Budkowski wants FIA to be 'all over' illegal team collaboration

Cars in parc ferme. 27.06.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Steiermark Grand Prix, Spielberg, Austria
© XPB 

Alpine F1 executive director Marcin Budkowski says he wants the sport's government body the FIA to keep a close eye on collaborations between teams that may be in breach of the rules.

There will be a major overhaul of F1's technical rules and regulations for next season, and Budkowski is concerned that teams with existing close ties may be tempted to share research and development beyond what is permitted.

Last year saw controversy when Racing Point's new RP20 appeared strikingly similar to a previous title-winning Mercedes chassis. The team was eventually penalised points and fined for illegally copying their rivals' brake duct designs.

Budkowski - who was previously technical and sporting coordinator for the FIA - is worried that this could happen again in 2022, despite new restrictions on reverse engineering that ban the use of 3D cameras and complex software systems aiming to copy rival designs.

He fears that such covert copying would be to the detriment of independent teams like Alpine, who have no close tie-ins with other teams on the grid.

"The benefits you can get from collaboration, whether it's legal or less so, are massive," he explained. "If there's a year where these kinds of collaborations can pay off, it's this year - for 2022.

"So clearly if there's a year where we expect the FIA to be really all over it, it's this year."

However he admitted: "I don't know what's going on in other people's factories, and I don't know what level of scrutiny the FIA is putting on this.

"As an independent team, obviously we don't come under scrutiny of sharing anything with our competitors because it would be against our own interests."

Race winner Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team celebrates on the podium with Marcin Budkowski (POL) Alpine F1 Team Executive Director. 01.08.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest

Budkowski said that Alpine wanted to see an F1 consisting of 10 or 11 teams all fighting "mercilessly" with no holds barred, and that meant there was no place for behind-the-scenes collaboration.

"From the moment that teams have a common interest in exchanging information, that's a problem," he said. "It shouldn't be the case, you shouldn't be helping your competitors.

"There's a concern there but I can't say how much," he added. "I'm not going to accuse people, because effectively I don't know. I hope that there is nothing happening.

"Clearly going into 2022 [there will be] a massive change in regulations, big development slope, lots of performance being gained on these cars, very green fresh set of regulations."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter