Haas team principal Gunther Steiner has warned Red Bull to ‘start saving money’ now if they are seriously concerned about being unable to finish the current Formula 1 season, as the sport’s cost cap row continues to heat up.
Red Bull have enjoyed the strongest transition to F1’s new technical era of all 10 teams, and currently lead both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships after the opening seven rounds of the season.
But the Milton Keynes-based squad’s own boss Christian Horner has repeatedly warned that there is a serious risk of teams being unable to complete the season because they were unable to remain within the financial constraint of F1’s cost cap.
All ten F1 teams are bound by an annual cost cap which limits total spending on the running of the team to $140m this year, including the price of car upgrades, salaries for personnel, and transportation.
Shipping and freight costs have grown exponentially since the turn of the year, with the cost-of-living crisis and Russian invasion of Ukraine both contributing factors to a seven percent rise in inflation. F1 underwent its biggest regulation change in a generation over the course of the winter with every team being forced to design their cars from scratch as the sport aims to encourage closer, more exciting racing.
The knock-on effect of the new technical era is that teams will constantly be updating their machinery over the course of the season, in a bid to correct errors made during the design process and maximise their speed, which comes at a significant financial cost.
Horner has repeatedly made public calls for the FIA to raise the cost cap, but other teams say Red Bull should now face the consequences for spending so heavily on car development early in the season.
‘You need to start [saving] because there are still six months to go,’ Steiner said. ‘If you cannot save money for the last four races, then start saving money now. That’s business.
‘If [Red Bull] don’t do the last four races, there are nine teams very happy about it because they won’t get any more [championship revenue] next year and we can divide it.’
Steiner, who has led the American-owned Haas team since it joined the sport in 2016, went on to make the point that a team must be financially successful in order to win on track.
‘So we are happy people, and for sure, Ferrari will be happy if they’re not at the last four races. ‘He [Horner] is saying you cannot make it, but as a businessman, you need to make it at the end of the day.
‘You guys [the media] need to make it. If you guys have a budget but you fly business all year and then you say “Boss, I cannot do the last four races because I’ve run out of money”, what’s he going to say? “Should you not have flown economy at the beginning of the year?” You need to manage.’
The eighth round of the 2022 F1 season takes place in Baku, Azerbaijan this weekend.
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