McLaren Formula 1 team boss believes the sport may need to shift by increasing the budget cap in order to respond to recent frightening world events.
Costs are rising across the board as a result of rising inflation and oil prices – a condition that existed even before the recent events in Eastern Europe.
The budget cap for the 2022 season is $140 million, down $5 million from last year, and it will be cut to $135 million in 2023.
Teams have had to cut on their costs accordingly, which has unfortunately resulted in job cuts at some of the ten constructors – and Red Bull boss Horner, who opposed a six-sprint increase this year due to cost concerns, believes the pressure will only increase in the sport’s efforts to stay within its financial constraints.
For example, inflation is rapidly rising in the post-covid period, owing to the worrying situation in Ukraine, which has resulted in Russian oil and gas restrictions and spiking costs.
This is bad news for Formula 1, which is dealing with a tightening budget cap restriction, which has reduced from $145 million per team last year to only $140 million in 2022.
“We can already see the consequences on air freight prices,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said last week.
“What you have to remember is when the budget cap was set back in the midst of the pandemic, in the middle of 2020, nobody could have foreseen the circumstances we have in the world today,” said the Red Bull team principal during a press conference at the official test in Bahrain.
“What we see going on in the world will only drive prices one way.
“Inflation looks like it could hit record levels. We are seeing that impact already on things like air freight just to this event.
“I think it’s a very serious problem that we need to look at and address because this has a one-to-one impact on people’s jobs and livelihoods.”
Horner has therefore called for the FIA and Formula 1 to assess the budget cap at the earliest opportunity with a view to alleviating the financial strain he feels teams are coming under.
“It’s the duty of the regulator to look at this with a degree of urgency to make sure the relief is put in place to take into account what’s going on in the world with the cost of living increases we will all see,” added Horner.
McLaren boss Andreas Seidl also feels that certain changes to the financial settings in F1 may be necessary.
“It is important in this situation to show common sense with all of this extra data we now have after the last few weeks,” he is quoted by France’s Auto Hebdo.
“It is important that we have a discussion about this and see what makes sense.”
Seidl, like Horner, acknowledges that an increase in the budget cap may be the answer.
“We all have the same objective, which is to stay on course,” said the German.
“But with this unexpected new situation, we are totally open to dialogue in order to find solutions and make changes accordingly, within the limits of reason and what is possible.”