Domenicali expects 'a lot of attention' on F1 budget cap issues

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Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali believes that it's inevitable that there will be an intense focus on potential future breaches of Formula 1's budget cap regulations this season.

In the budget cap's first year of operation, Red Bull was deemed to have committed a number of minor but still significant breaches during 2021, with a total overspend of around £1.8m putting it 1.6 per cent over the limit.

The news wasn't made public until the 2022 summer break, and the penalty of $7 million and a reduction of 10 per cent in CFD and aerodynamic testing was only finally handed down in October.

Although Red Bull boss Christian Horner said that the penalty could cost then half a second per hap in 2023, Domenicali wasn't convinced that it would have such a big impact in practice

“That’s a good question, because if you hear teams, everyone has a different opinion,” he told Sky Sports F1 presenter Martin Brundle this week, adding that it was more a matter for the FIA than F1.

"The debate is really relevant for the Federation to tackle that, because I want to respect the role that we have," he said, sounding wary after a number of recent clashes between the two bodies over areas of responsibility.

"We are the commercial rights holder, they are the regulator," he pointed out. "We’re talking about penalties that, by the way, were discussed within the teams when the financial regulations were being done, have been always a debate.

"The step change of financial regulation for one has been a step change in the governance of the sport, he noted. “It's a financial penalty with regard to a sporting penalty more than one or the other.

"I think that is a point of which I see there will be a lot of attention this year," he said. "We could have even more problems to manage because the dimension of the complexity, it is really huge."

Domenicali was certainly keen to see the process speeded up, and for potential breaches and penalties to be dealt with a lot quicker than they were last year.

"This is on the FIA’s side to make sure that the control and the certification will be done much earlier," he said. "If some teams [exceed the limit] it has to be done in a proper way in as short a time as possible to be more credible.

“We see other sports that are tackling the financial regulation, with - in my opinion - too long a time for a reaction, and this is not good.”

Domenicali admitted that he is concerned about the effect that delayed penalties could have on the sport's reputation.

Red Bull avoided a loss of points for their 2021 overspend, which otherwise could have changed the outcome of the 2021 season in which Max Verstappen narrowly beat Lewis Hamilton to the championship title.

Asked if he was nervous about the situation F1 could find itself in in future if a similar situation should arise, Domenicali admitted: “I’m more than nervous!

"I’m pretty sure that everyone’s understanding now what is the effect if there is something not going well, in that dimension, is new. So I totally agree that the focus on this actually will be very big.”

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