Helmut Marko cautions F1 against ‘degenerating into an accountant’s championship’

The teams are currently working on a budget of $140 million.

Red Bull adviser, Dr Helmut Marko, has revealed that the team had to make some cuts to accommodate for the $140 million budget cap introduced at the start of this season.

The first-ever cap was introduced last season, and stood at $145 million. No one fell foul of that, although Williams were fined for failing to disclose their expenses in time after the 2021 season.

The money has to be spread out between freight transportation, production of parts, testing of parts, wind tunnel use, man and woman hours in the factory, damage repairs and more.

That all adds up over the course of a season, particularly with the rate of inflation as it is currently, so the FIA agreed to bump it back up to the $145 million the cap stood at last season.

READ: Helmut Marko reveals if Pierre Gasly could join Alpine in 2023

Before the first cap was brought in, the teams worked on budgets they set for themselves, which was much bigger for teams such as Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, but much smaller for teams like Alfa Romeo and Haas.

Part of the reason for this is that there is a sliding scale of prize money for the teams depending on championship position; the higher up the order you finish, the more money you get.

As the more successful teams earned more prize money, they had more and more to spend on development, and the gap between the biggest teams the smallest teams, from a financial perspective, grew ever larger.

Therefore, to create a level playing field, engineers and mechanics now need to weigh up development against the budget set by the governing body, not just by the team, so more financial experts have been needed.

Article continues below

“Our finance department has been expanded significantly,” Dr Marko told Motorsport-Total.com.

“In the past, the engineers needed to only say how much they needed and if it was beyond the budget, only approval from head office in Salzburg was required.

“Now it’s the case that the cooperation with our accountants first determines the updates and the extent thereof. 

“But it’s not the case that the accountant says, from then on there can be no more updates, we in the team management look at it and say we still need an update, then that [expense] has to be saved from somewhere else.”

In a bid to ensure that they did not go over budget, the Austrian side did have to let a few people go ahead of the 2022 season.

Not to worry though, because there is plenty of room for them elsewhere within the Red Bull programme.

“We have cut people at Red Bull Racing, but we still have Red Bull Technology,” explained Dr Marko.

“The people will then be moved and given other tasks, we have the hypercar, we are in America’s Cup, there are some projects where we are accommodating staff which you don’t want to lose.”

Before the budget cap was raised, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner warned that there was a chance that some teams would not be able to make the final few races of the season.

What Dr Marko does not want to happen is for the majority of the leg work in a championship season being done on the financial side, rather than on track.

READ: Franz Tost comments on Pierre Gasly exit clause, Red Bull call-up

“It’s a process where the FIA ​​learns, where we learn, I hope it doesn’t degenerate into an accountant’s championship,” added the Austrian.

Max Verstappen currently leads the Drivers’ Standings by 80 points from Charles Leclerc, while he and team-mate Sergio Perez have helped the team to a 97-point advantage over Ferrari.