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Domenicali: F1 cost cap infringements should result in sporting sanctions

Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali says that any teams caught breaking F1 cost cap should receive sporting sanctions, over financial penalties

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Stefano Domenicali has given his thoughts on the consequences of exceeding the cost cap, saying sporting sanctions are preferred over financial consequences.

Red Bull celebrate after winning the opening race of the 2023 season, beginning their streak of victories for this year. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Last year, it was revealed that Red Bull and Aston Martin were guilty of breaching the cost cap in 2021. Aston Martin committed a procedural breach whilst Red Bull committed a procedural breach as well as overspending.

As a result, Red Bull received a fine of $7,000,000 and a 10% reduction in wind tunnel time. This was not discovered until October 2022 and the penalty is still ongoing.

This penalty resulted in outrage from the wider F1 community. The general consensus was that larger teams that may not have trouble throwing money at issues have a relatively relaxed penalty. This outrage was also exasperated by Red Bull having a more than dominant start to the 2023 season.

Team principal of Ferrari, Frederic Vasseur, said earlier this year: “I think it was not a penalty. It was very low. If you consider that basically, we will improve a bit less than one second over the season in terms of aero, you get the penalty of 10% of this. It’s one-tenth.”

To try to mitigate this issue for the forthcoming cost cap review, increased analysis of activities outside of F1 has been taken into account. This is to ensure that information from non-F1 activities cannot be used to provide feedback on certain tactics or technological advances.

When speaking to Autosport, Stefano Domenicali said:

“I would like the penalty to be sporting in case of infringement, it is something we asked for very clearly.

“There are three regulations to be respected: sporting, technical, and financial. Any infractions must be punished with sporting measures. You can’t go in other directions.”

What are the potential penalties?

The way that F1 governs potential and actual overspends is laid out by the FIA financial regulations. These regulations dictate what percentage of overspend is classed as a minor, and major overspend.

In a result of a minor overspend, which is what happened to Red Bull Racing, the ramifications can vary. Red Bull received a fine and a reduction of wind tunnel time. However, the ability to have been excluded from one or more Grand Prix was also possible.

A major overspend is more than five percent. A potential consequence of a major overspend can go as far as an exclusion from the world championship.

To try to keep the cost cap reviews as efficient as possible, and to not have a 2022 repeat where the results weren’t confirmed until October, the FIA organised an earlier signing off for the individual team submissions.

Domenicali confirmed that it is not in the hands of F1 to get involved. But he hopes the FIA may be more efficient this year. F1’s CEO said:

“Control is in the hands of the FIA. Personally what I have asked is to anticipate as soon as possible the publication of the investigations made by the staff of the FIA.

“But I say this only because, in this way, it does not give rise to speculation and comments that are not good for anyone.”

Will we see anyone breach the cost cap again this year?

Feature Image: GettyImages

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