F1 cost cap cheats should get sporting sanctions, says Domenicali

The FIA is currently working through the submissions for the 2022 season that have been handed to it by teams and has increased its analysis of competitor spending in a bid to stamp out any clever workarounds.

As reported by Motorsport.com last month, this has also included a deep dive into team’s non-F1 activities to make sure that ideas are not being fed back to the grand prix operation outside of the cost cap.

Last year, the FIA found itself having to step in and hand down sanctions to Red Bull for an overspend it made in 2021.

However, the decision to fine it $7 million and give it a reduction of 10% wind tunnel development time caused some controversy as some outfits felt it was not a big enough punishment compared to the potential gains the team made.

Red Bull’s dominant start to the 2023 season further triggered views that the Milton Keynes-based outfit did not face any downside to the overspend.

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur said earlier this year: “I think it was not a penalty. It was very low. If you consider that basically, we will improve a bit less than one second over the season in terms of aero, you get the penalty of 10% of this, it’s one tenth.”

As attention shifts to the 2022 submissions, Domenicali has indicated that he would prefer any rules breaches to result in specific sporting sanctions this time around.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Erik Junius

Speaking exclusively to Motorsport.com, Domenicali said: “I would like the penalty to be sporting in case of infringement, it is something we asked for very clearly.

“There are three regulations to be respected: sporting, technical and financial. Any infractions must be punished with sporting measures. You can’t go in other directions.”

F1’s cost cap is governed by the FIA’s Financial Regulations, which lay out the punishments that can be meted out in the case of a breach.

The list of sporting sanctions includes a public remand, a deduction of constructors’ or drivers’ championship points, suspension from sessions at grands prix, reduction in aero testing or a reduction in the cost cap.

Last year’s cost cap controversy dragged on until October, something which the FIA is hoping to avoid this year with a much earlier signing off of the team submissions.

Domenicali said it was not up to F1 to get involved in the timing of those investigations being completed, but he hoped things would not take so long this time around.

“Control is in the hands of the FIA,” he said. “Personally what I have asked is to anticipate as soon as possible the publication of the investigations made by the staff of the FIA.

“But I say this only because, in this way, it does not give rise to speculation and comments that are not good for anyone.”

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