Alpine rejects Red Bull’s call for increased budget cap

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team A522. Miami Grand Prix, Saturday 7th May 2022. Miami International Autodrome, Miami, Florida, USA.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner has suggested that the impact of inflation may find some teams incapable of developing their car and attend all races. The implication could be that some teams might miss a race or two due to the cost cap and inflation. At least that’s how I read it.

I don’t think there’s a doubt that inflation is impacting everyone across business sectors but Alpine boss, Otmar Szafnauer, says that there isn’t a reason to increase the cost cap, as normally argued by Red Bull.

“We’ve set our budgets early, we kind of anticipated a little bit of the inflation. Inflation didn’t just creep up on us,” said Szafnauer.

“If we can do it, for sure others can do it too. I’m not for just increasing the cap.”

The cost of freight is very high as well as fuel and supply chain challenges. Even hotel rooms, food products and transportation have all increased.

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

“What that then does is it limits your development. So it’s a lot easier, if you have the money, to go to the FIA and lobby to raise the cap and keep your development budget the same.”

It’s an interesting conundrum and one that Otmar is comfortable with having ran Force India on an anemic budget contextually and still producing results. This is where he has excelled in the past. Tight budgets and over delivering on results.

That notion may be more difficult for teams such as red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren but let’s not forget, Alpine sounds like a boutique team but it is Renault who create their budget so if they wanted to, they could join the chorus of increasing the cost cap.

My uneducated hunch is that Red Bull and Mercedes have spent quite a lot early in the season to cure their ills and get on par with Ferrari. If they want to continue to develop, they will need to find the cuts in other areas to afford it as the teas are working from a $140 million budget. Arguably half of what some of the top teams used to spend in a season.

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