Red Bull has raised concerns that teams may be tempted to substitute skilled team members with more affordable staff to comply with the cost cap.
Exempt from the cost cap are the wages of the top three employees in each team – usually the team principal, technical director, and one other key member. The cap encompasses everyone else directly involved in the design, manufacturing, and operation of the cars.
Some teams have transferred senior technical staff from F1 operations to other projects to keep them outside the cap’s reach unless their workdays are specifically allocated to the racing program.
Prominent cases include Andrew Green, who transitioned to tech projects at Aston Martin earlier this year, and Geoff Willis, who is presently working on an America’s Cup project at Mercedes.
Notable Red Bull engineer Rob Marshall, who was recently scouted by McLaren for a technical director role, has also spent some time outside of F1.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, in the pits
Photo by: Jake Grant / F1 Flow Images
It was acknowledged that the cap makes it challenging to retain top staff when they receive better offers, as it’s impossible to compete with them.
“Indeed, it does,” he admitted. “There’s no room for extra personnel in the team. Everyone has to earn their place within the cap.
Rob has been focusing on other projects in recent years, and the offer McLaren made is likely half their cap! It’s understandable he would want to go for that.”
When questioned about the risk of spiraling salaries, he warned of the opposite effect, with teams replacing a single well-compensated veteran with multiple less costly newcomers.
“We must avoid a downward spiral,” he emphasized. “The issue is you don’t want long-standing staff members, who have made significant contributions, to be pushed out of their roles due to the cap just because you can justify having 10 novices over an experienced professional.
“And this is the constant discussion you have, and where we’ve had to make cutbacks because of the cap.
Jayne Poole, the former Red Bull COO and HR director, was also let go. We had to make her redundant because we couldn’t validate her role within the cap.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 cost cap
What concerns has Red Bull expressed about the F1 cost cap?
Red Bull has expressed worry that teams may substitute experienced team members with cheaper staff to comply with the F1 cost cap. The company warns this could lead to a “race to the bottom” with salaries and a loss of expertise.
Who is exempt from the F1 cost cap?
The salaries of each team’s top three employees – typically the team principal, technical director, and one other key member – are exempt from the cost cap. The cap applies to everyone else directly involved in the design, manufacturing, and operation of the cars.
How are some teams navigating around the cost cap?
Some teams are moving senior technical staff from F1 operations to other projects so they don’t come under the cost cap. This only applies unless some of their workdays are specifically allocated to the racing program.
Who are some of the big names that have moved out of F1 operations recently?
Notable examples include Andrew Green, who transitioned to technology projects at Aston Martin, and Geoff Willis, who is now working on an America’s Cup project at Mercedes. Red Bull’s engineer, Rob Marshall, was also headhunted by McLaren for a technical director role.
How has the cost cap affected staff retention in F1 teams?
The cost cap has made it challenging for teams to retain top staff when they receive better offers elsewhere. This is because teams often cannot match these offers due to the restrictions imposed by the cost cap.