‘Breaking the rules on technical stuff’: Toto Wolff fires warning about budget cap breaches

Formula 1 teams are following a strict budget cap in 2022.

2022 has been a challenging year for a number of reasons; the new regulations, the joint longest calendar ever and a reduced budget cap, at a time when prices around the world are soaring.

For this season, the budget cap was reduced by $5 million to $140 million, something which has caused a number of teams financial problems.

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner was one of many sides to discuss the issues of a reduced cost cap at a time when the world is recovering from the Coronavirus pandemic, adjusting to the invasion of Ukraine and of course climate change.

It’s seen everything rise in costs for Formula 1, from spare parts to flights; everything has a fee.

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Horner even expressed his concern that if the cost cap isn’t increased, then some teams may miss the final few rounds of the season.

Whilst the drivers’ salary isn’t part of the cost cap, it was discussed if the FIA should set a driver salary limit, allowing the teams to direct more money elsewhere.

For a team like Mercedes F1, this would probably be incredibly beneficial, with Sir Lewis Hamilton on a base salary believed to be around the sum of $55 million a year, according to Forbes.

The seven-time World Champion also receives bonuses for race victories, with the Brit having supposedly earned $66 million in 2020, his most recent World Championship winning year where he claimed 11 wins.

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With costs so difficult to manage, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed that the Silver Arrows have financial engineers.

According to the team boss, their role is to assess every upgrade produced by Mercedes and determine whether it’s financially beneficial.

If they predict it’ll improve the W13’s performance, then it gets fitted, otherwise it doesn’t.

“So we have a tracker with financial engineers that track every single process and every single part that comes into the car,” Wolff told Motorsport.com.

“So when we take things out of the truck, the financial engineer notes, the value. When you utilise it’s being counted for.

“You are following this trend, like we have planned. We didn’t bring a lot at the beginning but it’s coming steady now.”

Due to inflation and rising costs in all areas of the globe, the price cap has been increased by 3.1%.

It means teams must now not exceed $145.5 million or face a predictably heavy penalty.

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Wolff doesn’t see his side being at risk of exceeding the budget cap, with the Austrian being confident in the process being followed.

“It was last year already [when the cost cap came in] and we will have the results whether everybody adhered to the rules of last year and the reports are going to come out,” he said.

“So I think you know, you can’t get that wrong because if you’re breaking the rules, in the same way you do when breaking the rules on technical stuff.”