It is noticeable that global inflation has been rising more and more in recent months, and freight costs in particular have surged in the last two or so years.
Formula 1 has a record 23-race calendar on the cards in 2022, and two of those are in the US, while the pinnacle of motorsport has also made its return to Australia, and Asia will be paid a visit to at the back end of the year.
As a result, the teams will be spending more on freight this season than they have done in the previous two years when the sport was predominantly held in Europe due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It therefore could lead to difficulties in moving cars and equipment to and from races, particularly when you consider the budget cap.
The teams have $140 million at their disposal this year, which includes upgrades on the cars and, among other things, shipping freight to race destinations.
Haas have already suffered problems this year after their cars and equipment was stuck in Turkey when the plane that was supposed to take it to Bahrain for the second test broke down.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has warned that the added financial stringency this year could lead to catastrophic circumstances for some of the teams if their freight is delayed.
“We have a very complicated calendar and there are very tight timescales, and with some of the triple-headers, and double-headers coming up late in the year, obviously losing freight for a period of time could wreak havoc,” he explained, quoted by GPFans.
“So that’s one issue that we’re working, obviously, very closely with the logistic guys and Formula 1 with, but then, of course, there’s the cost element and I think freight is close to doubling this year.”
The Briton warns that the FIA need to strongly consider tweaking the rules to allow for an isolated budget on shipping.
“We see that in all the cost of living, we see inflation throughout the world and I think that’s… again when you consider that freight is something that is currently within the cap, we need to find a sensible allowance that takes into account these inflationary costs because it has a one-on-one effect on parts and people at the end of the day, that your only compensatory place to offset that,” he explained.
“I think the teams by and large are looking to find a workable solution but it is a concern, it’s something that we need to address sooner rather than later.”
No secret has been made of the fact that some teams have already asked the FIA to increase the spending cap as a result of the sprint races this season.
Six sprints were set to be introduced, but that has now been cut to three owing to the protestations, but McLaren CEO Zak Brown divulged that some teams were trying to raise the cap by a “ridiculous amount,” adding that the addition of the sprint events caused “very little damage” to the cars and, subsequently, the teams’ finances.
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi is equally sceptical about the teams’ concerns regarding the budget, but concurs that if shipping costs are the issue at hand, an extra allowance should be introduced.
“Rules are rules. It would be wrong to start watering down the concept of the budget cap now,” he said.
“If it’s really just about the freight costs, then we’d have to make sure a subsidy is used exclusively for that.”