Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14 during the Spanish GP at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday June 02, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Andy Hone / LAT Images)

Rumor: Three F1 teams exceeded 2022 budget cap (3rd Update)

(GMM) F1’s governing body has played down rumors that up to three teams may be set to be punished for breaching the sport’s budget cap.

Last year, Red Bull and Aston Martin were found to have overspent in 2021 – but Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali wants future breaches to be “sporting” rather than merely financial or in reductions to development time.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton agrees.

#44 Lewis Hamilton, (GRB) AMG Mercedes Ineos during the Hungarian GP, Budapest 20-23 July 2023 at the Hungaroring, Formula 1 World championship 2023.
#44 Lewis Hamilton, (GRB) AMG Mercedes Ineos during the Hungarian GP, Budapest 20-23 July 2023 at the Hungaroring, Formula 1 World championship 2023.

“It’s certainly worrying, yes,” he said when asked about rumors teams may again be found to have breached the cap.

“Last time they didn’t get a particularly heavy sentence, so there’s really no rule. So there will probably be teams that go for it again.”

Recently, the FIA issued a technical directive warning teams with non-F1 subsidiary engineering arms against exploiting a spending loophole.

What has now followed is rumors that two or three teams may have been in breach in 2022.

The FIA has called those reports “unfounded”.

“The process of auditing the data provided by the teams is ongoing and should be completed in a few weeks,” a spokesman added.

Hamilton, however, is concerned that Red Bull is one of the teams that have exploited the loophole – particularly with radically-reshaped sidepod air intakes on the already-dominant car this weekend in Hungary.

“They seem to bring upgrades to their cars all the time,” the seven – time world champion said.

Currently, however, Hamilton is not even signed up to race in Formula 1 beyond the Abu Dhabi finale this year – but he says a deal is now “very, very close”.

“It might be announced at the end of the year. I might keep you waiting,” he teased. “It’s with the lawyers. There’s no negotiation left. It’s just all the small bits.”

July 19, 2023 

This rumor is downgraded to ‘false’ today.

The FIA says the reports of AMuS and Motorsport Italy about some teams breaching the cost cap are FALSE.

Earlier reports from AMuS and Motorsport Italy said 2 to 3 teams have breached the cost cap

Craig Slater of Sky Sports says he has contacted the FIA in regards to this:

“I have contacted the FIA about this. They are quite adamant in their response, and initially, I only referenced the Italian reports because the German report came out a bit later. They told me that the reports are wrong.”

July 19, 2023 

(GMM) Three Formula 1 teams are reportedly at risk of breaching the sport’s budget cap rules and Domenicali wants harsher penalties.

Last year, Red Bull and Aston Martin fell afoul of the spending limit – but F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali thinks the penalties should be harsher in the future.

“I would like the penalties to be sporting,” Motorsport Italia quotes him as saying.

“It is worth moving in that direction rather than the other.”

Recently, it emerged that the FIA is putting a closer eye on top teams Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin for supposed clever staff accounting between their F1 operations and non-racing subsidiaries.

“It’s so complex,” said Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer, “that inevitably there are loopholes.

“What we need to do, going forward on the operational side, is close some of those loopholes,” he explained. “The only reason to close them is so that the playing field is level.

“Once we have that level playing field and those who have more financial ability can’t spend it, then the field will get a little bit closer.

“That’s good for the fans and it’s good for motor racing,” said Szafnauer.

At the same time, some teams – including Alpine but also Williams – are pushing for a relaxing of the budget cap rules in the area of capital expenditure like wind tunnels and other facilities.

“If we do a good job on equalizing the infrastructure as well as closing some of the (operational expenditure) loopholes that exist, then for sure it’ll help,” said Szafnauer.

The Audit of budget cap submissions completes at the end of July, and teams suspected of violation will receive communication from the FIA in August.

Teams to be formally informed of the results at the beginning of September.

July 18, 2023 

According to @Motorsport_IT rumors are surfacing that THREE Formula 1 teams exceeded the Budget Cap in 2022

At the same time, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicalli is pushing for the new punishment to be SPORTING instead of financial. 

With all the upgrades teams had to make to try and catch Red Bull, as well as get rid of their porpoising problems, it is suspected that some teams exceeded their budget cap.

If true, we could see teams banned from FP1 in 2024, reduction in Wind Tunnel time, Grid Penalties, Point deductions, etc.

Would Lewis Hamilton leave Mercedes if the team gets hit with Sporting Penalties – Photo by Stephen Reuss for Mercedes
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