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Budget cap to limit updates, warns Ferrari

NEWS STORY
13/01/2022

Ferrari's Laurent Mekies warns that the budget cap will limit the amount of updates teams can introduce over the course of the season.

It seems that before a single car has been revealed, far less a wheel turned, teams are preparing fans for the negatives.

The latest is Ferrari, where sporting director, Laurent Mekies warns that the budget cap will mean fewer updates to cars over the course of the season.

Previously we have seen teams introduce updates almost on a race-by-race basis as they battle for position, but the budget cap, finally introduced last season is likely to mean an end to that.

Initially pegged at $145m, this year sees the limit reduced to $140m with a further reduction in 2023.

With this is mind, and in the face of the rules overhaul, Mekies warns that teams will have to be far more selective in terms of where they spend their money, and this is most likely to be reflected in upgrades, certainly in the latter stages of the season.

"Not compared to this year," he is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com, "because this year obviously was near zero, or at least for us was very little, but if you go back to 2019, 2018, we think you will see less.

"In 2018, 2019, in the big teams, you had something every race on the car or every other race," he continued. "It sounds difficult from our perspective to have a high number of updates with the constraints that we have.

"You need to keep a budget to develop during the year, because you will learn more and more, and therefore you will need ways to adjust," he admits. "This has been the biggest challenge.

"Once you have defined that envelope, that's what you have for aero development, that's what you have for mechanical development, then it goes to each department and aero will say, 'okay, with that, I will be able to do two developments or three developments', and then you reschedule all your plans to feed that.

"That's effectively what we do now. How much of a challenge it is depends on your level of competitiveness to the others."

Much will depend on pre-season testing, which gets underway at Barcelona late next month, warns the Frenchman, as the teams get the first clues as to how they measure up against the opposition and where improvements need to be made.

"If you have a big issue at the beginning of the year and nothing is correlating and so on, you may invest some of your package two or package three money," he says. "You need to fix it now, so you take your parts, you put them into the bin, and that's the way you will deal with it."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by NS Biker, 15/01/2022 3:54

"Likely ElsieBC is on-mark.
Even in recent times, budget limitations for the "have-not" teams have effectively stalled or outright stopped then doing development and upgrades to the cars.
Now that we have a cap, it levels the playing field somewhat, and will impact even the top teams. They may have the resources, knowledge and manpower to install upgrades, but will they have the cap room to actually do-it.? Possibly not.
Yes the teams that are fast at the start of the season will be fast throughout. The judicious disposal of the granular silica containers will likely see them maintain their advantage."

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2. Posted by kenji, 13/01/2022 11:22

"@ Elsiebc That is not necessarily so. A team may have a specific developmental plan but are waiting to see the test outcomes relative to their competitors before embarking on a series long set of refinements/upgrades. We have all seen how some teams, especially Red Bull and Ferrari frequently start slower and develop over time. That will be a planned approach within the budget cap."

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3. Posted by Defiant, 12/01/2022 22:49

"@elsiebc I completely agree. I know we cannot unlearn something, but I yearn for the days of early aero and wild innovation. Ground effect (I know its returning), 6 wheeled cars, V8, V10, V12 cars all on the grid together.
On one hand we all want rules to be clear and followed fairly, but at the same time, a far more open field would be wild.
Something like, here's a box.... fit your car inside it and make it this heavy, and fit these size tyres... good luck.

If this was planned early enough, there's no reason it couldn't work within a budget cap, but that still leaves the same issue that you mentioned first... fast at the start will mean fast at the end."

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4. Posted by elsiebc, 12/01/2022 17:49

"As I've always said, the budget cap will ensure that the faster cars at the start of the season are the faster cars at the end of the season. And this will provide better racing how? "

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