Alpha Tauri has broken ranks with other bottom-four Formula 1 teams by questioning the $20 million relaxation in strict budget cap rules.
Based on the results of the 2020, 2021 and 2022 seasons, the four least-performing teams – Williams, Haas, Sauber and Alpha Tauri – have been allocated special ‘catch-up’ spending outside the budget cap to improve outdated infrastructure.
It was championed by Williams’ new and determined boss James Vowles, the former strategy boss at Mercedes, who said the extra money is a “good step” but not “the 100 (million) I was looking for”.
When asked for his opinion, Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur said it is “dangerous” for Formula 1 to risk “breaking” open the budget cap just because the sport as a business is “going well today”.
“I agree with Fred actually,” said Peter Bayer, the new CEO at Red Bull-owned Alpha Tauri.
Bayer arrived at the team fresh from his role at the FIA as executive director of F1 and secretary-general for sport.
“Having been involved in the development of the cost cap, the idea was really to make sure that all the teams will either squeeze into a certain number or have a chance to actually hit that number,” he said in Qatar.
But now, operational spending under the cap is being increased for all teams through inflation indexation, in addition to the extra funding for the lower four teams.
“Whilst in principle it’s nice, currently we (Alpha Tauri) don’t have the money, so I have to try and find the money, the sponsorship,” Bayer said.
“It’s challenging, because you’re making a plan and you’re deciding on your investment and then suddenly, within six months, regulations change and you have to go back to your shareholders in my case, and that was not as pleasant as it might look.
“We’ll deal with it, but that’s my opinion,” he added.