Teams under the budget cap: Fear of yellow restrictions

The big teams complain about their suffering. Red Bull and Mercedes have to collect every penny together to meet the budget cap requirements. In France, this has led to the International Automobile Federation (FIA) requiring the baguette barriers to be dismantled because they damage cars. The problem could appear again in Austria.

The task of the top players in the first division is huge. The big teams will have to have 80-100 million dollars less in their pockets in 2021. The budget cap is forcing them to cut their spending drastically. To get below the limit, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull do pull-ups in the sauna. McLaren and Renault also have to return. It is said to be less between 20 and 30 million. Shrinking health is easier for them because they do not climb from a high base, but it is by no means easy.


The remaining field approaches from the other side. For Alpha Tauri, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, Williams and Haas, it’s all about hitting the roof in the first place. This season, that’s not the original $145 million for racing operations, development budget and staff costs, but $149.8 million. Because of the 23 scheduled races (instead of 21) and the Grand Prix in Canada and Turkey, which were canceled at short notice, the FIA ​​is allowing more. There are 1.2 million dollars each.

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Yellow reflectors prevent drivers from driving faster through turns and overtaking lane limits.

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Request from race director Massey ما

Big teams complain anyway. Mercedes and Red Bull noticeably a lot, Ferrari, on the other hand, is relatively quiet. Friday’s training for the French Grand Prix had a huge impact. Mercedes and Red Bull have taken turns scolding race director Michael Massey and asking him to take action. Your intention: to have the Australian remove the yellow reflectors at the edge of the track.


First, Valtteri Bottas broke the front wing on the “baguette” next to the actual barriers, then Max Verstappen. Report your team managers over the radio and talk about the damage in the five- to six-digit range. Massey remained tough. Aggressive barriers also decorated the running areas of Paul Ricard on Saturday and Sunday. The argument: “I was there in 2019 too.” But there was no maximum budget.


In any case, it was practically impossible to use overnight time loops as an alternative. So you had to dig asphalt. Without physical limitations, without sensors, there would likely be wild growth. Drivers can do whatever they want. This would have started the boring discussion about the limits of the path again.


Probably continue to Spielberg

No team is truly happy with the yellow letter. “It’s a mess. You have to set limits where the driver is immediately outside,” said Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s sporting director. So a bed of pebbles, for example. Stones also damage cars, but above all punish drivers.


“I’m not a fan of a solution that damages cars,” Aston Martin boss Otmar Szafnauer said of the baguette fenders. “The driver can have the choice in a duel. Either drive over these barriers or in the other vehicle.” Both types lead to harm.

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“Regardless of whether it’s a small team or a big team: it’s not constructive to have barriers that destroy cars,” says Haas team boss Guenther Steiner. “We have to be smarter.” There were other sounds in the ring as well. The driver should keep away from the reflectors. It wouldn’t be any different with a wall.


We can say: get ready now because things will continue in Austria the same way. With its yellow “sausage” curbs and tires – the famous long sausage right next to Turn 1 and 3 – the Red Bull circuit is one of the most aggressive tracks on the racing calendar. For the front wing, bodywork, suspension. In the context of the budget cap, some teams prefer to go to Spielberg only once.

Start - Formula 1 - Austrian Grand Prix - Spielberg - 5 July 2020

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Spielberg has a particularly aggressive curb and yellow “sausage”.

Less budget in 2022

2021 is the first part of the mission. The budget continues to fall next year. The rules set a cap of $140 million — five million less than the original this season. This might not sound like much. However, the cut causes the big teams, negotiating every thousand, headaches and stomachaches. The water is already up to your neck.


Problem: It’s hard to calculate damage up front. Small and big accidents can always happen. Take the past difference as a reference for planning. But what does this mean? Take Mercedes at Imola for example: there has been no collision with Williams that has cost millions in the past.

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Budget cap and its consequences: The neutral fan can rub its hands. No team knows the recipe for success based on appropriate staffing levels and development budgets. How many people should you hire to get enough creative minds? 500, 700, 800? As you know: the more heads, the more ideas. How much do you put into other projects to leave a bigger budget for the car?


Then there are the major cuts in the wind tunnel and CFDs. In the past, big players could go in many different directions, pick the most promising solutions, and then throw the remaining nine solutions into the trash. Today they have neither the time, nor the computing power, nor the money to do so. Sooner or later, it will mean: the winner will not be the one with the most money, but the team that works most efficiently.


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