Ben Sulayem confident budget cap is working


As we enter the third season under a budget cap, FIA president, Mohammed ben Sulayem is confident that it is working and can, in time, level the playing field.

While last year's scandal concerning the breach of the cap during its first year (2021) cast a shadow over the remainder of the season, the FIA president is confident that lessons have been learned.

Though many remain uneasy with the seeming leniency granted to Red Bull, Ben Sulayem is pleased with the way the investigation was handled and in particular the transparency, believing that this sets a firm foundation as the sport moves forward.

However, what remains to be seen is whether the cap will achieve the desired intention of levelling the playing field, and if so when.

"It's not an easy task, to do equivalent of technology or the balance of performance," he said at the Dakar Rally. "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.

"I was very clear with what happened with Red Bull and Aston Martin," he added. "We made sure that nothing was hidden, we were very transparent.

"We did the team investigation, we did the check-up, we went through the whole process and we cleared it publicly to everyone.

"I hope nobody can use the cost cap and try to cover up things," he warned. "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."

In terms of levelling the playing field, he said: "When it comes to the cost cap, there is one thing, it has to work. Yes, the gap is big, but we just have to push more into it to make sure the other teams come up to the level of the big teams.”

Asked if this meant he believes that Aston Martin might be fighting for wins within the foreseeable future, he replied: "They should. And the way the investment is going, and then having a smart guy like Fernando, I believe yes.

"Performance first is important," he continued. "Winning is very hard. You can talk about Ferrari, but Ferrari did not win. But was it because it is slow? No. It's maybe the reliability, the management, the whole thing mixed together.

"I think Aston Martin is not short of the finance. It maybe needs a different way of doing things. And the changes that Mr Stroll is changing now into it, bringing another driver, bringing a new discipline to his team, new personnel, that is very important also."

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Published: 17/01/2023
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