FIA interviewing staff amid cheating concerns as new technical directive introduced

James Allison recently returned to Mercedes having been working for one of the team's shareholders on a non-F1 project.

It has been reported by that the FIA are set to interview staff members from some teams to clamp down on projects outside the budget cap, following the introduction of a new technical directive.

It was recently revealed that the FIA had introduced technical directive ‘TD45’, which will see teams have to include non-Formula 1 projects under the cost cap if it has an influence on their F1 operations.

The likes of Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Aston Martin and McLaren all have projects outside of F1, with Alpine having been very vocal about their concerns.

It’s easy to see why the Enstone-based team aren’t happy, with Mercedes’ technical director James Allison having recently returned to the team having spent time working on INEOS Britannia’s America’s Cup pursuit.

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INEOS are, of course, a one-third owner of Mercedes’ F1 team, whilst the America’s Cup project isn’t included under the budget cap.

There are concerns that Allison could’ve still fed useful information to Mercedes whilst working on the non-F1 project, whilst not being included in the budget cap.

Under the new technical directive, something like this if found to be true would have to be included in the budget cap.

To discover whether some teams are benefitting from employees working on non-F1 projects, the FIA are set to interview staff working outside of the team.

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This isn’t the FIA’s only tool to figuring out if there is a link between a team and their non-F1 projects, as also understands that the ‘top teams’ are having to complete a 100-question list as part of their 2022 financial reports.

If found guilty of transferring information not included under the budget cap, then it could have huge consequences.

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Red Bull have already felt the FIA’s wrath before after they breached the 2021 budget cap, something which wasn’t announced until towards the end of 2022.

The Austrians were fined $7 million and received a 10% reduction of their allotted wind tunnel time for 12 months, all for breaching the cap by $2 million.

How strict the FIA will be if any side have been using loopholes remains to be seen, should a team be found guilty.