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FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem stood alongside Carlos Sainz Sr at the Dakar Rally.

FIA President: Cost cap policing will deter “cover ups”

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem sets out his hopes for the policing of future cost cap breaches.

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FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has praised the cost cap regulations as a form of levelling the playing field within Formula 1.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem talking to teams at the Dakar Rally.
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem meeting teams at the Dakar Rally. (Image credit: @OfficialW2RC on Twitter)

Speaking to the press at the Dakar Rally, Ben Sulayem said, as quoted by Autosport: “It’s not an easy task, to do equivalent of technology or the Balance of Performance.” He added: “The one thing that I can say, and I can see is that it’s working and we have to police it, is the cost cap.”

Ross Brawn revealed the FIA’s plans for a budget cap for teams in 2020. The cost cap was initially set at $175 million, but was later reduced to $145 million. The 2021 season was the first time that teams had been expected to submit an account of their annual spendings. 

Discussing the proposed introduction of the new financial regulations, Brawn stated that their objective was to curate a “more competitive field”. Brawn also highlighted the importance of striving for “economic sustainability”. He added that such sustainability “counts as much for the big teams as it does for the small teams”.

Ben Sulayem has stressed the significance of the cost cap as a form of creating greater financial equality amongst teams. The FIA President acknowledges that the gap between teams is “big”. However, he maintains that “we just have to push more into it to make sure the other teams come up to the level of the big teams”. Ben Sulayem re-asserted the FIA’s authority on the matter. “I hope nobody can use the cost cap and try to cover up things,” he said.

“The teams now are very clear that the FIA is there as the governing body. They are there watching, and that is our beauty, that is our responsibility.”

Red Bull and Aston Martin breach cost cap

It was revealed in October that Red Bull and Aston Martin had been found to have breached the 2021 financial regulations. Aston Martin committed a “procedural” breach. Red Bull, however, were held to have committed a “minor financial overspend” alongside a procedural breach. 

“I was very clear with what happened with Red Bull and Aston Martin,” Ben Sulayem said of the FIA’s investigation into the breach. “We made sure that nothing was hidden, and we were very transparent. We did the team [investigation], did the check-up, went through the whole process and we cleared it publicly to everyone.”

Following the findings of the investigation, Red Bull entered into an Accepted Breach Agreement with the FIA. The FIA issued the team a fine of $7 million. They also received a 10% reduction in their allocated wind tunnel time. 

Featured Image Credit: @OfficialWR2C on Twitter

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