‘We have tax experts’: FIA warns F1 teams against budget cap trickery

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has expressed concerns over teams' compliance - or potential lack thereof - with the new budget cap.

FIA head of single-seater technical matters, Nikolas Tombazis, has reiterated that the governing body will not allow any skirting of the financial regulations.

Along with new technical regulations this year has come a more stringent budget cap which has forced teams to adopt a more circumspect approach to how they bring upgrades to their cars.

The new budget has been reduced by $5 million this year to $140 million, and the teams will be spending allocate of that to shed weight and counteract the “porpoising” issue that has arisen from the new ground effect aerodynamics.

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Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari are all expected to bring performance upgrades to the first European races of the season in Imola and Barcelona, and Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has called on the FIA to keep a close eye on all teams’ spending.

“There is a cap budget on which we are limited and I am insisting every day with the FIA for them to carry out the checks, because if these do not happen we risk to somehow offset the final result,” Binotto said.

Tombazis emphasised that the FIA have a team of “tax experts” that will not allow any discrepancies to slip through the net.

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“Our first objective is to ensure that the championship is clean, we want those who deserve it to win,” he stressed.

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“Today’s regulations require much more control resources: now we have to inspect what teams do at home as well. 

“But for financial controls we have a capable team led by colleague Federico Lodi. Mattia can rest assured, we are doing everything to keep the situation under control. 

“We have tax experts who check the balance sheets and the parts that are mounted on the machines to make sure we are billed correctly.”

Mercedes were expected to bring a new rear wing to this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, but images from the track on Thursday showed that the wing from the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is still in place for now.

Red Bull, meanwhile, are running a new rear wing in Melbourne as they look to have a strong weekend and close the gap to Ferrari at the top of the Constructors’ Championship.