F1 teams not immune from inflation issues, warns Christian Horner

Red Bull team principal calls on FIA to address problem of rising costs.

F1 teams not immune from inflation issues, warns Christian Horner

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  • Budget cap currently sits at US$140m
  • Horner’s stance backed by Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren
  • Alfa Romeo, Alpine, Haas and Williams voted against proposal for inflationary adjustment

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner believes Formula One teams will have to miss races this season unless the series’ budget cap is increased amid rising costs.  

“Seven of the teams would probably need to miss the last four races to come within the cap this year,” Horner told the BBC.

“It's not just about the big teams. It's teams in the middle of the field who are really struggling with inflationary issues.”

Horner added that the International Automobile Federation (FIA), Formula One’s governing body, “needs to address” the issue. The current budget limit is US$140 million.

“Energy bills, costs of living, costs are going exponentially, and F1 is not exempt,” he continued. “Freight has quadrupled and that’s not something we can control.”

The BBC reports that Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes support Horner’s position. However, Alfa Romeo, Alpine, Haas and Williams voted against a proposal for an inflationary adjustment when it was proposed last month.

“We’ve set our budgets early, we kind of anticipated a little bit of the inflation,” said Otmar Szafnauer, team principal of Alpine. “Inflation didn’t just creep up on us. If we can do it, for sure others can do it too. I’m not for just increasing the cap.

“When freight costs go up by US$2.5 million or US$3.5 million, but your development budget is US$20 million, can you not make your development budget US$17 million and still be under the cap? You can.”

An Aston Martin spokesperson added that the team supported a budget cap increase in line with inflation but it did not see the need 'for an increase greater than that'.

Horner’s comments could be perceived as a way for his team, as well as Formula One’s other big hitters, to maintain their high levels of spending, potentially increasing inequality across the grid. The budget cap was introduced to help reduce this.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto also appeared to ramp up the mind games with championship rivals Red Bull, suggesting earlier this month that Horner’s team had already spent a major chunk of their budget cap.