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Four teams to benefit from $20m CapEx increase

NEWS STORY
07/10/2023

Williams, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri and Haas given the green light for expenditure boost in bid to (further) level the playing field.

As from next season, the top three teams - Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari - will be allowed to invest $51m (41m)towards capital expenditure - up $6m (4.9m) on the present limit of $45m (36m) - while McLaren, Alpine and Aston Martin can spend $58m (47m). However, the new limit for Williams, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri and Haas is $65m (53m), an increase of $20m (16m).

The driving force behind the increase was Williams, where James Vowles, shortly after joining the team, revealed that due to a lack of investment over the previous twenty years the Grove outfit had fallen way behind its rivals in terms of facilities and infrastructure.

Ignoring the fact of just how far the mighty Grove outfit – Britain's most successful team in terms of constructors' titles - have fallen, one has to wonder how Red Bull-owned AlphaTauri and Audi-owned Sauber were lumped together with Williams and Haas.

In 2021 Williams lost 11.9 million, about 12% of its revenue, and last year 17.9 million, albeit with increased revenues of 46 million, but again about 12%. Asked what the increase in spend has gone towards and how much of it is discretionary and how much of it is ongoing versus one-time expenses, James Vowles replied: "There was agreement and good discussions that have been taking place since February. So part of the reason why you're going to see a massive increase in our bill is we have CapEx to spend now, not perhaps the 100 I was looking for but a good step in the right direction.

"We have an agreement on the table after six months that is sloped. So teams at the front will not get as much as teams at the back. We will benefit more, which is in line to a certain extent with the facilities. So that's part of it. The second part of it is that there's quite a large amount of change that we need to do within Williams. I've been very clear and open about that. Part of it is CapEx, for sure. Part of it is growth of the organisation and change in the organisation and part of it's growth of the site. So when you put it all together, you'll start seeing large, large numbers appear on the table."

"For us, this is welcome news," added Andrea Stella. "We're going to use the extra allowance and so I think that's a good thing for us."

However, at Ferrari, Frederic Vasseur isn't so sure.

"I'm not really convinced that... First, if you asked your engineers if they want to get more, they will always say, yes, we want to get more.

"It's a normal process. And I think that we opened the door a couple of times to change into the cost cap regulation and this is very dangerous.

"But again, I'm coming back to the previous topic, that we have to keep in mind the situation of 2019. And it's not because the business is going well today that we have to change everything and to come back to the previous situation. And I think we are taking every single opportunity to break everything and this is dangerous."

"I agree with Fred actually," admitted AlphaTauri's Peter Bayer. "Having been involved in the development of the cost cap, the idea was really to make sure that all the teams will either squeeze into a certain number or have a chance to actually hit that number.

"Now, on the OpEx we're having inflation indexation, on the CapEx we have another increase and whilst in principle it's nice, but currently we don't have the money, so I have to try and find the money, the sponsorship.

"It's challenging, because you're making a plan and you're deciding on your investment and then suddenly, within six months, regulations change and you have to go back to your shareholders in my case, and that was not as pleasant as it might look. We'll deal with it. But that's probably my opinion."

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1. Posted by Ricardo_sanchez, 07/10/2023 13:45

"Bigger motorhomes (and trebles) all round. "

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