Horner claims F1 cost cap making it harder for teams to keep top personnel

Horner claims F1 cost cap making it harder for teams to keep top personnel

Red Bull boss Christian Horner acknowledges that the Formula 1 cost cap is forcing teams to reconsider their staffing plans, particularly with relation to highly paid staff members.

Horner advised teams to exercise prudence while seeking to substitute experienced team members with more affordable personnel in an effort to stay under the cap.

The cost cap covers everyone who has a direct involvement in the design, production, and operation of the automobiles but excludes the salaries of each team’s top three personnel, who are normally the team principal and technical director plus one additional.

In order to avoid exceeding the cap, several teams have reassigned senior technical personnel from F1 operations and into other activities, unless certain of their workdays are specifically set aside for the racing schedule.

Andrew Green, who joined Aston Martin earlier this year to work on technological projects, and Geoff Willis, who is presently concentrating on a Mercedes America’s Cup project, are two well-known examples.

Horner mentioned that top Red Bull engineer Rob Marshall, who McLaren recently hired for a technical director position, has recently been working outside of Formula One as well. He acknowledged that due to the fact it is impossible to match higher offers when top staff members receive them, it is more difficult to retain them.

“Yeah, of course it does,” Horner said. “You can’t carry anybody within the team and I think that everybody has to warrant their place within the cap.

“Rob was as focused on other projects in recent years, and the offer that McLaren made is probably half their cap! So you can’t blame him for wanting to go and do that.”

When asked if there was a chance of a salary spiral, Horner also advised against it, saying that teams may opt to replace one highly compensated veteran with numerous less expensive rookies.

“You have to make sure it’s not a race to the bottom,” he added. “The problem is you have long-standing personnel that have contributed a significant amount that you don’t want to see forced out of their roles because of the cap, just because you can justify 10 youngsters versus an experienced hand.

“And that’s the constant debate that you that you have, and where we’ve had redundancies through the cap.

“Jayne Poole [the former Red Bull COO and HR director] was one of those as well. She was a redundancy that we made because we couldn’t justify a role within the cap.”

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