A report from Auto Motor und Sport has revealed that the teams may be forced to cease introducing any upgrades to their cars beyond the Canadian Grand Prix this year.
This is due to the added stringency of the circa $140 million that the teams are working on this season, and the rate of inflation has led Red Bull boss Christian Horner to warn that the money allocated this year simply is not enough to finish the season.
“I think we need to raise this inflation problem with the FIA, because the bottom line is that about seven out of ten teams will have to miss the last four races of the season to stay under the budget cap,” he said, quoted by the Dutch edition of RacingNews365.com.
Red Bull are said to have spent only $6 million of their $36 million budget on development this year, but it is possible that the chunks may have to be adjusted to reflect the rising freight costs.
The prices have reportedly become so steep that Auto Motor und Sport believe that “there can be no further development” after round eight in Montreal, “if everyone is honest.”
They alleged that an anonymous team boss told them they would “have to lay off 50 people” to finish the season under the financial restrictions.
Should any team try to be dishonest with their expenditure, FIA head of single seater technical matters, Nikolas Tombazis, has previously warned that there are “tax experts” who will sniff it out.
Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur disagrees with Horner, indicating that inflation will simply change the way teams have to approach development but, provided they are not greedy with upgrades, no one should have a problem getting to the end of the year.
“It is no longer possible to bring new parts to every race,” he said.
“At the pace of development that we are now seeing, many teams will soon reach the limits of the cost cap.
“Inflation has nothing to do with force majeure. The pandemic was force majeure. Inflation is a normal process.
“The teams that don’t have much room for improvement can react to it very easily – just shut down their wind tunnel and build fewer parts.
“If we give up on the rules now, that would be the end of the budget cap.”
Aston Martin boss Otmar Szafnauer would also like to see an end to the complaints, saying “if we can do it [meet the budget cap], the others have to do it too.”
So far this year, Haas are the only team not to have made any major changes to their car while everyone else has spent money on upgrades, although the American team did have to essentially build an entirely new car for Mick Schumacher after his crash in Jeddah.