Alfa-produced gearbox avoided team being 'killed' by cost cap


Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur says that using a gearbox casing on its 2022 car produced in-house at Hinwil avoided the team being "killed" by F1's budget cap constraints.

Teams are operating on $140 million cost limit this season that has been stringently managed to the dollar from the outset.

Alfa relies on its technical partnership with Ferrari for its engine and gearbox, among other components. But this year, the Swiss outfit chose to produce its own carbon fibre casing which allows it to position at will the pickup positions of its rear suspension.

But that’s not the only benefit enjoyed by Alfa Romeo, as the cost of the in-house element is significantly lower than the notional value assigned by F1 to the 'transferable component' as part of its budget cap compliance rules.


"Today, if you are going with the Ferrari casing and suspension, this is killing you in terms of notional value," explained Vasseur, quoted by The Race.

"The system of notional value means that you have a ‘fake’ value in your cost cap. You can do it cheaper than the price that Ferrari is setting the parts [cost at] and it’s a saving, but it’s also much cheaper than the notional value itself."

Vasseur explained that Alfa's approach also takes into account the loner term implications of the budget threshold that will decrease to $135 million from next season.

"We are planning to be at the limit of the cost cap by next year and on this kind of choice, you have to anticipate questions in advance, because clearly with the new regulations, we will have to do a carryover of some components between year one and year two or year two or year three," said the Frenchman.

"We will probably carry over the gearbox, or the chassis between year one and year two. If you take the decision to go with Ferrari for the [gearbox] casing and suspension, you will carry over the parts and the notional value.

"And at one stage, the cost cap will go down and you will struggle, that is why we took the decision to go in on our own project. It was a bit ambitious."

Alfa's approach, which has saved the team "a couple of million" according to Vasseur, has worked out well for the Hinwil squad, not only financially but also in terms of the design and engineering of the outfit's C42 which has positioned Alfa as a top midfield contender.

"We had no doubt that Ferrari was able to do a good suspension or good gearbox," said Vasseur.

"But the first approach was based on the budget and the cost cap for the season – and for the future.

"And also because it’s a bit easier to develop into the windtunnel when you can do the development with your own parts.

"You know where you are, you know what will be the choice, you won’t have to wait [until] Ferrari will release the drawings."

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