Alpine boss admits concern about rivals exploiting budget cap loopholes

The cost cap was introduced in 2021 with the aim of bringing the field closer together.

Towards the end of F1’s previous era, the field was getting too spread out, with Mercedes and Red Bull being lightyears ahead of everybody else.

Formula 1 decided to counter this by introducing a cost cap of $145m in 2021, hoping that every team being able to spend the same amount would allow more competitiveness in the sport.

The effects of this cap are yet to be seen in F1 but Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has defended the cap, claiming that his team have not actually been able to reach the budget cap until this season.

To factor in inflation, a vote was held recently to decide whether the budget cap should be increased, something which Alpine voted against.

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Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has expressed his concern about loopholes surrounding the budget cap, claiming that teams could attribute development to departments outside of Formula 1, keeping the costs of doing so out of the cap.

“If you have a great F1 idea because you’re working on something else, how do you account for the stuff that you thought of when you were working on something else? That’s just an idea,” said the Alpine boss.

“But if you take that even further, it could be other things. Developing tools, for example, for a boat, but that tool then applies to F1 and you’ve spend loads of investment on developing the tool and then you largely account for it in F1.

“That’s the kind of stuff we have to start thinking about to stop. And that’s much bigger than just the inflationary stuff,” he said.

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Alpine’s pre-season has left fans completely in the dark about their potential this season, with Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly’s lap times failing to challenge most of the midfield.

It is expected that the team with drastically improve heading into the first race of the season in Bahrain, with Alpine most likely having run different testing plans to the rest of the grid.

Having finished fifth and fourth in the past two seasons, the target for Alpine this year will be to break into the podium scoring places on a sporadic basis.