Red Bull Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner has warned that budget caps put several teams at risk of missing the final few races of the 2022 F1 season.
The FIA imposed a budget cap of $145m (£116m) last year, which has been cut to $140m (£111m) this season and next year – although inflation is factored in – is reduced further as the sport tries to level the playing field between the smaller teams and those at the top with double or even triple budgets.
However, the cap was set before the Covid pandemic and teams will have their budgets put together well in advance of the current season. This has proved problematic as the inflation rate has risen to almost 10 percent this year, meaning costs have risen much faster than expected.
Meanwhile, energy costs have more than doubled, while freight costs are at an all-time high and rates have quadrupled from pre-pandemic levels.
Horner believes this will result in some, if not all, teams running out of budget before the end of the season, which could force them to miss races.
“Seven of the teams would probably have to miss the last four races to get into the cap this year,” Horner is quoted as saying by the BBC.
“It’s not just about the big teams. It’s midfield teams that are really struggling with inflation issues.”
According to Horner, the FIA needs to address the issue by raising the budget cap in the face of increased costs or offering additional support.
“The FIA has a duty of care,” he added. “I know they take it seriously.
“Energy bills, the cost of living, expenses are increasing exponentially, and F1 is no exception. The freight has quadrupled and we cannot control that.”
However, not all teams support Horner’s view, with smaller teams — some already running below budget limits — arguing that those at risk should cut their development budgets to compensate.
Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer added: “If freight costs go up by 2.5 or 3.5 million but your development budget is 20 million, can’t you increase your development budget to 17 million and still stay under the cap? You can.”