
As part of the meticulous analysis undertaken by the FIA regarding the 2022 cost cap submissions, top teams are now required to answer a detailed questionnaire comprising approximately 100 questions. This proactive approach by the FIA to address concerns has been positively received by teams, although some adjustments to their operations have been necessary.
A senior source commented, “The previous whistleblower system did not inspire confidence, but the FIA now appears to be taking effective action. It seems to be working.”
TD45 has been carefully formulated to allow teams to maintain their special technical divisions without complete shutdown. However, it explicitly prohibits the transfer of IP gained from the F1 team to flow into non-F1 activities.
Nevertheless, team behavior will continue to be closely monitored to ensure compliance with regulations and prevent circumvention of the cost cap rules through alternative means. Teams are now implementing rigorous internal checks to ensure that their spending remains within the limits set by the cost cap.
During the Canadian GP, Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes, revealed that his team had employed a significant workforce of 46 individuals within their financial department to monitor cost cap compliance down to the smallest detail. He explained how they tracked spending trends throughout the year and allocated resources to various projects, successfully staying within the prescribed limits in the previous year and maintaining their adherence in the current year. With the normal development switch for next year, they remain on track.
- Ferrari was alerted to issues with their F1 race pace last year, according to Sainz
- Alpine addresses and remains calm about minor reliability issues in F1
- FIA suggests stricter regulations for F1 grid access following the Neymar incident at the Spanish GP
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about cost cap compliance
What is the purpose of the FIA’s measures regarding non-F1 personnel and cost cap compliance?
The purpose of the FIA’s measures is to ensure that teams are not exploiting loopholes by employing non-F1 personnel outside of the cost cap to work on projects that could benefit their F1 operations. These measures aim to prevent any undisclosed knowledge transfer and maintain fair competition.
What is TD45 and what does it entail?
TD45 is a technical directive issued by the FIA. It states that any intellectual property shared from a technical division to an F1 team must be included in cost cap spending. This directive closes the door on teams utilizing off-the-books staff to gain an advantage over those accounting for all their activities within the cost cap limits.
How is the FIA monitoring non-F1 activities and personnel?
The FIA has implemented enhanced monitoring, which includes conducting interviews with non-F1 staff declared outside the scope of the cost cap. These interviews aim to gain insight into the specific projects they are working on. Additionally, work samples produced by such staff are analyzed to ensure separation from the F1 team and prevent any knowledge transfer.
How are teams responding to the FIA’s measures?
Teams have generally welcomed the FIA’s efforts to address concerns. However, some teams have had to adjust their operations to comply with the regulations and prevent circumvention of the cost cap rules. Internal checks are being implemented by teams to ensure their spending remains within the prescribed limits.
How are the top teams being scrutinized in terms of cost cap compliance?
As part of the rigorous analysis conducted by the FIA on the 2022 cost cap submissions, top teams are required to answer a detailed questionnaire consisting of approximately 100 questions. This detailed scrutiny helps ensure that teams are adhering to the cost cap regulations and discourages any attempts to find alternative ways around the rules.