Over half the Formula 1 teams may have blown past the cost cap, at least according to its leading team.
Red Bull principal Christian Horner said that inflation costs may have resulted in six of the 10 Formula 1 teams exceeding the cap in 2022.
F1 introduced a $145 million cap on team spending in 2021 to bring parity to the sport and improve profitability. It was lowered to $140 million in 2022, but F1 later added $1.2 million to account for an added race and may have adjusted the cap for inflation accordingly.
Red Bull was fined $7 million and had its wind-tunnel time reduced this season for violating the cap in 2021, and Aston Martin received a $450,000 fine for going over. The punishment has done little to slow down Red Bull, who has seen one of its drivers win all three races this season, and its other driver finishing second twice.
Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur said that the Red Bull team has done quite well but is receiving long-term benefits from overspending — and that the punishment can’t cancel those out.
Mercedes driver George Russell believes Red Bull is purposefully holding back so that F1 doesn’t alter its regulations to make the sport more competitive.
“For sure, they’re holding back,” Russell said. “They’re almost embarrassed to show their full potential because the faster they seem globally, the more the sport is going to try and hold them back somehow.”