As the FIA carries on with its examination of team submissions from the 2022 season, additional queries have been sent to some prominent teams for further clarity during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. This follows the ongoing debate regarding the extent to which teams are leveraging non-F1 aspects of their operations to advance their grand prix squads.
Some conspicuous maneuvers in this regard have been curtailed through the issuance of a technical directive (TD45) which bans the transfer of intellectual property from non-F1 businesses to teams, beyond the cost cap. Nevertheless, there are still some ambiguous areas.
Wolff, hence, is of the view that the upcoming rules cycle, starting in 2026, should introduce new regulations prohibiting the practice of staff splitting their time between F1 teams and other projects.
When queried by F1 Flow.com about the difficulty faced by the FIA in effectively monitoring these non-F1 business areas to prevent teams from gaining an unjust advantage, Wolff stated: “The task is quite arduous given that the large teams employ thousands of individuals across various commercial and non-commercial projects.
Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG
Photo by: Michael Potts / F1 Flow Images
“For us, it’s relatively simpler since we have everything consolidated into a single entity. Hence, we can easily track all the employees in one location and attribute their work accordingly. However, the scenario becomes more complex when there are multiple subsidiaries involved.
“I’ve always advocated that the 2026 regulations should completely eliminate these complexities.”
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Although the extra technology business areas of the teams contribute significantly to revenue, Wolff believes that ensuring a sturdy cost cap and a higher degree of separation is more beneficial.
“In reality, it’s quite a challenge as we’re earning revenue from our engineering projects,” he further commented.
“This implies that we cannot allocate an individual working in F1, even temporarily, to non-F1 activities. However, I believe it’s crucial for the sport to distinguish between F1 and non-F1 activities.
“The moment someone invests even 10-seconds on an F1 project, they should be entirely dedicated to F1. This is certainly the direction we need to head towards.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 Cost Cap Regulations
What changes does Mercedes’ CEO Toto Wolff propose regarding the F1 cost cap regulations?
Toto Wolff proposes that from the upcoming rules cycle, starting in 2026, new regulations should be introduced that prohibit staff from dividing their time between F1 teams and other projects. He believes a clear division is necessary to prevent teams from gaining unfair advantages and that the moment someone works on an F1 project, they should be fully dedicated to F1.
Why is Toto Wolff advocating for a clear distinction between F1 and non-F1 activities?
Wolff believes that some teams may gain an unfair advantage by using non-F1 parts of their business to help advance their grand prix squads. He proposes that if someone works even for a minute on an F1 project, they should be considered fully within the F1 cost cap to maintain fair competition.
What has been the FIA’s response to team submissions from the 2022 season?
The FIA has been closely examining the team submissions from the 2022 season. During the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, additional questions were sent back to some of the leading outfits for further clarification.
How does Toto Wolff view the complexity of the current cost cap regulations?
Wolff acknowledges that the situation is complex, especially for large teams that have thousands of staff working across various commercial and non-commercial projects. However, he believes that a stricter regulation and clear division between F1 and non-F1 activities is the way forward to ensure fair competition.